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Environmental News

Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Friday, August 1, 2014
National New Markets Fund Expands in Southern U.S. With Investment in Nation's First-of-Its-Kind E-Waste Recycling Facility
OSCEOLA, AR, Jul 31, 2014 (Marketwired via COMTEX) -- National New Markets Fund LLC has closed $15 million in New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) allocation to help finance equipment for the first urban mining refinery in the U.S. capable of retrieving high-value metals including gold, silver, copper and palladium from electronic waste. An estimated 40 million tons of such e-waste is discarded globally each year, with only about 13 percent currently undergoing some form of recycling: The rest winds up in the trash. Built and operated by BlueOak Resources Inc., the new facility will be located in Osceola, Arkansas -- a highly distressed rural area with a 44.3% poverty rate and 12.7% unemployment rate. It is scheduled to become operational by the end of 2015 and expected to create 75 high-paying permanent jobs with extensive training and salaries averaging $50,000 per year. Source: Market Watch, 7/31/14

Panasonic and Tesla Sign Agreement for the Gigafactory
OSAKA, Japan & PALO ALTO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Panasonic Corporation and Tesla Motors, Inc. have signed an agreement that lays out their cooperation on the construction of a large-scale battery manufacturing plant in the United States, known as the Gigafactory. According to the agreement, Tesla will prepare, provide and manage the land, buildings and utilities. Panasonic will manufacture and supply cylindrical lithium-ion cells and invest in the associated equipment, machinery, and other manufacturing tools based on their mutual approval. A network of supplier partners is planned to produce the required precursor materials. Tesla will take the cells and other components to assemble battery modules and packs. To meet the projected demand for cells, Tesla will continue to purchase battery cells produced in Panasonic's factories in Japan. Tesla and Panasonic will continue to discuss the details of implementation including sales, operations and investment. Source: Business Wire, 7/31/14

Geography of global electronic waste ('e-waste') burden
As local and national governments struggle to deal with ever-growing piles of electronic waste, scientists are now refining the picture of just how much there is and where it really ends up. Their study found that nearly a quarter of e-waste that developed countries discard floods into just seven developing countries -- with major potential health risks for the people who live there. Source: Science Daily, 7/23/14

New NIEHS-funded center focuses on urban environmental stressors
A new grant from NIEHS will allow researchers to study how exposures to stressors that are prevalent in the urban industrialized environment impact human health in Detroit and beyond. Source: Environmental Factor, August 2014

Michigan Journal of Sustainability Calls for Abstracts for Special Edition Focused on Climate Adaptation Initiatives in the U.S.
The special edition will focus on adaptation and resilience-building activities taking place across scales, systems, and sectors, with a particular focus on techniques for bridging the science-policy-practice divide. At this time, the Michigan Journal of Sustainability is accepting abstracts as well as full manuscripts for consideration. The call for abstracts provides more details about the Journal and the abstract submission process. Please note that this Journal is an open-source, web-based resource where both traditional full-length articles as well as non-traditional submissions, such as pictures or short videos, are encouraged. The deadline for abstract submission is September 3, 2014. Source: EPA Climate Change and Water News, 8/1/14

Thursday, July 31, 2014
Why American Eagle, H&M, Nike and Puma want your hand-me-downs
Almost 95 percent of textiles can be reused or repurposed. I:Collect wants to kickstart the process, and it may be in a store near you. Source: GreenBiz, 7/30/14

Helping the Heartland to love sustainability
The Northeast Indiana Sustainable Business Council teaches seven key points about conservation and responsibility to businesses in a diverse Midwestern region -- with interesting results. Source: GreenBiz, 7/31/14

What integrated sustainability really means
To transform the world, we first have to wrap our brains around two big concepts -- and work green thinking into them. Source: GreenBiz, 7/31/14

Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Behavioural tracking and neuroscience are tools for sustainable innovation
Let's ditch sustainability surveys which tell us consumers pay more for sustainability - they don't. New tools, used responsibly, can properly analyse behavioural patterns. Source: The Guardian, 7/25/14

The Surprising Role the Military Plays in Environmental Protection
The common perception of environmental protection and regulation is that the federal government creates the laws, and then targets businesses and consumers for enforcement. But Wharton legal studies and business ethics professor Sarah E. Light says that's only part of the story -- that private businesses often enact policies that influence environmental practices far beyond their walls. In this interview with Knowledge@Wharton, Light also discusses related research that shows the military, which has increasingly been investing in areas such as renewable energy, also has a surprising and important role to play in encouraging environmental stewardship. Source: Knowledge@Wharton, 7/29/14

Air Force Academy Pilots Food Waste to Energy
The Academy looks to reduce energy use and cost at its wastewater treatment plant and convert food waste from its dining hall into energy. Source: FutureStructure, 7/19/14

Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Rivals Walmart and Target make up over cosmetics
The mega-retailers' summit on personal care products is shrouded in secrecy. How could their alliance change the face of beauty? Source: The Guardian, 7/29/14

Tackling the food waste challenge with technology
Innovation in packaging and refrigeration can reduce waste -- as can changes in behavior. Source: The Guardian, 7/29/14

Five Questions for Jeffrey Sachs On Decarbonizing the Economy
Thirty scientific institutions from 15 countries last week released a report for the United Nations outlining how the world's major carbon dioxide-emitting nations can slash those emissions by mid-century. Called the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project, the initiative aims to provide government leaders with a plan of action in advance of a UN climate summit in September and climate negotiations in Paris in late 2015. Yale Environment 360 asked Jeffrey Sachs, director of Columbia University's Earth Institute and a key player in the decarbonization project, five questions about the initiative and the prospects for global action on the climate front. Source: Yale Environment360, 7/15/14

Counterfeit electronics briefing touches on e-scrap exports
During a recent Congressional briefing in Washington, D.C., a panel of technology experts expressed support for the Responsible Electronics Recycling Act (RERA). The session was held to discuss the problem of counterfeit electronics compromising American defense equipment, and according to a press release from the Coalition for American Electronics Recycling (CAER), the three panelists participating urged Congress to take steps to ensure more end-of-life electronics are processed domestically. Source: Resource Recycling, 7/17/14

Policy Group Asks FTC to Review 'Misleading' Green Claims About Biomass
A policy group is asking the Federal Trade Commission to scrutinize advertising claims by biomass plants that the energy produced is environmentally friendly. Source: WFPL, 7/29/14

How Your Cereal Causes Climate Change
General Mills, maker of Cheerios, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and Wheaties, said Monday that it will set a target to limit air pollution throughout its entire supply chain next summer. Source: National Journal, 7/28/14

Friday, July 25, 2014
EPA Kicks Off Third-Annual Campus RainWorks Challenge
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is launching its third-annual Campus RainWorks Challenge, a prize contest that engages college students in developing innovative green infrastructure systems to reduce stormwater pollution and build resilience to climate change. Source: U.S. EPA, 7/24/14

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