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Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Leaner Library Loaner Laptops: Tips from the Pro
After the Zion-Benton Illinois Library had some of their expensive laptops stolen and broken, they didn't give up on loaning out laptops to patrons. Instead, they decided to try using sturdier, but less expensive refurbished laptops. Here's how they did it. Source: TechSoup for Libraries, 4/14/14

Friday, April 18, 2014
Abt To Hold 2nd Annual Earth Day Recycling Event
Abt Electronics and Appliances is joining forces with the City of Chicago to help local residents recycle their "e-waste" in an environmentally friendly fashion for the second year in a row, on Tuesday, April 22, in honor of Earth Day. Abt will help make Chicagoland a little "greener" by encouraging Chicagoans on Tuesday to dispose of their unneeded electronics and appliances by dropping them off at one of six recycling collection locations. Source: TWICE, 4/14/14

Wednesday, April 16, 2014
3 magic words to mute 'sustainababble'
The latest P2 Impact column is now available at John Mulrow of the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center explains how three magic words can mute "sustainababble" and clarify the progress that organizations are making to become more sustainable. Source: GreenBiz, 4/16/14

Blog: 5 sustainable packaging trends to look out for in 2014
Issues of global environmental instability and climate change are becoming nearly impossible to ignore these days, and consumers have taken notice. With demand for sustainably-conscious products and product packaging constantly increasing, it's no wonder that firms have taken charge at creating sustainable, environmentally-friendly, "green" products to satiate the ever-growing consumer desire to be able to conveniently decrease their environmental impact. With the new year underway, here are five of the most exciting and innovative trends in sustainable consumer packaging to look out for in the next twelve months. Source: Packaging Digest, 3/19/14

In a Host of Small Sources, Scientists See Energy Windfall
The emerging field of "energy scavenging" is drawing on a wide array of untapped energy sourcesĀ­ -- including radio waves, vibrations created by moving objects, and waste heat from computers or car exhaust systems -- to generate electricity and boost efficiency. Source: Yale Environment360, 2/27/14

Shiny quantum dots brighten future of solar cells
The project demonstrates that superior light-emitting properties of quantum dots can be applied in solar energy by helping more efficiently harvest sunlight. Source: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, 4/14/14

EPA scores big win to limit mercury in power plants
The Environmental Protection Agency took home a sweeping victory Tuesday when an appeals court upheld the agency's pollution limits for mercury and air toxics from power plants. Source: Politico, 4/15/14

Tuesday, April 15, 2014
California looking to recycled water to ease drought concerns
At two treatment plants in El Dorado Hills, millions of gallons of brown wastewater pour in every week, and millions of gallons of clean water pour out through purple pipes that irrigate the lawns of 4,000 homes. Proponents call it water recycling. Critics call it "toilet-to-tap." But as the drought has taken hold in California, opposition to the idea has been drying up, and recycled water is winning acceptance. It's expected to be a significant source of landscaping and drinking water for many Californians in years to come. Source: Sacramento Bee, 4/14/14

TripZero: A lean startup tries to 'green' the travel industry
Carbon emissions are the elephant in the room for the travel and tourism industry but one startup is tackling the issue head on. Source: The Guardian, 4/14/14

This Tower Pulls Drinking Water Out of Thin Air
Designer Arturo Vittori says his invention can provide remote villages with more than 25 gallons of clean drinking water per day. Source: Smithsonian Magazine, 4/8/14

IPCC report: 6 things you must know about reducing emissions
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's newest installment, Working Group III: Mitigation and Climate Change, highlights an important message: It's still possible to limit average global temperature rise to 2 degrees C -- but only if the world rapidly reduces emissions and changes its current energy mix. This article explains six things you need to know about reducing carbon emissions. Source: GreenBiz, 4/14/14

Water stress magnifies impacts of U.S. droughts
"Years of Living Dangerously," a new Showtime series about climate change, turned its lens on how drought devastated the small town of Plainview, Texas in its first episode, which aired Sunday night. Drought drove a Cargill beef-processing plant -- Plainview's largest employer -- to close in 2013. More than 2,000 jobs disappeared in a town of 22,000. Source: GreenBiz, 4/15/14

Levi Strauss wrings water out of jeans production
The iconic blue jeans company is testing systems for capturing and reusing water in denim manufacturing plants, part of a larger effort to reduce its environmental impact. Source: Smart Planet, 4/14/14

Monday, April 14, 2014
IPCC: Mitigating climate change more challenging than ever
Global greenhouse emissions are skyrocketing. Emissions cuts required to avoid dangerous impacts of climate change are steep. And despite decades of talk, world governments have made paltry efforts to address the problem. That's the grim picture painted by a major report on mitigating greenhouse gas emissions released today by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Source: Science Insider, 4/13/14

Why rare earth recycling is rare and what we can do about it
As demand for high-tech devices grows, so does interest in recycling the esoteric metals that make them run. But challenges abound. Source: Ensia, 4/7/14

3 pathways to a clean energy future
The increasing capability and affordability of renewables and distributed resources, the pressure to combat climate change, and the need for a more resilient electricity system are creating opportunities as well as challenges the likes of which our electricity system has never faced before. By working together, these teams recognize that successful solutions must address not only the technical but also the social and creative complexity facing the electricity system. Source: GreenBiz, 4/14/14

A new DOE proposal would cement a big leap in lighting efficiency, but Congress is preventing even bigger savings
New energy-saving standards for certain types of incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs proposed by the Department of Energy (DOE) last Friday mark another important step in improving lighting efficiency in the United States. DOE's proposal further advances strong standards completed in 2009. Together, the 2009 standards and the proposed increases announced last week dramatically improve reflector lamp and fluorescent tube lamp efficiency by 70% and 23% respectively. Unfortunately, a congressional budget rider prevents DOE from saving even more. Source: ACEEE Blog, 4/14/14

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