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Environmental News

Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Thursday, July 20, 2017
GOP Effort To Make Environmental Science 'Transparent' Worries Scientists
Groups that represent industries from farming to fracking are supporting a legislative push to rewrite how government handles science when drawing up regulations.

And the whole effort has scientists worried. Source: NPR, 7/20/17

States Grapple with Implementing E-Waste Recycling Laws
Even though many of states are moving the needle forward on e-waste, some are running into barriers while working to implement these newly developed laws. Source: Waste360, 7/20/17

Release of treated wastewater from hydraulic fracturing contaminates lake
Hydraulic fracturing has enabled a domestic oil and gas boom in the US, but its rapid growth has raised questions about what to do with the billions of gallons of wastewater that result. Researchers now report that treating the wastewater and releasing it into surface waters has led to the contamination of a Pennsylvania watershed with radioactive material and endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Source: Science Daily, 7/12/17

States Grapple with Implementing E-Waste Recycling Laws
To date, 25 states and Washington, D.C., have electronics recycling laws, most of which are producer responsibility statutes. Illinois, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Wisconsin and Minnesota are among those that have recently taken action to deal with fast-accumulating electronic waste. But even though many of these states are moving the needle forward, some are running into barriers while working to implement these newly developed laws. Source: Waste 360, 7/20/17

Building virtual waterworks with this game could lead to improving the real thing
Faculty at Indiana University are building a video game to teach people about water systems and infrastructure. Source: Great Lakes Echo, 7/19/17

Plastic Is Everywhere And Recycling Isn't The End Of It
Few inventions in modern history have been as successful as plastic. It's in vehicles and building materials and most of our electronic devices. We wrap stuff in it and even wear it.

Now a research team has tallied up how much plastic has been produced and where much of it has gone. Turns out, it's literally almost everywhere. Source: NPR, 7/29/17

Clarkson University Researchers & Entrepreneurs Partner to Commercialize Technology to Convert Agricultural Waste for Energy Applications
After surveying the state of farming in the United States in 2015, Clarkson University researcher David Mitlin and chemistry Ph.D. student Jesse Pokrzywinski concluded there was a glut in milk and related dairy production. From working on a dairy farm in high school, Pokrzywinski witnessed milk being disposed rather than brought to market at a loss.

The researchers learned this was a problem at a national level, with millions of gallons being discarded every year. Over the next two years, Mitlin and Pokrzywinski developed a process to convert milk products and other agricultural wastes into extremely high surface area/low density carbons to be employed for energy storage, CO2 capture and other applications.

Together with Assistant Professor of Chemistry & Biomolecular Science Mario Wriedt's group, and with staff at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Mitlin published a high-profile paper on the material, "Unrivaled Combination of Surface Area and Pore Volume in Micelle Templated Carbon for Supercapacitor Energy Storage," in the Royal Society of Chemistry's Journal of Materials Chemistry A, a world-leading energy journal. Source: Clarkson University, 7/13/17

Water tainted with perfluorocarbons by U.S. military is focus of legislation
House of Representatives passes bill that would require study of health effects, impacts of potential drinking water regulation on development of substitutes. Source: Chemical & Engineering News, 7/18/17

Wednesday, July 19, 2017
House panel approves $300 million for Great Lakes
Despite a White House proposal to eliminate $300 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the House Appropriations Committee voted late Tuesday to fully fund the program through September 2018. Source: Great Lakes Echo, 7/19/17

Tuesday, July 18, 2017
The Myth of Drug Expiration Dates
Hospitals and pharmacies are required to toss expired drugs, no matter how expensive or vital. Meanwhile the FDA has long known that many remain safe and potent for years longer. Source: ProPublica, 7/18/17

Watch your waste: The problem with airline food and packaging
According to the International Air Transport Association, airlines produced 5.2 million tons of waste last year, and will produce over 10 million tons annually by 2030. While the statistic includes a host of disposable products -- from wine bottles to plastic toothbrushes -- a large chunk is directly related to food service. From harnessing behavioral data and using cups that can be composted to donating nonperishable food items and on-board recycling, here's what airlines are doing to divert cabin waste from landfills. Source: CNN, 7/18/17

Monday, July 17, 2017
Connecting blighted Great Lakes cities to boost economy
The Great Lakes connect many blighted cities in a network that could supply recycled building materials. Source: Great Lakes Echo, 7/14/17

Thursday, July 13, 2017
Recycling your home: Can structural wood be reused for the same purpose?
A group of researchers at Michigan State University studying the science of domicology -- the term they use to describe the policies, practices and consequences of abandoned structures -- are examining how wood from abandoned buildings can be reused. Source: Great Lakes Echo, 7/12/17

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