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Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Friday, January 22, 2016
Announcing the Winners of the Second Cradle to Cradle Product Design Challenge
A panel of industry experts have selected winners for the second Cradle to Cradle Product Design Challenge. The winning submissions celebrate Cradle to Cradle design for the circular economy and highlight safe materials that can be perpetually cycled and are designed with thoughtful use and reuse scenarios. Source: Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, 1/13/16

What's Trending in Product Stewardship
In this interview, Scott Cassel of the Product Stewardship Institute discusses current trends related to producer responsibility. Source: Waste360,

EPA Announces 2014 Toxics Release Inventory Report
In 2014, 84% of the 25 billion pounds of toxic chemical waste managed at the nation's industrial facilities was not released into the environment due to the use of preferred waste management practices like recycling, energy recovery and treatment, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) annual Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) report. The remaining 16% was released to the air, water or placed in some type of land disposal. Most of these releases are subject to a variety of regulatory requirements designed to limit human and environmental harm. Source: U.S. EPA, 1/21/16

RIT Taps Former Kodak Executive To Head Up Pollution Prevention Institute
RIT has named a former Kodak executive to be the new director of the New York Pollution Prevention Institute. Source: WXXI, 1/18/16

EPA Region 5 Administrator Susan Hedman to resign in wake of the Flint water crisis
Today, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that EPA Region 5 Administrator Susan Hedman will resign as of February 1. Hedman headed up the EPA regional department that oversees the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. She was appointed to lead the EPA's Region 5 office in 2010, where she oversaw EPA operations in six states. Before that, she was an environmental attorney with the Illinois Attorney General's office. Source: Michigan Public Radio, 1/21/16

Thursday, January 21, 2016
Epson Develops the World's First Office Papermaking System that Turns Waste Paper into New Paper
Seiko Epson Corporation has developed what it believes to be the world's first compact office papermaking system capable of producing new paper from securely shredded waste paper without the use of water. Epson plans to put the new "PaperLab" into commercial production in Japan in 2016, with sales in other regions to be decided at a later date. Businesses and government offices that install a PaperLab in a backyard area will be able to produce paper of various sizes, thicknesses, and types, from office paper and business card paper to paper that is colored and scented. Source: Seiko Epson Corporation, 12/1/15

Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Testing their metal: The new tech sector focus on conflict minerals
Intel made tremendous strides over the past seven years in eliminating so-called conflict -- aka "blood" -- minerals from much of its product line. But even though it has pretty much met its own commitment, don't expect the microprocessor giant to back off its awareness campaign. Now, Intel is encouraging other tech organizations to become far more aggressive about shunning tin, tantalum, gold and tungsten mined from unverified sources in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Source: GreenBiz, 1/20/16

How HP and Dell are reducing the toxics in their electronics
Around the world, electronics companies are working to reduce their use of chemicals that are known to be hazardous to human health, the environment or both. Source: GreenBiz, 1/20/16

Food reduction goals open composting business opportunities
Composting helps to generate industry programs and jobs, and also plays a role in storm water management and erosion control, all while supporting food growers. But a food waste elimination model is not an immediate cash cow; there are startup investments and plenty of ongoing expenses. Then there's one big, overarching challenge: teaching and motivating consumers to change their habits. Source: WasteDive, 12/21/15

What's holding green products back?
Trim Tab talked with Jeffrey Hollender and John Warner about how business and green chemistry are using both approaches to change the manufacturing industry, and how the sustainable products industry effectively can address the social and environmental challenges we face. Source: GreenBiz, 1/20/16

Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Interns: A secret weapon to curb corporate pollution
In the latest P2 Impact column, Cyrus Philbrick and Laura Barnes write about the long-term impact of pollution prevention intern programs, both on the students and companies that participate. Source: GreenBiz, 1/19/16

Children as young as seven mining cobalt used in smartphones, says Amnesty
Children as young as seven are working in perilous conditions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to mine cobalt that ends up in smartphones, cars and computers sold to millions across the world, by household brands including Apple, Microsoft and Vodafone, according to a new investigation by Amnesty International. The human rights group claims to have traced cobalt used in lithium batteries sold to 16 multinational brands to mines where young children and adults are being paid a dollar a day, working in life-threatening conditions and subjected to violence, extortion and intimidation. More than half the world's supply of cobalt comes from the DRC, with 20% of cobalt exported coming from artisanal mines in the southern part of the country. In 2012, Unicef estimated that there were 40,000 children working in all the mines across the south, many involved in mining cobalt. Source: The Guardian, 1/19/16

Thursday, January 14, 2016
The Burning Truth Behind an E-Waste Dump in Africa
During the last decade, some of the world's most respected media organizations have transformed Agbogbloshie into a symbol of what's believed to be a growing crisis: the export--or dumping--of electronic waste from rich, developed countries into Africa. It's a concise narrative that resonates strongly in a technology-obsessed world. There's just one problem: The story is not that simple. According to the United Nations Environment Programme, 85 percent of the e-waste dumped in Ghana and other parts of West Africa is produced in Ghana and West Africa. In other words, ending the export of used electronics from the wealthy developed world won't end the burning in Agbogbloshie. The solution must come from West Africa itself and the people who depend upon e-waste to make a living. Source: Smithsonian Magazine, 1/13/16

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