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Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Monday, March 2, 2015
EPA Approves New Climate-Friendly Refrigerants
As part of President Obama's Climate Action Plan, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is increasing the options for refrigerants used in various kinds of refrigeration and air conditioning equipment in the United States that offer better climate protection without harming the ozone layer. This final action addresses refrigerants under the Climate Action Plan that calls on EPA's Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) Program to identify and approve additional climate-friendly chemicals. Source: U.S. EPA, 3/2/15

ISTC Now Accepting Applications for 2015 Governor's Sustainability Award
The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) is now accepting applications for the 2015 Illinois Governor's Sustainability Awards.The deadline for submitting your application is close of business May 22, 2015. Source: ISTC, 3/2/15

5 Ways to Get People to Recycle More Electronics
Despite states' e-recycling laws, electronics are the fastest-growing type of waste in landfills. Source: Governing, 3/2/15

HP Setting Industry Standard with Zero-Tolerance Policy on Forced Migrant Labor
Last fall, HP became the first company in the IT industry to require direct employment of foreign migrant workers in its supply chain with the release of the HP Foreign Migrant Worker Standard. Three months after HP the release of this new standard for preventing exploitative labor practices and forced labor, Sustainable Brands spoke with Bob Mitchell, Global Manager of Supply Chain Social & Environmental Responsibility, to learn how the program is enabling HP to ethically recruit and manage foreign migrant workers. Source: Sustainable Brands, 3/2/15

Green Electronics Council Catalyst Awards: Now Accepting Nominations
The Green Electronics Council is now accepting nominations for its 2015 Catalyst Awards, a global celebration of innovative solutions and tangible environmental accomplishments throughout the lifecycle of electronic technologies. Organizations and individuals may now submit their nomination online. The inaugural Catalyst Awards recognize electronics and related infrastructures' positive impact on the circular economy, where circular economy is defined as "an economic system that is safe and restorative by intention and seeks to eradicate waste through the careful design, manufacture, use and handling of products and components." Any organization, individual, or combination of organizations and individuals collaborating may apply for an Award. Nominations must focus on the greening of electronics and be for products, processes, policies and programs launched during the past five years. Winning entries must exist in the public domain at the time of submission. Source: Green Electronics Council, 2/25/15

Thursday, February 26, 2015
How Walmart's green label aims to drive supplier 'race to the top'
Walmart announced on Tuesday that it would be awarding a new "sustainability leader" label to 150 suppliers selling products on the retailer's burgeoning e-commerce site. The badge is intended to highlight those companies that are making an effort to implement broad organizational changes and to incite a little friendly competition among its suppliers. The retail giant worked with The Sustainability Consortium--an organization that aims to drive consumer-based product sustainability--to gauge a variety of metrics across their supply chain. However, the exact tools for measurement remain unclear. Source: GreenBiz, 2/25/15

Second Nature Sustainability Sit-Downs Video #6
Sustainability Sit-Downs #6 is out. This week's video features M. Lee Pelton, President of Emerson College, discussing higher education's role in making a sustainability society. Sustainability Sit-Downs is a new Second Nature video series consisting of 12 short interviews with sustainability leaders in higher education and partner organizations. A new video will be released every Wednesday. Source: Second Nature, 2/25/15

Call for Presentations: The Groundwater Foundation's 2015 National Conference
Abstracts are now being accepted for The Groundwater Foundation's 2015 National Conference. Anyone interested in making a presentation at this year's conference should submit a 250 word abstract for review. No product sales/services pitches. Presentation formats include 25-minute classroom presentations, plenary speakers, field trip presentations, workshops, and poster sessions. Presentations should focus on experiences, solutions, tools, resources and practices that will be needed as we move into the next 30 years of groundwater education and protection. Source: The Groundwater Foundation, 2/26/15

How to make your old MacBook Pro run like new again
If you've got a pre-Retina display MacBook Pro, it probably feels like it's running pretty slow. It's easy to give your machine a boost by swapping in a Solid-State Drive and more RAM. Source: Business Insider, 2/26/15

Reducing food waste could save the global economy $300 billion a year
Reducing consumer food waste could save between US$120 and 300 billion per year by 2030 according to a new report by WRAP (The Waste & Resources Action Programme) and the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate. To achieve this would require a 20-50% reduction in consumer food waste. Source: WRAP, 2/26/15

Wednesday, February 25, 2015
The Evolving Politics of Climate Change
Public attitudes are shifting in favor of government action. What's playing out in Salt Lake City is worth watching. Source: Governing, 2/25/15

Making sustainability easy for the retail customer
Retailers such as TreeHouse of Austin, Texas, are hoping to make money and help the planet by adopting new marketing and sales tactics to help consumers make informed decisions about environmentally friendly products. "Green retailing hasn't been done successfully yet, but we want to change that," says TreeHouse investor Garrett Boone. Source: GreenBiz, 2/24/15

California's plastic bag ban suspended by ballot referendum
California's first-in-the-nation statewide ban on plastic shopping bags was put on hold Tuesday when state election officials confirmed a trade group had turned in enough signatures to place the issue before voters in 2016. Source: Associated Press, 2/24/15

National Mayor's Challenge for Water Conservation - April 1-30
The Wyland Foundation's Annual National Mayor's Challenge for Water Conservation held every Earth Month (April 1-30) is a competition that encourages cities across the nation to see who can be the most water wise by asking their residents to take a series of informative, easy to use pledges online to conserve water, energy and other natural resources. The non-profit campaign is presented nationally by Toyota and the Wyland Foundation, in association with NLC, EPA Office of Water, U.S. Forest Service, the Toro Company, Bytelaunch, Inc., Wondergrove Kids, and mayors and water agencies across the country. Source: Wyland Foundation, 2/25/15

EPA Delves Deeper into Corporate Sustainability Data
For more than two decades, EPA's Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Program has required industrial facilities to disclose both their environmental releases and the measures they've taken to keep toxic chemicals out of our air, water, and land. It was only recently, however, that the TRI Program began promoting this treasure trove of pollution prevention (P2) data as a resource for identifying demonstrably-effective green practices. Source: ACS Green Chemistry blog, 2/19/15

2014 Year in Review - ACS GCI Industrial Roundtables
The ACS Green Chemistry Institute would like to thank the 43 corporations that worked collaboratively and non-competitively throughout 2014 to catalyze the integration of sustainable and green chemistry and engineering in the global chemical enterprise. Beginning in 2005 with just three companies on one Roundtable, there are now four Roundtables serving 43 members. The ACS GCI Industrial Roundtables are a proven concept, demonstrating that collaboration among peer companies can effectively provide value directly to the company, as well as to the collective industry, in designing more sustainable processes and products, a pursuit that is imperative for a sustainable business and environment. Source: ACS Green Chemistry blog, 2/19/15

Startup Develops World's Thinnest Speaker
A startup called Soundlazer claims to have developed the world's thinnest speaker, made from a new class of plastic polymer. With the ability to reproduce a large range of audio frequencies, the company says it can be used to deliver audio in tight or unique spaces. Source: Sustainable Brands, 2/24/15

IL: Aquatics center at Niles North recognized for energy-efficiency
The energy-efficient design of the $14.7 million aquatics center that opened at Niles North High School in Skokie two years ago has earned recognition from the U.S. Green Building Council. Niles North's aquatics center was recognized in December with the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) "Gold" certification--the second-highest certification level awarded to the "greenest" buildings in the U.S. When the school's former 48-year-old pool was replaced with the aquatics center in 2013, architects designed a 121-foot competition pool around a multitude of energy-reducing systems that minimize the use of artificial light, water, and the amount of energy required to heat and cool the building. Source: Chicago Tribune, 1/9/15

Tuesday, February 24, 2015
Turning smartphones into personal, real-time pollution monitors
As urban residents know, air quality is a big deal. When local pollution levels go up, the associated health risks also increase, especially for children and seniors. But air pollution varies widely over the course of a day and by location, even within the same city. Now scientists, reporting in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology, have used smartphone and sensing technology to better pinpoint where and when pollution is at its worst. Source: American Chemical Society (ACS), 2/18/15

Monday, February 23, 2015
Smart keyboard cleans and powers itself -- and can tell who you are
In a novel twist in cybersecurity, scientists have developed a self-cleaning, self-powered smart keyboard that can identify computer users by the way they type. The device, reported in the journal ACS Nano, could help prevent unauthorized users from gaining direct access to computers. Source: ACS News Service, 1/21/15

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