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Environmental News


Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Thursday, June 23, 2016
Trader Joe's is forced to fix refrigerators, cut greenhouse gas emissions
Trader Joe's will spend millions of dollars over the next several years to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its refrigeration equipment as part of a settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Justice Department. Source: Washington Post, 6/21/16

Virgin Atlantic just used behavioral science to 'nudge' its pilots into using less fuel. It worked.
In an unusual experiment that could have major implications for the role of corporations in fighting climate change, Richard Branson's Virgin Atlantic Airways recently teamed up with economists to try to "nudge" the company's pilots to use less fuel, using a variety of behavioral interventions. Source: Washington Post, 6/22/16

Organizations disapprove of Pennsylvania's electronics recycling legislation and proposed amendment
Five of Pennsylvania's recycling, litter and waste management organizations representing key stakeholder factions affected by the 2010 Covered Device Recycling Act (CDRA) have united in disapproval of CDRA and its proposed amendment, House Bill 1900. The Electronics Recycling Association of Pennsylvania (ERAP), Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful (KPB), the Pennsylvania Recycling Markets Center (RMC), the Professional Recyclers of Pennsylvania (PROP) and the Keystone Chapter of the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) say they are in consensus on the steps necessary to revamp access to electronic scrap recycling opportunities for Pennsylvania citizens. "CDRA inadvertently created an environment in which a once-growing Pennsylvania electronics waste recycling industry nearly collapsed," says Ned Eldridge, ERAP president. "This forced counties and recyclers across Pennsylvania to reduce or abandon their once productive programs." Source: Recycling Today, 6/22/16

How Dell Saved $39.5 Million, Cut Carbon Pollution via Telecommuting
Allowing US employees to telecommute has saved Dell $39.5 million and avoided an estimated 25 million kWh of energy and 13,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions since fiscal year 2014. Source: Environmental Leader, 6/17/16

E-Waste Empire
New York City discards millions of pounds of dead electronics each year. We follow its path from shelf to shredder. Source: The Verge, 6/22/16

What the new Chemical Safety law means for business
The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act was signed into law Wednesday, replacing the Toxic Substances Control Act which left Americans exposed to many toxic chemicals. Source: GreenBiz, 6/22/16

Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Leading companies launch Minnesota Sustainable Growth Coalition
Minnesota's proud history of corporate citizenship and environmental stewardship has reached a new tipping point. Today, more than 25 businesses and organizations announce the Minnesota Sustainable Growth Coalition, a business led partnership harnessing their expertise to advance the next frontier of corporate sustainability -- the circular economy. Source: Environmental Initiative, 6/16/16

Going Greener
Small changes in lab practices and purchasing can lead to big gains in environmental sustainability. Sarah Webb looks at the steps labs can take to boost productivity, benefit people, and protect the planet. Source: Biotechniques, May 2016

Tuesday, June 21, 2016
Garbage in, energy out: creating biofuel from plastic waste
An Australian startup has found a way to transform end-of-life plastics into bio-crude fuel. But is this a sustainable solution or just pollution displacement? Source: The Guardian, 6/20/16

The Circuit: Tracking America's Electronic Waste
This international undercover investigation reveals what really happens to America's discarded TVs, phones and computers. Source: Oregon Public Broadcasting, 6/1/16

Thursday, June 16, 2016
Why Tech Companies Design Products With Their Destruction in Mind
Apple introduced a piece of technology recently that will likely never be used by any consumer. Instead, it kind of cleans up after them: a robot that breaks down iPhones for recycling. The company spent more than three years building Liam, of which there are currently two. Each carefully separates iPhone components such as the camera module, SIM card trays, screws and batteries. Instead of tossing the whole device into a shredder--the most common form of disposal--Liam separates materials so they can be recycled more efficiently. Other electronics makers take a different recycling approach, designing products that simplify disassembly by replacing glue and screws with parts that snap together, for instance. Some also have reduced the variety of plastics used and avoid mercury and other hazardous materials that can complicate disposal. It's all part of the electronics industry's efforts to undo a problem of its own making. The technological advances that replaced typewriters with personal computers, flip phones with smartphones and clunky TVs with flat-screen displays also spawned the consumer expectation that today's cutting-edge product will become obsolete in a few years. The constant churn of new devices has contributed to an increase in electronic waste, some of which ends up in developing nations where local residents must deal with the health and environmental risks. Source: The Wall Street Journal

Monday, June 13, 2016
Hard-Pressed Rust Belt Cities Go Green to Aid Urban Revival
Gary, Indiana is joining Detroit and other fading U.S. industrial centers in an effort to turn abandoned neighborhoods and factory sites into gardens, parks, and forests. In addition to the environmental benefits, these greening initiatives may help catalyze an economic recovery. Source: Yale e360, 5/31/16

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