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Environmental News


Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Tuesday, April 14, 2015
Chemical-Free Process Boosts Paper Plant's Competitiveness
Cascades, which produces packaging and tissue products composed mainly of recycled fibers, has invested $26 million in a new chemical-free technology at its Norampac -- Cabano facility. Source: Environmental Leader, 4/14/15

Bacteria tapped for eco-friendly industrial cleanup
Water plays a crucial role in industry. It helps generate electricity, mine for precious minerals and support numerous other functions that fuel the economy and provide society with the products and services essential to everyday life. During industrial use, however, water is sometimes contaminated by one of over 100,000 chemicals used commercially. If these chemicals are untreated, they can pollute the environment and create health risks for humans and animals. Industry leaders are continually seekingsmart, cost-efficient ways to clean up after themselves and minimize their company's environmental impact. Now, a collection of scientists and business experts at the University of Minnesota are developing new methods of remediation -- the act of removing pollutants from the environment. The researchers are developing software that models how enzymes break down chemicals at the microscopic level to optimize the selection of bacteria that biodegrade those chemicals. Meanwhile, business experts are conducting market research to discover the best ways to apply this new knowledge and learn how it can lead to viable industrial processes and products. Source: University of Minnesota, 4/14/15

Thursday, April 9, 2015
National electronics recycling network launches
Impact Recyclers, a Los Angeles-based national network of social enterprise electronics recyclers, has launched with operations in California, Colorado, Indiana, Georgia, Minnesota and New York. What sets Impact Recyclers apart, according to the organization, is its emphasis on the "triple bottom line" by "providing high-quality and environmentally friendly e-waste recycling services while creating jobs for people on the autism spectrum, formerly incarcerated or with physical disabilities." The organization says it seeks to bring together like-minded IT asset and electronics recyclers. Source: Recycling Today, 4/8/15

Wednesday, April 8, 2015
Projects Support Potable Water Reuse
The Water Research Foundation (WRF), which sponsors water research, has launched two new potable water reuse research projects focused on supporting potable reuse blending operations. Source: Environmental Leader, 4/8/15

New Release: Second Nature Sustainability Sit-Downs Video #12
The final Sustainability Sit-Downs video is out. This week's video features Gabriela Boscio, Communications and Education Manager at Second Nature, discussing her organization, the greatest sustainability challenges we are facing, and her hopes for the future. Sustainability Sit-Downs is a new Second Nature video series consisting of 12 short interviews with sustainability professionals in higher education and partner organizations. Source: Second Nature, 4/8/15

Monday, April 6, 2015
EPA Releases Final Risk Assessment for Chemical used for Paint and Coating Removal
The U.S. EPA has released the final risk assessment for N-Methylpyrrolidone (NMP), a chemical commonly used to remove paint and other coatings. The assessment identified risks to pregnant women and women of childbearing age, who have high exposure to NMP through paint or other coating removal. Source: U.S. EPA, 3/23/15

LEED Recognizes Living Building Challenge Energy, Water Requirements
The US Green Building Council says it will now recognize energy and water requirements from the Living Building Challenge green building system within the LEED green building program. Source: Environmental Leader, 4/6/15

5 ways to reduce waste and costs on your company's campus
In their P2 Impact article "5 ways to reduce waste and costs on your company's campus", authors Monique Dubos, Anna Arkin and Matt Domski claim that no matter what your line of business, if you have a physical workspace, you can make it more efficient and save money. Source: GreenBiz, 4/2/15

Microsoft Joins Project to Promote Refurbished Computers
From an environmental perspective, it is far more beneficial to extend the life of an old computer rather than recycle it. Re-use on a wide scale can help reduce the world's growing e-waste stream. The demand for used computers is substantial, particularly in the emerging markets and among budget-constrained public institutions such as schools and libraries. In a concerted effort to bolster the market for used computers, Sustainable Electronics Recycling International (SERI) is partnering with Microsoft and Chicago-based firm PC Rebuilders and Recyclers to improve incentives for both buyers and sellers of refurbished computers. The new pilot program called the "R2 Ready for Reuse Project" will develop a searchable online database of refurbished computers that have been tagged and logged after being check for quality of performance. The project aims to bring greater transparency into the process of selling refurbished PCs, and encourage buyers to purchase the units with the confidence that they are in good working condition. Source: JustMeans, 4/5/15

How can agriculture solve its $5.87 billion plastic problem?
The agricultural plastic market was valued at $5.87 billion in 2012, and while plastic is efficient for farmers, it also poses stark environmental problems. Source: GreenBiz, 4/6/15

Growing employee engagement with the network effect
Over two years, WeSpire worked with 30 companies to study how employee engagement spreads. By leveraging social networks inside a company, Wespire found that employee engagement could see exponential growth. Source: GreenBiz, 4/6/15

Friday, April 3, 2015
The dystopian lake filled by the world's tech lust
Hidden in an unknown corner of Inner Mongolia is a toxic, nightmarish lake created by our thirst for smartphones, consumer gadgets and green tech, discovers Tim Maughan. In this article for BBC Future, he writes about his trip to the Baogang Steel and Rare Earth complex in Baotou, the largest industrial city in Inner Mongolia, with a group of architects and designers called the Unknown Fields Division, on their final stop on a three-week-long journey up the global supply chain, tracing back the route consumer goods take from China to our shops and homes, via container ships and factories. Source: BBC Future, 4/2/15

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