Massachusetts Addresses Recycling Gap with $2.6M in Grants

Read the full story from Environmental Leader.

The state of Massachusetts aims to increase recycling and address the “recycling gap” by awarding more than $2.6 million in grants to cities, towns and solid waste districts. The recycling grants will be used to increase recycling and public awareness surrounding its environmental importance, said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito.

Addressing the weakest links to advance circular supply chains

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

How to strengthen and grow the circular economy remains an open question. How do we convert supply chains from the current linear, “take, make and dispose” model into one where the maximum amount of inherent value contained in products is recaptured and retained? What role can companies play in that process?

Scientists are developing greener plastics – the bigger challenge is moving them from lab to market

Read the full story at The Conversation.

Synthetic plastics have made many aspect of modern life cheaper, safer and more convenient. However, we have failed to figure out how to get rid of them after we use them.

Unlike other forms of trash, such as food and paper, most synthetic plastics cannot be easily degraded by live microorganisms or through chemical processes. As a result, a growing plastic waste crisis threatens the health of our planet. It is embodied by the Great Pacific Garbage Patch – a massive zone of floating plastic trash, three times the size of France, stretching between California and Hawaii. Scientists have estimated that if current trends continue, the mass of plastics in the ocean will equal the mass of fish by 2050. Making plastics from petroleum also increases carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, contributing to climate change.

Much of my work has been dedicated to finding sustainable ways to make and break down plastics. My lab and others are making progress on both fronts. But these new alternatives have to compete with synthetic plastics that have established infrastructures and optimized processes. Without supportive government policies, innovative plastic alternatives will have trouble crossing the so-called “valley of death” from the lab to the market.

No emissions, no engines: Waste haulers carve out niche with bikes

Read the full story in Crain’s New York Business.

Microhaulers, who tow organic waste by bicycle, have grabbed a foothold in carting—an industry that’s about to be turned upside down

Tracking Food Waste With LeanPath CEO Andrew Shakman

Read the full story in FoodTank.

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reports that approximately one-third of food produced for consumer consumption is lost or wasted every year. Andrew Shakman, CEO and co-founder of LeanPath, offers a unique solution to this problem: “focus on source reduction.”

Cost of New E.P.A. Coal Rules: Up to 1,400 More Deaths a Year

Read the full story in the New York Times.

The Trump administration has hailed its overhaul of federal pollution restrictions on coal-burning power plants as creating new jobs, eliminating burdensome government regulations and ending what President Trump has long described as a “war on coal.”

The administration’s own analysis, however, revealed on Tuesday that the new rules could also lead to as many as 1,400 premature deaths annually by 2030 from an increase in the extremely fine particulate matter that is linked to heart and lung disease, up to 15,000 new cases of upper respiratory problems, a rise in bronchitis, and tens of thousands of missed school days.

Morrison law will study chemicals in wastewater, offer suggestions for remediation

Read the full story from Illinois State Senator Julie Morrison.

A proposal passed by State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) to study chemicals found in wastewater effluent and recommended remediation efforts was signed into law on Friday.

Morrison’s new law, contained in House Bill 5741, requires the Prairie Research Institute to conduct a research study to identify chemicals recognized as contaminants of emerging concern by the United States Environmental Protection Agency in wastewater effluent. The study will also produce recommended actions to address the environmental or public health concerns associated with each chemical.

EPA Selects Environmental Education Grantees to Receive $3.3 Million to Support Projects Nationwide

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing the selection of 37 organizations to receive funding for projects under the 2018 Environmental Education (EE) Grants Program. EPA anticipates providing funding for projects across the nation, once all legal and administrative requirements are satisfied.

The funding will range from $50,000 to $100,000, to organizations that provide environmental education activities and programs. The awards are going to organizations in 29 states, including the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

This year’s education projects include:

  • Using a converted RV to serve as a mobile earth and environmental science lab in Appalachia.
  • Providing an experiential training for beginning farmers on sustainable agriculture production and farm management.
  • Raising public awareness through hands-on participation in prairie restoration and promoting environmental literacy and conservation stewardship.
  • Managing native and invasive vegetation ecosystems for healthy forests and waterways.
  • Conducting land revitalization activities to support a new rail line conversion project.
  • Fostering community food security by teaching communities to grow and care for their own community orchards.
  • Engaging middle and high school teachers and students in air and water quality monitoring and remediation.
  • Drafting a prototype EE curriculum focused on water quality in the arid Mountain West.
  • Increasing public awareness about outdoor water conservation and providing resources for homeowners to create water-efficient landscapes.
  • Introducing urban youth to environmental science, conservation, and careers in natural resources, through activities such as urban agriculture and forestry.
  • Teaching indoor gardening and encouraging school waste management projects.
  • Increasing public awareness and action on recycling.
  • Investigating storm resilience problems and create practical solutions to help mitigate flooding

To learn more prior grant winners, or to apply for future EE grant competitions, visit:

The following organizations have been selected to receive 2018 EE Grants:

  • Alliance for the Chesapeake
  • Appalachian State University
  • University of Vermont and State Agricultural College
  • EdAdvance
  • Groundwork Rhode Island
  • Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
  • New York University
  • University of the Virgin Islands
  • Aleli Environmental Inc.
  • West Virginia University Research Corp.
  • Engaged Community Offshoots (ECO), Inc.
  • University of North Georgia
  • The Trust for Public Land
  • Neighborhood House of Milwaukee
  • Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System
  • Friends of the Chicago River
  • The Recycling Partnership
  • National Wildlife Federation
  • National Center for Appropriate Technology
  • Insights El Paso Science Center, Inc.
  • EcoRise Youth Innovations
  • Kansas City Community Gardens, Inc.
  • The University of Northern Iowa
  • Upper Iowa University
  • Wichita State University
  • Arizona Board of Regents-Arizona State University
  • National Wildlife Federation
  • Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District
  • National Audubon Society
  • Purple Mai’a Foundation
  • Education Outside
  • Malama Learning Center
  • Sequoia Riverlands Trust
  • Children’s Forest of Central Oregon
  • Swinomish Indian Tribal Community
  • Eastern Washington University
  • University of Alaska, Fairbanks

Since 1992, EPA has distributed between $2 million and $3.5 million in EE grant funding per year, for a total of over $75 million supporting more than 3,700 grant projects. The program traditionally provides financial support for projects that design, demonstrate or disseminate environmental education practices, methods or techniques. More information visit:

Leaving a legacy: Mt. Vernon students pitch services projects developed in new high school class

Read the full story in the Greenfield Reporter.

As he headed back to his seat, Justin Thorpe placed a hand to his chest and let out a deep sigh of relief.

Moments prior, the Mt. Vernon High School student had pitched to a group of administrators and school board members his idea to bring representatives from a California-based nonprofit to Hancock County to speak with teachers about creative writing. Those teachers could then pass along the information to their students, hopefully inspiring kids to put pen to paper more regularly as a way to express themselves.

Before his presentations, Thorpe’s nerves were clear to any onlooker. He paced back and forth along the back of the meeting room, reading over his pitch, his notes, his paperwork, his lips moving noiselessly.

But the few moments of fear and anxiety that come with public speaking will be worth it in the end, Thorpe’s teachers say.

The teen is among the first class of Mt. Vernon students to enroll in a new immersive learning program dedicated to helping students create and implement service projects within their school and community.


Interactive Visualization and Industrial Ecology: Applications, Challenges, and Opportunities

David Font,Vivanco, Paul Hoekman, Tomer Fishman, Stefan Pauliuk, Sidney Niccolson, Chris Davis, Tamar Makov, Edgar Hertwich (2018). “Interactive Visualization and Industrial Ecology: Applications, Challenges, and Opportunities.” Journal of Industrial Ecology online ahead of print.

Abstract: The emergence of increasingly complex data in industrial ecology (IE) has caused scholarly interest in interactive visualization (IV). IV allows users to interact with data, aiding in processing and interpreting complex datasets, processes, and simulations. Consequently, IV can help IE practitioners communicate the complexities of their methods and results, shed light on the underlying research assumptions, and enable more transparent monitoring of data quality and error. This can significantly increase the reach and impact of research, promote transparency, reproducibility, and open science, as well as improve the clarity and presentation of IE research. A review of current IV applications reveals that, while data exploration has received some attention among IE practitioners, IV applications in scientific communication are clearly lacking. With the help of a working example, we explore the value of IV, discuss its operationalization, and highlight challenges that the IE community must face during IV uptake. Such challenges include technical and knowledge limitations, limits on user interaction, and implementation strategies. With these challenges in mind, we outline key aspects needed to lift the IE field to the forefront of scientific communication in the coming years. Among these, we draft the basic principles of a “Hub for Interactive Visualization in Industrial Ecology” (HIVE), a point of encounter where IE practitioners could find an array of data visualization tools that are geared toward IE datasets. IV is here to stay, and its inceptive stage presents many opportunities to IE practitioners to shape its operationalization and benefit from early adoption.