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Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Friday, October 14, 2016
Why Sustainable Business Leaders Must 'Think Exponentially'
As corporations increasingly embed sustainability into their long-term plans and decision-making processes, new business models are emerging that promise to deliver financial and non-financial (such as environmental and societal) values while working toward a net-zero emissions economy. Source: Environmental Leader, 10/12/16

Turning Beer Wastewater into Energy Storage Benefits Breweries, Battery Manufacturers
Beer wastewater can be converted to materials needed to make energy storage cells -- a development that researchers say could be a "win-win" for breweries and battery manufacturers. Source: Environmental Leader, 10/13/16

Preliminary estimates show that U.S. manufacturing energy consumption increased between 2010 and 2014
Preliminary estimates show that the total U.S. manufacturing energy consumption increased about 3.7% between 2010 and 2014. This is the first measured 4-year increase in manufacturing energy consumption since 2002. Source: Energy Information Adminstration, 10/13/16

Energy Efficiency Is Key To Taking On Climate Change -- Here Are The Numbers That Matter
Energy efficiency needs to account for one-third of all emissions reductions by 2040. Source: Fast Company, 10/13/16

Thursday, October 13, 2016
Can Plant Diversity Help Fight Insect Invasions?
For farmers, insecticides have long been viewed as a necessity of the trade. After all, they need something to chase away all the aphids and such plaguing their plants. But a new study suggests there may be a better way to repel insects: growing more diverse crops. Source: Pacific Standard, 10/12/16

Wednesday, October 12, 2016
Is using less water the secret to cutting our greenhouse gas emissions?
California, which uses 20% of its electricity in supplying water, just passed a law to collect emissions data from water utilities. Source: The Guardian, 10/11/16

EPA Acts on New Chemical Law to Fast-Track Five Chemicals
EPA is taking swift steps to carry out requirements in the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act and to reduce exposure to certain persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT) chemicals.

The five chemicals to receive expedited action are:

  • Decabromodiphenyl ethers (DecaBDE), used as a flame retardant in textiles, plastics and polyurethane foam;
  • Hexachlorobutadiene (HCBD), used in the manufacture of rubber compounds and lubricants and as a solvent;
  • Pentachlorothio-phenol (PCTP), used as an agent to make rubber more pliable in industrial uses;
  • Tris (4-isopropylphenyl) phosphate, used as a flame retardant in consumer products and other industrial uses; and
  • 2,4,6-Tris(tert-butyl)phenol, used as a fuel, oil, gasoline or lubricant additive.
The statutory deadline for EPA to propose action is June 22, 2019. Source: U.S. EPA, 10/11/16

Will you recycle a cup if your name is on it?
When you go to a coffee shop and the barista writes your name on the cup, you're more likely to recycle it than if your name was misspelled or wasn't written on the cup at all. That's just one of several interesting recycling behaviors marketing researchers recently uncovered. It turns out we have fascinating biases that help determine what we recycle and what we just toss in the trash. Source: Mother Nature Network, 10/11/16

Wednesday, October 5, 2016
7 brilliant nature-inspired designs
Meet the finalists of the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge. Source: GreenBiz, 10/4/16

A New Healthy Building Certification From The CDC Is Coming To Your Office
Fitwel is a health and wellness standard for buildings developed by the CDC, the General Services Administration (the government agency that runs federal office buildings). After testing it in government facilities, it was released to the public a few months ago, with the help of a New York City nonprofit, the Center for Active Design. It's aimed at helping employers evaluate all the design factors that go into creating a healthy workplace, from proximity to public transit, bike parking, indoor air quality, healthy food access, and stairwell design. Source: Fast Company, 10/4/16

Reservoirs are underappreciated source of greenhouse gases
Washington State University researchers say the world's reservoirs are an underappreciated source of greenhouse gases, producing the equivalent of roughly 1 gigaton of carbon dioxide a year, or 1.3 percent of all greenhouse gases produced by humans. That's more greenhouse gas production than all of Canada. Source: Washington State University, 9/28/16

Plastics Industry, Recyclers Launch Automotive Recycling Project
A new automotive recycling project aims to develop a method to collect and recover plastic auto parts in a way that is technically and economically feasible. Source: Environmental Leader, 10/5/16

Not all bioplastics are created equal
University of Minnesota research suggests forest residuals provide cleaner feedstock for bio-based plastic than fossil fuels or row crops. Source: University of Minnesota, 9/13/16

Better Buildings Initiative Expanding to Increase Efficiency of U.S. Laboratories
As part of the Obama Administration's effort to cut energy waste in the nation's buildings and facilities, today the U.S. Department of Energy is launching the Better Buildings Smart Labs Accelerator to advance energy efficiency in laboratory buildings owned and operated by universities, corporations, national laboratories, hospitals, and federal agencies. Through the new Better Buildings Smart Labs Accelerator, partners will pursue ambitious energy-saving targets and strategies that will address key barriers to improving energy efficiency. Source: U.S. Department of Energy, 9/27/16

Monday, October 3, 2016
Scientists develop first agro-waste food trays from oil and dairy liquid effluent
Scientists from European agriculture research institute INRA have completed a four-year EU EcoBioCap project to develop the first biodegradable trays from oil and dairy liquid effluent. Source: Dairy Reporter, 9/30/16

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