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Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Tuesday, October 27, 2015
Proper Materials Storage Fundamental to E-Recycling
Proper storage of materials is a fundamental element of the electronics recycling R2 Standard that is addressed in Provision 9, according to SERI, which manages the R2 recycling standard. While the material storage requirements of R2:2013 are rooted in basic environmental, health and safety regulations in place in the US, the general principles and intent behind the regulations apply to all responsible recycling facilities, regardless of where they operate. Source: Environmental Leader, 10/26/15

Sustainability Leaders as Conveners
Without genuine executive sponsorship, sustainability is approached as a type of compliance checklist, each item debated until proven business-critical or until a business case shows high ROI. There are certainly easier wins linked to clear business cases, certain energy efficiency and water use projects as examples. However, high-impact initiatives in areas like product development and supply chain often feature business cases that don't have watertight proof of immediate ROI. As a result, these issues are disputed over months and even years, reinforcing the false narrative that sustainability is a "nice-to-have" but not core to business success. Source: Environmental Leader, 10/27/15

Friday, October 23, 2015
Charting a Roadmap for Green Chemistry Education: The Visioning Workshop
The word is out. Green chemistry has caught on, and the field has grown tremendously since it first emerged in the 1990s. The question now is where are we going with all this momentum? Source: ACS Green Chemistry Nexus, 10/22/15

Dell cuts e-waste with recycled carbon fiber
In 2013, as part of its 2020 Legacy of Good Plan, Dell established two objectives tied to cutting down on e-waste: using 50 million pounds of recycled materials and recovering 2 billion pounds of e-waste by 2020. The company has made notable progress toward these goals -- since 2013, it has incorporated into products more than 21 million pounds of recycled plastics from sources including water bottles and CD cases, and has recovered 1.2 billion pounds of e-waste. But the company wanted to secure its own waste stream to free it from the volatile global plastics market, which can fluctuate depending on the price of oil and other mounting competition for recycled plastics. That's why in 2014, Dell launched its closed-loop recycled plastics supply chain, which has since recycled more than 4 million pounds of plastics into new products. Certified by UL Environment as the first closed-loop supply chain, the program entails collecting, recycling and using e-waste to make new Dell products. Building on its closed-loop recycling operations, Dell earlier this month announced a partnership with supplier SABIC to recycle excess carbon fiber and scrap raw materials into new Dell products beginning in late 2015. Source: GreenBiz, 10/23/15

Thursday, October 22, 2015
Becoming a B Corp: only for the sustainable elite?
It can be tough for a business to get certified in social and environmental performance -- just ask organic winemaker Fetzer Vineyards. Source: The Guardian, 10/21/15

Competition in the Water Sector: Financing the Fourth Generation of Water Infrastructure
What if your building, home or office, was also a water company that could enable innovative decentralized water management approaches? Source: Financing Sustainable Water, 10/19/15

When are Recyclability and Zero Waste the Wrong Goals?
As honorable as our intentions might be, we're being asked to accept that our efforts in planning for recyclability, diversion and waste management can be misplaced goals, under certain circumstances. In fact, those very aspirations can create roadblocks for other more comprehensive sustainable solutions to arrest our insatiable consumption of resources. Source: Waste360, 10/22/15

A Self-Healing Polymer for a Sustainable Future
Since the dawn of civilization, natural materials have been a fundamental part of human life and environment. However, in the 20th century, due to exploitation and high cost of natural resources, synthetic materials replaced natural materials. Recent advances in biotechnology and materials science have allowed the invention of eco-friendly materials that can be produced easily from sustainable resources in a broad array of useful applications including textile, cosmetic, and medicine. Proteins are key to the creation of many new, high strength materials. Source: ACS Green Chemistry Nexus, 10/21/15

Sustainable Rubber is No Stretch
The list of companies joining the race towards sustainable rubber is growing. From startups to global chemical manufacturers, there's a widespread push to develop high quality rubber that isn't sourced from petroleum. Fluctuating oil prices, growing pressure to be sustainable, and virtually no domestic means of producing natural rubber are all fueling the search for a reliable, long-term solution. Source: ACS Green Chemistry Nexus, 10/21/15

Ford Looks to Lizards to Increase Recyclability, Improve Adhesives
Ford is looking to create adhesives inspired by the gecko. The automaker will also work with Procter & Gamble, sharing research findings as both companies look to biomimicry for a host of business solutions. Source: Environmental Leader, 10/21/15

Wednesday, October 21, 2015
Chicago stadiums shift toward making concessions greener
Chicago stadiums and sports arenas are making greater efforts to make their food service more environmentally friendly. Source: Redeye, 10/20/15

Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Building climate resilience in Native American communities
The impacts and challenges of climate change are already very real for Native American communities. Source: GreenBiz, 10/20/15

The benefit of more electronics recycling? Try $10 billion
Tech manufacturers are pretty efficient when it comes to reusing natural capital, but they could do far more. Source: GreenBiz, 10/20/15

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