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Environmental News

Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Thursday, March 29, 2018
With a Green Makeover, Philadelphia Is Tackling Its Stormwater Problem
In a major initiative, Philadelphia is building an extensive network of rain gardens, green roofs, wetlands, and other infrastructure to capture stormwater. The goal is to prevent runoff from overwhelming sewers and polluting waterways and to help green America's fifth-largest city. Source: e360, 3/29/18

12 Asian Entrepreneurs Win $10K for Low-Carbon Mobility, Plastic Waste, Energy Ideas
UN Environment has awarded seed funding to twelve young people with business ideas on how to foster energy-efficient, low-waste and low-carbon lifestyles. Each of the winners of the Asia Pacific Low Carbon Lifestyles Challenge will receive US$10,000 and mentorship to help bring their ideas to fruition. Source: Sustainable Brands, 3/27/18

How H&M Is Leading the Charge in Sustainable Fashion
Forbes Magazine interviews Anna Gedda, the head of sustainability at H&M. Source: Forbes, 3/26/18

App that cuts food waste in the supply chain gets $2M in funding
AgShift, which has developed an app-based method of inspecting produce throughout the supply chain, has raised $2 million in a seed round of funding. Source: Supply Chain Dive, 3/28/18

Europe bans two cosmetic ingredients you didn't know are hazardous
The chemicals that make your personal products silky smooth are banned from all cosmetics that are washed off after use. Source: Treehugger, 3/27/18

Why the industry should consider food waste and packaging intertwined
When we examine current policies around food waste through the lens of the waste management hierarchy, none of these policies tackle prevention. Source: Waste Dive, 3/28/18

Wednesday, March 28, 2018
MnTAP releases annual environmental benefits report
During 2017, over 200 businesses across the state received assistance from MnTAP engineers and scientists; 71 facilities implemented 116 MnTAP recommended process changes and realized reductions totaling nearly 60 million gallons of water, 754,000 pounds of waste, 3.0 million kWh and 192,000 therms of energy. Combined, these reductions are saving companies $1.13 million annually and prevented over 334,400 lbs of harmful air emissions. The 2017 IMPACT report summarizes the robust results and recommendations made to help businesses curb waste and lower operating costs. Source: MnTAP, 3/28/18

Monday, March 26, 2018
California, home to Silicon Valley, considers controversial right to repair
A bill working its way through California's legislature (AB-2110 Electronics: Right to Repair Act) would require electronics manufacturers to make repair and diagnostic information, as well as equipment and/or service parts, available to consumers and repair shops. As written, the bill would allow cities, counties or the state to impose civil penalties of up to $5,000 per day, depending on the number of violations. Source: Waste Dive, 3/19/18

U.S. chemical makers could face tougher, more costly air pollution controls
U.S. chemical manufacturing plants with large industrial boilers may face tighter, more expensive emission control requirements for toxic air pollutants because of a recent federal appeals court decision. Source: Chemical & Engineering News, 3/19/18

New ECHA website informs consumers about chemicals, including information on nanomaterials
ECHA has launched a new dedicated website to make consumers more aware of the benefits and risks of chemicals in their everyday lives. Source: SafeNano, 3/20/18

Friday, March 23, 2018
Hybrid solar cell captures energy from the sun and raindrops
As useful and ubiquitous as solar energy is becoming, it still has one major Kryptonite: gloomy weather. Now, a team of Chinese engineers has developed a hybrid solar cell that can produce electricity come rain or shine, using the triboelectric effect to harvest energy from the movement of raindrops on its surface. Source: New Atlas, 3/7/18

New valve technology promises cheaper, greener engines
New technology reliably and affordably increases the efficiency of internal combustion engines by more than 10 per cent. The patented system for opening and closing valves could significantly reduce fuel consumption in everything from ocean-going ships to compact cars. Source: Science Daily, 3/21/18

Kasich administration declares Lake Erie open waters as impaired
The Kasich administration -- after years of resistance on behalf of agriculture -- announced Thursday it will declare the open waters of western Lake Erie as impaired, marking a reversal on what has arguably been northwest Ohio's most contentious water-policy issue. Source: Toledo Blade, 3/22/18

How GM Ties Daily Sustainability to Biz Value: Q&A with David Tulauskas
Sustainability initiatives are most impactful when they are core to a company's business model and operations. David Tulauskas, director of sustainability for General Motors, understands how energy and environment practitioners can tie their daily work to business value, strengthen relationships with departments such as investor relations and supply chain, and create a culture that empowers all employees to contribute to the momentum. Source: Environmental Leader, 3/22/18

New Life for Toxic Land
Across the U.S., Superfund sites are being repurposed as recreational areas, renewable energy facilities and more. Many offer lessons for the future. Source: Ensia, 3/12/18

EPR: The good, the bad and the ugly
Who should be responsible for the life cycle of a product, especially its take-back, recycling and final disposition? How can that process produce the most benefits, and is there more than one answer? Will recycling in the U.S. be hamstrung by beverage corporation interests, or will it succeed in developing increased recycling and zero waste? Source: Waste Dive, 3/22/18

Target targets clothing waste with denim recycling test program
Target is teaming up with I:Collect (I:CO), which specializes in collecting, recycling and reusing clothing, shoes and textiles, on a two-week denim-exchange program, Sourcing Journal reported. Source: Supply Chain Dive, 3/9/18

McDonald's plans to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 36% by 2030
McDonald's has pledged to slash its greenhouse gas emissions at its restaurant and office locations by 36% by 2030, down from its 2015 levels, plus cut 31% per metric ton of food and packaging. Source: USA Today, 3/20/18

Starbucks Generates An Astronomical Amount Of Waste -- Can It Stop?
Actor Adrian Grenier is leading a movement at Starbucks' shareholder meeting to push the company to develop and implement a bold sustainable packaging goal in line with the coffee company's rhetoric about helping the planet. Source: Fast Company, 3/21/18

Kohler Applies Its Product Development Process to Waste Materials
At Kohler Company, there is more than meets the eye. The American manufacturer might be best known for their gleaming kitchen and bathroom fixtures, but the Wisconsin-based family business also produces tiles, cabinetry, engines, and generators. In addition, the company is developing new materials from foundry waste. Source: Environmental Leader, 3/21/18

Tuesday, March 20, 2018
Food Safety Alliance for Packaging Releases New Guidelines
The Food Safety Alliance for Packaging, a technical committee of the Institute of Packaging Professionals, published new guidelines for food packaging suppliers this month. Source: Environmental Leader, 3/19/18

States Aren't Waiting for Feds to Ban Flame Retardants From Kids' Products
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission voted last fall to rid toys and furniture of a dangerous flame retardant that scientists say can cause lasting health problems in both children and firefighters. But advocates on the issue fear an internal political squabble will delay the agency from moving ahead with the ban. Sixteen states aren't waiting around. They have bills in the works this year to ban or tightly restrict certain fire retardants from use in toys, child car seats, strollers and other children's and household products. Source: Stateline, 3/20/18

Entrepreneurs starting to see opportunities in other people's food scraps
With her MBA in hand, Jessica Saturley-Hall knew she wanted to start her own business, and she got hooked on the concept of compost. She knew that food scraps produce significantly more methane, a greenhouse gas, when tossed in a landfill, rather than breaking down on their own. So she wondered, what if you could somehow reward people for separating their food waste from their trash? Source: Marketplace, 2/12/18

Researchers tap problematic e-waste surplus to recover high-quality polymers
Mixed-plastic electronics waste could be a valuable source of reusable polymers, a new study suggests. The team has developed the first energy-efficient and environmentally friendly process that separates mixed polymers so that they can be recycled into new, high-quality plastic products. Source: Science Daily, 3/14/18

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