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Environmental News


Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Thursday, April 7, 2016
Researchers cook up new battery anodes with wild mushrooms
Carbon fibers derived from a sustainable source, a type of wild mushroom, and modified with nanoparticles have been shown to outperform conventional graphite electrodes for lithium-ion batteries.

Researchers at Purdue University have created electrodes from a species of wild fungus called Tyromyces fissilis. Source: Purdue University, 4/6/16


Food Companies, Retailers Urge Stricter Big Rig Emissions Rulesl
The EPA and US Department of Transportation's proposed rules to cut carbon pollution from heavy-duty trucks should be stricter, according to a dozen major food and retail companies. Source: Environmental Leader, 4/7/15

Wednesday, April 6, 2016
Getting chemicals out of health care settings, with a little help
U.S. health care spending accounted for nearly 18 percent of GDP in 2014. The health care sector's immense purchasing power is effectively tipping the marketplace in favor of suppliers adopting safer chemicals policies and practices. Source: GreenBiz, 4/1/16

Tuesday, April 5, 2016
Good News for our Health at Home: Safety Sells
Last spring, EPA unveiled a new label to help consumers make informed choices about the products they use at home. Today, hundreds of products with the Safer Choice label are on store shelves at major retailers in all 50 states. Source: U.S. EPA, 4/5/16

Why sustainability reporting is a key tool for savvy managers
Responding to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) can be a lengthy process. Addressing the breadth of economic, social and environmental issues covered requires the participation of subject matter experts from across your organization.

For some companies, the investment of time and resources may have their leadership team asking, "Is it worth it?" Source: GreenBiz, 4/5/16


Landscape architects probe health effects of rain gardens
University of Illinois PhD students Pongsakorn "Tum" Suppakittpaisarn and Fatemeh Saeidi-Rizi study rain gardens--but not in the way you'd expect. Instead of measuring infiltration rates and pollution reduction capacity, Tum and Fatemeh want to know what happens in our brains and bodies when we see this green infrastructure practice. Source: Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant, 4/5/16

MN: Going green one paint job at a time
Wayne's Auto Body in Hastings took a big step toward being more environmentally friendly. The business made some big changes in its operations in order to reduce the amount of VOCs it produces. Source: Hastings Star Gazette, 4/2/16

Thursday, March 31, 2016
Snyder signs bill to require accurate Michigan recycling data
Gov. Rick Snyder has signed legislation creating a statewide data collection system so that Michigan can track its recycling efforts. Source: Detroit Free Press, 3/29/16

What Apple's reuse robot says about sustainability and tech
Somewhere in between the technicolor iWatches, cheaper iPhones and revamped iPads, a relatively run-of-the-mill Apple i-device showcase Monday briefly veered into the company's vision for high-tech sustainability. The showstopper was "Liam," a robot capable of deconstructing used iPhones and removing component parts for reuse or recycling. Precious metals such as the silver present in the phone's motherboard, for example, could be stripped and re-purposed for solar panels, said Lisa Jackson, Apple's vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives. But the window into Apple's massive product supply chain -- the company had sold 700 million iPhones alone as of last year -- also raises familiar questions about the role that consumer electronics companies play in encouraging a throw-away culture that perpetuates global issues such as e-waste. Getting used electronics back to manufacturers (and their robots) in the first place is no easy task. Liam also won't do anything for consumers who want to fix their iPhones themselves instead of buying a new one, nor the processors handling countless other gadgets on the market today. Source: GreenBiz, 3/21/16

Wednesday, March 30, 2016
The Humanities Must Rise to the Global Environmental Challenge
Scientists need humanists to persuade a skeptical public that the well-being of our planet is at stake. Source: Chronicle of Higher Education, 3/30/16

41 energy companies sign on to voluntarily reduce methane emissions
The Obama administration on Wednesday announced a new partnership with 41 energy companies that have agreed to voluntarily reduce methane emissions from natural gas operations to help combat climate change. Source: PBS Newshour, 3/30/16

IL: Electronics recycling may start costing Kane County residents
If Kane County residents want convenient means to recycle their electronics, someone is going to pay more. And county officials are trying to position themselves to not be the bearers of that additional cost. It was only about a year ago that county residents had six options for electronics recycling. There were permanent drop-off locations in communities such as West Dundee and St. Charles. And the county hosted a countywide recycling event on the second Saturday of each month from April through November. After April 8, only the one-day, countywide events will remain. That's far less convenient, but it is still far more than most areas of the state offer, according to Jennifer Jarland, Kane County's recycling program coordinator. "We are one of only four Illinois counties with a program of any kind still remaining," she said. "No one will have permanent drop-off left by the end of April, including us." Source: The Daily Herald, 3/30/16

Managing the unmeasurable in apparel supply chains
Tracing consumer goods back to the source isn't easy, but the garment industry sustainability ills are a prime example of why it needs to be easier. Source: GreenBiz, 3/30/16

IL: Electronics recycling centers may close May 1-- or not
Lake County residents with clunky TVs and outmoded computers may have only a few weeks left to drop them off at one of SWALCO's electronics recycling sites, including a location in Highland Park. SWALCO, or Solid Waste Agency of Lake County, announced March 4 that it planned to discontinue electronics collection at its five drop-off sites May 1 rather than continue subsidizing a program once fully financed by electronics manufacturers. Since the agency announced its decision, municipal officials in 10 towns have offered to contribute money to keep the program alive through the end of 2016, according to Walter Willis, SWALCO's executive director. The agency's board of directors may vote April 14 to reverse its decision, he said. Most electronics -- including televisions, monitors, computers and video games -- have been banned from Illinois landfills since 2012 under a state law enacted several years earlier. The law required manufacturers to purchase recycled electronics under a formula based on the weight of the products sold in Illinois. Because new electronics tend to be lighter than those consumers are discarding, manufacturers' buy-back requirements haven't been sufficient to cover the amount of electronics collected, according to SWALCO. Source: Chicago Tribune, 3/28/2016



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