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Environmental News

Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Thursday, April 9, 2015
National electronics recycling network launches
Impact Recyclers, a Los Angeles-based national network of social enterprise electronics recyclers, has launched with operations in California, Colorado, Indiana, Georgia, Minnesota and New York. What sets Impact Recyclers apart, according to the organization, is its emphasis on the "triple bottom line" by "providing high-quality and environmentally friendly e-waste recycling services while creating jobs for people on the autism spectrum, formerly incarcerated or with physical disabilities." The organization says it seeks to bring together like-minded IT asset and electronics recyclers. Source: Recycling Today, 4/8/15

Wednesday, April 8, 2015
Projects Support Potable Water Reuse
The Water Research Foundation (WRF), which sponsors water research, has launched two new potable water reuse research projects focused on supporting potable reuse blending operations. Source: Environmental Leader, 4/8/15

New Release: Second Nature Sustainability Sit-Downs Video #12
The final Sustainability Sit-Downs video is out. This week's video features Gabriela Boscio, Communications and Education Manager at Second Nature, discussing her organization, the greatest sustainability challenges we are facing, and her hopes for the future. Sustainability Sit-Downs is a new Second Nature video series consisting of 12 short interviews with sustainability professionals in higher education and partner organizations. Source: Second Nature, 4/8/15

Monday, April 6, 2015
EPA Releases Final Risk Assessment for Chemical used for Paint and Coating Removal
The U.S. EPA has released the final risk assessment for N-Methylpyrrolidone (NMP), a chemical commonly used to remove paint and other coatings. The assessment identified risks to pregnant women and women of childbearing age, who have high exposure to NMP through paint or other coating removal. Source: U.S. EPA, 3/23/15

LEED Recognizes Living Building Challenge Energy, Water Requirements
The US Green Building Council says it will now recognize energy and water requirements from the Living Building Challenge green building system within the LEED green building program. Source: Environmental Leader, 4/6/15

5 ways to reduce waste and costs on your company's campus
In their P2 Impact article "5 ways to reduce waste and costs on your company's campus", authors Monique Dubos, Anna Arkin and Matt Domski claim that no matter what your line of business, if you have a physical workspace, you can make it more efficient and save money. Source: GreenBiz, 4/2/15

Microsoft Joins Project to Promote Refurbished Computers
From an environmental perspective, it is far more beneficial to extend the life of an old computer rather than recycle it. Re-use on a wide scale can help reduce the world's growing e-waste stream. The demand for used computers is substantial, particularly in the emerging markets and among budget-constrained public institutions such as schools and libraries. In a concerted effort to bolster the market for used computers, Sustainable Electronics Recycling International (SERI) is partnering with Microsoft and Chicago-based firm PC Rebuilders and Recyclers to improve incentives for both buyers and sellers of refurbished computers. The new pilot program called the "R2 Ready for Reuse Project" will develop a searchable online database of refurbished computers that have been tagged and logged after being check for quality of performance. The project aims to bring greater transparency into the process of selling refurbished PCs, and encourage buyers to purchase the units with the confidence that they are in good working condition. Source: JustMeans, 4/5/15

How can agriculture solve its $5.87 billion plastic problem?
The agricultural plastic market was valued at $5.87 billion in 2012, and while plastic is efficient for farmers, it also poses stark environmental problems. Source: GreenBiz, 4/6/15

Growing employee engagement with the network effect
Over two years, WeSpire worked with 30 companies to study how employee engagement spreads. By leveraging social networks inside a company, Wespire found that employee engagement could see exponential growth. Source: GreenBiz, 4/6/15

Friday, April 3, 2015
The dystopian lake filled by the world's tech lust
Hidden in an unknown corner of Inner Mongolia is a toxic, nightmarish lake created by our thirst for smartphones, consumer gadgets and green tech, discovers Tim Maughan. In this article for BBC Future, he writes about his trip to the Baogang Steel and Rare Earth complex in Baotou, the largest industrial city in Inner Mongolia, with a group of architects and designers called the Unknown Fields Division, on their final stop on a three-week-long journey up the global supply chain, tracing back the route consumer goods take from China to our shops and homes, via container ships and factories. Source: BBC Future, 4/2/15

Thursday, April 2, 2015
FEMA to States: No Climate Planning, No Money
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is making it tougher for governors to deny man-made climate change. Starting next year, the agency will approve disaster preparedness funds only for states whose governors approve hazard mitigation plans that address climate change. Source: Inside Climate News, 3/18/15

Stop Playing 'Whack-A-Mole' With Toxic Flame Retardants, Health Advocates Urge
As the public has learned of health risks tied to chemicals in everyday products, many companies have responded by eliminating, one by one, the suspected cancer causers, brain damagers and hormone disruptors. But even prompt action doesn't entirely appease some health experts, who warn of a problematic pattern. "We're playing toxic whack-a-mole," said Arlene Blum, a chemist at the University of California, Berkeley, and executive director of the nonprofit Green Science Policy Institute. "When after a great deal of research and testing, a chemical is found to be harmful, then the tendency is to replace it with as similar a chemical as possible. That's the easiest thing to do." History has shown, however, that the substitutes may prove equally harmful. On Tuesday, a coalition of medical, consumer and worker safety groups attempted to halt this cycle for flame retardants. Led by Blum's institute and Earthjustice, they produced a petition asking federal regulators to block an entire class of the chemical concoctions called organohalogens from their widespread use in four categories of consumer products. Source: Huffington Post Green, 3/31/15

7 tips on selling energy efficiency to senior management
When it comes to energy efficiency, middle management is in a unique and tactically strong position. They have the ability to identify, define and propose energy saving measures as well as mobilize the organizational resources to make them happen and track the impact. The key to success, however, is the ability get buy-in from senior management. The steps in this article are designed to help you pitch your ideas and win them over. Source: GreenBiz, 3/31/15

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