Process invented to make sustainable rubber, plastics

Read the full story in Science Daily.

Synthetic rubber and plastics — used for manufacturing tires, toys and myriad other products — are produced from butadiene, a molecule traditionally made from petroleum or natural gas. But those humanmade materials could get a lot greener soon, thanks to a team of scientists that has invented a process to make butadiene from renewable sources.

How Warming Is Profoundly Changing a Great Northern Wilderness

Read the full story at Yale E360.

The abrupt change in direction of a Yukon river because of a rapidly melting glacier has attracted international attention. But this bizarre development is just one of many climate-driven events that are transforming a vast sub-Arctic area of Canada and Alaska.

British power generation achieves first ever coal-free day

Read the full story in The Guardian.

National Grid hails milestone as other sources like gas, nuclear, wind and solar allow UK to keep lights on with all coal-fired powerplants offline.

Caterpillar found to eat shopping bags, suggesting biodegradable solution to plastic pollution

Read the full story from the University of Cambridge.

A common insect larva that eats beeswax has been found to break down chemical bonds in the plastic used for packaging and shopping bags at uniquely high speeds. Scientists say the discovery could lead to a biotechnological approach to the polyethylene waste that chokes oceans and landfills.

Apple Forces Recyclers to Shred All iPhones and MacBooks

Read the full story at Motherboard.

Apple released its Environmental Responsibility Report Wednesday, an annual grandstanding effort that the company uses to position itself as a progressive, environmentally friendly company. Behind the scenes, though, the company undermines attempts to prolong the lifespan of its products.

Apple’s new moonshot plan is to make iPhones and computers entirely out of recycled materials by putting pressure on the recycling industry to innovate. But documents obtained by Motherboard using Freedom of Information requests show that Apple’s current practices prevent recyclers from doing the most environmentally friendly thing they could do: Salvage phones and computers from the scrap heap.


Novel Method Turns Methanol into Renewable Energy

Read the full story in R&D Magazine.

A new renewable energy source might come from the world’s simplest alcohol.

A team of researchers from the University of Southern California, led by senior author G. K. Surya Prakash and 1994 Nobel Prize winner George Olah, have created a carbon-neutral method to produce and store hydrogen from methanol, without concurrent production of either carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide…

The study was published in The Journal of the American Chemical Society. It represents Olah’s last major paper as he passed away on March 8, 2017.

Global temperature hiatus claims ‘based on statistical errors’

Read the full story at EnvironmentalResearchWeb.

Claims of a ‘slowdown’ or ‘hiatus’ in rising global temperatures are not supported by an in-depth analysis of statistical evidence, a new study has shown.

Google Request Exacerbates South Carolina Water Wars

Read the full story in Environmental Leader.

Google has requested 1.5 million gallons of groundwater per day to cool the servers at its Berkeley County facility, hoping to draw the water from the county’s aquifer. The company already uses about 4 million gallons of surface water per day, writes the Post & Courier (via Mashable). Google has studied various options for cooling its servers and has found that pumping groundwater was the best solution.

The request comes at a time when a commercial boom in the area has led to companies (and residents) using water at a faster rate than the aquifers can replenish. Scientists are currently studying the area’s water situation, attempting to determine how much water from the aquifers can be used before depleting supplies of groundwater.

When The Environmental Protection Agency Had Good Design

Read the full story at Fast Company.

A new reissue of the EPA graphic standards manuals designed by Chermayeff & Geismar shows what graphic design can do for government agencies.

Seed-stealing insects hinder prairie restoration

Read the full story in Great Lakes Echo.

Bugs hinder prairie restorations more than previously thought, according to research conducted at Michigan State University.