An urban farm to bring green energy, jobs to South Side

Read the full story in the Chicago Sun-Times.

Green Era Renewable Energy and Urban Farming Campus is expected to be complete in spring 2022. A $3 million state grant announced Friday will help; it comes on top of other financial assistance from the city and a local foundation.

Peabody pushes coal carbon capture through front groups, industry associations, PR and lobbying efforts

Read the full story from the Energy and Policy Institute.

A coal industry front group funded by Peabody Energy and the state of Wyoming successfully urged the Department of Energy to fund a study proposing a carbon capture project at the Comanche coal plant near Pueblo, Colorado. The operator of the coal plant, Xcel Energy, and regulators in Colorado have made clear that Xcel will close the coal units to reduce costs, and the carbon capture proposal has not gained traction. The effort shows one of the many ways that the largest coal mining company in the U.S. pushes coal carbon capture proposals, while many electric utilities are now more focused on closing coal plants they operate than pursuing carbon capture projects. Beyond the effort in Colorado, Peabody Energy promotes coal carbon capture proposals through industry associations, direct lobbying, and public relations campaigns.

How Might We Transport Goods to Reduce Environmental Impact?

Read the full story at OpenIDEO.

The Beyond the Bag Initiative, launched by the Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag, is calling on Innovators, suppliers, designers, and problem-solvers to join our Beyond the Bag Challenge and reinvent the timeless experience of getting goods home. To begin, participants are encouraged to read our retail bag report, “A New Way Home” to learn more about the problem today, how we got here, and what opportunities for design interventions exist tomorrow.

Feeding the Waste Cycle: How PFAS ‘Disposal’ Perpetuates Contamination

Read the full story from the Environmental Working Group.

Current methods of managing waste from toxic “forever chemicals” don’t work – and in fact, perpetuate the cycle of contamination, according to peer-reviewed research by scientists from the Environmental Working Group.

In a study recently published in the journal Chemosphere, EWG scientists concluded that burning, discarding and flushing materials containing the toxic fluorinated chemicals known as PFAS do not effectively contain or destroy them but rather end up just returning either the same chemicals or their byproducts back into the environment. In other words, PFAS “disposal” is really just another step in the contamination cycle.

Associated journal article: Tasha Stoiber, Sydney Evans, Olga V. Naidenk (2020). “Disposal of products and materials containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS): A cyclical problem.” Chemosphere 260, 127659.

Apeel and Edeka extend tie-up to fight food waste

Read the full story at Food Navigator.

Following on from a successful pilot of Apeel’s food waste reduction technology, Germany retailer Edeka and the US food tech company are extending their ‘joint commitment’ against food waste.

Webinar: Reproductive outcomes at changing PFAS exposures in Minnesota

September 9, 2020, noon CDT
Register here.

During this webinar, Drs. Phillipe Grandjean and Gina Waterfield will provide some background and present their findings on a newly published study utilizing population data from a community in Minnesota, which demonstrated the reproductive impact of PFAS-contaminated water and the positive changes in reproductive outcomes after implementing drinking water filtration. The PFASs in human exposures share several adverse properties. Their persistence and mobility results in passage across the placenta into the circulation, and they are also excreted into human milk, thereby prolonging the duration of the next generation’s elevated exposure. Common PFASs are known to be endocrine disruptors and immunotoxicants, and the early-life exposures therefore lead to developmental effects that may be lasting. 

Given the increasing evidence on the health impacts of PFASs, their detection in drinking water supplies around the world has spurred intense regulatory debate and municipal action. In the east Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area of Minnesota, a portion of the population faced elevated exposure to PFASs due to long-term contamination of drinking water supplies from industrial waste disposal. Installation of a water filtration facility in the highly contaminated city of Oakdale at the end of 2006 resulted in a sharp decrease in exposure to PFASs, creating a “natural experiment.” Dr. Waterfield, Dr. Grandjean, and other co-investigators compared the changes in birth outcomes before and after water filtration in Oakdale to the changes over the same period in neighboring communities where the treatment of municipal water remained constant, providing evidence of a causal relationship between filtration of drinking water containing high levels of PFASs and improved reproductive outcomes. 

PFAS Issues In California Compounded By Colorado’s PFAS Proliferation

Read the full story at the National Law Review.

As California continues to draw enormous amount of water from the Colorado River, water utilities in California must begin to consider the implications that media-driven fear over PFAS will have on their liability if they continue to utilize water from the Colorado River as a reserve resource. The liability risks for utilities will not stem from the simple fact that they are drawing PFAS-containing water into the state. Rather, the liability issues will arise from the ways that the Colorado River reserves are used in the California – from drinking water (ingestion of PFAS) to irrigation (land pollution) and agriculture (land pollution and food contamination).

Wildfires in Canada are burning down forests of mushrooms

Read the full story at Massive Science.

Fungal communities are negatively affected by the frequent, intense forest fires that climate change has brought us

Master Class EPR: EPR fees and fee modulation

September 9th 2020 – 8:00 AM (CDT)
Register here.

This Master Class is the second in a series of Master Classes jointly organized by ISWA, EXPRA and Product Stewardship Institute to explain the concept of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), its various application for various waste streams and in various countries as well as diving into hot topics and specific details.

It complements ISWA’s EPR+ library where you can find numerous articles of people dealing with EPR and their experiences and lessons learned.

During this Master Class we will discuss one of the most important features within each EPR system, namely the fees. Especially today where everybody is talking about “eco modulation of EPR fees” we first need to know and understand how a Producer Responsibility Organisation calculates and fixes their fee system before we can discuss how to modulate them.

  • Derek Stephenson, having worked for a Canadian PRO for many years and being a consultant who helped several PRO’s to design their fee systems, will explain in detail how an EPR fee system is developed and designed and how it has to be adapted mirroring market developments etc.
  • Peter Sundt, secretary general of EPRO and EPR and waste management consultant, will discuss with us the various approaches that some European PRO’s have done in developing their eco-modulation, being the front runners in this quite new development, even long before the European Commission has published their guidance on fee modulation which will hopefully be the case when our webinar is taking place. In this case, we will also shortly touch the main findings of this guidance.

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)

EPR is an environmental policy approach designed to shift the burden of managing certain end-of-life products from municipalities and taxpayers to the producers who place those products on the market. Beyond the end-of-life management stage, EPR also stimulates greater engagement of producers in the overall redesign of products and packaging, with the ultimate aim of reducing environmental and health impacts. The first Master Class recording on the Basics of EPR is available on the ISWA YouTube page.

Why join this webinar?

All people who are already in touch with EPR today or might be in touch with EPR tomorrow will benefit from this series of webinars by increasing their knowledge and understanding so that they are able to develop their own opinion and are able to put third peoples statements, opinions, studies etc into context.

This free EPR webinar series is a partnership between EXPRA, Product Stewardship Institute and ISWA.

Food waste and plastic pollution: ‘The two key sustainability drivers are carbon and circularity’

Read the full story at Food Navigator.

Shoppers have a contradictory relationship with plastic food packaging. On the one hand, we have witnessed a massive public backlash against plastic pollution. On the other, we recognise the need to protect and preserve food and that plastic is, currently, the most effective solution. What is the right balance?