Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable
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Environmental News

Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Monday, October 27, 2014
Inside Paul Hawken's audacious plan to 'drawdown' climate change
Can a book be the salvation to the global climate challenge? Source: GreenBiz, 10/22/14

Inside the lonely fight against the biggest environmental problem you've never heard of
In 2011, an ecologist released an alarming study showing that tiny clothing fibers could be the biggest source of plastic in our oceans. The bigger problem? No one wanted to hear it. Source: The Guardian, 10/27/14

Transforming Agbogbloshie: From Toxic E-Waste Dump Into Model Recycling Center
On October 9, Agbogbloshie, Ghana -- one of the world's largest e-waste dumpsites -- got something new. The sense of excitement grew when residents saw a group of about a dozen men carrying a towering sign through town before planting it in the ground and raising it up in a Herculean effort, with six men on each side pushing and pulling. The 20-foot tall sign announced the launch of a pilot project -- the opening of a new e-waste recycling facility that could transform the way recyclers work in one of the worst polluted places on earth. Source: Blacksmith Institute Pollution Blog, 10/16/14

Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Ebay, Kindle and Skype rule among the greenest apps
Ebay, Skype and Kindle now have more in common than being three of the most widely used smartphone apps. They are also the best apps for promoting sustainable behavior, according to a recent study by the WSP Group, a U.K. environmental consultancy firm. WSP devised a subjective scoring system to rank the top 20 apps that "bring sustainability to everyday lives." It scored the apps on three metrics: popularity (gauged by the number of downloads), "stickability" (essentially its shelf life, determined by its average app rating, functionality and user comments) and environmental impact. Source:, 10/20/14

Building a Culture of Sustainability
Greening operations is an opportune platform to align employees to your institution's values, provide them with more training for a safer work environment and bolster pride in their employer--all of which results in better engagement. This post outlines six steps for building a culture of sustainability. Source: AdvanceWeb, 10/15/14

Supply-chain fixes are the secret sauce for three NY companies
What do ice cream toppings, mushroom-based packaging and paving stones in common? They all can be greener. In this P2 Impact column, Trish Donohue and Anahita Williamson from the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute, explain how three companies are doing it. Source: GreenBiz, 10/21/14

Sweeping Air Devices For Greener Planes
The large amount of jet fuel required to fly an airplane from point A to point B can have negative impacts on the environment and--as higher fuel costs contribute to rising ticket prices--a traveler's wallet. With funding from NASA and the Boeing Company, engineers from the Division of Engineering and Applied Science at Caltech and their collaborators from the University of Arizona have developed a device that lets planes fly with much smaller tails, reducing the planes' overall size and weight, thus increasing fuel efficiency. Source: Cal Tech, 10/20/14

Monday, October 20, 2014
The case for corporate sustainability? Better employees
The business case for sustainability may come down to employee engagement and retention. Source: The Guardian, 10/15/14

This is the Fortune 500 of companies taking the lead to fight climate change
CDP, a British environmental nonprofit, receives data from almost 2,000 companies around the world showing what they do to fight climate change. From that, the group has compiled a list of the 187 best companies--firms such as Apple, Samsung, and BMW--into a kind of elite (and much smaller) Fortune 500 for environmentally-conscious companies, dubbed the Climate Performance Leadership Index (CPLI), and it says those companies are outperforming the rest of the market. The CPLI returned 37.5% from 2010-2014 to investors, compared with 34.2% for the Bloomberg World Index. Source: Quartz, 10/18/14

SIN List Updated, Substitution Tool Launched
ChemSec's annual Substitute It Now, or SIN list, has been updated with the addition of 28 chemicals identified as Substances of Very High Concern, using criteria defined by the EU's REACH regulation. Source: Environmental Leader, 10/9/14

EPA Finds Neonicotinoid Seed Treatments of Little or No Benefit to U.S. Soybean Production
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released an analysis of the benefits of neonicotinoid seed treatments for insect control in soybeans. Neonicotinoid pesticides are a class of insecticides widely used on U.S. crops that EPA is reviewing with particular emphasis for their impact on pollinators. The analysis concluded that there is little or no increase in soybean yields using most neonicotinoid seed treatments when compared to using no pest control at all. A Federal Register notice inviting the public to comment on the analysis will publish in the near future. Source: U.S. EPA, 10/16/14

Hazardous chemicals in your pizza box? Petition asks FDA to ban them
U.S. manufacturers stopped using a hazardous chemical in pizza boxes and other food wrappers three years ago -- but it may still be seeping into your takeout food. That's because foreign companies can still use perchlorate and perfluorocarboxylates (PFCs) -- which can cause permanent brain damage in infants -- in paper products that are imported into the United States. On Thursday, a group of consumer and health groups filed a food additive petition with the Food and Drug Administration, asking that the agency pass regulations that would close this loophole and clearly ban the chemicals in food production. Perchlorate helps to reduce static and PFCs keep grease from soaking into food containers. Source: Washington Post, 10/16/14

How DuPont and P&G plan to make detergent from agricultural waste
In what may be an industry first, Procter & Gamble and the chemical giant join forces to use ethanol made from farm waste in laundry detergent. Source: GreenBiz, 10/17/14

The Rise of Reusable and Sustainable Packaging
Under constant pressure from government, the mass media and consumers, the packaging industry is exploring more sustainable alternatives. Source: American Manufacturing News, October 2014

EPA Sees Wide Risks in Paint Strippers
Methylene chloride, widely used in paint stripping products, poses a health threat to hundreds of thousands of workers, consumers and project bystanders, U.S. authorities have determined. The findings of the final risk assessment by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency could move the agency a step closer to regulating the chemical, also known as Dichloromethane (DCM). Source: PaintSquare, 9/2/14

Friday, October 17, 2014
OSHA launches national dialogue on hazardous chemical exposures and permissible exposure limits in the workplace
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration today announced it is launching a national dialogue with stakeholders on ways to prevent work-related illness caused by exposure to hazardous substances. The first stage of this dialogue is a request for information on the management of hazardous chemical exposures in the workplace and strategies for updating permissible exposure limits. Source: OSHA via Environmental News Bits, 10/17/14

Yale Journal: How, When, and Why Industrial Ecology is Good for Business
A new special feature of Yale's Journal of Industrial Ecology, titled "Industrial Ecology as a Source of Competitive Advantage," presents new research on how, when, and why the use of industrial ecology by business can lead to cost savings, higher profits, and other, more intangible, business benefits. Articles in the special feature will be freely available online for a limited time. Source: Yale University, 10/15/14

E-Stewards Launches E-Waste App
The environmental watchdog group Basel Action Network has launched a mobile app that will measure the positive environmental impacts of using e-Stewards Certified Recyclers to manage electronic waste. The e-Stewards Global Impact Calculator app, currently available on the Apple Store for free, provides three different metrics of sustainability: greenhouse gases avoided; toxic metals diverted from landfill or global dumping; and valuable and precious metals recovered. Source: Environmental Leader, 10/16/14

Vietnam to start sorting electronic waste in 2015
Electronics producers and importers in Vietnam will have to set up disposal points, starting next January, to collect discarded products and reduce environmental pollution, according to a government decision. The businesses will receive the broken items from users and take them away for recycling or proper disposal, news website VnExpress reported. Local authorities will encourage people to join the effort, according to the decision signed by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung. Businesses and consumers participating in the cause will receive due support, it said, without providing specific information. The disposal points will begin by receiving fluorescent bulbs, compact discs, computers and their parts, printers, fax machines, scanners, cameras, cell phones, tablets and DVD players. Starting in 2016, people can also bring photocopiers, televisions, refrigerators, air conditioners and washing machines to the electronic recycling points. Source: Thanh Nien News, 10/13/14

Illinois Homecoming: Gameday Recycling Challenge
This year's U. of I. Homecoming game against the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers is about more than Orange and Blue -- it's also about green. Various campus and community partners are working together to raise awareness and have a positive lasting impact at the inaugural zero-waste football game. Hundreds of volunteers from the Champaign-Urbana community will assist the thousands of spectators in reducing waste. Source: University of Illinois News Bureau, Inside Illinois, 10/16/14

Saturday, October 11, 2014
Trash to Treasure: A New Sharing Economy Launches in Detroit
The Reuse Opportunity Collaboratory Detroit initiative brings together Michigan institutions, businesses, and entrepreneurs to develop zero-waste partnerships in which one organization's waste becomes another's raw material. Source: FastLane, 10/10/14

Other Environmental News

GLRPPR is a member of the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange, a national network of regional information centers: NEWMOA (Northeast), WRRC (Southeast), GLRPPR (Great Lakes), ZeroWasteNet (Southwest), P2RIC (Plains), Peaks to Prairies (Mountain), WSPPN (Pacific Southwest), PPRC (Northwest).


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