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Environmental News

Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Thursday, November 6, 2014
BAN seeks changes in Basel Guidelines to enhance reuse of electronics
Basel Action Network and its e-Stewards recycler/refurbisher certification program is currently undertaking two initiatives to promote responsible electronics refurbishment. The efforts are designed to reflect the environmental and social preference for longevity, reuse, and refurbishment of electronic equipment rather than disposal or recycling. Source: Recycling Portal, 11/6/14

The Closed Loop Fund Helps Cities Increase Recycling
Last week, Ron Gonen, co-founder of RecycleBank, took the stage at the Municipal Waste Management Association (MWMA) Fall Summit (the environmental affiliate of the United States Conference of Mayors) to announce his latest project, the Closed Loop Fund -- a consortium of large corporate companies that plan to invest $100 million over the next five years to support the development of recycling infrastructure and services. Source: Triple Pundit, 10/30/14

Wednesday, November 5, 2014
2014 GreenGov Presidential Award Winners
The GreenGov Presidential Awards celebrate extraordinary achievement in the pursuit of President Obama's Executive Order on Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy and Economic Performance. They honor Federal civilian and military personnel, agency teams, agency projects and facilities, and agency programs that exemplify President Obama's charge to lead by example towards a clean energy economy. Source: The White House, 10/31/14

Energy Department Announces New Lab Program to Accelerate Commercialization of Clean Energy Technologies
The Department of Energy hsa launched a new $2.3 million pilot program to accelerate the transfer of innovative clean energy technologies from the DOE's National Laboratories into the commercial marketplace. Lab-Corps aims to better train and empower national lab researchers to successfully transition their discoveries into high-impact, real world technologies in the private sector. Source: U.S. DOE, 10/29/14

Large-Scale Batteries Are Integral in Shift to Renewable Energy
Finding a cheap, reliable way to store electricity generated by renewables is the hope of many researchers, government officials and power producers. Source: Pittsburg Tribune-Review via FutureStructure, 10/21/14

Grey Water Systems Becoming More Popular Due to Drought
Grey water systems that take spent water from showers, bathroom faucets and washers and use it to quench the landscape are seen by some as the next step in sustainability. Source: Los Angeles Times via FutureStructure, 11/4/14

Small and medium-sized businesses can lead the agenda on sustainable growth
SMEs are already the bedrock of most domestic economies. With the right tools and support, they could well become the foundation of sustainable economic growth too. Source: The Guardian, 11/4/14

Why metals should be recycled, not mined
Extractive companies need to recast themselves as resource stewards and embrace the circular economy by investing in recycling, not mining. Source: The Guardian, 11/5/14

Tuesday, November 4, 2014
St. Louis businesses use biodiversity to improve their footprint
In the latest P2 Impact article, author Jean Ponzi writes about how biodiversity projects can build better businesses and more sustainable communities. Source: GreenBiz, 11/3/14

How Toyota uses gentani to optimize performance and cut waste
Toyota's environmental affairs lead explains how the company continues to find ways to do more with less. Source: GreenBiz, 11/3/14

Timberland retreads old tires as new shoes
Timberland announced a partnership with tire manufacturer and distributor Omni United on Monday to create the first line of tires ever purposely designed to be recycled into footwear outsoles at the end of their lifecycle. Source: GreenBiz, 11/3/14

Friday, October 31, 2014
Nigerian recycling initiative proves it's not all about hi-tech solutions
Winner of the Sustainia Award 2014, Wecyclers enables low-income communities to make money from waste and while it's a low-tech innovation, its impact is high Source: The Guardian, 10/30/14

Feds warn plastic bag makers over misleading biodegradable claims
The FTC has warned 15 'bio-friendly' plastic bag companies over deceptive advertising -- but will it have any impact on the dubious disposable plastics industry? Source: The Guardian, 10/31/14

Thursday, October 30, 2014
EPA funds student bioenergy projects under P3 program
The U.S. EPA recently awarded funding to 42 student teams to pursue projects that deliver sustainable, alternative approaches to address environmental problems as part of its People, Prosperity and Plant (P3) program. Several of selected teams' projects focus on bioenergy. Each team is eligible to receive up to $15,000. Source: Biomass Magazine, 10/23/14

To scale sustainable agriculture, work from the ground up
What does "conventional agriculture" mean? What about "sustainable"? Now, try putting these two concepts in one sentence and exacting meaning from it. Experts in farming and sustainability gave it their best effort in a conversation moderated Tuesday at VERGE SF 2014 by Jonathan Kaplan, director of the NRDC's food and agriculture program. Source: GreenBiz, 10/29/14

E-waste Trading Platform Woos 'Ethical' Businesses
When it comes to disposing of electronic waste such as computers, televisions and other gadgets responsibly, there are two big certification programs that can help guide a company's selection of disposal partner. Their oversight is critical for controlling where discarded technology winds up and ensuring that certain toxic components don't find their way into landfills, where they can foul up groundwater supplies and otherwise endanger human health -- especially in rural locations in China and India. Source: Forbes, 10/26/14

The Case for a Climate Goal Other Than Two Degrees Celsius
Scientists and climate negotiators have largely agreed that limiting global warming to no more than 2 degrees Celsius is an important goal. But political scientist David Victor disagrees, arguing that the benchmark is too simplistic and should be abandoned in favor of other indicators. Source: Yale Environment360, 10/8/14

Innovations in Energy Storage Provide Boost for Renewables
Because utilities can't control when the sun shines or the wind blows, it has been difficult to fully incorporate solar and wind power into the electricity grid. But new technologies designed to store the energy produced by these clean power sources could soon be changing that. Source: Yale Environment360, 10/27/14

Why are major beverage companies refusing to use recycled cans?
Recycling aluminum cans is cheap and it retains the containers' quality. So why won't Coke, Pepsi or Budweiser use them? Source: The Guardian, 10/30/14

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