Day: May 1, 2019

T-shirt recycling is here, and it could transform fashion

Read the full story in Fast Company.

Fashion label Marine Layer partnered with a Spanish factory to turn old T-shirts into new shirts, diverting them from landfills.

ES&T and ES&T Letters announce Best Papers of 2018

Environmental Science and Technology (ES&T) and Environmental Science and Technology (ES&T) Letters editors have selected the best papers that appeared in their respective publications in 2018.

First they came for plastic bags. Coffee cups are next

Read the full story from BNNBloomberg.

The People’s Republic of Berkeley, Calif., takes pride in its leadership on all things civic and environmental. The small liberal city east of San Francisco was one of the first U.S. cities to adopt curbside recycling. It banned styrofoam and was early to take on plastic shopping bags. Earlier this year, the Berkeley city council put on notice a new environmental scourge: The to-go coffee cup.

Some 40 million disposable cups get tossed in the city each year, according to the city council, almost one per resident per day. So in January, the city said it will require coffee shops to charge an extra US25-cents for customers who use a take-away cup. “Waiting is no longer an option,” Sophie Hahn, the Berkeley city council member who wrote the legislation, said at the time.

Webinar: Enhancing Community Involvement in the Regulatory Process

Wednesday, May 15, 2019 from 2:00 PM to 3:30 PM (EDT)
Register here.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has launched a training webinar series to build the capacity of environmental justice practitioners working at the state level. The second webinar, Enhancing Community Involvement in the Regulatory Process,  is now open for registration. Please note that registration is required. When you sign up, you will receive details on how to access the webinar.


  • Laura McKelvey, Group Leader-Community and Tribal Programs Group, Office of Air Quality Policy and Standards, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Kelly Haragan, Clinical Professor and Director, Environmental Clinic, University of Texas School of Law
  • Lawra Boyce, Community Engagement Coordinator, South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control

ISTC Technical Assistance Program helps Spraying Systems Co. communicate sustainability goals

ISTC’s Technical Assistance Program led a project at Spraying Systems Co. to help them define and communicate their sustainability goals using Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards.

The project included determining the company’s materiality. This process involves engaging internal and external stakeholders to identify and determine the relative importance of economic, environmental and social issues that impact on the company’s business performance. They also analyzed the company’s metrics to comply with GRI standards and assisted them with compiling a sustainability report.

Some of the company’s initiatives include:

  • Purchasing raw materials with recycled material when possible
  • Water reuse in R&D processes
  • Recycling brass, steel, aluminum, plastic and paper
  • Bulk purchasing to reduce packaging waste
  • Composting in our cafeteria
  • Reducing electricity use for lighting through fixture and ballast upgrades and solar panel installation
  • Natural gas conservation through HVAC equipment and building upgrades
  • Health and wellness programs for our employees
  • Safety training and continuing education programs
  • Community outreach programs

The final report is GRI-Referenced, which means that the company used selected GRI Standards to report their economic, environmental and/or social impacts.

Read a summary of the report at The full report is available from the company upon request.

If your company is interested in collaborating on a similar project, contact the Technical Assistance team.

Presentations from Toxics Use Reduction Institute Spring 2019 Continuing Education Conference now available

The University of Massachusetts — Lowell’s Toxics Use Reduction Institute holds a continuing education conference twice per year in the spring and fall. The presentations from their most recent spring conference are now available here.

Topics include:

  • best practices in toxics use reduction planning
  • process characterization
  • finding and assessing safer solvent alternatives
  • energy conservation
  • refrigerants and their less toxic alternatives
  • identifying and assessing solvent blends
  • reducing solid waste
  • phthalate esters and safer alternatives for plasticizers

Stakeholder Initiative on Public Policies for Chemical Ingredient Transparency

Clean Production Action (CPA) and the Northeast Waste Management Officials Association’s (NEWMOA) Interstate Chemicals Clearinghouse (IC2) have launched a partnership to find common ground among key stakeholders on chemical ingredient transparency policies and programs.

The diversity of transparency mandates at the state level has been steadily increasing for the past ten years. The States of California, Maine, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington have enacted requirements for public disclosure of chemicals of concern in cleaning products and/or children’s products. Other states, including Connecticut, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington have established requirements for reporting on and labeling products and packaging for the presence of mercury.

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs), including the American Sustainable Business Council, Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, Center for Environmental Health, Clean and Healthy New York, Mind the Store Campaign, Safer States, and Toxic-Free Future are advocating for greater disclosure across supply chains. Retailers, including Walmart, have established requirements for ingredient disclosure by their suppliers. Ecolabels, such as the Safer Choice by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, require chemical ingredient transparency to meet their criteria.

These transparency initiatives confront similar types of challenges that often differ within and across product categories and sectors. Businesses that operate in multiple jurisdictions find it difficult to participate in or comply with the growing array of requests and requirements. Advocates and the public find it difficult to locate the chemical ingredient information in products when they need it. Businesses and government agencies developing environmentally preferable purchasing specifications are demanding chemical ingredient information and having to navigate and interpret the complex landscape of disclosure information that is available. These stakeholders – governments, businesses, NGOs, and researchers – could benefit greatly from a set of common principles and data practices.

IC2 and CPA will convene businesses, governments, and NGOs to develop common principles and criteria for chemical transparency policy. By convening key stakeholders, both groups hope to accelerate state and local policy development, industry action, and government programs that focus on disclosure of toxic chemicals in products. Chemical ingredient transparency frequently is a catalyst for companies to develop safer alternatives and avoid toxic chemicals in the first place, and it provides NGOs and governments with the knowledge of where toxic chemicals are used, thereby identifying priority chemicals for undertaking various actions.

For more information, contact Terri Goldberg,

Webinar Series on the Mercury Inventory Reporting Rule of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)

EPA is hosting two webinars for companies, organizations, and individuals required to report under the Mercury Inventory Reporting Rule of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The final rule requires persons who manufacture (including import) mercury or mercury-added products, or otherwise intentionally use mercury in a manufacturing process, to submit their mercury information to EPA using the online Mercury Electronic Reporting (MER) application. This information will be used to develop triennial inventories of mercury supply, use, and trade in the United States.

A webinar providing background on reporting requirements under the final rule, such as who must report under the final rule and the required reporting information, will take place on Tuesday, May 21, 2019 at 2 PM ET. Following EPA’s presentation, webinar participants will have an opportunity to ask questions on reporting requirements under the final rule.

To participate in the “Mercury Inventory Reporting Rule” webinar, please register on Eventbrite at

A second webinar demonstrating how to use the online MER application through EPA’s Central Data Exchange (CDX) will take place on Thursday, May 23, 2019 at 2 PM ET.

To participate in the “Mercury Electronic Reporting (MER) Application” webinar, please register on Eventbrite at

For more information on the Mercury Inventory Reporting Rule, visit EPA’s Mercury website at

Technical High Auto Repair & Collision Shops Switch to Safer Products

Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School in Marlborough, Mass., received two grants from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell Toxics Use Reduction Institute to reduce the use of solvents in the auto repair and collision shops. The auto collision shop is now using a water-based paint gun cleaner and the auto repair shop is using a bio-based system for cleaning parts. Both products eliminated the use of solvents.

Data scientists mapped supply chains of every U.S. city. What it says is bigger than just where your food comes from.

Read the full story from Northern Arizona University.

No matter where you are in the United States, some food in your kitchen probably started its life in Fresno, California.

How do you know? Vegetables, like every other product, follow a supply chain that moves it from where it’s grown to where it’s used. That supply chain can be tracked through data, and that data can paint a powerful picture of how food, water and energy move throughout the United States. The data illustrates how every corner of America is connected.

The FEWSION Project is the brainchild of data whisperer Ben Ruddell, an associate professor in the School of Informatics, Computing, and Cyber Systems (SICCS) at Northern Arizona University, who leads a multi-institution team of engineers and data scientists. FEWSION is a data fusion project that maps the food, energy and water supply chains for every community in the United States. Those maps are now available for public use through the FEW-View website, allowing people to see whether their gas prices could be affected by a Gulf Coast hurricane or how much New Englanders should worry about water shortages on the other side of the country. (Answers: Possibly and a lot.) This data was collected by hundreds of researchers at federal agencies and universities throughout the country and for the first time has been put into a searchable and visual form for anyone to use.

%d bloggers like this: