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Environmental News

Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

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

Tuesday, March 13, 2018
Formation of Trivalent Chromium Passivation Layers
The trivalent process is proven to be a safe replacement for hex chrome, but fundamental knowledge of its composition is required. Source: Products Finishing, 3/1/18

Washington State takes action to eliminate use of PFAS in food packaging
Out of concern about consumer's health and contamination of compost, on February 28, 2018, Washington State extended its heavy metal packaging law in a groundbreaking way. The legislature passed HB-2658 banning the intentional use of "perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances" (PFAS) in food packaging made from plant fibers, pending a determination by the Washington Department of Ecology that safer alternatives are available. The law defines PFAS as "a class of fluorinated organic chemicals containing at least one fully fluorinated carbon atom." Source: Environmental Defense Fund, 3/8/18

UF Pharmacy researchers discover new method to harvest 'green' sunscreen ingredient
With spring break only weeks away, many Americans will apply sunscreen to protect against the sun's harmful ultraviolet radiation. Now, scientists at the University of Florida College of Pharmacy have identified a new method to harvest a key ingredient responsible for making the product more environmentally friendly. Source: University of Florida, 1/31/18

Why efforts to use green fuels sometimes run afoul
Some microbes thrive on biofuels and can contaminate fuel equipment and clog engines. Source: Chemical & Engineering News, 3/5/18

The Business Benefits of Going Green with Your Supply Chain
Sustainability efforts can span many areas of the supply chain. Here are a few areas to consider when looking at supply chain sustainability. Source: Logistics Viewpoints, 3/8/18

World Hacks: A surprising new afterlife for chewing gum
British designer Anna Bullus is on a mission to recycle chewing gum into useful objects, cleaning up our streets in the process. Source: BBC, 3/6/18

EPA Researchers Publish Paper Analyzing Household Products for Chemical Presence
In a new study, EPA researchers used suspect screening to test household products for the presence of a wide variety of chemicals. This approach allows EPA to assess the potential for chemical exposure from products found in typical households and other indoor environments. This information is used to improve computational models that predict human exposure to these chemicals and evaluate chemicals for potential health effects. Source: U.S. EPA, 3/12/18

Chicago greenprint update maps fate of natural resources
City planners in Chicago are mapping natural resources to help figure out where to build houses and preserve open spaces. Source: Great Lakes Echo, 3/12/18

Microplastic pollution in oceans is far worse than feared, say scientists
A study reveals highest microplastic pollution levels ever recorded in a river in Manchester, UK and shows that billions of particles flooded into the sea from rivers in the area in just one year. Source: The Guardian, 3/12/18

Thursday, March 8, 2018
How Food Businesses are Taking the Lead to Reduce Waste
At WasteExpo, representatives from ReFED, Compass Group and the Food Marketing Institute will discuss solutions to the problem of food waste. Source: Waste360, 3/8/18

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