State of Green Business: Agriculture plants the seeds of regeneration

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

The following is an excerpt from the GreenBiz State of Green Business Report 2016.

The need to radically reform our agricultural sector in the name of sustainability has been talked about for decades. And while small, incremental changes have inched the ag sector forward, it remains hopelessly unsustainable for people and the planet.

Groundwater gets a recharge from worried farmers, scientists

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

In California’s famous water wars, who controls what water and where has been material for Hollywood movies.

But since 60 percent of the water used by agriculture and industry in this drought era is groundwater pumped up from deep aquifers, there’s growing realization that the state can’t rely on a Wild West approach of vigilante law for groundwater management.

Groundwater had gone largely unregulated in this state until passage of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014. But most requirements of that law don’t kick in until 2040, so a growing number of farmers and agricultural scientists are trying a more immediate route to saving the state from going dry.

When El Nino storms unleashed heavy rains in California, some farmers in the Central Valley’s southern edge began capturing storm water and diverting it to flood their fields and orchards in a plan to recharge aquifers underneath.

This so-called Groundwater Banking effort is being studied by agricultural academics at the University of California at Davis for its effectiveness and funded by the UC Cooperative Extension Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

What Apple’s reuse robot says about sustainability and tech

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

A robot that can take apart an iPhone is good for the visibility of green design, but it won’t fix environmental ills such as e-waste.

Webinar: Principles of Sustainable Product Design

May 19, 2016, 1-2:30 PM, CDT
Register at

How do the principles of green chemistry and engineering inform sustainable product design?  Application of these principles ensures that products use materials that are safe, that can flow in a circular economy, and that have a beneficial impact on natural resources.  Three leading experts will each explain one of the three main branches of the Design Principles for Sustainable and Green Chemistry and Engineering and link these to successful business examples:  1) Maximize resource efficiency:  David Constable (Director, ACS Green Chemistry Institute).  2) Eliminate and minimize hazards and pollution:  Lauren Heine (Executive Director, Northwest Green Chemistry).  3)  Design holistically and use life cycle thinking:  Kathy Hart (Senior Project Manager, US EPA Design for the Environment).

This New Brooklyn Grocery Is Designed For Zero Waste

Read the full story in Fast Company.

In the 10-block radius around Sarah Metz’s apartment in Brooklyn, there are around 50 bodegas and five or six grocery stores. None have bulk bins; like typical markets, pretty much everything you can buy comes wrapped in plastic or cardboard.

Metz is hoping to change that by opening a new packaging-free, zero-waste grocery store.

See What Artists-in-Residence at a Trash Dump Create

Read the full story at Atlas Obscura.

A local dump might seem an unlikely place to create art, but that’s exactly what’s been happening at the San Francisco Transfer Station and Recycling Center, Recology, since 1990. As part of Recology’s Artist in Residence program, local artists transform trash into art at an on-site studio, using discarded materials sourced directly from the garbage and recycling of San Franciscans.

The idea originated with artist and environmentalist Jo Hanson. After creating her own art with trash and assisting with campaigns such as city-wide street sweepings, in the late 1980s Hanson approached Recology about a program where artists could reuse materials from the dump. At around the same time, San Francisco was implementing new recycling laws, and looking for ways to raise awareness about waste. The artist-in-residence program fit that bill.

California Brewer Using Grey Water to Make Beer

Read the full story at Waste360.

It’s a beer. It’s an IPA. It’s shower water?

Yes, Mavericks Grey Water Tunnel Vision IPA, is made with recycled water from sinks and showers and treated with NASA technology to clean and use. Though California law prohibits its sale for drinking, grey water, once put through the process is clean enough to, well, drink.

California-based Mavericks Brewing, the sister independent craft brewery of Half Moon Bay Brewing, is taking water conservation to another level with the IPA, made with 100 percent high-purity recycled water.

Answering the call to reduce water usage during California’s years-long drought, Mavericks Founder and Owner Lenny Mendonca teamed up with Sustainable Silicon Valley’s Russ Drinker to draw attention grey water recycling. When the idea of crafting a beer using grey water was mentioned, Mendonca jumped on it.


Webinar: Cadmium and Chromate Elimination Efforts: Implementation Plans and Strategic Roadmaps for Three DoD Depots

Thursday, March 24, 2016, 12:00 PM ET (9:00 AM PT)
Register at

The Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) and Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP) Weapons Systems and Platforms Program Area have initiated an effort to develop a strategy to eliminate >90% of cadmium (Cd) and hexavalent chromium (Cr6+) in use at Department of Defense (DoD) maintenance depots over the next five years. The strategy includes objectives, metrics, and actions to demonstrate how this reduction can be achieved through multiple site demonstrations, leveraging DoD resources to replicate processes across the DoD depot community, and developing a future path for success in the advanced coatings area. As part of this effort, installation-specific implementation plans were developed in coordination with Letterkenny Army Depot (LEAD), Fleet Readiness Center Southeast (FRCSE), and Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex (OC-ALC), and these efforts were used to inform the Strategy. Likewise, the Implementation Plans track back to the overall Advanced Coating 5-Year Strategy and Roadmap, maintaining consistency with DoD’s strategic vision as it pertains to Cr6+ and Cd reduction.

Following an introduction to and background discussion of this effort, the webinar will be divided into two parts. The first one will be a discussion of the Advanced Coatings 5-Year Strategy and Roadmap, and will include an overview of DoD-wide data analysis, processes, and weapon systems impacted with a focus on Cd and Cr6+ reduction goals and the objectives, metrics, and key actions necessary to achieve these goals. The second part of the webinar will involve a discussion of the three depot-specific implementation plans generated at LEAD, FRCSE, and OC-ALC. Each will be described in detail and will provide summaries of the processes observed and documented during site visits, data analyses, and recommendations for implementation of the Cd and Cr6+ reduction strategy.

New studies are showing what we already know: energy efficiency keeps electricity affordable and reduces environmental compliance costs

Read the full post from ACEEE.

Multiple studies looking at spending and savings across programs, over time and in multiple states, all show the same thing: energy efficiency is highly cost effective. Put another way, it keeps electricity affordable by meeting demand and environmental regulations at a lower cost than if we generated new power, including from clean energy resources. To help break down this discussion to key points, we released two new fact sheets today, one showing that energy efficiency is consistently the lowest-cost option for meeting electric demand and the other showing that including energy efficiency can lower the cost of Clean Power Plan compliance.

How Much Does Energy Efficiency Cost?” includes results from studies by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, ACEEE, and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The fact sheet shows how these studies provide further evidence that energy efficiency costs less than other sources of energy, and also that the costs of energy efficiency have been level in recent years. “Energy Efficiency Lowers the Cost of Clean Power Plan Compliance” looks at the results of three studies, all finding that including energy efficiency as part of state compliance plans will lower costs to utility customers.  For example, a study by Synapse Resource Economics provides state-by-state information on most of the states.


Confronting Climate Change’s Biggest Deniers

Read the full story in Governing.

Some of the skeptics are also the people with the most power to make a difference. Ignoring or denying the issue isn’t an option.