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Environmental News

Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Friday, August 10, 2018
This new edible packaging is grown from kombucha
Scoby looks like a dried pig bladder. It's actually the product of fermentation, and it could let farmers grow their own packaging. Source: Fast Company, 5/16/18

Wednesday, August 8, 2018
Inside Levi's ambitious plan to cut its carbon footprint
In an unprecedented and impressive move, by 2025, the company plans to cut emissions in its supply chain by 40%. Source: Fast Company, 7/31/18

Tuesday, August 7, 2018
The climate impact of the food in the back of your fridge
It turns out reducing food waste is one of the most important things we can do to reverse global warming. Source: Washington Post, 7/31/18

Rethinking ketchup packets: New approach to slippery packaging aims to cut food waste
New research aims to cut down on waste -- and consumer frustration -- with a novel approach to creating super slippery industrial packaging. The study establishes a method for wicking chemically compatible vegetable oils into the surfaces of common extruded plastics, like those used for ketchup packets and other condiments. Source: Science Daily, 8/3/18

Old mining techniques make a new way to recycle lithium batteries
Using 100-year-old minerals processing methods, chemical engineering students have found a solution to a looming 21st-century problem: how to economically recycle lithium ion batteries. Source: Science Daily, 8/2/18

Fake Riverbanks Turn a Chicago Canal 'Wild'
Chicago's manmade North Branch Canal is polluted and lacks natural habitat. Enter 80 coconut-fiber "islands" that host wildlife and filter the water. ISTC's Wei Zheng provides scientific expertise about how plants help remove contaminants from polluted water. Source: CityLab, 8/2/18

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

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