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Environmental News

Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Friday, June 12, 2015
SC Johnson releases list of fragrances in its Glade air fresheners
The consumer product giant is the first multinational company to disclose fragrance ingredients, which are considered trade secrets, by product. Source: The Guardian, 6/11/15

The three biggest circular economy myths holding back businesses
You can decrease the input costs, create new revenue streams and keep customers on your books for longer. All it takes is a little imagination. Source: The Guardian, 6/12/15

Can a carpet factory run like a forest?
Biomimicry 3.8 co-founder Janine Benyus reflects on the launch of a pilot program with carpet maker Interface to see if a factory can generate the same ecological benefits as a forest. Source: GreenBiz, 6/12/15

Pittsburgh flexes its sustainability muscle
Steel City is at the forefront of tackling regional challenges. Here's how it's ahead on materiality, engaging office workers and more. Source: GreenBiz, 6/12/15

10 Central Illinois Sustainability Champions Recognized for Green Workplace Achievements
The Illinois Green Office Challenge Thursday announced its Top Ten List for sustainability leadership among Central Illinois businesses and organizations. Ten winners from Peoria to Urbana were named as top performers in the friendly competition where employees in area workplaces can participate to save water and energy, and to reduce waste at work. Source: Illinois Green Office Challenge, 6/11/15

Chicago Green Office Challenge 2015 Winners Announced
New winners have been crowned in the Green Office Challenge--an ongoing competition where commercial offices implement sustainable practices. While winning the challenge is certainly an honor, the true benefits are better energy efficiency, reduced utility costs and mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions. Source: Sustainable Chicago, 6/11/15

Thursday, June 11, 2015
IL: Legislation reopens electronic recycling
Brian Younker hopes to reopen Orland Township's drop-off recycling center as soon as Gov. Bruce Rauner signs a bill that boosts the amount of electronics that manufacturers are required to pay to recycle each year. The legislature averted a recycling crisis by the House and Senate each unanimously passing House Bill 1455 in mid-May. It increases by about 13 million pounds what the manufacturing companies must pay for during the next three years -- a short-term fix that's expected to get recycling centers to take electronics again. Source: Chicago Tribune, 6/5/15

The Business Of Reuse: Tech Entrepreneur Diverts E-Waste, Teaches Future IT Experts
Triangle Ecycling is a company in Durham, NC that refurbishes used computers and other electronics, and sells them at up to 60-percent off their original price. It collects the computers local companies, like those in the research Triangle Park, and local agencies. Source: WUNC, 6/5/15

Wednesday, June 10, 2015
House panel approves bill cutting EPA funding
Appropriators teed up the latest congressional fight over the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Wednesday when a House panel approved a bill with deep spending cuts for the agency and provisions blocking its rule-making. Source: The Hill, 6/10/15

Phoenix's Quest to Turn Trash Into Cash
Phoenix is building a research and technology campus in an effort to transform itself into a center for waste innovation. Source: Governing, June 2015

CDSB Launches Framework for Natural Capital Reporting
The Climate Disclosure Standards Board has launched a framework for reporting natural capital and environmental information in mainstream corporate reports for the benefit of investors. Source: Environmental Leader, 6/10/15

Keeping Your Old Cell Phone Is Horrible For The Environment
The constant cycle of phone upgrades -- in which consumers buy phones once a new model comes out every two or so years -- is having serious effects on the environment, according to a new study. Source: Think Progress, 6/10/15

Amazon data centers and the Ohio energy conundrum
There's a lot of news swirling around Amazon's decision to locate a data center in Ohio. While it's undoubtedly a great economic opportunity for Ohio, given Amazon's commitment to use renewable energy to power its facilities, one wonders how the company will make that happen under Ohio's current energy policy. Source: GreenBiz, 6/10/15

Sprint to switch to wheat straw paper in two-month sustainability trial
The pilot project will test run printing papers made primarily of wheat straw in a bid to find a sustainable alternative to wood-based paper. Source: The Guardian, 6/4/15

Obama Administration Readies Big Push on Climate Change
The Obama administration is planning a series of actions this summer to rein in greenhouse-gas emissions from wide swaths of the economy, including trucks, airplanes and power plants, kicking into high gear an ambitious climate agenda that the president sees as key to his legacy. Source: Wall Street Journal, 6/9/15

Tuesday, June 9, 2015
Stanford engineers develop state-by-state plan to convert U.S. to 100% clean, renewable energy by 2050
One potential way to combat ongoing climate change, eliminate air pollution mortality, create jobs and stabilize energy prices involves converting the world's entire energy infrastructure to run on clean, renewable energy. This is a daunting challenge. But now, in a new study, Mark Z. Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford, and colleagues, including U.C. Berkeley researcher Mark Delucchi, are the first to outline how each of the 50 states can achieve such a transition by 2050. The 50 individual state plans call for aggressive changes to both infrastructure and the ways we currently consume energy, but indicate that the conversion is technically and economically possible through the wide-scale implementation of existing technologies. The study is published in the online edition of Energy and Environmental Sciences. An interactive map summarizing the plans for each state is available at Source: Stanford University, 6/8/15

Dairy generates buzz about environmental sustainability
Sometimes it's the simplest solutions that create the most buzz. In the case of Dorrich Dairy near Glenwood, innovation comes in the form of tiny wasp larvae. The six-legged insects may be small, but they're having a huge impact controlling the farm's fly population, improving cow comfort, reducing the use of pesticides, and reducing the 400-cow operation's impact on the environment. Source: Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, 6/9/15

Monday, June 8, 2015
From oil to algae: eco-friendly asphalt could be the route to greener roads
Standard asphalt is energy- and resource-intensive and is blamed for failing roads. The race is on to develop sustainable alternatives like algae and cooking oil. Source: The Guardian, 6/8/15

This is why people are so clueless about how much energy they use
Nobody really disputes that saving energy is a good thing -- we pay less on our bills when we do, and cause fewer carbon emissions to boot. Getting people to cut back, though, has often proved pretty tricky. We like our comforts and routines. And, if a new study is to believed, we widely misperceive where the bulk of our energy use comes from -- thinking that devices such as computers use much more energy than they actually use, even as we underestimate the contributions of major energy gluttons, such as home and water heating. Source: Washington Post, 6/2/15

Catalyst Removes Cancer-Causing Benzene In Gasoline
Northwestern University scientists are experimenting with ways to eliminate a cancer-causing agent from gasoline by neutralizing the benzene compound found in gasoline. They developed a catalyst that effectively removed benzene from the other aromatic compounds in gasoline, making it cleaner and more efficient. Source: Northwestern University, 6/5/15

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