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Environmental News

Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Friday, November 3, 2017
Device refurbishers assess critical issues
Nearly 300 IT product refurbishing experts convened in New Orleans this week to consider industry trends and to address barriers to growth. The event was the 14th annual Electronics Reuse Conference, now operated by the consulting firm E-Reuse Services. Source: E-scrap News, 11/2/17

iPhone X Release: The Human Cost of Apple's Most Expensive IPhone Ever
Ten years of metronomic iPhone launches has not muted the mania surrounding the release of the iPhone X--dubbed by Apple as "the future of the smartphone." But beneath the din of delayed deliveries and overpriced devices are resurfacing allegations of human rights violations at supplier factories, including worker protests and abuse. Source: Newsweek, 11/3/17

Thursday, November 2, 2017
Marijuana farming hurts environment, new study finds
Planting cannabis for commercial production in remote locations is creating forest fragmentation, stream modification, soil erosion and landslides. Without land-use policies to limit its environmental footprint, the impacts of cannabis farming could get worse, according to a new study. Source: Science Daily, 10/31/17

Building a better plastic bottle
DuPont, Corbion, and Synvina pilot furan-based polymers made from sugar but must confront PET's dominance. Source: Chemical & Engineering News, 10/31/17

Are the packaging wars coming to California?
The state of California potentially is embarking on a mandatory comprehensive program to address packaging waste. This is in line with what some other national, regional and local governments are considering for their respective jurisdictions. The European Union, many Canadian provinces, China, India and the state of Connecticut -- to name just a few -- have adopted regulatory programs to manage and reduce packaging waste. Source: Waste Dive, 11/1/17

Arsenic declines in public drinking water
NIEHS-funded researchers reported that exposure to arsenic in drinking water was significantly reduced among Americans using public water systems after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lowered maximum levels of arsenic in 2006. Source: Environmental Factor, November 2017

Reflecting the importance of software in the research landscape, OSTI has launched the Alpha version of DOE CODE, a new software services platform and search tool for software resulting from DOE-funded research. DOE CODE is an open source platform that makes it easy for DOE-funded researchers and scientific software developers to share scientific software and discover other DOE-funded code. It also offers code repository services for DOE developers in OSTI's open source GitHub community repository and in a DOE-hosted GitLab instance. Source: U.S. DOE, 11/1/17

McCormick's recipe for packaging that's more sustainable
Mike Okoroafor, vp, global sustainability & packaging innovation, discusses the key ingredients of McCormick & Company's sustainable packaging projects. Source: Packaging Digest, 10/30/17

Senators Introduce Bill to Reduce 'Colossal and Completely Preventable Waste'
Two U.S. senators introduced legislation Tuesday requiring federal agencies to come up with solutions to the waste caused by oversized eyedrops and single-use drug vials, citing a ProPublica story published earlier this month. Source: ProPublica, 11/1/17

Wednesday, November 1, 2017
Why Americans have stopped eating leftovers
Once the mainstay of weekday lunchboxes and thrifty home cooks, leftovers today constitute the single largest source of edible food waste in U.S. homes, according to a new study by the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group. Source: Washington Post, 10/31/17

Monday, October 30, 2017
Trending: Cross-Industry Collaborations Helping Drive Closed-Loop Manufacturing
After recently releasing a report summarizing the potential of organic waste as a feedstock for the creation of building materials, ARUP has partnered with Goldfinger Factory, a fabrication atelier and teaching platform, to develop home and office products made from waste, discarded milk bottles and waste timber from refurbishment projects. Source: Sustainable Brands, 10/25/17

This startup is creating biodegradable fabric from methane-eating bacteria
Humans have been employing worms to spin silk yarn for almost 5,000 years, so the idea that we can squeeze other natural fibers out of bacteria shouldn't be so strange. But that actually wasn't the original intention of Mango Materials co-founder and CEO Molly Morse, who started her research with methane-eating critters as a graduate student at Stanford University.

Her quest was to create a sturdy, bioadhesive that would help glue together biocomposites used as construction materials. The material's biodegradation process got Morse and her now-chief technology officer, Allison Pieja -- an engineer whose doctoral thesis centered on the production of poly-hydroxyalkanoate (PHA) from methane -- thinking about different applications. And that's about the time that their third co-founder, Anne Schauer-Gimenez, the startup's vice president of customer engagement and an expert in anaerobic digestion, got involved. Source: GreenBiz, 10/25/17

The Home Depot announces new strategy to remove toxic chemicals in building products
The Home Depot announced a new Chemical Strategy to remove harmful chemicals in building products such as paints, carpet, and flooring. The policy addresses dangerous chemicals like flame retardants, phthalates, and nonylphenol ethoxylates. Hazardous chemicals such as these have been linked to cancer, reproductive harm, asthma, and learning and developmental disabilities. Source: Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, 10/25/17

This Incredibly Simple Packaging Idea Could Reduce Global Emissions
A Dutch design student proposes a common-sense alternative to the way most home goods are sold today. Source: Fast Company, 10/16/17

MN: NAAQS? BACT? HAPs? State wants to help you translate pollution science
If you live near a factory that spews pollutants into the air, don't you deserve to know what they are and have a chance to weigh in on the company's permit?

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency thinks so. The agency is required to hold comment periods and public meetings on polluting facilities. But now agency leaders are taking it a step further by holding a series of free workshops with the goal of opening up air-pollution science to the people who live near the sources. Source: Minnesota Public Radio, 10/26/17

Why businesses and state governments aren't waiting for federal action on chemicals transparency
EDF recently examined retailers leading the way on removing chemicals of concern from the marketplace -- but there has also been significant activity from state governments and companies to increase transparency about the chemicals we are exposed to every day and to empower consumers to make informed decisions about their product purchases. Source: EDF+Business, 10/26/17

These Sustainably Produced Cleaning Wipes Herald A Manufacturing Revolution
Chemical manufacturer Solugen, which uses an enzymatic process to turn plant sugars into hydrogen peroxide, announced today that they're introducing a new line of cleaning wipes, using its hydrogen peroxide compound and biodegradable wipes. The wipes, called Ode to Clean, will start out being sold directly over the internet to businesses and consumers. Source: Forbes, 10/24/17

Industry Experts Develop Creative Waste Reduction Solutions at Hack:Trash:NYC
New York City has a goal to reach zero waste by 2030. And to help the city reach that ambitious goal, approximately 100 product designers, engineers, waste and recycling experts and environmental lawyers teamed up this weekend to participate in Hack:Trash:NYC, a three-day collaborative competition to reduce waste in New York City. The theme for Hack:Trash:NYC was reuse, and the competition challenged teams to "develop and pitch an innovative product, business model, service, policy or education campaign that increases reuse in NYC and results in a meaningful diversion of waste from landfill." Source: Waste360, 10/30/17

Costco develops new safer chemicals policy
Costco has announced that it is committing to reducing harmful chemicals in the products it sells by adopting a new Chemicals Management Policy. Source: Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, 10/26/17

Proposal to restrict hazardous substances in tattoo inks and permanent make-up
Together with the competent authorities of Denmark, Italy and Norway, ECHA has prepared a restriction proposal to reduce the risks caused by hazardous substances contained in some tattoo inks. These include some substances already banned in cosmetics but also additional substances. Source: European Chemical Agency, 10/25/17

Wednesday, October 25, 2017
China's recyclers eye looming electric vehicle battery mountain
After years of dismantling discarded televisions and laptops, a Shanghai recycling plant is readying itself for a new wave of waste: piles of exhausted batteries from the surge of electric vehicles hitting China's streets. The plant has secured licenses and is undergoing upgrades to handle a fast-growing mountain of battery waste, said Li Yingzhe, a manager at the facility, run by the state-owned Shanghai Jinqiao Group. Source: Reuters, 10/22/17

Presentations from AMO Workshop on Clean Water Processing Technology Research and Development, August 23-24, 2017
The Advanced Manufacturing Office hosted its second Workshop on Clean Water Processing Technology Research and Development from August 23--24, 2017, in Cleveland, Ohio. The reports and presentations are available to view and download at the link below. Source: DOE Advanced Manufacturing Office, 10/25/17

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