The Battle Over Technology and Energy Consumption

Read the full story in Governing.

Insatiable demands for data have triggered startling projections on how much electricity is consumed to power the Internet. But technology itself — along with strategic regulations — could keep our energy needs in check.

Precision laser drilling helps filter microplastics from water

Read the full story at

A project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is employing laser drilling technology developed by Fraunhofer ILT as part of its efforts to filter microplastics from waste water.

The SimConDrill project, coordinated by water-filtration experts Klass Filter, includes Fraunhofer ILT, Laser Job, laser systems vendor Lunovu, and software developer OptiY.

The project is currently nominated for a Green Award as part of 2020’s Greentech Festival, an initiative launched by a group of engineers along with former Formula 1 World Champion Nico Rosberg.

The project’s goal is to tackle the recognized problem of microplastics being carried by waste water and accumulating in the environment. A study at the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology (UMSICHT) calculated that 333,000 tonnes of microplastics are released into the environment each year in Germany alone, but researchers are still working out what effects this might be having on people and the environment.

Microplastics are not easy to filter out of waste water, partly because existing treatment plants were not designed to deal with particles of such small size. SimConDrill was launched in January 2019 to develop a durable filter module suitable for retrofitting into standard cyclone filters, allowing them to remove the microparticles from liquid via centrifugal force.

EPA Lists 160 PFAS for EPCRA Toxics Release Reporting

Read the full story in the National Law Review.

In accordance with § 7321 of the National Defense Authorization Act (“NDAA”) for Fiscal Year 2020 (P.L. 116-92), the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) has added 160 per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (“PFAS”) to the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act’s (“EPCRA”) § 313 list of reportable chemicals. Industry reporters must begin tracking and collecting data on the listed PFAS beginning January 1, 2020, with the first Toxics Release Inventory (“TRI”) report due by July 1, 2021.

Nestlé pushes innovation with plant-based partnership

Read the full story in Food Manufacture.

Nestlé plans to accelerate the development of plant-based meat and dairy alternatives with lower carbon footprints through a partnership with two key players in the plant protein sector.

Nestlé launches second product in recyclable paper packaging as part of its 2025 plastic waste pledge

Read the full story in Confectionery News.

Nestlé has launched its second product in recyclable paper packaging, as part of its commitment to make 100% of its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025.

PFAS found in Ann Arbor compost that’s used as fertilizer, park soil

Read the full story at MLive.

Ann Arbor officials have reported finding PFAS in the city’s compost.

Study Measures U.S. Cities on Transportation, Climate Impact

Read the full story in Future Structure.

The 2020 U.S. Transportation Climate Impact Index by StreetLight Data ranked the top 100 metro regions around key transportation metrics and for their contribution to greenhouse gases.

She started climbing trees as a kid. Then this ecologist helped create scientist Barbie.

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

Nalini Nadkarni didn’t play with Barbies as a girl. She was too busy climbing the maple trees in her front yard in Bethesda, Md.

The forest ecologist might seem an unlikely person to help design and promote Barbie dolls. But over the past six months, she has been inspiring girls worldwide to play with dolls that have a magnifying glass and all-terrain boots instead of tiaras and high heels. It’s through new explorer Barbie dolls designed with her input by Mattel and National Geographic.

The line of dolls, which includes an astrophysicist, a conservationist, an entomologist, a marine biologist and a nature photojournalist, are long overdue, said Nadkarni, 65. Nadkarni is a University of Utah biology professor who studies rainforest canopies and how plants get their nutrients.

The companies that have contributed most to climate change

Read the full post at Yale Climate Connections.

Thought-provoking readings on those most responsible for the pollution.

Webinar: Contaminants of Emerging Concern (e.g., PFAS) in Biosolids and Wastewater

Mar 19, 2020 12:00 – 1:00 pm
Register here

Chemicals are everywhere; they make up life and matter. And synthetic ones are ubiquitous in modern society. Increasingly, with the help of powerful analytical chemistry, we are finding synthetic chemicals almost everywhere we look. And, in most cases, there aren’t enough data to know if it matters. These are the “chemicals of emerging concern” (CECs). They are not necessarily new – they have been around – but they are newly measured, raising emerging concerns. Many CECs are found in our daily living environments, even in our bodies (e.g. pharmaceuticals). And they are in business, industry, and commerce. They enter our waste streams in varying amounts. Wastewater, and biosolids derived from wastewater, are mirrors of the chemistry of our daily lives.  

This webinar will provide an overview of CECs in wastewater and biosolids: what have been measured and what implications have been determined. Then it will focus on the fate and implications of CECs in biosolids, many of which are recycled to soils as fertilizers and soil amendments. What is the fate of CECs in such scenarios? Is this recycling sustainable? 

After an overview of biosolids management in the U. S. and beyond and the rationale and benefits of recycling biosolids to soils, this webinar will cite past and current research and outline research needs as it.  

  • reviews the fate of several representative CECs in wastewater and biosolids, 
  • summarizes risk assessment and risk management strategies used to reduce potential concerns, and
  • discusses PFAS as a family of CECs that is currently of high interest.

Biosolids and wastewater are “wastes” from modern society that must be managed. Recycling is necessary if we are to achieve sustainable communities. CECs – especially PFAS – are a current challenge.

About the speaker

From 1998 to 2019, Ned Beecher was Executive Director of NEBRA, tracking research, legislation, and regulations, and providing information to members and the public. He is now Special Projects Manager and has focused much of his work since January, 2017, on PFAS. Other projects include compilation and review of biosolids management and quality data. NEBRA advances best practices and sustainability in biosolids recycling. Ned has led projects and authored articles, papers, and book chapters on biosolids management in the Northeast, eastern Canada, and around North America. He received the New England Water Environment Association (NEWEA) Biosolids Management Award in 2015 and the Elizabeth Cutone Executive Leadership Award in 2020. He has an MS in Resource Management from Antioch University and a BA in Geology from Amherst College. He has two adult children and lives and gardens (using biosolids) with his wife, Chris Clyne, MS, APRN (ret.), in Tamworth, NH.