Shuttering EPA’s online archive is a grave disservice to the public

Read the full story from Common Dreams.

The Environmental Protection Agency has announced that it will be discontinuing its online archive in July 2022. This means the public will lose access to tens of thousands of web resources. These resources convey information about critical environmental issues, and past and present agency activities, policies, and priorities. All of these resources are publicly funded and intended for public consumption, but the public will no longer be able to access them.

Gender equality, climate and environmental issues take center stage at the United Nations

Read the full story at The 19th.

During the annual Commission on the Status of Women, advocates urged the United States and others responsible for high carbon emissions to pay for its role in the climate crisis.

The SEC wants companies to disclose how climate change is impacting them

Read the full story from NPR.

Every year, public companies in the U.S. are required to provide investors and regulators with detailed data about their financial performance and the risks they face. Soon, they may also have to disclose information about how they are dealing with climate change.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday formally proposed new rules that would for the first time require businesses to report their greenhouse gas emissions, along with details of how climate change is impacting their businesses.

See also

Webinar: Scrap Culture: Sustainable Design Practices in a World of Waste

Mar 31, 2022, noon-1 pm CDT
Register here.

Today we live in a world that creates more waste than it does reduce, reuse, or recycle. Designers in all disciplines are trying to address this through the exploration of new materials and production processes, creating a new design language and landscape that moves beyond industry or craft. This CEU will look at how the design industry is using waste to create new things, bridging design and sustainability for interiors, architecture, product design, fashion, and the arts.


  • John Davies, Senior Vice President & Analyst, GreenBiz Group


  • Royce Epstein, A&D Design Director, Mohawk Group

If you can’t tune in live, please register and GreenBiz will email you a link to access the webcast recording and resources, available to you on-demand after the live webcast.

Recycled plastic bottles leach more chemicals into drinks, review finds

Read the full story from The Guardian.

A widely used kind of recycled plastic bottle passes more potentially harmful chemicals into their contents than newly manufactured bottles, researchers have warned.

Researchers from Brunel University London found 150 chemicals that leached into drinks from plastic bottles, with 18 of those chemicals found in levels exceeding regulations.

Household Hazardous Waste Removal: EPA Should Develop a Formal Lessons Learned Process for Its Disaster Response

Download the document.

What GAO Found

To remove household hazardous waste—some items that can catch fire, react, or explode under certain circumstances or that are corrosive or toxic—after the 2018 and 2020 California wildfires, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took steps that followed its emergency response policy. For example, EPA led coordination efforts between federal, state, and local agencies and established incident management teams. These teams developed plans for assessment, removal, transportation, and disposal of the waste. EPA removed waste from three counties in 2018 and seven counties in 2020. See figure below.

Examples of Household Hazardous Waste Removed by the Environmental Protection Agency after the 2018 and 2020 California Wildfires
Examples of Household Hazardous Waste Removed by the Environmental Protection Agency after the 2018 and 2020 California Wildfires

Following its wildfire responses, EPA conducted lessons learned activities, such as gathering feedback from staff to identify lessons and developing corrective actions. Lessons learned provide a method to share good ideas for improving work processes, quality, and cost-effectiveness. Key practices of a lessons learned process include collecting and sharing information on positive and negative experiences and developing and tracking corrective actions.

However, GAO identified additional lessons learned activities that may have been useful. For example, GAO found that EPA does not track corrective actions in a formal, centralized way, and EPA has not implemented all of the needed corrective actions. After the 2018 wildfires, for example, EPA found that it needed to develop a proposal to increase the number of EPA On-Scene Coordinators responsible for overseeing disaster responses, but the agency did not do so.

EPA conducts lessons learned activities on a case-by-case basis and does not have a formal lessons learned process in place for wildfire or other disaster responses that specifies when and what lessons learned activities should be conducted. The National Response Framework—which describes how the federal government, states, and others should respond to disasters and emergencies—states that planning for disaster response should include a feedback loop, including through lessons learned processes. Developing a formal lessons learned process that includes key practices, such as tracking corrective actions, will help EPA be better prepared to respond to future disasters, including those that involve removing household hazardous waste.

Why GAO Did This Study

In 2018 and 2020, California experienced record-setting fire seasons, resulting in the damage to or destruction of over 20,000 structures. EPA plays a significant role in responding to some wildfires and coordinates federal efforts to assist with the removal of household hazardous waste. Following a fire, EPA recommends special handling and disposal for these products, particularly if their containers are compromised.

The Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act, 2019, includes a provision for GAO to review a range of response and recovery issues following the 2018 disaster season. This report examines (1) the steps EPA took to remove household hazardous waste after the 2018 and 2020 wildfires in California and (2) the extent to which EPA conducted lessons learned activities following its wildfire responses. GAO reviewed relevant agency documents related to household hazardous waste removal after wildfires and applied criteria for planning lessons learned activities. GAO interviewed representatives from federal agencies, as well as state and local officials involved in the response to the 2018 and 2020 wildfires.

What constitutes sustainable activity? EU Taxonomy has compliance lost in shades of green

Read the full story from Corporate Compliance Insights.

What constitutes ‘sustainable activity’? What does not? And what does it take to achieve compliance with the EU Taxonomy for Sustainable Activities? These are the questions that put European and international compliance officers in the ESG weeds.

Interview — How does Europe get to zero pollution?

Read the full story from the European Environment Agency.

The European Union has embarked on ambitious plans to drastically reduce emissions and pollution over the coming decades. Part of this includes the recently launched Zero Pollution Action Plan which will focus on cutting air, water and soil pollution to levels no longer considered harmful to human health and the environment. We sat down with Ian Marnane, EEA environment, health and well-being expert working on an upcoming EEA report on Zero Pollution, which is expected to be published later this year.

NMU project aims to minimize material waste in industrial production

Read the full story from Northern Michigan University.

Northern Michigan University associate professor Jeffrey Horn has been awarded $92,500 from the Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization (MTRAC) Innovation Hub for Advanced Computing for a next-generation computing project. Horn received the funding for a Deep-Scale Evolution (DSE) algorithm that he invented that has practical implications for minimizing material waste in industrial production. 

“We plan to bring DSE to bear on the real-world shape nesting problems in industry,” said Horn. “Businesses such as automotive manufacturing, textiles and sign making all involve cutting out shaped pieces from a sheet of expensive material, such as steel, glass, leather or titanium. The act of cutting these materials is done by nesting the cutouts close together in an effort to reduce the wasted trim. So DSE maximizes the material usage.

“Our specific goal is the development and deployment of DSE on a powerful server specially designed to run DSE with massive population sizes yet short computation times. To do this, we’ll take advantage of the latest revolution in processing power—the graphics processing unit or GPU—originally developed to render 3D graphics for games and animations but now used for massively parallel algorithms, like Deep Learning, Bitcoin mining, and simulated evolution like DSE.”

Editorial: Think climate change in Florida is just flooded roads? Think again. Think housing.

Read the full editorial in the Miami Herald.

We know sea rise is threatening South Florida neighborhoods. But a new global climate change report, written by 270 researchers from 67 countries, documents ways that climate change is affecting us right now.

One of those ways is in our already unaffordable housing market. That should set off alarm bells even for the most short-sighted and self-interested among us.