Day: May 13, 2019

Researchers are using West Texas cotton for biodegradable towel designed to clean up oil spills

Read the full story from KCBD.

Two young entrepreneurs have brought an idea out of the labs and into U.S. Markets that is the first of its kind.

“Towelie,” a simple name for a seemingly simple product with the potential to clean up a complicated environmental and ecological problem: oil spills in bodies of water.

Using DNA templates to harness the sun’s energy

Read the full story from Arizona State University.

As the world struggles to meet the increasing demand for energy, coupled with the rising levels of CO2 in the atmosphere from deforestation and the use of fossil fuels, photosynthesis in nature simply cannot keep up with the carbon cycle. But what if we could help the natural carbon cycle by learning from photosynthesis to generate our own sources of energy that didn’t generate CO2?

Plastic Gets a Do-Over: Breakthrough Discovery Recycles Plastic From the Inside Out

Read the full story from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Light yet sturdy, plastic is great – until you no longer need it. Because plastics contain various additives, like dyes, fillers, or flame retardants, very few plastics can be recycled without loss in performance or aesthetics. Even the most recyclable plastic, PET – or poly(ethylene terephthalate) – is only recycled at a rate of 20-30%, with the rest typically going to incinerators or landfills, where the carbon-rich material takes centuries to decompose.

Now a team of researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has designed a recyclable plastic that, like a Lego playset, can be disassembled into its constituent parts at the molecular level, and then reassembled into a different shape, texture, and color again and again without loss of performance or quality. The new material, called poly(diketoenamine), or PDK, was reported in the journal Nature Chemistry.

Rising Innovator: Striving for ‘Environmental Justice’ Researcher Turns to Citizen Scientists

Read the full story in R&D Magazine.

For one scientist, engaging with the public is one of the more important—and rewarding—parts of her research.

Mónica Ramírez-Andreotta, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science at the University of Arizona often works with ‘citizen scientists’—everyday members of the public—to conduct research near hazardous waste sites or in environmental compromised areas, and monitor pollutants throughout the country.

By working with impacted communities, Ramírez-Andreotta and her team are not only able to better identify potential concerning pollutants, but also provide timely public health interventions/prevention strategies.

Project to explore fate of electricals and e-waste unveiled

Read the full story in New Electronics.

The WEEE Fund has announced a project, to be completed by the end of 2019, that will look at how e-waste management is being undertaken and why more material is not being made available for recycling.

The drive to embed ‘planetary health’ impacts within corporate sustainability strategy

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

In 2015, the Rockefeller Foundation-Lancet Commission coined the term “planetary health” to focus on interactions between environmental and human health. Since then, groups such as the LancetThe Planetary Health Alliance and the U.N. Health and Environmental Linkages Initiativehave given growing attention to the influence of environmental conditions on human health.

Most recently, the United Nations Environment Program published its sixth Global Environment Outlook focused on the theme of “Healthy Planet, Healthy People.” The report states: “Poor environmental conditions which can be changed (‘modifiable conditions’) cause approximately 25 percent of global disease and mortality.”

Given that fossil fuel companies are the largest contributors to climate change and that chemical production, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, textiles, smelting, agriculture and refineries are major contributors to air and water pollution, addressing the environmental and ecological determinants of health requires leadership across many corporate sectors.

But as Mary Engvall, senior director of corporate responsibility at global health services company Cigna, explains: “The connection between the health of the planet, the quality of the air and the cleanliness of our drinking water have very direct impacts on health — and yet often times people think of them as somewhat disparate.”

In other words, the nexus between changing environmental conditions and health outcomes is not well understood by many businesses.

US cities host more regionally unique species than previously thought

Read the full story from the California Academy of Sciences.

To better understand whether rapidly growing cities are hosting the same species, a team analyzed an immense volume of data gathered by citizen scientists during the four-day global City Nature Challenge. Study findings suggest that despite similarities across cities, urban biodiversity still strongly reflects the species that are native to a region. However, observations of shared ”cosmopolitan” species like pigeons, white-tailed deer, and dandelions were more numerous than locally occurring species.

Internal documents show 3M hid PFAS dangers for decades

Read the full story in the Detroit Free Press.

A 3M environmental specialist, in a scathing resignation letter, accused company officials of being “unethical” and more “concerned with markets, legal defensibility and image over environmental safety” when it came to PFAS, the emerging contaminant causing a potential crisis throughout Michigan and the country.

Committee OKs PFAS funding, revival of science agency

Read the full story at E&E News.

A water contaminant on military bases would be targeted and a congressional agency focused on nonpartisan technological analysis would be revived under a pair of House spending bills approved today.

The House Appropriations Committee passed its fiscal 2020 Military Construction-Veterans Affairs and Legislative Branch bills. Both measures are expected on the House floor next month.

The $108.1 billion Military Construction-Veterans Affairs bill would provide an 8.3% increase over current spending, the largest increase proposed for any of the 12 fiscal 2020 measures. It passed 31-21 after a GOP attempt to add border wall money failed.

The legislation would provide $60 million for cleaning up per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, at military bases.

Superior, Husky Energy Reach Deal To Treat Refinery’s Wastewater

Read the full story from Wisconsin Public Radio.

The city of Superior will begin accepting and treating wastewater from Husky Energy’s oil refinery under a new deal reached with the company. The agreement was prompted after the refinery explored several options to meet Wisconsin’s stringent phosphorus standards set back in 2010.

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