Shoppers must use their purchasing power to lead green products revolution

Read the full story in The Guardian.

It’s easy to imagine the battle for greener chemistry as a titanic struggle between goliath industries and sprawling governments, with consumers watching from the sidelines as their lives and health hang in the balance. But this perspective – and most stories about toxic chemicals – ignore a key part of the equation: consumer demand. For all the much-discussed push of government policies and industry innovations, it’s the pull of consumers and the market that ultimately fuels the biggest changes.

Illini Gadget Garage hours and upcoming events

Received via e-mail from my colleague Joy Scrogum:

I wanted to make you aware of the fact that the collaborative repair center for personally owned electronic devices, the Illini Gadget Garage, is officially open to the public this semester. Renovations to make the space ADA compliant were completed at the beginning of the semester, and the students have been hard at work making the interior more welcoming. Open hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 AM to 1 PM and Wednesdays from noon to 3 PM. We’re located at 1833 S. Oak St. in Champaign, just north of Hazelwood Drive. See for a map. For general information on the project, including volunteer, sponsorship, and educational opportunities, please see our flyer at

We were pleased to have the opportunity to spread the word about the project at the recent Campus Sustainability Day Celebration, and also have a couple of upcoming events this month. Next Saturday, November 12 from 11 AM to 2 PM, we’ll have our ‘grand opening’ and you are invited to stop by and learn more about the project, services and volunteer opportunities. We have 10 slots available for one-on-one troubleshooting and repair during the event, so registration is required. Please fill out the information on the online sign-up form to the best of your ability so the repair crew may be better prepared to assist you. If your response to this form is received and slots for this pop-up clinic are full, the Gadget Garage team will contact you regarding a time you might come into the shop on campus at a later date. Similarly, if the assigned time they provide doesn’t work with your schedule, they’ll provide options for you to visit the campus space or another pop-up instead. Click here for the Facebook event. See for the event flyer.

We’ll also be part of Urbana’s America Recycles Day event at the Anita Purves Nature Center on Saturday, November 19, from 11 AM to 3 PM. See for this event on Facebook, and for more information, including the link to the online sign-up form for one-on-one troubleshooting at that event.

We hope you’ll be able to join us at regular open hours or one of these events. If your department or organization would like to host a pop-up clinic in your building, please fill out our online form to indicate your interest and we’ll be in touch to schedule your session.

Household Sustainability: Consuming Food, Energy, Water

Read the full story from Michigan Technological University.

Changing people’s behavior may be the hardest part of mitigating climate change. But a research team led by Michigan Technological University wants to find a way to do just that.

As part of a new program called Innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy and Water Systems, the National Science Foundation (NSF) is awarding the team nearly $3 million over five years. Their research focuses on how household consumption of food, energy and water (FEW) impacts climate change and resource scarcity.

In Fight Against Food Waste, Brits Find A Worthy Battlefield: The Home

Read the full story from NPR.

According to Liz Goodwin, formerly CEO of the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), a non-profit organization in the UK, most food waste in the UK happens at home, and there are two main reasons for it: People don’t get around to eating perishable food in time; or they cook too much and throw out the leftovers.

A decade ago, WRAP helped launch a countrywide campaign to cut food waste. The campaign encouraged food manufacturers to reduce the portion sizes of pre-packaged meals, and also to create food packaging that allows easier storage of leftover food, such as resealable plastic bags. WRAP also carried out public education efforts aimed at consumers.

To monitor the campaign’s effects, WRAP persuaded 1800 households across the country to record exactly what food they bought, and how much of it ended up in the trash. It also collected data from municipal waste collectors. WRAP carried out these surveys in 2007 and again in 2012.

According to WRAP’s data, the campaign was a success. The amount of “avoidable” food waste per household fell by 24 percent between 2007 and 2012.

It May Not Cost You More To Drive Home In A Climate-Friendly Car

Read the full story from NPR.

It has been a common belief that low-emissions vehicles, like hybrids and electric cars, are more expensive than other choices. But a new study finds that when operating and maintenance costs are included in a vehicle’s price, cleaner cars may actually be a better bet.

The cars and trucks we drive are responsible for about a fifth of greenhouse gas emissions in this country. That’s why Jessika Trancik, an energy scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, decided it was time to take a closer look at vehicle emissions.