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Environmental News

Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Thursday, November 30, 2017
Urbana Brewpub Prepares To Go Solar
Solar panels power some homes in central Illinois, and supplement the electricity for other buildings and facilities. Now, a small-production brewery and taproom in Urbana plans to make solar panels its primary source of electricity. Source: Illinois Public Media, 11/29/17

A Look at Sonoma County, Calif.'s Plan to Fight Food Waste
The Sonoma County Food Recovery Coalition is working to divert what is salvageable and edible to feed the hungry. Source: Waste360, 11/30/17

A First Among States, California Plugs the 'Carbon Loophole'
The new Buy Clean California Act is the world's first legislative effort to address supply chain carbon emissions. Source: Governing, 11/30/17

Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Kroger's new private label floral line is about to bloom
Kroger is introducing a premium and sustainable store brand floral line called BLOOM HAUS, which will debut in time for the holidays, according to a company statement. The new line carries the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal, which means plants have been grown and harvested using sustainable and socially responsible practices. Source: Food Dive, 11/27/17

Tapping sewage as a source of useful materials
With sometimes offbeat technology, innovators seek to extract certain chemicals from municipal waste. Source: Chemical & Engineering News, 11/27/17

With prodding, retailers push chemical policies
Advocacy groups' ratings prompt more companies to disclose and reduce chemicals of concern. Source: Chemical & Engineering News, 11/27/17

Tuesday, November 28, 2017
Report Reveals Tech Industry Giants Failing to Keep Child Labor Out of Cobalt Supply Chains
Cobalt is back in the news, as a new report from Amnesty International reveals that tech industry giants such as Microsoft, Lenovo, Renault and Vodafone aren't doing enough to keep child labor out of cobalt battery supply chains in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and China. The findings come almost two years after Amnesty exposed a link between batteries used in their products and child labor. Time to Recharge ranks industry leaders, including Apple, Samsung SDI, Dell, Microsoft, BMW, Renault, Vodafone and Tesla according to improvements to their cobalt-sourcing practices since January 2016. The 108-page report revealed that only a handful of companies made progress, with many failing to take even basic steps, such as investigating supply links in the DRC. Source: Sustainable Brands, 11/15/17

The government must regulate lawn equipment. Seriously.
Gas-powered leaf blowers are indeed bad. But the problem runs deeper. In fact, all small gasoline engines - used in things like weed whackers, lawn mowers, tillers, and so forth - are astoundingly filthy and should be phased out as soon as possible. It's time to electrify all lawn equipment. Source: Environmental News Bits, 11/28/17

Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators now accepting applications
The Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators recognizes outstanding kindergarten through grade 12 teachers who employ innovative approaches to environmental education and use the environment as a context for learning for their students. Up to two teachers from each of EPA's 10 regions, from different states, will be selected to receive this award. The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administers this award to honor, support and encourage educators who incorporate environmental education in their classrooms & teaching methods. Applications are due by March 1, 2018. Source: U.S. EPA, 11/28/17

President's Environmental Youth Award now accepting applications
Apply or encourage a student you know to apply for the President's Environmental Youth Award and see what a difference they can make for the environment with an award-winning project. Applicants from all 50 states and U.S. territories are eligible to compete for a regional certificate of special recognition and a national Presidential award. Applications due March 1, 2018. Source: U.S. EPA, 11/28/17

Monday, November 27, 2017
Soon we won't be able to ship our recycling to China -- and that's a problem
In July, China's Ministry of Environmental Protection told the World Trade Organization that it would no longer accept imports of 24 common types of once-permitted solid waste due to contamination concerns. The ban extends to various recyclables including several plastics such as PET and PVC, certain textiles and mixed waste paper. Easier-to-recycle metals are not included in the new restrictions. Source: Mother Nature Network, 11/27/17

Friday, November 17, 2017
Clarins, L'Oreal & Others Launch Initiative to Improve Beauty Supply Chain
Clarins, Coty, L'Oreal and Groupe Rocher have joined with EcoVadis to launch the Responsible Beauty Initiative (RBI), a group that the companies say will accelerate social and environmental performance and progress throughout the beauty supply chain. EcoVadis, a provider of supplier sustainability ratings for supply chains, is working with the companies to ensure their suppliers have sound environmental business practices in place. Source: Environmental Leader, 11/14/17

Elementary school 'share tables' keep unwanted lunch food out of trash
Some Orange County schools, in a move to reduce waste and feed the hungry, let students coming through the lunch line leave items they don't want on a "share table," where classmates can pick up something extra and anything unclaimed goes to charity. Source: Orlando Sentinel, 11/11/17

Biocatalysts are a bridge to greener, more powerful chemistry
New research from the University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute is building a bridge from nature's chemistry to greener, more efficient synthetic chemistry. Source: Science Daily, 11/13/17

Pulling iron out of waste printer toner
Someday, left-over toner in discarded printer cartridges could have a second life as bridge or building components instead of as trash, wasting away in landfills and potentially harming the environment. One group reports in ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering that they have devised a method to recycle the residual powder in "empty" cartridges into iron using temperatures that are compatible with existing industrial processes. Source: American Chemical Society, 11/1/5/17

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