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Environmental News

Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Green Chemistry in 2017: The State of the States
This article discusses current and potential state green chemistry regimes that have developed since the journal's last article on this topic, discuss some chemical-specific laws, and assess what might be on the horizon now that TSCA reform has been enacted. Source: National Law Review, 5/16/17

Tuesday, May 16, 2017
Small companies save big with tech advice
A model program to provide technical assistance services to underserved rural areas of Illinois has generated $24 million in savings of energy, water, and waste over its first eight years. Source: ISTC Blog, 5/9/17

U.S. Laboratory Finds Plastics-to-Fuel Technology Helps Reduce GHG Emissions
PTF facilities use pyrolysis, a process that converts post-use non-recycled plastics into liquid fuels and chemical feedstocks by heating them in the absence of oxygen. Source: Waste360, 5/16/17

Mountains of waste could lead to new US manufacturing, jobs
Waste material from the paper and pulp industry soon could be made into anything from tennis rackets to cars. Scientists have discovered how to make high quality carbon fiber from lignin. Source: Science Daily, 5/15/17

Millions Of Pieces Of Plastic Are Piling Up On An Otherwise Pristine Pacific Island
More than 37 million pieces of plastic debris have accumulated on a remote island in the South Pacific, thousands of miles from the nearest city, according to estimates from researchers who documented the accumulating trash. Source: NPR, 5/15/17

Ikea's solution to peak stuff? Invest in plastics recycling plant
Furniture giant commits to reducing use of virgin raw materials but experts raise concerns about supply chain domination. Source: The Guardian, 5/15/17

Trying to Reverse Americans' Rotten Record on Food Waste
States are trying to reduce the amount of food that ends up in landfills. Source: Stateline, 5/16/17

Friday, May 12, 2017
American households use a variety of lightbulbs as CFL and LED adoption increases
As lighting technologies evolve and adapt to federal standards, lighting in U.S. homes is in a state of transition. Data from the 2015 Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS) show that, as of 2015, most homes in the United States used more than one type of lightbulb, primarily a mix of incandescent and compact fluorescent (CFL). Adoption of light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs has been increasing, with 29% of U.S. households reporting at least one LED bulb installed. Source: Energy Information Adminstration, 5/8/17

Nike and H&M try reused threads on for size
Companies joining the Circular Fibres Initiative set out to unravel the textile industry for a new, circular model. Source: GreenBiz, 5/11/17

Thursday, May 11, 2017
More people, more trash? Rethinking waste from New York to Beijing
It would be difficult to find a more fundamental urban environmental issue than solid waste disposal. It is clear that effective waste management is essential to the development of sustainable cities. Many cities around the world are implementing innovative measures to deal with waste and are increasingly incorporating waste management into sustainability plans. Source: GreenBiz, 5/11/17

Got plants? Bio-based shoes, lingerie, auto parts and more
Lately, bio-based alternatives have begun making inroads. Now, businesses can buy durable plastic-like industrial materials without petroleum-based polymers. And consumers can -- and do -- buy grocery bags, cups, forks and spoons that act like plastic but are biodegradable and compostable. They can even buy soft, washable fabrics that seem like nylon but are made of plants and biodegrade. Even shoemakers are walking in this direction: Adidas AG's Reebok unit is manufacturing a corn-based sneaker for sale later this year. Source: GreenBiz, 5/11/17

Dell Says the Circular Economy Is Good for Business: Q&A with Michael Murphy
At Dell, obsolete electronics are viewed as a resource rather than waste. In North America, the Dell Reconnect program with Goodwill Industries accepts computer equipment of any brand for refurbishment or recycling. Since 2008, the company reports that it has collected 1.6 billion pounds of electronics from its global take-back programs.

Scaling up is essential, especially to meet aggressive goals for incorporating post-consumer recycled content (PCR) into products, according to Michael Murphy, vice president of global product compliance engineering and environmental affairs at Dell Technologies. Murphy will be talking about the circular economy at the 2017 Environmental Leader Conference in June. Recently Environmental Leader caught up with him to find out how the world's largest technology recycler is closing the loop. Source: Environmental Leader, 5/10/17

Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Food packaging gets smart -- and poses a recycling nightmare
Use of electronics in packaging is on the rise, raising questions about the recyclability of everyday products. Source: The Guardian, 5/10/17

Biofuels: could agave, hemp and saltbush be the fuels of the future?
Oilier plants, new processing technologies and multipurpose crops could put the biofuel industry back in the race for greener transport fuels. Source: The Guardian, 5/9/17

Cities Boost Efforts to Reduce Energy Waste: Here's How They Rank
As the federal government weighs budget cuts to energy efficiency programs, cities are stepping up efforts to reduce energy waste. More mayors and local lawmakers in America's largest cities are turning to energy efficiency to reduce energy costs for consumers and businesses, strengthen the resilience of their communities, and reduce pollution, according to the third edition of the City Energy Efficiency Scorecard, released today by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. Source: ACEEE, 5/10/17

Treating wastewater wastes energy, but it doesn't have to
The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) has set a target to be energy-neutral by 2023, following the lead of plants in the United Kingdom, Denmark and the East Bay Municipal Utility District in Oakland, California, which has moved beyond net-zero energy to actually selling energy back to the grid. These innovators are using a variety of technologies to reduce the electricity they use through energy efficiency and to generate electricity onsite to offset what they do use. Source: GreenBiz, 4/3/17

Lead Dust From Firearms Can Pose A Silent Health Risk
Firearms safety is key for people who use weapons at work or for recreational shooting. But one risk has been little acknowledged: Lead dust exposure. Source: NPR, 5/10/17

Upcoming RCRA Changes and How They'll Affect Your Business
The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the law that oversees the proper management of hazardous and non-hazardous solid waste, is seeing some major updates go into effect on May 30, 2017. Source: Iowa Waste Reduction Center, 3/16/17

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