Month: August 2020

Contested area bio-energy farm will no longer accept municipal waste

Read the full story in the Dayton Daily News.

A bio-energy company near Fairborn announced it will no longer accept municipal waste. Starting Oct. 1, Renergy will no longer accept municipal solid waste from Ohio communities. Renergy is a bio-energy company that turns sewage, biowaste from municipalities and food and farm waste into methane energy, the byproduct of which is then turned into fertilizer for crops used to feed livestock.

NSF-funded study will examine critical interfaces for materials transport in the environment

Read the full story from the University of Illinois.

A research team led by CEE professor Praveen Kumar has received a grant of more than $6 million from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study “critical interfaces” in the environment that affect the transport and transformation of materials such as water, sediment, carbon and nutrients. The new project entitled “Network Cluster CINet: Critical Interface Network in Intensively Managed Landscapes” is an outgrowth of work by a team of researchers to increase our understanding of the critical zone – the region of the landscape from the top of the plant canopy to the bedrock beneath.

Storing carbon in the prairie grass

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

Plans would pay landowners to keep the ecosystem in a natural state to fight climate change.

Women Leaders in Waste: Meet Darby Hoover of NRDC

Read the full story at Waste360.

Thinking of new strategies and solutions to reduce waste is always top of mind for Hoover who has dedicated her 30-year-career to waste prevention including the last 16 at NRDC.

Finding Sustainable Efficiencies in Wine Packaging

Read the full story at WineBusiness.com.

Nicolas Quillé MW was named Crimson Wine Group’s chief winemaking and operations officer in April 2018. In this interview that first appeared in the July edition of the Wine Analytics Report, Quillé described how Crimson is coping with the COVID-19 pandemic and the company’s packaging strategy for its many brands.

In 2018, Quillé was a speaker at the Pack Conference, in which he broke down the costs of using glass alternatives and a portion of that analysis appears in this article. This year’s conference took place as a virtual event.

The winemaker-turned-winery-executive views greater sustainability in packaging as an imperative not just for the industry but also the world and argues that regulation may be the only way to ensure it happens.

The Electric Weed-Zapper Renaissance

Read the full story at IEEE Spectrum.

Increasing concerns about chemical herbicides are giving a boost to the old idea of killing weeds with electricity.

New toolkit makes finding weather and climate lesson plans easy

With the prolonged pandemic continuing to affect the United States, traditional education has turned toward at-home learning and virtual classrooms to keep students safe. Now more than ever, teachers must be able to find lesson plans for their students that are adaptable to different learning environments and cover topics required by the curriculum. To meet these needs, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant (IISG) has created a weather and climate education toolkit where teachers can find resources on the topics of weather, climate and climate change.

Teachers—whether parents, home school tutors or licensed professionals—can find what they need by using the search function to filter by grade level, specific weather and climate subtopics or geographic locations, learning mode and more. Many of the lesson plans and activities in this curated catalog of resources can be used as-is or adapted for virtual learning and at-home teaching environments.

“It was great to be able to work closely with our IISG education team to create this toolkit,” said Veronica Fall, climate extension specialist with Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant and University of Illinois Extension. “These are tough times we’re living in, so we’re excited to help empower educators, both locally and nationally, with additional resources to be able to teach complex topics in a virtual setting.”

IISG developed the weather and climate education toolkit with support from the Center for Great Lakes Literacy and the Midwestern Regional Climate Center.

An Overview of the Utilisation of Brewery By-Products as Generated by British Craft Breweries.

Kerby, C.; Vriesekoop, F. (2017). “An Overview of the Utilisation of Brewery By-Products as Generated by British Craft Breweries.” Beverages 3(2), 24. https://doi.org/10.3390/beverages3020024 [open access]

Abstract: There is a wide range of information available on by-product disposal methods used by large national breweries. However, little information is available on the methods of by-product disposal used by craft breweries. An investigation was carried out in which 200+ British craft brewers were contacted, of which 90 craft brewers provided basic information about their brewery operations and by-product disposal. Representatives of eleven breweries were interviewed to provide an in-depth case study of their by-product disposal methods. The research found that urban craft brewers use a wider range of disposal methods compared to rural craft brewers; urban brewers dispose of more waste through sewage and landfill, as well as using external companies, such as bio-recycling and anaerobic digester plants, whereas rural brewers have relationships with farmers who dispose of the by-products in various ways. Craft brewers tend to have a direct relationship with the by-product users. Even though they do not have all disposal options available to them which the large industrial breweries have, due to their small scale of by-product production, craft brewers appear to find alternative means of sustainability.

Innovative Ways to Destroy PFAS Challenge

Important dates

EPA is partnering with the U.S. Department of Defense’s Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) and Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP); the Environmental Council of States (ECOS) and the Environmental Research Institute of the States (ERIS); Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes & Energy; and Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, to co-sponsor a technical challenge regarding the destruction of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The challenge asks solvers to submit detailed plans for a non-thermal way of destroying PFAS in concentrated film forming foam (AFFF), while creating the least amount of potentially harmful byproducts.  

Currently, EPA is investigating all methods of destroying PFAS. Incineration has been used to treat PFAS-contaminated media, and EPA scientists are collaborating with the private sector to evaluate the effectiveness of thermal treatment technologies to completely destroy PFAS. The goal of this challenge is to discover new non-thermal technologies and approaches that can remove at least 99 percent of PFAS in unused AFFF, without creating any harmful byproducts. Although PFAS compounds can be found in various waste streams, the challenge is focused on unused AFFF.

The challenge is intended to encourage the development of new approaches, technologies, or technology combinations that meet the following objectives:

  • Must be applicable for use on unspent aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) from unused AFFF concentrates containing 3 percent and/or 6 percent PFAS;
  • Must destroy at least 99 percent of the PFAS in the unused AFFF concentrates, including PFAS byproducts that may form by volatilization, particulates, and leaching from effluents;
  • Must demonstrate scalability and cost effectiveness for a defined quantity over thermal methods used to treat the same waste stream (AFFF).

Additional features that are desired (but not required) of submitted PFAS destruction technologies/ approaches:

  • Demonstrates compatibility with current production and destruction practices;
  • Avoids creating other toxic residues after destruction of PFAS, including hazardous chemicals identified in EPA’s ToxCast database;
  • Is currently accessible in the marketplace or near-market ready.

Big Oil Is in Trouble. Its Plan: Flood Africa With Plastic.

Read the full story in the New York Times.

Faced with plunging profits and a climate crisis that threatens fossil fuels, the industry is demanding a trade deal that weakens Kenya’s rules on plastics and on imports of American trash.

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