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Environmental News

Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Thursday, January 11, 2018
McDonald's Agrees to Global Phase-Out of Polystyrene Packaging; As You Sow Claims Credit
McDonald's has agreed to end the use of polystyrene foam packaging globally by the end of this year, says shareholder advocacy group As You Sow. A proposal filed by As You Sow urging the company to phase out of polystyrene was supported by 32% of shares voted in May 2017, the group says. Source: Environmental Leader, 1/10/18

Filtering Water Better than Nature
Water passes through human-made straws faster than the gold standard protein, allowing filtration of seawater. Source: U.S. Department of Energy, 1/6/18

Rewritable paper goes technicolor
The paper industry has a significant environmental impact, from cutting down trees for raw material to consuming large amounts of energy and water to process that material. To curb that impact, chemists have been working on rewritable paper technologies that would allow people to print on a sheet of paper with special inks and then erase them to reuse the paper. Source: Chemical & Engineering News, 1/9/18

Videos from Midwest Food Recovery Summit now available
The first ever Midwest Food Recovery Summit was held September 6-8, 2017 in Des Moines, IA. Attendees from 18 states including Washington D.C. and Ontario joined together for two-and-a-half days of keynote presentations, breakout sessions, networking, and events. Watch the videos from the summit at the link below. Source: Iowa Waste Reduction Center, 1/5/18

Understanding Green Tribology
The study of tribology combines both the studies of science and technology to understand how surfaces interact in a relative motion and how these interactions can cause a variety of subsequent effects to the materials involved. These surface interactions can often result in friction, wear and corrosion to the materials, all of which can cost companies and governments large amounts of money each year to repair. As the rise of new technologies and experimental techniques have lead to more specific characterizations within the field of tribology, green tribology has also recently been introduced as an emerging aspect of this important field. Source: AZO CleanTech, 1/5/18

Wednesday, January 10, 2018
Fighting Climate Change, One Laundry Load at a Time
Experts in the study of fungi are playing a bigger role in improving laundry detergents and, by extension, leading efforts to cut energy use. Source: New York Times, 1/1/18

Axion launches 'design for recycling' service
Axion Polymers Ltd has launched a new 'design for recycling' service in order to help ensure that the plastic packaging placed on the market is optimised for end of life, while maintaining its primary function of product protection.

The circular economy specialist announced 4 Jan that the service was aimed at the food and beverage supply chain, including packaging designers, food manufacturers, brand owners and retailers. Source: Plastics News Europe, 1/8/18

4 Steps to Building a Business Case for Efficiency (Hint: Avoid the 'Poor Performer' Tag)
Many large organizations have lofty efficiency goals, but struggle to turn them into reality -- often because there's limited buy-in where it truly matters. One of the most critical, often-overlooked steps to launching successful efficiency- and environmental-management programs is creating an effective business case that not only promotes projects internally, but helps to ensure success during the implementation phase and beyond. Far too many plans either don't get approved, or are approved and then stall, earning the "poor performer" tag and positioning resource efficiency poorly on any future priority lists. So how can energy managers turn their efficiency dreams into a company-backed reality? They should start by following these four steps as they build a business case to fund critical efficiency programs. Source: Environmental Leader, 1/8/18

The Hellish E-Waste Graveyards Where Computers Are Mined for Metal
Each year the planet generates some 50 million tons of electronic waste, ranging from batteries to mobile phones to light-up children's toys. And although such devices may have been discarded, they're not without value--the United Nations recently estimated the total worth of all that e-waste at $55 billion, thanks largely to the trace amounts of gold, silver, and other metals they contain. The problem, though, is getting them out. German photographer Kai Löffelbein spent seven years documenting how those metals are extracted, often under dangerous conditions, by some of the world's poorest people. His forthcoming book, CTRL-X: A Topography of E-Waste, contains photographs he took in Ghana, China, and India, where much of the world's e-waste ends up. Source: Wired, 1/8/18

Dell and actress Nikki Reed want to turn your old laptop into gold jewelry
Dell wants to do more than just encourage people to recycle old electronics -- it wants to re-use their valuable metals in new Dell products and more. To draw attention to these efforts, it's teaming up with actress Nikki Reed and her eco-friendly Bayou with Love brand, which she co-founded last year, to create a jewelry line completely sourced from the recycled electronics that Dell collects. Among the items that will be created include 14- and 18-carat gold rings, cufflinks, and earrings. The products, on sale today, will be sold directly from the Bayou with Love website. Pricing will range from $78 for a gold ball ring to $348 for a pair of cufflinks. The items are also fully made of gold and are not simply gold-plated. According to Dell, it will take approximately six motherboards to produce a single piece of jewelry. In addition to providing the gold, Dell will also be assisting the company with communication and marketing support as part of its Dell Small Business advisory program. In addition to using recycled materials for jewelry, Dell will also be applying some of the gold it recycles into new motherboards for its Latitude 5285 computers shipping in March, which it claims will be a computer industry first. Source: USA Today, 1/9/18

Tuesday, January 9, 2018
Trending: Local Solutions Could Hold the Key to Reducing Global Food Waste
While food industry giants and software companies have played an important role in creating solutions for reducing food waste, local community members are proving to be just as critical in driving the movement forward. Source: Sustainable Brands, 1/5/18

Want to Lower Health Care Costs? Stop Wasting Our Money
This year ProPublica documented the many ways waste is baked into our health care system, from destroying perfectly good medication to junking brand new supplies. Eliminating the waste could insure millions of Americans. Source: ProPublica, 12/21/17

Monday, January 8, 2018
Aquapod water treatment studied for water conservation at power plants
A low-energy water treatment system developed at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) has been selected for development by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as an improved technology for water conservation in power plants. Source: Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, 12/7/17

2018 Emerging Contaminants in the Aquatic Environment Conference call for abstracts
The conference organizers - the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant, and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois - are requesting abstract submissions for oral and poster presentations at the Emerging Contaminants in the Aquatic Environment Conference (ECAEC18) to be held on June 5-6, 2018, at the I-Hotel in Champaign, IL.

Presentations will be accepted on the latest in emerging contaminant research, policies, outreach, and education. A special session will focus on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), which includes perfluorooctyl sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).

Researchers, educators, businesses, government officials, regulatory agencies, policy makers, outreach and extension professionals, environmental groups, members of the general public, and medical, veterinary, and public health professionals are encouraged to submit abstracts.

Oral presentation abstracts are due on March 12, 2018.

Poster presentation abstracts are due on April 16, 2018. Source: Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, 1/8/18

Friday, January 5, 2018
Former Co-CEO Of Whole Foods Becomes A FoodMaven
Walter Robb, Whole Foods' former co-CEO, has joined up with Patrick Bultema, CEO and co-founder of the Colorado Springs startup FoodMaven, to do something about the growing food waste problem in the U.S.: sell it. Source: Fortune, 1/3/18

NRDC Mapping Tool Links Apparel Brands to Their Suppliers' Environmental Performance
A new mapping tool created by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and China's Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs (IPE) is ushering in a new era for transparency in China. The IPE Green Supply Chain Map -- the only of its kind in the world -- openly links multinational corporations to their suppliers' environmental performance. Source: Sustainable Brands, 1/3/18

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