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Environmental News

Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Wednesday, August 30, 2017
Energy Efficiency Soars At Chemical Sites
The drive by some chemical companies to improve energy efficiency extends well beyond their production processes. For instance, Eastman Chemicals, BASF, AkzoNobel and Dow are working hard to find energy savings in all aspects of corporate life. Source: Chemical Processing, 8/28/17

Welcome to the future, where your phone can fix its own smashed screen
From self-healing phone screens to concrete that repairs itself, businesses are investing in futuristic materials. But can it curb our throwaway habits? Source: The Guardian, 8/30/17

Tuesday, August 29, 2017
Tattooed avocados and shampoo bars: the businesses curbing plastics waste
Excess or unnecessary packaging is being shunned by forward-thinking firms. Here are some examples of progress. Source: The Guardian, 8/29/17

Illinois biennial report recognizes positive, voluntary steps to reduce nutrient loss
As part of the state's on-going commitment to reduce nutrient losses, the directors of the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) and Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today the release of the state's Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy Biennial Report. This document, unveiled at the 2017 Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Illinois, describes actions taken in the state during the last two years to reduce nutrient losses and influence positive changes in nutrient loads over time. Source: Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant Program, 8/28/17

Hennepin County continues its Zero Waste Challenge to reduce household trash
Last year, 35 select households decreased the amount of waste they produced by 20 percent. They were selected from over 200 applicants for the program. The commitment included attending several workshops and weighing their waste every week. A county staffer frequently met with the households, assessing waste patterns to develop a reduction plan. Even with relatively few households in the program, its results were significant. Participants cut the amount of waste they produced by 20 percent. On average, they recycled or composted 62 percent more of their waste stream, which is nearly 20 percent higher than the countywide diversion rate. Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune, 8/26/17

Friday, August 25, 2017
Can Anyone, Even Walmart, Stem The Heat-Trapping Flood Of Nitrogen On Farms?
Walmart has promised big cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases. To meet that goal, though, the giant retailer may have to persuade farmers to use less fertilizer. It won't be easy Source: NPR, 8/21/17

Anthony Bourdain Would Like To Talk To You About Food Waste
If anyone can make the very important and urgent topic of food waste sexy and interesting maybe it's Anthony Bourdain? The chef and TV host is the executive producer Wasted! The Story Of Food Waste, a documentary film on the subject that premiered at this year's Tribeca Film Festival, with a wider release coming in October. Source: Gothamist, 8/24/17

Researchers identify cheaper, greener biofuels processing catalyst
Fuels that are produced from nonpetroleum-based biological sources may become greener and more affordable, thanks to research performed at the University of Illinois' Prairie Research Institute that examines the use of a processing catalyst made from palladium metal and bacteria. Source: University of Illinois, 8/25/17

Can business save the world from climate change?
A growing number of initiatives are giving corporations the resources to help achieve global climate goals regardless of government support. Source: Ensia, 8/15/17

Thursday, August 24, 2017
This is why when you talk about climate change, you can't ignore agriculture
Agriculture has historically released almost as much carbon into the atmosphere as deforestation, a new study suggests -- and that's saying something. Source: Washington Post, 8/23/17

What role do contractors play in green construction?
Contractors are in a position to influence how green a project can be, both during construction and after completion. After all, it takes buy-in and ownership from all stakeholders to achieve a project's green ambitions. With invested clients and the products and systems to do the job, contractors today can make more of an impact on sustainability than ever before. Source: Construction Dive, 8/24/17

Pittsburgh: Leading Green Building Hub?
Once the epicenter of America's manufacturing prowess, Pittsburgh has undergone decades of transformation as it shifted from its role as the center of the U.S. steel industry to what is now home to one of the leading technology clusters in North America. But in addition to software, biotech and robotics, Pittsburgh has also become one of the leading green building laboratories within the U.S. Source: Triple Pundit, 8/21/17

The Apparel Industry's Environmental Impact in 6 Graphics
Roughly 20 pieces of clothing per person are manufactured each year. Growth of the multi-trillion-dollar apparel industry has been fed by fast fashion, which makes clothing cheaply and quickly with a low price-tag. These visuals illustrate why the apparel industry must embrace a new approach to sustainably meet demand in tomorrow's markets. Source: World Resources Institute, 7/5/17

Wednesday, August 23, 2017
From beer to bread and back again to solve 'the world's dumbest problem'
Historians have long debated what came first, beer or bread. Both can be made relatively easily using grains, water and yeast, and they were some of the first accomplishments of agricultural societies.

Tens of thousands of years later, innovators are looking to these ancient staples to solve a modern dilemma: food waste. Brewing beer leaves behind excess grains, and bread doesn't keep long. Rethinking how to make these and other grain-based foods is leading to some quirky and -- according to the Post's expert tasters -- occasionally but not always delicious creations. Source: Washington Post, 8/18/17

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