Developing 3D Printing Standards? There’s an ISO-ASTM Framework for That

Read the full story in Environmental Leader.

Additive manufacturing or 3D printing is taking off with organizations ranging from NASA to medical device makers and automakers using this technology to reduce waste and streamline supply chain efficiencies. In the automotive industry alone additive manufacturing will be worth $1.1 billion by 2019, according to a market research study.

As more large companies turn to 3D printed parts, there’s an increasing need for technical standards. To this end, ISO and ASTM International have jointly developed the Additive Manufacturing Standards Development Structure.

The two organizations say the framework will help guide industry experts and standards development organizations. It will also identify standards-related gaps and needs in the additive manufacturing industry, and prevent duplicate efforts in developing additive manufacturing standards.

Trying to Solve the L.E.D. Quandary

Read the full story in the New Yorker.

Is there a workable business model for products that are built to last, rather than to fall apart? This is an idea that I explored here in July, in a story about the L.E.D. quandary. That quandary, in short: companies are making a good thing—light-emitting-diode bulbs that conserve energy and last for years—but they can’t make money in the long run from products that rarely need replacing. As global light sockets fill with L.E.D.s, century-old corporate titans are getting out of the bulb business even before “socket saturation” tips sales into a decline. The question remains whether any company has an incentive to make a product that is not designed to fall apart or become obsolete.

After that story ran, several newer, smaller firms reached out to me claiming to have solutions to the conundrum. Two seemed worth a deeper look: Cree, an L.E.D. specialist in the U.S.; and UrbanVolt, based in Dublin, Ireland. Both say that they no longer sell light bulbs but “light.” They exemplify two very different approaches to doing so.

Tools for alternatives assessment

This post originally appeared on the GLRPPR Blog.

One way that manufacturers can reduce their environmental impact is by replacing a toxic or hazardous process chemical with a less hazardous or non-hazardous one. The following resources are useful when trying to identify less toxic alternatives.

SUBSPORT: Substitution Support Portal

SUBSPORT is a free-of-charge, multilingual platform for information exchange on alternative substances and technologies, as well as tools and guidance for substance evaluation and substitution management. It includes:

Program for Assisting the Replacement of Industrial Solvents (PARIS III)

PARIS III, developed by U.S. EPA, is a desktop/laptop application that allows users to find mixtures of solvents with specific physical and chemical properties that also have relatively low environmental impacts. The software helps users find replacements for solvent mixtures that are currently being used in industrial processes but have dangerous environmental side effects. The software can also be used to find solvents with lower environmental impact when designing new industrial processes, as well as more benign solvents that can be added to harmful solvents favored by industry to help reduce the harmful environmental impact of their processes.

CleanerSolutions Database

The CleanerSolutions Database, developed by the Toxics Use Reduction Institute, helps users select an alternative cleaner that meets their needs. The information is based on lab testing done by TURI. Use the tool to find a cleaner for a particular contaminant; replace a solvent; identify products based on safety and environmental criteria; and search by vendor information.

P2OASys Tool to Compare Materials

Sometimes changing chemicals or processes can have unintended environmental and health impacts. TURI’s P2OASys is an Excel based tool that allows companies to assess the potential environmental, worker, and public health impacts of alternative technologies aimed at reducing toxics use. The goal is more comprehensive and systematic thinking about the potential hazards posed by current and alternative processes identified during the TUR planning process. The tool can help companies:

  •  Systematically examine the potential environmental and worker impacts of options, examining the total impacts of process changes, rather than simply those of chemical changes
  •  Compare options with current processes based on quantitative and qualitative factors.

Chemical Hazard Assessment Database

The Interstate Chemicals Clearinghouse (IC2) Chemical Hazard Assessment Database enables users to search for GreenScreen® and Quick Chemical Assessment Tool (QCAT) assessments. The purpose of this tool is to promote awareness of assessments conducted on chemicals of high concern, facilitate transparency and discussion, and reduce duplication of effort. IC2 also has alternatives assessment resources, including a guide and links to other assessment materials.

Safer Chemical Ingredients List

The Safer Chemical Ingredients List (SCIL)is a list of chemical ingredients, arranged by functional-use class, that U.S. EPA’s Safer Choice Program has evaluated and determined to be safer than traditional chemical ingredients. This list is designed to help manufacturers find safer chemical alternatives that meet the criteria of the Safer Choice Program. Safer Choice also has other resources available for manufacturers.

Environmental, Health and Safety Data Resources

Although chemical manufacturers provide material safety data sheets with their chemicals, sometimes this information isn’t enough. TURI’s librarian created this guide to assist in researching environmental, health and safety information for chemicals.

How to pack a litter-free school lunch

Read the full story at Treehugger.

Finally, schools are catching on to the fact that packed lunches generate far too much trash. Learn how to reduce waste, and your grocery bill will shrink, too.

People want solutions, not physical products: rise of the subscription model

Read the full story in the Guardian.

The subscription model is being adopted by suppliers of kitchen appliances, furniture and even toys. Could it one day dominate over traditional ownership?

Zero Waste takes initiative focuses on student outreach to reduce ASU’s landfill waste

Read the full story from the State Press.

For ASU’s Zero Waste program, reducing the University’s waste is less about recycle bins and compost and more about outreach.

According to Zero Waste program coordinator and ASU graduate Katie Schumacher, Zero Waste is a diversion program and department that oversees the University’s goal to reduce the total amount of waste sent to the landfill by at least 90 percent.

Forget Going for the Gold; We’re Going for Green! How U.S. E.P.A. Programs Accelerate Innovation in the Chemical Enterprise

Read the full post from the American Chemical Society.

At this year’s Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference in Portland, OR, I had the opportunity to interview David Widawsky, Director of the Chemistry, Economics, and Sustainable Strategies Division at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). We discussed regulation, innovation, the future of green chemistry and much more.