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Environmental News


Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Thursday, July 9, 2015
Public - Private Partnership Launches New AmeriCorps Program to Help Communities Build Resilience
Building on the President's Climate Action Plan, today the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the Department of Energy (DOE), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), The Rockefeller Foundation, and Cities of Service, announced a new commitment to launch a Resilience AmeriCorps pilot program. Source: U.S. EPA, 7/9/15

How Can We Make People Care About Climate Change?
Norwegian psychologist Per Espen Stoknes has studied why so many people have remained unconcerned about climate change. In a Yale Environment 360 interview, he talks about the psychological barriers to public action on climate and how to overcome them. Source: Yale Environment360, 7/9/15

Wednesday, July 8, 2015
Not-for-profit Grocery Store Makes Wholesome Food Accessible to All
As Whole Foods get slammed in the press for overcharging customers, a not-for-profit grocery store is modeling a different way of selling food. Daily Table in Dorchester, Massachusetts collects excess food from a network of growers, supermarkets, manufacturers and suppliers, and offers it at steep discounts to shoppers. Source: Shareable, 7/8/15

Power Your Car With a Biofuel Made From Beer
"Brewtroleum" is reportedly the first-ever fuel produced from used yeast. Source: CityLab, 7/8/15

Nine ways to overcome barriers to sustainable business
From competition to communication, there are numerous challenges to sustainable business. Here's what the experts say about overcoming them. Source: The Guardian, 7/8/15

Recycling Industry Created Its Own Mess
Adam Minter writes, "The recycling industry likes to imply that the American public, and its allegedly lax recycling habits, bear responsibility for its sinking fortunes. But before reaching for their wallets, Americans ought to scrutinize why exactly recycling companies' promises of a low-cost green future didn't pan out. The real turning point wasn't a decline in Americans' interest in recycling, but a gradual shift in what Americans started throwing away -- one that many recycling companies could have, but failed to, prepare for." Source: Bloomberg Views, 7/7/15

Tuesday, July 7, 2015
Chicago makes bike sharing service more affordable for low-income city residents
Chicago has launched the Divvy for Everyone (D4E) program to address financial barriers and increase access to their bike sharing service. While the price of an annual membership breaks down to only twenty cents a day, some Chicagoans cannot use Divvy because they do not have credit or debit cards or are on a fixed income. Source: Environmental News Bits, 7/7/15

Americans May Be Wasting More Food Than They Think
Most Americans are aware that food waste is a problem, are concerned about it, and say they work to reduce their own waste, but nearly three quarters believe that they waste less food than the national average, new research suggests. The findings, from the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, are significant given that 31 to 40 percent of the American food supply goes to waste, primarily in homes, stores and restaurants. The top foods wasted, by weight, are fruits and vegetables, due in part to their perishability and bulk. Food waste costs Americans $161.6 billion annually. A report on the research is published June 10 in the journal PLOS ONE. Source: Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, 6/10/15

Chicago Is Hoping to Retire the Word "Waste"
The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago's new five-year strategic plan expands on the work the agency has been doing on everything from flood mitigation to infrastructure maintenance, and focuses on making wastewater management more productive. The District aims to harvest useful nutrients (or, resources) during wastewater processing and put them to good use. Source: Next City, 5/26/15

Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Chevrolet is using old batteries to save...bats?
Chevrolet's landfill-free ?goal? requires it to account for every single waste stream generated at its operations. Circuit trays called the attention of environmental engineers at the landfill-free Kokomo Operations in Indiana? as they were not wanted by any local recyclers. After a bit ?of ?stewing on the problem, Chevrolet staff John Bradburn had an eureka moment when he realized that he could swap out the wood pallet layers in the original bat box design with the trays, which also would save time as he could just notch two wood pieces on the sides, enabling him to slide these trays one after another right inside the battery case. Source: GreenBiz, 6/29/15

Sprint, Staples, Kimberly-Clark: the litmus test for wheat-straw paper
Most people equate paper with cutting down trees, but an abundant eco-alternative covers literally tens of millions of acres across the North American prairies. Wheat straw, typically burned or landfilled by farmers to make way for new crops, is slowly gaining credibility as a durable replacement for virgin and recycled fiber from trees. The latest evidence comes from Sprint, which will test wheat straw paper made by Prairie Paper -- the Canadian startup co-founded by actor Woody Harrelson -- in customer mailings. Office supplies company Staples and tissue manufacturer Kimberly-Clark likewise have committed to this 'rapidly renewable' source of fiber. Other big companies getting behind wheat straw paper including Staples, which began stocking approximately two years ago. The office retailer estimates that for every two boxes of Step Forward Paper consumed, one tree is saved. Kimberly-Clark is using wheat straw, along with bamboo, for a series of products that use 20 percent plant fiber instead of tree fiber or recycled paper. The items include tissue paper and paper towels. The company is sourcing straw for the GreenHarvest line directly from farmers. Source: GreenBiz, 6/29/15

Lessons from an E-Scrap Workshop
Scott Cassel writes about participating in a panel at the Indiana Recycling Coalition Conference as part of Indiana's first E-cycle stakeholder meeting. "In a room filled with dedicated solid waste managers, recyclers, environmentalists, and government officials, we took a look at Indiana's current e-scrap recycling law to identify successes, challenges, and potential solutions." Source: The PSI Blog (Product Stewardship Institute), 6/30/15

Monday, June 29, 2015
Inside the Foundry -- AT&T's IoT innovation center
The IoT Foundry, part of a network of AT&T tech innovation centers, is a hub for the fast-growing Internet of Things, or IoT for short. Amid the quirky Silicon Valley vibe -- the rat's nest of cables, the mobile furniture, the indoor scooters and all the rest -- there's a decidedly serious mission: to envision and invent the next generation of efficiency technologies. Source: GreenBiz.com, 6/29/15

Upcycling for Good: Meet the Digitruck
For a decade, in partnership with Arrow's Value Recovery business, Close the Gap (CTG), an international nonprofit organization working to bridge the digital divide, has been distributing high-quality, pre-owned computers to people in developing and emerging countries. These computers are donated by large and medium-size corporations and public organizations that want to make a difference. Together, over the past 10 years, Close the Gap and Arrow Value Recovery have processed 440,000 donated computers and reached over 1.5 million users. However, the digital divide isn't simply due to a lack of available technology. For many, it starts with a lack of electricity. What good is a device if you don't have the electricity to power it? For many of the 75 percent of Africans who live in rural communities, a lack of infrastructure, including utilities such as electricity, makes the digital divide a veritable chasm. To span this great divide, Close the Gap has partnered with Greenlink to create a solar-powered mobile unit -- the Digitruck -- which is built with triple insulation to withstand the sub-Saharan African heat. The Digitruck can be used as a classroom or a clinic and can travel from village to village. Source: Arrow Value Recovery, 12/22/14



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