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Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Friday, November 21, 2014
25 essential questions to ask your suppliers on product stewardship
Product stewardship in a product's lifecycle must be a journey that incorporates the seed of a contract, through to the shoots of product design, manufacture, transport, sale, and the fruits of product use, all the way to the composting at the end of a product's life. How can procurement support this journey and challenge their suppliers? This post suggests 25 questions to ask your suppliers in order to create more sustainable products. Source: 2Degrees, 11/19/14

Amazon and 100-percent renewable energy: Will it really happen?
With one quiet web update this week, Amazon becomes the latest tech giant with a less-than-stellar sustainability track record to hail a major potential shift in strategy. Just a few months after the company hired its first corporate sustainability chief, Amazon cloud computing division Amazon Web Services has declared "a long-term commitment to achieve 100-percent renewable energy usage for our global infrastructure footprint." An Amazon spokesperson declined to elaborate on when and how the company might go about building out a clean energy portfolio, referring all questions about the company's sustainability strategy to a corporate web page. No information currently available addresses whether Amazon might be considering similar initiatives for its primary e-commerce business, which includes large warehouses and expansive transportation networks. Source:, 11/19/14

Filter developed by VTT helps recovers 80% of gold in mobile phone scrap
Mobile phone scrap can contain precious metals, such as gold and copper. VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has developed a biological filter made of mushroom mycelium mats enabling recovery of as much as 80% of the gold in electronic scrap. Extraction of copper from circuit board waste, on the other hand, can be enhanced significantly by flotation of the crushed and sieved material. Source: VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, 10/4/14

Wednesday, November 19, 2014
WM exec delves into contamination concerns
Don't fear the evolving waste stream. But be judicious about what new packaging you allow in your recycling program. That was the message from a Waste Management leader speaking on an EPA webinar last week. Source: Resource Recycling, 11/18/14

Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Thinking outside the box: unwrapping a massive packaging problem
As online purchases increase, packaging grows. Several companies are working to reduce waste and find green alternatives. Source: The Guardian, 11/18/14

Monday, November 17, 2014
Coming to a mall near you: a green alternative to Home Depot
Three decades after he transformed home organization, Container Store co-founder Garrett Boone is putting his money behind TreeHouse, a green home improvement retailer. But is the market ready? Source: The Guardian, 11/17/14

Friday, November 14, 2014
IL: Future of Will County electronics recycling program in jeopardy, director warns
Will County's electronics recycling and collection program -- a free public drop-off service for residents -- could be in jeopardy. That was the message Wednesday from Dean Olson, who heads up Will County's Resource Recovery and Energy Division, during a county board Legislative and Policy Committee meeting. Olsen characterized the issue as "urgent," noting immediate action is needed during the state legislative veto session next week or during the lame-duck session in January. Olson said the rising cost of recycling -- coupled with low annual recycling goals set by state law for electronics manufacturers -- is to blame. Once manufacturers meet those weight goals, they no longer have to pay recycling contractors to process items, he said. Source: The Herald-News, 11/12/14

Building a sustainable future: why energy efficiency is everybody's business
Few dispute the need to make building stock more energy efficient. But is a lack of coherent central government thinking and bold grassroots leadership stalling progress? Source: The Guardian, 11/13/14

Ford to install wind and solar energy at dealerships
Auto giant Ford announced innovative new plans this week that could see its dealers across the country become renewable energy hubs. Source: GreenBiz, 11/14/14

3 ways sustainability managers can expand their influence
The job prospects in this field have never been better. Here's an action plan to make an impact in your company at every level. Source: GreenBiz, 11/14/14

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