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Environmental News

Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Friday, February 28, 2014
New Refrigeration Efficiency Standards To Take a Bite out of Supermarket and Restaurant Energy Costs
The Department of Energy (DOE) issued a final rule for strong new efficiency standards today that will take a big bite out of the energy consumption of the refrigerators and freezers used in supermarkets, convenience stores, restaurants, and commercial kitchens. The significant reductions in energy use that we'll see with the new standards are made possible by the availability of technologies including LED lighting and occupancy sensors, high-performance glass doors, and high-efficiency motors, which all provide big efficiency gains. Source: ACEEE, 2/28/14

Walmart puts product suppliers on notice about chemicals
Dozens of consumer product makers today will get a letter from Walmart detailing new requirements on phasing out a list of toxic chemicals found in goods sold by the world's largest retailer. The comprehensive initiative is by far the largest and most ambitious of its kind. It reflects a growing trend in which consumer and wholesale purchasing power are combining to change the chemical makeup of the products we see on store shelves and bring into our homes. Source: GreenBiz, 2/27/14

Thursday, February 27, 2014
Coffee Recycling Keeps Community Grounded
More than eight tons a month. That's how much organic material in the form of spent coffee grounds the Austin-based Ground to Ground program diverts from area landfills and makes available to people in the community as compost. Source: Texas AgriLife Research, 2/27/14

How companies' community leadership drives political change
Small local businesses across the country are realizing that their ecological footprints are as important as their bottom lines. Visionary business leaders are not waiting for an act of Congress or an executive order to take action. They are at the forefront of their communities in creating a vision for a new era of a sustainable economy. They are leading on this issue -- but they can do only so much on their own. Source: GreenBiz, 2/26/14

Rare Earth Recycling Takes on New Luster
Rare earth mining companies aren't exactly setting the investment world on fire, but for that same reason, prepare to hear about more electronics and automotive manufacturers seeking ways to "mine" these and other precious metals out of end-of-life or discarded products--everything from mobile phones to wind turbines to spent batteries. Source: Forbes, 2/25/14

Tuesday, February 25, 2014
A 3-step sustainability action plan for business leaders
Company executives have moved way past questioning why sustainability is important. Instead, leaders ask how to transform their business model to generate a triple win: operational efficiencies that cut costs, reduce demand on shared natural capital and improve quality of life for communities of people they serve. These leaders seek a new model that returns business value through efficiency and top-line growth drivers. Source: GreenBiz, 2/25/14

Cleansing microbeads are everwhere -- including lakes and rivers
Plastic exfoliating microbeads--pinhead-sized spheres suspended in hundreds of facial scrubs, toothpastes and shaving creams--are silting fresh-water lakes, biologists say. And there's some evidence that they're flowing into the Chicago River. Source: Crain's Chicago Business via Plastics News, 2/24/14

Monday, February 24, 2014
What Government Can Learn from Colleges about Transportation Policy
A new report details transportation policies on college campuses that could help municipalities promote public transit, biking and car-sharing services. Source: Governing, 2/7/14

9 companies to watch as e-cycling movement takes off
Several factors have converged to stoke more interest in services for disposing of IT hardware at the end of its life, redistributing excess electronics inventory or collecting gadgets. Among them: the pace of innovation surrounding mobile technology, an OEM push to collect and reuse rare earth materials, the rise of formal corporate sustainability programs, and the shift among many big companies away from massive on-premises data centers to IT infrastructure and applications delivered by cloud service providers. Source: GreenBiz, 2/24/14

Friday, February 21, 2014
EPA Proposes New Safety Measures to Protect Farm Workers from Pesticide Exposure
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced proposed revisions to the Worker Protection Standard in order to protect the nation's two million farm workers and their families from pesticide exposure. Source: U.S. EPA, 2/20/14

Duluth receives U.S. EPA's first Great Lakes Shoreline Cities Green Infrastructure Grant
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced the award of a $250,000 Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant to the City of Duluth to fund green infrastructure projects to improve water quality in the Lake Superior Basin. Duluth is the first of 16 cities to receive funding in the initial round of EPA's new Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Shoreline Cities grant program. Source: U.S. EPA, 2/20/14

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