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Environmental News

Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Monday, October 30, 2017
Trending: Cross-Industry Collaborations Helping Drive Closed-Loop Manufacturing
After recently releasing a report summarizing the potential of organic waste as a feedstock for the creation of building materials, ARUP has partnered with Goldfinger Factory, a fabrication atelier and teaching platform, to develop home and office products made from waste, discarded milk bottles and waste timber from refurbishment projects. Source: Sustainable Brands, 10/25/17

This startup is creating biodegradable fabric from methane-eating bacteria
Humans have been employing worms to spin silk yarn for almost 5,000 years, so the idea that we can squeeze other natural fibers out of bacteria shouldn't be so strange. But that actually wasn't the original intention of Mango Materials co-founder and CEO Molly Morse, who started her research with methane-eating critters as a graduate student at Stanford University.

Her quest was to create a sturdy, bioadhesive that would help glue together biocomposites used as construction materials. The material's biodegradation process got Morse and her now-chief technology officer, Allison Pieja -- an engineer whose doctoral thesis centered on the production of poly-hydroxyalkanoate (PHA) from methane -- thinking about different applications. And that's about the time that their third co-founder, Anne Schauer-Gimenez, the startup's vice president of customer engagement and an expert in anaerobic digestion, got involved. Source: GreenBiz, 10/25/17

The Home Depot announces new strategy to remove toxic chemicals in building products
The Home Depot announced a new Chemical Strategy to remove harmful chemicals in building products such as paints, carpet, and flooring. The policy addresses dangerous chemicals like flame retardants, phthalates, and nonylphenol ethoxylates. Hazardous chemicals such as these have been linked to cancer, reproductive harm, asthma, and learning and developmental disabilities. Source: Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, 10/25/17

This Incredibly Simple Packaging Idea Could Reduce Global Emissions
A Dutch design student proposes a common-sense alternative to the way most home goods are sold today. Source: Fast Company, 10/16/17

MN: NAAQS? BACT? HAPs? State wants to help you translate pollution science
If you live near a factory that spews pollutants into the air, don't you deserve to know what they are and have a chance to weigh in on the company's permit?

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency thinks so. The agency is required to hold comment periods and public meetings on polluting facilities. But now agency leaders are taking it a step further by holding a series of free workshops with the goal of opening up air-pollution science to the people who live near the sources. Source: Minnesota Public Radio, 10/26/17

Why businesses and state governments aren't waiting for federal action on chemicals transparency
EDF recently examined retailers leading the way on removing chemicals of concern from the marketplace -- but there has also been significant activity from state governments and companies to increase transparency about the chemicals we are exposed to every day and to empower consumers to make informed decisions about their product purchases. Source: EDF+Business, 10/26/17

These Sustainably Produced Cleaning Wipes Herald A Manufacturing Revolution
Chemical manufacturer Solugen, which uses an enzymatic process to turn plant sugars into hydrogen peroxide, announced today that they're introducing a new line of cleaning wipes, using its hydrogen peroxide compound and biodegradable wipes. The wipes, called Ode to Clean, will start out being sold directly over the internet to businesses and consumers. Source: Forbes, 10/24/17

Industry Experts Develop Creative Waste Reduction Solutions at Hack:Trash:NYC
New York City has a goal to reach zero waste by 2030. And to help the city reach that ambitious goal, approximately 100 product designers, engineers, waste and recycling experts and environmental lawyers teamed up this weekend to participate in Hack:Trash:NYC, a three-day collaborative competition to reduce waste in New York City. The theme for Hack:Trash:NYC was reuse, and the competition challenged teams to "develop and pitch an innovative product, business model, service, policy or education campaign that increases reuse in NYC and results in a meaningful diversion of waste from landfill." Source: Waste360, 10/30/17

Costco develops new safer chemicals policy
Costco has announced that it is committing to reducing harmful chemicals in the products it sells by adopting a new Chemicals Management Policy. Source: Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, 10/26/17

Proposal to restrict hazardous substances in tattoo inks and permanent make-up
Together with the competent authorities of Denmark, Italy and Norway, ECHA has prepared a restriction proposal to reduce the risks caused by hazardous substances contained in some tattoo inks. These include some substances already banned in cosmetics but also additional substances. Source: European Chemical Agency, 10/25/17

Wednesday, October 25, 2017
China's recyclers eye looming electric vehicle battery mountain
After years of dismantling discarded televisions and laptops, a Shanghai recycling plant is readying itself for a new wave of waste: piles of exhausted batteries from the surge of electric vehicles hitting China's streets. The plant has secured licenses and is undergoing upgrades to handle a fast-growing mountain of battery waste, said Li Yingzhe, a manager at the facility, run by the state-owned Shanghai Jinqiao Group. Source: Reuters, 10/22/17

Presentations from AMO Workshop on Clean Water Processing Technology Research and Development, August 23-24, 2017
The Advanced Manufacturing Office hosted its second Workshop on Clean Water Processing Technology Research and Development from August 23--24, 2017, in Cleveland, Ohio. The reports and presentations are available to view and download at the link below. Source: DOE Advanced Manufacturing Office, 10/25/17

Tuesday, October 24, 2017
Stella McCartney Is Weaving A New Way Forward
The designer has always eschewed leather, fur, and feathers in her collections. Now she is going even further. Will luxury fashion follow? Source: Fast Company, 10/18/17

Using LEED in transportation projects can lead to savings
Using LEED strategies in transportation facilities can help save project stakeholders significantly and lead to a higher return on investment, according to the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED in Motion: Transportation report. Source: Construction Dive, 10/20/17

Monday, October 23, 2017
Reducing power plants' freshwater consumption with Sandia's new silica filter
Power plants draw more freshwater than any other consumer in the United States, accounting for more than 50 percent of the nation's freshwater use at about 500 billion gallons daily. To help save this water, researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have developed a new silica filter for power plant cooling waters that decreases the amount of freshwater power plants consume by increasing the number of times cooling tower water can be reused and recycled. Source: Sandia National Laboratory, 10/18/17

California Passes First Cleaning Product Chemical Disclosure Law in U.S.
Cleaning product manufacturers that either do not make their products more sustainable and responsible will now be nudged to do so, or will have to disclose the exact chemicals used in their products by 2020 if their products will continue to be sold in California. Source: Triple Pundit, 10/17/17

Wednesday, October 18, 2017
A business prescription for reducing toxic chemical use
Amidst the conversation about the need for reduced use of toxic chemicals and greater investment in "greener" chemistries for products, industrial processes and supply chains, a core question is "What's the business case?" or sometimes simply, "What's in it for me?" A new compilation of case studies by the Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) at UMass Lowell and the Massachusetts Office of Technical Assistance (OTA) offers some answers. Source: GreenBiz, 10/18/17

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