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Environmental News


Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Monday, May 11, 2015
Study: Environmental exposure to hormones used in animal agriculture greater than expected
Research by an Indiana University environmental scientist and colleagues at universities in Iowa and Washington finds that potentially harmful growth-promoting hormones used in beef production are expected to persist in the environment at higher concentrations and for longer durations than previously thought. Source: Indiana University, 5/8/15

Thursday, May 7, 2015
Living with it: Climate change effort shifts
Minnesotans have taken a variety of steps that deal with climate change. But, as in each of these instances, those steps often deal less with reducing carbon emissions than with adapting to change that already has arrived in Minnesota. Source: Minnesota Public Radio, 2/2/15

Conference to Address Threats of E-waste, Toxic Chemicals
Over the next two weeks, 1,500 representatives from 180 countries will seek ways to reduce risks from hazardous chemicals and waste through the sustainable management of these potentially life-threatening substances. Source: Voice of America, 5/4/15

Tuesday, May 5, 2015
Feds to require climate change plans for states seeking disaster relief
A new Federal Emergency Management Agency policy requiring states to address climate change before they can become eligible for grant funding is drawing fire from congressional Republicans. Source: The Hill, 5/5/15

Free e-waste recycling too good to be true?
Since Level 3 Recycle opened in Brooklyn two months ago, company owner Chris Fede has spread the word about his firm's free e-waste recycling. While many recyclers charge to handle electronics, others don't even take the items, because doing so costs too much. Is providing free recycling of electronic waste even a sustainable practice? Fede hopes so. If many other companies cannot recycle electronics for free, it's hard for some people to see how Level 3 Recycle can. Source: Waste Dive, 5/4/15

Friday, May 1, 2015
Hotels Embrace Sustainability to Lure Guests and Cut Costs
Hotels have three reasons to pay attention to conservation, according to Steve Jennings, lead consultant for hotels and resorts in the United States at Deloitte: corporate sustainability; better expense management; and consumer interest. Source: New York Times, 4/27/15

University of IL: New campus recycling bins aim to bring waste awareness
In an effort to make campus more eco-friendly and closer to a zero-waste initiative, 20 new recycling bins with standardized signage were installed on the Quad this month, making 30 total recycling/landfill stations. The project was completed by the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC). According to the project's leader Bart Bartels, technical assistance engineer at ISTC, the center makes recommendations and completes projects aiming to reduce waste emissions on campus. This zero-waste initiative is part of the goal of the Illinois Climate Action Plan (iCAP), the University's mission to make campus carbon neutral by 2050. Source: The Daily Illini, 4/30/15

A sustainable gem: The sixth Naturally Illinois Expo
This article provides an overview of the Prairie Research Institute's Naturally Illinois Expo, and includes quotes from ISTC's Bart Bartels, Beth Meschewski, and Nancy Holm. It also provides information about the Expo being a zero waste event. Source: The Daily Illini, 4/16/15

Is the UN underestimating US e-scrap activity?
A United Nations-backed study on global e-scrap generation and recovery suggests the U.S. recycling rate for end-of-life electronics and appliances sits at about 15 percent. An analysis of the method used to arrive at that figure, however, raises questions about its accuracy. Billed as "the first comprehensive assessment" of e-scrap volumes throughout the world, the United Nations University-authored Global E-Waste Monitor 2014 estimates 7.8 million tons of end-of-life electronics and appliances entered the U.S. waste stream in 2014. Of that total, the study states, 1.1. millions tons were recovered, resulting in a recovery rate just under 15 percent. Media coverage in the study's wake has painted the U.S and China as the top "dumping" countries in the world. In announcing the release of the study, the United Nations University (UNU) largely echoed that reading of the data, noting "just two countries -- the U.S. and China -- discarded nearly one-third of the world's e-waste in 2014."A closer look at the data reveals while electronics and appliances were included in the study's estimate of U.S. generation of discarded material, only electronics were counted toward the recovery total. In other words, the study used one material classification for the numerator in determining the U.S. recovery rate and a starkly different one for the denominator. The result is a recovery rate that may significantly understate the country's e-scrap activity. Source: Resource Recycling, 4/30/15

Can salt water quench our growing thirst?
An increasingly water-stressed world takes a fresh look at desalination. Source: GreenBiz, 4/28/15

Thursday, April 30, 2015
Sewer brewers: Oregon beer-makers challenged to use wastewater in recipes
Treated sewer water is the star ingredient in Portland-area home brewer competition to raise awareness on reusing vital resource. Source: The Guardian, 4/29/15

How one California restaurant is dealing with the drought
An innovative chef has come up with an alternative dishwashing procedure that cuts his kitchen's water usage by 80 percent. Source: Restaurant-Hospitality, 4/29/15

ISO 14001 Revision Nears Completion
The working group revising the international environmental management systems standard ISO 14001 has finalized the technical requirements of the new standard. Source: Environmental Leader, 4/30/15

Sustainable business and the value of values
Eco-efficiency is table stakes. What separates the leaders from the laggards is a core set of values. This is the latest installment in a regular series of conversations with William McDonough (@billmcdonough), designer, architect, author and entrepreneur. Source: GreenBiz, 4/30/15

Global E-Waste Volume Hits New Peak in 2014: UNU Report
The amount of global e-waste -- discarded electrical and electronic equipment -- reached 41.8 million tonnes in 2014, according to a new United Nations University report. Source: United Nations University, 4/20/15

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