ISTC Sustainability Seminar: Microplastics in the Aquatic Environment

March 16, 2017 , noon-1pm CST
In person at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (1 E. Hazelwood Dr., Champaign) or online at

Presented by Sarah A. Zack – Pollution Prevention Extension Specialist, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant (IISG) and University of Illinois Extension.

The ecosystem impact of microplastics, a type of land-based marine debris that includes particles less than 5 millimeters in size, is of growing interest in the Great Lakes and other inland waters. Microplastic pollution in freshwater systems is still an emerging science and researchers have just begun to describe its scope, abundance, and distribution. There is still much to be learned about its long-term effects, including impacts to aquatic food webs. Since 2012, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant (IISG) has been working to conduct and fund research and educate the public about microplastic pollution. IISG is dedicated to supporting continued research on emerging contaminants such as microplastics, and recognizes that there is a need for more information to determine the long-term effects of this pollution on Midwestern lakes and rivers. This seminar will discuss freshwater microplastic sources and types, relevant chemical and physical properties, and potential impacts, as well as provide an overview of the work done by IISG to address this emerging contaminant.

With NYS regulations coming, Wegmans looks to cut food waste

Read the full story in the Democrat & Chronicle.

Some local grocers and national retailers are taking a harder look at what’s in their trash to increase the bottom line by diverting food from landfills and to those most needing it.

Wegmans Food Markets joined an effort late last year with several businesses and the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Agriculture to cut food waste in half by 2030.

3 Tips for Making Social Responsibility a Priority at Your Startup

Read the full story in Entrepreneur.

The concept of a triple bottom line — people, planet and profit — isn’t new. I personally ran a nonprofit that focused on redefining the role of business as a social partner and was founded as long ago as the early 1980s.

In recent years, the triple bottom line has become even more popular, as businesses realize the power of making people feel good. People buy stuff because they like it, but if doing so means they’re also giving a pair of shoes to someone who needs them or planting a tree where one’s needed, the purchase pushes their feel-good button. And the sense of altruism that results keeps them coming back for more.

If that sounds cynical, I don’t mean it to. Tapping the altruism button may trigger consumer behavior, but it also allows businesses with positive intent to thrive. Learning to seek profits in an ethical manner will not only help your bank account, but help the world at large.

There are, however, a few keys to doing it right.


First 100 Percent Recyclable Carpet: A Sign of Hope In a Wasteful Industry

Read the full story at Triple Pundit.

Mohawk’s new Airo line is the first to meet the long-stated, lofty recycling goals of one of America’s most wasteful industries. Whether it will herald a shift toward a circular economy for carpets, though, remains to be seen.

We shouldn’t need food companies to tell us when to bin our bagged kale

Read the full story in the Guardian.

Industry action on ‘Best before’ labels in the US is welcome, but food waste will only fall when consumers use their senses.