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Environmental News


Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Wednesday, January 31, 2018
EPA Publishes Annual Toxics Release Inventory Report and Analysis
Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its 2016 Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) National Analysis. The publicly available database shows that industrial facilities continue to reduce the releases of TRI chemicals through pollution reduction activities. Source: U.S. EPA, 1/31/18

EPA Releases the 2018 Plan for Chemical Risk Evaluations under TSCA
As required under the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, EPA has released the annual plan for chemical risk evaluations. The annual plan identifies the next steps for the first 10 chemical reviews currently underway and describes EPA's work in 2018 to prepare for future risk evaluations. Source: U.S. EPA, 1/31/18

Most of the EPA's pollution estimates are unreliable. So why is everyone still using them?
Emission factors used to paint a broad picture of air quality often underestimate pollution, evidence shows. Source: Center for Public Integrity, 1/30/18

Designers, Students Get Creative for Final Cradle to Cradle Product Design Challenge
The winners created innovative products and furnishings that demonstrate the way good design can allow for abundance, endless reuse and pleasure. Source: Waste360, 1/31/18

Austin Looks to [Re]Verse its Waste Intake
The city's entrepreneurial competition challenges residents to devise ways to reuse discarded materials. Source: Waste360, 1/31/18

Next Step to Eliminating Food Waste? Making It Relevant, Surmountable to Farmers
Globally, food loss and waste prevention efforts at farm and production level are, in many respects, still in their infancy. Many growers around the world are not required to record or report on their post-harvest crop losses -- the dearth of data in this area makes it hard to determine exactly how much food never makes it beyond the farm gate. Source: Sustainable Brands, 1/29/18

NFL's super challenge: Recycling food wrappers and beer cups from 60,000 fans
From blinking cups to purses, NFL, the stadium aims for maximum recycling.  Source: Minneapolis StarTribune, 1/20/18

Monday, January 29, 2018
New Research Unveiled to Improve Accounting for Non-Hazardous Industrial Waste in the U.S.
Jonathan Krones, postdoctoral associate at Yale University, will debut the final results of his research to improve accounting for NHIW at GWMS. You can read his dissertation on the topic at https://dspace.mit.edu/handle/1721.1/106591. Source: Waste360, 1/29/18

A new generation of organic waste systems and products
Nonprofits such as City Harvest and newcomer Rescuing Leftover Cuisine together move millions of pounds of uneaten food from local retailers to soup kitchens and homeless shelters per year. But such efforts barely make a dent in the 40% of United States food production that winds up in dumps, contributing to landfilled food's dubious distinction as the world's third-largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. The good news is that a new generation of systems and products is arriving to tackle organic waste on multiple and sometimes unexpected fronts. Source: Crain's New York, 1/29/18

Formaldehyde Voluntary Consensus Standards Final Rule
EPA is publishing a final rule to update several voluntary consensus standards listed at 40 CFR § 770.99 and incorporated by reference in the Formaldehyde Emission Standards for Composite Wood Products rule. These updates apply to emission testing methods and regulated composite wood product construction characteristics. Several of those voluntary consensus standards (i.e., technical specifications for products or processes developed by standard-setting bodies) were updated, withdrawn, and/or superseded through the normal course of business by these bodies to take into account new information, technology, and methodologies. Source: U.S. EPA, 1/29/18

Friday, January 26, 2018
The big picture of Great Lakes mercury pollution
A transdisciplinary team examined regulatory impacts on Great Lakes mercury, focusing on an Upper Peninsula tribal community with high fish consumption. Source: Science Daily, 1/23/18

Tracking wastewater's path to wells, groundwater
We often 'flush it and forget it' when it comes to waste from toilets and sinks. However, it's important to be able to track this wastewater to ensure it doesn't end up in unwanted places. Tracing where this water ends up is hard to measure: What's something found in all wastewater that will allow us to account for all of it? The answer, of all things, is artificial sweeteners. Source: Science Daily, 1/24/18

Manufacturers May Soon Profit from Bio-Nylon Process
Materials used by the nylon industry have traditionally been derived from crude oil, but manufacturers will soon be able to create their own "bio-nylon" made from plant-based renewable ingredients. Aquafil and Genomatica have announced an agreement to create sustainable caprolactam, an ingredient used in nylon that is usually made from crude oil. Source: Environmental Leader, 1/25/18

Researchers use wild rice to predict health of Minnesota lakes and streams
By studying wild rice in lakes and streams, a team of researchers led by the University of Minnesota has discovered that sulfate in waterways is converted into toxic levels of sulfide and increases other harmful elements. This includes methylmercury, the only form of mercury that contaminates fish. Source: University of Minnesota, 1/23/18

2018 Behavior, Energy, and Climate Change Conference call for abstracts
The theme of the conference, scheduled for October 7-10, 2018 in Washington, DC, is "Building Bridges." In a time of increasing polarization, behavioral sciences play an important role in bridging political, cultural, economic, and geographic divides that prevent sensible solutions to climate change. From the beginning, BECC has aimed to facilitate conversations and collaborations across sectors and disciplines. In 2018, through regular and special sessions, we plan to showcase research, programs, and dialogues that bridge divides and help move toward a sustainable energy and climate future. Source: Environmental News Bits, 1/26/18

U.S. EPA reverses policy on 'major sources' of pollution
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Thursday it was withdrawing a provision of the Clean Air Act that requires a major source of pollution like a power plant to always be treated as a major source, even if it makes changes to reduce emissions. See the EPA memo at https://www.epa.gov/stationary-sources-air-pollution/reclassification-major-sources-area-sources-under-section-112-clean. Source: Reuters, 1/25/18

Thursday, January 25, 2018
New Sustainable Paint Helps Boats Use Less Energy
While most people don't see them, barnacles, algae, and mussels latch onto boat hulls and have been a headache for the shipping industry to deal with for centuries. These little creatures create significant issues by adding to the vessel's weight. They also create drag, so ships have to use more fuel or energy to cut through the water. To combat this problem, shipping companies have been using special paints to help keep the tiny army of marine organisms at bay, but that approach often comes at a price as those special paints can pollute the ocean. To find an ideal solution, a team in Germany came together to create a non-toxic paint that keeps organisms off the hulls by making it harder for them to latch on. The result is a win-win solution for the environment and the shipping industry. Source: Green Matters, 12/14/17

Wednesday, January 24, 2018
New Database for Urban Mining in the EU Maps Valuable Resources in E-Waste and More
The Urban Mine Platform prevents the flows of precious and base metals, and critical raw materials in products in use and throughout their journey to the end of life. Source: Electronics 360, 1/17/18

Parkland board approves contract for 8-acre solar farm
Parkland College could have its own 8-acre solar farm by later this year. The board of the community college Wednesday night approved a contract with SolSystems LLC of Washington, D.C., to build a 2-megawatt solar energy field on the northwest corner of the campus. The solar field in south Champaign operated by the University of Illinois provides about 4 megawatts of electricity when it is operating. Source: Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette, 1/18/18

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