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Environmental News


Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Wednesday, April 5, 2017
Ohio EPA Announces New Online Materials Marketplace
Ohio EPA Director Craig W. Butler is in Sandusky today to announce the launch of a new online service whereby Ohio businesses, not-for-profits and government organizations can advertise and acquire potentially useful products and materials that might otherwise be destined for disposal in landfills. The new Ohio Materials Marketplace (OMM) is a free online platform allowing these organizations to connect and find solutions to material reuse and recycling needs. Source: Ohio EPA, 4/4/17

Tuesday, April 4, 2017
New York, other states take on Trump over energy efficiency
A coalition of U.S. states has mounted a broad legal challenge against what it called the Trump administration's illegal suspension of rules to improve the energy efficiency of ceiling fans, portable air conditioners and other products. Source: Reuters, 4/3/17

In the fishing industry, gear recycling is finally catching on
Old fishing nets clutter harbors and kill sea life. But entrepreneurs are changing that. Source: Ensia, 4/3/17

Monday, April 3, 2017
Upcycling 'fast fashion' to reduce waste and pollution
The fashion industry and environmentalists are old foes, and the advent of 'fast fashion' has strained the relationship even more. But what if we could recycle clothes like we recycle paper, or even upcycle them? Source: American Chemical Society, 4/3/17

Ridding the oceans of plastics by turning the waste into valuable fuel
Billions of pounds of plastic waste are littering the world's oceans. Now, a Ph.D. organic chemist and a sailboat captain report that they are developing a process to reuse certain plastics, transforming them from worthless trash into a valuable diesel fuel with a small mobile reactor. They envision the technology could someday be implemented globally on land and possibly placed on boats to convert ocean waste plastic into fuel to power the vessels. Source: American Chemical Society, 4/3/17

Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Minnesota's JavaCycle turns coffee-bean waste into sweet-smelling fertilizer
The parent company of Hill Bros. Coffee and Chock Full O'Nuts has partnered with the tiny, Minnesota-based operation to convert millions of pounds of roasted coffee-bean waste into commercial fertilizer. Source: Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 3/28/17

Innovative 'Agrihood' Project Helping to Feed, Revitalize Detroit
The Michigan Urban Farming Initiative launched a crowdfunding campaign to develop an abandoned three-story apartment complex in Detroit into a community center that will feature community kitchens and a healthy food cafe to complement its adjacent gardens, orchard and cistern. MUFI co-founder Tyson Gersh says the group plans "to show proof of concept that the agrihood model can in fact work, and work very well, in an urban setting." Source: Sustainable Brands, 3/24/17

Climate change is more than a tech problem, so we need more than a tech solution
Climate change mitigation requires systemic social change, not just technological optimism. Source: Ensia, 3/20/17

How new technologies are shrinking wastewater's hefty carbon footprint
Communities looking to reduce fossil fuel use find opportunity in energy-hogging treatment plants. Source: Ensia, 3/27/17

Tuesday, March 28, 2017
University of Minnesota researchers invent nano-sponge to soak up pollution
Researchers at the University of Minnesota reported recently that they have developed a way to use one of the most common of all cleaning tools to remove one of the most toxic and widespread pollutants from contaminated water. Their breakthrough: They permeate the sponge with the natural element selenium by growing it inside from the atom level on up. Soak the sponge in contaminated water, the mercury binds with the selenium, and the water is essentially purified. Source: Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 3/24/17

Nike, Circular Economy Firm Miniwiz Develop Sustainable Packaging from Trash
Nike has developed new sustainable packaging for its shoes, working in collaboration with Arthur Huang, the CEO and founder of Taiwanese firm Miniwiz, which recycles consumer and industrial waste into new products.

The lightweight packaging is made entirely of post-consumer materials such as milk and orange juice containers, and morning coffee lids. The box is produced from a single process Polypropylene with no added chemicals. The modular design allows it to be used as a stackable, interlocking component of a product display or storage system, Nike says. Source: Environmental Leader, 3/27/17


Michigan reaches deal with Flint to replace 18,000 lead-tainted water lines
Michigan and the city of Flint agreed Monday to replace thousands of home water lines under a sweeping deal to settle a lawsuit by residents over lead-contaminated water in the struggling community. Source: Chicago Tribune, 3/27/17

Google's Street View Cars Are Helping Scientists Hunt Down Natural Gas and Methane Leaks
Google Earth's Street View cars are being used for more than just maps: scientists have equipped them with pollution trackers so they can help spot natural gas leaks. Source: Futurism, 3/28/17

Yoga pants, fleece jackets and the microplastics dilemma
No clothing brand intended for their synthetic products to be discharged into the environment in the former of tiny bits of plastic. Now that they know, they must step up and tackle the problem. Source: GreenBiz, 3/28/17

How the Water Industry Learned to Embrace Data
The water industry is using digital technologies and analytics to derive more value from its physical assets, but, like all businesses, it has faced challenges when trying to transform the roles and mindsets of their employees and their internal- and customer-facing processes. Employees, for example, weren't quick to change old habits, and, when there were IT problems, many began to question the data. But those that have managed to integrate these elements -- People, Processes, and Technology -- have created more than data; they've also created value for their enterprises and society. Source: Harvard Business Review, 3/27/17

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GLRPPR is a member of the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange, a national network of regional information centers: NEWMOA (Northeast), WRRC (Southeast), GLRPPR (Great Lakes), ZeroWasteNet (Southwest), P2RIC (Plains), Peaks to Prairies (Mountain), WSPPN (Pacific Southwest), PPRC (Northwest).

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