EU considers ban on ‘forever chemicals’, urges search for alternatives

Read the full story from Reuters.

The European Union on Tuesday started to consider a proposal to ban widely used, potentially harmful substances known as PFAS or “forever chemicals” in what could become the bloc’s most extensive piece of regulation of the chemical industry.

Could Biden’s signature climate law supercharge pollution in the midwest?

Read the full story in The Guardian.

The $369bn Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) was applauded by a chorus of US organizations and activists enthusiastic about the generous funding earmarked for projects designed to mitigate climate change and improve environmental health.

But some researchers and activists are raising concerns that several provisions of the new law will actually worsen a growing environmental disaster in the nation’s heartland by increasing the tide of farm-related pollution washing into waterways and groundwater.

The sweeping new statute, which includes more than $140bn in incentives designed to promote renewable fuels and cleaner electricity generation, could slash greenhouse gas emissions 40% below 2005 levels by the end of the decade. But in its efforts to promote climate-friendly agriculture, it also promotes corn-fed ethanol refineries and manure-based energy production that could unintentionally supercharge fertilizer and fecal contamination.

‘Turning a challenge into a profit’: the start-up converting CO2 into algae

Read the full story at Food Navigator.

FoodNavigator catches up with Denmark’s Algiecel, which wants to make it easy for companies to remove CO2 from industrial processes and turn it into algae-based derivative products for food production.

EPA proposes further leachate regulations after study finds PFAS at 95% of surveyed landfills

Read the full story at Waste Dive.

The agency is assessing new effluent limitation guidelines and pretreatment standards, but their effect on daily operations is not clear. WM, Republic Services and waste trade groups have weighed in.

EU-to-US scrap plastics trade under threat

Read the full story at Resource Recycling.

A branch of the European Union wants to end all exports of recovered plastics within the next four years, a move that would undoubtedly disrupt trade with the U.S. One company leader suggested the impacts could hinge on what the EU decides to consider “waste.”

The European Parliament on Jan. 17 voted overwhelmingly in favor of a plan to update the EU’s Waste Shipment Regulation (WSR) by eventually ending all plastic waste exports from the continent. The proposal would also impose new requirements on any non-plastic scrap material exported from the EU for recycling. 

Several industry groups have sounded the alarm, saying such a move would restrict the free trade of commodities moving to legitimate recycling markets. 

Scientists unveil least costly carbon capture system to date

Read the full story from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

The need for technology that can capture, remove and repurpose carbon dioxide grows stronger with every CO2 molecule that reaches Earth’s atmosphere. To meet that need, scientists at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have cleared a new milestone in their efforts to make carbon capture more affordable and widespread. They have created a new system that efficiently captures CO2—the least costly to date—and converts it into one of the world’s most widely used chemicals: methanol.

Childhood trauma linked to civic environmental engagement, green behavior

Read the full story from the University of Colorado.

Experiencing childhood trauma may lead an individual to volunteer, donate money or contact their elected officials about environmental issues later in life, according to recent research published in Scientific Reports.

The CU Boulder and Loyola University study is one of the first in the U.S. to associate childhood trauma and public, civic environmental engagement in adulthood. It also found that, in addition to people who experienced childhood trauma, those who traveled and had experiences in nature as children were also more likely to report engaging in private “green behavior” as adults, such as recycling, driving or flying less, and taking shorter showers.

PRI water and climate experts take part in new State Water Plan and its goals

Read the full story from the Prairie Research Institute.

Scientists at the Prairie Research Institute (PRI) have contributed their expertise and data on multiple water issues to inform the newly released 2022 Illinois State Water Plan, which serves as an advisory to address water-related challenges for the next seven years. PRI will also play an integral part in reaching the plan’s goals, particularly in developing an Illinois Integrated Water Information Center, a portal to water science information and technology in Illinois.

The State Water Plan was developed by the State Water Plan Task Force, involving  PRI’s Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) and Illinois Water Resources Center, as well as 10 state agencies. The plan is designed to advise decision-makers at local and state levels on setting priorities for managing water resources. For the first time in its history, this plan focuses on interrelated water issues such as environmental justice and climate change.

Camera-trap study provides photographic evidence of pumas’ ecological impact

Read the full story from the University of Illinois.

A camera-trap study of two ecosystems – one with pumas and one without – adds to scientists’ understanding of the many ways apex predators influence the abundance, diversity and habits of other animals, including smaller carnivores.

Reported in the journal Ecosphere, the study followed multiple members of the order Carnivora, looking at how the largest carnivore in each locale influenced the behavior and presence of other animals in the same vicinity.

Confused by open-access policies? These tools can help

Read the full story in Nature.

Funding-agency policies mandating that scientific papers and data are made publicly available have helped to drive the adoption of preprints, open-access publishing and data repositories. But agencies often struggle to measure how closely grant recipients comply with the funding policies. Awardees, and the institutes that employ them, can struggle to ensure they are following the rules. Now, digital tools are cropping up to help both sides of the funding equation stick to the regulations.