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Environmental News

Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Chemists forge green path to alkylated amines
Chemists use alkylated amines to build plastics, pharmaceuticals, and more. Unfortunately, making these important building blocks on a large scale is energy intensive and relies on nonrenewable feedstocks. Now a team of researchers report a green approach to synthesizing the molecules. Source: Chemical & Engineering News, 12/11/17

Masconomet, Mass., Regional School District Launches Textile Recycling Program
Bay State Textiles has teamed with Masconomet Recycling and DECA clubs to add four textile recycling boxes to the campuses of some of the schools in the Masconomet, Mass., Regional School District. Source: Waste360, 12/1/17

Think Tank: Mitigating the Harmful Side of Unsustainable Consumer Practices
Marcus Tan explains how our culture's obsession with the new is hurting the environment. Source: Women's Wear Daily, 11/28/17

Will China's crackdown on 'foreign garbage' force wealthy countries to recycle more of their own waste?
With holidays approaching, many of us are mindful of the need to collect and recycle all the additional plastic, paper and other waste that we are about to generate. This year, however, there are questions about where that waste will end up. China, the world's largest importer of scrap, is looking to clean up its act. Source: The Conversation, 12/13/17

Waste Not, Want Not: Drink Beer To Feed Fish And Help Save The Planet
In Westfield, N.Y., perch, bass, catfish and trout are growing fat on the byproducts of an adjacent brewery and distillery. The fish, still young but intended to be harvested and eaten next year, are the first fruits of an innovative project aimed at turning waste into food while addressing a suite of problems associated with more conventional means of catching and farming seafood. Source: NPR, 12/12/17

Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Tinder for food: App shares leftovers for a healthier planet
Too many leftovers from dinner? Vegetables forgotten in the fridge or cans gathering dust at the back of a cupboard? Instead of tossing them out, why not share them with friends and neighbors and care for the planet at the same time? That is the premise of OLIO, a mobile phone app founded in Britain and part of a wave of businesses using technology to cut waste and help the environment. Source: Reuters, 12/1/17

Millennials Buy Products They Believe are Ecofriendly and Companies are Responding
Millennials tend to prioritize buying from companies they believe have environmentally sustainable practices, and they are doing their homework to determine which companies they most trust, according to new research findings. Source: Waste360, 12/5/17

This Natural Liquid Silk Is Starting To Replace Oil-Based Plastic
Microbeads, the tiny plastic beads used in some facial scrubs and toothpaste that rinse down drains and pollute oceans and lakes, are now banned in "rinse-off" products in the U.S. But it's not like those products are great for the environment now: you're probably still slathering other lesser-known petrochemical ingredients on your face, like methylparaben and propylene glycol. One company wants to replace those ingredients--along with plastics used in other everyday products--with silk. Source: Fast Company, 12/11/17

Cranberry growers tart on phosphorus
Phosphorus is an important nutrient that is often added to cranberry fields as a fertilizer. It is also naturally present in watery ecosystems. But too much causes algae to grow faster than ecosystems can handle. These large growths of algae, called algal blooms, can severely reduce or eliminate oxygen in the water. This leads to illness and death for large numbers of fish. These concerns led a team of Massachusetts-based researchers to study ways to reduce the amount of phosphorus leaving cranberry farms. The study was conducted by Casey Kennedy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture - Agricultural Research Service and colleagues at USDA-ARS and the University of Massachusetts. Source:, 11/29/17

We're pouring millions of tons of salt on roads each winter. Here's why that's a problem.
The use of salt to de-ice roads and parking lots has skyrocketed in recent years. As environmental consequences emerge, scientists propose creative solutions. Source: Ensia, 11/6/17

When and how to use the term 'zero waste' -- and when to avoid it
Do we need the term "zero waste" to guide our consumption and waste behaviors, or are we better off without it? Source: Waste Dive, 12/11/17

Least-Toxic Chemicals Show Promise for Bed Bug Control, But Non-Toxic Practices Remain the Best Solution
Less toxic oil-based insecticides are showing promise for the treatment of bed bugs, according to a study published this month in the Journal of Economic Entomology. Source: Beyond Pesticides, 12/8/17

Brewery Makes Algae Beer To Spotlight Threat To Lake Erie
A brewery in Ohio is making a batch of green-colored beer called "Algae Blooms" to draw attention to the toxic algae that's been fouling Lake Erie. Source: Food Manufacturing, 11/30/17

Will people eat relish made from 'waste' ingredients? Study finds they may even prefer it
A new Drexel University study found strong potential for consumer acceptance of a new category of foods created from discarded ingredients. Source: Drexel University, 12/12/17

Monday, December 11, 2017
How to build a city that doesn't flood? Turn it into a sponge.
There's a movement around the world to build smarter and "spongier" cities that can absorb rainwater instead of letting it flow through miles of pavement and cause damaging floods. From Iowa to Vermont and from San Francisco to Chicago, urban infrastructure is getting a reboot. Source: JSTOR Daily, 12/5/17

Designer tweaks famous logos to use less ink
Could big brands save millions of dollars a year and help preserve the environment just by slightly changing their logos? Source: CNN, 11/29/17

For dead EV batteries, reuse comes before recycle
Automakers and e-waste recyclers find new uses for electric vehicle batteries when their on-road service life ends. Source: Road Show, 12/5/17

Is The Tide Of Antibiotic Use On Farms Now Turning?
Something unprecedented happened this week. The Food And Drug Administration released its annual accounting of antibiotics sold in America for use in poultry, pigs and cattle, and for the very first time, it reported that fewer of the drugs were sold. Sales of medically important antibiotics in 2016 declined by 14 percent, compared to 2015. Source: NPR, 12/7/17

Dear global mayors: Solving food waste is money in the bank
If food loss were a country, it would be the world's third-largest emitter. Chew on these facts. Source: GreenBiz, 12/7/17

Rethinking Food Waste: Q&A with Hilton's Max Verstraete
Environmental Leader spoke with Max Verstraete, VP of corporate responsibility for Hilton, about the hospitality chain's sustainability strategy for food, including sourcing and menu design. Source: Environmental Leader, 12/4/17

Cremona, Italy, makes the circular economy real for cities
Cremona has become a European test ground for new ideas to promote a "circular economy" -- a concept that seeks to reduce waste and extend the useful life of resources. In the last two years alone, Cremona has increased the percentage of waste collected separately -- necessary for recycling -- from 53 percent to 72 percent. Source: GreenBiz, 12/5/17

Friday, December 8, 2017
The simple river-cleaning tactics that big farms ignore
In Iowa and elsewhere, runoff from fertilized fields pollutes drinking water and creates dead zones. Yet straightforward solutions exist. Source: Food & Environment Reporting Network, 12/7/17

Thursday, December 7, 2017
Sustainability Key for Medical Device Packaging Market
Medical device packaging manufacturers are realizing a need in their market for sustainable and cost-efficient packaging, a new research report from Future Market Insights shows. Source: Environmental Leader, 12/7/17

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