Day: May 4, 2012

EcoATM raises $17M to bring e-waste kiosks to you

Read the full story from SmartPlanet.

The average U.S. household owns 24 different consumer electronic devices, many of which are no longer being used. Some devices end up stashed in a drawer (you know the one). Other obsolete or broken devices — nearly 2.4 million tons in a year according to the most recent EPAfigures — are tossed into landfills.

Electronic waste is considered the fastest-growing portion of the municipal waste stream. And yet, inside these devices are valuable resources including silver, gold, aluminum, copper and titanium that could be reclaimed. San Diego-based startup ecoATM has developed kiosks that can be placed in grocery stores and malls to make the electronics recycling process so convenient that consumers will change their wasteful habits.

Earlier this week, the startup announced it raised $17 million in a series B investment round to expand its network of e-recycling kiosks to the rest of the United States. In the past two years, the company has installed 50 kiosk locations throughout California. The new funding will enable mass commercialization and a national roll-out, ecoATM Chairman and CEO Tom Tullie said in a recent statement.

8 roadside attractions made from salvaged materials

Read the full story and view the pictures at Mother Nature Network.

With summer just around the corner, it’s time to start planning your great American road trip, but skip the world’s largest ball of twine this year and hit up some of the country’s greenest roadside attractions. Some are works of art, others are hobbies-turned-obsessions, but all of the stops on our list were made with salvaged and recycled materials.

New American Chemical Society Journal To Publish Research Aimed at Advancing Sustainable Processes

American Chemical Society (ACS) Publications announces ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, a new peer-reviewed journal with a focus on advancing research that aims to minimize environmental harm and achieve sustainable processes. ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering will provide a comprehensive and topically inclusive flagship forum exclusively dedicated to the high-quality publication of content that spans the breadth of sustainable chemistry and engineering. The journal will publish its first issue in January 2013, and in keeping with the spirit of the journal’s theme and with other recent new ACS Publications journal launches, it will be available online only.

The journal will be led by Editor-in-Chief David T. Allen, Ph.D., of the University of Texas at Austin. Allen is the Gertz Regents professor and chair of Chemical Engineering and the director of the Center for Energy and Environmental Resources of the Cockrell School of Engineering. He recently served as the associate editor for ACS Publications’ Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research. Allen is well-recognized as a leader in the field, having received many awards, most recently the American Institute of Chemical Engineers’ Sustainable Engineering Forum Award and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers’ Cecil Award for Contributions to Environmental Engineering.

“This journal will address the grand challenges for sustainability in the chemical enterprise and the principles of green chemistry and green engineering,” Allen said. “It will provide a focal point for the work of a rapidly developing research community in the chemical sciences, focused on sustainability, complementing the work of the ACS Green Chemistry Institute.”

Susan King, Ph.D., senior vice president, ACS Journals Publishing Group, says, “ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering meets the publication needs of a growing global community of scientists and engineers engaged in this endeavor, providing rapid publication, free of mandated author fees, on award-winning online and mobile delivery platforms. ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering brings together disparate parts of the community into a single forum to advance knowledge and technology.”

The editor invites experts in the field to contribute original peer-reviewed research letters and articles. Authors are encouraged to establish correlations between their research and the principles of green chemistry and the principles of green engineering. The journal scope will emphasize five focal areas of research:

  • Life-cycle assessment
  • Green chemistry
  • Waste as resources
  • Alternative energy
  • Green innovative manufacturing

ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering complements the ACS portfolio of more than 40 peer-reviewed journals, with close connections established with sister journals, such as Environmental Science & Technology, and new opportunities for collaborations with the ACS Green Chemistry Institute.

Bob Peoples, Ph.D., director of the ACS Green Chemistry Institute, adds, “Green chemistry and sustainability has developed significantly across disciplinary boundaries in the last decade, and research dollars are being invested at a rapidly growing rate. This new journal from ACS Publications allows for coverage of the full interdisciplinary field, thus ensuring a successful future for the journal. ACS Publications has a reputation for launching successful journals at the forefront of chemistry, and this is an area that will benefit immensely from having such a prestigious journal available. Green chemistry today is the chemistry of the 21st century. We welcome this new opportunity to collaborate to advance green and sustainable chemistry.”


From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout 1994-2012.

Are you having problems keeping materials in your lab organized? LabGuru may
be able to help. After signing up for a free personal account, users can
take advantage of LabGuru’s many features to store digital copies of papers
and protocols, manage research timelines, and track samples and other
materials. This version of LabGuru is compatible with all operating systems,
and the website also offers a version for use with the iPad. [KMG]

50-State Legislation Now Searchable by Smartphone

Via Governing.

Mobile government apps that alert you to emergencies or let you post about potholes are becoming more common. But one new application has a broader scope: tracking all legislative action in all 50 states. Launched in March by the Sunlight Foundation, the transparency advocate group (which has partnered with Governing on projects in the past), the new Open States app lets users identify and contact their state representatives, scroll through members’ voting records and even follow specific bills as they move through the legislative process on the way to becoming law. The app, for use on iPhones and iPads (an Android version is being discussed), posts state-specific news headlines and even committee schedules and capitol maps where they’re available. What’s more, it’s free. Statehouse stalking has never been easier.

Wastewater Becomes Issue in Debate on Gas Drilling

Read the full story in the New York Times.

As New York State environmental regulators fine-tune proposed rules governing a controversial natural-gas extraction process, wastewater disposal has emerged as a challenging issue.

GSA Releases Initial Report on Green Building Certification Systems

Today, the U.S. General Services Administration released its review of the Green Building Certification Systems. This initial report is the first step in an extensive review process — including a public comment period – that evaluates tools that could help federal agencies meet their goals for maintaining and constructing more sustainable and efficient buildings.  When completed, the use of updated building certification systems will help GSA’s customer agencies meet federal requirements for green construction, save taxpayer dollars and meet the goals of President Obama’s Executive Order on Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance (EO 13514).

The U.S. government owns and leases nearly 3.4 billion square feet of real estate and is the largest consumer of energy in the United States. The U.S. General Services Administration oversees the leasing and construction of over 9,600 buildings in the federal government building portfolio, and every five years, the agency is required to review building certification systems for the entire government under the Energy Independence Security Act. In this most recent review, more than 180 green building certification systems, tools, and standards were initially screened by an independent laboratory to determine which were most applicable for construction of new buildings, major renovations, and upgrades to existing facilities.

After the most recent evaluation of green building certification systems in April, GSA successfully narrowed the field by selecting systems that employed whole building evaluations, are available within the US market, and have third party certifications.

Three certification systems passed the screening criteria: Green Building Initiative’s Green Globes, U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), and the International Living Building Challenge. The initial findings from GSA revealed that none of the three building certification systems cover 100% of the Federal building requirements for new construction, major renovations, or existing buildings.

GSA will hold public listening sessions for members of the public to provide feedback on its review and convene an interagency review group to evaluate and make recommendations on how to guide government construction towards meeting the goals of President Obama’s sustainability executive order. The inter agency task is co-chaired by GSA, the Department of Energy and the Department of Defense. Agencies with large portfolio holdings such as the Department of State, National Park Service, Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Forest Service have also been invited to take part.

The review group’s findings will be shared through a notice-and-comment period advertised in the Federal Register.  Following public comment, GSA, DOD, and DOE will develop formal recommendations on how green building certification systems will be used to facilitate high performance in the federal sector. GSA expects to make its final recommendation to the Secretary of Energy in Fall of 2012.

For more information, visit:

Learn how to harvest rainwater

Read the full story at Mother Nature Network.

After rainstorms, many homeowners have mudholes under downspouts and sidewalks full of runoff. The day after watching gallons of water go to waste, it’s back to watering with filtered drinking water. The environmentally responsible and financially sensible alternative is to harvest rainwater. Rainwater harvesting systems can be as simple as a collection barrel or as complex as a professionally landscaped trench garden weaving through the yard. There are a few legal and practical issues related to harvesting rainwater, but it can be an effective money- and water-saving option for most homeowners with landscaping.

Let’s Bring Back Repair

Read the full post from Annie Leonard at The Cleanest Line.

A few years ago I bought a cheap portable radio for $4.99 to listen to the news while I walk to work. Soon after, one of the earphone buds broke. No problem, I thought – I’ll just fix it using parts from my drawer of other broken electronics. No such luck: the whole radio, including the earphones, was in one piece, connected without screws or snaps, so that if any one part broke it couldn’t be repaired. For less than 5 dollars, Radio Shack knew, I’d find it easier to buy a new one.

I call making a radio – or any other product – that can’t be repaired ‘design for the dump.’ Designers call it planned obsolescence and it’s at the heart of the take-make-waste system that’s trashing the planet, our communities and our health.

Nike fails to shrink carbon footprint as trainer sales boom

Read the full story at BusinessGreen.

Nike saw its global carbon emissions rise by nearly 17 per cent last year as sales recovered from the impact of a global economic crisis, according to its latest sustainability report.

The global sportswear giant yesterday pledged to step up its efforts to curb the impact of its manufacturing processes and global supply chain in its FY10-11 Sustainable Business Performance Summary.

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