Where to donate your used stuff in Champaign-Urbana

There are many non-profit organizations in the Champaign-Urbana area that accept donations all year. My ISTC colleague Joy Scrogum compiled a list several months ago and I’ve added to it. If there are any I missed, let me know in the comments.

Updated August 19, 2015 to the Champaign-Urbana Theater Company’s donation policies. Continue reading Where to donate your used stuff in Champaign-Urbana

Benefits From Nature Are Not a Private Thing

Read the full story from EarthDesk.

Ecosystem valuation can be a useful tool to establish value and create awareness of human dependence on the benefits provided by nature, such as drinking water, clean air, and flood protection, as well as public space to hunt, fish, canoe and camp.

Presidential Environmental Youth Award (PEYA)

The PEYA program promotes awareness of our nation’s natural resources and encourages positive community involvement. Since 1971, the President of the United States has joined with EPA to recognize young people across the U.S. for protecting our nation’s air, water, land, and ecology. Up to two awards – one for Grades K-5 and one for Grades 6-12—will be selected from each of EPA’s 10 regions for national recognition. Projects are developed by young individuals, school groups, summer camps, and other youth organizations to promote environmental stewardship.

Environmental Comparison of Biochar and Activated Carbon for Tertiary Wastewater Treatment

Kyle A. Thompson, Kyle K. Shimabuku, Joshua P. Kearns, Detlef R. U. Knappe, R. Scott Summers, and Sherri M. Cook. “Environmental Comparison of Biochar and Activated Carbon for Tertiary Wastewater Treatment.” Environmental Science & Technology 2016 50 (20), 11253-11262. DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.6b03239

Abstract: Micropollutants in wastewater present environmental and human health challenges. Powdered activated carbon (PAC) can effectively remove organic micropollutants, but PAC production is energy intensive and expensive. Biochar adsorbents can cost less and sequester carbon; however, net benefits depend on biochar production conditions and treatment capabilities. Here, life cycle assessment was used to compare 10 environmental impacts from the production and use of wood biochar, biosolids biochar, and coal-derived PAC to remove sulfamethoxazole from wastewater. Moderate capacity wood biochar had environmental benefits in four categories (smog, global warming, respiratory effects, noncarcinogenics) linked to energy recovery and carbon sequestration, and environmental impacts worse than PAC in two categories (eutrophication, carcinogenics). Low capacity wood biochar had even larger benefits for global warming, respiratory effects, and noncarcinogenics, but exhibited worse impacts than PAC in five categories due to larger biochar dose requirements to reach the treatment objective. Biosolids biochar had the worst relative environmental performance due to energy use for biosolids drying and the need for supplemental adsorbent. Overall, moderate capacity wood biochar is an environmentally superior alternative to coal-based PAC for micropollutant removal from wastewater, and its use can offset a wastewater facility’s carbon footprint.

CSI Great Lakes: Fish forensics trace contaminants from lakes to streams

Read the full story in Great Lakes Echo.

Some trout in Great Lakes tributaries are just as contaminated with a chemical linked to respiratory, liver and skin ailments as the Pacific salmon that they eat, according to biologists from the University of Notre Dame.

They said the findings should help inform decisions on eating fish, dam removal and stocking.

Pacific salmon, such as Chinook and coho, are large sports fish that live most of their lives in the Great Lakes and then spawn and die in rivers and streams, according to scientists.

New research published in the journal, Environmental Science and Technology, looked for PCBs in their tissue during autumn spawning runs in tributaries of lakes Huron, Michigan and Superior. It compared that tissue with the tissue of native brook trout and mottled sculpin that live fulltime in the same rivers and eat the eggs and flesh of the salmon.

Why Your Firm Should Consider Products’ Total Cost of Ownership

Read the full story in Environmental Leader.

As corporations look to cut their environmental costs, evaluating total cost of ownership — or the total direct and indirect costs of owning a product or service — provides a way to achieve greater environmental accountability and better resource management.

Evaluating Measuring Techniques for Occupational Exposure during Additive Manufacturing of Metals: A Pilot Study

Graff, P., Ståhlbom, B., Nordenberg, E., Graichen, A., Johansson, P. and Karlsson, H. (2016). “Evaluating Measuring Techniques for Occupational Exposure during Additive Manufacturing of Metals: A Pilot Study.” Journal of Industrial Ecology  doi:10.1111/jiec.12498

Abstract: Additive manufacturing that creates three-dimensional objects by adding layer upon layer of material is a new technique that has proven to be an excellent tool for the manufacturing of complex structures for a variety of industrial sectors. Today, knowledge regarding particle emissions and potential exposure-related health hazards for the operators is limited. The current study has focused on particle numbers, masses, sizes, and identities present in the air during additive manufacturing of metals. Measurements were performed during manufacturing with metal powder consisting essentially of chromium, nickel, and cobalt. Instruments used were Nanotracer (10 to 300 nanometers [nm]), Lighthouse (300 nm to 10 micrometers), and traditional filter-based particle mass estimation followed by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Results showed that there is a risk of particle exposure at certain operations and that particle sizes tended to be smaller in recycled metal powder compared to new. In summary, nanosized particles were present in the additive manufacturing environment and the operators were exposed specifically while handling the metal powder. For the workers’ safety, improved powder handling systems and measurement techniques for nanosized particles will possibly have to be developed and then translated into work environment regulations. Until then, relevant protective equipment and regular metal analyses of urine is recommended.

Cut Down On Bee-Killing Pesticides? Ontario Finds It’s Easier Said Than Done

Read the full story from NPR.

Nobody loves pesticides, exactly. But one kind of pesticide, called neonicotinoids, is provoking a particularly bitter debate right now between environmentalists and farmers. The chemicals are highly toxic to bees. Some scientists think they are partly to blame for the decline in pollinators.

For the past year, the province of Ontario, in Canada, has responded to the controversy with a novel experiment. Ontario’s government is asking farmers to prove that they actually need neonicotinoids, often called neonics. It turns out that “need” is a word that’s hard to define.