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Environmental News

Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Superior soap molecule from renewable sources wins top Dow SISCA prize
A team that created a soap molecule made from renewable materials has won the $10,000 first prize in the Dow Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge Award competition held Dec. 6 at the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment in St. Paul. Source: University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment, 12/13/16

Trimming the pork: IonE research guides first major meat industry GHG reductions
Smithfield Foods, the world's largest pork producer, announced its commitment yesterday to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in its supply chain 25 percent by 2025. The move is the first of its kind among large meat producers.

The NorthStar Initiative for Sustainable Enterprise (NiSE), a strategic initiative of the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment, partnered with Smithfield and the Environmental Defense Fund to develop the science behind the commitment. Source: University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment, 12/6/16

4 million Americans could be drinking toxic water and would never know
About 4 million Americans who get their water from tiny utilities could be exposed to water contaminated by lead because the nation's drinking-water enforcement system doesn't make small utilities play by the same safety rules as big ones. Source: Detroit Free Press, 12/13/16

Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Water Challenges Are Actually Opportunities
On the EPA Blog, U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy urges readers to consider the future of water, which she believes is one of the top public health and economic challenges now facing our country. Source: U.S. EPA, 12/9/16

Food waste represents biggest recycling opportunity, study finds
Food waste represents the biggest opportunity for Hennepin County to reduce trash and increase recycling, according to a study released last month. Source: Southwest Journal via Environmental News Bits, 12/12/16

Can a Pokemon Go-Like App Solve Indiana's Recycling Problem?
Bethany Hohman thinks the state of Indiana has a recycling problem, and she may be right. During a recent presentation in front of other entrepreneurs, she stated that on average, only 11% of total waste is recycled, despite the state's goal of 50% and a national average of 34%.

To address the problem, she and her team turned to a rather unusual source for inspiration: Pokemon Go. Given the recent astronomical success of the Pokemon Go app, Hohman and her team wondered if they could build a similar app that would solve the recycling problem. Source: Forbes, 12/12/16

Trump, carbon neutrality and the next phase of business sustainability
The Trump administration appears to be moving in one direction on the issue of climate change with the appointment of climate skeptic Scott Pruitt to head up the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and a transition team led by and stacked with fossil fuel interests.

Yet many within corporate America are heading in another direction. Consider Kevin Butt, regional environmental sustainability director for Toyota Motor North America, and his charge to take the company "beyond zero environmental impact" by reducing and eventually eliminating CO2 emissions from vehicle operation, manufacturing, materials production and energy sources by 2050. Source: The Conversation, 12/11/16

Monday, December 12, 2016
Energy Department Announces American Institute of Chemical Engineers to Lead New Manufacturing USA Institute
Acting Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy David Friedman announced that the American Institute of Chemical Engineers will lead the tenth Manufacturing USA Institute to be stood up during the Obama Administration. This announcement represents a critical step in the Administration's effort to double U.S. energy productivity by 2030. Acting Assistant Secretary Friedman announced the new institute at the U.S. Council on Competitiveness' 2016 National Competitiveness Forum. Source: U.S. DOE Advanced Manufacturing Office, 12/9/16

Crisis in East Chicago: A City Struggles with Environmental and Health Disaster
Long before Flint, Michigan, thrust its own lead poisoning crisis into the national spotlight, generations of East Chicago children were exposed to toxic soil, experiencing blood lead levels at higher rates than children in Flint. Source: Times of Northwest Indiana, 12/10/16

Thursday, December 8, 2016
EPA Moves to Ban Certain Aerosol Degreasers and Dry Cleaning Spot Removers as the First Major Regulatory Action Under Chemical Reform Law
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to ban certain uses of the toxic chemical trichloroethylene (TCE) due to health risks when used as a degreaser and a spot removal agent in dry cleaning. Source: U.S. EPA, 12/7/16

As Composting Gains Popularity, Cities Struggle to Meet Demand
Americans want to live more sustainable lives. Can governments keep up? Source: Governing, November 2016

Tuesday, December 6, 2016
New Higg Module Empowers Apparel, Footwear, Textile Producers to Design Impacts Out of Products
The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) today launches the Higg Index Design and Development Module (DDM). Along with the release last month of its updated Higg Materials Sustainability Index (MSI) - a cradle-to-gate scoring tool that measures and communicates the environmental performance of thousands of materials used in creating apparel, footwear and home textile products - the DDM is the latest tool in the Higg arsenal aimed at empowering product designers and developers to make sustainable choices at the earliest stage of apparel, footwear and textile prototype design. Source: Sustainable Brands, 12/6/16

What can small farms learn from 'the Toyota Way?'
Some farmers are using lean manufacturing to streamline operations and focus on customers' needs. Source: GreenBiz, 12/4/16

Waste Management: There Are Several New Standards for That
Companies are increasingly realizing the environmental and economic benefits of effective waste management -- fewer methane emissions from landfills, reduced waste hauling costs and new revenue streams from reuse and recycling among them.

Several new tools aim to help companies and other organizations achieve these goals and receive recognition for their work. Source: Environmental Leader, 12/6/16

Will California Climate Regulations Trump a Weak EPA?
President-elect Donald Trump is expected to announce his pick to lead the EPA any day now. And assuming Trump sticks to his campaign promises, the new EPA administrator will be spending more time dismantling all of President Obama's climate rules -- such as the Clean Power Plan and Clean Water Rules -- than enforcing the nation's air and water pollution regulations.

Meanwhile, California regulators are moving ahead with the most ambitious climate targets in North America. Source: Environmental Leader, 12/6/16

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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