Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable
Promoting Pollution Prevention Through Information Exchange

Environmental News

Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Thursday, January 29, 2015
More important than money? Environmental health benefits inspire people to cut back on electricity
Telling people how much pollution they could prevent is more likely to reduce power use than touting cost savings. Source: UCLA, 1/12/15

Minnesota tops nation in pollution prevention
Minnesota businesses are the best in the nation at reducing or eliminating some dangerous pollutants, according to a Toxic Release Inventory report released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This information is reported by manufacturing and other industrial facilities around the U.S. 2013 data showed Minnesota led the nation in implementing measures that resulted in toxic reductions. These activities helped contribute to a reduction of nearly 1 million pounds in toxic releases from 2012 to 2013 in Minnesota. Source: Minnesota Pollution Control Agency1/28/15

IERC 2015: Electronics recyclers gather in Austria
Innovative electronics recycling strategies, challenging market conditions and scrap exports were among the top discussion points at the International Electronics Recycling Congress (IERC) held in Salzburg, Austria, 21-23 January. Source: Recycling Today, 1/27/15

ERI participates in 'Person in Port' program
Electronic Recyclers International (ERI), Fresno, California, hosted and helped train guests from around the world last week as part of the "Person in Port" program. The United Nations University (UNU), the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Basel Convention Coordination Centre for Africa (BCCC) in Nigeria--each members of the Solving the E-Waste Problem (StEP) initiative--launched the program. The StEP partners are teaming up with ERI to gather information and reliable data on Nigeria's importing of used electronics and e-waste. Nigeria is one of the main countries in West Africa through which electronic waste flows. The project focuses on identifying the types and amounts of e-waste imported; its functional status; how it is packaged, labeled and transported; its origin (exporting countries); and what will become of it once it arrives in Nigeria. Timing of the project is to be determined, ERI says. Source: Recycling Today, 1/28/15

Donating food to the hungry should be easy -- why isn't it?
'If we want food recovery to become as commonplace for restaurants and food service providers as recycling and composting have become, then we need policymakers to address the bureaucratic tangle around what can be donated and how.' Claire Cummings, Waste Specialist for Bon Appetit Management Company Foundation, explains that 'we need shared national standards around what food recovery entails and how to donate prepared food safely.' Source: GreenBiz, 1/21/15

What plastic can learn from steel in a circular economy
According to the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), "steel produced by predominantly scrap-fed electric-arc furnaces accounted for more than 60% of the total raw steel produced in the United States in 2013." Plastics, an even more versatile material than steel, could follow the same trajectory and for the same reasons. Why don't more US recycled material processors build the capacity to intercept this material and process it more responsibly in the US? Mike Biddle expores these questions for Guardian Sustainable Business. Source: Guardian Sustainable Business, 1/29/15

Wednesday, January 28, 2015
This Super Bowl party won't waste any food
This week, in partnership with the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee and Super Bowl XLIX, the first Reduced Waste Challenge is taking place at Super Bowl Central. That's the 12-block area in the heart of downtown Phoenix where thousands will enjoy parties and live music. Source: AzCentral, 1/26/15

EPA Recognizes Outstanding Food Recovery Challenge and WasteWise Program Participants
Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognizes the accomplishments of organizations and businesses participating in EPA's Food Recovery Challenge and WasteWise program for reducing their climate footprint, improving efficiency, helping communities and achieving cost savings through waste reduction. These programs save money, protect the environment and feed the hungry. Source: US EPA, 1/28/15

Measuring Phosphorus Loss from Midwest Crop Fields
Field runoff from farms in the Lake Erie basin is often rich in soluble plant nutrients, including phosphorus. When this nutrient-rich runoff reaches the lake, the phosphorus can support abundant algal blooms that contaminate municipal drinking water supplies. Source: Agricultural Research Service, 1/13/15

How these cities and regions are seriously tackling waste
On January 20th, the Danish Business Authority was crowned king of cities and regions at The Circular Economy Awards. This post from 2Degrees profiles all of the nominees in the Cities/Regions category. Source: 2Degrees, 1/13/15

Developing Cities Hold Big Key To Climate Action
Cities -- the best of which are bastions of transit networks, bike paths, compact apartments and chirpy baristas -- are growing faster than litters of sewer rats, exacerbating their already-high hungers for energy. The trend is so steep that a new analysis projects that urban centers will be burning through three times more energy in the year 2050 than was the case in 2005. But what sounds like a threat could also be viewed as an opportunity. The new study, by five European and American researchers and published Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, pinpoints staggering potential climate benefits of smart growth, gasoline taxes and other measures that can reduce energy demand in urban centers, which is where a growing majority of the world's population is becoming concentrated and where most of its energy is used. Source: Climate Central, 1/15/15

Four Ways Cities Are Using Innovative Technology to Build Resilience
It takes a thoughtful approach for cities to leverage new technologies that help build their resilience. Here are four exciting ways that cities are thinking about how to use new technology to become more resilient. Source: 100 Resilient Cities, 1/21/15

Scope 2: Changing the Way Companies Think About Electricity Emissions
Approximately 40 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions come from energy generation, and about half of that energy is consumed by industrial or commercial users. If a fifth of the world's emissions come from the energy that keeps the world's businesses running, how does business report those emissions? Source: World Resources Institute, 1/20/15

10 members of Congress who actually get sustainable business
One key to connecting the dots between economic prosperity and sustainability: Recognition from Washington's top brass. Source: GreenBiz, 1/28/15

Ford, Nest, the Internet of Things: Can mobility merge with smart energy?
One priority at Ford Motor Co.'s new Silicon Valley R&D center is working with "Internet of Things" companies such as Google-owned Nest. Source: GreenBiz, 1/28/15

Four ways cities are using innovative technology to build resilience
It takes a thoughtful approach for cities to leverage new technologies that help build their resilience. Here are four exciting ways cities are getting it done. Source: GreenBiz, 1/28/15

Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Are prescription drugs harming fish? [Audio]
Lots of things end up in Great Lakes that shouldn't be there. Plastic bottles and microbeads, fertilizer runoff from farm fields, and invasive species to name a few. Now, add to that list prescription drugs. Researchers are increasingly worried about how chemicals from prescription medication could be impacting aquatic wildlife. Current State talks with Rebecca Klaper, a professor of freshwater science at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Source: Great Lakes Echo, 1/27/15

Oregon Water Treatment Company Wants To Turn Sewer Water Into Beer
A water treatment company in Oregon says that it does such a good job of cleaning sewage that the resulting clean water could be used for human consumption rather than just irrigation and similar other purposes permitted by state law. And to prove their point, they are asking the state to let them provide a group of home brewers with recycled water for the brewing of beer. Source: Oregon Public Broadcasting, 1/22/15

What do businesses think of their CSOs?
Solid business sense is the top trait desired in sustainability professionals, according to a GlobeScan/BSR survey. Communication skills and ability to promote sustainability were also seen as key traits for CSR leaders. Source: GreenBiz, 1/27/15

Composting Coop Taps into the Unbroken Spirit of Rust Belt Cities
Daniel Brown is co-founder of Rust Belt Riders Composting, a worker-owned, bike-based, organic waste removal company in Cleveland. Here, he shares the story of how the Riders got their start, how cooperatives create a new framework for communities, and how rust belt cities are imbued with a changing, yet unbroken, spirit. Source: Shareable, 1/20/15

Why businesses should support the EPA's pollution rules
As it celebrates its 25th anniversary, sustainability advocate Ceres sets its sights on getting corporations to support proposed US power plant rules. Source: The Guardian, 1/27/15

All that glitters? 10 problems we need to tackle in the gold supply chain
The Guardian's panel of experts discussed how the gold industry could become more sustainable and transparent. Source: The Guardian, 1/27/15

Startup Looks to Computing to Heat Buildings
Ask any computer user and they'll all pretty much agree they don't want their machine running too hot. Whether a desktop, a laptop or a smartphone -- users try to keep things cool. The team at Project Exergy believes the opposite. They are working on a supercomputer that runs as hot as possible so that, according to this press release, it can store that heat and apply it to a home's space, water heating and air conditioning needs. In other words, almost all appliances and devices today have some sort of computer inside of them. Those computers all generate heat. Project Exergy's prototype is a centralized computer for the home that also heats the building it resides in. Source: Future Structure, 1/19/15

Telecoms, Data Center Trends Heighten Climate Risks, Vulnerability
Like water, energy and waste management, digital telecommunications and data centers have become utilities essential for modern societies to function sustainably. It is generally accepted that the increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather events -- and the onset of gradual, long-terms shifts in weather patterns and climate -- pose existential threats to critical information and communications technology (ICT) supply chains, as well as infrastructure. But a recent report from Riverside Technology and Acclimatise found that the business risks of climate change as they relate to telecommunications and data centers are poorly recognized -- particularly with respect to infrastructure and supply chains. Similarly, climate change resiliency and adaptation plans in this critical segment of the U.S. ICT sector are poorly developed, concluded the report, which was conducted on behalf of the federal government's General Services Administration (GSA). Source: Triple Pundit, 1/21/15

SGP Joins Esteemed Group of Members of Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council
By becoming a member of the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council (SPLC), the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership (SGP) has joined forces with leaders from government, industry, academia, standards organizations and NGOs to develop a groundbreaking guidance program for leadership in sustainable purchasing. Public and private sector organizations will use the program to guide trillions of dollars in collective purchasing towards goods and services that simultaneously meet the needs of their organization, society and the planet. As a member of the SPLC, SGP will play an instrumental role in solving the biggest obstacle to sustainable institutional purchasing: a lack of standardization in how sustainable purchasing is defined, guided, measured and rewarded. Source: Sustainable Green Printing Partnership, 1/22/15

Monday, January 26, 2015
The new GHG Protocol: What you need to report now
With Google, Apple, Mars and EDF Energy, the World Resources Institute developed this new standard for reporting emissions from purchased electricity. Source: GreenBiz, 1/21/15

Thursday, January 22, 2015
Net positive: 'It's the leading edge of sustainability, but we've not cracked it'
The net positive movement is growing but its advocates are still fighting to explain what they stand for -- and what they don't. Source: The Guardian, 1/22/15

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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