Illini Gadget Garage Promotes Reuse, Recycling at Events

The Illini Gadget Garage is inviting University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign students, faculty, and staff, as well as members of the surrounding community, to a recycled holiday craft workshop on December 3, from 1 to 3 PM. Check out the Facebook event for more information, including the Gadget Garage address, and some posts of examples crafts that you could make! There will be multiple types of reclaimed materials on hand (e.g. beads made from the keys of broken computer keyboards, plastic circuit sheets, wiring, etc.) for fashioning into ornaments, bracelets, holiday cards, and other handmade items. The event provides a family-appropriate activity that subtly teaches lessons about reuse, product stewardship, and a circular economy. The event is FREE (though donations are always welcome to provide continued funding for student staff and operational expenses), and light refreshments will be served. Besides crafting, you can ask questions about local electronics recycling options and talk about environmental and social impacts of electronics throughout their lifecycle, as well as learn about services, volunteer opportunities, and ways to incorporate project efforts in coursework. If you’ve heard about the Gadget Garage, but don’t have a device that needs repair, or feel uncertain about whether you could tackle repair, this is a great chance to learn more while having some fun!

craft event flyer

 

Project staff also recently participated in the America Recycles Day Celebration at the Anita Purves Nature Center in Urbana, which focused on electronics recycling. Not only did they offer their repair services (and help a patron restore a CD player to working order by showing them how to clean the laser reading lens!), but they also engaged the many children in attendance by making bracelets and necklaces from computer key beads while talking to parents and guardians about the project, and the importance of repair, reuse, and recycling of electronics. Madeleine Wolske, a graduate student from the iSchool who coordinates volunteers and oversees repair activities with the public, appeared on CiLiving to promote the event. Check out this clip of the segment:

 

The Gadget Garage will continue having open hours until the last week in December, at which time is will close for the winter break. Spring 2017 open hours are yet to be determined and will be posted to the project site and social networks when available. The Illini Gadget Garage is a collaboration of ISTC’s Sustainable Electronics Initiative, the iSchool, and the School of Art + Design. Support for the project  is provided by the Student Sustainability Committee and various corporate and individual donors. Questions about the project may be addressed to Joy Scrogum of ISTC.

 

New ISTC fact sheet: 2015 Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Award Winner: Hoffer Plastics, Inc.

Download the document.

Hoffer Plastics, located in South Elgin, Illinois, specializes in making custom plastic injection molded items. Their products are used in retail packaging and in the automotive, medical, and appliance industries. Hoffer Plastics used a number of strategies to increase efficiency and reduce their environmental impact. They initiated a 100% facility-wide recycling program that diverted 58,000 pounds of materials from the landfill. Their energy conservation measures reduced their electricity consumption by nearly 4 million kWh. Conservation strategies included: installing high efficiency lighting; replaced chilled water pump motors with variable-frequency drive motors; installed thermal blankets on machine barrels; and implementing a compressed air efficiency initiative. Installing a cooling water filtration system that captures back-flushed water to reuse in the cooling towers has reduced the company’s water use by 1.3 million gallons.

In Race to Capture Carbon Dioxide, Remember the Need to Use It

Kevin O'Brien at the International Conference on Greenhouse Gas Technologies

ISTC Director Kevin O’Brien spoke in Lausanne, Switzerland today on the importance of developing new uses for ‘waste’ carbon dioxide.

The capture and utilization of CO2 provides a unique opportunity to create jobs and build new markets. Illinois is leading this charge, said ISTC Director Kevin O’Brien today in a presentation at the International Conference on Greenhouse Gas Technologies (GHGT-13) in Lausanne, Switzerland.

 

While research on economical technologies to capture and store CO2 is a priority at the University of Illinois and around the world, it is equally important to develop new approaches to monetize and utilize the gas as a commodity, O’Brien said.

 

He outlined the Carbon Dioxide Utilization and Reduction (COOULR) Center being formed at the University’s Prairie Research Institute. He called this effort a model for other communities committed to creating jobs and accelerating economic engines.

 

The University’s openness to discovery and innovation, coupled with the U of I’s interest in becoming carbon neutral by 2050 makes for a fortunate confluence of factors. “There is a need to be able to explore a multitude of utilization approaches in order to identify a portfolio of potential utilization mechanisms,” he said. “This portfolio must be adapted based on the economy of the region.”

 

The Carbon Dioxide Utilization and Reduction (COOULR) Center being formed at the University's Prairie Research Institute.

The Carbon Dioxide Utilization and Reduction (COOULR) Center being formed at the University’s Prairie Research Institute is intended to be a model for other communities to explore new uses for captured CO2.

A research effort like the COOULR Center “is one of the key steps in the formation of a market for captured CO2,” he added. “The goal of the Center is to not only evaluate technologies, but also demonstrate at a large pilot scale how communities may be able to monetize captured CO2.”

 

The GHGT Conference is held every two years by the International Energy Agency‘s (IEA) Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme. The IEA consists of the U.S. and 28 other industrialized nations that work to ensure reliable, affordable and clean energy supplies.

 

Co-authors of the paper delivered by O’Brien are: Yongqi Lu, Sallie Greenberg, Randall Locke (Illinois State Geological Survey); Vinod Patel (ISTC); Michael Larson (U of I’s Abbott Power Plant); Krish R. Krishnamurthy, Makini Byron, Joseph Naumovitz (Linde LLC); and David S. Guth, Stephen J. Bennett (Affiliated Engineers Inc. (AEI)). The university team and the private partners are currently involved in major research projects to test advanced carbon capture systems at the University’s power plant.

Illinois Success Story a Model for Sustainable University

purple nitrile gloves are successfully recycled at UIUC

 

Today Kimberly-Clark recognized two Big Ten Champions in the recycling of nitrile gloves – the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and Purdue University.

 

The company highlighted success stories at the two top research universities who both use large quantities of single-use nitrile gloves. ISTC’s focus was on science laboratories and food service operations across campus. Kimberly-Clark’s successful RightCycle program has grown quickly by nurturing a supply chain for its gloves and related products so that they can be turned into eco-responsible consumer products and durable goods, such as lawn furniture, flowerpots and planters, shelving, totes and storage bins. ISTC boasts a bike rack and a park bench potentially containing from some of it’s own used gloves.

 

ISTC’s Zero Waste Program engineers took on the nitrile glove recycling project as a natural extension of its robust collaboration with its sustainably minded campus partners, including University Housing/Dining ServicesFacilities and Services, the Institute for Society, Energy, and Environment, and the Student Sustainability Committee.

 

RightCycle enables the two universities, and hundreds of Kimberly-Clark’s large customers, to advance their sustainability goals by reducing their waste streams and upcycling a raw material for valuable new uses. Read more on the RightCycle Program here. The news release is also accessible here.

Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Award, Illinois R&D Demonstrate Growing Commitment to Sustainable World

carbon capture and utilization research

ISTC Director Kevin O’Brien discusses new research in carbon capture and utilization at the Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Award event in Chicago Nov. 1.

 

On Friday Nov. 4, the Paris Agreement on climate change became official. The U.S., China, and 53 other nations have ratified the treaty representing half of the world’s carbon emissions.

 

“The politically difficult step was Paris,” said Robert Stavins, an environmental economist at Harvard University was quoted today in The Wall Street Journal. “The technically difficult steps now remain.”

 

While a new administration in Washington could scuttle the U.S. commitment to the international pact, undoubtedly innovation will be essential to decarbonize the atmosphere. Action was evident Nov. 1 at the Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Awards event in Chicago. From towns and neighborhoods to major corporations, the 25 winners for 2016 demonstrated significant ownership of the need to reduce our carbon footprint.

 

Also on Nov. 4, Shell, BP, and eight other oil and gas giants announced an industry collaboration creating a $1 billion investment fund to accelerate carbon capture and storage and energy efficiency over the next 10 years.

 

The Prairie Research Institute and its Illinois Sustainable Technology Center are also working to be impactful on a grand scale. PRI’s effort to outfit the power plant at the University of Illinois with next-generation carbon capture represents a collaboration of multinational corporations with state and university partners. Success could be a game-changer for coal- and gas-fired power plants around the world.

 

Another major research project at ISTC could turn wastewater treatment in America from a cost sink and carbon producer, into a profit center and a carbon sink.

 

“Our approach is to simultaneously work toward sustainable and renewable energy, while taking responsibility for reducing the problems caused by traditional energy sources,” said Kevin C. O’Brien, ISTC director.

 

Illini Gadget Garage at America Recycles Day Event, Nov. 19

America Recycles Day Event announcement

 

Join U-Cycle and the Urbana Park District to celebrate America Recycles Day! This year’s theme is “It’s Electric!” The focus will be on the importance of electronics recycling, including resources on where to bring electronic devices to recycle in the community, and how to trouble-shoot issues with your electronic device courtesy of the Illini Gadget Garage, a collaborative project lead by ISTC involving students at the University of Illinois. Fill out a diagnostic form in advance to secure a spot with a representative of the Gadget Garage: tinyurl.com/h5y4kcx. Click here for the Facebook event.

 

The following items will be accepted for recycling at the event: ink jet cartridges, cell phones and household batteries.

 

In addition there will be eco art & craft project stations, recycling games and chances to win prizes when pledging to recycle! Enter to win the Creative Reuse Competition – Call 217/384-4062 for more information.

 

Illini Gadget Garage Grand Opening Sat., Nov. 12

Join us at the Illini Gadget Garage in Research Park to celebrate its Grand Opening on Saturday, November 12th. ISTC’s Joy Scrogum, graduate student coordinator Madeleine Hall, and other student volunteers will be there for “do-it-together” troubleshooting and repair of small electronics and appliances. The event takes place from 11 AM to 2 PM.

 

There are approximately 10 slots for one-on-one troubleshooting 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.

 

The Illini Gadget Garage is located at 1833 S. Oak St., Champaign, IL 61820 (Just north of Hazelwood Drive). See http://tinyurl.com/guv4n9z for a map.

Exterior view of Illini Gadget Garage main entrance

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 https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7992718732755591171

 

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 carl@pbjreps.com or pj@pbjreps.com.

 

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 http://www.greenlunchroom.org/documents/Controlling-Waste-PBJ.pdf 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 https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdO69XnWKyU-NCLmXTzr8n6SyAteHCkVoAdSaQOMulOmgvprA/viewform.

 

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 https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6855430088212534276.

 

SCARCElogo

 

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 www.greenlunchroom.org.