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Environmental News

Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Thursday, August 20, 2015
E-waste: The Nuts and Bolts of Why It Still Plagues our Landfills
Carol Baroudi of Arrow Electronics, Jason Linnell of the National Center for Electronics Recycling, and Wayne Rifer and Jonas Allen of the Green Electronics Council help illuminate the reasons why electronic waste continues to be a vexing issue. Source: Triple Pundit, 8/19/15

Why We Shouldn't be Collecting Electronics at the Curb
Jason Linnell of the National Center for Electronics Recycling discusses the reasons why curbside collection of electronics is not a good solution for electronics recycling, despite the potential convenience for consumers. Source: Waste 360

Inside Microsoft's wind energy strategy
Over the past two years, Microsoft has contracted for 285 MW of renewable power from two off-site wind energy projects. These two wind farms -- capable of generating enough electricity to power 125,000 U.S. homes -- could not have been built without the long-term off-take agreement provided by Microsoft, demonstrating the large-scale impact that companies can have on renewable energy deployment. Source: GreenBiz, 8/18/15

Institutional investors to Big Food: Come clean on water risks
In the latest evidence that water shortages and sustainability risks are a bigger deal than many companies are letting on to shareholders, 60 institutional investors managing a combined $2.6 trillion in assets sent a letter today to more than a dozen big food and beverage companies calling on them to reveal water risks. Source: GreenBiz, 8/19/15

Green Electronics in an Age of Endless Innovation
Global smartphone sales reached 1 billion in 2013 and 1.2 billion in 2014. By comparison, television sales may fall to below 200 million this year. There are profound trends in the works in the IT industry as our gadgets become increasingly mobile and sophisticated, with users demanding huge energy efficiency gains. Source: Triple Pundit, 8/10/15

Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Old bras get new life on the red carpet
QVC star and intimate apparel designer Kathleen Kirkwood wants to recycle your old 36Bs. Source: Mother Nature Network, 8/13/15

EPA Proposes New Measures to Cut Methane Emissions from the Oil and Gas Sector
Continuing the Obama Administration's commitment to take action on climate change and protect public health, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing proposed standards that would reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) and volatile organic compounds (VOC) from the oil and natural gas industry. The proposal is a part of the Administration's strategy under President Obama's Climate Action Plan to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 40 to 45 percent from 2012 levels by 2025. Source: U.S. EPA, 8/18/15

Monday, August 17, 2015
Speedo dives into closed-loop swimwear
Scraps from factory floor are recycled into new swimsuits under a new closed-loop initiative from Speedo and Aquafil. Source: GreenBiz, 8/17/15

Thursday, August 13, 2015
EPA Releases TSCA Assessment Documents for Flame Retardant Chemicals
EPA is announcing the availability and opening of a 60-day public comment period for three Problem Formulations and Initial Assessments, and a 120-day comment period for a Data Needs Assessment document for one of the clusters. These assessments were conducted under the Toxic Substances Control Plan (TSCA) Work Plan assessment effort. Source: Environmental News Bits, 8/13/15

Thinking in circles, cycles and loops
Nora Goldstein, editor of Biocycle, explains a new way to think about waste. Source: GreenBiz. 8/13/15

Sediment dwelling creatures at risk from nanoparticles in common household products
Researchers from the University of Exeter highlight the risk that engineered nanoparticles released from masonry paint on exterior facades, and consumer products such as zinc oxide cream, could have on aquatic creatures. Source: University of Exeter, 8/13/15

Wednesday, August 12, 2015
Phone Book Industry Makes Environmental Advances, Still Needs Improvement in Sustainability
Is the telephone book -- once a common and useful tool in every household -- still around? Even in the digital era, the answer is yes. And in the past year, telephone directory publishers took steps to reduce the environmental impacts of their products. But they continue to fall short in key areas, according to a new report card published by the nonprofit Product Stewardship Institute (PSI). Source: Product Stewardship Institute, 8/12/15

Allegheny County, Pa., Emphasizes 'Green' Infrastructure in $2 Billion Stormwater Control Effort
Greening the county's antiquated sewer network can be accomplished through a series of regionally focused, strategically placed solutions, such as green roofs, permeable pavement and stormwater planters. Source: FutureStructure, 8/5/15

Why Sustainability Ratings Matter
"The growing body of research linking strong sustainability performance with strong financial performance only improves the value proposition for sustainable business practices,' writes Allen L. White, a senior fellow at the Tellus Institute and founder of the Global Initiative for Sustainability Ratings. Source: MIT Sloan Management Review, 8/7/15

Energy Efficiency in the Clean Power Plan: Take One
Cassandra Kubes, an ACEEE Environmental Policy Research Analyst, reviewed the final rule and found some significant changes from the proposed version. Source: American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE), 8/12/15

Better estimates of worldwide mercury pollution
Once mercury is emitted into the atmosphere from the smokestacks of power plants, the pollutant has a complicated trajectory; even after it settles onto land and sinks into oceans, mercury can be re-emitted back into the atmosphere repeatedly. This so-called "grasshopper effect" keeps the highly toxic substance circulating as legacy emissions that, combined with new smokestack emissions, can extend the environmental effects of mercury for decades.

Now an international team led by MIT researchers has conducted a new analysis that provides more accurate estimates of sources of mercury emissions around the world. The analysis pairs measured air concentrations of mercury with a global simulation to calculate the fraction of mercury that is either re-emitted or that originates from power plants and other anthropogenic activities. The result of this work, researchers say, could improve estimates of mercury pollution, and help refine pollution-control strategies around the world. Source: MIT, 8/12/15

What to do about the antidepressants, antibiotics and other drugs in our water
As drugs taint rivers and lakes, scientists search for solutions. Source: Ensia, 8/11/15

Reporting your company's carbon footprint can save $1.5 million a year
Businesses will go to great lengths to convince the markets that they are a safe investment. But it might come as a surprise that one of the best things a company can do to boost its investment credibility is voluntarily publish details of its environmental impact. Source: GreenBiz, 8/12/15

Perennial biofuel crops' water consumption similar to corn
A recent study from the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center and published in Environmental Research Letters looks at how efficiently "second generation" biofuel crops -- perennial, non-food crops such as switchgrass or native grasses -- use rainwater and how these crops affect overall water balance. Source: Michigan State University, 7/6/15

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