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Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Making A Better Phone Battery From Beer Brewery Waste
For every pint of beer produced by a brewery, seven pints of waste water are created. And it can't just be washed down the drain--the waste requires extra cleaning first. But what if the gunk that comes out of that water could be used for something useful? Like, for making batteries? That's exactly what a research team at University of Colorado Boulder is doing. Source: Fast Company, 10/25/16

What If Environmental Activists And Big Businesses Decided To Get Along?
Future 500 is an experiment at overcoming politics and getting big brands to find common ground with leading nonprofits. Source: Fast Company, 10/25/16

Tuesday, October 25, 2016
A world without waste: the rise of urban mining
Commercial properties could become the mines of the future, providing materials for reuse and cutting costs and landfill waste. Source: The Guardian, 10/25/16

Limited Resources and the Vision of a Circular Economy
Technology is boosting the idea of a zero-waste framework in which everything is used, reused and recovered. Source: Governing, 10/25/16

Major Food Companies to Tackle Water Risks In Their Global Supply Chains
As climate change, population growth and water pollution increase pressure on freshwater resources, seven global food and beverage companies announced commitments to work with thousands of growers in their global supply chains to reduce water use and pollution impacts. Source: Ceres, 10/24/16

Monday, October 24, 2016
The cost of plastic packaging
The growing use of plastic food packaging benefits consumers, but critics say industry isn't doing enough to minimize the negative environmental impact. Source: Chemicai & Engineering News, 10/17/16

Great Lakes experts push for restoration funding after election
November's presidential election is a harbinger of big change for federal programs like the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a multi-milliondollar program that addresses a multitude of Great Lakes problems. Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, convened an expert panel recently to discuss the future of the program. The day-long conversation on Madeline Island, Wisconsin, resulted in 12 conclusions to inform policy under a new presidential administration and Congress. Source: Great Lakes Echo, 10/21/16

The Comprehensive Business Case for Sustainability
Today's executives are dealing with a complex and unprecedented brew of social, environmental, market, and technological trends. These require sophisticated, sustainability-based management. Yet executives are often reluctant to place sustainability core to their company's business strategy in the mistaken belief that the costs outweigh the benefits. On the contrary, academic research and business experience point to quite the opposite. Source: Harvard Business Review, 10/21/16

Friday, October 21, 2016
Watchdog: EPA Action To Protect Flint Residents From Lead Was Delayed 7 Months
The Environmental Protection Agency had the authority and information to issue an emergency order protecting residents of Flint, Mich., from lead-tainted water a full seven months before it did so, an EPA internal investigation has concluded. Source: U.S. EPA, 10/20/16

Minnesota Federal Agencies Win EPA Green Challenge Award
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has honored the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Healthcare System, Minnesota National Guard, and U.S. EPA Mid-Continent Ecology Division, Duluth, with the agency's Federal Green Challenge award. EPA selected the Minnesota federal agencies in recognition of their innovative energy saving and other environmental practices. Source: U.S. EPA, 10/19/16

Thursday, October 20, 2016
Great Lakes shoreline communities get $2 million in water improvement grants
New federal grants will support green infrastructure projects such as rain gardens in Great Lakes shoreline communities as part of efforts to improve water quality. The grants totaling $2,045,858 are also going to communities in Ohio, New York, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Indiana for other work, including bio-retention cells and wetlands protection. Source: Great Lakes Echo, 10/20/16

What You Need to Know About the GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards
Corporate reporters rejoice: in a move aimed at making it easier for companies to report on their sustainability initiatives and progress, the Global Reporting Initiative today launched the GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards. Source: Environmental Leader, 10/19/16

Brewers Association Releases 2015 Benchmarking Report and Sustainability Benchmarking Tools
The Brewers Association (BA) has released the 2015 Sustainability Benchmarking Report. The report includes utility, resource and production data from 79 breweries, representing a robust variety of production sizes and geographic locations. This report provides a platform to share best practices to identify how to use water more efficiently, generate less wastewater and solid waste, decrease total energy usage and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Moving forward, data for this annual report will be collected through the Brewers Association Benchmarking Tools. Individual brewers can input their utility usage and compare their data to other participating breweries. Source: Brewers Association, 10/17/16

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