Chemical engineering students at Villanova University may only be producing enough biodiesel to fuel on-campus vehicles and lawnmowers, but they still face the same issues large producers must deal with: what to do with the glycerin coproduct? After two years of biodiesel production, the student-run biodiesel group has found an answer. While converting the glycerin coproduct into soap for sanitation purposes is certainly nothing new, the process has helped the students find a sustainable and potentially profitable way to use the coproduct.
U.K.-based Greenergy International Ltd. has begun manufacturing biodiesel from food waste. On May 5 the company announced a partnership formed with edible oil recycling company Brocklesby Ltd. had resulted in a method to divert unsalable food products, such as chips and pies, from landfills and compost facilities. Instead, these waste items can be converted into biofuel and energy. According to Greenergy, the company’s new initiative will help to reduce the environmental impact of the fuel it produces while also creating a new feedstock base for biodiesel production.
The safety of seafood from the Gulf of Mexico became a central concern following the Deepwater Horizon blowout a year ago. Even after previously closed Gulf waters began reopening in summer 2010, consumer confidence in the safety of Gulf seafood remained shaky. A new review published online May 12 ahead of print in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP) affirms that levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) found thus far in Gulf seafood samples in fact have been well below levels that would be of concern for human health.
Nevertheless, the review authors write, federal protocols to reopen waters to commercial fishing after an oil spill should be standardized and strengthened to better protect sensitive populations. Moreover, they assert, timely, clear communication about the results of seafood testing will go far in promoting consumer confidence.
Marine species facing threats from the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico far exceed those under legal protection in the United States, a new paper in the journal BioScience finds. University of New Hampshire professor Fred Short and others found 39 additional marine species beyond the 14 protected by federal law that are at an elevated risk of extinction. These species, which range from whale sharks to seagrass, should receive priority for protection and restoration efforts, the authors advocate.
As state budget pressures continue to mount, more and more leaders are trying to cut costs by consolidating agencies — and that includes environmental departments. In inaugural speeches, State of the State addresses and budget proposals this spring, no fewer than 15 governors proposed combining two or more departments in the areas of natural resources, interior, parks, wildlife, environmental protection and energy.
Which books about business, values and sustainability have influenced you most? I invite you to nominate a favorite or two in the comments below or, if you prefer, email me at email@example.com. I’ll do a blogpost in the next week or so highlighting some of the nominations…
I’ll send my two signed copies of Ray Anderson’s book and my copy of Howard Schultz’s Onward (assuming it arrives soon) out to those who sent in the most interesting or original nominations. Ancient as well as contemporary wisdom is welcome.
I’ve also decided to reduce my pile of books (below) by sending them to people who write guest posts to this blog, so if you’re passionate about a corporate sustainability issue, please let me know if you like to contribute a post.
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