Imagine a world without waste: it’s possible with a circular economy

Read the full story in The Guardian. As Pollution Prevention Week winds down, it’s worth noting that the sustainable design strategies associated with the circular economy are also pollution prevention strategies. P2 lives within today’s sustainability movement. We just don’t call it that very often anymore.

We can remedy our planet’s problems, but only if we are willing to redesign wasteful manufacturing processes and give up our throwaway habits.


Advancing Safer Chemicals in Products: The Key Role of Purchasing

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This report describes the potentially harmful environmental and health impacts associated with some of the chemicals in products commonly used by public agencies and businesses, and how six organizations—Seattle City Light, Oregon Environmental Council, Perkins+Will, Danish retailer Coop, Kaiser Permanente, and the National Institutes of Health — are taking leadership roles to identify and screen out toxic substances in the products they purchase. The report discusses the role that ecolabels play in helping purchasers source safer products, and also the lessons learned from the experiences of these leading organizations who have gone beyond ecolabels.

Among the lessons learned are:

  • Understand and identify the potentially harmful substances in the products your organization is purchasing, and set priorities to phase them out
  • Create a strong toxics reduction policy based on these priorities, and follow up with specifications that will put your policy into action
  • Include a broad range of chemicals and products
  • Engage employees and suppliers in your efforts to ensure that your goals are understood, safer products identified, and there are open channels for feedback
  • Build a broad network that can help you understand changing science and keep up with best practices.

Webinar: Strategies and Tools for Purchasing Products with Safer Chemistries

Wed, Sep 30, 2015 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM CDT
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There are tens of thousands of chemicals in commerce in the United States, many of which may have a range of negative impacts on health, the environment, and the economy during their lifecycle. It should be a key part of any sustainable purchasing program to understand which of these chemicals could pose hazards in products and services procured, and how to find safer alternatives.

The Lowell Center for Sustainable Production, Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council, Responsible Purchasing Network, and Green Electronics Council have joined together to present this webinar on steps that public and private institutions can take to purchase products with safer chemistries.

The webinar will cover a new report from the sponsoring organizations on how six leading institutions have taken advanced steps to purchase products with safer chemistries, including how they are engaging with their staff, suppliers, and other stakeholders. The webinar will also identify key steps that can be taken by purchasers who are just starting to look at chemicals in the products they buy, as well as those who are more advanced in doing so, including understanding ecolabels.

Engineers Use An Origami Technique To Design Strong And Versatile New Structures

Read the full story at Tech Times.

Art and engineering intersect in a new design for origami structures that scientists see uses for in everything from shipping packages to exploring outer space.

The researchers call their creation a “zippered tube.” Made of interlocking, zigzagging paper tubes, the design fortifies paper so that it can hold much more weight than would otherwise be possible, they report in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. When not in use, the structure can fold flat for compact storage and shipping.

What If Your Sneakers And Yoga Mats Were Made From Algae Instead Of Plastic?

Read the full story at Fast Company.

Algae is already being used to make clothing, power buildings, suck up highway pollution, and feed farmed animals. Soon you may be hitting the gym with algae-based products too.

A new business called Bloom Foam plans to use algae to make the ubiquitous flexible foams that are found in yoga mats, sneakers and sandals, luggage, and even bath toys.


Lessons from the frontlines of the next industrial revolution

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

For the past five years I’ve been growing a certification program based on Cradle to Cradle design and thinking. Today, I’m letting friends and colleagues know that I’m leaving my position as president of the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, an organization I helped found. While this is nothing more than my choice to go in a new direction, I want to share some of what I’ve learned along the way.