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Environmental News


Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Friday, August 3, 2018
The Freshest Ideas Are in Small Grocery Stores
As big supermarkets struggle, a new crop of local groceries are innovating to serve niche audiences and advance social causes. Source: New York Times, 7/31/18

Here's How America Uses Its Land
There are many statistical measures that show how productive the U.S. is. Its economy is the largest in the world and grew at a rate of 4.1 percent last quarter, its fastest pace since 2014. The unemployment rate is near the lowest mark in a half century. What can be harder to decipher is how Americans use their land to create wealth. The 48 contiguous states alone are a 1.9 billion-acre jigsaw puzzle of cities, farms, forests and pastures that Americans use to feed themselves, power their economy and extract value for business and pleasure. Source: Bloomberg, 7/31/18

How the UK is thinking about plastics in market downturn
As marine litter gains attention and export markets shrink, more countries are forced think about creating their own circular economies. Source: WasteDive, 7/24/18

Using prairie filter strips next to crops to protect Wisconsin water
Prairies of the past could be a modern conservation tool for Wisconsin farmers. Native prairie plants can act as a sponge and slow soil runoff from rain. Research from Iowa State University shows planting dense, diverse and deep-rooted prairie strips next to corn and soybean fields has environmental benefits. Source: Wisconsin State Farmer, 7/23/18

Harmful dyes in lakes, rivers can become colorless with new, sponge-like material
A team led by the University of Washington has created an environmentally friendly way to remove color from dyes in water in a matter of seconds. The technique was described in a paper published online in June in the journal Applied Catalysis B: Environmental. Source: University of Washington, 8/1/18

New Toxics Release Inventory Data Available
On July 31, EPA published preliminary Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) data about chemical releases, waste management and pollution prevention activities that took place during 2017 at more than 20,000 federal and industrial facilities across the country. Source: Environmental News Bits, 8/2/18

Michigan declares state of emergency in town with high PFOS, PFOA levels in drinking water
Michigan has declared a state of emergency in a community of 3,100 people whose drinking water is tainted with high levels of perfluorinated chemicals. Source: Chemical & Engineering News, 8/1/18

Drywall Waste Explored as Building System
A team from Washington State University wants to take one of the construction industry's largest source of waste and turn it into a plausible building solution. And the project will next move beyond the laboratory and into scale with a demonstration structure. Source: ENRNorthwest, 7/23/ 18

Friday, July 27, 2018
UCLA's Escobar Believes Sustainability is About Systems
The 40 under 40 winner shares how he came up with a process to move the campus' first building toward zero waste. Source: Waste360, 7/24/18

Plastic Packaging Alternative Derived From Crab Shells and Trees
A new material made from substances common in crab shells and tree fibers could replace the flexible plastic packaging used to keep food fresh. Source: R&D Magazine, 7/23/18

Thursday, July 26, 2018
Three Strategies Companies Are Using to Tackle Produce Waste in the Supply Chain
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, when it comes to fresh produce (the most wasted foods, at least in industrialized countries), almost 1/3 happens along the supply chain. From lack of coordination and communication to inconsistent quality standardization, there are plenty of things that need to go right to get fresh food from A to B without it spoiling -- and that doesn't always happen. However, there are a few tools and strategies that companies are using to try and reduce food waste at various points along the supply chain. Here are three to watch. Source: The Spoon, 7/18/18

Wednesday, July 25, 2018
EPR and the China Sword
In July 2017, China formally announced new import restrictions on recyclables, which came into effect in 2018. U.S. municipalities are now feeling the Sword's sting. A lack of investment in domestic recycling infrastructure, dependence on other nations to accept contaminated recyclables, and failure to account for the full lifecycle costs of packaging have resulted in significantly increased costs for local governments and taxpayers. China's policy shift revealed flaws in U.S. recycling systems, which currently rely on voluntary action on the part of packaging producers. In British Columbia, however, where an extended producer responsibility (EPR) law is in place for packaging and paper products, the effects of the Sword are muted. There is now increasing interest in EPR for packaging in the U.S., which will only grow as the impacts of China's policies continue to unfold. Source: Product Stewardship Institute, 7/25/18

Tuesday, July 24, 2018
The next BPA? Why businesses must get ahead of hormone-disrupting chemicals
American consumers are growing increasingly concerned about food safety and chemical hazards. Over the past 10 years, the market has shifted away from products containing bisphenol A (BPA) -- previously found in baby bottles, sippy cups and food packaging -- following widespread consumer demand for safer products. But BPA is not the only chemical of concern in the food supply that should be on the radar of sustainability professionals. Meet the new BPA: phthalates and PFAS. Source: GreenBiz, 7/20/18

How Europe's chemical industry learned to love REACH
Supporting the chemical management law is good for competitiveness, Europe's chemical industry now says. Source: Chemical & Engineering News, 7/16/18

Regulate to reduce chemical mixture risk
Humans and wildlife are continuously exposed to multiple chemicals from different sources and via different routes, both simultaneously and in sequence. Scientific evidence for heightened toxicity from such mixtures is mounting, yet regulation is lagging behind. Ensuring appropriate regulation of chemical mixture risks will require stronger legal stimuli as well as close integration of different parts of the regulatory systems in order to meet the data and testing requirements for mixture risk assessment. Source: Science, 7/20/18

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