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Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Monday, January 23, 2017
Supply Chain Audits Work for Corporations, But Not The Planet, Says New Report
A new report argues that supply chain audits are ineffective at improving compliance and act merely to embed an unhealthy status quo in multinational offshore sourcing. Source: Forbes, 1/16/17

Study Finds Current Corporate Sustainability Reporting Misses the Mark
A new study finds that corporate sustainability reporting often focuses on issues that are unimportant to stakeholders, and offers specific suggestions to improve the content of future corporate sustainability reporting efforts. Source: North Carolina State University, 1/18/17

Study finds air polluters more likely to locate near downwind state borders
Research by an Indiana University professor and colleagues at two other universities reveals a pattern of companies strategically locating facilities where wind will carry pollution across state lines. Locating factories and power plants near downwind borders can allow states to reap the benefits of jobs and tax revenue but share the negative effects -- air pollution -- with neighbors. Source: Indiana Univeristy, 1/19/17

Friday, January 20, 2017
EPA Taking Action to Remove 72 Inert Ingredients Previously Approved for Use in Pesticide Products
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking action to remove 72 ingredients from its list of inert ingredients approved for use in pesticide products. Source: U.S. EPA, 12/20/16

Launch of Climate Deregulation Tracker
President Donald Trump has stated that he intends to undo most or all of the Obama administration's efforts to address climate change. Today, the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law is launching a new tool to identify and explain the efforts taken by the incoming administration to scale back or wholly eliminate federal climate change mitigation and adaptation measures. The Climate Deregulation Tracker will also monitor congressional efforts to repeal statutory provisions, regulations, and guidance pertaining to climate change, and to otherwise undermine climate action. Source: Climate Law Blog, 1/20/17

Rockefeller Foundation, USDA, EPA to Create Center for Action Against Food Waste
A partnership of 12 organization is set to launch an online hub for information and solutions to reduce food waste, "Further With Food: Center for Food Loss and Waste Solutions," at The site is intended to help realize the national goal to halve food waste by 2030, announced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in September 2015. Source: Sustainable Brands, 12/28/16

Track Clearcoat Usage More Efficiently
The crew at Able Body has discovered that its current way of measuring clear coat usage has helped its entire workforce become more focused on making incremental improvements in efficiency. Source: Fender Bender, 1/1/17

Registration Now Open for Midwest Food Recovery Summit
You can now register for the Midwest Food Recovery Summit, to be held in Des Moines, IA in September 2017. Source: Iowa Waste Reduction Center, 1/20/17

Renewable Plastic Can Be Created From Pine Needle Waste
The chemical that makes pine trees smell good can be used instead of crude oil to sustainably produce plastic. Source: Seeker, 1/18/17

Thursday, January 19, 2017
E-Waste in East and South-East Asia Jumps 63% in Five Years
The volume of discarded electronics in East and South-East Asia jumped almost two-thirds between 2010 and 2015, and e-waste generation is growing fast in both total volume and per capita measures, new UNU research shows. Driven by rising incomes and high demand for new gadgets and appliances, the average increase in e-waste across all 12 countries and areas analysed -- Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Province of China, Thailand and Vietnam -- was 63% in the five years ending in 2015 and totalled 12.3 million tonnes, a weight 2.4 times that of the Great Pyramid of Giza. China alone more than doubled its generation of e-waste between 2010 and 2015 to 6.7 million tonnes, up 107%. The first Regional E-waste Monitor: East and Southeast Asia, was compiled by the United Nations University through its Sustainable Cycles (SCYCLE) programme and funded by the Japanese Ministry of the Environment. Using UN University's estimation methodology, the research shows rising e-waste quantities outpacing population growth. Source: UN University, 1/15/17

Chicago-area recycler charged with fraudulent disposal of electronics
The Chicago-area recycling business owner who allegedly operated a multimillion-dollar scheme that fraudulently disposed of potentially hazardous electronic parts was set to be released on bond Tuesday after a hearing in federal court. Brian Brundage, the former owner of Intercon Solutions and current owner of EnviroGreen Processing, was arrested Monday and charged with five counts of income tax evasion, four counts of mail fraud and two counts of wire fraud. According to a federal indictment, Brundage fraudulently misrepresented to customers that the electronics received by both companies would be disassembled and recycled "in an environmentally sound manner." Instead, the indictment alleges, he caused "thousands of tons" of electronics parts and potentially hazardous materials to be placed into landfills, resold to customers who shipped the materials overseas, or stockpiled in his warehouses. Several private companies and governmental entities hired Chicago Heights-based Intercon and Gary, Ind.-based EnviroGreen, according to the indictment, which said the alleged scheme went on for more than a decade. Source: Chicago Tribune, 12/20/16

Scientists are Investigating Membranes Made from Aqua Material For Water Purification
Water purification processes usually make use of robust membranes for filtering off contaminants while working at high pressures. Can materials employing water as major component be made strong enough to suit such a demanding application? Israeli scientists now report in the journal Angewandte Chemie that a supramolecular aqua material can be utilized as a sustainable membrane for water purification at high pressures. Source: R&D Magazine, 1/19/17

Proposed rule: Methylene Chloride and N-Methylpyrrolidone; Regulation of Certain Uses Under TSCA Section 6(a)
Methylene chloride, also called dichloromethane, is a volatile chemical that has a variety of uses, including paint and coating removal. N-methylpyrrolidone (NMP) is a solvent used in a variety of applications, including paint and coating removal. For each of these chemicals, EPA has identified risks of concern associated with their use in paint and coating removal. EPA proposes a determination that these are unreasonable risks. EPA is proposing to prohibit the manufacture (including import), processing, and distribution in commerce of methylene chloride for consumer and most types of commercial paint and coating removal under section 6 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). EPA is also proposing to prohibit the use of methylene chloride in these commercial uses; to require manufacturers (including importers), processors, and distributors, except for retailers, of methylene chloride for any use to provide downstream notification of these prohibitions throughout the supply chain; and to require recordkeeping. EPA is proposing an initial ten-year time-limited exemption from these proposed regulations on methylene chloride for coating removal uses critical for national security. First, EPA is proposing to prohibit the manufacture (including import), processing, and distribution in commerce of NMP for all consumer and commercial paint and coating removal; to prohibit the use of NMP for all commercial paint and coating removal; to require, consistent with methylene chloride restrictions, downstream notification of these prohibitions throughout the supply chain; to require recordkeeping; and to provide a time-limited exemption from these proposed regulations on NMP for coating removal uses critical for national security. For NMP, as an alternate proposal, EPA is proposing that (1) commercial users of NMP for paint and coating removal establish a worker protection program for dermal and respiratory protection and not use paint and coating removal products that contain greater than 35 percent NMP by weight (except for product formulations destined to be used by DoD or its contractors performing work only for DOD projects); and (2) processors of products containing NMP for paint and coating removal reformulate products such that these products do not exceed a maximum of 35 percent NMP by weight, identify gloves that provide effective protection for the formulation, and provide warning and instruction labels on the products. Source: Federal Register, 1/19/17

Proposed rule: Trichloroethylene (TCE); Regulation of Use in Vapor Degreasing Under TSCA Section 6(a)
Trichloroethylene (TCE) is a volatile organic compound widely used in industrial and commercial processes and has some limited uses in consumer and commercial products. EPA identified significant health risks associated with TCE use in vapor degreasing and EPA's proposed determination is that these risks are unreasonable risks. To address these unreasonable risks, EPA is proposing under section 6 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to prohibit the manufacture (including import), processing, and distribution in commerce of TCE for use in vapor degreasing; to prohibit commercial use of TCE in vapor degreasing; to require manufacturers, processors, and distributors, except for retailers of TCE for any use, to provide downstream notification of these prohibitions throughout the supply chain; and to require limited recordkeeping. Source: Federal Register, 1/19/17

Proposed rule: Procedures for Chemical Risk Evaluation Under the Amended Toxic Substances Control Act
As required under section 6(b)(4) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), EPA is proposing to establish a process for conducting risk evaluations to determine whether a chemical substance presents an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment, without consideration of costs or other non-risk factors, including an unreasonable risk to a potentially exposed or susceptible subpopulation, under the conditions of use. Risk evaluation is the second step, after Prioritization, in a new process of existing chemical substance review and management established under recent amendments to TSCA. This proposed rule identifies the steps of a risk evaluation process including scope, hazard assessment, exposure assessment, risk characterization, and finally a risk determination. EPA is proposing that this process be used for the first ten chemical substances to be evaluated from the 2014 update of the TSCA Work Plan for Chemical Assessments, chemical substances designated as High-Priority Substances during the prioritization process, and those chemical substances for which EPA has initiated a risk evaluation in response to manufacturer requests. The proposed rule also includes the required "form and criteria" applicable to such manufacturer requests. Source: Federal Register, 1/19/17

Wednesday, January 18, 2017
EPA and FDA Issue Final Fish Consumption Advice
Chart makes it easier than ever for pregnant women and others to choose from dozens of healthy and safe options; nearly 90 percent of fish eaten in the U.S. fall into "best choices" category. Source: U.S. EPA, 1/18/17

EPA to Put in Place Process to Evaluate Chemicals That May Pose Risk
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is moving swiftly to propose how it will prioritize and evaluate chemicals, given that the final processes must be in place within the first year of the new law's enactment, or before June 22, 2017. Source: U.S. EPA, 1/17/17

EPA Report Shows Air Emissions of Toxic Chemicals from Industrial Facilities Down More Than Half Since 2005
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today released its annual Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) National Analysis, which shows releases of toxic chemicals into the air fell 56% from 2005-2015 at industrial facilities submitting data to the TRI program. Source: U.S. EPA, 1/12/17

Tuesday, January 17, 2017
New ASTM standard on recycling concrete helps boost sustainable construction
According to ASTM International, its new standard on recycling returned fresh concrete, C1798, Specification for Returned Fresh Concrete for Use in a New Batch of Ready-Mixed Concrete, will help manufacturing plants better support sustainable construction practices. Developed by ASTM's C09 committee on concrete, the new standard covers process, verification, and record-keeping procedures for concrete recycling. Source: Aggregates Manager, 1/17/17

Modernizing the Risk Management Plan Rule
In this blog post, Mathy Stanislaus provides an overview of EPA's revision of the accidental release prevention requirements under the Clean Air Act, also known as the Risk Management Program (RMP. Source: U.S. EPA, 1/13/17

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