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Environmental News

Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Wednesday, May 20, 2015
How to fight climate change: Invest in inner cities
BlocPower aims to be an online investing platform where individuals can earn a good return while financing energy-efficiency retrofits and solar power projects in distressed, inner city neighborhoods. Source: Mother Nature Network, 5/20/15

Flame retardants may be coming off of furniture, but they're still in your TV sets
Consumers are often unaware of all the flame-retardant chemicals in and on electronics. While flaming laptops and even iPods -- and recalls from manufacturers such as Dell, Apple, Lenovo, Toshiba and, more recently, Sony over fire safety fears -- might help make the case for coating circuit boards with flame retardants, fierce debate is raging over whether they are necessary on the external plastic casings of items like televisions, stereos, computers, video game consoles and cellphones. Source: The Guardian, 5/19/15

Milwaukee Water Council Startup Aims to Save A Billion Gallons of Water This Year
MeterHero rewards users for using less water and electricity. McGee Young came up with the idea with his students at Marquette University. Source: Milwaukee Public Radio, 5/18/15

Tuesday, May 19, 2015
California and the rise of 'sub-national' climate action
A new report looks at how sub-national climate policies can complement economic growth, as it has in California. Source: GreenBiz, 5/19/15

Sustainability Drives Supply Chain Professionals to Learn New Finance and Accounting Concepts
72% of the companies included in The S&P 500 Index publish sustainability reports, up from just under 20% in 2011. Over time, companies' sustainability efforts become more mature and corporate sustainability goals filter down and become key supply chain goals as well. Source: Forbes, 5/15/15

Is the Obama administration lowering the bar on green electronics?
Environmental advocates fear that a recent executive order from the Obama administration may spell the beginning of the end for a federal ratings system aimed at greening America's electronics industry. Source: The Guardian, 4/23/15

Monday, May 18, 2015
Winnow Scores Seed Funding For Its Food Waste Smart Meter
Winnow is on a mission to help the hospitality industry cut down on food waste by making the kitchen 'smarter.' It does this via the Winnow smart meter, a set of smart scales and accompanying tablet app that lets kitchen staff easily log what food is thrown away. That data is then uploaded to the cloud, analysed by Winnow's algorithm, and disseminated so that food waste can be reduced. Source: TechCrunch, 5/11/15

Minnesota ban on fire retardants would be toughest in nation
Minnesota legislators are on the verge of approving the nation's most restrictive use of flame-retardant chemicals in furniture and an array of household items such as textiles, mattresses and children's products. Source: Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 5/12/15

Trenton brewery to convert waste water into fish feed
Apparently beer can be for the fishes too. The MillerCoors Trenton Brewery in rural Butler County has partnered with the Colorado biotechnology company Nutrinsic Corp. to convert waste water from the beer-making process into fish and animal feed. Source: Dayton Daily News, 5/15/15

Goodbye CSR, hello new normal
CSR shouldn't be a formal department, but a part of every department and every business's work. Here are some signs that it already is. Source: GreenBiz, 5/18/15

Friday, May 15, 2015
A Product Stewardship Approach to "Flushable" Wipes?
A group of wastewater and water quality associations is meeting with representatives of the nonwoven fabric industry (via a trade association known as the International Nonwovens and Disposables Association) to explore a "product stewardship approach." What, you ask? Take-back of leftover wipes? No, let's not go there. Instead, they have agreed to discuss the challenges that the wastewater agencies face and to tighten the requirements spelled out in the current Guidance Document for Assessing the Flushability of Nonwoven Disposable Products (third edition). A fourth edition is currently in the works. Source: Washington State Recycling Association, 5/13/15

Elsevier announces Green and Sustainable Chemistry Challenge
The Elsevier Green and Sustainable Chemistry Challenge is open to individuals or organisations operating in the not-for-profit and for-profit sectors from all countries. Projects can be in any field of Green or Sustainable Chemistry so long as they are applicable for use in developing countries. Projects which are within their early stage are preferred. The winning project in the Elsevier Green and Sustainable Chemistry Challenge will receive a single payment of € 50,000; the winner of the second prize will receive a single payment of € 25,000. Source: Environmental News Bits, 5/15/15

Thursday, May 14, 2015
Virality of sustainability through gamification
When it comes to sustainability, games can be used by industry to educate, train, empower and engage professionals, especially younger generations just entering the workforce. Source: Packaging Digest, 5/11/15

How MillerCoors is brewing more beer with less water
MillerCoors this week became the latest company to join Ceres' Connect the Drops campaign -- a business-led effort organized by Ceres seeking bolder measures and shared solutions to achieve a sustainable water future in California. Day-to-day, the company is also re-evaluating how water is used in various aspects of its operations. Source: GreenBiz, 5/13/15

CEA Announces New Record for eCycling Leadership Initiative: 660 Million Pounds Recycled in 2014
The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) has announced a new milestone for consumer electronics (CE) recycling under the eCycling Leadership Initiative (ELI): The responsible recycling of 660 million pounds of electronics in the United States in 2014, the CE industry's highest ever annual total. The U.S. is now recycling CE products in record numbers, according to the Fourth Annual Report of the eCycling Leadership Initiative -- a CE industry effort, led by CEA, to increase collaboration among CE manufacturers, retailers, collectors, recyclers, non-governmental organizations and governments at all levels and to continue to increase the industry's sustainability efforts. Source: Consumer Electronics Association, 4/30/15

State Electronics Challenge announces 2014 award winners
A dozen organizations have earned recognition for their efforts to purchase "green" electronics, reduce energy and paper use and responsibly divert e-scrap. The government and nonprofit organizations received awards through the State Electronics Challenge, a program managed by the Northeast Recycling Council (NERC). Those receiving awards for the first time include Centre County Recycling & Refuse Authority, Chewonki Foundation, Illinois Sustainable Technology Center and the City of Fort Collins. Source: Resource Recycling, 5/14/15

E-Scrap 2015: Refurb on the rise
At this year's E-Scrap conference, refurb experts from around the world will be on hand to discuss the growing industry importance of giving electronics a second life. While old CRT devices continue to account for the heaviest portion of the stream, volumes of lightweight and younger electronics, including smartphones and tablets, are growing. They're also posing the biggest opportunity yet for companies to maximize profit from repair and resale. Joining lively conversations surrounding reuse and repair issues, Kyle Wiens, iFixit founder and one of the nation's leading reuse advocates, will demonsrate live device tear-downs. A repair- and reuse-focused session led by Wiens will also take a look at the state of refurb in the U.S. and touch on why the legal fight to restore everyone's right to repair their own devices matters to the industry. Source: Resource Recycling, 5/14/15

OH: Got unwanted e-waste? Recycle it with the Reds
Reds right fielder Jay Bruce wants you to recycle your electronic waste. So do his teammates, Tony Cingrani and Todd Frazier, and a bunch of the Reds, actually. You've likely got some hanging around the house. An old computer. A busted television or camera. A tangle of cords or a gaggle of small home appliances. In Greater Cincinnati, the Reds, PNC Bank and a host of other local sponsors will make it easy to get rid of this often hazardous e-waste. For the next four days, you can load it up, head to a Players for the Planet location and volunteers will unload it for you. Source:, 5/13/15

Ohio's waste, recycling industry has $6.7B impact
Ohio's waste and recycling industry has a $6.7 billion annual impact on the state's economy, according to new data released Wednesday. The Ohio Chapter of the National Waste & Recycling Association said the industry generates nearly $6.7 billion in direct, indirect and payroll-induced economic activity. The association released the economic impact data in conjunction with its annual chapter meeting in Columbus. Source: Dayton Daily News, 5/13/15

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