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Environmental News

Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Thursday, October 15, 2015
Improving collaboration between Native Americans and climate scientists
Hoping to improve Native American tribes' access to climate science tools, a Michigan State University researcher will use a four-year $450,000 National Science Foundation grant to foster better relations between tribes and scientific organizations when dealing with climate change. Source: Michigan State University, 9/18/15

Advanced Recovery and Recycling, LLC Receives $100,000 for New Approach that Reduces Electronic Waste
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded $100,000 to Advanced Recovery and Recycling, LLC of Onondaga County, New York to continue its development of an efficient technology that recycles circuit board components to reduce electronic waste from going to landfills and incinerators. Advanced Recovery and Recycling was awarded the funding through the EPA's highly competitive Small Business Innovation Research program competition, which encourages small businesses to research and develop environmental technologies from concept to commercialization. Source: US EPA, 10/7/15

EPA Settlement with New York Electronics Recycler Protects Public from Potential Lead Exposure
(New York, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has reached an agreement with ECO International, LLC of Vestal, New York, which will ensure the proper disposal of more than 26 million pounds of lead-containing crushed glass. Until 2013, ECO International was a recycler of discarded electronic devices ('electronic waste'), such as older televisions and computer monitors, which can contain lead. The company no longer receives or processes electronic waste. Source: US EPA, 10/8/15

Kentucky firm admits to burying CRTs
This week a Kentucky news channel unearthed a CRT dumping ground near a processing facility owned by processor Global Environmental Services. The company, which also recently lost or withdrew from its environmental certifications, has since admitted to the wrongdoing. According to a report published Wednesday by Lexington, Ky. NBC affiliate LEX 18, GES met with state investigators this week and took responsibility for the dump, located approximately 100 yards from the Georgetown, Ky. facility of Global Environmental Services (GES). According to a state environmental official quoted in the LEX 18 story, GES managers said they were not aware company personnel had been dumping material until the investigation: "They don't know who placed the material there, but they do know it was their company and they suspect it is out of their company out of Cynthiana that brought the material here," Jon Maybriar of the Kentucky Department of Environmental Protection is quoted as saying. GES, which operates in Kentucky, Ohio and Texas, recently won a contract to handle end-of-life electronics generated by branches of the Kentucky state government. The contract also encourages towns and cities to hire GES for recycling services. Source: Resource Recycling, 10/15/15

University of Utah researchers create light emitting diodes from food and beverage waste
Most Christmas lights, televisions and flashlights have one thing in common: they're made with light emitting diodes (LEDs). LEDs are widely used for a variety of applications and have been a popular, more efficient alternative to fluorescent and incandescent bulbs for the past few decades. Two University of Utah researchers have now found a way to create LEDs from food and beverage waste. In addition to utilizing food and beverage waste that would otherwise decompose and be of no use, this development can also reduce potentially harmful waste from LEDs generally made from toxic elements. Source: University of Utah, 10/13/15

First Illinois City to Implement Curbside Organics Recycling Program
Highland Park will become the first Illinois city to offer curbside recycling of mixed organic waste when it rolls out its opt-in, three-bin system in April 2016. Source: Waste360, 10/15/15

Government agencies less likely than private to comply with environmental regulations, study finds
Government entities are less likely to comply with certain federal environmental regulations than are similar entities owned by private companies, according to a new study co-authored by an Indiana University researcher. Source: Indiana University, 10/13/15

Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Perch lets you turn nearly any device with a camera into a smart home security system
For home owners and renters alike, there are countless of gadgets that can help them remotely monitor their home through a smartphone. Perch, a new startup born out of the Samsung Accelerator program, wants to do away with useless hardware and let you turn a camera you may already own into a security monitor. Source: The Next Web, 10/14/15

It's not just you -- climate science really is impossible to read
The summaries designed to condense the latest scientific thinking on climate change to make it accessible for policymakers are too difficult to read, a new study has warned. Source: GreenBiz, 10/14/15

Benefits Lie in Evolving Techniques for Stormwater Management
Increased urbanization and more intense rainfall are creating burdensome challenges for cities and towns -- but within these challenges lie new opportunities to build systems that improve the vibrancy and climate resiliency of our urban areas. Source: FutureStructure, 10/8/15

2015 Health Facilities Management (HFM) Sustainable Operations Survey
Hospitals make fruitful progress toward sustainability as some take great strides and others stick to baby steps. Source: Heath Facilities Management, 10/12/15

California Hospital Recycles Runoff Condensation
Queen of the Valley Medical Center uses the runoff from its air-handling units to keep its campus green. Source: Outpatient Surgery, 10/12/15

2 mil. Euro project to boost recovery of raw materials from e-waste
A new EU-funded project aims to explore the commercial opportunities for harvesting critical raw materials and precious metals from unwanted electronic products. The 2.1m Euro project, called Critical Raw Material Closed Loop Recovery ('CRM Recovery'), is a four-country collaboration, with the UK, Germany, Italy and Turkey all participating. WRAP research has shown that nearly 40% of electrical products go to landfill when they are disposed, while the United Nations University claims that this annual mountain of e-waste contains 16,500 kilotons of iron, 1,900 kilotons of copper, and 300 tonnes of gold. Over the course of the three and a half year project, CRM Recovery aims to increase the recovery of these precious materials and others by at least 5%. The project will analyse how collection methods, such as kerbside collections, retailer take-back schemes or postal returns, affect how material components of electronic products are recovered and returned to the market. Findings will be fed back to the European Commission in the form of policy recommendations and proposals for infrastructure development for the cost effective recovery of these precious and critical raw materials. Source:, 10/14/15

Tuesday, October 13, 2015
Making the Business Case for a Circular Economy
The financial opportunities and environmental benefits of a circular economy in the electronics sector -- where waste becomes a resource for new products -- was the focus of the recent Emerging Green conference held by the Green Electronics Council in Portland, Oregon. Source: Environmental Leader, 10/13/15

Thursday, October 8, 2015
University of Illinois to offer new sustainability minor: Sustainability, Energy and Environment Fellows Program
Six academic units came together to offer the new Sustainability, Energy and Environment Fellows Program, a campuswide undergraduate minor through the Institute for Sustainability, Energy and Environment to promote systems-level thinking about energy and sustainability, and to foster the development of an integrated view of the economy, society and the environment. Source: Inside Illinois, 10/8/15

Wednesday, October 7, 2015
ASU students' machine turns trash to 3-D filament
Two robotics engineering students out of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering have found a way to take recyclable plastic and turn it into filament for 3-D printers. "3DCycler is a product and a system built around turning recyclable plastics like water bottles, party cups, Tupperware, anything like that, into 3-D printable filament that can be used to print new parts," co-founder of 3DCycler and robotics Joshua Kosar said. Source: The State Press, 10/5/15

Let's Modernize Our Environmental Laws
Written when smog was an emergency, the Clean Air Act allows the E.P.A. to require that states, businesses and individuals reduce smog-forming emissions regardless of the economic damage done. Some parts of the act forbid the E.P.A. even to consider cost or job losses. That sort of thinking was appropriate during the smog emergencies of the past. Now it's counterproductive. Source: New York Times, 10/7/15

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