Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable
Promoting Pollution Prevention Through Information Exchange
   

Environmental News


Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

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

Thursday, June 12, 2014
Illinois Sustainable Technology Center's One Billion Gallon Challenge Announces First Research / Technology Demonstration Grants for Illinois
Four water research projects were announced Friday, May 30 - the first steps toward a goal of saving one billion gallons of water in Illinois. Source: ISTC. 6/12/14

Finding a Narrative: 'Sustainability' Doesn't Mean Anything Real to Consumers
According to a new Rainforest Alliance report, "sustainability" doesn't mean anything to consumers. So, how do companies translate the idea of sustainability into a narrative that resonates with consumers? Or more broadly, how does an organization trying to communicate sustainability tell the story without using the word "sustainable"? Source: Triple Pundit, 6/11/14

Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Governor signs bill making Illinois first state to ban microbeads
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation Sunday banning the manufacture and sale of personal care products containing synthetic plastic microbeads. The new law bans the manufacture of personal care products containing microbeads by the end of 2017, the sale of personal care products and the manufacture of over the counter drugs by the end of 2018, and the sale of over the counter drugs by the end of 2019. Environmentalists have said the non-biodegradable plastic particles used as exfoliants in many facial cleansers and soaps slip through sewage system filters and pile up in waterways, where they suck up toxins and harm wildlife. Preliminary studies in Lake Michigan have found millions of microbeads. Source: Chicago Tribune, 6/8/14

Performance Data for Comparing the World's Cities
The first-ever set of ISO standards for world cities has been created, giving city policymakers a way to compare their services and performance with other cities around the world. Source: FutureStructure, 6/4/14

From Trash to Treasure: Recapturing and Repurposing Our Garbage
Closing the loop on waste -- and integrating it with other systems -- may be more than a noble policy goal. In fact, it may make smart economic sense as well. Source: FutureStructure, 5/30/14

Why we desperately need chemical literacy
Consumers need to know what's in the products they buy, so companies must go up the supply chain to learn exactly what's in the products they sell. Source: GreenBiz, 6/10/14

4 ways cities can invest now in climate resilience
Protecting coastal cities from sea level rise will require a blend of solutions best offered through proactive planning. Source: GreenBiz, 6/11/14

Composting gains steam in suburban schools, homes
Across the suburbs, food scrap composting is taking hold at institutions and households that want to go beyond recycling. Composting diverts more material from landfills and lengthens their life spans. It also helps reduce greenhouse gases and cuts waste hauling costs. Further, the process recovers more nutrients than sending scraps down the garbage disposal, experts say. ISTC assisted Lewis University with establishing their composting program. Source: Daily Herald, 6/11/14

You Say Tomato; We Say Tom-Auto: Ford and Heinz Collaborate on Sustainable Materials for Vehicles
Researchers at Ford and Heinz are investigating the use of tomato fibers in developing sustainable, composite materials for use in vehicle manufacturing. Specifically, dried tomato skins could become the wiring brackets in a Ford vehicle or the storage bin a Ford customer uses to hold coins and other small objects. Source: Ford press release, 6/10/14

How much fertilizer is too much for Earth's climate?
In a new study published in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Michigan State University researchers provide an improved prediction of nitrogen fertilizer's contribution to greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural fields. Source: Michigan State University, 6/9/14

Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Can carbon emissions become a revenue stream?
CO2 waste streams can be turned into saleable, value-added feedstocks. Is it a pipe dream or crackable code? We'll find out soon. Source: GreenBiz, 6/10/14

Seventh Generation engages consumers for chemical policy reform
The green cleaning products giant's approach to health messaging shows how a grassroots health campaign can spur consumer engagement. Source: GreenBiz, 6/10/14

How to make electronics trade groups drive sustainability
If you work in the electronics hardware industry and your goal is to further corporate environmental sustainability, which industry associations will give you the most effective methods and tools for reducing environmental impacts? How can you drive forward the associatio Source: GreenBiz, 6/10/14

Embracing the UN's water goal is smart business
Increasingly effective tools and benchmarking standards can help businesses step up to the challenge. Source: GreenBiz, 6/10/14

8 new ways to reduce waste at your business
When you toss something in the trash at work, you're throwing money away. Follow these simple steps to turn garbage into profit. Source: GreenBiz, 6/10/14

FDA and EPA issue updated draft advice for fish consumption
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today issued updated draft advice on fish consumption. The two agencies have concluded pregnant and breastfeeding women, those who might become pregnant, and young children should eat more fish that is lower in mercury in order to gain important developmental and health benefits. The updated draft advice is consistent with recommendations in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Source: U.S. EPA, 6/9/14

Thursday, June 5, 2014
Archived recording available for GLRPPR's E3 in Agriculture webinar
The webinar archive, presentation slides, and list of links mentioned by Myla Kelly, the webinar speaker, are now available on the GLRPPR web site. Source: GLRPPR, 6/5/14

Do Newsweek's Green Rankings still matter?
The fifth edition of the Newsweek Green Rankings is out today. Does anybody really care? Source: GreenBiz, 6/5/14

Transforming the climate conversation through social video
Choice video is a powerful medium to influence consumer beliefs on climate change, especially when the message is shared from a trusted source. Source: GreenBiz, 6/5/14

New Desalination Technologies Spur Growth in Recyling Water
Desalination has long been associated with one process -- turning seawater into drinking water. But a host of new technologies are being developed that not only are improving traditional desalination but opening up new frontiers in reusing everything from agricultural water to industrial effluent. Source: Yale Environment360, 6/3/14

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign to sell carbon credits to Chevrolet
Because it has dramatically reduced its carbon dioxide emissions in the past several years, the U. of I. is selling an estimated 150,000 metric tons of certified carbon credits to Chevrolet, which is retiring them on behalf of the environment. Source: Inside Illinois, 6/5/14

Next Page of News


Other Environmental News

GLRPPR is a member of the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange, a national network of regional information centers: NEWMOA (Northeast), WRRC (Southeast), GLRPPR (Great Lakes), ZeroWasteNet (Southwest), P2RIC (Plains), Peaks to Prairies (Mountain), WSPPN (Pacific Southwest), PPRC (Northwest).

P2Rx

One East Hazelwood Drive; Champaign, IL; 61820; (800) 407-0261; glrppr@istc.illinois.edu