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Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Friday, December 18, 2015
China's Notorious E-Waste Village Disappears Almost Overnight
Just days after the Dec. 1 order for all 3,000 remaining unregulated electronic-waste workshops to move to a newly built industrial park or face power cuts, the smell of burning plastic from the few waste fires smoldering on the roadside still hangs heavy in the air around Guiyu. Yet the visual reminders of the notorious village are largely absent. Source: Bloomberg BNA, 12/16/15

Colorado State Chemists Develop Recyclable, Biodegradable, Petroleum-Free Plastic
Chemists at Colorado State University (CSU) have developed a new biodegradable polymer. The plastic is made from the bio-renewable monomer Gamma-butyrolactone (GBL) and it converts back to GBL when heated -- ready for reuse. The new material, called poly(GBL), could represent a fully recyclable and biodegradable alternative to petroleum-based materials. Source: Sustainable Brands, 12/15/15

Thursday, December 17, 2015
California reaches $26-million settlement with Comcast over electronic waste
Cable television giant Comcast Corp. has agreed to pay the state of California $25.95 million to resolve allegations that the company unlawfully disposed of electronics, including remote controls, modems, splitters and routers. California Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris and Alameda County Dist. Atty. Nancy E. O'Malley on Tuesday announced the settlement with Comcast. The company, based in Philadelphia, had been "careless" in disposing materials that are considered hazardous waste, Harris said in a statement. The state's investigation showed that, since 2005, Comcast warehouse and dispatch workers in Northern California had unlawfully disposed of electronic equipment by sending it to local landfills. The investigation began four years ago. The probe also found that Comcast had not taken proper steps to shield private information about customers when it destroyed some subscriber records. Source: Los Angeles Times, 12/17/15

Tuesday, December 15, 2015
To Go Green, Bars Try To Reuse Their Booze
Just as the restaurant industry has been waking up to its significant contribution to the food waste problem -- and coming up with creative solutions -- bartenders are realizing they can also turn some of their waste into something useful. It's just one dimension of the new sustainability movement in the drinking industry that's seeking ways to reduce water use, packaging waste and energy. Source: NPR, 12/14/15

P2 Impact: These businesses are coloring a triple win for industrial painting
In the latest P2 Impact column, MnTAP's Monique Dubos and Jon Vanyo discuss how businesses that operate paint lines can save time and money while reducing their hazardous air pollutant emissions. Source: GreenBiz, 12/14/15

Monday, December 14, 2015
Regulation-Driven Innovation
This article provides a review of some of the most relevant regulatory changes and trends in the silicone industry, demonstrating how research and development (R&D) efforts have risen to the challenges that these new regulatory demands have presented. Improvements and solutions that positively impact human and environmental health and safety have clearly been driven by regulatory mandates, and will undoubtedly continue to influence R&D and innovation into the future. Source: Paintings & Coatings Industry, 10/1/15

Environmental Group Launches Initiative for Pharmaceutical Producer Responsibility
The environmental group As You Sow has launched a waste initiative aimed at making major pharmaceutical companies take responsibility for the collection and disposal of unused and expired drugs and accessories. Source: Waste360, 12/11/15

Corporate sustainability is growing up, but can it evolve?
Many companies have reached the highest levels of the five stages of sustainability, but experts see a growing gap between these and those that have yet to evolve. Source: GreenBiz, 12/14/15

Thursday, December 10, 2015
9 Ways GE Executed Its Radical Green Reinvention
With Ecomagination, GE bet big on efficiency and clean energy. A decade later, it's made $200 billion, and is driving the future of the company. Source: Fast Company, 12/10/15

FTC Says Retailers Are 'Bamboozling' Shoppers With Fake Bamboo Fabrics
The Federal Trade Commission has announced complaints against four major retailers--Bed Bath & Beyond, Nordstrom, JCPenney and Backcountry.com--with civil penalties totaling $1.3 million. The offense? Marketing bamboo products that aren't made of bamboo. Source: AdWeek, 12/9/15

A Washing Machine That Recycles Its Own Water
Three grad students have invented a filter that allows washers to reuse 95 percent of the water from each load. Source: The Atlantic, 11/25/15

The Global Food Waste/Energy Nexus: Is Buying Local Always the Best?
Calculating the environmental impact of our food purchases isn't always as simple as figuring the driving distance to the nearest point. Source: Triple Pundit, 12/3/15

Sustainable cocktails, zero-waste bars aim to change the way we drink
Behind the bar at New York's The Daily, Iain Griffiths whipped up a "Green" Sour in a blender: Ford's Gin, a coin of fresh cucumber, a whole egg, orange bitters, sea salt, raspberries, crushed ice and a lemon half, with the peel already removed. There was nothing left over but a single egg shell. Presenting: the (almost) zero-waste cocktail. Source: Daily Herald, 12/7/15

'Buzzed' from beer waste in 3D printing
"If good people drink beer, certainly they must build with it too," so goes the rallying cry of 3D printing material manufacturer 3Dom. After developing an eco-friendly 3D printing filament from used coffee grinds, they are now turning their efforts towards beer waste, too. Source: Springwise, 11/6/15

New Food Waste Recovery Bill Would Push Composting, Waste-to-Energy
A food waste recovery bill has been introduced into Congress that aims to reduce food waste at both the consumer and commercial levels, and would encourage various composting and waste-to-energy (WTE) initiatives. Source: Waste 360. 12/10/15

How One South Carolina City Recycles its Cooking Oil
Southern Fried Fuel. It's Columbia, S.C's. crispy solution for recycling cooking oil--a fluid, problematic waste stream that coats and clogs the drains of culinary kitchens throughout the city. Source: Waste 360, 12/10/15

How Target and Walmart led a push to make over makeup
After prioritizing their own strategies for years, the retailers are backing industry-driven leadership for sustainable cosmetics. Source: GreenBiz, 12/10/15

Cities and the Push for a Low-Carbon World Economy
Much of the talk in Paris is about bringing capital to bear on climate change. That would have a profound effect on our urban economies. Source: Governing, 12/10/15

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