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

Study helps map path to waste reduction in national parks

Read the full story in Resource Recycling.

National parks welcome more than 300 million visitors each year, but less than half of those people actually separate their recyclables from their trash before leaving.

That is one of the findings in the Subaru National Park Survey, conducted in partnership with National Parks Conservation Association. The research ties into this year’s celebration of the centennial of the National Park Service (NPS).

Why we should rethink weight-based recycling goals

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Cities across the United States continue to take a quantity-over-quality approach to waste management that often leads to inefficient, expensive and confusing outcomes. It’s time to rethink recycling strategies.

Illinois: New Law Encourages Schools to Donate Food

Read the full story from SCARCE.

For the past year SCARCE Director Kay McKeen worked with Jennifer Walling of the Illinois Environmental Council to get a state-level bill written and signed into law that would prohibit any language in school food-service contracts that prevented donation of leftover food items. The Food Donation for Schools and Public Agencies bill was signed by Gov. Rauner on July 15, 2016 and took effect immediately.

4 reasons net-zero energy should start with schools

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

Can we afford to teach our children? In the U.S. we generally can agree that educating our children is important. Consensus stops there.

Whether the U.S. education system is broken, and if so, how to best fix it, is an increasingly politicized debate. Current discussions on how to improve education have focused on better teachers, better technology and more funding (which deepens the debate on who should pay for it).

But consider that each year K–12 schools spend more than $8 billion on energy — more than they spend on computers and textbooks combined. Too commonly overlooked is the opportunity to cost-effectively improve our nation’s schools and enhance student performance by tackling the performance of the very buildings in which children, faculty and staff spend more than eight hours each day.

The water-energy nexus is not what you expect

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

Earlier this summer, researchers at UC Davis confirmed what a lot of us already know — that saving water saves energy. The analysis from the UC Davis Center for Water-Energy Efficiency found that California’s mandatory 25 percent reduction in urban water use, adopted in May 2015 due to the ongoing severe drought, resulted in significant energy and greenhouse gas savings.

Why manufacturing will make or break the future of energy

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

From solar panels a decade ago to energy storage today, the history of clean tech is littered with capital-intensive concepts poised to radically alter the relationship between industrialized society and the environment.

But why do these widely heralded breakthroughs always seem to limp along so slowly when it comes to actually hitting the market? The dreaded “valley of death” between conception and commercialization is one increasingly recognized explanation, dooming novel technologies to relegation in never-ending pilot projects as follow-on investment lags.

For Mark Johnson, the Department of Energy’s resident innovation expert, the real problem often boils down to production. That is, not just inventing a new energy-centric technologies, but making sure those new tools can be reliably made in a cost-effective manner.