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Environmental News


Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Leading companies launch Minnesota Sustainable Growth Coalition
Minnesota's proud history of corporate citizenship and environmental stewardship has reached a new tipping point. Today, more than 25 businesses and organizations announce the Minnesota Sustainable Growth Coalition, a business led partnership harnessing their expertise to advance the next frontier of corporate sustainability -- the circular economy. Source: Environmental Initiative, 6/16/16

Going Greener
Small changes in lab practices and purchasing can lead to big gains in environmental sustainability. Sarah Webb looks at the steps labs can take to boost productivity, benefit people, and protect the planet. Source: Biotechniques, May 2016

Tuesday, June 21, 2016
Garbage in, energy out: creating biofuel from plastic waste
An Australian startup has found a way to transform end-of-life plastics into bio-crude fuel. But is this a sustainable solution or just pollution displacement? Source: The Guardian, 6/20/16

The Circuit: Tracking America's Electronic Waste
This international undercover investigation reveals what really happens to America's discarded TVs, phones and computers. Source: Oregon Public Broadcasting, 6/1/16

Thursday, June 16, 2016
Why Tech Companies Design Products With Their Destruction in Mind
Apple introduced a piece of technology recently that will likely never be used by any consumer. Instead, it kind of cleans up after them: a robot that breaks down iPhones for recycling. The company spent more than three years building Liam, of which there are currently two. Each carefully separates iPhone components such as the camera module, SIM card trays, screws and batteries. Instead of tossing the whole device into a shredder--the most common form of disposal--Liam separates materials so they can be recycled more efficiently. Other electronics makers take a different recycling approach, designing products that simplify disassembly by replacing glue and screws with parts that snap together, for instance. Some also have reduced the variety of plastics used and avoid mercury and other hazardous materials that can complicate disposal. It's all part of the electronics industry's efforts to undo a problem of its own making. The technological advances that replaced typewriters with personal computers, flip phones with smartphones and clunky TVs with flat-screen displays also spawned the consumer expectation that today's cutting-edge product will become obsolete in a few years. The constant churn of new devices has contributed to an increase in electronic waste, some of which ends up in developing nations where local residents must deal with the health and environmental risks. Source: The Wall Street Journal

Monday, June 13, 2016
Hard-Pressed Rust Belt Cities Go Green to Aid Urban Revival
Gary, Indiana is joining Detroit and other fading U.S. industrial centers in an effort to turn abandoned neighborhoods and factory sites into gardens, parks, and forests. In addition to the environmental benefits, these greening initiatives may help catalyze an economic recovery. Source: Yale e360, 5/31/16

Friday, June 10, 2016
Addition of HBCD Category to TRI List Proposed Rule
EPA is proposing a rule that would add a hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) category to the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) list of reportable chemicals with a 100-pound reporting threshold. HBCD is a brominated flame retardant found in the environment, in wildlife, and in humans. Source: U.S. EPA, 6/2/16

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