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Environmental News


Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Monday, June 22, 2015
American recycling is stalling, and the big blue bin is one reason why
Once a profitable business for cities and private employers alike, recycling in recent years has become a money-sucking enterprise. The District, Baltimore and many counties in between are contributing millions annually to prop up one of the nation's busiest facilities here in Elkridge, Md. -- but it is still losing money. In fact, almost every facility like it in the country is running in the red. And Waste Management and other recyclers say that more than 2,000 municipalities are paying to dispose of their recyclables instead of the other way around. Source: Washington Post, 6/20/15

Surplus food for the homeless is just an app away
Through a website and mobile app, Feeding Forward matches businesses that have surplus food with nearby homeless shelters. Here's how it works: when companies or event planners have surplus food, they tap the Feeding Forward app and provide details of their donation. A driver is dispatched to quickly pick up the leftovers and deliver them to food banks. Source: CNET, 6/21/15

Friday, June 19, 2015
Why engaging employees on sustainability really isn't about money
How do you motivate employees? More specifically, how do you engage employees in sustainability initiatives -- which are often not tied directly to paychecks or profit margins, but rather seek to combat more daunting societal challenges, such as climate change, fossil fuel dependency and water shortages? Source: GreenBiz, 6/19/15

Thursday, June 18, 2015
Why entrepreneurs are suddenly finding the beauty in ugly produce
Misshapen potatoes, multi-pronged carrots and past-their-prime apples -- rebranded as "cosmetically challenged" and "beautiful in their own way" -- are coming into vogue. Campaigns aimed at reducing food waste are bringing these fruits and vegetables, previously reserved for hogs, compost piles and landfills, to the forefront of our minds, if not quite to our grocery shelves. And now, food entrepreneurs are picking them up as ripe for innovation. Source: Washington Post, 5/26/15

How an upcycled battery could keep smartphones from destroying the planet
Better Re is a crowdfunded reusable smartphone battery made by a team in Korea that could help solve the massive global problem of e-waste. Source: TechRepublic, 6/12/15

God's Work: Meet the Woman Turning Evangelicals Into Environmentalists
With the pope's encyclical on the environment expected this week, Rolling Stone spoke to Christian climate activist Anna Jane Joyner Source: Rolling Stone, 6/15/15

Four Strategies for Responding to Sustainability-Oriented Competitors
Sustainability-focused startups are entering established companies' market space, bringing both new threats and new opportunities. Source: Insead, 6/16/15

Can the Pope's climate encyclical spur corporate action?
In his widely anticipated encyclical on climate change and poverty, "Laudato Si," Pope Francis addresses his call to action to "every person who inhabits this planet," noting that the degradation of the planet will have "grave consequences for us all." Businesses, many of which have until now been able to ignore calls for action on climate, might not be able to claim immunity from the pope. Source: GreenBiz, 6/18/15

Federal government sticks with EPEAT after all
Federal officials have allayed concerns that an executive order regarding environmentally friendly electronics purchasing will erode use of the EPEAT program. President Obama's March 2015 executive order on sustainable-product purchasing excluded an explicit requirement that federal agencies give purchasing preference to electronics meeting the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) standards. That omission concerned EPEAT advocates, who feared the decision could lead to the erosion or demise of the standard. But the implementing instructions, dated June 10, indicate nothing less stringent than EPEAT would be acceptable. Source: Resource Recycling, 6/18/15

New Jersey bills tackle e-scrap program, hard drive shredding
Legislation in play in New Jersey would provoke an overhaul of the state's e-scrap program and offer an easing of state requirements for mobile hard drive shredding. Senate Bill 2973 would likely increase original equipment manufacturer recycling targets, and SB 2978 would allow mobile hard drive shredders to operate without a state permit. Both passed unanimously through the Senate Environment and Energy Committee on June 15. The next step for the bills would be a reading on the full Senate floor. Such action is not yet scheduled for either bill. Source: Resource Recycling, 6/18/15

EPA Report Shows Progress on E-Recycling and Identifies Opportunity to Advance G7's Recognition of Circular Economy
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released the Advancing Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) Facts and Figures report showing progress in consumer electronics recycling in the United States. Consumer electronics recycling went up from 30.6 percent in 2012 to 40.4 percent in 2013, the same year EPA launched the SMM Electronics Challenge to promote responsible donation and recycling of used electronics. Source: U.S. EPA, 6/17/15

Wednesday, June 17, 2015
U.K. supermarket will donate food to charities
The government of France recently passed a law that will obligate supermarkets to donate food to charities. Here in the United States, the Daily Table will collect edible food from grocery stores and other sources and sell it at a deep discount to residents in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston. And now, Tesco, the largest supermarket chain in the United Kingdom, has a plan to keep edible food out of the trash. The efforts are going to keep an impressive amount of perfectly edible food out of the landfill and funnel it where it should go: to hungry people. Source: Mother Nature Network, 6/17/15

Senate GOP moves against Obama green agenda via spending
A Senate spending panel voted Tuesday to block or weaken key Obama administration environmental rules on climate change, water and other subjects. Source: The Hill, 6/16/15

Designed for the Future: Practical Ideas for a Sustainable World
From packing materials made of mushrooms to buildings engineered to cool and power themselves, sustainable design can play a key role in helping people adapt to a changing planet. That's a central message of the new book Designed for the Future. Source: Yale Environment360, 6/17/15

Landfill Of Lettuce: Why Were These Greens Tossed Before Their Time?
Food is lost on farms, during processing and trucking. Supermarkets toss out unsold food. NPR investigates this downstream waste -- the part of the food supply chain that's largely hidden from consumers. They also explore how the fast-growing, packaged produce and salads category -- which is expected to approach $7 billion in sales by 2018 -- might contribute to waste. Source: NPR, 6/16/15

Tuesday, June 16, 2015
Tallying the costs of storm water pollution
In the latest P2 Impact article for GreenBiz, Patrick Bryan discusses the history of storm water management and the impact of the new storm water regulations in California. Source: GreenBiz, 6/3/15

Adobe Helps Customers Ditch Paper Waste
So, how does a business help customers be more sustainable? One business that's answering this question is Adobe, which helps its customers ditch paperwork. And paperwork is still being generated in this digital age. In the U.S., 30 billion documents are printed annually, Kevin Lynch, vice president of document services for Adobe, told TriplePundit. Much of the paper waste generated in U.S. offices can be eliminated. A document created, signed, shared and stored in Adobe Document Cloud has 91 percent less of an environmental footprint than it would if it were printed, and it has a cost savings of over 90 percent. Source: Triple Pundit, 6/16/15

How Sustainable is 3-D Printing?
Although 3-D printing brings with it the promise to make manufacturing 'cleaner and greener,' the enabling technologies don't boast those qualities yet. Even as we extol 3-D printing, all of its advantages need to be taken with a grain of salt -- at least until the time we see more sustainable solutions to bypass the problems highlighted in this article. Source: Triple Pundit, 6/16/15

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