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Environmental News

Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Thursday, January 7, 2016
Toxins found in fracking fluids and wastewater, study shows
In an analysis of more than 1,000 chemicals in fluids used in and created by hydraulic fracturing (fracking), Yale School of Public Health researchers found that many of the substances have been linked to reproductive and developmental health problems, and the majority had undetermined toxicity due to insufficient information. Source: Yale University, 1/6/16

Above and beyond: Industrial wastewater technical assistance
MPCA recognizes the MnTAP Internship Program for helping industry better manage wastewater. Source: Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, 1/5/16

The Conflict-Free Effect: Better for Society, Better for Business
At the Consumer Electronics Show, the CEO of Intel announced that the company is moving beyond microprocessors to validate its broader product base as conflict-free in 2016. Carolyn Duran, supply chain director and conflict minerals program manager for Intel, explains. Source: Triple Pundit, 1/7/16

Wednesday, January 6, 2016
EPA waste management rules concern retailers
Retail groups are concerned about new waste management regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency that could affect how stores dispose of unsold products and pharmaceuticals. Source: The Hill, 1/5/16

Unnatural Balance: How Food Waste Impacts World's Wildlife
New research indicates that the food discarded in landfills and at sea is having a profound effect on wildlife populations and fisheries. But removing that food waste creates its own ecological challenges. Source: Yale Environment360, 1/6/16

Biomimicry Tools for Designers
"Biomimicry is about learning from nature to inspire design solutions for human problems," said Gretchen Hooker with the Biomimicry Institute at SXSW Eco in Austin, Texas. To enable the spread of these exciting solutions, Hooker, along with Cas Smith, Terrapin Bright Green, and Marjan Eggermont, Zygote Quarterly (ZQ), gave a tour of some of the best resources available for designers and engineers of all stripes. Source: Huffington Post, 12/10/15

Tuesday, January 5, 2016
Corking climate change: sustainable practices bear fruit in champagne production
For some vineyards in France, employing green practices in their winemaking is as important as protecting the use of the term 'champagne'. Source: The Guardian, 12/31/15

Millions of people being contaminated with toxic mercury used in mines
The largely unregulated use of mercury has created a major worldwide environmental hazard. Source: CBC, 12/30/15

20th Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference: Call for Papers Now Open
Call for papers for the 20th GC&E Conference, held June 14-16, 2016 in Portland, Oregon, will be open from January 4, 2016 through February 15, 2016. Held by the ACS Green Chemistry Institute, this event is the premier conference on green chemistry and engineering. Hundreds of participants from industry, government, and academia come together every year to share research as well as education and business strategies to ensure a green and sustainable future. Abstracts are due by February 15, 2016. Source: American Chemical Society, 1/4/16

Top 7 circular economy moments of 2015
It's been two steps forward and one back -- or maybe the other way around -- in progress toward a circular economy. Source: GreenBiz, 1/5/16

Synthetic turf industry lobbies up in safety fight
The synthetic turf industry is retaining lobbyists to defend against allegations that some of its materials could be toxic. Source: The Hill, 1/4/16

Friday, December 18, 2015
China's Notorious E-Waste Village Disappears Almost Overnight
Just days after the Dec. 1 order for all 3,000 remaining unregulated electronic-waste workshops to move to a newly built industrial park or face power cuts, the smell of burning plastic from the few waste fires smoldering on the roadside still hangs heavy in the air around Guiyu. Yet the visual reminders of the notorious village are largely absent. Source: Bloomberg BNA, 12/16/15

Colorado State Chemists Develop Recyclable, Biodegradable, Petroleum-Free Plastic
Chemists at Colorado State University (CSU) have developed a new biodegradable polymer. The plastic is made from the bio-renewable monomer Gamma-butyrolactone (GBL) and it converts back to GBL when heated -- ready for reuse. The new material, called poly(GBL), could represent a fully recyclable and biodegradable alternative to petroleum-based materials. Source: Sustainable Brands, 12/15/15

Thursday, December 17, 2015
California reaches $26-million settlement with Comcast over electronic waste
Cable television giant Comcast Corp. has agreed to pay the state of California $25.95 million to resolve allegations that the company unlawfully disposed of electronics, including remote controls, modems, splitters and routers. California Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris and Alameda County Dist. Atty. Nancy E. O'Malley on Tuesday announced the settlement with Comcast. The company, based in Philadelphia, had been "careless" in disposing materials that are considered hazardous waste, Harris said in a statement. The state's investigation showed that, since 2005, Comcast warehouse and dispatch workers in Northern California had unlawfully disposed of electronic equipment by sending it to local landfills. The investigation began four years ago. The probe also found that Comcast had not taken proper steps to shield private information about customers when it destroyed some subscriber records. Source: Los Angeles Times, 12/17/15

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