Illini Gadget Garage: Last Day of Service for Fall 2018: Nov. 9 Plus a Note About the Future

Reposted from the Illini Gadget Garage blog. I hope they find a new home. They provide a valuable community service.

The last day of service for the Illini Gadget Garage for Fall 2018 will be November 9. Whether you need some guidance with troubleshooting, know that you’ll need a new part for your device, but aren’t sure which one or how to find out, or if you need access to tools and moral support to make a repair, get your appointments made or email your questions!

We’re entering the time of year when interest in appointments slows down due to students concentrating on final projects and the general distraction of impending holidays for everyone in the community. Given that, we thought it would be a good time to close down.

Also, an important transition is ahead of the Illini Gadget Garage.The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC), which helped launch the project and has coordinated it for the last few years, will not continue its coordination after this semester, in order to focus resources on other projects. The possibility of the project being “adopted” by another unit on campus is being investigated, and hopefully that will mean the IGG will reopen again sometime in the near future. However, if another unit does not assume coordination, the project will sadly end.

On behalf of myself, Amanda Elzbieciak (our fabulous workshop manager), past staff and volunteers, and co-founders Martin Wolske and William Bullock, we have greatly appreciated the opportunity to assist the campus and surrounding community with collaborative repair. Earlier this week, I spoke about sustainable electronics and electronic product stewardship for a group of employees of one of ISTC’s clients. In that presentation, I asserted my belief (backed by the evidence of the myriad social and environmental impacts of electronics covered elsewhere in my talk) that because of all the natural and human resources invested in the manufacture of electronics, the most important thing you can do as an individual to reduce the negative impacts of the electronic devices is to keep devices that already exist in service for as long as possible. Having been able, through the Illini Gadget Garage project, to assist members of the UI and broader Champaign-Urbana area to realize that repair, rather than replacement, of devices with minor damage or performance issues is a feasible option regardless of income or tech savvy, has been a sincere honor. I truly hope that whatever becomes of this particular project, that spirit of repair and reuse continues to thrive and grow in our community.

So keep your fingers crossed that the project continues without me or ISTC. If you represent a campus unit that might be interested in the project, contact me (but keep in mind you will not be the first unit to express interest). And as always, if you represent a group or company interested in starting your own project focused on reuse and repair, don’t hesitate to reach out to me for assistance. That remains part of what I do as a member of ISTC’s Technical Assistance team. Watch this space and our social media for updates. Keep fixing, Illini! In the meantime, take some inspiration from the iFixit Repair Manifesto:


Opinions are those of the author alone and mention of businesses or organizations are for information purposes only and should not be construed as an endorsement by ISTC or the University of Illinois.

Studio creates sustainable paper

Read the full story in the Daily Illini.

Though people have been making paper out of wood since the 19th century, a studio at the University is developing sustainable paper using non-wood recycled materials that can protect the environment and help protect relic books in libraries.

Eric Benson, co-founder of Fresh Press Studio, said he and his colleague were inspired to make paper from agricultural materials from the corn surrounding them in Illinois and the 1,000-year history of making paper from agricultural materials in China.

Relevance of regulatory constraints in designing pharmaceutical manufacturing processes: A case study on waste solvent recovery

Hirokazu Sugiyama, Yusuke Morikawa, Mai Matsuura, Menghe Xu (2019). “Relevance of regulatory constraints in designing pharmaceutical manufacturing processes: A case study on waste solvent recovery.” Sustainable Production and Consumption 17, 136-147.

Abstract: This work deals with the relevance of regulatory constraints on the outcome of process design in pharmaceutical manufacturing with a case study on waste solvent recovery. The role of the investigated process was to separate and purify tetrahydrofuran from an azeotropic mixture with water and methanol. As the technologies to overcome the distillation boundary, zeolite membrane, pressure swing, azeotropic distillation, and entrainer processes were considered as alternatives, and were modeled and evaluated with regard to economy, environmental impact, and environmental, health, and safety hazards. The target concentration of recovered solvent, which cannot be altered because of regulations, was imagined to be modifiable, and two design problems, initial and extended, were formulated. A type of pressure swing process that was found to be optimal in the extended problem was equal to or better than any of the optimal alternatives in the initial design problem. Remarkably, the net present value of this alternative was about 17% larger than the maximum in the initial design problem. These results confirmed quantitatively that the way in which regulatory constraints are taken into account makes a difference in the outcome and that the appropriate formulation of a design problem is critical for pharmaceutical manufacturing processes.

Transport & Logistics Sector Finds IIoT a Key to Improving Sustainability

Read the full story from Environmental Leader.

Organizations in the transport and logistics sector are faced with the challenge of reducing their impact on the environment and hearing to stricter government regulations while at the same time needing to transport increasing quantities of goods and people.  increasingly adopting industrial Internet of Things technology to improve the environmental sustainability of their operations, new research from mobile satellite communications company Inmarsat shows.

Scientists Confirm China as Major Source of Banned Ozone-Depleting Chemicals

Read the full story in e360 Digest.

Despite being banned in 2010, about 40,000 tons of carbon tetrachloride, an ozone-depleting compound, are still emitted into the atmosphere every year. But the origins of the illegal emissions have long baffled scientists. Now, an international team of researchers has tracked down the source of nearly half of the emissions to eastern China, according to a recent study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Chi-Cal Rivers Fund Awards $1.25 Million in Grants to Improve Waterways in the Chicago/Calumet Region

Chi-Cal Rivers Fund partners have announced six projects selected to receive $1.25 million in grant funding to improve and enhance waterways in the Chicago-Calumet region. These community-driven investments will enhance fish and wildlife habitat, reduce stormwater runoff, and improve access to and use of natural areas. The grants will generate $5.6 million in matching contributions, for a total conservation impact of over $6.8 million.

Administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), the fund is supported in 2018 with contributions from ArcelorMittal, BNSF Railway, The Chicago Community Trust, The Crown Family, the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, The Joyce Foundation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Forest Service. The grants announced today mark the fund’s sixth annual slate of grants, bringing its total cumulative impact to more than $25 million.

“The Chi-Cal Rivers Fund continues to serve as a model for how public-private partnerships can collectively enhance wildlife habitat and benefit communities,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “Through collaborative funding and strategic alignment, the fund is equipping communities with tools to naturally reduce stormwater runoff, restore degraded habitat, provide a healthy environment for wildlife and offer public green spaces.”

“Our foundation values this important opportunity to partner to achieve multiple overlapping goals for improving both riparian and aquatic habitat, as well as nature-based services to the many communities along our region’s rivers,” said David Farren, executive director of Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation. “By pooling our funds to coordinate on these grants, we can all accomplish more and learn from each other in the process.”

The six grants announced today will enhance and restore wetland habitat for marsh birds in the Little Calumet region, improve habitat quality at Crooked Creek, increase stormwater storage capacity in the city of Robbins, Illinois, and continue to improve habitat in Chicago and Northwest Indiana through tree planning and invasive species control. Collectively, the funded projects will:

  • ​Restore and enhance 357 acres of wetland and upland habitat
  • Control invasive species on 525 acres
  • Create and improve more than 10 acres of neighborhood green space
  • Add more than 750,000 gallons of stormwater storage

“The U.S. Forest Service is proud to be part of the Chi-Cal Rivers Fund, and is pleased to see these exciting projects get funded,” said Carleen Yocum, Northeastern Area Midwest field office representative for the U.S. Forest Service. “We believe that nature based green infrastructure projects, such as tree planting in strategic locations, are an important part of the solution for managing our region’s stormwater and flooding challenges.”

“ArcelorMittal believes that the sustainability of our local waterways is critical for advancing conservation goals, enhancing ecosystem services and supporting climate resilience for the bi-state Calumet region. The Chi-Cal Rivers Fund demonstrates a shared commitment to enhancing the sustainability and resiliency of communities throughout the region. Our support of the Fund – both as a founding member and through continued support – helps to bring this commitment to life,” said Bill Steers, general manager of corporate responsibility for ArcelorMittal. “We are proud to support the projects we were able to fund this year and would like to thank all of the many organizations that are actively contributing to conservation goals across the Calumet.”

To learn more about the Chi-Cal Rivers Fund and the six projects announced today, please visit

The Modifiability of Implicit Attitudes to Carbon Footprint and Its Implications for Carbon Choice

Beattie, G., & McGuire, L. (2018). “The Modifiability of Implicit Attitudes to Carbon Footprint and Its Implications for Carbon Choice.” Environment and Behavior, online ahead of print.

Abstract: We tested whether selected film clips can be used to change implicit as well as explicit attitudes to carbon footprint to promote low carbon choice. We found that carbon choice could be influenced by film, with clips with a strong emotional content being particularly effective. There was also a significant change in both explicit and implicit attitudes to low carbon for those with weaker initial pro-low carbon attitudes. In the case of both explicit feelings of warmth and implicit attitudes to low carbon, significant changes were observed 6 weeks later compared with baseline, but no significant differences were found for explicit measure of attitudinal preference. The fact that implicit attitudes to carbon footprint can be changed experimentally could be significant because implicit rather than explicit attitudes underlie the more routine and automatic aspects of everyday consumer behavior. We discuss the broader implications of this research for future climate change campaigns.

WasteApp to connect waste producers to reprocessors across England and Wales

Read the full story at Resource.

A new app will connect waste producers to reprocessing facilities across Wales and England, aiming to provide business growth opportunities and ensure the optimum treatment of waste.

Launched yesterday (1 November), WasteApp uses a large data set to allow users, such as waste management companies, to find appropriate treatment facilities for waste dependent on the type of waste, type of waste activity or location.

Grants and Collaboration Keep Waste Program Costs Low for Indiana University

Read the full story at Environmental Leader.

The Campus Center at Indiana University has embarked upon a new initiative to keep pre-consumer food waste – that is, the food like melon rinds or vegetables that have gone bad before it ever gets to the consumer – from ending up in the landfill. By working with organizations to haul the food waste and turn it into compost, mulch and soil, the center has begun chipping away at the two tons of food waste it produces each month.

Sunlight turns membrane into a self-cleaning, pollutant-eating powerhouse

Read the full story from Argonne National Laboratory.

Critical tasks such as treating wastewater and processing petrochemicals rely on porous membranes that filter unwanted materials out of water. Over time, these membranes inevitably become clogged by bacteria or other substances, so they need to be replaced or cleaned with harsh chemicals that shorten their lifespan.

To address this problem, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have invented a membrane that, when exposed to sunlight, can clean itself and also actively degrade pollutants. The advance paves the way for membranes that can last longer and perform better than those in use today, lowering costs.