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Environmental News

Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Friday, June 20, 2014
300 potential jobs from e-waste re-use, says report
Some 300 manufacturing jobs could potentially be created by re-using restored electronic waste which is otherwise thrown out each year, a new report from the University of Limerick (UL) suggests. Entitled "Re-Evaluate: Re-use of Electrical and Electronic Equipment," the report found that each year, Ireland recycles about 35,000 tonnes of electrical and electronic equipment, which equates to about 7.5 kg for every person in the country. Source: Silicon Republic, 6/17/14

A technology park bets big on energy innovation
The City of Bloomington, Ind., has big plans for a parcel of land in its bustling downtown. Source: GreenBiz, 6/19/14

6 steps to create shared value in your company
What would it take to redirect the popular understanding of Creating Shared Value back to a basic business principle, applicable to all the company's activities and employees? Source: GreenBiz, 6/20/14

CDP, WRI and WWF aim for science-based carbon targets
CDP, WRI and WWF join forces to back carbon goals based on science, not corporate convenience. Source: GreenBiz, 6/20/14

Battery groups introduce model recycling bill
The Corp. for Battery Recycling (CBR), the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), the Rechargeable Battery Association (PRBA) and Call2Recycle have unveiled what the four groups are calling a model bill for battery recycling. Source: Recycling Today, 6/18/14

Conflict minerals' child labor problem
If your company sources tin, tantalum and tungsten from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the Great Lakes Region, chances are children are working in your supply chain. The production of these minerals is predominantly done at artisanal and small-scale mines, where manual labor and rudimentary methods are used to extract, transport and sell the minerals, which are found in many of our most familiar objects, such as cell phones, televisions, computers, cars and airplanes. If left unaddressed, child labor presents a significant risk to downstream companies sourcing these minerals. Source:, 6/20/14

New group to manage R2 Standard
Sustainable Electronics Recycling International (SERI), based in Boulder, Colorado, has recently been formed to succeed R2 Solutions, also based in Boulder, in managing and promoting the R2 (Responsible Recycling Practices) Standard. Meanwhile, R2 Solutions will cease operations, and its staff, the board of directors, the R2 Technical Advisory Committee, the R2 Standard and supporting documents and all other assets will be transferred to SERI. In addition to managing the R2 Standard, SERI's expanded scope includes sponsoring and supporting electronics recycling projects in developing countries, education and outreach campaigns on the need for responsible recycling and other activities. Source: Recycling Today, 6/18/14

Thursday, June 19, 2014
Minnesota's ban on triclosan adds fuel to the chemicals debate
Ban puts pressure on companies to phase out the chemical used as anitbacterial agent, but the science on the danger it presents remains far from certain. Source: The Guardian, 6/19/14

Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Dow Launches More Sustainable Surface Finishes
Dow Electronic Materials will next week launch its more sustainable surface finishing solutions for the electronic and industrial finishing markets, which provide alternatives to the use of cyanide, nickel and lead as well as improvements in process efficiencies and waste reduction, the company says. Source: Environmental Leader, 6/18/14

Sexual violence and conflict minerals: international demand fuels cycle
While some companies such as Apple and Intel are progressing in ethical sourcing, many are doing nothing to stop link between electronic devices and sexual conflict. Source: The Guardian, 6/18/14

Tuesday, June 17, 2014
4 ways Ford paves the way to water efficiency
The automaker shares lessons that companies in any industry can use to shore up their water resilience. Source: GreenBiz, 6/17/14

9 smart water solutions for that 'wicked problem'
Too often businesses address water in a one-dimensional way. These wickedly smart solutions move beyond the mainstream. Source: GreenBiz, 6/17/14

Friday, June 13, 2014
REEcyle Takes the Gold in the 2014 National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition
REEcycle from the University of Houston won the Energy Department's National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition today. The competition, now in its third year, is part of President Obama's Startup America Initiative, which aims to celebrate, inspire and accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship throughout the nation. To rise to the top of the competition, REEcycle developed a profitable way to reclaim rare earth elements from magnets in electronics. Rare earth elements are critical to manufacturing clean energy technologies, including wind turbines, energy-efficient lights, thin-film solar cells and motors and batteries for electric vehicles. The company acquires used electronics from recyclers and extracts rare earth elements using a patented solvent combined with low temperatures. Source: US Department of Energy, 6/12/14

Startup literally wants to turn your tech garbage into gold
BlueOak Resources, a Burlingame, California-based startup, plans to mine for and refine gold, silver, copper, and other precious metals in the US. But before you call your local chapter of the Natural Resources Defense Council to organize a protest in anticipation of environmental calamity, consider the source from which the company plans to "mine" such valuable materials: our old electronics gadgets. According to BlueOak's cofounders Priv Bradoo and Bryce Goodman, instead of partaking in such environmentally destructive, dangerous, and carbon-intensive activities as strip-mining, open-pit mining, and mountaintop removal and extraction to bring the precious metals and rare earth elements necessary to power our electronics gadgets to market, the company instead aims to focus on "above the ground recovery." Source: ArsTechnica, 6/10/14

EPA Identifies Safer Substitutes for Toxic Flame Retardants
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing safer alternatives to the flame retardants now used in consumer and commercial products, including building insulation and products with flexible polyurethane foam. Source: U.S. EPA, 6/12/14

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