EPA Tools & Resources Training Webinar: Alternative Disposition of Electronics Planning Tool

Thursday 09/10/2020, 2-3 pm CDT
Register here.

Information and communication technology have transformed the way we live, work and interact with each other. However, as the average useful life of electronic products continues to decline, the volume of obsolete products stored or discarded increases. The resulting waste, commonly known as “E-waste,” is the fastest-growing component of the municipal waste stream in the United States and has become an emerging problem worldwide with an estimated 40 million tons of waste generated every year. E-waste includes televisions, computers and monitors, hard-copy devices, hand-held and mobile devices, and more. Electronic products contain both valuable and hazardous materials. Improper disposal of E-waste could impact human and environmental health because of the accumulation of chemicals released into the soil and water. E-waste recycling aids the sustainability of these materials by recovering the valuable resources for recycle and reuse and protects the environment.

EPA researchers have developed the Alternative Disposition of Electronics Planning Tool (ADEPT) that provides an improved understanding of the generation of used electronics from consumer market information to the waste stream composition. ADEPT, free and available to the public, can be used to make predictions of future waste generation demands and to evaluate variable management scenarios of used electronics at state and national levels.

This webinar provides an overview of ADEPT’s functionality and utility to perform tasks, including comparing different disposition scenarios and planning of future operations and facilities. ADEPT can be a useful tool for states with and without recycling programs as a benchmark tool for policy and sustainability-based discussions. Applications of ADEPT are presented to portray the analytical power of the tool and how it can be utilized to provide realistic evaluations of changes to take-back programs. Operating the tool to evaluate “what-if” scenarios enables the consideration of programmatic changes without the cost of the actual operation.

Download the Alternative Disposition of Electronics Planning Tool (ADEPT). 

For registration questions, please contact tools_resources_webinar@epa.gov

Webinar: Who Should Own Your Business?: Employee Ownership, Economic Justice, & Business Effectiveness

Thursday, September 3, 2020, 12:30 pm CDT
Register here.

Employee ownership can be a way for business owners to provide for a sustainable, tax-favored alternative to selling out to private equity firms or large competitors. Or it can just be a way to create a more effective reward system for all employees. This seminar will look at the variety of ways companies share ownership with employees, from Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) to individual equity grants, such as stock options, restricted stock, phantom stock and stock appreciation rights. We will look at the tax benefits, rules, plan design options, and how to decide how much to share with whom.

We will also explore how employee ownership companies share business metrics widely with employees and create high-involvement decision models so that more employees can contribute more ideas about and identify and solve more problems. The data definitively show these companies perform far better than their peers.

Finally, we will look at the impact of employee ownership of wealth insecurity, racial justice, and economic fairness.

Corey Rosen is the founder of the National Center for Employee Ownership, a private, nonprofit membership, information, and research organization in Oakland, CA. The NCEO is widely considered to be the authoritative source on broad-based employee ownership plans. He cofounded the NCEO in 1981 after working five years as a professional staff member in the U.S. Senate, where he helped draft legislation on employee ownership plans. More: https://www.nceo.org/about/board.

APR releases film and flexible packaging recyclability guidance

Read the full story at Recycling Today.

The Washington-based Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) says it has published a new testing protocol designed to determine whether film packaging is compatible with the current recycling infrastructure.

Advances in Chemical Recycling Cut Plastic Waste

Read the full story at Health Care Packaging.

With growing pressure from regulatory and consumer sectors, Südpack is increasingly focused on chemical recycling of plastic waste and developing high-tech packaging films from the recovered raw materials.

How municipal recycling programs in NY, Texas and Colorado are handling COVID-19

Read the full story in Resource Recycling.

Leaders from three municipal recycling programs of varying size, including the largest city in the U.S., say they are grappling with budget issues and making alterations to collection service as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

30 years of data show spotted turtle communities are still vulnerable

by Lisa Sheppard

A spotted turtle in water

Populations of the endangered spotted turtle in Illinois are holding up better than those in other states, based on 30 years of data at the University of Illinois. Still, only two populations remain, and the predictions are poor.

The small, semi-aquatic spotted turtle (Clemmys guttata) lives in sedge meadows, cattail marshes, and wet prairies, and in Illinois is found only in the northeast. Female turtles can live up to 110 years and reproduce all their adult lives.

Today, only two populations have survived. Researchers at the Natural History Survey (INHS) and the Forest Preserve District of Will County have collaboratively studied nearly 1,000 turtles in two communities since 1988.

In one population, population growth rates remained stable, but they declined slightly for the second, according to INHS ecologist Mike Dreslik. Despite threats from limited habitats, predators, poaching, and traffic, Illinois populations are not experiencing the steep declines occurring throughout the remainder of the turtle’s range in the United States.

Under the worst-case scenario, INHS scientists project both Illinois populations to decline in the future, with numbers bottoming out in 10 to 15 years for the more vulnerable community.

“The spotted turtle population doesn’t disappear from the landscape quickly, but when populations decline, they do take a long time to respond to conservation and recovery efforts,” Dreslik said. “You don’t want the populations to get below the threshold of no return. Our results show we have time to manage and recover the populations, but not too much time.”

The juvenile survival rate for the spotted turtle is fairly high compared to other turtle species, but management actions targeting adult survival will have the greatest impact on the population growth rate, Dreslik said. In Illinois, adult survival should be increased or at least maintained.

“If you lose one adult female, you not only lose 40 or so clutches she would have had in her lifetime, but you also lose the clutches her offspring would have produced,” Dreslik said. “The loss of just a few reproductive females could cause the population to decline.”

The positive outlook the results show is really a best-case scenario, according to Christina Feng, the primary author of the journal articles published in Diversity and in Herpetological Conservation and Biology.  

“With such high stakes for the species, we can’t assume persistence is guaranteed without intervention,” Feng said. “Conservation strategies need to be implemented immediately, if they have not been already, and they need to be ongoing.”

Some management actions involve predator control, such as controlling predator levels and increasing and restoring suitable habitat. The researchers also notch the turtles’ shells to monitor individuals over time, helping to discourage poaching.

It is highly unlikely the spotted turtle will ever fully recover in Illinois, given that only two populations remain and they are located close to each other. Local changes to the water supply or quality would affect both sites.

“Even if both existing populations were to double or triple in size, having more individuals doesn’t negate the fact only two populations have survived,” Feng said. “However, growing the populations will make the population at each site more secure against local extinction, which is a worthy goal on its own.”

Media contact: Mike Dreslik, 217-300-0970, dreslik@illinois.edu

This post originally appeared on the Prairie Research Institute Blog. Read the original post here.

Why this Scottish brewery just bought a forest

Read the full story at Fast Company.

At its brewery in Scotland, the craft brewer BrewDog runs on wind power and gas made from malted barley, part of a strategy to reduce carbon emissions as much as possible. But the company, which also owns a chain of pubs, wanted to go farther. That’s why it now owns a forest.

Is Paper A More Sustainable Flexible Packaging Material Than Plastic?

Read the full story in Forbes.

Like many other major plastics applications, plastics use in flexible packaging has come under deep scrutiny in recent years as sustainability concerns rise and spread globally.

Paper is often lauded as a far more environmentally friendly alternative but how do the two materials really compare? And what is the most sustainable solution?

How smart manufacturing can embrace sustainability and become future ready

Read the full story from GreenBiz.

Because many manufacturers today operate with outdated technologies, efficiency has taken a back seat. It’s not uncommon to see plant use rates hover around 30 percent, meaning facilities are routinely sitting idle 70 percent of the time. Many manufacturers have had to operate by choosing one goal: greater productivity (to make the same product cheaper and faster) or greater flexibility (to make a bigger variety of products). With smart manufacturing, both goals are possible at the same time. 

Here are three ways food and beverage brands can leverage smart manufacturing to make their businesses future ready. 

ECOncrete® Wins $100,000 Ray of Hope Prize®

Read the full story from the Ray C. Anderson Foundation.

Inspired by marine ecosystems and designed to enhance marine infrastructure, ECOncrete is improving ocean health with a biomimicry-inspired new concrete technology.