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Environmental News

Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Tuesday, July 1, 2014
Home Depot to Require Neonicotinoids Labeling
Home Depot and other retailers have said they plan to ban or limit the use of neonicotinoid pesticides, which have been linked to honeybee decline. Source: Environmental Leader, 7/1/14

Hazardous Waste Compliance a Balancing Act at the Retail Level
Today, hazardous waste compliance is no longer just an issue for the industrial or manufacturing industries. It's become an area of significant concern for retailers as well. Source: Environmental Leader, 7/1/14

How collegiate sports can score with sustainability
This new online guide from the NRDC was created for athletic and recreational programs at universities. Source: GreenBiz, 6/30/14

Gecko-inspired dry adhesive, a slow-cooked disruptive innovation
Recent milestones bring the much anticipated application of a universal dry and tunable adhesive closer to our everyday use. Source: GreenBiz, 7/1/14

5 steps to reduce the chemical footprint of plastic products
Plastics manufacturing calls for many unhealthy chemicals. BizNGO's new scorecard shows how to determine which chemicals to avoid, and how to do it. Source: GreenBiz, 7/1/14

Tofu salt could make solar panels safer and cheaper
For all the great clean energy that solar cells generate, many of the materials used to manufacture them are not so great for the planet and human health. Once such chemical, cadmium chloride, is used to improve solar cell efficiency, but it's very toxic. Researchers at the University of Liverpool believe they've found a substitute for that chemical that is much safer: a salt that is used to make tofu. Magnesium chloride is a common salt that is also used in bath salts and for de-icing roads, but it could have one more great application. It's extracted from seawater and is far cheaper than cadmium chloride -- $0.001 per gram compared to $0.3. Source: TreeHugger, 6/30/14

Crowdfunded solar-powered smartphones become rainforest guardians to fight illegal logging and poaching
A creative solution to halting illegal logging in the world's rainforests effectively turns old smartphones into autonomous listening devices that can be set up to monitor the forest for the sound of chainsaws, and then send out alerts in real-time, which could help authorities to intervene before too much damage has occurred. Source: TreeHugger, 6/30/14

Thursday, June 26, 2014
EPA Releases Final Risk Assessment on TCE
The EPA has released a final risk assessment for trichloroethylene (TCE), a chemical the agency says may harm human health and the environment. Source: Environmental Leader, 6/26/14

Innovative farm energy projects clash with Wisconsin policy
Central Wisconsin has rolling fields, numerous dairies and potential new sources of energy. Source: Great Lakes Echo, 6/26/14

Ready for chemical alternatives assessment? The IC2 can help
In the most recent P2 Impact article, Topher Buck from NEWMOA discusses how The Interstate Chemicals Clearinghouse's guide helps states and companies promote better product design and prevent regrettable substitution. Source: GreenBiz, 6/26/14

"In 10 Years, I Want to Walk Again": How a Worker Making Circuit Boards Got Sick--and Is Holding Samsung Accountable
While manufacturing circuit boards for Samsung, Hye-kyeong Han was diagnosed with a brain tumor, leading her to undergo a number of surgeries and radiation treatments. She was just 26 years old. Source: Yes Magazine, 6/1/14

Ontario: The Race to the Bottom Part 2 -- Death of a Recycler
Sims Recycling Solutions -- the world's largest e-waste recycler -- has announced that it is leaving Canada closing plants in Langley, British Columbia, Mississauga, Ontario and Laval, Quebec. At a time when e-waste volume is growing faster than all other waste streams and the e-waste recycling business should be booming, 250 people employed in Canada's "green economy" will lose their jobs on July 31st 2014. What led to this? The advent of e-waste product stewardship in Ontario in 2009 reduced Sims' client base from thousands of generators to one customer -- Ontario Electronic Stewardship (OES). Source: Solid Waste & Recycling Blog, 6/24/14

Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Shift to a circular economy is under way, from crop waste to solar
In reality, there are no scarce resources, we just make them scarce. Through new supply chains, technology and policy, we can secure a future for generations. Source: The Guardian, 6/25/14

'Chemical-free' cleaning is trending in the commercial sector
Will greener cleaning methods, such as salt-based split stream water technology, replace conventional powders and bleaches? Source: The Guardian, 6/25/14

Why sustainability leadership requires advocacy
The next phase of sustainability leadership will be claimed by those who harness advocacy to fix policy roadblocks. Source: GreenBiz, 6/24/14

The three stages of scaling up sustainable innovation
It's a long, hard road from the a-ha moment to making innovation work on a large scale. Forum for the Future sees the way. Source: GreenBiz, 6/25/14

Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Manufacturers: Sustainability is Everyone's Responsibility
Manufacturers discussed their efforts to work within the sustainability supply stream and urged both upstream and downstream manufacturers to do the same at the Sustainable Manufacturer and Water 2.0 Conference & Exhibits in Chicago, according to Sustainable Manufacturer Network. Source: Environmental Leader, 6/24/14

EPA's Proposed Clean Power Plan to Affect these 5 Sectors the Most
On June 2, 2014, the EPA, under President Obama's Climate Action Plan, proposed an initial guideline to cut carbon pollution from existing power plants. A sustainable workforce boom is perhaps on the horizon. Here are the top 5 job sectors that are expected to benefit the most from the proposed plan. Source: Environmental Leader, 6/24/14

Study looks at business benefits from cradle to cradle certification
A study of ten companies including Puma and Ecover shows the impact that optimising products for the circular economy has on environment and bottom line. Source: The Guardian, 6/24/14

It's time to start taking natural capital into account
The World Wildlife Fund estimates that not even two planets will be enough to support material needs by 2030. Time to bring in the accountants. Source: The Guardian, 6/24/14

Monday, June 23, 2014
How to make sustainable, green habits second nature
Good intentions are great, but wanting to do the right thing isn't enough. Here are some tips to alter behaviour for the long-term. Source: The Guardian, 6/23/14

Developing a Sustainability Plan
One body shop's sustainability plan helped meet environmental goals and created customer confidence and loyalty. Source: FenderBender, 6/1/14

Defining "Zero" Waste
A look at the different between waste management and materials management in zero waste plans. Source: The Circular File, 5/26/14

How to Take Care of Your Laptop Battery the Right Way
You probably know a few tricks for extending your laptop's battery life--whether it's dimming the screen or switching off Wi-Fi--but there are plenty of other ways you can and should look after its long-term health too. Here's how to get the most juice out of your laptop by following just a few simple rules. Source: Gizmodo, 6/23/14

Brazil braces for increase in e-waste as fans upgrade TVs for the World Cup
Brazilians without World Cup tickets are at home watching the action on new televisions. reports the demand for newer and bigger TVs has spiked during the months leading up to the tournament and Brazil's National Association for Electronics Producers expects to sell 16 million TVs this year. To compare, Brazillians bought 12.2 million televisions in 2010 to watch the last World Cup, held in South Africa. But all of these new TVs mean a lot of old, trashed electronics. Source: PBS News Hour, 6/13/14

The strange science behind design: materials from unusual sources
From clothing made from crab compounds to recycled blue jeans worked into your Ford Fusion, innovation in textile manufacture and design is getting weirder -- and more sustainable. Source: The Guardian, 6/20/14

A minute with B. K. Sharma and Nancy Holm, experts on plastics
On June 10, Illinois became the first state to ban plastic microbeads from consumer products, effective in 2017. Similar bans are pending in the California and New York legislatures. B.K. Sharma and Nancy Holm, researchers at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, talked about how plastic microbeads affect health and the environment in an interview with News Bureau physical sciences editor Liz Ahlberg. Source: University of Illinois, 6/16/14

Antibacterial Soap is Fouling Up Sewage Treatment Systems
Triclosan is an indiscriminate killer, wiping out bacteria even in places where microbial communities are hard at work keeping us healthy, like sewage treatment plants. Source: Nova Next, 6/20/14

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