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Environmental News

Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Tuesday, January 6, 2015
What will drive retail sustainability in 2015?
Business-model innovation has been identified as a top priority for retail sustainability professionals in 2015. Source: GreenBiz, 1/6/15

WaterSmart Innovations 2015 Call for Abstracts
The 8th Annual WaterSmart Innovations Conference and Exposition is seeking abstracts for professional presentations at the event scheduled for October 7-9, 2015 in Las Vegas. The deadline for receipt of abstracts is February 2, 2015. Source: Environmental News Bits, 1/6/15

IL: Lake County electronics recycling resumes in January
Less than a week after Lake County halted all electronics recycling for residents, officials say they have found a new provider and the service will resume in January. SWALCO officials announced in a bulletin dated Dec. 11 that electronics recycling in Lake County would end Dec. 18, after costs grew prohibitive for the county's former operator, Sims Recycling Solutions, to continue. The electronic recycling program started in 1999 and grew to become one of the biggest of its kind in Illinois, according to the bulletin. That was helped by state law that required manufacturers to pay for collecting and recycling certain devices. But the cost of recycling exceeds the compensation that the state receives, according to the bulletin. The agency would need to pay $200,000 next year to continue the program and cover its costs, the release said. On Dec. 23, though, SWALCO officials said the board had agreed to take the necessary funds from savings to pay for the program, albeit under a new operator: Dynamic Recycling of La Crosse, Wisc. Service will resume Jan. 2. Source: Chicago Tribune, 12/30/14

The e-scrap year in review
With the new year upon us, E-Scrap News recaps a busy 2014 news cycle that saw CRT glass management issues take center stage alongside legislative battles and some surprising industry twists and turns. Source: Resource Recycling, 12/31/14

Monday, January 5, 2015
Let 2015 be the year green businesses engage in policy fights
To protect 2014's hard-fought victories, business owners must advocate like the future depends on it. Design for the Environment is one of the categories discussed. Source: GreenBiz, 12/29/14

Behind many great beers is a Great Lake
The Great Lakes basin supplies breweries with some of the freshest water in the country. But if brewers like what they taste, some experts suggest they make some changes in how they use that water. Source: Grand Rapids Business Journal, 1/2/15

Friday, December 19, 2014
IL: Lake County agency to close electronic waste collection sites
Lake County residents with unwanted electronics may want to hustle to the nearest collection point before the plug is pulled on free drop-off sites. The Solid Waste Agency of Lake County, which works with 40 municipal partners and collects from 18 permanent sites, plans to close them all until further notice beginning Thursday. Whether they will reopen at some point is in flux as the agency determines its next step in what could become a $200,000 annual expense for what had been a free service. Source: Daily Herald, 12/15/14

Why Cellphone Unlocking Could Soon Be Illegal Once Again
Kyle Wiens of iFixit discusses the continuing legal controversy over cellphone unlocking and its relation to the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA). Source: Wired, 12/9/14

IL: Kuusakoski acquires processing firm
Illinois-based Vintage Tech Recycling has been purchased by Kuusakoski, a central player in the ongoing industry debate over CRT glass management. A U.S.-based Kuusakoski executive confirmed the deal in an interview with E-Scrap News this week. Kuusakoski USA's parent company, Finland-based Kuusakoski Recycling, which has owned 40 percent of Vintage Tech since 2011, has acquired the remaining 60 percent of the company's shares. Vintage Tech was founded in 2005 and operates six processing facilities (two in Illinois and one each in California, Michigan, Missouri and Pennsylvania). Most of those facilities carry both e-Stewards and R2 certification, and the company is active in several state take-back programs. Karrie Gibson, the processing firm's president, told E-Scrap News Vintage Tech operates more than 1,000 permanent collection sites nationwide. "The OEMs that Vintage Tech serves chose the destination for the glass produced under their respective programs, and this will not change," said Rich Hipp, CEO and president of Kuusakoski USA. Source: Resource Recycling, 12/19/14

MN: Project to create sustainable magnets wins $10K prize
A project aimed at developing magnets that don't require the use of rare earth elements captured the $10,000 top prize in a Dow Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge Award (SISCA) competition held Dec. 4 at the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment in St. Paul. Source: Unniversity of MInnesota, 12/8/14

Will New Technologies Give Critical Boost to Solar Power?
Promising new technologies, including more efficient photovoltaic cells that can harvest energy across the light spectrum, have the potential to dramatically increase solar power generation in the next two decades. But major hurdles remain. Source: Yale 360, 12/11/14

Monday, December 15, 2014
Swiss Researchers Create Eco-Friendly Plastic From Biofuel Waste
A new method for making biodegradable plastic could mean more free farmland for food. Source: Smithsonian, 12/12/14

So, you've finished your materiality exercise -- now what?
A first dive into materiality can result in more questions. Here's the approach to take in finding the answers -- and spreading the word -- for success. Source: GreenBiz, 12/12/15

What's your company's chemical risk?
Have you ever had a customer ask about chemicals in products or request that you don't use specific ones? Source: GreenBiz, 12/15/14

Friday, December 12, 2014
See Microsoft's in-office urban farming experiment
When it comes to challenges such as figuring out how to grow food more efficiently, we're always interested in the role that IT is playing in shaping new strategies to reduce the amount of resources drained in the process. In fact, one experiment in urban farming is taking place right under our own roof here at Microsoft, run by Mark Freeman and the company's dining services team, Dining at Microsoft. By growing food onsite and vertically integrating part of our food production, the team has created a unique opportunity to improve customer experience and quality of produce served on-site while also decreasing the company's ecological footprint. Source:, 12/5/14

Sims Recycling receives e-Stewards 2.0 certification
West Chicago, Illinois-based Sims Recycling Solutions, a global leader in IT asset reuse and recycling, has announced that it has been certified to the e-Stewards 2.0 Standard at all of its U.S. facilities. In adherence to the standard, Sims says it continues its commitment to process electronic devices in a manner that protects customer data and provides the greatest assurances in environmental and social responsibility. Sims' North American facilities were e-Stewards certified in early 2014 and also retain a number of other health, safety and environmental certifications, including the Responsible Recycling Practices (R2) Standard, ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001. Source: Recycling Today, 12/9/14

Dunkin' Donuts Bakes Energy Efficiency Into Franchisee Program
It's only been three years since Dunkin' Donuts published its first corporate sustainability report. Now the coffee and baked goods giant is pushing franchisees to invest in energy-efficiency measures at their restaurants. Its DD Green initiative is a green building certification framework that recognizes investments in measures such as LED lighting fixtures, water-conserving fixtures and plumbing, recycling and waste management policies, and the use of construction materials and paints containing low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). DD Green was reviewed by certification body UL Environment, which audits sustainable business practices and products. Source: Forbes, 12/9/14

Other Environmental News

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