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Environmental News

Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Thursday, May 18, 2017
Ellen MacArthur Foundation Announces $2 Million Plastics Innovation Prize
To help spur what it calls the "New Plastic Economy," the Ellen MacArthur Foundation plans to launch a $2 million innovation prize in partnership with the Prince of Wales's International Sustainability Unit. Source: Triple Pundit, 5/18/17

How Global Value Chains Push and Pull U.S. Companies on Climate Action
In the United States, companies are engaging in climate action as a result of different domestic business drivers: Investing in renewables, innovating to create climate-compatible products, and attracting new talent through environmental values are most often driven by local or regional imperatives.

But for most companies operating within global value chains, the pull and push of climate action also comes from abroad, and many U.S. companies now understand the potential to demonstrate global leadership through climate action. Source: BSR, 4/20/17

Wasted Food Means Wasted Nutrients
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's Center for a Livable Future calculated the nutritional value of food wasted in the U.S. at the retail and consumer levels, shining a light on just how much protein, fiber and other important nutrients end up in the landfill in a single year. Source: Johns Hopkins Universty, 5/15/17

These Cities Are Replacing The Worst Kind Of Infrastructure With The Best
In car-dependent Dallas, parking lots are ubiquitous downtown. But one lot will soon be de-paved and turned into a park. Nearby, another parking lot is turning into a temporary urban farm before it also becomes a park. Something similar is happening across the U.S. as cities begin to realize that a slab of asphalt for storing cars isn't the best use of valuable urban space. Source: Fast Company, 5/2/17

New Initiatives Chase 'Circular Economy' in Fashion, Textiles
The new Circular Fibres Initiative brings together clothing retailers H&M and Nike, philanthropic funder the C&A Foundation, and a consortium of organizations including the Danish Fashion Institute, Fashion for Good, Cradle to Cradle and MISTRA Future Fashion in order to "build a circular economy for textiles," starting with clothing. The members will address the environmental drawbacks of the "take-make-dispose" model currently dominating the industry and attempt to create a new system for textiles based on the principles of a circular economy, generating growth that benefits citizens and businesses, while phasing out negative impacts such as waste and pollution, the organization says. Source: Environmental Leader, 5/17/17

Retailers Lead the Charge toward Bio-Based Packaging
Retailers, with their increased use of sustainable packaging, are playing a leading role in encouraging consumers to adopt bio-based packaging materials; manufacturers and retailers that adopt biodegradable packaging materials will benefit through cost cuts and tax reductions, according to a Technavio market research analysis. Source: Environmental Leader, 5/17/17

Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Green Chemistry in 2017: The State of the States
This article discusses current and potential state green chemistry regimes that have developed since the journal's last article on this topic, discuss some chemical-specific laws, and assess what might be on the horizon now that TSCA reform has been enacted. Source: National Law Review, 5/16/17

Tuesday, May 16, 2017
Small companies save big with tech advice
A model program to provide technical assistance services to underserved rural areas of Illinois has generated $24 million in savings of energy, water, and waste over its first eight years. Source: ISTC Blog, 5/9/17

U.S. Laboratory Finds Plastics-to-Fuel Technology Helps Reduce GHG Emissions
PTF facilities use pyrolysis, a process that converts post-use non-recycled plastics into liquid fuels and chemical feedstocks by heating them in the absence of oxygen. Source: Waste360, 5/16/17

Mountains of waste could lead to new US manufacturing, jobs
Waste material from the paper and pulp industry soon could be made into anything from tennis rackets to cars. Scientists have discovered how to make high quality carbon fiber from lignin. Source: Science Daily, 5/15/17

Millions Of Pieces Of Plastic Are Piling Up On An Otherwise Pristine Pacific Island
More than 37 million pieces of plastic debris have accumulated on a remote island in the South Pacific, thousands of miles from the nearest city, according to estimates from researchers who documented the accumulating trash. Source: NPR, 5/15/17

Ikea's solution to peak stuff? Invest in plastics recycling plant
Furniture giant commits to reducing use of virgin raw materials but experts raise concerns about supply chain domination. Source: The Guardian, 5/15/17

Trying to Reverse Americans' Rotten Record on Food Waste
States are trying to reduce the amount of food that ends up in landfills. Source: Stateline, 5/16/17

Friday, May 12, 2017
American households use a variety of lightbulbs as CFL and LED adoption increases
As lighting technologies evolve and adapt to federal standards, lighting in U.S. homes is in a state of transition. Data from the 2015 Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS) show that, as of 2015, most homes in the United States used more than one type of lightbulb, primarily a mix of incandescent and compact fluorescent (CFL). Adoption of light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs has been increasing, with 29% of U.S. households reporting at least one LED bulb installed. Source: Energy Information Adminstration, 5/8/17

Nike and H&M try reused threads on for size
Companies joining the Circular Fibres Initiative set out to unravel the textile industry for a new, circular model. Source: GreenBiz, 5/11/17

Thursday, May 11, 2017
More people, more trash? Rethinking waste from New York to Beijing
It would be difficult to find a more fundamental urban environmental issue than solid waste disposal. It is clear that effective waste management is essential to the development of sustainable cities. Many cities around the world are implementing innovative measures to deal with waste and are increasingly incorporating waste management into sustainability plans. Source: GreenBiz, 5/11/17

Got plants? Bio-based shoes, lingerie, auto parts and more
Lately, bio-based alternatives have begun making inroads. Now, businesses can buy durable plastic-like industrial materials without petroleum-based polymers. And consumers can -- and do -- buy grocery bags, cups, forks and spoons that act like plastic but are biodegradable and compostable. They can even buy soft, washable fabrics that seem like nylon but are made of plants and biodegrade. Even shoemakers are walking in this direction: Adidas AG's Reebok unit is manufacturing a corn-based sneaker for sale later this year. Source: GreenBiz, 5/11/17

Dell Says the Circular Economy Is Good for Business: Q&A with Michael Murphy
At Dell, obsolete electronics are viewed as a resource rather than waste. In North America, the Dell Reconnect program with Goodwill Industries accepts computer equipment of any brand for refurbishment or recycling. Since 2008, the company reports that it has collected 1.6 billion pounds of electronics from its global take-back programs.

Scaling up is essential, especially to meet aggressive goals for incorporating post-consumer recycled content (PCR) into products, according to Michael Murphy, vice president of global product compliance engineering and environmental affairs at Dell Technologies. Murphy will be talking about the circular economy at the 2017 Environmental Leader Conference in June. Recently Environmental Leader caught up with him to find out how the world's largest technology recycler is closing the loop. Source: Environmental Leader, 5/10/17

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