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Environmental News


Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Monday, November 21, 2016
Developing products for a circular economy
Cross-functional collaboration and customer-focused design thinking can help companies reap more value from the energy and resources they use. Source: McKinsey & Company, November 2016

Eileen Fisher has designs on keeping clothing out of landfills
Buying recycled items from trusted retailers is the next big fashion trend -- and saves billions of tons of clothing from going to waste. Source: GreenBiz, 11/21/16

Environmental policy center to convene Great Lakes mayors
The Freshwater Lab, a University of Illinois at Chicago-based environmental research and policy center, has been awarded two grants to support its work examining social and human issues related to water, energy and natural resources in the Great Lakes region. Source: University of Illinois Chicago, 11/10/16

The E-Waste Aftermath of Samsung's Galaxy Note7 Recall
Samsung and waste management companies are facing the challenge of safely disposing or recycling the massive amount of e-waste caused by the recall. Source: Waste360, 11/16/16

National e-scrap recycling rate is up
The weight of electronics recycled in 2014 increased from the year before, according to data from the U.S. EPA. The electronics recycling rate in 2014 was 41.7 percent. That is an increase from 37.8 percent the year before. In all, 1.4 million tons of electronics were recycled in 2014, up from nearly 1.3 million tons. E-scrap generation, however, stayed the same at 1.3 percent of the entire municipal solid waste (MSW) stream. According to the U.S. EPA's report, selected consumer electronics accounted for 3.3 million tons in the waste stream in both 2014 and 2013. Source: Resource Recycling, 11/17/16

Why worker-led monitoring is needed to challenge electronic sweatshops
An alternative global strategy for the protection and promotion of workers' human rights in ICT supply chains is emerging, writes David Foust Rodríguez, Coordinator of the Center for Labor Reflection and Action. Source: New Internationalist Blog, 11/2/16

Widespread Shallow Groundwater Contamination Found in Southwestern Illinois Cave Streams and Springs
Researchers have detected prescription and over-the-counter medications and personal care products in Illinois groundwater, an indication that humans are contaminating water that is vital to aquatic life. This study was funded by the Prairie Research Institute and the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center and is published in the journal Science of the Total Environment.. ISTC researcher Wei Zheng is a co-author on the paper. Source: Illinois Natural History Survey News, 11/17/16

Friday, November 18, 2016
New method shows some Great Lakes fish consumption advisories may not protect health
Great Lakes fish consumption advisories could be inadequate and exposing consumers to higher levels of toxic chemicals than anticipated. A new study says that the current approach to creating advisories doesn't take into account what happens when more than one chemical is present in a fish. This means they are "probably deficient in protecting the health of human consumers," the study says. Source: Great Lakes Echo, 11/18/16

EPA Aims to Finish Climate Rules; Decisions Fall to Trump
The Obama administration aims to cement its greenhouse gas regulations in the time remaining, but some of the largest greenhouse gas decisions will slide to President-elect Donald Trump, according to the updated federal regulatory agenda. Source: Bloomberg BNA, 11/17/16

Understand pollution, environmental impacts from food in 6 charts
In the latest P2 Impact column, Jeff Kohn and Kelsey Kruger from U.S. EPA illustrate the environmental impact of the food manufacturing industry. Source: GreenBiz, 11/18/16

Thursday, November 17, 2016
Functional textiles clean pollutants from air and water
A stark and troubling reality helped spur Juan Hinestroza to what he hopes is an important discovery and a step toward cleaner manufacturing. Source: Cornell University, 11/9/16

New System Predicts Risk for Chemical Products
Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill devised a computational approach by which they can increase accuracy in detecting toxins in chemical products to as much as 85 percent while also saving millions of dollars and years of development time for new drugs and other products, as well as improving safety. Source: R&D Magazine, 11/17/16

Wednesday, November 16, 2016
How Avery Dennison Helps Global Brands Shrink Their Environmental Footprint
Columbia Sportswear wanted an environmentally sustainable version of a clear plastic shipping bag for its new jacket. Avery Dennison had a renewable version of the poly bag, made from sugar cane instead of petroleum-based plastic, on the drawing board. Columbia approached the global packaging and label manufacturer for help and Avery Dennison went from prototype of the sugar-cane bag to finished product in six weeks. Source: Environmental Leader, 11/11/16

14 Charts from the EPA's Latest MSW Estimates
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its annual analysis of municipal solid waste (MSW) figures with its annual Advancing Sustainable Materials Management: Facts Sheet. Source: Waste360, 11/15/16

Beyond reporting: 3 principles for weaving sustainability into communications
Try consistent, repetitive and strategic messaging instead of a "one and done" tactic. Source: GreenBiz, 11/16/16

Air pollution export map reveals where to target clean-up
Take any city in the UK, and you'll likely find that the skies are cleaner today than they were 40 years ago. Sophisticated scrubbers on power station chimneys, catalytic converters on vehicle exhausts and cleaner fuels have all helped to reduce the haze. But it isn't just cleaning up at home that has made our skies clearer; we've also been outsourcing much of our dirty work to other countries. For the first time, a study shows exactly how much air pollution each country is exporting, and where it is exporting it to. Source: EnvironmentalResearchWeb, 11/15/16

Kimberly-Clark Helps Universities Turn Gloves into Durable Goods
The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Purdue University have diverted almost six tons of waste from landfills through a recycling program that turns used lab gloves and garments into shelving, flowerpots and lawn and garden furniture. Source: Waste 360, 11/14/16

Tuesday, November 15, 2016
What Makes a Supply Chain Sustainable?
Supply chains may operate within legal and responsible guidelines, but still not be sustainable. New guidelines and collaborations are needed that assess supply chain performance in the context of societal and environmental limits. Source: MIT Sloan Management Review, 11/15/16

Want Green Infrastructure? First, Invest in Infrastructure
Throughout the election, one of the few points Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton could agree on was the country's need for improved infrastructure -- transportation systems, energy, and so on. But tradeoffs between sustainability and economic growth make it unclear how exactly to proceed. Now, researchers argue that, to create environmentally sustainable infrastructure, we need to pay attention to what's keeping us from investing in infrastructure more broadly. Source: Pacific Standard, 11/15/16

Carbon is not the enemy
Design with the natural cycle in mind to ensure that carbon ends up in the right places, urges William McDonough Source: Nature, 11/14/16

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