Toxic metal pollution is 10 times worse in racially segregated communities

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

Racially segregated communities in the United States are exposed to airborne toxic metals at a rate that’s nearly 10 times higher than more well-integrated areas, according to a new study published Tuesday.

The study, published in Nature Communications, also found that highly segregated locations were exposed to two times the degree of total air pollution of well-integrated communities.

‘Smashing Pumpkins’: Not the band, but a climate-friendly way to get rid of jack-o-lanterns

Read the full story from WBEZ.

This Halloween season has come to an end. The trick-or-treaters had their fun and jack-o-lanterns across Chicagoland are getting cleared from stoops.

While throwing these past perfect pumpkins into the trash might seem like a good option, it’s not the best for our planet.

When tossed, pumpkins end up in landfills as food waste. Buried under heaps of trash, they rot and release methane — one of the most potent greenhouse gasses. Food waste makes up 37% of Cook County’s landfill material, according to the University of Illinois Extension.

But there is a very cathartic and environmentally friendly way to dispose of Halloween gourds: a pumpkin smash!

These events are exactly what they sound like — a chance for people to smash their beloved jack-o-lanterns into a compostable mess using a baseball bat or other creative methods. Once smashed, the chunks are transferred to composting sites across Illinois. Composting reduces methane creation and transforms the pumpkins into useful organic material – like nutrients for soil or mulch.

U.S. warns western states it may impose Colorado River water cuts

Read the full story from Reuters.

The U.S. government warned on Friday that it may impose water supply cuts on California, Arizona and Nevada to protect the Colorado River and its two main reservoirs from overuse, drought and climate change.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation unveiled three possible action plans: one to impose cutbacks, another to allow western states to work out a reduction plan on their own, or a third and least likely option of taking no action.

Greta Thunberg to skip ‘greenwashing’ Cop27 climate summit in Egypt

Read the full story in The Guardian.

Swedish climate activist says the UN’s climate conference will be ‘used as an opportunity for leaders and people in power to get attention’

Mississippi River drought is pushing soybean shippers to Texas

Read the full story from Bloomberg.

The shrinking Mississippi River has hobbled the most efficient channel for moving US soybeans onto world markets, prompting a pivot to alternatives from Puget Sound to Texas to the Great Lakes.

Typically, more than half of all US soybean exports traverse the Mississippi River but after weeks of scant rainfall, water depths have dwindled, raising barge costs to an all-time high. As a result, ports in places like southeast Texas that normally handle less than 5% of the nations soybean exports are being thrust into action.

Roughly 2,079 tons of Halloween costume waste sent to landfills

Read the full story at Waste360.

As the Halloween season comes to a close, millions of costumes will begin making their way to landfills, many of which have only been worn a single time. A research report completed by Fairyland Trust and supported by Hubbub examined this Halloween costume waste system and how to potentially reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills.

A just transition deserves a targeted universalism approach

Read the full story at Waste Today.

An equity-based policy framework created by a UC Berkeley professor offers guidance for cities and municipalities looking to integrate environmental justice principles into operations and programming.

The challenge to science funders to increase research capacity with sustainability savings

Read the full story at Labconscious.

Research funding agencies are on the path to providing guidance and incorporating sustainability language into grant applications. On top of the ultimate good to protect our environment and health – best practices reduce costs and increase lab productivity. Shouldn’t biomedical research labs qualify for sustainability-specific incentives, too?

The Million Advocates for Sustainable Science campaign from My Green Lab and the International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories (I2SL) is a letter-signing campaign that issues a challenge to science funders around the world to encourage sustainability best practices in research operations. It’s a way for scientists to directly demonstrate support.

Walmart partners with Loop for reuse

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

In Northwest Arkansas, reuse is being delivered to residents’ doors. That is, if they shop Walmart’s InHome delivery service, which this week started offering an assortment of goods in reusable packaging, in partnership with Loop, TerraCycle’s reuse platform. 

Walmart InHome service allows customers to have groceries and other goods delivered to their homes and now they’ll be able to get products in reusable containers from brands such as Gillette, Cascade, Kraft Heinz and Seventh Generation in their orders. During the deliveries, customers can also turn in their empty containers from previous orders.

The companies expect to add additional products in the coming months, for a total of about 30 by the end of 2022, up from about 10.

Inside the industry push to label your yogurt cup ‘recyclable’

Read the full story at Grist.

A network of groups backed by the plastics industry claims polypropylene containers are “widely recyclable,” despite ample evidence to the contrary.