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Environmental News

Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Wednesday, May 16, 2018
This could be the biggest advance in aluminum production in 130 years
Along with major U.S. aluminum producer Alcoa and multinational mining behemoth Rio Tinto, Apple announced a collaboration in Canada to fund a technology that, the companies say, can remove carbon dioxide emissions from the high-temperature smelting process that goes into making aluminum. Alcoa and Rio Tinto also announced a joint venture named Elysis to scale up and commercialize the technology, in which the government of Canada and Apple will invest. Source: Washington Post, 5/14/18

Waste is a Design Flaw: How Designers Can Help NYC Become a Zero Waste City
At a NYCxDESIGN event, a panel discussed creative solutions for reducing waste and designing with end of life in mind. Source: Waste360, 5/15/18

#BusinessCase: Employee-Led Sustainability Projects Have Saved Conagra $237M
Conagra Brands, Inc. is once again celebrating its employees' commitment to sustainability throughout the organization at its annual Sustainable Development Awards. This year, employees entered 57 projects which together resulted in more than 9,200 tons of waste reduced, eliminated 1,400 tons of material from packaging, conserved more than 170 million gallons of water and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 6,000 metric tons -- as well as millions of dollars in cost savings. Source: Sustainable Brands, 5/16/18

Makeover artists: How the beauty and personal care industry enhanced its sustainability
It started as a dialogue about "ingredients of concern" in cosmetics and other personal care products, orchestrated by rival retailers Target and Walmart. Three years later, that ongoing conversation -- facilitated by the Sustainability Consortium and Forum for the Future, and representing 18 industry stakeholders -- has produced an ambitious series of recommendations that guide principles of sustainability for this class of consumer goods and how these metrics should be disclosed. Source: GreenBiz, 5/16/18

Could this startup shame restaurants into wasting less food?
Winnow, a smart tech business, is on a mission to combat the hospitality industry's $100bn food-waste crisis. Source: The Guardian, 5/15/18

Hair Products Popular with Black Women May Contain Harmful Chemicals
Hair care products used primarily by black women in the U.S. contain a variety of chemicals that have been linked to asthma, hormone disruptions and even cancer, a recent study found. Source: Scientific American, 5/11/18

U. Mass. Lowell Office of Sustainability turns dining hall food waste into revenue source
Thanks to a pilot program run by the Office of Sustainability, community members can now purchase bags of nutrient-rich compost generated from the university's dining hall food waste for use at home. The 1-cubic-foot bags, adorned with the UML logo, are available for $9 apiece (plus tax). Source: University of Massachusetts Lowell, 5/10/18

Tuesday, May 15, 2018
Apple partners with mining firms on zero-carbon aluminium smelting
Technology giant Apple has announced a new partnership with industrial firms Alcoa Corporation and Rio Tinto Aluminium to accelerate commercialisation of new technology that eliminates all greenhouse gas emissions from the smelting process of aluminium. Source:, 5/11/18

Monday, May 14, 2018
American University just graduated to carbon neutral, thanks partly to energy efficiency
As college students across the country graduate, proud parents and friends are celebrating, but my alma mater also deserves some fanfare. American University (AU) did more than graduate the class of 2018 last weekend; it recently became the first carbon-neutral university in the United States. Located in the nation's capital, it is also the first carbon-neutral urban campus, demonstrating that AU is as environmentally conscious as it is patriotic (yes, the school's colors are red, white, and blue). Source: ACEEE, 5/14/18

ThyssenKrupp Elevator Company Maximizes Material Transparency: Q&A with Brad Nemeth
Environmental Leader interviews Brad Nemeth, ThyssenKrupp Elevator Company's VP of sustainability for the Americas, about material transparency. Source: Environmental Leader, 5/11/18

How sustainable designer Bill McDonough is re-fashioning the fashion industry
In early 2017, when Bill McDonough decided to launch his global initiative, "Fashion for Good," he wanted to introduce more "good" into the fashion world: "good materials, good water, good energy, good economy and good lives." Source: GreenBiz, 5/14/18

Thursday, May 10, 2018
EPA won't reverse findings of danger from paint stripping chemical
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said Thursday that it won't reverse an Obama administration report that enumerated various harms from exposure to paint-stripping chemical methylene chloride. Source: The Hill, 5/10/18

U.S. Plastics Producers Aim to Recycle or Recover 100% of Plastic Packaging by 2040
Three new goals to enhance the circular economy for plastics and reduce packaging waste have been announced by leading U.S. plastic producers including BASF, Dow, DuPont and Braskem. Together as part of the American Chemistry Council (ACC)'s Plastics Division, 15 leading resin manufacturers and an affiliated trade association have strengthened their commitments to capturing, recycling and recovering plastics. Source: Sustainable Brands, 5/9/18

IL: Niles To Roll Out Free Textile Recycling Program
Niles officials awarded a contract for textile recycling, such as used clothing and rags, to a company last month which will begin pick up services in late June. Source: Journal & Topics, 5/10/18

Solid body wash comes without packaging. But does that make it eco-friendly?
Cosmetics firms appeal to plastic-free consumers with the hybrid of bar soap and liquid body wash. Source: Chemical & Engineering News, 5/9/18

Wednesday, May 9, 2018
This App Delivers Leftover Food To The Hungry, Instead Of To The Trash
Goodr has created a system that has diverted nearly a million pounds of food in Atlanta from landfills--and into kitchens. Source: Fast Company, 5/3/18

Industry pioneers reusable beer bottles
Starting in July, Oregonians may notice some of their favorite local craft beer looks a little different. Seven Oregon breweries will be the first to test out the Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative's reusable beer bottles. Source: Portland Tribune, 5/3/18

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