Day: February 8, 2012

Why Social Intrapreneurs Must Engage Coworkers and Break Down Siloes

Read the full post at GreenBiz.

No matter what field your company works in, or how broad or deep its commitment to sustainability, the consistently biggest challenge faced by social intrapreneurs is the persistence, patience and creativity needed to move the needle.

The Bigger Picture Behind Apple’s China Problem

Read the full post at GreenBiz.

The major problems uncovered in Apple’s — and the IT industry’s — Chinese supply chain in a series of recent exposes go far beyond Apple to the heart of how companies measure their social and environmental impacts

Color It Green: Nike to Adopt Waterless Textile Dyeing

Read the full post at GreenBiz.

“Just dye it.”

That might be a fitting twist on Nike’s iconic slogan after today’s announcement that it is adopting a waterless dyeing technology that uses recycled carbon dioxide to color synthetic textiles.

The process, which the company has been exploring for eight years, could eliminate the use of countless billions of gallons of polluted discharges into waterways near manufacturing plants in Asia, where much of the world’s textile dyeing occurs. On average, an estimated 100-150 liters (about 26-40 gallons) of water is needed to process one kg (2.2 pounds) of textile materials. Industry analysts estimate that more than 39 million tons of polyester will be dyed annually by 2015.

Midwest Product Stewardship Council Quarterly Networking Meeting

February 15, 2012, 10:00-11:30 am, CST
Call-in:  605.475.6006, Code:  355334# or


  • 10:00-10:10 — Introductions
  • 10:10 -10:30 — MPSC States Brief Updates – what is (or is not!) happening in your state?
    • Minnesota
    • Wisconsin
    • Iowa
    • Ohio
    • Michigan
    • Indiana
    • Illinois
    • Missouri
    • Kansas
    • Nebraska
  • 10:30-10:50– Product Stewardship Initiative Brief Updates
    • Packaging dialogue – Chris Newman
    • Hg Vermont law – Cynthia Moore
    • PaintCare Program – Marjaneh Zarrehparvr
    • MPSC & PSI US Product Stewardship Councils Networking calls – Sierra Fletcher
    • Great Lakes States & WA pharmaceutical initiatives – Steve Brachman & Margaret Shield
  • 10:50-11:25 — Federal Pharmaceutical Legislation Update – Cherie Hoffman, Senior Policy Advisor to Congresswoman Louis M. Slaughter
  • 11:25-11:30 — Next MPSC Quarterly Meeting In-Person, Chicago EPA Region 5 Headquarters, June 8, 2012, 8:00 – 10:00 am, CST

Texas Grocer Slashes Energy Use

Read the full post from the Rocky Mountain Institute.

Which commercial building sector uses more energy per square foot than all but one other and is more than twice as energy-intensive as office buildings and schools? Grocery stores, second only to food service.

With utility costs rising—and already a significant percentage of the famously thin profit margin on food sales—stores must get serious about energy efficiency, particularly if they care to keep prices low for value-conscious customers.

Now, imagine slashing the energy use of a new or existing store in half, while achieving a better customer environment. How could this be done? Rocky Mountain Institute’s whole-system approach, reaping multiple benefits from single design moves, works particularly well when a retailer is willing to push the boundaries.

A CLEER Path to Energy Efficiency

Read the full post from the Rocky Mountain Institute.

RMI alumna Alice Laird and alumnus Mike Ogburn are providing the spark for a clean energy economy in a place still blazing with fossil-fuel extraction.

The growing public-private initiative their team has fostered in Garfield County, Colorado, a few miles northwest of RMI’s birthplace at Old Snowmass, is intentionally built on many of RMI’s core principles. It has produced more than $1 million in energy savings so far for local governments, schools, businesses, and homes, and generated close to $7 million in work for local clean-energy contractors, suppliers and businesses, according to a report to the Colorado Department of Local Affairs. Projects completed to date are projected to save an additional $5.5 million per year over the next five years.

Laird and Ogburn work for CLEER, Clean Energy Economy for the Region. The CLEER team is working to turn the approach developed in Garfield County — and tools such as an online dashboard to improve buildings’ energy use — into a model that can be easily applied in other locations across the country.

UK researcher develops microbubble algae dewatering system

Read the full story in Biodiesel Magazine.

Researchers at U.K.-based University of Sheffield have developed a microbubble technology that could bring down the cost of algae biofuels by cost-effectively dewatering algae. According to the university, the solution builds on previous research in which microbubbles were used to improve the way algae is cultivated. The research team, led by Will Zimmerman, a professor in the department of chemical and biological engineering, has developed an inexpensive method to produce microbubbles that can float algae cells to the surface of the algae solution, which makes harvesting easier, cheaper and faster. Research on the process has been published in the journal Biotechnology and Bioengineering.

Full citation for the research article: James Hanotu, H.C. Hemaka Bandulasena, William B. Zimmerman (2012). “Microflotation performance for algal separation.” Biotechnology and Bioengineering Online before print. DOI: 10.1002/bit.24449

Abstract: The performance of microflotation, dispersed air flotation with microbubble clouds with bubble size about 50 µm, for algae separation using fluidic oscillation for microbubble generation is investigated. This fluidic oscillator converts continuous air supply into oscillatory flow with a regular frequency to generate bubbles of the scale of the exit pore. Bubble characterization results showed that average bubble size generated under oscillatory air flow state was 86 µm, approximately twice the size of the diffuser pore size of 38 µm. In contrast, continuous air flow at the same rate through the same diffusers yielded an average bubble size of 1,059 µm, 28 times larger than the pore size. Following microbubble generation, the separation of algal cells under fluidic oscillator generated microbubbles was investigated by varying metallic coagulant types, concentration and pH. Best performances were recorded at the highest coagulant dose (150 mg/L) applied under acidic conditions (pH 5). Amongst the three metallic coagulants studied, ferric chloride yielded the overall best result of 99.2% under the optimum conditions followed closely by ferric sulfate (98.1%) and aluminum sulfate with 95.2%. This compares well with conventional dissolved air flotation (DAF) benchmarks, but has a highly turbulent flow, whereas microflotation is laminar with several orders of magnitude lower energy density.