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Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Thursday, February 16, 2017
The Wisdom of Garbage
Researchers are digging into heaps of discarded food to uncover clues about why we throw so much of it away -- and how cities can cut the waste. Source: CityLab, 2/15/17

Gore to Phase Out Perfluorinated Chemicals, Develop New Waterproofing Coatings
Gore Fabrics says it will eliminate perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) of environmental concern from its products by 2023. Source: Environmental Leader, 2/14/16

Nanomaterials Guidance Under REACH Review
In a move that could affect US manufacturers and chemical companies that do business in Europe, the European Chemicals Agency is moving forward with nanomaterial guidance regulations. Source: Environmental Leader, 2/14/17

Wednesday, February 15, 2017
IL: Will County hopes to expand electronic recycling
Will County will continue its electronic recycling program at five locations this year, with hopes of expanding that to seven sites, officials said. The county board is expected to approve a one-year contract with A-Team Recyclers, LLC, of Joliet, the sole bidder for the recycling program at a cost of $91,600. More sites could be added for $13,800 each. Marta Keane, recycling specialist with the Will County Resource Recovery and Energy Division, said with additional money in the budget, she also wants to increase one-day collection events from two in 2016 to at least six collection events in the coming year. The county will continue to partner with the city of Lockport to operate a permanent electronics drop off center, which is open from 6 to 11 a.m. every Tuesday and Friday at 17112 Prime Boulevard. Source: Chicago Tribune, 2/10/17

Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Updated version of IC2 Alternatives Assessment Guide released
The Interstate Chemicals Clearinghouse (IC2) is pleased to release an updated version (v1.1) of the IC2 Alternatives Assessment Guide (Guide), with substantive changes to the Exposure Module that bring the Guide into closer agreement with the National Academy of Sciences' A Framework to Guide Selection of Chemical Alternatives. Source: Interstate Chemicals Clearinghouse, 1/31/17

Monday, February 13, 2017
Plastic litter on Great Lakes beaches
What do cigarette butts, takeout containers, straws and water bottles have in common? They're some of the most common litter found on Lake Michigan and Lake Erie beaches, according to a recent study published in Science of the Total Environment. Source: Great Lakes Echo, 2/13/17

Researchers invent a breakthrough process to produce renewable car tires from trees and grasses
A team of researchers, led by the University of Minnesota, has invented a new technology to produce automobile tires from trees and grasses in a process that could shift the tire production industry toward using renewable resources found right in our backyards. Source: University of Minnesota, 2/8/17

Friday, February 10, 2017
Chemicals from Air Force base seep into wells, Lake Huron
Residents near an abandoned military base in Michigan are worried about an unseen invader: toxic chemicals that have contaminated wells in the town of Oscoda. Now the chemicals are spreading farther -- and have even reached Lake Huron. Source: WBFO, 1/27/17

Samsung's Note 7 recycling center catches fire, company blames faulty batteries
On Wednesday, 19 fire engines and 110 firemen reported to a fire at Samsung SDI's Chinese manufacturing facility in Tianjin. The fire was put out without widespread damage to the plant, which mostly remained on a normal manufacturing schedule. As for where the fire started and what caused it, there's some confusion in that regard. According to Samsung SDI spokesperson Shin Yong-doo, the fire began in a part of the facility used for waste and faulty batteries -- and, of course, the Samsung SDI subsidiary in China was responsible for manufacturing many of the batteries in the Note 7 that failed under stress. There's no indication that it was actually Note 7 batteries, specifically, that caused the failure -- but the Wuqing branch of the Tianjin fire department had a rather different explanation for what had happened. According to them (and Reuters) the "material that caught fire was lithium batteries inside the production workshops and some half-finished products." If that's true, it implies some other problem at the plant -- which may be precisely why Samsung SDI put the blame on the recycling division. Source: Extreme Tech, 2/9/17

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