Day: April 16, 2012

Eliminating e-waste

Read the full story at Sustainable Industries.

Staples and HP are implementing a free e-waste recycling program. Their program is a great answer that local businesses and communities have been seeking to address the challenge where up to 80 percent of America’s annual e-waste is not recycled representing approximately 300 million electric devices being dumped into landfills.

Safer Nail Products

Download the report.

A new study by the [California] Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) reveals that numerous nail care products sampled in the San Francisco Bay Area are making toxic-free claims that aren’t supported by laboratory testing.

The testing of 25 products provides a “snapshot” of the nail care products market that could lead to further research by DTSC and its partners. DTSC is calling on manufacturers to make accurate claims about what is in their products.

The findings make a case for the importance of DTSC’s Safer Consumer Products Regulations, which are scheduled to go into effect in 2012.

MnTAP helps businesses save money

Read the full story in the Minnesota Daily.

In 2011, businesses in Minnesota saved more than $3 million by implementing solutions designed to reduce water use, waste and energy costs with the help of an outreach program from the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health.

The Minnesota Technical Assistance Program  helps state businesses by developing and implementing industry-tailored solutions.

Since its inception in 1984, the program has aimed to prevent pollution at the source, to maximize efficient use of resources and to reduce energy use and costs — all in efforts to improve public health and the environment.

Engineers and interns visit the sites of manufacturing companies, like food processing plants and laboratories, where they assess how the companies can save energy and water waste, which could lead to saving money.

“Fracking” Comes to Southern Illinois

Read the full story from Illinois Public Media.

The controversial drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing could be coming to Southern Illinois as soon as next month.

According to the energy industry, that is good news for people living above the natural gas deposits millions of dollars that have already been spent leasing mineral and land rights.

However, some residents say the drilling could jeopardize their health. Liz Patula, coordinator for Southern Illinoisans Against Fracturing our Environment (S.A.F.E.), is not convinced the paychecks being collected by local people are worth the consequences of hydraulic fracturing. Patula said in states like Pennsylvania, where fracking has taken off, locals have complained about ill effects.

Air Force seeks Earth Day innovations

Read the full story from the U.S. Air Force.

In its 42nd year, Earth Day provides an international opportunity every April 22 to voice appreciation for the planet and unite for a sustainable future.

Across the Air Force, installations are taking measures to enhance sustainability in support of the Earth Day theme “Conserve Today. Secure Tomorrow,” but Air Force leaders hope a campaign seeking new innovations will provide even greater results.

“I call upon every Airman to re-think how we approach waste in the Air Force,” said Terry Yonkers, the assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, environment and logistics. “As the Air Force becomes leaner, we need to reduce the burden of waste disposal costs that impact our budget. Ask yourself what you can do to be a little greener and leaner in your workplace.”

To help emphasize the importance of individual efforts, the Air Force recenlty launched a “Blue Acts of Green” social media campaign, during which Airmen and their families are encouraged to commit to perform an environmentally friendly practice at home or work. During the campaign from April 16-27, people can visit the Facebook site at to enter their “green” act. Officials will monitor the inputs in search of innovations that can be put into practice Air Force-wide.

This year, the Air Force is highlighting pollution prevention efforts, as organizations look for ways to minimize waste and reduce operating expenses. Air Force officials emphasize there is always more that can be done, and it takes a concerted effort from all members of the team.

The Fracking Debate: A Policymaker’s Guide

Read the full report at the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Concerns about hydraulic fracturing are behind many states’ reluctance to tap the economic benefits created by natural gas development. Hydraulic fracturing—“fracking”—is an oil and gas extraction method that uses hydraulic pressure to break up rock. Millions of gallons of pressurized liquids, usually a water-based mixture of sand and chemical additives, are pumped deep underground to help release trapped gas.

This report provides an introduction to the domestic natural gas picture, explores the motivation behind state legislative involvement in fracking regulation, and summarizes state legislation that is being developed to address environmental concerns.

The Crisis in American Walking

Read the four part series in Slate.

The United States walks the least of any industrialized nation. Studies employing pedometershave found that where the average Australian takes 9,695 steps per day (just a few shy of the supposedly ideal “10,000 steps” plateau, itself the product, ironically, of a Japanese pedometer company’s campaign in the 1960s), the average Japanese 7,168, and the average Swiss 9,650, the average American manages only 5,117 steps. Where a child in Britain, according to one study, takes 12,000 to 16,000 steps per day, a similar U.S. study found a range between 11,000 and 13,000.


Webinar: Introducing the Healthier Hospitals Initiative — Tuesday, April 17

April 17, 2012 – 2:00 pm – April 17, 2012 – 3:00 pm — Eastern Standard Time
Register at

Join the Healthier Hospitals Initiative’s Co-Directors, Seema Wadhwa and Janet Brown as they introduce the three-year Healthier Hospitals Initiative.  Coordinated by Health Care Without Harm, Practice Greenhealth and the Center for Health Design, HHI is a sector-wide initiative to measure the environmental and financial benefits to six “challenge” areas in environmental sustainability in health care.  Practice Greenhealth members have been leaders in health care sustainability and participation in the Environmental Excellence Awards program has resulted in the sector-only Sustainability Benchmark Report.  But thanks to eleven sponsoring health systems, the coordinated HHI is no charge to any hospital in the United States and Canada.  How-to guides, case studies, forums and a Mentor Program will help hospitals successfully meet the goals of their chosen challenge area(s).


  • Join us to learn more about HHI
  • Learn about the eleven sponsoring health systems
  • Understand the six challenge areas
  • Learn how to register and join the momentum, leading communities to a healthier future


Seema Wadhwa, Co-Director, Healthier Hospitals Initiative
Seema Wadhwa is the Co-Director of the Healthier Hospitals Initiative.  She also is the Director of Sustainability at Urban Ltd. and serves as the Director of Sustainability for Inova, an HHI sponsor comprised of hospitals, nursing homes, emergency- and urgent-care centers, assisted-living communities and community health and wellness programs.

Seema is responsible for the creation and adoption of sustainable management practices at Inova. Prior to her role with Inova, Seema spent several years managing engineering design projects.  Seema’s industry experience extends to advising about best practices in green building, enabling a sustainable approach to the design and implementation of health care projects.  She is a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) accredited professional.

Janet Brown, Director, Content & Outreach, Healthier Hospitals Initiative
Janet Brown, EDAC is Director, Content and Outreach for the Healthier Hospitals Initiative and Director, Facility Engagement for Practice Greenhealth.  Janet works with hundreds of facilities on environmental improvement activities and is a frequent speaker and writer on health care sustainability and respectful work environments.

Prior to joining Practice Greenhealth, Janet coordinated health care environmental management programs for Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City from 1991 to 2004.  Janet is Contributing Editor for Health Care Design Magazine, where she writes the monthly Green Column.

Top 10 Awesome Things You Can Do With the Underused Gadgets You Already Own

Read the full post at Lifehacker.

If you’re a fan of technology, chances are you’ve retired a few gadgets over the years and they’re sitting in a box in your closet. Today’s the day to dig out your leftovers and start thinking about what you can do to let them live and breathe again. Here are ten of our favorite ideas to get you started.

EPA Publishes National U.S. Greenhouse Gas Inventory

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released the 17th annual U.S. greenhouse gas inventory. The final report shows overall emissions in 2010 increased by 3.2 percent from the previous year. The trend is attributed to an increase in energy consumption across all economic sectors, due to increasing energy demand associated with an expanding economy, and increased demand for electricity for air conditioning due to warmer summer weather during 2010.

Total emissions of the six main greenhouse gases in 2010 were equivalent to 6,822 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. These gases include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride. The report indicates that overall emissions have grown by over 10 percent from 1990 to 2010.

The Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2010 is the latest annual report that the United States has submitted to the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which sets an overall framework for intergovernmental efforts to tackle the challenge posed by climate change. EPA prepares the annual report in collaboration with experts from multiple federal agencies and after gathering comments from stakeholders across the country.

The inventory tracks annual greenhouse gas emissions at the national level and presents historical emissions from 1990 to 2010. The inventory also calculates carbon dioxide emissions that are removed from the atmosphere by “sinks,” e.g., through the uptake of carbon by forests, vegetation and soils.

More on the greenhouse gas inventory report: