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Environmental News

Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Friday, January 19, 2018
Grocery store program improves farmers' adoption of environmental practices
In one of the first analyses of a company-led sustainability program in the food and agriculture space, researchers found a major grocery chain fostered increased adoption of environmental practices at the farm level. Source: Science Daily, 1/9/18

California's water saving brings bonus effects
Water-saving measures in California have also led to substantial reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and electricity consumption in the state. Source: EnvironmentalResearchWeb, 1/17/18

Minnesota Out Front on Addressing Nitrogen Problems
Minnesota is the first state in the nation to try telling farmers how to apply fertilizer to their crops. Source: Minnesota Public Radio, 12/28/17

Thursday, January 18, 2018
McDonald's makes the move to sustainable packaging
McDonald's Corp. has pledged to use more sustainable packaging in its restaurants around the world. By 2025, 100 percent of the company's customer packaging will come from renewable, recycled or certified sources with a preference for Forest Stewardship Council certification. The company also has set a goal to recycle packaging at all of its restaurants by 2025. Source: Meat + Poultry, 1/16/18

Results from Iowa Waste Characterization Study Jump-Start Diversion Conversations
About 70 percent of landfilled waste in the State of Iowa could potentially be diverted through new and expanded reuse, recycling and composting programs. This was a finding of Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Imagine Chemistry 2018 is open
AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals has announced the challenges for its latest Imagine Chemistry program, which has fast become a key element of the company's collaborative innovation approach. The 2018 edition calls for solutions within the following six areas: Sustainable small particle technologies; Wastewater-free chemical sites; Intelligent chemical plants; Revolutionizing chlorate production; Sustainable powder technologies; Zero footprint surfactant platforms. Source: AkzoNobel, 1/10/18

Thursday, January 11, 2018
McDonald's Agrees to Global Phase-Out of Polystyrene Packaging; As You Sow Claims Credit
McDonald's has agreed to end the use of polystyrene foam packaging globally by the end of this year, says shareholder advocacy group As You Sow. A proposal filed by As You Sow urging the company to phase out of polystyrene was supported by 32% of shares voted in May 2017, the group says. Source: Environmental Leader, 1/10/18

Filtering Water Better than Nature
Water passes through human-made straws faster than the gold standard protein, allowing filtration of seawater. Source: U.S. Department of Energy, 1/6/18

Rewritable paper goes technicolor
The paper industry has a significant environmental impact, from cutting down trees for raw material to consuming large amounts of energy and water to process that material. To curb that impact, chemists have been working on rewritable paper technologies that would allow people to print on a sheet of paper with special inks and then erase them to reuse the paper. Source: Chemical & Engineering News, 1/9/18

Videos from Midwest Food Recovery Summit now available
The first ever Midwest Food Recovery Summit was held September 6-8, 2017 in Des Moines, IA. Attendees from 18 states including Washington D.C. and Ontario joined together for two-and-a-half days of keynote presentations, breakout sessions, networking, and events. Watch the videos from the summit at the link below. Source: Iowa Waste Reduction Center, 1/5/18

Understanding Green Tribology
The study of tribology combines both the studies of science and technology to understand how surfaces interact in a relative motion and how these interactions can cause a variety of subsequent effects to the materials involved. These surface interactions can often result in friction, wear and corrosion to the materials, all of which can cost companies and governments large amounts of money each year to repair. As the rise of new technologies and experimental techniques have lead to more specific characterizations within the field of tribology, green tribology has also recently been introduced as an emerging aspect of this important field. Source: AZO CleanTech, 1/5/18

Wednesday, January 10, 2018
Fighting Climate Change, One Laundry Load at a Time
Experts in the study of fungi are playing a bigger role in improving laundry detergents and, by extension, leading efforts to cut energy use. Source: New York Times, 1/1/18

Axion launches 'design for recycling' service
Axion Polymers Ltd has launched a new 'design for recycling' service in order to help ensure that the plastic packaging placed on the market is optimised for end of life, while maintaining its primary function of product protection.

The circular economy specialist announced 4 Jan that the service was aimed at the food and beverage supply chain, including packaging designers, food manufacturers, brand owners and retailers. Source: Plastics News Europe, 1/8/18

4 Steps to Building a Business Case for Efficiency (Hint: Avoid the 'Poor Performer' Tag)
Many large organizations have lofty efficiency goals, but struggle to turn them into reality -- often because there's limited buy-in where it truly matters. One of the most critical, often-overlooked steps to launching successful efficiency- and environmental-management programs is creating an effective business case that not only promotes projects internally, but helps to ensure success during the implementation phase and beyond. Far too many plans either don't get approved, or are approved and then stall, earning the "poor performer" tag and positioning resource efficiency poorly on any future priority lists. So how can energy managers turn their efficiency dreams into a company-backed reality? They should start by following these four steps as they build a business case to fund critical efficiency programs. Source: Environmental Leader, 1/8/18

The Hellish E-Waste Graveyards Where Computers Are Mined for Metal
Each year the planet generates some 50 million tons of electronic waste, ranging from batteries to mobile phones to light-up children's toys. And although such devices may have been discarded, they're not without value--the United Nations recently estimated the total worth of all that e-waste at $55 billion, thanks largely to the trace amounts of gold, silver, and other metals they contain. The problem, though, is getting them out. German photographer Kai Löffelbein spent seven years documenting how those metals are extracted, often under dangerous conditions, by some of the world's poorest people. His forthcoming book, CTRL-X: A Topography of E-Waste, contains photographs he took in Ghana, China, and India, where much of the world's e-waste ends up. Source: Wired, 1/8/18

Dell and actress Nikki Reed want to turn your old laptop into gold jewelry
Dell wants to do more than just encourage people to recycle old electronics -- it wants to re-use their valuable metals in new Dell products and more. To draw attention to these efforts, it's teaming up with actress Nikki Reed and her eco-friendly Bayou with Love brand, which she co-founded last year, to create a jewelry line completely sourced from the recycled electronics that Dell collects. Among the items that will be created include 14- and 18-carat gold rings, cufflinks, and earrings. The products, on sale today, will be sold directly from the Bayou with Love website. Pricing will range from $78 for a gold ball ring to $348 for a pair of cufflinks. The items are also fully made of gold and are not simply gold-plated. According to Dell, it will take approximately six motherboards to produce a single piece of jewelry. In addition to providing the gold, Dell will also be assisting the company with communication and marketing support as part of its Dell Small Business advisory program. In addition to using recycled materials for jewelry, Dell will also be applying some of the gold it recycles into new motherboards for its Latitude 5285 computers shipping in March, which it claims will be a computer industry first. Source: USA Today, 1/9/18

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