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

Is Human Composting the Future of Urban Burial?

Read the full story in Pacific Standard.

Funeral practices hide death from view, often at the expense of the environment. Can we die with dignity — in a way that saves the Earth — simply by embracing death?

Why does atmospheric chemistry research matter?

Read the full story from the University of Illinois.

On Aug. 26, the National Academy of Sciences released a report on the future of atmospheric chemistry research in the United States. Illinois civil and environmental engineering professor Tami Bond was among the scientists who contributed to the report. Bond talked about the importance of atmospheric chemistry research and the findings of the report with News Bureau physical sciences editor Liz Ahlberg Touchstone.

EPA releases updated IRIS Toxicological Review of Ammonia

Download the document.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (USEPA) has finalized the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) Assessment of Ammonia (Noncancer Inhalation). This assessment addresses the potential noncancer human health effects from long-term inhalation exposure to ammonia. Now final, this assessment will update the current toxicological information on ammonia posted in 1991. EPA’s program and regional offices may use this assessment to inform decisions to protect human health.

Industry study: Microgrids to become ‘fundamental building block’

Read the full story in Midwest Energy News.

A new study suggests that microgrids – a rarity in today’s power sector – will evolve to become a “fundamental building block” of the 21st-century grid.

Used primarily to ensure reliability and access in military and other critical applications, microgrids have emerged in recent years as a niche interest for utilities and communities looking to bring more renewables online and increase resilience in the face of extreme weather. Despite the heightened profile, microgrids – islandable networks of generation and distribution – remain a small part of the U.S. energy system, making up a fraction of a percent of the nation’s total power generating capacity.

That is poised to change, according to a report released earlier this month by the National Electrical Manufacturing Association (NEMA), an industry group representing electrical, medical imaging, and radiation therapy manufacturers.

Sponge made of coffee grounds scrubs lead and mercury from water

Read the full story in Chemical & Engineering News.

Homes, restaurants, and the coffee industry collectively produce about 6 million tons of spent coffee grounds every year. Researchers have now come up with a practical way to use some of this waste. They have made a rubbery foam from used coffee powder and silicone that can pull lead and mercury ions from water (ACS Sustainable Chem. Eng. 2016, DOI: 10.1021/acssuschemeng.6b01098). The spongelike material could be used to clean heavy-metal-contaminated water on a large scale, its creators say.

Greenland may be losing ice even faster than scientists thought

Read the full story in the New York Times.

Rapidly melting Greenland may be shedding its ice even faster than anyone suspected, new research suggests. A study just out in the journal Science Advances finds that previous studies may have underestimated the current rate of mass loss on the Greenland ice sheet by about 20 billion tons per year.