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Environmental News

Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Friday, May 25, 2018
L'Oreal leads major beauty players in collective sustainable packaging effort
The new sustainability initiative is called SPICE: the Sustainable Packaging Initiative for CosmEtics. Source: Cosmetics Design-Europe, 5/24/18

Packaging industry calls for policy reform to boost plastics recycling
A host of UK packaging organisations have called for more recycling collection points, tax reliefs for recycled content and a universal list of acceptable materials as part of a desired regulation reform to make it easier for consumers to recycle packaging waste. Source:, 5/21/18

Circular Economy: New rules will make EU the global front-runner in waste management and recycling
EU Member States approved a set of ambitious measures to make EU waste legislation fit for the future, as part of the EU's wider circular economy policy. Source: Modern Diplomacy, 5/22/18

3M Forms Sustainability And Product Stewardship Organization
3M announced Monday that it has formed the Sustainability and Product Stewardship Organization. The organization will be led by Dr. Gayle Schueller, vice president and chief sustainability officer, 3M Research & Development, effective June 1. Source: BusinessWire, 5/22/18

Thursday, May 24, 2018
The business case for empowering women through climate-resilient supply chains
Women are disproportionately affected by climate change's impacts. Here's what you can do. Source: GreenBiz, 5/24/18

LEED must be updated to address climate change
LEED has not kept up with the accelerating urgency of climate change or the availability of low and no-cost ways to deeply cut carbon, particularly from steep declines in the cost of clean energy options that make these now the cheapest electricity source in most states. Source: GreenBiz, 5/24/18

How sustainability messages break through with busy shoppers
Barrages of logos and labels are often overlooked by consumers. Here's how to get around that. Source: GreenBiz, 5/24/18

Facebook Project Wants You To 'Buy Nothing' And Ask For What You Need
The Buy Nothing Project encourages people to share what they have with others, without money changing hands. In five years the project has spread around the world with the help of more than 3,000 volunteers. Source: NPR, 5/24/18

Hilton Sets Lofty, Sustainable Tourism Goals: Will It Matter?
For at least the past two decades, the travel industry has attempted to come up with various ways to encourage travelers to get into the habit of being more eco-friendly. But, as a recent sustainable tourism roundtable demonstrated, it's still a major challenge, especially in the hotel space. New consumer research from Hilton, however, may further the industry's efforts to promote more sustainable tourism. Source: Skift, 5/23/18

What's in P&G's Products? Now You Can Find Out
Consumer-products makers are facing growing pressure from retailers and consumers to ensure products are free of risky ingredients. So in a move toward greater transparency, Procter & Gamble Co. is now disclosing the ingredients in most of its 3,500-plus consumer products on SmartLabel, a website where brands provide more detailed information about their products. Source: Morningstar, 5/20/18

Intel's Latest Corporate Responsibility Report Details Commitment To Renewables and Water Conservation
Intel, best known for putting its technology inside all our electronic things, has released its 2017-2018 Corporate Responsibility Report that gives outsiders insight into the work its doing to be more sustainable in its global operations. Intel's operations are energy intensive and consume a significant volume of water so the environmental portion of the report is primarily focused on those, along with waste generation. Source: CleanTechnica, 5/22/18

Tuesday, May 22, 2018
How Burton embeds sustainability and female empowerment in its products and leadership
It's almost impossible to upcycle used snowboards. Because their components -- metal, wood, plastic, resin -- are tightly fused during manufacturing, the best end-of-life outcome is usually chopped scrap that can be downcycled into fill. Which is why Burton is working with a new recyclable epoxy resin. ReRez allows used snowboards to be disassembled, and each material input to be recycled into new life. Source: GreenBiz, 5/18/18

AEG and the LA Kings Deploy Water- and Energy-Saving Ice Technology
Global sports and entertainment company AEG and its National Hockey League franchise the LA Kings are working with BluEco Technology Group on deploying efficient ice technology at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Source: Environmental Leader, 5/18/18

Guava leaves as preservatives, fish bones as fertilizer -- creative ideas for a sustainable future
From the peaks of Nepal to the shores of Senegal, different communities face similar issues of food security. To face global challenges and empower the population living in the least developed countries, there is a need for solutions that are locally sourced, sustainable and easily reproducible. The two winning projects of the third Elsevier Foundation Green and Sustainable Chemistry Challenge, which is jointly run by the Elsevier Foundation and Elsevier's chemistry journals team, do just that: they propose innovative solutions to use guava leaves against food spoilage in Nepal, and to extract natural fertilizers from fish byproducts in Senegal. Source: The Elsevier Foundation, 5/18/18

Auburn School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences to launch sustainable biomaterials and packaging bachelor's degree
Auburn University's School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences will launch a new sustainable biomaterials and packaging degree this fall to prepare students for in-demand careers within bio-based industries such as nanotechnology, packaging and construction. Source: Auburn University, 5/9/18

Coffee Waste Is Now Fetching a 480% Premium Over Coffee Itself
Prices for dried husks are outstripping those for beans. Source: Bloomberg, 5/22/18

Real-Time Visibility Key to Reducing Food Waste in the Supply Chain
Food may be wasted at any point during its journey, usually earlier in developing countries, and later in more developed nations. There are a host of reasons for the waste, but it usually comes down to slack -- the extra time shippers build into the timetable to account for variability that affects when shipments reach their destinations. Source: Sustainable Brands, 5/21/18

Tesco reduces use of best before dates in move to cut food waste
Tesco will remove best before dates on the packaging of nearly 70 of its fruit and vegetable lines as it aims to reduce food waste. Source: FoodBev, 5/21/18

Design and Dine: Inside WantedDesign Manhattan's Zero Waste Bistro
Many individuals, companies, cities and government leaders are pushing forward with zero waste initiatives and goals. And to help encourage those in the architecture and design industry to get on board, the Finnish Cultural Institute in New York teamed with Helsinki, Finland-based Restaurant Nolla to create Zero Waste Bistro for WantedDesign Manhattan, which is part of NYCxDESIGN. Source: Waste360,

Working with Communities to Solve a Big Problem in Small Water Systems
Across the United States, ammonia is found at high levels in many agricultural areas where groundwater is the primary drinking water source. While ammonia itself is not a regulated contaminant, it can still be a problem for drinking water systems because of its effect on nitrate and arsenic. Ammonia can be a significant source of nitrate and when nitrate exceeds regulated levels, it poses significant health risks to infants. Ammonia can also make it difficult for water distribution systems to remove arsenic, another regulated contaminant that poses health risks. To combat this problem, EPA researchers have developed new, affordable and easy-to-use biological drinking water treatment systems to implement in small drinking water systems. Source: U.S. EPA, 5/21/18

EPA's EnviroAtlas Publishes Data on Six New Urban Areas, Including Baltimore and Chicago
EnviroAtlas is an interactive web-based tool that combines maps, analysis tools, fact sheets, and downloadable data to inform state and local policy and planning decisions. The tool already had fine-scale data and maps for 18 U.S. urban areas, and recently added six more. The new areas include Baltimore, Md., Chicago, Il., New Haven, Conn., Virginia Beach, Va., Birmingham, Ala., and Brownsville, Texas, which cover 430 cities and towns not previously featured in EnviroAtlas. Source: U.S. EPA, 5/21/18

Monday, May 21, 2018
Cell phones thrown in the trash are exploding, causing 5-alarm fires in garbage trucks
Love your electronic devices all you want, but please, please, please don't throw them in the trash when you're done with them. That's a plea from makers of the lithium-ion batteries that typically power our phones, laptops and even power tools. Thrown into the trash or even the recycling bin, they can cause fires at trash and recycling centers. Source: USA Today, 5/18/18

How the growing one water movement is not only helping the environment but saving millions of dollars
Solutions to floods, droughts and pollution that look upstream, downstream and everywhere in between save dollars and make sense. Source: Ensia, 3/8/18

Wednesday, May 16, 2018
This could be the biggest advance in aluminum production in 130 years
Along with major U.S. aluminum producer Alcoa and multinational mining behemoth Rio Tinto, Apple announced a collaboration in Canada to fund a technology that, the companies say, can remove carbon dioxide emissions from the high-temperature smelting process that goes into making aluminum. Alcoa and Rio Tinto also announced a joint venture named Elysis to scale up and commercialize the technology, in which the government of Canada and Apple will invest. Source: Washington Post, 5/14/18

Waste is a Design Flaw: How Designers Can Help NYC Become a Zero Waste City
At a NYCxDESIGN event, a panel discussed creative solutions for reducing waste and designing with end of life in mind. Source: Waste360, 5/15/18

#BusinessCase: Employee-Led Sustainability Projects Have Saved Conagra $237M
Conagra Brands, Inc. is once again celebrating its employees' commitment to sustainability throughout the organization at its annual Sustainable Development Awards. This year, employees entered 57 projects which together resulted in more than 9,200 tons of waste reduced, eliminated 1,400 tons of material from packaging, conserved more than 170 million gallons of water and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 6,000 metric tons -- as well as millions of dollars in cost savings. Source: Sustainable Brands, 5/16/18

Makeover artists: How the beauty and personal care industry enhanced its sustainability
It started as a dialogue about "ingredients of concern" in cosmetics and other personal care products, orchestrated by rival retailers Target and Walmart. Three years later, that ongoing conversation -- facilitated by the Sustainability Consortium and Forum for the Future, and representing 18 industry stakeholders -- has produced an ambitious series of recommendations that guide principles of sustainability for this class of consumer goods and how these metrics should be disclosed. Source: GreenBiz, 5/16/18

Could this startup shame restaurants into wasting less food?
Winnow, a smart tech business, is on a mission to combat the hospitality industry's $100bn food-waste crisis. Source: The Guardian, 5/15/18

Hair Products Popular with Black Women May Contain Harmful Chemicals
Hair care products used primarily by black women in the U.S. contain a variety of chemicals that have been linked to asthma, hormone disruptions and even cancer, a recent study found. Source: Scientific American, 5/11/18

U. Mass. Lowell Office of Sustainability turns dining hall food waste into revenue source
Thanks to a pilot program run by the Office of Sustainability, community members can now purchase bags of nutrient-rich compost generated from the university's dining hall food waste for use at home. The 1-cubic-foot bags, adorned with the UML logo, are available for $9 apiece (plus tax). Source: University of Massachusetts Lowell, 5/10/18

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