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Environmental News


Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Thursday, March 31, 2016
Snyder signs bill to require accurate Michigan recycling data
Gov. Rick Snyder has signed legislation creating a statewide data collection system so that Michigan can track its recycling efforts. Source: Detroit Free Press, 3/29/16

What Apple's reuse robot says about sustainability and tech
Somewhere in between the technicolor iWatches, cheaper iPhones and revamped iPads, a relatively run-of-the-mill Apple i-device showcase Monday briefly veered into the company's vision for high-tech sustainability. The showstopper was "Liam," a robot capable of deconstructing used iPhones and removing component parts for reuse or recycling. Precious metals such as the silver present in the phone's motherboard, for example, could be stripped and re-purposed for solar panels, said Lisa Jackson, Apple's vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives. But the window into Apple's massive product supply chain -- the company had sold 700 million iPhones alone as of last year -- also raises familiar questions about the role that consumer electronics companies play in encouraging a throw-away culture that perpetuates global issues such as e-waste. Getting used electronics back to manufacturers (and their robots) in the first place is no easy task. Liam also won't do anything for consumers who want to fix their iPhones themselves instead of buying a new one, nor the processors handling countless other gadgets on the market today. Source: GreenBiz, 3/21/16

Wednesday, March 30, 2016
The Humanities Must Rise to the Global Environmental Challenge
Scientists need humanists to persuade a skeptical public that the well-being of our planet is at stake. Source: Chronicle of Higher Education, 3/30/16

41 energy companies sign on to voluntarily reduce methane emissions
The Obama administration on Wednesday announced a new partnership with 41 energy companies that have agreed to voluntarily reduce methane emissions from natural gas operations to help combat climate change. Source: PBS Newshour, 3/30/16

IL: Electronics recycling may start costing Kane County residents
If Kane County residents want convenient means to recycle their electronics, someone is going to pay more. And county officials are trying to position themselves to not be the bearers of that additional cost. It was only about a year ago that county residents had six options for electronics recycling. There were permanent drop-off locations in communities such as West Dundee and St. Charles. And the county hosted a countywide recycling event on the second Saturday of each month from April through November. After April 8, only the one-day, countywide events will remain. That's far less convenient, but it is still far more than most areas of the state offer, according to Jennifer Jarland, Kane County's recycling program coordinator. "We are one of only four Illinois counties with a program of any kind still remaining," she said. "No one will have permanent drop-off left by the end of April, including us." Source: The Daily Herald, 3/30/16

Managing the unmeasurable in apparel supply chains
Tracing consumer goods back to the source isn't easy, but the garment industry sustainability ills are a prime example of why it needs to be easier. Source: GreenBiz, 3/30/16

IL: Electronics recycling centers may close May 1-- or not
Lake County residents with clunky TVs and outmoded computers may have only a few weeks left to drop them off at one of SWALCO's electronics recycling sites, including a location in Highland Park. SWALCO, or Solid Waste Agency of Lake County, announced March 4 that it planned to discontinue electronics collection at its five drop-off sites May 1 rather than continue subsidizing a program once fully financed by electronics manufacturers. Since the agency announced its decision, municipal officials in 10 towns have offered to contribute money to keep the program alive through the end of 2016, according to Walter Willis, SWALCO's executive director. The agency's board of directors may vote April 14 to reverse its decision, he said. Most electronics -- including televisions, monitors, computers and video games -- have been banned from Illinois landfills since 2012 under a state law enacted several years earlier. The law required manufacturers to purchase recycled electronics under a formula based on the weight of the products sold in Illinois. Because new electronics tend to be lighter than those consumers are discarding, manufacturers' buy-back requirements haven't been sufficient to cover the amount of electronics collected, according to SWALCO. Source: Chicago Tribune, 3/28/2016

Tuesday, March 29, 2016
What Happened to Sustainability?
The recent Paris climate-change summit notwithstanding, fewer manufacturers seem to be talking publicly about their sustainability programs these days. Has the sustainability movement fizzled in manufacturing, or is sustainability just becoming a standard part of doing business? Source: Automation World, 3/28/16

How Tennessee harnesses Waste Stream Mapping
In this month's P2 Impact column on GreenBiz, "How Tennessee harnesses Waste Stream Mapping", Vaughn Cassidy describes how Tennessee is taking a closer look at the waste from four big industries helps companies in the Volunteer State to exchange waste materials. Source: GreenBiz, 3/24/16

Wednesday, March 23, 2016
In Its Quest To Decrease Water Use, Levi's Is Open Sourcing Production Methods
From stonewashed jeans without the "wash" to using more recycled cotton, Levi's is working to squeeze wasted water from its clothes. Source: Fast Company, 3/22/16

Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Starbucks will start donating 100% of its unused food to those in need
Starbucks has pledged to donate 100% of its leftover food through a new program called FoodShare, the company announced in a release on Tuesday. Starbucks created the initiative in partnership with nonprofit organization Feeding America and food collection group Food Donation Connection, and it will allow the company to donate perishable, ready-to-eat meals from its 7,600 stores to food banks nationwide. Source: Mashable, 3/22/16

How America Forgot About the Lead in Its Water
In the mid-1980s, a raft of new research found America's children also ingested lead from paint chips and dust, shifting the public focus from tap water to paint. Source: Pacific Standard, 3/22/15

How the Cleveland Browns are Tackling Food Waste
Brad Mohr, director of stadium operations for the Cleveland Browns, is a leader in the waste and recycling industry for sporting events. In addition to being responsible for the stadium's front-of-house operations, Mohr is an active participant in the northeast Ohio's green community.

Mohr kicked off his operations career in 1995 with the Cleveland Indians and has also worked in Chicago at the United Center, home of the Chicago Bulls and Blackhawks, and U.S. Cellular Field, home of the White Sox. He is also a current member of the Green Sports Alliance and Stadium Managers Association.

He has shared his story and successes locally, nationally and internationally and will be speaking about food waste reduction and recovery from large and small venues at Waste360's WasteExpo this June as part of the Food Recovery Forum.

Waste360 recently spoke with Mohr about his role as director of stadium operations for the Cleveland Browns and the team's latest waste and recycling efforts. Source: Waste360, 3/21/16


Ford Shares Environmental Management Best Practices with Suppliers
Ford has expanded an environmental reporting tool for its suppliers that the automaker says will help them save money and shrink their environmental impact. Source: Environmental Leader, 3/22/16

What Apple's reuse robot says about sustainability and tech
A robot that can take apart an iPhone is good for the visibility of green design, but it won't fix environmental ills such as e-waste. Source: GreenBiz, 3/21/16



Other Environmental News

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