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Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Thursday, May 25, 2017
Nevada processor pushes forward on unique e-scrap project
A fertilizer and silver producer has begun processing scrap printed circuit boards to isolate precious metals. Reno, Nev.-based Itronics provided an update on its process this week, explaining it is using two furnaces to recover gold, silver, palladium, tin and copper from circuit boards. Publicly traded Itronics processes scrap electronics sourced from New2U Computers, a nonprofit computer repair and disassembly operation in neighboring Sparks, Nev. that employs about 130 people with disabilities. Source: E-scrap news, 5/25/17

Tuesday, May 23, 2017
EPA Rule Amendment -- Compliance Date Extension for Formaldehyde Final Rule
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued a direct final rule to extend the compliance dates in the final Formaldehyde Emission Standards for Composite Wood Products, published in the Federal Register December 12, 2016. Compliance dates would be extended for: (1) formaldehyde emission standards, recordkeeping, and labeling provisions until March 22, 2018; (2) import certification provisions until March 22, 2019; and (3) laminated product producer provisions until March 22, 2024. Note that laminated product producers would still be required to comply with applicable fabricator provisions beginning March 22, 2018. Additionally, the direct final rule would extend the California Air Resources Board Third-Party Certifiers transitional period until March 22, 2019. Source: EPA via Environmental News Bits, 5/23/17

Thursday, May 18, 2017
Ellen MacArthur Foundation Announces $2 Million Plastics Innovation Prize
To help spur what it calls the "New Plastic Economy," the Ellen MacArthur Foundation plans to launch a $2 million innovation prize in partnership with the Prince of Wales's International Sustainability Unit. Source: Triple Pundit, 5/18/17

How Global Value Chains Push and Pull U.S. Companies on Climate Action
In the United States, companies are engaging in climate action as a result of different domestic business drivers: Investing in renewables, innovating to create climate-compatible products, and attracting new talent through environmental values are most often driven by local or regional imperatives.

But for most companies operating within global value chains, the pull and push of climate action also comes from abroad, and many U.S. companies now understand the potential to demonstrate global leadership through climate action. Source: BSR, 4/20/17


Wasted Food Means Wasted Nutrients
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's Center for a Livable Future calculated the nutritional value of food wasted in the U.S. at the retail and consumer levels, shining a light on just how much protein, fiber and other important nutrients end up in the landfill in a single year. Source: Johns Hopkins Universty, 5/15/17

These Cities Are Replacing The Worst Kind Of Infrastructure With The Best
In car-dependent Dallas, parking lots are ubiquitous downtown. But one lot will soon be de-paved and turned into a park. Nearby, another parking lot is turning into a temporary urban farm before it also becomes a park. Something similar is happening across the U.S. as cities begin to realize that a slab of asphalt for storing cars isn't the best use of valuable urban space. Source: Fast Company, 5/2/17

New Initiatives Chase 'Circular Economy' in Fashion, Textiles
The new Circular Fibres Initiative brings together clothing retailers H&M and Nike, philanthropic funder the C&A Foundation, and a consortium of organizations including the Danish Fashion Institute, Fashion for Good, Cradle to Cradle and MISTRA Future Fashion in order to "build a circular economy for textiles," starting with clothing. The members will address the environmental drawbacks of the "take-make-dispose" model currently dominating the industry and attempt to create a new system for textiles based on the principles of a circular economy, generating growth that benefits citizens and businesses, while phasing out negative impacts such as waste and pollution, the organization says. Source: Environmental Leader, 5/17/17

Retailers Lead the Charge toward Bio-Based Packaging
Retailers, with their increased use of sustainable packaging, are playing a leading role in encouraging consumers to adopt bio-based packaging materials; manufacturers and retailers that adopt biodegradable packaging materials will benefit through cost cuts and tax reductions, according to a Technavio market research analysis. Source: Environmental Leader, 5/17/17

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

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