Day: April 13, 2020

Weathering the Storm: How public parks can help build climate resilient communities

Read the full story in Parks & Recreation.

Deep in Ohio’s so-called “Rust Belt” is the hidden gem of Mill Creek Park. Dotted with cascading waters, steep gorges and lush meadows, Mill Creek Park, located in the city of Youngstown, beckons Ohio residents looking to reconnect with nature through hiking, fishing and cross-country skiing. The park, which was designed by none other than Frederick Law Olmsted, the father of American landscape architecture, ranks as one of the largest public parks in the country.

More than 100 years later, Mill Creek Park is increasingly closed for repairs — either due to intense rainfall and flooding or structural damage from storms. Coupled with nearby industrial and commercial runoff, stormwater overflows pollute the park, leading to mass fish kills and restrictions on recreational water sports. Today, Youngstown faces more than 60 percent population loss, high concentrations of poverty and an increasing number of vacant properties. Investing in its parks is simply not at the top of the city’s priorities. And yet, investing in parks, like Mill Creek Park, may be key to unlocking the most cost-effective, benefit-rich options to reinvigorating the city of Youngstown.

EPA Coordinates with Retailers and Third-Party Marketplace Platforms to Discuss Steps to Protect American Consumers from Fraudulent Coronavirus Disinfectant Claims

Read the full post at the Pesticide Law & Policy Blog.

On April 3, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hosted an interactive telephone call with U.S. retailers and third-party marketplace platforms to discuss imposter disinfectant products and those that falsely claim to be effective against the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19. EPA hosted the call due to recent complaints on the availability of products with unsubstantiated and potentially dangerous claims of protection against SARS-CoV-2 and has enlisted the help of the retail community to prevent these products from coming to market.

Will COVID-19 Cause Future FIFRA Headaches for Disinfectant Product Producers and Retailers?

Read the full post at JD Supra.

The COVID-19 outbreak has caused tumultuous effects upon the nation’s economy, healthcare resources, small and large business, and individual behavior. We are observing in real time significantly increased demand for cleaning products and online purchasing and home delivery services as people focus on exposure prevention and practice social separation. Could these forces be converging to lay the foundation for significant enforcement actions in the future under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (“FIFRA”)?

Cutting Carbon While Feeding People

Read the full story at Waste360.

The Natural Resources Defense Council reports that up to 40 percent of all food in the United States is wasted, even as 40 million Americans lack consistent access to adequate and nutritious food. Donation of useable food has palpable and obvious social benefits. Recovering (or rescuing) edible food from restaurants, groceries and institutions that would otherwise go to waste can help “bridg[e] the gap between abundance and need.” Reduction in food waste (through food rescue or otherwise) will also yield big reductions in carbon emissions.

From an environmental regulatory perspective, managing food that has been deemed unsalable has traditionally been considered a solid waste problem. Four Northeastern states (ConnecticutMassachusettsRhode IslandVermont) and California limit the disposal of “food waste” or other organics in conventional waste streams that go to landfills or waste-to-energy facilities. Getting usable food out of the waste stream, for the most part, satisfies most existing regulatory schemes, regardless of how it is done. However, these rules do not create a clear preference or incentive for “rescuing” food so that it can be eaten by people. 

COVID-19 Drives Major Fluxes in Paper Supply Chain

Read the full story in Waste360.

Demand for recovered paper is red hot to cold, depending on end markets.

Towards improved understanding of the ingestion and trophic transfer of microplastic particles – Critical review and implications for future research

Todd Gouin (2020). “Towards improved understanding of the ingestion and trophic transfer of microplastic particles – Critical review and implications for future research.” Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 28 March 2020. https://setac.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/etc.4718

Abstract: Observations of microplastic particles (MPs) in the environment and their detection in the stomachs and intestines of aquatic organisms have been observed routinely over the last 50 years. In this review, the ingestion of plastic debris of varying sizes is collated, including data for >800 species representing approximately 87,000 individual organisms, for which plastic debris and MPs are observed in about 17,500 or 20%. The average of reported MP/individual across all studies is estimated at 4, with studies typically reporting averages ranging between 0 and 10 MP/individual. A general observation is that while strong evidence exists for the biological ingestion of MPs, they do not bioaccumulate and do not appear to be subject to biomagnification as a result of trophic transfer through food webs, with >99% of observations from field‐based studies reporting MPs to be located within the gastrointestinal tract. Overall, there is substantial heterogeneity in how samples are collected, processed, analyzed, and reported, causing significant challenges in attempting to assess temporal and spatial trends or in helping to inform mechanistic understanding. Nevertheless, several studies suggest that the characteristics of MPs ingested by organisms is generally representative of plastic debris in the vicinity of where individuals are collected. Monitoring spatial and temporal trends of ingested MPs could thus potentially be useful in assessing mitigation efforts aimed at reducing the emission of plastic and MPs to the environment. The development and application of standardized analytical methods are urgently needed to better understand spatial and temporal trends.

Lobster digestion of microplastics could further foul the food chain

Read the full story from the American Chemical Society.

Tiny fragments of plastic waste are dispersed throughout the environment, including the oceans, where marine organisms can ingest them. However, the subsequent fate of these microplastics in animals that live near the bottom of the ocean isn’t clear. Now, researchers report that lobsters can eat and break down some of this microplastic material, releasing even smaller fragments into the water that other deep-sea organisms could ingest.

Most lithium batteries end up in a landfill. A new bill aims to change that.

Read the full story at Grist.

Lithium-ion batteries are expected to play a critical role in the green energy transition, but despite surging global demand for the metals that go into them, we’re doing a terrible job recovering those metals after batteries die. A first-of-its-kind bill introduced in the Senate this month seeks to change that by significantly boosting federal investments in lithium-ion battery recycling.

Solar EV Chargers Simplify Installation and Adoption

Read the full story at Future Structure.

Removing the installation barriers typical of some electric vehicle charging stations, solar units promise to make the technology more accessible to the general public and government fleets.

LCA methodology criticised for simplistic approach to organic production

Read the full story at Food Navigator.

Researchers in Europe have found fault with life cycle assessment methodology’s analysis of organic farming, which they say largely ignore major factors such as biodiversity, soil quality, and pesticide impacts.

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