U-M study: Local renewable energy employment can fully replace U.S. coal jobs nationwide

Read the full story from the University of Michigan.

Across the United States, local wind and solar jobs can fully replace the coal-plant jobs that will be lost as the nation’s power-generation system moves away from fossil fuels in the coming decades, according to a new University of Michigan study.

Support for housing efficiency upgrades, urban parks, drought resilience poised to become law

Read the full story at Smart Cities Dive.

With the House sending the Inflation Reduction Act to the president’s desk, some climate leaders say the onus will shift to local governments to execute on key initiatives.

Go greener with dairy packaging

Read the full story at Dairy Foods.

Dairy processors have many options today for enhancing the sustainability of their product packaging.

Lake Decatur nutrient reduction targets most effective areas and practices first

Read the full story at FarmWeek Now.

Successful nutrient loss reduction in the Lake Decatur Watershed – one of the largest in the state – requires a deliberate, targeted approach that centers first on the areas with the highest potential impact and secondly using the most cost-effective best management practices (BMPs).

Farmers attending the Macon and Piatt County Farm Bureau Nutrient Stewardship Field Day in late July got a taste of just what those opportunities are. Speakers at the event, funded by an Illinois Farm Bureau Nutrient Stewardship Grant, shared history of the watershed, local plans to address the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy (NLRS) and farmer participation.

This water-saving showerhead is only low-flow when you’re not under it

Read the full story at Fast Company.

One new showerhead saves more water by sensing when you need maximum flow. Before you step in the shower, or when you’re soaping up, the shower automatically slows down. But as soon as you step forward, it dials up the pressure. “Many times, people think saving water means a compromised experience, and that’s something we’re trying to change,” says Chih-Wei Tang, CEO of Oasense, the startup that designed the smart showerhead, called Reva.

Unlearning what we know about chemistry

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

I watched the livestreamed portion of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s annual summit as a salve from the sting of not being able to attend in person. First things first, it didn’t work — I’m still quite disappointed I couldn’t attend. 

I will say, though, that the hourlong session, “Design turns ambition into action,” had a great lineup of speakers. For anyone who missed the livestream, I’d encourage you to give it a view. 

When you live and breathe circularity, it can often be difficult to be wowed by content. Even in such a new area, a lot of ideas can feel incremental, derivative and chipping away at the edges of the problem. The overall lack of “wow” ideas often does, but should not surprise us. After all, most folks working on circular economy innovations have been part of the existing linear economy their whole lives. It can be hard to ignore the current reality and think about a better future. Therein lies the key takeaway I had after watching the EMF Summit 22 livestream:

We need to unlearn much of what we’ve internalized over the course of the last century to make the progress we need to see.   

How greenwashing affects the bottom line

Read the full story from Harvard Business Review.

New research shows that when companies overcommit and/or do not deliver on promised socially responsible initiatives they damage their relationships with their customers. However, a company’s reputation for product quality or innovation may partially mitigate such a negative impact on customer satisfaction.

Dow unveils big plastics recycling initiative

Read the full story at Chemical & Engineering News.

Dow has unveiled a series of partnerships in plastics recycling intended to bring it two-thirds of the way to its goal of collecting, reusing, or recycling 1 million metric tons (t) per year of plastics waste by 2030. The news came as Dow reported a second-quarter sales increase of 13% compared to the year prior, mostly due to rising prices.

The biggest of the collaborations is with the British firm Mura Technology. The companies aim to construct a series of plants—each with 120,000 t of annual capacity—in the US and Europe, for a total of 600,000 t of output by 2030.

Mura uses supercritical steam to chemically break down difficult-to-recycle plastics like flexible polyethylene packaging into products such as naphtha that can by loaded into petrochemical plants for processing back into virgin plastics. Most other processes being promoted by recycling firms use pyrolysis to break down waste plastics. Mura’s first plant using the technology, with 20,000 t per year of capacity, will start up in Teesside, England, in 2023.

Mura may build the new plants at Dow facilities. Dow will buy the output to make so-called postconsumer resins (PCRs).

This startup wants to turn Solo cups into dresses

Read the full story at Bizwomen.

Lauren Choi was a materials engineering student at Johns Hopkins University in 2018 when she learned that the U.S. lacks the infrastructure to recycle most of its plastic.

That problem “inspired a great sense of urgency,” Choi said, so she set out to build a machine in her garage that could turn plastic — like the Solo cups so ubiquitous at college parties — into something less disposable: clothing. That first machine spun those cups into filament, and Choi weaved them into fabric samples that could eventually be made into dresses, shirts and tote bags.

Today, Choi runs the New Norm, a sustainable materials company that turns typically unrecyclable plastics — from cups to old fishing nets — into yarns and fabrics. Its clients are clothing manufacturers, and it is currently working with with Georgetown’s Halcyon Incubator, a residency fellowship for social enterprises, to help scale its technology.

Heinz-Glas uses plastic-free packaging

Read the full story at Glass International.

Heinz‐Glas will use fibre cast packaging from renewable raw materials to protect its premium glass bottles in transit in Upper Franconia, Germany.

According to the German bottle manufacturer, the fibre cast packaging developed together with the cologne-based companies PAPACKS Sales and Coty has more than fulfilled expectations.