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Environmental News

Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Tuesday, March 6, 2018
Compost Pedallers turns food waste into a boon for local communities
Compost Pedallers tackles the food waste problem head-on by taking discarded food and turning it into a beneficial resource for local communities. Source: Shareable, 2/27/18

Coyuchi for Life Closes the Loop for Home Textiles
The home textile brand Coyuchi has created a closed loop system that allows subscribers to buy into Coyuchi's efforts to renew and recycle linens. Source: Waste360, 3/5/18

Landfill Sites are Finding Second Lives as Real Estate Properties
Innovative projects have sprung up over the years that house retail, apartments, golf courses, conference centers and hotels. Source: Waste360, 3/5/18

Mind the Store campaign to target more US retailers in 2018
A campaign that evaluates the efforts of US retailers to eliminate toxic chemicals is widening its net in 2018, to assess more companies and sectors. Source: Chemical Watch, 3/1/18

At Levi's, lasers wear your jeans
Levi Strauss & Co.'s new digital process produces vintage looks with fewer chemicals. Source: Chemical & Engineering News, 3/1/18

Lego to launch its first sustainable, plant-based plastic bricks this year
After ramping up its efforts to shift towards more sustainable materials in 2015, perennial purveyor of plastic blocks Lego is making good on that promise and is set to launch a new form of eco-friendly playthings this year. Source: New Atlas, 3/4/18

Friday, March 2, 2018
Amazon pushed by investors to reconsider food waste opportunities
Investors, including Green Century Capital Management Inc., are pushing Amazon to publicly address how much food from its grocery operation goes to waste, according to The Wall Street Journal. Source: Waste Dive, 3/2/18

Everyone wants better data; who pays for it and what's the best way to get it?
The inaugural Measurement Matters Summit in Chattanooga, TN brought together a long list of behind-the-scenes officials and professionals at a previously unprecedented scale this week. "We can't pilot this ship without a compass," said Will Sagar, executive director of the Southeast Recycling Development Council.

A total of 37 states and Washington, D.C. engaged in the Environmental Protection Agency's State Measurement Program during 2016, using Re-TRAC Connect, but more participation is needed and more standardized data would improve the value of those inputs. Better data can help states make the case for agency budgets, learn from other programs, show the economic benefits of various recycling policies and spot opportunities for infrastructure development.

As it stands, many agencies or local governments don't have the budgets to collect this information, let alone thoroughly analyze it. Outdated regulations limiting those activities and differences in terminology are some of the many complicating factors. Getting industry sources to share this information can also be difficult in some cases, further limiting the breadth of what can be collected. Source: Waste Dive, 2/28/18

Thursday, March 1, 2018
Researchers use recycled carbon fiber to improve permeable pavement
A Washington State University research team is solving a high-tech waste problem while addressing the environmental challenge of stormwater run-off. Source: Washington State University, 3/1/18

SGPIA Research Finds 'Digital Divide' in Google Street View of Environmental Issues, Slums
For years, Arroyo Sarandí, a stream that snakes through the working class suburb of Avellaneda in Buenos Aires, has fallen victim to industrial use. Pollution and trash have caused serious flooding and health issues for the people living in villas miserias, or slums, along the river banks.

But you wouldn't know any of that by looking at Google Street View of Avellaneda: Neither the slums nor the environmental issues impacting it appear there.

The gaps in information are keeping researchers and policy analysts in the dark on the extent of the problems in villas miserias, according to a team of researchers at The New School and the University of Buenos Aires. They warn of an emerging "urban digital divide" between places visible on Google Street View and those that are not. Source: The New School, 2/26/18

EPA previews what's next for Sustainable Materials Management program
The Environmental Protection Agency's sustainable materials management activity continues under the Trump administration, with new reports and areas of interest in the works, according to presentations at this week's Measurement Matters Summit in Chattanooga, TN. That includes the 2015 Facts & Figures report, due out later this year on a new interactive website. Source: WasteDive, 3/1/18

Food Diversion Effort Drives Legislative Action and Infrastructure Development
As food waste diversion and prevention become ever-pressing issues, some states are adopting legislation that is driving the efforts of local governments and industries in the space. Further, these states are looking hard at building infrastructure to achieve their goals. Source: Waste360, 3/1/18

China places battery recycling responsibility on car manufacturers
China will require producers of electric vehicles to be responsible for establishing facilities to collect and recycle old batteries, as reported by Reuters. The rules are a part of China's efforts to crack down on e-waste. Source: WasteDive, 3/1/18

Tuesday, February 27, 2018
Grassroots water advocates, Midwest cities at odds on lead
Two years after Flint's lead in drinking water issues finally boiled over and hit the national spotlight, emotions continue to run high on the topic, as evidenced by a gathering of activists and concerned citizens in Chicago last week. Source: Great Lakes Now, 2/19/18

More farmers may lease land for solar projects in Michigan
As solar energy soars in popularity in Michigan, solar leasing has become a profitable option for farm owners. Source: Great Lakes Echo, 2/27/18

French Food Waste Law Changing How Grocery Stores Approach Excess Food
Food waste is a global problem. In developing countries, food spoils at the production stage. Well-off nations throw it away at the consumption stage. Grocery stores are responsible for a lot of that waste. France is trying to change that with its 2-year-old law. Source: NPR, 2/24/18

Cocktail garnishes are a waste. These bartenders want to do something about it.
When people talk about "food waste," they're usually referring to food that's thrown away by farms, grocery stores, restaurants, even home cooks. But an increasing number of bars are also thinking about sustainability, and the next wave in the movement is actually shaping up in your glass -- or right on top of it. Source: Washington Post, 2/22/18

California's Green Chemistry Agency Issues Its Draft 2018-2020 Three-Year Priority Product Work Plan
On February 8, 2018, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) released a Draft Three-Year Priority Product Work Plan (2018-2020) (new Work Plan) under its Safer Consumer Products (SCP) Program. The SCP Program is an innovative regulatory scheme to evaluate and require safer substitutes for hazardous chemicals in consumer products. The new Work Plan identifies the product categories that DTSC will evaluate during the next three years in order to identify the next set of Priority Products it will regulate under the SCP regulations. Source: Lexology.

Friday, February 23, 2018
2018 Midwest Food Recovery Summit Call for Presentations
The Midwest Food Recovery Summit Call for Presentations is open from February 1 - 28, 2018. Presentations that are focused on case studies, planning processes and/or research, in particular, abstracts that showcase details regarding why and how the food waste reduction, recycling, and/or diversion project was started, obstacles encountered, and/or innovative solutions, will be given priority. Abstracts focused solely on a particular product and/or service will not be considered. Source: Iowa Waste Reduction Center, 2/1/18

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