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Environmental News

Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Friday, December 22, 2017
NYS offers $3M in grants for e-waste costs
Over the course of six years, more than 260,000 tons of e-waste has been collected by and recycled under the State Electronic Equipment Recycling and Reuse Act. That amounts to more than 520 million pounds from 2011 through 2016, a press release from the State Department of Environmental Conservation said. And now, the state has made $3 million in grant funding available from its Environmental Protection Fund to help municipalities address the unintended costs associated with the collection and recycling of eligible e-waste. Source: Press Republican, 12/20/17

Apple sued over iPhone slowdown
Two Illinois residents have filed a class-action lawsuit against Apple in federal court in Chicago over the company's admission that it slows down older iPhones. Source: Crain's Chicago Business, 12/21/17

It's Not You, It's Your Battery--Apple Confirms iOS Update Slows Performance
iFixit weighs in on the recent news regarding Apple's old iPhone performance slow down, presenting the results of performance tests on older phones before and after battery replacement. Source:, 12/20/17

Apple Says It Slows Older iPhones To Save Their Battery Life
Confirming iPhone owners' suspicions that Apple purposefully slows the operation of older phones, Apple says that it does just that -- and that slowing down processors makes it easier for old batteries to perform after they've begun to lose capacity. But some customers say the company's strategy of dealing with the power demand pushes them to replace their older iPhones with newer models. Source: NPR, 12/21/17

Thursday, December 21, 2017
For dead EV batteries, reuse comes before recycle
Automakers and e-waste recyclers find new uses for electric vehicle batteries when their on-road service life ends. Source: Roadshow by CNET, 12/5/17

Thursday, December 14, 2017
How Much Food Do We Waste? Probably More Than You Think
Globally, we throw out about 1.3 billion tons of food a year, or a third of all the food that we grow. That's important for at least two reasons. The less the world wastes, the easier it will be to meet the food needs of the global population in coming years. Second, cutting back on waste could go a long way to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Source: New York Times, 12/12/17

Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Chemists forge green path to alkylated amines
Chemists use alkylated amines to build plastics, pharmaceuticals, and more. Unfortunately, making these important building blocks on a large scale is energy intensive and relies on nonrenewable feedstocks. Now a team of researchers report a green approach to synthesizing the molecules. Source: Chemical & Engineering News, 12/11/17

Masconomet, Mass., Regional School District Launches Textile Recycling Program
Bay State Textiles has teamed with Masconomet Recycling and DECA clubs to add four textile recycling boxes to the campuses of some of the schools in the Masconomet, Mass., Regional School District. Source: Waste360, 12/1/17

Think Tank: Mitigating the Harmful Side of Unsustainable Consumer Practices
Marcus Tan explains how our culture's obsession with the new is hurting the environment. Source: Women's Wear Daily, 11/28/17

Will China's crackdown on 'foreign garbage' force wealthy countries to recycle more of their own waste?
With holidays approaching, many of us are mindful of the need to collect and recycle all the additional plastic, paper and other waste that we are about to generate. This year, however, there are questions about where that waste will end up. China, the world's largest importer of scrap, is looking to clean up its act. Source: The Conversation, 12/13/17

Waste Not, Want Not: Drink Beer To Feed Fish And Help Save The Planet
In Westfield, N.Y., perch, bass, catfish and trout are growing fat on the byproducts of an adjacent brewery and distillery. The fish, still young but intended to be harvested and eaten next year, are the first fruits of an innovative project aimed at turning waste into food while addressing a suite of problems associated with more conventional means of catching and farming seafood. Source: NPR, 12/12/17

Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Tinder for food: App shares leftovers for a healthier planet
Too many leftovers from dinner? Vegetables forgotten in the fridge or cans gathering dust at the back of a cupboard? Instead of tossing them out, why not share them with friends and neighbors and care for the planet at the same time? That is the premise of OLIO, a mobile phone app founded in Britain and part of a wave of businesses using technology to cut waste and help the environment. Source: Reuters, 12/1/17

Millennials Buy Products They Believe are Ecofriendly and Companies are Responding
Millennials tend to prioritize buying from companies they believe have environmentally sustainable practices, and they are doing their homework to determine which companies they most trust, according to new research findings. Source: Waste360, 12/5/17

This Natural Liquid Silk Is Starting To Replace Oil-Based Plastic
Microbeads, the tiny plastic beads used in some facial scrubs and toothpaste that rinse down drains and pollute oceans and lakes, are now banned in "rinse-off" products in the U.S. But it's not like those products are great for the environment now: you're probably still slathering other lesser-known petrochemical ingredients on your face, like methylparaben and propylene glycol. One company wants to replace those ingredients--along with plastics used in other everyday products--with silk. Source: Fast Company, 12/11/17

Cranberry growers tart on phosphorus
Phosphorus is an important nutrient that is often added to cranberry fields as a fertilizer. It is also naturally present in watery ecosystems. But too much causes algae to grow faster than ecosystems can handle. These large growths of algae, called algal blooms, can severely reduce or eliminate oxygen in the water. This leads to illness and death for large numbers of fish. These concerns led a team of Massachusetts-based researchers to study ways to reduce the amount of phosphorus leaving cranberry farms. The study was conducted by Casey Kennedy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture - Agricultural Research Service and colleagues at USDA-ARS and the University of Massachusetts. Source:, 11/29/17

We're pouring millions of tons of salt on roads each winter. Here's why that's a problem.
The use of salt to de-ice roads and parking lots has skyrocketed in recent years. As environmental consequences emerge, scientists propose creative solutions. Source: Ensia, 11/6/17

When and how to use the term 'zero waste' -- and when to avoid it
Do we need the term "zero waste" to guide our consumption and waste behaviors, or are we better off without it? Source: Waste Dive, 12/11/17

Least-Toxic Chemicals Show Promise for Bed Bug Control, But Non-Toxic Practices Remain the Best Solution
Less toxic oil-based insecticides are showing promise for the treatment of bed bugs, according to a study published this month in the Journal of Economic Entomology. Source: Beyond Pesticides, 12/8/17

Brewery Makes Algae Beer To Spotlight Threat To Lake Erie
A brewery in Ohio is making a batch of green-colored beer called "Algae Blooms" to draw attention to the toxic algae that's been fouling Lake Erie. Source: Food Manufacturing, 11/30/17

Will people eat relish made from 'waste' ingredients? Study finds they may even prefer it
A new Drexel University study found strong potential for consumer acceptance of a new category of foods created from discarded ingredients. Source: Drexel University, 12/12/17

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