Chicago stadiums shift toward making concessions greener

Read the full story in Redeye.

Save for maybe Thanksgiving and the movie theater, there are few places people like to chow down more than ballparks, arenas and stadiums. Sports fans love to eat. It’s tradition.

But when 22,000 Blackhawks fans gather for a game at the United Center, perhaps the furthest thing from their minds is what’s in that Polish sausage or double bacon cheeseburger, and where the waste it creates is headed afterward.

As it turns out, the answers to those questions have changed a lot in recent years, as sports venues nationwide have made greener concessions processes a key piece of their sustainability efforts.

Worms in the kitchen: how food waste could be solved by the humble invertebrate

Read the full story in The Guardian.

The lowly worm is responsible for some good news. Recent Stanford research shows that worms can eat small quantities of styrofoam.

Mealworms are able to live on a diet of styrofoam without any health implications, researchers found. Microorganisms in their gut break down the plastic foam into carbon dioxide and excreted pellets (resembling rabbit droppings), which can potentially be reused as soil for crops.

The discovery is being hailed as a breakthrough for managing plastic foam waste, which is hard to recycle. But there is a catch. The study found that 100 worms munched through about 37-39 milligrams a day – about the weight of a small pill. A huge number of worms would need to be mobilised if they are to provide a viable solution to plastic pollution.

Aside from plastic-eating, the humble worm is already playing an important role when it comes to waste.

Last Flag of the 2015 Green Racing Season

Read the full post at the EERE Blog.

The Petit Le Mans, a 10-hour endurance racecar competition held annually at the beginning of October, is known for being difficult, long, and (since 2006) “green.” It is also the culmination of the annual International Motor Sports Association’s (IMSA) TUDOR United SportsCar Championship series, which determines the winner of the Green Racing Cup.

Supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and SAE International, Green Racing recognizes racecar teams that go the farthest and fastest with the smallest environmental footprint. Together they use the racetrack to promote, develop, and test cleaner fuels and more efficient vehicle technologies that manufacturers can transfer to consumer vehicles. Green Racing scores are based on vehicle efficiency, the oil used, the amount of greenhouse gases emitted, and the time in which cars complete the race. Much like golf, the lower the score, the better.

New Method Turns Tons of Wine Waste into Useful Chemicals

Read the full story in Scientific American.

Italian scientists have devised an innovative and economically feasible biorefinery that can squeeze more chemicals out of the mountains of grape waste produced during wine production.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s TRI University Challenge

Through the 2016 Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) University Challenge, EPA is challenging the academic community to find innovative ways to use TRI data to promote more informed decision-making and action on the part of communities, manufacturers, and government. Visit the TRI University webpage to learn more about the challenge and past participants.

The TRI program publishes data on the disposal or other releases for over 650 toxic chemicals from thousands of U.S. facilities and information about how facilities manage those chemicals through recycling, energy recovery, and treatment. One of TRI’s primary purposes is to inform communities about toxic chemical releases to our environment. This year proposals that promote broader use of TRI data by academics and other external users and those that use TRI to measure program effectiveness will be prioritized but students and professors are eligible to submit project ideas that increase the knowledge, use, and understanding of TRI data and other related information.

Sign-up to receive TRI University Challenge event details and important reminders in your mailbox.

Attend an informational webinar at 12pm on October 27th to learn more about the TRI University Challenge, example projects that fall within this year’s priority areas, and important dates for the 2016 application period.

Institutions whose project proposals are selected will serve as 2016 TRI University Challenge partners. Partners will receive direct non-monetary support from EPA TRI staff experts, and, depending on the outcome of their project, may receive national recognition for their project as well as speaking opportunities at conferences and events.

Questions? Attend the October 27th webinar or contact Caitlin Briere, the TRI University Challenge lead.

Building climate resilience in Native American communities

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

In the Navajo Nation, electricity may be a fragile commodity as climate change intensifies. Other tribes in the United States face similar energy quandaries. The United States Department of Energy (DOE) announced Sept. 2 that it is requesting applications to co-fund renewable energy, energy efficiency and combined heat and power to help increase the climate resilience of indigenous communities. The available funding is estimated to total around $4 million to $6 million. Applications are due by Dec. 10.

The benefit of more electronics recycling? Try $10 billion

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

The industry’s biggest computer hardware and gadget manufacturers have been pretty quiet about their commitments to accounting for natural capital — aka the environmental costs related to their business activities.

That’s not to say they aren’t experimenting with recovery and reuse initiatives. Dell and Hewlett-Packard have been particularly innovative about creating closed-loop processes for putting recycled plastics back in service. It’s just that with the exception of Dell, no one company is really talking about these programs from a global perspective. At least not publicly.

It actually turns out the computer and electronics industry as a whole does pretty well when it comes to limiting its impact on natural resources, such as water and precious metals such as gold, silver and platinum.

The cost is an estimated $39 million per every billion dollars in revenue, according to a recent analysis by Trucost on behalf of the Greener Electronics Council, the organization behind the EPEAT green products registry. That compares with an average of $194 million for other sectors.

But there’s a compelling financial case to do more, especially when it comes to recovering precious metals. Increasing the recycling rate to 100 percent industry-wide could generate an estimated $10 billion in cost savings and natural capital benefits, according to Trucost.