Day: June 5, 2013

Experts avoid sounding alarm on chemicals, but adjust their own habits

Read the full story from Great Lakes Echo.

Researchers and governments have a tough balance to maintain when communicating the risks to the public. They still do not know much about the health effects of these chemicals. They do not want to cause undue alarm.

And even once better understood, the risks will need to be weighed against the benefits many of these chemicals also provide.

None of the dozens of experts interviewed recommended that people abstain from well water or swimming to avoid known or suspected endocrine-disrupting chemicals that have been found in lakes, rivers and groundwater.

At the same time, many of the researchers said they had begun trying to limit their own and their children’s exposures, taking a “better safe than sorry” approach.

Tackling the Food Waste Dilemma in the United States

Read the full story from Environmental Leader.

Each year, an estimated 40% of the American food supply goes uneaten. This staggering percentage has implications up and down the food value chain, not to mention serious environmental repercussions. Through a collaborative value chain approach that involves farmers, producers, distributors, retailers, consumers and government, we can realize substantial cost savings while preserving the natural capital (energy, water, land, etc.) invested in food production and distribution. It has been estimated that a typical US household throws away approximately 25% of the food and beverages they purchase; by ending this practice, they could save upwards of $2,000 per year equating to billions of dollars recovered through the efficient purchasing and consumption of food.

Diverting edible food from the garbage bin can also help to foster food security in a nation where 14.5% of the population lacks access to enough food for an active and healthy lifestyle. Reducing loss from farm to fork will also have a material impact on greenhouse gas emissions. Food waste decomposing in landfills is both a financial burden on cash-strapped municipalities and results in the release of methane emissions which have a climatic impact at least 25 times greater than carbon dioxide. While the root causes of food waste are multifaceted and complex, the costs of inaction are too great to ignore.

Students successfully petition Crayola for marker recycling program

Students at Sun Valley School petitioned Crayola to create a recycling program for its markers. Crayola’s response? The ColorCycle marker recycling program.

Through this initiative, students in K-12 schools across the continental United States and parts of Canada can collect used markers and send them to a conversion facility where they will be transformed into clean-burning fuel. Schools collect markers for recycling and package them for shipping. Crayola will pay shipping charges (via FedEx Ground).

Congratulations to the kids at Sun Valley School for making a difference! And kudos to Crayola for listening to them.

Curiosity in sustainability communications

Read the full story in Sustainable Industries.

The post, What are the Executive Mindsets and Traits Every CEO Needs to Propel Sustainability? explores the role of curiosity as a transformational mindset citing realistic optimism, subservience to purpose, and finding order in chaos as the three attributes responsible for the execution ability of the most effective executives. Just as sustainability provides a powerful organizing principle for business, curiosity is its human counterpart. At their essence, both show an open-minded approach, an inquiry as to what might be versus knowing. When you “know” something, curiosity stops. How can ideas flow within a platform of knowingness?

American National Standard on Stormwater Harvesting

Read the full story in Water Efficiency.

The American Society of Plumbing Engineers (ASPE) and the American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association (ARCSA) are collaborating to jointly develop and publish an American National Standard on stormwater harvesting system design for direct and indirect end-use applications.

Energy Efficiency Can Make Billions While Fighting Climate Change

Read the full story in Triple Pundit.

Energy efficiency could be a several hundred billion dollar investment opportunity in the United States, but better policies are required to unlock broad-based financing from institutional investors, according to a new study by investor advocacy group Ceres.

Power Factor: Institutional Investors’ Policy Priorities Can Bring Energy Efficiency to Scale details the results of a survey of nearly 30 institutional investors and other experts from the energy, policy and financial sectors that identified three areas of policy: utility regulation, demand-generating policies and innovative financing policies. The study finds that these three areas have the potential to take energy efficiency financing to a scale sufficient enough to attract significant institutional investment.

Architect aims to build hotel with shipping containers

Read the full story at WXYZ.

It’s a move to support Detroit’s tourism industry in a novel way–piece by piece, you might say. Project organizers say shipping containers may hold the key to future overnight stays.

For more information, see the recent article in the Detroit Free Press, a story at Hour Detroitthe project web site, and related projects in the city. The project raised over $41,000 on Kickstarter.

I’ve also published a piece on Storify about the project.

2013 AH&LA Summer Summit to Feature Awards for Sustainability

The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) will feature “Good Earthkeeping Awards” at their 2013 AH&LA Summer Summit – set for June 18-19th in Denver, CO.  These awards will be presented to lodging facilities that have implemented sustainable practices.

Webinar archive and presentation slides available for Using the TRI P2 Data Tool

The webinar archive is available for viewing at https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/280645215. If you view the archive, please fill out the webinar evaluation at https://illinois.edu/sb/sec/2218068. Your feedback helps us improve to better meet your information needs. The evaluation form will be available until August 1, 2013.

The slides from the webinar are available for download at http://hdl.handle.net/2142/44849.

TRI.NET, a downloadable application that allows you to select, sort and filter TRI data, is available at http://www.epa.gov/tri/tridotnet/. This tool allows you combine TRI with other data sources, display your results on a map, and export your results into other applications for further analysis.

Links to TRI P2 materials, as well as many other resources useful to P2 practitioners, are available on GLRPPR’s Pollution Prevention 101 LibGuide. The guide is continuously updated to bring you the tools to help you do your job better.

If you have questions or or comments about the TRI’s P2 data tools, you can contact Daniel Teitelbaum directly at Teitelbaum.daniel@epa.gov or call him at (202) 566-0964.

View archives of previous GLRPPR webinars here.