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

As Pipelines Proliferate, So Do Protests

Read the full story at Stateline.

Hundreds of miles from the North Dakota pipeline protests that garnered headlines earlier this month, a woman in Iowa stood in her soy bean field, trying to block industrial mowers about to cut down her crops.

In North Dakota, the Standing Rock Sioux have argued that a portion of the Dakota Access oil pipeline would threaten their drinking water and their sacred lands, and their protests prompted the federal government to halt construction on that segment earlier this month. In Iowa, Cyndy Coppola and other residents have sued their state government for allowing Dakota Access to seize their farmland for the pipeline, which would cut through Iowa on its way from North Dakota to Illinois.

Pipelines are the safest and most efficient way to transport oil and gas, and it isn’t possible to meet the nation’s demand for fuel using rail or road alone. But as more oil and gas pipelines crisscross the country, environmental and energy lawyers say protests against them are becoming increasingly common.

Tools for alternatives assessment

This post originally appeared on the GLRPPR Blog.

One way that manufacturers can reduce their environmental impact is by replacing a toxic or hazardous process chemical with a less hazardous or non-hazardous one. The following resources are useful when trying to identify less toxic alternatives.

SUBSPORT: Substitution Support Portal

SUBSPORT is a free-of-charge, multilingual platform for information exchange on alternative substances and technologies, as well as tools and guidance for substance evaluation and substitution management. It includes:

Program for Assisting the Replacement of Industrial Solvents (PARIS III)

PARIS III, developed by U.S. EPA, is a desktop/laptop application that allows users to find mixtures of solvents with specific physical and chemical properties that also have relatively low environmental impacts. The software helps users find replacements for solvent mixtures that are currently being used in industrial processes but have dangerous environmental side effects. The software can also be used to find solvents with lower environmental impact when designing new industrial processes, as well as more benign solvents that can be added to harmful solvents favored by industry to help reduce the harmful environmental impact of their processes.

CleanerSolutions Database

The CleanerSolutions Database, developed by the Toxics Use Reduction Institute, helps users select an alternative cleaner that meets their needs. The information is based on lab testing done by TURI. Use the tool to find a cleaner for a particular contaminant; replace a solvent; identify products based on safety and environmental criteria; and search by vendor information.

P2OASys Tool to Compare Materials

Sometimes changing chemicals or processes can have unintended environmental and health impacts. TURI’s P2OASys is an Excel based tool that allows companies to assess the potential environmental, worker, and public health impacts of alternative technologies aimed at reducing toxics use. The goal is more comprehensive and systematic thinking about the potential hazards posed by current and alternative processes identified during the TUR planning process. The tool can help companies:

  •  Systematically examine the potential environmental and worker impacts of options, examining the total impacts of process changes, rather than simply those of chemical changes
  •  Compare options with current processes based on quantitative and qualitative factors.

Chemical Hazard Assessment Database

The Interstate Chemicals Clearinghouse (IC2) Chemical Hazard Assessment Database enables users to search for GreenScreen® and Quick Chemical Assessment Tool (QCAT) assessments. The purpose of this tool is to promote awareness of assessments conducted on chemicals of high concern, facilitate transparency and discussion, and reduce duplication of effort. IC2 also has alternatives assessment resources, including a guide and links to other assessment materials.

Safer Chemical Ingredients List

The Safer Chemical Ingredients List (SCIL)is a list of chemical ingredients, arranged by functional-use class, that U.S. EPA’s Safer Choice Program has evaluated and determined to be safer than traditional chemical ingredients. This list is designed to help manufacturers find safer chemical alternatives that meet the criteria of the Safer Choice Program. Safer Choice also has other resources available for manufacturers.

Environmental, Health and Safety Data Resources

Although chemical manufacturers provide material safety data sheets with their chemicals, sometimes this information isn’t enough. TURI’s librarian created this guide to assist in researching environmental, health and safety information for chemicals.

Great Lakes festival crowd goes batty over bats

Read the full story at Great Lakes Echo.

Bat festivals are cropping up across the Great Lakes region, and bat enthusiasts hope to eventually see one in every state.

This Saturday, the U.S. Forest Service, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Organization for Bat Conservation are putting on one of the biggest bat festivals in the region: The Wisconsin Bat Festival.

As Arctic Ocean Ice Disappears, The Global Climate Impacts Intensify

Read the full story at Yale E360.

The top of the world is turning from white to blue in summer as the ice that has long covered the north polar seas melts away. This monumental change is triggering a cascade of effects that will amplify global warming and could destabilize the global climate system.

Former Pesticide Ingredient Found in Dolphins, Birds and Fish

Read the full story from the American Chemical Society.

A family of common industrial compounds called perfluoroalkyl substances, which are best known for making carpets stain resistant and cookware non-stick, has been under scrutiny for potentially causing health problems. Focusing on one of the family’s sub-groups, scientists report for the first time that some dolphins, fish and birds have perfluoroalkyl phosphinic acids (PFPIAs) in their blood. The work appears in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.

The Deepwater Horizon spill may have caused ‘irreversible’ damage to Gulf Coast marshes

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

The 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill has been called one of the worst environmental disasters in American history — and more than six years later, scientists are still investigating how much damage it actually caused. Now, a new study suggests the spill may have permanently marred one of the Gulf shore’s most important ecosystems.

The study, published Tuesday in the journal Scientific Reports, finds the oil spill caused widespread erosion in the salt marshes along the coasts of Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi. And the researchers say there’s a chance these marshes might never completely grow back.

Sustainable Product Development Tool Now Offered for Free

Read the full story from Environmental Leader.

Product developers and manufacturers looking to produce more sustainable products now have a access to a free tool: the Cradle to Cradle Certified Catalyst Program.

The Catalyst Program helps product developers, designers and manufacturers better understand and implement the Cradle to Cradle Certified Product Program, which provides a roadmap towards developing responsible, sustainable products based on five characteristics: material health, material reuse, renewable energy, water stewardship and social fairness.

The core of the Catalyst program is a 2.5-hour self-paced online course. It provides the context for Cradle to Cradle Certified product development, along with an overview of the product standard and resources.