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Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Monday, July 13, 2015
Exit Interview: Keith Miller, 3M
Last week, Keith Miller spent his last day as a 3M employee after 37 years, most recently with the title of sustainability strategic advisor. 3M has been an iconic company in environmental circles, having issued its first environmental policy statement, adopted by its board, in 1975. That same year it started a then-revolutionary program called Pollution Prevention Pays, which encourages ideas and innovations that have saved billions of pounds of waste and emissions. 3P has been copied by many companies and has received numerous awards. During his final days at the company, Joel Makower caught up with Miller to talk about his career path and the sustainability journey of his company. Source: GreenBiz, 7/7/15

University of Arizona Food Study: Shop More, Waste Less
University of Arizona researchers investigating how consumers make decisions about food consumption and shopping have found that they actually waste food because they bulk-buy too often. Source: University of Arizona, 5/29/15

Thursday, July 9, 2015
Public - Private Partnership Launches New AmeriCorps Program to Help Communities Build Resilience
Building on the President's Climate Action Plan, today the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the Department of Energy (DOE), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), The Rockefeller Foundation, and Cities of Service, announced a new commitment to launch a Resilience AmeriCorps pilot program. Source: U.S. EPA, 7/9/15

How Can We Make People Care About Climate Change?
Norwegian psychologist Per Espen Stoknes has studied why so many people have remained unconcerned about climate change. In a Yale Environment 360 interview, he talks about the psychological barriers to public action on climate and how to overcome them. Source: Yale Environment360, 7/9/15

Wednesday, July 8, 2015
Not-for-profit Grocery Store Makes Wholesome Food Accessible to All
As Whole Foods get slammed in the press for overcharging customers, a not-for-profit grocery store is modeling a different way of selling food. Daily Table in Dorchester, Massachusetts collects excess food from a network of growers, supermarkets, manufacturers and suppliers, and offers it at steep discounts to shoppers. Source: Shareable, 7/8/15

Power Your Car With a Biofuel Made From Beer
"Brewtroleum" is reportedly the first-ever fuel produced from used yeast. Source: CityLab, 7/8/15

Nine ways to overcome barriers to sustainable business
From competition to communication, there are numerous challenges to sustainable business. Here's what the experts say about overcoming them. Source: The Guardian, 7/8/15

Recycling Industry Created Its Own Mess
Adam Minter writes, "The recycling industry likes to imply that the American public, and its allegedly lax recycling habits, bear responsibility for its sinking fortunes. But before reaching for their wallets, Americans ought to scrutinize why exactly recycling companies' promises of a low-cost green future didn't pan out. The real turning point wasn't a decline in Americans' interest in recycling, but a gradual shift in what Americans started throwing away -- one that many recycling companies could have, but failed to, prepare for." Source: Bloomberg Views, 7/7/15

Tuesday, July 7, 2015
Chicago makes bike sharing service more affordable for low-income city residents
Chicago has launched the Divvy for Everyone (D4E) program to address financial barriers and increase access to their bike sharing service. While the price of an annual membership breaks down to only twenty cents a day, some Chicagoans cannot use Divvy because they do not have credit or debit cards or are on a fixed income. Source: Environmental News Bits, 7/7/15

Americans May Be Wasting More Food Than They Think
Most Americans are aware that food waste is a problem, are concerned about it, and say they work to reduce their own waste, but nearly three quarters believe that they waste less food than the national average, new research suggests. The findings, from the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, are significant given that 31 to 40 percent of the American food supply goes to waste, primarily in homes, stores and restaurants. The top foods wasted, by weight, are fruits and vegetables, due in part to their perishability and bulk. Food waste costs Americans $161.6 billion annually. A report on the research is published June 10 in the journal PLOS ONE. Source: Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, 6/10/15

Chicago Is Hoping to Retire the Word "Waste"
The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago's new five-year strategic plan expands on the work the agency has been doing on everything from flood mitigation to infrastructure maintenance, and focuses on making wastewater management more productive. The District aims to harvest useful nutrients (or, resources) during wastewater processing and put them to good use. Source: Next City, 5/26/15

Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Chevrolet is using old batteries to save...bats?
Chevrolet's landfill-free ?goal? requires it to account for every single waste stream generated at its operations. Circuit trays called the attention of environmental engineers at the landfill-free Kokomo Operations in Indiana? as they were not wanted by any local recyclers. After a bit ?of ?stewing on the problem, Chevrolet staff John Bradburn had an eureka moment when he realized that he could swap out the wood pallet layers in the original bat box design with the trays, which also would save time as he could just notch two wood pieces on the sides, enabling him to slide these trays one after another right inside the battery case. Source: GreenBiz, 6/29/15

Sprint, Staples, Kimberly-Clark: the litmus test for wheat-straw paper
Most people equate paper with cutting down trees, but an abundant eco-alternative covers literally tens of millions of acres across the North American prairies. Wheat straw, typically burned or landfilled by farmers to make way for new crops, is slowly gaining credibility as a durable replacement for virgin and recycled fiber from trees. The latest evidence comes from Sprint, which will test wheat straw paper made by Prairie Paper -- the Canadian startup co-founded by actor Woody Harrelson -- in customer mailings. Office supplies company Staples and tissue manufacturer Kimberly-Clark likewise have committed to this 'rapidly renewable' source of fiber. Other big companies getting behind wheat straw paper including Staples, which began stocking approximately two years ago. The office retailer estimates that for every two boxes of Step Forward Paper consumed, one tree is saved. Kimberly-Clark is using wheat straw, along with bamboo, for a series of products that use 20 percent plant fiber instead of tree fiber or recycled paper. The items include tissue paper and paper towels. The company is sourcing straw for the GreenHarvest line directly from farmers. Source: GreenBiz, 6/29/15

Lessons from an E-Scrap Workshop
Scott Cassel writes about participating in a panel at the Indiana Recycling Coalition Conference as part of Indiana's first E-cycle stakeholder meeting. "In a room filled with dedicated solid waste managers, recyclers, environmentalists, and government officials, we took a look at Indiana's current e-scrap recycling law to identify successes, challenges, and potential solutions." Source: The PSI Blog (Product Stewardship Institute), 6/30/15

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