19 mayors pledge to make all new buildings net-zero by 2030

Read the full story at Curbed.

The places we live and work are some of the greatest contributors to climate change. Buildings generate over half of the total greenhouse gas emissions for most cities, and in some cities, like London and Paris, it’s closer to 70 percent. A new mayoral coalition made up of 19 cities worldwide would require all new buildings to produce as much energy as they consume.

Today, 19 mayors from the C40 group signed a pledge to make all new buildings net-zero carbon by 2030. The mayors—including those of U.S. cities Los Angeles, New York City, Portland, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Monica, and Washington D.C.—also pledge that by 2050, all buildings, old or new, will be net-zero as well.

Quantifying environmental benefits of recycled plastic

Read the full story at Plastics Recycling Update.

Researchers have calculated substantial upsides from making products out of recycled PET, HDPE and PP instead of prime plastics.

For example, using RPET may generate half the greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) of virgin plastic, according to preliminary data released by Franklin Associates. The reductions may be even greater for recycled polyolefins.

Franklin Associates is conducting the research on behalf of the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR). APR’s president, Steve Alexander, noted that brand owners will be able to reference the data to calculate progress toward their sustainability goals when they use recycled plastic. He called the life cycle inventory research “a critical tool to utilize and market the value of recycled materials.”

EU funds pilot plant for PV module recycling

Read the full story in PV Magazine.

German company, Geltz Umwelt-Technologie has developed an advanced recycling plant, which it says could recover up to 95% of the materials in a module for reuse. With funding from the EU’s Horizon 2020 project, the company is planning a pilot facility that could recycle up to 50,000 silicon based PV modules per year.

Looking for Palmer amaranth Populations

Via The Bulletin from U of I Extension.

The weed science programs at Southern Illinois University and the University of Illinois are participating in a research project sponsored by the United Soybean Board to survey and monitor the potential for the evolution of weeds with resistance to glufosinate and dicamba.  Early detection of evolved resistance to these herbicides could alert soybean farmers of the imposing threat in time for changes in management strategies that avoid herbicide failures.  Researchers in Illinois will collect seed from at least two of our most challenging weed species, waterhemp and horseweed (a.k.a. marestail).  We also would like to collect seed from Palmer amaranth and could benefit from your assistance.

If you know of Palmer amaranth populations in soybean fields around the state from which we could collect seed, please let us know.  Contact Dr. Karla Gage at Southern Illinois University (618-453-7679, or kgage@siu.edu) for Palmer amaranth populations south of Interstate 70, or Dr. Aaron Hager at the University of Illinois (217-333-9646, hager@illinois.edu) for populations north of Interstate 70 and we’ll make arrangements to collect seed prior to harvest.

Drinking Water Treatability Database (TDB)

The Drinking Water Treatability Database (TDB) presents referenced information on the control of contaminants in drinking water for use by

  • drinking water utilities,
  • first responders to spills or emergencies,
  • treatment process designers,
  • research organizations, and
  • academicians.

The TBD provides referenced information gathered from thousands of literature sources assembled on one site. The literature includes bench-, pilot-, and full-scale studies of surface water, groundwater and laboratory water. The literature comes from peer-reviewed journals and conferences, other conferences and symposia, research reports, theses, and dissertations.

The TDB includes over 60 regulated and unregulated contaminants and their properties. Contaminants include those

  • regulated in drinking water,
  • on the Contaminant Candidate List (CCL),
  • of water security interest,
  • of pesticide registration interest, and
  • endocrine disruptors and pharmaceuticals.

An overview tab includes a contaminant’s importance, regulation, presence on the CCL, pesticide registration, etc. For each contaminant, a property tab includes parameters such as solubility, vapor pressure and Henry’s Law constant. Microbial properties include parameters such as taxonomy, size and shape. For each contaminant, a fate and transport tab presents parameters such as volatilization half-life and biodegradation half-life that may be useful in assessing the contaminant’s presence in source waters.

The Find a Contaminant page leads to the TDB’s current contaminants. However, because control strategies for disinfection byproducts (DBPs) are different from contaminants present in source waters and entering into a water treatment plant, DBPs are not included in the TDB.

The TDB includes more than 25 treatment processes used by drinking water utilities. An Overview Page describes each treatment process. It notes key process parameters such as coagulant dose, oxidant dose, filter loading rate, filter depth and contact time, and key water quality parameters such as pH, temperature, turbidity and alkalinity, upon which the treatment process effectiveness depends. The Find a Treatment Process page leads to these processes. The database can do the following:

  • Identify effective drinking water treatment processes
  • Plan for future treatment plant upgrades
  • Provide information to first responders to spills or emergencies
  • Recognize research needs
  • Complement literature reviews and literature searches
  • Assist regulators in Best Available Technology and CCL decisions

Global status of recycling waste solar panels: A review

Yan Xu, Jinhui Li, Quanyin Tan, Anesia Lauren Peters, Congren Yang (2018). “Global status of recycling waste solar panels: A review.” Waste Management 75, 450-458. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wasman.2018.01.036

Abstract: With the enormous growth in the development and utilization of solar-energy resources, the proliferation of waste solar panels has become problematic. While current research into solar panels has focused on how to improve the efficiency of the production capacity, the dismantling and recycling of end-of-life (EOL) panels are seldom considered, as can be seen, for instance, in the lack of dedicated solar-panel recycling plants. EOL solar-panel recycling can effectively save natural resources and reduce the cost of production. To address the environmental conservation and resource recycling issues posed by the huge amount of waste solar panels regarding environmental conservation and resource recycling, the status of the management and recycling technologies for waste solar panels are systemically reviewed and discussed in this article. This review can provide a quantitative basis to support the recycling of PV panels, and suggests future directions for public policy makers. At present, from the technical aspect, the research on solar panel recovery is facing many problems, and we need to further develop an economically feasible and non-toxic technology. The research on solar photovoltaic panels’ management at the end of life is just beginning in many countries, and there is a need for further improvement and expansion of producer responsibility.

New Law Aims to Increase Use of Compost in Illinois

Read the full story at WTTW.

Your next banana peel could wind up on the side of the road – in the form of composted soil.

new law aims to increase the use of compost in Illinois by incorporating composted soil into state-funded landscaping projects.

Michigan health director will face trial on Flint water manslaughter charges

Read the full story at MLive.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon will stand trial on charges he caused the deaths of two Genesee County men during the Flint water crisis. Genesee District Judge David Goggins bound Lyon’s case over to Genesee Circuit Court for trial on two counts of involuntary manslaughter for the deaths of Robert Skidmore and John Snyder, who prosecutors say died as a result of Legionnaires’ disease, and one count of misconduct in office.

Ruling Threatens States’ Right to Regulate Toxic Coal Ash

Read the full story in Governing.

As the Trump administration plans to weaken environmental rules, a federal court has said that some Obama-era regulations didn’t go far enough.

Pesticide Studies Won E.P.A.’s Trust, Until Trump’s Team Scorned ‘Secret Science’

Read the full story in the New York Times.

Backed by agrochemical companies, the current administration and Congress are moving to curb the role of human health studies in regulation.