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Environmental News

Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Friday, September 29, 2017
El-egg-tronics: how egg white could help us make transparent, flexible devices
Materials scientists have found that egg white can be turned into a film-like substance that's perfect for making memory units. Researchers from Southwest University in China, led by Qunliang Song, showed that when egg white is mixed with hydrogen peroxide, a series of chemical reactions occur that allow the material to be turned into a film that can be used to make transparent, flexible resistive memory. Source: TechRadar, 9/29/17

French Lawsuit Takes on Printer Manufacturers and Planned Obsolescence
Whether it has become the norm in the manufacturing of home appliances or smartphones, planned obsolescence is both bad for consumers and bad for the environment. The concept that products should be designed so they will become quickly unwanted or unusable has become the reality in many industries. A French legal organization, Halte Ă  L'Obsolescence ProgrammĂȘe (HOP), says it has seen enough of this trend, particularly when it comes to printer manufacturers. Recently, HOP filed a lawsuit in a local French court against some of the world's most widely-known brands. The lawsuit alleges that Brother, Canon, Epson and HP are amongst companies deliberately shortening the lifespan of both printers and cartridges. The litigation claims these companies' alleged business practice of manufacturing goods that purposefully stop working not long after their purchase violates a law French legislators passed in 2015. Source: Triple Pundit, 9/29/17

Wednesday, September 27, 2017
Drinking Water Isn't Safe for Millions of Americans. It's Up to States to Fix.
A new report documents what environmental advocates say has been happening for decades: The federal government fails to protect Americans from potentially cancer-causing chemicals. And they have little hope that will change anytime soon. Source: Governing, 9/14/17

How C&A created the world's first Cradle to Cradle T-shirt
In June, C&A, the international Dutch chain of retail clothing stores, launched a line of T-shirts certified to the Cradle to Cradle standard, meaning that they were designed and manufactured in a way that is benign to the environment and human health, and whose materials can be recirculated safely back into industrial materials or composted into the soil. Source: GreenBiz, 9/25/17

In practice: Network Rail's closed-loop partnership to recycle waste coffee grounds
By striking a partnership with coffee waste collectors, Bio-Bean enabled Network Rail to make steps in reducing waste at its station, and also got retailers and staff to boost coffee collection to be used for renewable power. Source:, 9/22/17

How to Balance Competing Priorities in Manufacturing: Q&A with Eastman Chemical
In this interview, Sharon Nolen, Eastman Chemical Company's manager of global natural resources, discusses how she fosters an efficiency improvement mindset across the organization to save water, energy, and money Source: Environmental Leader, 9/25/17

Friday, September 22, 2017
Valspar: How we engaged stakeholders to solve the BPA dilemma
Bisphenol A (BPA)-based epoxy coatings are the most commonly used protective lining for metal food and beverage packaging. BPA-free campaigns from organizations such as the Breast Cancer Protection Partners, Clean Production Action and the Natural Resources Defense Council have raised awareness of and consumer demand for BPA-free products.

Consumer-facing food processors, can manufacturers and others who have relied on epoxy-lined cans for decades need to respond, but face the challenge of finding safe substitutes for BPA-based coatings that provide all the same functional benefits at reasonable cost.

Responding to this market opportunity, our company, Valspar, a major provider of linings to can manufacturers, undertook a novel approach to finding a safe, functional alternative that provides a promising model for how other companies might approach such challenges and opportunities. Source: GreenBiz, 9/8/17

GreenMantra Technologies, Sun Chemical Partner to Develop Polymers from Polystyrene Waste
GreenMantra Technologies, a clean technology company that produces polymer products from waste plastics, and Sun Chemical, a producer of printing inks, have agreed to partner to jointly develop polymers from recycled polystyrene waste for use in ink formulations. Source: Waste360, 9/22/17

Bake What We Knead: Solving the Problem of Excess Bread
What should be done about the extra bread flooding our markets and soup kitchens? Source: Civil Eats, 8/31/17

Thursday, September 21, 2017
New Beer Saves Food From Landfills
The United Kingdom-based Toast Ale is brewing beer from leftover bread and is using its profits to fund the nonprofit Feedback. The company, launched in 2015, expanded to the United States by launching in New York City in July 2017. In NYC, Toast Ale is also available for delivery in as little as an hour via FoodKick. Source: Foodtank, 8/10/17

Warriors Against Waste: These Restaurants And Bars Are Aiming For Zero
Zero waste has become a sort of buzzword in the foodie world recently. From San Francisco to New York, London to Amsterdam, restaurateurs are challenging themselves to reduce the staggering amount of food waste that the industry generates (an estimated 571,000 tons annually by U.S. restaurants alone) and the amount of other resources they use -- including electricity and water. From rejecting plastic straws to making byproducts like whey the star of a meal -- restaurants are approaching that challenge in different ways. Source: NPR, 9/14/17

Flint water crisis led to lower fertility rates, higher fetal death rates, researchers find
Flint's lead-contaminated water crisis caused fewer babies being born there -- through reduced fertility rates and higher fetal death rates -- compared with other Michigan cities during that time, according to a working paper that includes a University of Kansas researcher. Source: University of Kansas, 9/20/17

Thursday, September 14, 2017
New spill tracker enlists crowd to help monitor pollution after hurricanes
The SkyTruth Spill Tracker collects pollution reports in one place and makes the information available to the public as well as the relevant authorities. Source: Civic Hall, 9/11/17

Has the Sustainable Fashion Industry Reached a Tipping Point?
In the world of environmental management, hearing about clothing manufacturers chasing sustainable textiles, processes, and supply chains is nothing new. But the latest annual, elite fashion-fest in the Big Apple, New York Fashion Week, may just be an indication of how far the industry has come, with the Huffington Post gushing that "sustainable fashion is the next fashionable thing." Source: Environmental Leader, 9/12/17

A cruise ship's emissions are the same as 1 million cars: report
A luxury cruise vacation may sound like a perfect dream holiday, but a German environmental organization says that in terms of environmental impact, the industry is an absolute nightmare. Source: CBC Radio, 9/6/17

Atop a Manhattan Convention Center, a Harvest of Honey
New York City's Javits Convention Center has something on its green roof that you might not expect -- an apiary. Source: New York Times, 9/10/17

Industrial Companies, Municipalities 'De-risk' Existing Water Supplies w/Wastewater Reuse Plans
Climate volatility has led to an increasing focus on resiliency and water supply risk, both for companies and municipalities, and that focus is driving investment in water reuse/reclaimed wastewater solutions. While much of the focus has centered on municipal utilities, industrial companies are also expanding their role in water reuse adoption to supplement their ongoing water needs, according to a new report from Bluefield Research. Source: Environmental Leader, 9/13/17

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