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Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Friday, June 22, 2018
OEM fined $6.6M for punishing independent repair
Apple has been penalized by the Australian government for attempting to mislead consumers on whether device warranties are still effective once the device has been serviced by a non-Apple-authorized repair entity. The Federal Court of Australia ruled June 18 that under Australian Consumer Law a device being repaired by a non-Apple-authorized entity does not void its warranty, and that Apple had misled consumers by claiming their devices were no longer covered. Source: E-Scrap News, 6/21/18

Details on BAN's new device-tracking service
The Basel Action Network has launched a commercial tracking service to monitor e-scrap flows, and its first customer is an OEM that was lambasted by the watchdog group over exports two years ago. Dell and Seattle-based BAN have teamed up to plant 40 tracking devices inside scrap electronics collected through Dell's U.S. consumer take-back programs. The collaboration was announced June 19 in conjunction with the release of Dell's 2018 Corporate Social Responsibility Report. Since then, BAN has also released more details on its tracking service, which it describes as "real-time logistics monitoring" for organizations concerned about data-security breaches, unauthorized exports, and brand damage from lack of accountability and downstream due diligence. Source: E-Scrap News, 6/21/18

Wednesday, June 20, 2018
EPA Releases Guidance to Assist Companies, Increase Transparency and Improve New Chemicals Review Under TSCA
Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued guidance to improve transparency with the public and with companies seeking Agency review of their new chemical substances under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The guidance, titled "Points to Consider When Preparing TSCA New Chemical Notifications," promotes early engagement and communication, and enhances overall understanding of EPA's technical review and analysis to better move chemicals through the evaluation process. Source: U.S. EPA, 6/20/18

Birch reduction runs ammonia-free
o break compounds' aromaticity, chemists commonly rely on the 74-year-old Birch reduction, which uses sodium metal and ammonia. However, the components' moisture-sensitive nature--requiring practitioners to trot out potentially hazardous ammonia tanks to freshly distill the reagent--makes running the reaction a chore. A modified Birch reduction developed in Jie An's lab at China Agricultural University lets scientists skip the arduous set-up. Source: Chemical & Engineering News, 6/17/18

Replacing methylene chloride in paint strippers
Questions remain about the safety and effectiveness of alternative solvents. Source: Chemical & Engineering News, 6/11/18

Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Ann Arbor group seeks to increase composting with pilot program
Ann Arbor volunteers have begun a pilot program to reduce food waste entering local landfills. Source: MLive, 6/18/18

Monday, June 18, 2018
As Subsidies Wane, Market Forces Drive the Growth of Renewables
Competitive bidding on new power installations is becoming increasingly common worldwide, with solar and wind energy now reaching parity with fossil fuels in many countries. But the rise of renewables auctions carries risks, including the elimination of smaller green energy producers. Source: e360, 6/12/18

Recycled electrical products lead to hazardous chemicals appearing in everyday items
Hazardous chemicals such as bromine, antimony and lead are finding their way into food-contact items and other everyday products because manufacturers are using recycled electrical equipment as a source of black plastic, according to a new study. Source: University of Plymouth, 5/30/18

Designing the Next Generation of Hair Dyes
North Carolina State University researchers have created the largest publicly available chemical database of hair dye substances as a resource for developing a new generation of hair color products that are safer for consumers, stylists and the environment. Source: North Carolina State University, 1/17/18

GM Surges toward Sustainability Success with Supply Chain, EVs, Circular Economy
General Motors has surpassed its 2020 goal of reducing the carbon intensity of its operations by 20%, three years ahead of schedule, the company announced in its just-released 2017 sustainability report; since 2010, GM has reduced the energy intensity of its operations by 15%, generating $135 million in cost savings. Source: Environmental Leader, 6/14/18

Hungry Harvest Continues to Fight Food Waste, Hunger by Expanding into New Markets
Evan Lutz, founder and CEO of Baltimore-based Hungry Harvest, believes socially conscious business has the power to end food waste and have a real impact on the environment, community and economy. And to help prove his point, he is working to empower conscious consumers to make healthy purchases that benefit both people and the planet. Through Hungry Harvest, a farm to doorstep produce delivery service on a mission to eliminate food waste and hunger, Lutz and his team are finding homes for surplus produce that doesn't meet grocery display standards. Source: Waste360, 6/12/18

After 7 years, Madison compost program trashed
Madison's organics-collection pilot program will end next week, a victim of people putting too many non-compostables into their compostables carts and a city that couldn't afford its own biodigester, the city's recycling coordinator announced Monday. Source: Wisconsin State Journal, 6/12/18

How big brands are trying to pull off a recycling revolution
Coca-Cola (KO) said in January that by 2030, it will collect and recycle one bottle or can for each one it sells. Dunkin' Donuts said it will try to stop using foam cups by 2020. Several others, including McDonald's and Procter & Gamble, have made their own ambitious commitments to use sustainable packaging. But even the most sweeping efforts won't do much good without the help of customers, local governments and most importantly, competitors. Source: CNN Money, 6/11/18

New ISO Standards for Machine Tools to Improve Environmental Performance, Energy Efficiency
The performance of machine tools varies depending on technical specifications and operating requirements, making it difficult to determine a common set of environmental performance criteria -- but ISO has recently published the first two parts of a new International Standard for the environmental evaluation of such tools based on the commonalities that can be found in the huge variety of types. Source: Environmental Leader, 6/12/18

Food waste is going to take over the fashion industry
The startup Circular Systems is pioneering new tech to convert food crop waste--like banana peels and hemp stalks--into wearable fibers. Source: Fast Company, 6/15/18

Wednesday, June 13, 2018
SWANA Provides Update on How China's Waste Import Restrictions are Impacting Recycling Programs
The update provides an overview of the effect that the restrictions are having on the export of recyclables from both the U.S. and Canada. Source: Waste360, 6/13/18

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