Green Fans, Mavens and Admirers Can Join Campus Sustainability Celebration

sustainability open house 4 p.m. Oct. 26

Stop by the Alice Campbell Alumni Center 4-6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 26 for snacks, prizes and the latest information on sustainability efforts on campus. Awards will be announced at 4:30 p.m. (iSEE‘s Recycling Competition winners, and F&S‘s Energy Conservation Incentive Program awards).

And in Chicago, look for the 30th anniversary winners of the Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Awards on Tuesday Nov. 1 at the Union League Club.

register for the 2016 Illinois Governor's Sustainability Award

Focus on Food Waste: Recent and Upcoming Food Waste Events

Interested in ways to fight food waste in your organization or community? Be sure to check out these upcoming events, as well as archived resources from recent events.

Upcoming Events

US EPA Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) Web Academy Webinar: New Tool Kit: Reforming Laws and Policies to Enhance Food Recovery at the State and Local Level

Thursday, Oct 20, 2016 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM CDT; Register at


In September 2015, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the first ever domestic goal to reduce food loss and waste by half by the year 2030 and are seeking to work with public and private partners to take action and make this happen over the next 14 years. The Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic (FLPC) is one of EPA’s partners and is at the forefront of identifying key areas where current laws create barriers to reducing this food waste or where policies can incentivize more food recovery, and is actively working on the federal and state level to help reform those laws. One way to assist with the proliferation of better food recovery laws and policies is by providing information to states and local governments regarding methods of increasing food recovery. In order to make such information more widely available, FLPC created a toolkit for state and local policymakers interested in reducing food waste. This toolkit brings together lessons from their research and policy work in date labeling, tax incentives, liability protections, organic waste bans, leftovers for livestock as well as other food waste policies, to provide state and local policy makers with a comprehensive menu of policy options to reduce food waste.


Join this webinar to learn what is included in this toolkit, and how you can use it in your state or local food waste policy planning. Presenters will explain the content and how best to use the toolkit, with a focus on a few of the sections, and will answer questions from webinar participants about these and other examples.


Controlling Food Waste in School Food-Service

Thursday, Oct 20, 2016, 10:30 AM to 1:30 PM CDT, Hillsdale, IL;  Space is limited–RSVP to or


ISTC’s Joy Scrogum will be among the presenters, talking about the Green Lunchroom Challenge Program. Other presenters will covers topics such as speed scratch cooking, presenting freshness, preserving freshness, holding freshness, storing freshness and more. Learn about food waste reduction while supporting a great cause! The event is free with a suggested $10 donation at the door. Proceeds will benefit the Greater Chicago Food Depository; PBJ Commercial Agents will be matching donations. See for more information.


Composting Policy Forum

Monday, Oct 24, 1:00 PM -3:00 PM CDT,  Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Rd, Glencoe, IL 60022; Register at


Seven Generations Ahead, the Illinois Environmental Council, the Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County and the Illinois Food Scrap Coalition invite you to attend the third in a series of four free forums addressing composting policy in Illinois. Get updates on food scrap composting initiatives in Northern Cook County. Learn about Illinois landfill disposal bans and their impact. Discuss what would be needed for a successful organics disposal ban in Illinois. View the agenda online.


Recent Events

US EPA SMM Web Academy Webinar: Food: Too Good to Waste – Community Results and Lessons Learned

Sept. 22, 2016; View archived presentation materials online.


Currently, over 30 percent of the food currently grown and processed in the U.S. goes uneaten. When wholesome, edible food ends up in a landfill, all those embedded resources (along with the money spent on them) also get wasted. This impacts the environment, our community and the bottom line. The Food: Too Good to Waste toolkit was designed and developed for local governments and other community partners to help prevent wasted food in households. This community food waste prevention toolkit has been tested throughout the US and helps households save money while reducing wasted food by up to 50%. During this webinar we will present results from an evaluation report on several campaign implementations and hear from three of those communities who successfully implemented this toolkit.


Michigan DEQ Sustainability Series Webinar: Engaging in Food Recovery

Sept. 22, 2016; View archived slides and recording online (Note: Scroll to the bottom of the page).


Food scraps are the “final frontier” for organics recovery. Food is the most water, labor and nutrient intensive of the wastes we produce. And not all food that is wasted is unfit for a plate. Food recovery should come first. After that, diversion from landfills, then identifying the best options to recover what value we can from what we worked so hard to grow. Learn how your business or organization can avoid wasting this valuable resource. This webinar was geared towards any business or institution that generates food waste in a kitchen or cafeteria or through food processing, as well as anyone interested in learning more about food waste recovery. Presented by Sally L. Brown, PhD, a Research Associate Professor at the University of Washington. She is a Fellow in the Soil Science Society of America, and was a member of the National Academy of Science Committee on Soils. She writes a monthly column for Biocycle magazine and a blog for the Huffington Post.


Green Lunchroom Challenge Webinar Oct. 13: Waste Reduction with SCARCE

Join us Thursday, October 13 for a Green Lunchroom Challenge Webinar, “Waste Reduction with SCARCE.” The webinar will be broadcast from 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM Central, and will be recorded and posted to the Challenge web site for later viewing. Register online at




School and Community Assistance for Recycling and Composting Education (SCARCE), is an environmental education and assistance organization based in DuPage County, IL. Kay McKeen, SCARCE Founder and Executive Director, and Erin Kennedy, Environmental Educator and LEED GA, will discuss resources and guidance available from SCARCE to help your school or district achieve food waste reduction and diversion goals.


Coordinated by ISTC with funding from US EPA Region 5, the Green Lunchroom Challenge is a voluntary pledge program for schools to improve the sustainability of their food service operations. By registering, participants are accepting the challenge to reduce and prevent food waste in their facilities. The Challenge involves suggested activities that range in complexity and commitment, to allow participants to best suit their situation, budget and available community resources. Participants are not required to complete activities, but with each activity that is completed successfully, they earn points and can be recognized as having achieved different levels of accomplishment. Learn more, and register your school or district, at

America Recycles Day – November 15

shows the continetal 48 states with map markers pointing to thousands of recycling events


I Recycle, where the recycle is the recycle symbol and not the word; America Recycles Day November 15While recycling is not mandatory in America, over 30 percent of our trash is recycled. But recycling could be as high as 75 percent, which could dramatically impact other environmental impacts such as greenhouse gas emissions, freshwater resources, and create economic growth.


America Recycles Day was created on Nov. 15, 1997, by the National Recycling Coalition and is now organized by Keep America Beautiful. America Recycles Day is dedicated to raising the awareness of recycling and products made from recycled materials. Over 1,800 events recycling events have been registered in 2016 alone. Events range from awareness/education to collection of specific items (batteries, household hazardous waste, electronics) to even college/university sporting events. You can attend or organize an event in your area. Simple steps can be found on the America Recycles Day website.


Illinois has four upcoming events to celebrate America Recycles Day including “America Recycles Day – It’s Electric!” on Nov. 19 in Urbana, Ill. Be on the look-out for more info on this event and other similar opportunities such as ISTC’s Illini Gadget Garage. This campus program reduces technology trash by empowering people to fix their own electronics, extending their useful life, with a do-it-yourself approach.




image showing locations in Illinois hosting recycle day events

Green Lunchroom Challenge Webinar, Sept. 30, Features Innovative School Projects

Join us on Friday, September 30, 2016 for a Green Lunchroom Challenge Webinar, “School Gardening and Composting at Salem High School (MA).” The webinar will be broadcast from 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM Central, and will be recorded and posted to the Challenge web site for later viewing. Register online at


Learn about innovative on-site gardening and composting efforts at Salem High School (Salem, MA). These projects not only provide fresh produce for school meals, but also engaging experiential learning opportunities for students. Our presenters will be Graeme Marcoux, Salem High School science teacher, and Deborah Jeffers, Food Services Director. This school not only has traditional garden plots, but also grows produce in a modified, climate controlled shipping container from Freight Farms. This atypical approach to on-site gardening allows the school to generate more fresh produce than they would with their traditional plots alone, and can allow growing during any season. This CBS Boston feature on the school’s efforts provides more information, and may help you formulate questions you’d like to ask during the webinar:


Coordinated by ISTC with funding from US EPA Region 5, the Green Lunchroom Challenge is a voluntary pledge program for schools to improve the sustainability of their food service operations. By registering, participants are accepting the challenge to reduce and prevent food waste in their facilities. The Challenge involves suggested activities that range in complexity and commitment, to allow participants to best suit their situation, budget and available community resources. Participants are not required to complete activities, but with each activity that is completed successfully, they earn points and can be recognized as having achieved different levels of accomplishment. Learn more, and register your school or district, at


Green Lunchroom Challenge logo

P2 Resources You Can Use

In the not-to-distant past, it was difficult to locate pollution prevention and sustainability information. Those days are gone. Now, we go to Google and we’re inundated. In this post, I’ll point you toward some resources that you may have forgotten about when you’re trying to locate information to solve a problem. Whether you’re an organization that wants to start a sustainability program or a seasoned pollution prevention technical assistance provider, there’s something on this list that will help you do your job better.

Topic Hubs and LibGuides

Topic hubs and LibGuides are similar. Both are curated collections of resources on specific topics that also include explanatory information. The only difference is the delivery platform. GLRPPR converted its Topic Hubs to LibGuides several years ago. Guides of particular interest to the P2 community include:

The Pollution Prevention 101 LibGuide is particularly useful to those new to the P2 field. It includes links to essential resources and training that will help get you up to speed quickly.

GLRPPR Sector Resources

GLRPPR’s sector resources are curated collections of documents organized by sector or topic. Each resource includes a link and a brief description. Sector resources includes links to fact sheets, manuals, videos, journal articles, case studies, and software tools. Browse by sector/topic or search by keyword using Google site search.

GLRPPR Webinar Archive

GLRPPR hosts two to three webinars per year. Recordings of these webinars are archived on our web site and on our YouTube channel.

GLRPPR Help Desk

If you have a sustainability question or problem you’re trying to solve, the GLRPPR Help Desk is the place to visit. You get one free hour of literature/web searching and will receive a response within a week. Note that we won’t often give absolute answers. Instead, we’ll give you references and let your draw your own conclusions based on the available information. We also won’t answer homework questions.

E-Mail Discussion Lists and GLRPPR E-mail Newsletter

E-mail discussion lists are a great way to tap the hive mind of your pollution prevention colleagues. GLRPPR members are automatically subscribed to the Roundtable regional e-mail discussion list. P2Tech is an international discussion list for pollution prevention and sustainability professionals. To subscribe to either list, contact Laura Barnes.

GLRPPR’s e-mail newsletter keeps you up-to-date on sustainability news, resources, events, and funding opportunities. Subscribe here.

P2 Impact

P2 Impact is a collaboration between GreenBiz and the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange. Each month, P2 practitioners write about topics related to pollution prevention and sustainability. The goal of the column is to tell the P2 story to GreenBiz’s business audience. The archives of the column are available here. If you would like to write a column, contact Laura Barnes.

P2 InfoHouse

P2 InfoHouse, maintained by the Pollution Prevention Information Center (P2RIC), is a searchable online collection of more than 50,000 pollution prevention (P2) related publications, fact sheets, case studies and technical reports. It includes a vast number of legacy pollution prevention documents that were originally released in hard copy. The collection is searchable by keyword.

Zero Waste Network Success Story Database

The Zero Waste Network’s Success Story Database contains case studies that are examples of how real facilities saved money, reduced waste, and/or lowered their regulatory burden through innovative P2 practices. The studies are often written in a companies own words, with minimal editing.

U.S. EPA Pollution Prevention Tools and Calculators

U.S. EPA has links to general P2 information; P2 tools for chemical processes and purchasing; and calculators to measure the environmental and economic outcomes of P2 activities.

Using public data to identify pollution prevention opportunities

Government agencies produce a tremendous number of publicly available data sets. In this P2 Week blog post, I’ll highlight some resources that will help you get started with a data driven approach to identifying P2 opportunities.


Webinar: Utilizing Public Data to Identify Technical Assistance Targets

The U.S. government has a wealth of data available about the environmental and economic impact of manufacturers. This webinar, hosted by ESRC,  demonstrates how to use the EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory, Greenhouse Gas, and Enforcement and Compliance Online (ECHO) databases and the Census Bureau’s County Business Patterns database to identify industrial sectors and facilities that can benefit from pollution prevention technical assistance.


Information that can be easily obtained and utilized from these data sources is key for any technical assistance provider when developing a strategy to target technical assistance. Real-world examples located in regions 3 and 4 are provided.


Presentation slides, resources mentioned during the webinar, and a time-coded index for the video below are available on the ESRC web site.


How a competitor’s data can help your company cut pollution

This P2 Impact column by U.S. EPA’s Kara Koehrn explains how manufacturers can reduce pollution by using public data, chiefly Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) pollution prevention data, to learn from others in their industry.


Module 4: Identify and Target Facilities to Perform Hazardous Substances P2 Assessments

In 2013, U.S. EPA Region 5 (in collaboration with EPA headquarters) developed a 4-part training module to assist technical assistance programs (TAPs) in finding hazardous material reduction opportunities. This module demonstrates how the Minnesota Technical Assistance Program used TRI data to target their P2 technical assistance efforts. It also provides an overview of what types of information are included in TRI emissions and P2 data.


Report: Strategy for using the US EPA Toxics Release Inventory to Identify Opportunities for Diffusion of Innovative Methods for Hazardous Waste and Toxic Emission Reduction

This report shows how P2 technical assistance providers can use TRI P2 data to identify manufacturing facilities that have implemented toxics source reduction methods and facilitate the diffusion of those methods to other facilities that may be facing barriers that block adoption of P2 practices.


Report: The Economic and Environmental Impact of Great Lakes Manufacturing: Snapshot of Emissions, Pollution Prevention Practices, and Economic Impact Using Public Data

The manufacturing sector is an important economic engine within the Great Lakes states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. While complying with applicable laws and regulations, these facilities also have an environmental impact on the region.


In this study, the Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable (GLRPPR) used publicly available environmental data to establish a regional baseline for industrial chemical use and emissions; pollution prevention (P2) techniques; greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; and economic impact data for selected industry sectors in U.S. EPA Region 5. The report includes analyses of data from U.S. EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), the Greenhouse Gas Emissions database on Envirofacts, and the Census Bureau’s County Business Patterns database on American FactFinder.


See also GLRPPR’s paper Spotlight on U.S. EPA Region 5’s Food Manufacturing and Processing Industry for a more focused sector-based analysis.

DOE Sparks Science Learning with New Newsletter

STEM Spark newsletter header reads: S T E M Spark U.S. Department of Energy Energy Education News - August 2016 This Issue: Wind Energy - Next Issue: Solar Energy. header has green background with white lettering except for STEM and the word spark has gold dashes in a ray coming off the top of the letter k in the word Spark.


DOE has produced a new resource to help cultivate the next generation of science and environmental experts. The first in a new science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education monthly newsletter from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is all about wind energy.  Topics include:

  • Wind Energy Overview
  • How Does a Wind Turbine Work?
  • Learn How to Build a Wind Turbine Model
  • Offshore Wind Buoy Tour of “Open Hatch” Vessel
  • And much more about wind energy!

Regular sections in the newsletter include:

  • Student contests through the DOE
  • Classroom activities on the newsletter topic
  • Career resources
  • Upcoming DOE events

The newsletter is free to subscribe to and only requires a valid email address. This newsletter is made possible by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).


The Prairie Research Institute (PRI) at the University of Illinois, of which ISTC is a division of, also does its part to nurture science talent in our schools. Recently PRI organized a website where its diverse mix of scientists and researchers discussed how they prepared for success in green science careers. They also share their thoughts about the prospects for green jobs in the future.



Sustainability Seminar Series Fall 2016: Contaminants in the Environment

The ISTC Sustainability Seminar Series continues on Thursdays this fall with the theme “Contaminants in the Environment.” The schedule of seminar speakers is below. To be added to the seminar and events email list or to receive links to the live broadcasts of the seminars, please contact Beth Meschewski at


All seminars will be held at ISTC (1 E. Hazelwood Dr. in Champaign) in the SJW Conference Room. The series is an opportunity to share information and discussion with peers in a relaxed, informal environment. Please feel free to bring a lunch. Seminars usually last about an hour and questions are welcome. The seminars will be broadcast live and will also be recorded and archived on the ISTC website:   Continue reading

U.S. Army Lab Engineer Spending Fruitful Year Collaborating with Illinois Peers

Steve Cosper standing in front of pull up banners that read Energy, Water, Reuse of Materials, Contamin. each banner has an image related to its word


Steve Cosper is in the middle of a busy sabbatical year collaborating with Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) researchers on a range of projects of mutual benefit spanning energy, water, and waste issues. It is the latest highlight of a closer relationship between the Prairie Research Institute (PRI) and the Army’s major research center in Champaign.


ERDC Innovative Solutions for a safer, better world

logo for US Armey Corp of Engineers white fort type castle on red backgroundThe Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL), a division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC), has paired with ISTC on several research projects over the years but it wasn’t until about two years ago with the arrival of ISTC’s current director, Kevin O’Brien that the relationship deepened.


Last week, Cosper and ISTC Research Scientist Lance Schideman were invited to participate in workshop on water/wastewater and solid waste management at the National Defense University in Washington DC. The Department of Defense (DOD)-United Nations Technology Workshop was organized in response to a Presidential guidance to the Defense Department to support UN Peacekeeping operations around the world with DOD experience to enhance their effectiveness and environmental impacts.

Continue reading