Day: February 1, 2012

All auto shredding: evaluation of automotive shredder residue generated by shredding only vehicles

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A well developed infrastructure exists for the reuse and recycling of automotive parts and materials. At the end of a vehicle’s useful life many parts are removed and sold for reuse and fluids are recovered for recycling or proper disposal. What remains is shredded, along with other metal bearing scrap such as home appliances, demolition debris and process equipment, and the metals are separated out and recycled. The remainder of the vehicle materials is call shredder residue which ends up in the landfill. As energy and natural resources becomes more treasured, increased effort has been afforded to find ways to reduce energy consumption and minimize the use of our limited resources. Many of the materials found in shredder residue could be recovered and help offset the use of energy and material consumption.

For example, the energy content of the plastics and rubbers currently landfilled with the shredder residue is equivalent to 16 million barrels of oil per year. However, in the United States, the recovered materials, primarily polymers, cannot be recycled due to current regulatory barriers which preclude the re-introduction into commerce of certain materials because of residual contamination with substances of concern (SOCs) such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The source of the PCBs is not well understood. Old transformers, capacitors, white goods and ballasts from lighting fixtures are likely contributing factors. The project was designed to evaluate whether vehicles of varying age and manufacturing origin contribute to the PCB content in shredder residue. Additionally, the project was designed to determine if there are any trends in material composition of the shredder residue from varied age and manufacturing groups. This information would aid in future material recovery facility strategy and design.

The test utilized a newly installed shredder plant to shred four categories of automobiles. The categories were defined by vehicle age and the manufacturing company and location. Each category of vehicles was processed individually through the shredder plant and the resulting shredder residue was analyzed for its materials composition and presence of PCBs and leachable metals. The results show that shredder residue from all vehicle categories tested are not significant contributors of PCBs and leachable metals. It was evident that leachable cadmium levels have decreased in newer vehicles. The composition of the shredder residue from each of the four categories is similar to the others. In addition, these compositions are approximately equal to the composition of typical shredder residues, not limited to automotive materials.

UVM One of First Universities to End Sales of Bottled Water, Mandate Healthy Vending Options

Read the full story from the University of Vermont.

The University of Vermont will become one of the first institutions nationwide to end the sale of bottled water on campus and mandate that one-third of drinks offered in vending machines be healthy options. The decision marks the advent of a long-awaited systematic sustainable beverage policy after years of lobbying by students and the greater campus community.

The announcement comes five months prior to the end of a ten-year contract with Coca-Cola of Northern New England that allowed the company to provide 100 percent of beverages in vending machines and 80 percent of bottled beverages served in retail, residential dining, and catering, totaling more than 1.1 million bottles per year.

As of July 1, the university will no longer have a beverage contract with corporate sponsorship and exclusive “pouring rights.” Sodexo, operator of University Dining Services, the UVM Bookstore and the CAT Pause store will choose a mix of beverages through their own national contracts and local connections, allowing for greater flexibility in addressing environmental and social values in relation to the beverages supplied on campus.

Report Taps into Innovative Financing to Secure Future for Sustainable Water Infrastructure

Read the full story in Environmental Protection.

Innovative financing and pricing flexibility are key to preparing the nation’s aging freshwater systems to handle growing demand and environmental challenges, according to a Charting New Waters report recently released by The Johnson Foundation at Wingspread, American Rivers and Ceres.

Financing Sustainable Water Infrastructure is the product of a meeting convened by The Johnson Foundation, in collaboration with American Rivers and Ceres, which brought together a group of experts to discuss ways to drive funding toward the infrastructure needed for the 21st century.

Revitalizing U.S. Manufacturing

Read the full story in Sustainable Industries Journal.

President Obama’s call in his State of the Union address to capitalize on “the strongest two-year period of manufacturing growth since the 1990s” by encouraging businesses to bring work back to the United States can be accelerated with energy efficiency innovation.

Future Measures

Read the full story in Sustainable Industries Journal.

While at the GreenBiz12 Forum in New York earlier this week, I got a sneak preview of the findings of the new Ernst & Young and GreenBiz Group survey of trends in sustainability reporting. The soon-to-be-released survey validates much of what I’ve seen firsthand in my work preparing sustainability and corporate responsibility reports for Fortune 100 companies in various industry sectors.

Eco-label Evolution

Read the full story in Sustainable Industries Journal.

In 2007, Timberland pioneered eco-labels on their apparel, modeling them after USDA nutrition labels. The imitation was deliberate, said VP of Corporate Social Responsibility, Mark Newton. With the wealth of green information that is currently tracked, measured, analyzed and debated, the intent was to capture the essence of several large categories on a very small parcel of garment real estate. The absence of numbers keeps consumers from getting bogged down by a figure that would need a detailed explanation and wouldn’t be consistent with measurements on other ecolabels.

This way, consumers can scan the label for the metric that means the most to them – whether it is climate impact, resource consumption or eco-conscious materials – much the same way that consumers scan food labels to discern calories or sodium content.

Webinar: Trendwatch 2012 Webinar

Date: Feb, 29, 2012, 1:00pm PST
Register here.

With release of its new Trendwatch microsite, Sustainable Industries and TriplePundit explore the top sustainable business trends to watch in 2012, with a focus on economic recovery across sustainability’s most active and dynamic sectors. Includes an additional segment on the year’s top trends in CSR reporting.

EPA Region 9 Environmental Awards 2012 — Nominations are now open

Each year U.S. EPA’s Pacific Southwest office encourages citizens in California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii, and the Pacific Islands to nominate individuals or organizations for Environmental Awards. This program offers a great opportunity for us to recognize individuals and groups outside of EPA who are working to protect public health and the environment. Awards can be given to anyone, such as scientists, teachers, journalists, citizen activists, young people, organizations, business representatives, public officials, and others committed to protecting public health and preserving our natural surroundings.

Please see the awards website for more information. This year’s awards program introduces a few new categories. EPA will select one winner per category.

Award Categories

See selection criteria for each award category.

  • Children’s Environmental Health
  • Clean Technology
  • Climate Change Champion
  • Educational Leadership
  • Efficient Water Infrastructure
  • Environmental Justice Champion
  • Green Business of the Year
  • Green Chemistry
  • Green Government
  • Sustainable Agriculture Champion
  • Tribal Environmental Protection
  • Zero-Waste Advocate

Contact Information: Environmental Awards (R9EnvironmentalAwards@epa.gov)

Webinar: The Recent Convergence of Lakes Huron, Michigan and Superior, or, Are There Only Three Great Lakes Now?

Dr. Richard Barbiero, CSC, Loyola University Chicago
Wednesday, February 8, 1-2 pm CST
Registration Web Link: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/321001297

The open waters of both Lake Huron and Lake Michigan have shown signs of oligotrophication in recent years, with declining phosphorus levels and increasing silica. The lower trophic level have also shifted, with reductions in biomass apparent in phytoplankton, zooplankton and benthos communities. These changes have resulted in a distinct convergence of the lower food webs in lakes Huron, Michigan and Superior.