Day: March 28, 2016

Reclaimed Glasses And Lunch Trays Give These Chairs Their Ethereal Glow

Read the full story in Fast Company.

Kim Markel left a career in environmental policy to make furniture in Beacon, NY. Her Glow chairs give upcycling a whole new look.

What’s the deal with lead and the White House moonshot on water?

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

With the nation reeling from the latest example of ill-fated water infrastructure in Flint, a new initiative in Washington could offer a path forward.

Baltimore Scraps Its Waste-to-Energy Plan

Read the full story at City Lab.

A years-long, youth-led campaign to prevent the construction of a waste incinerator in the south Baltimore neighborhood of Curtis Bay has inched closer to victory.

Last week, the Maryland Department of the Environment alerted the New York-based company Energy Answers International that its permit to build an incinerator that would convert trash into energy is no longer valid. The proposed plant would generate 160 megawatts of electricity by burning an estimated 4,000 tons of solid waste per day. The facility would spread over 90 acres, making it the largest incinerator in the U.S. if built, according to the Environmental Integrity Project.

The incinerator would also sit just a stone’s throw from a number of schools and parks, not to mention hundreds of homes that are already in close proximity to a cluster of pollution-producing facilities. This is why students from those schools and their families have been protesting the construction of the waste-to-energy plant since Energy Answers began building it in August 2013. The Curtis Bay neighborhood already suffers the worst levels of air pollution in the state.

The map and chart below, created using the EPA’s EJ SCREEN mapping application, shows that the area within a mile of the proposed incinerator site registers extremely high levels of ozone and particulate matter emissions. Both of these air pollutants are responsible for asthma and respiratory disease-related deaths, especially among children and people of color. It may even play a role in increasing urban violence.

A New Perspective of Design

Read the full post on ACS’ Green Chemistry blog.

In fall 2015, I enrolled in the chemistry course, Green Product Design, designated as a science class for non-science majors taught by chemistry professor Julie Haack at the University of Oregon. I had been looking for classes with a focus on sustainability because, I realized that I lacked knowledge about a crucial aspect of the purpose of design: how to design sustainably.  If I want to create sustainable products in the future, not knowing the full environmental impact of objects is a great disadvantage to me as a designer. If designers continue to create with little thought to the greater impact of their products, eventually they will run out of resources and materials greatly limiting product design’s potential. Continuing on our current track of using non-sustainable materials or using manufacturing processes that are harmful to the earth we are essentially designing our craft/trade into obsolescence.

CO2-Related Green Chemistry in the Jessop Group

Read the full post at ACS’ Green Chemistry blog.

“CO2 is the answer to everything.” That statement started as a joke in my research group but has become more of a philosophy. Society has so much of this compound; it’s one of the most abundant renewable molecules available to us. It’s nonflammable and essentially nontoxic. Why not put it to use? I have no illusions about CO2 utilization being the answer to global warming; it’s not. However, the versatility of CO2 continues to impress me. It can be a solvent, an acid, a catalyst, a trigger for switchable materials, a viscosity modifier, a feedstock, a fire extinguisher, and even part of my beverage at lunchtime! That versatility has made CO2 the star of my research program.

UPS and other companies have big plans for the circular economy

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

There is a growing awareness in the business community that the circular economy is not only here to stay, but will continue to gain traction in the coming years, according to new research by GreenBiz and UPS. But the need for a defensible business case is the biggest barrier standing in the way.

The report, “The Growth of the Circular Economy,” surveyed members of the GreenBiz Intelligence Panel to gain a greater understanding of key aspects and concepts associated with the circular economy and to identify trends that will help define success for this developing system of commerce.

A Pollinator Meadow is Planned at the Government Center (GC)

Read the full story from Fairfax County, VA.

An emerging partnership among Fairfax County agencies, in support of the Board of Supervisors’ Matter to Protect and Support Bee Populations, hopes to make a difference in this little corner of the world by creating a pollinator meadow on Government Center grounds.

For Flint Kids, Lead Exposure Doesn’t Have to Spell Destiny

Read the full story at City Lab.

But some of the effects of the water crisis may be salvageable, at least from a public health perspective. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stress that there is no “safe” level of lead for children, and studies have linked children’s lead exposure to behavioral disorders and lower IQs, experts like the University of Cincinnati neuropsychologist Kim Dietrich (who helped the CDC set its lead parameters) say that Flint children aren’t necessarily facing permanent mental damage.

%d bloggers like this: