Strategy for Addressing the Retail Sector under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act’s Regulatory Framework

U.S. EPA’s Retail Strategy lays out a cohesive and effective plan to address the unique challenges the retail sector has with complying with the hazardous waste regulations while reducing burden and protecting human health and the environment.

Brewers Association Releases 2015 Benchmarking Report and Sustainability Benchmarking Tools

The Brewers Association (BA) has released the 2015 Sustainability Benchmarking Report. The report includes utility, resource and production data from 79 breweries, representing a robust variety of production sizes and geographic locations. This report provides a platform to share best practices to identify how to use water more efficiently, generate less wastewater and solid waste, decrease total energy usage and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Moving forward, data for this annual report will be collected through the Brewers Association Benchmarking Tools. Individual brewers can input their utility usage and compare their data to other participating breweries. Using the iEHS Mobile Metrics platform, brewers can enter target usage and cost values and track ongoing monthly performance. Breweries will be able to easily identify areas to improve efficiencies and increase profitability by utilizing the Sustainability Dashboard tool to compare themselves to industry averages of similar size breweries. Both tools are usable on a web browser or mobile device. These tools will increase the number of participants contributing benchmarking information, forming a clearer picture of industry practices. The information will then be organized, verified, analyzed and distributed though the annual Sustainability Benchmarking Report. Individual breweries will not be identified in the report.

Increasingly, environmental stewardship is a priority for beer drinkers, brewers and future generations. Maintaining a healthy balance between stewardship, social enrichment, and economic vitality is important to the future of craft brewing. BA members have expressed a desire to benchmark key performance indicators (KPIs) on a consistent basis in order to set aggressive, but realistic, goals and targets. Through the Sustainability Benchmarking Report and Sustainability Manuals, the BA and the sustainability subcommittee encourages conscientious brewing practices that will ensure the long-term success of the craft beer industry.

What You Need to Know About the GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards

Read the full story in Environmental Leader.

Corporate reporters rejoice: in a move aimed at making it easier for companies to report on their sustainability initiatives and progress, the Global Reporting Initiative today launched the GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards.

Environmental Comparison of Biochar and Activated Carbon for Tertiary Wastewater Treatment

Kyle A. Thompson, Kyle K. Shimabuku, Joshua P. Kearns, Detlef R. U. Knappe, R. Scott Summers, and Sherri M. Cook. “Environmental Comparison of Biochar and Activated Carbon for Tertiary Wastewater Treatment.” Environmental Science & Technology 2016 50 (20), 11253-11262. DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.6b03239

Abstract: Micropollutants in wastewater present environmental and human health challenges. Powdered activated carbon (PAC) can effectively remove organic micropollutants, but PAC production is energy intensive and expensive. Biochar adsorbents can cost less and sequester carbon; however, net benefits depend on biochar production conditions and treatment capabilities. Here, life cycle assessment was used to compare 10 environmental impacts from the production and use of wood biochar, biosolids biochar, and coal-derived PAC to remove sulfamethoxazole from wastewater. Moderate capacity wood biochar had environmental benefits in four categories (smog, global warming, respiratory effects, noncarcinogenics) linked to energy recovery and carbon sequestration, and environmental impacts worse than PAC in two categories (eutrophication, carcinogenics). Low capacity wood biochar had even larger benefits for global warming, respiratory effects, and noncarcinogenics, but exhibited worse impacts than PAC in five categories due to larger biochar dose requirements to reach the treatment objective. Biosolids biochar had the worst relative environmental performance due to energy use for biosolids drying and the need for supplemental adsorbent. Overall, moderate capacity wood biochar is an environmentally superior alternative to coal-based PAC for micropollutant removal from wastewater, and its use can offset a wastewater facility’s carbon footprint.

CSI Great Lakes: Fish forensics trace contaminants from lakes to streams

Read the full story in Great Lakes Echo.

Some trout in Great Lakes tributaries are just as contaminated with a chemical linked to respiratory, liver and skin ailments as the Pacific salmon that they eat, according to biologists from the University of Notre Dame.

They said the findings should help inform decisions on eating fish, dam removal and stocking.

Pacific salmon, such as Chinook and coho, are large sports fish that live most of their lives in the Great Lakes and then spawn and die in rivers and streams, according to scientists.

New research published in the journal, Environmental Science and Technology, looked for PCBs in their tissue during autumn spawning runs in tributaries of lakes Huron, Michigan and Superior. It compared that tissue with the tissue of native brook trout and mottled sculpin that live fulltime in the same rivers and eat the eggs and flesh of the salmon.

Evaluating Measuring Techniques for Occupational Exposure during Additive Manufacturing of Metals: A Pilot Study

Graff, P., Ståhlbom, B., Nordenberg, E., Graichen, A., Johansson, P. and Karlsson, H. (2016). “Evaluating Measuring Techniques for Occupational Exposure during Additive Manufacturing of Metals: A Pilot Study.” Journal of Industrial Ecology  doi:10.1111/jiec.12498

Abstract: Additive manufacturing that creates three-dimensional objects by adding layer upon layer of material is a new technique that has proven to be an excellent tool for the manufacturing of complex structures for a variety of industrial sectors. Today, knowledge regarding particle emissions and potential exposure-related health hazards for the operators is limited. The current study has focused on particle numbers, masses, sizes, and identities present in the air during additive manufacturing of metals. Measurements were performed during manufacturing with metal powder consisting essentially of chromium, nickel, and cobalt. Instruments used were Nanotracer (10 to 300 nanometers [nm]), Lighthouse (300 nm to 10 micrometers), and traditional filter-based particle mass estimation followed by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Results showed that there is a risk of particle exposure at certain operations and that particle sizes tended to be smaller in recycled metal powder compared to new. In summary, nanosized particles were present in the additive manufacturing environment and the operators were exposed specifically while handling the metal powder. For the workers’ safety, improved powder handling systems and measurement techniques for nanosized particles will possibly have to be developed and then translated into work environment regulations. Until then, relevant protective equipment and regular metal analyses of urine is recommended.

Behavior Change Programs: Status and Impact

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Behavior change programs are becoming a common method for reducing energy consumption and increasing energy efficiency. But what types of programs are out there, why do they work (or fail to work), and how effective are they? This report updates the 2013 ACEEE Field Guide to Utility-Run Behavior Change Programs, with new program evaluations, an analysis of major behavior change strategies, and a focus on programs with evaluated energy savings. We surveyed 296 recent reports, academic studies, and program evaluations, and had more than 60 personal communications with program administrators, energy program managers, and other experts. The report will help program administrators understand the variety of behavior program options that are available to them, and the degree to which they successfully change behavior and save energy.