Super Bowl spot puts food waste in the spotlight, again

Read the full story at Food Business News.

Football game, half-time entertainment, commercials … there’s usually something for everyone when the Super Bowl airs. This year’s big game on Feb. 13 did not disappoint, with many of the companies and brands advertising speaking to a younger generation that fears for the planet and makes choices based on having like values and beliefs. That’s what Unilever, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, set out to achieve with its Hellmann’s mayonnaise spot.

Hellmann’s made its first Super Bowl appearance in 2021 with a commercial providing tips on how to avoid wasting food at home. This year, the brand continued that messaging by showing how mayonnaise is a great accessory to help people use leftovers rather than tossing food. 

EPA announces appointment of Robin Morris Collin as EPA Senior Advisor to the Administrator for Environmental Justice

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael S. Regan has announced the appointment of Robin Morris Collin to be EPA’s Senior Advisor to the Administrator for Environmental Justice. Collin will advise Administrator Regan as the Agency works to advance environmental justice and civil rights in communities that continue to suffer from disproportionately high pollution levels, including low-income communities and communities of color.

Collin is nationally recognized for her leadership and scholarship in the areas of sustainability, energy, and environmental justice, and joins the Agency after serving as the Norma Paulus Professor of Law at Willamette University in Oregon. Collin was one of the first U.S. law professors to teach sustainability courses in a U.S. law school and served as founding chair of the State of Oregon’s Environmental Justice Task Force, among other positions on local, state, and federal environmental justice organizations.

“From my first day at EPA, I have committed to embedding equity, environmental justice, and civil rights into the DNA of the Agency’s programs, policies, and processes, and to delivering tangible results to underserved communities. That’s why I am so pleased to welcome Robin, one of the nation’s foremost experts and a lifelong advocate for overburdened communities, as my senior advisor for environmental justice,” said Administrator Michael S. Regan. “Robin brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the agency and is the ideal person to ensure our most vulnerable populations have a seat at the table as we work to deliver environmental justice.”

“Climate change is the single greatest environmental challenge of our time. Environmental justice is the way a multiracial, multi-ethnic society engages that challenge.  I am honored to serve in this role to protect our land, air, and water and, as part of that work, lift up underserved communities so that we may all thrive together,” said Robin Morris Collin. “I look forward to the privilege of working with Administrator Regan and the experienced, thoughtful, and collaborative leadership team at EPA.”

Prior to her time at Willamette University, Collin held professorships at Tulane Law School, McGeorge School of Law, and the University of Oregon, and visitorships at Washington & Lee Law School, and Pepperdine Law School. Her work on environmental justice has been published in numerous academic journals. Throughout her career, Collin has been recognized for creative and entrepreneurial leadership and her ability to develop equitable solutions, receiving the EPA Environmental Justice Achievement Award, the Leadership Award by Oregon State Bar as founder of the Sustainable Futures section of the Bar, the Judith Ramaley Award for Civic Engagement, and the David Brower Lifetime Achievement Award.

Collin comes from a family of academic and entrepreneurial achievers. Her great grandfather, an enslaved person, became a professor of math and Greek at Bennet College in North Carolina, and her father, John Payton Morris, founded an ocean-going vessel line in Maryland. Collin holds a B.A. from Colorado College and a J.D. from Arizona State University.

“Professor Collin is an excellent choice to lead the EJ efforts at the EPA,” said Dr. Beverly Wright, founding executive director of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice (DSCEJ). “We look forward to working with her and Administrator Regan to continue this important work on behalf of the Biden-Harris Administration to address the urgent needs of underserved communities that have been left behind for way too long.”

“I am thrilled that Professor Collin has been appointed by the Biden-Harris Administration to serve in this critical role at the EPA,” said Dr. Robert Bullard, Distinguished Professor of Urban Planning and Environmental Policy at Texas Southern University. “Professor Collin has dedicated her entire life’s work to uplifting communities in need and I know that together we will work towards delivering meaningful results to those that need it most.”

In last year’s Fiscal Year 2022 budget request, President Biden proposed creating a new National Program Manager (NPM) for Environmental Justice and Civil Rights at EPA. The head of the new NPM would be an Assistant Administrator to be nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate.  Further information and details on the proposed reorganization are under development. EPA is working closely with the Office of Management and Budget and Congress on the proposal.

Webinar: Microplastics Create Mega Questions

Feb 24, 2022, 12:00 – 1:00 pm CST
Register here.

Within the water industry specifically, three major questions are present that may determine the future of how microplastics are approached:

  • How many nanoplastics are present in finished water?
  • How will micro-and nanoplastics change how we view water and wastewater treatment technologies
  • Are micro-and nanoplastics toxic?

While micro-and nanoplastic contamination is well understood to occur in every environmental compartment, human blood, and even rainfall, the minimum detection limit, e.g. 1 µm, poses significant challenges for truly understanding the occurrence and fate of microplastics in the water industry. It is no secret that polymeric materials are ubiquitous to water and wastewater treatment, storage, and distribution. Like many constituents of emerging concern, the question of toxicity is an important question that we will need to answer.

DOE to offer $3 billion to boost battery production, recycling

Read the full story at Utility Dive.

The Department of Energy (DOE) announced plans to provide nearly $3 billion to a pair of programs designed to spur domestic production of advanced batteries for electric vehicles and energy storage. 

One program will spend about $2.8 billion to support new, retrofitted and expanded domestic operations for the production of battery materials and cell components and battery recycling. Another $60 million will go to research and development of second-life sources for EV batteries, according to the two notices of intent. 

The funds are part of the more than $7 billion Congress dedicated to improving the domestic battery supply chain in the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

White House takes aim at environmental racism, but won’t mention race

Read the full story in the New York Times.

Communities of color bear a disproportionate burden from pollution, research shows. But using race to allocate federal help could result in legal problems.

Reducing wind turbine wakes could save wind farms millions

Read the full story at Clean Technica.

Researchers are collecting comprehensive data on how winds move through wind power plants to help design more efficient plants and reduce wind energy costs.

Justice for PFAS exposure races a ticking clock

Read the full story at The Hill.

Brenda Hampton says the heart attack she endured last month might be a blessing in disguise — a second chance at challenging a complex legal system that barred her from seeking compensation for years of renal failure. 

“I’m thinking God is opening the door for me. I’ve got a feeling of that,” Hampton, the founder of Concerned Citizens of WMEL (West Morgan and East Lawrence) Water Authority, told The Hill. 

Through her organization, also known as Concerned Citizens of North Alabama Grassroots, Hampton has been raising awareness about the severe contamination from “forever chemicals” — per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) — that have for decades plagued portions of Alabama’s Lawrence County, where Hampton lives.  

How some operators are striving for better sustainability standards

Read the full story at QSR Magazine.

With respect to technology, the pandemic jumpstarted the industry’s innovation cycle. But there were certain movements left neglected, sustainability chief among them. For many companies, climate-friendly initiatives turned to the wayside as disposable, single-use materials became the norm. Nearly two years later, where does that leave restaurants?

The buzz around carbon removal is drawing jobseekers in droves

Read the full story at Canary Media.

Workers say the growing urgency of the climate crisis and pursuit of a meaningful career path are big pulls.

Green and sustainable chemistry – The case for a systems-based, interdisciplinary approach

Constable, David JC (2021). “Green and sustainable chemistry – The case for a systems-based, interdisciplinary approach.” iScience 24(12), 103489.

Abstract: Although the concepts underpinning green chemistry have evolved over the past 30 years, the practice of green chemistry must move beyond the environmental and human health-related roots of green chemistry towards a more systems-based, life cycle-informed, and interdisciplinary practice of chemistry. To make a transition from green to sustainable chemistry, one must learn to think at a systems level; otherwise green chemistry-inspired solutions are unlikely to be sustainable. This perspective provides a brief description of why the current situation needs to change and is followed by how life cycle thinking helps chemists avoid significant systems-level impacts. The transition from batch to continuous flow processing and novel approaches to isolation and purification provide a case for interdisciplinary collaboration. Finally, an example of end-of-useful-life considerations makes the case that systems and life cycle thinking from an interdisciplinary perspective needs to inform the design of new chemical entities and their associated processes.