Archive for the 'Beneficial Reuse' Category

International E-waste Design Competition Turns Refuse into Resource

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009 by

Electronic waste, or “E-Waste,” generated by computers, TVs, cameras, printers, and cell phones, is a growing global issue. According to the U.S. EPA, Americans currently own nearly 3 billion electronic products and as new products are purchased, obsolete products are stored or discarded at alarming rates. About two-thirds of the electronic devices removed from service are still in working order. However, only about 15% of this material is recycled while the vast majority is disposed in landfills. The Sustainable Electronics Initiative (SEI), hosted by the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC), is pleased to announce the International E-Waste Design Competition, in which participants will explore solutions to this problem at the local level and beyond, by using e-waste components to create appealing and useful products.

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Registration Open for Biofuels and Sustainability Conference

Friday, September 5th, 2008 by

Registration is now open for the Biofuels and Sustainability Conference to be held at the University of Illinois campus in Champaign, IL on October 21-22. This event will provide a forum for researchers, policy makers, students, activists and industry leaders to share and gain perspectives regarding the entire life-cycle of the biofuels industry–from feedstock development through fuel consumption. Diverse constituencies will be able to network and develop future directions and strategies regarding this important and complex topic and examine innovations that can improve the sustainability of the biofuels industry.

See the conference website for a detailed description of the event, a list of speakers, and registration information.

Remember that if you have events related to sustainability and pollution prevention that you would like to promote to the region, you can suggest them for the GLRPPR Calendar by sending them to Wayne Duke. Events posted to the GLRPPR Calendar also appear in relevant Sector Resources and are featured on the RSS feeds for those Sector Resources.

September 2008 Site of the Month: US Business Council for Sustainable Development

Monday, September 1st, 2008 by

The United States Business Council for Sustainable Development (US BCSD) is a non-profit association of businesses whose purpose is to deliver highly focused, collaborative projects that help its members and partners demonstrate leadership in the United States on sustainable development and realize business value. US BCSD leverages member participation and partner support to serve five platforms of activity — By-product Synergy, Ecosystem Services, Value and Supply Chain, Energy and Climate Change, and Water Resource Management. In addition to information on each of these activity areas, the US BCSD web site includes member/partner profiles, information on joining the council, and a list of upcoming events.

P2 Go Bragh: A Different Shade of Green Beer

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008 by

The first installment in this series concerns something other than Irish heritage that, for better or worse, has become inextricably linked to the celebration of the holiday in the U.S.: beer. Although this alcoholic beverage is sometimes dyed green for the sake of St. Patrick’s Day parties, the following resources relate to beer and brewing practices that are green in the sense of their environmental impacts.

As is the trend with most organic foods and beverages, organic beer is becoming more and more widely available as even big box retailers climb aboard the “green products are good for public relations, profits and the environment” train. Co-op America offers an overview of organic beer and wine as well as the rationale for choosing locally produced beers whenever possible (to reduce negative effects of long distance shipping, among other reasons). You can also search their National Green Pages under “Wine/Beer” for examples of breweries that produce organic beer. There is also a North American Organic Brewers Festival, scheduled this year for June 27-29 in Portland, Oregon. The festival web site lists the participating breweries and the beers they’re presenting.

For those of you, like my husband, who enjoy brewing your own beer at home, you might find the Seven Bridges Cooperative an interesting resource. Based in California, Seven Bridges provides certified organic ingredients for home brewing, such as organically grown hops and grains.

Interestingly, organic beer became the topic of controversy last year, as the USDA added to the list of non-organic ingredients that may compose 5% of a product by weight and still allow that product to bear the label “organic.” Hops were on the list, and while critical to the production of beer, they do make up less than 5% of the finished product by weight. The Organic Consumers Association was outraged by what it termed the “Budweiser Exception” that could allow big brewing companies to mass produce “organic” beers without using organically grown hops; the controversy was covered by MSNBC. Anheuser-Busch has since switched to using 100% organic hops. See the USDA’s web site for more information on organic food standards and labels.

Turning to waste reduction and efficiency in the brewing process, regardless of the use of organic ingredients, the March/April 2007 edition of In Business magazine featured a profile of Mad River Brewing Company in Blue Lake, California, which recycles or reuses 98% of its residuals, with a goal toward generating zero waste. The April 2007 edition of eco-structure Magazine included a look at the sustainable practices of New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado. Among other things, the company purchases wind energy to power 100% of its brewery’s operations, the packaging hall was designed with energy efficiency in mind, and the brewhouse features a closed-loop heating system. For more information about New Belgium’s sustainability initiatives, see their web site.

For an example of sustainable initiatives at a brewery within the Great Lakes region, check out Michigan DEQ’s case study on the Leopold Bros. of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Goose Island Brewery in Chicago, Illinois is also a founding member of the Chicago Waste to Profit Network. An article from the October 2000 edition of Conscious Choice discusses several organic beers, including Goose Island’s organic beer production and partnering with Panorama Brewing Company to produce Wolaver’s Organic Ales regionally. Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin was the first brewery in that state and the first business in Milwaukee to receive the Travel Green Wisconsin certification from the state’s Department of Tourism. Check out the brewery’s web site detailing what they’ve done to reduce their environmental and social impact and earn this recognition.

For more resources related to P2 for breweries, check out the GLRPPR Food Processing Sector Resource. I’ll be adding a “Beverage Manufacturing” subcategory in the near future to make finding resources related to brewing and other beverage production within this Sector Resource easier.

This week's photo post

Monday, February 18th, 2008 by

Boise Cascade Wallula Mill at dusk, originally uploaded by Scott Butner.

As long as my friends at GLRPPR have let me loose around here, I might as well have some fun….

Long before I became an engineer, I worked as a photographer. Recently, with the advent of digital, I have rediscovered photography. I do most of my shooting within 50 miles of Richland, WA.

Just because I like to think and communicate in pictures, I will try to post a weekly photo here, wherever possible one with an environmental theme to it. We’ll see how long this lasts.

This week’s photo is of the Boise Cascade Wallula mill, situated at the confluence of the Columbia and Walla Walla rivers in southeastern WA state. The mill produces a variety of paper products including office paper and label release paper.

I’ve recently had the pleasure of working with Ray Lam, who is environmental manager for the facility. Ray is a human dynamo, and has been bringing a great deal of energy to an industrial byproduct synergy effort here in the eastern half of the state.

SB

Be My Green Valentine

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008 by

Check out last year’s “Red Roses, Green Hearts” post for great information on how to show your love for the environment this Valentine’s Day. As of 2/13/08, all the links included in that post are still active. That post includes information on organic flowers; green gift guides; organic and fair trade chocolate, wine and coffee; safety ratings for perfume and cologne; and green restaurants.

The Chicago Edition of Ideal Bite also reports that the InterContinental Chicago is offering a green valentine hotel package for $219 a night and up, February 14-16. They also recently featured information on Ellie Thompson, a Chicago jewelry designer that uses reclaimed metals and fair-trade gems to create wearable works of art, if you’re considering jewelry for your special someone. The national Ideal Bite also offers additional information on organic flowers.

New American Dream’s Conscious Consumer Marketplace can also help you find environmentally and socially responsible Valentine’s Day gifts, such as flowers, chocolate, and jewelry. TreeHugger has also compiled a Valentine’s Day Gift Guide.

Finally, consider an electronic card instead of a paper one. For example, the National Wildlife Federation has Valentine’s Day e-cards available.

WasteCap Wisconsin June 2007 Bulletin Available

Friday, June 15th, 2007 by

Ok, so end-of-pipe recycling is not technically considered pollution prevention in the strictest sense of the term; it is often argued that only in-process recycling counts. But folks interested in P2 also tend to be interested in diverting waste from landfills, especially if that waste can be turned into an asset and put to further use, at the source or otherwise. Plus, many P2 professionals are becoming more and more interested in the concepts of product stewardship and extender producer responsibility, which include thinking about how to reuse and recycle materials once they’ve served their original purpose. Information on recycling and recycled-content products is also of interest in matters of environmentally preferable purchasing and green building. So, beneficial reuse is part of my personal sense of the intention of pollution prevention, and yes, I am going to talk about end-of-pipe recycling in this P2 blog. Gasp if you must, and direct all criticisms to me (Joy).

WasteCap Wisconsin LogoIf you’re interested in beneficial reuse in general, and specifically in construction and demolition debris recycling, electronics recycling, and organic material recycling (composting, food donation, scraps for animal feed, etc.), check out WasteCap Wisconsin’s web site. They offer case studies, publications, training opportunities, and other resources on these issues. They also produce a monthly e-mail bulletin chock full of case studies, resources, news, information on recycling technologies, legislation, events, and profiles of member organizations. The June 2007 issue is available online, and archived issues are available all the way back to 2005. Information on signing up for the bulletin is available on the WasteCap Wisconsin home page.