Archive for the 'Plastics' Category

October is Rise Above Plastics Month

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 by

RAP logo

Rise Above Plastics Month

Rise Above Plastics Month is a month-long initiative encouraging the public to reduce their plastic footprint and raise awareness about the harmful effects caused by single-use plastics in our marine and coastal environments, including the Great Lakes region.

Throughout October, the Surfrider Foundation will ‘Rise Above Plastics’ by providing tips on how you can reduce your plastic footprint and simple ways to implement change in your daily routine. Take the Rise Above Plastics pledge to commit to using less plastics every day.

You can also join your local Surfrider Chapter’s annual plastic trash cleanup and enter Surfrider’s Plastic Art Contest. Show your creativity and help to raise awareness of the effects of plastic pollution. Enter to have a chance to win an epic prize pack including a Firewire Tibertek surfboard or Bureo skateboard, Spy + Surfrider Helm Sunglasses, ChicoBag and Surfrider gear.

The Rise Above Plastics program (RAP) is the Surfrider Foundation’s response to the problem of plastic litter in our ocean and marine environments. The goal of the program is to educate the public on the impacts single-use plastics have on marine environments, and how individuals can make changes in their daily lives and within their communities that will stem the flow of plastics into the environment. RAP also calls upon people to reduce their plastic footprint by reducing or eliminating the use of products such as single-use plastic water bottles and plastic bags.

Some facts about plastics compiled by RAP include:

  • The amount of plastic produced from 2000 – 2010 exceeds the amount produced during the entire last century.[1]
  • Plastic is the most common type of marine litter worldwide.[2]
  • An estimated 100,000 marine mammals and up to 1 million sea birds die every year after ingesting or being tangled in plastic marine litter.[3]
  • Up to 80% of the plastic in our oceans comes from land-based sources.[4]
  • Plastics comprise up to 90% of floating marine debris.[5]
  • In 2009 about 3.8 million tons of waste plastic “bags, sacks and wraps” were generated in the United States, but only 9.4% of this total was recycled.[6]
  • Plastics do not biodegrade, but instead break down into small particles that persist in the ocean, absorb toxins, and enter our food chain through fish, sea birds and other marine life.[7]
  • Plastic bags are problematic in the litter stream because they float easily in the air and water, traveling long distances and never fully breaking down in water.
  • Cleanup of plastic bags is costly. California spends $25 million annually to landfill discarded plastic bags, and public agencies spend more than $300 million annually in litter cleanup.[8]
  • It is estimated that Americans go through about 100 billion plastic bags a year, or 360 bags per year for every man, woman and child in the country.[9]

Learn More

Plastics Pollution in the Great Lakes and the Marine Debris Problem
State University of New York researchers collaborated with the Los Angeles-based 5 Gyres Institute to study plastic pollutants in the Great Lakes Region. Read about their project and learn more about the problem of plastics pollution in the world’s water bodies. Newly updated to include recent research and news about microplastics pollution in the Great Lakes.

Webinar: Materials Cycling: A Focus on Plastics

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012 by

Friday, November 16, 2012 from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM (CST)
Register at http://www.eventbrite.com/event/4706755031

Sponsored by the NorthStar Initiative for Sustainable Enterprise (NiSE). Registration is free.

Less than 30% of plastics used in bottles and less than 9% of all plastic waste is recycled in the United States. While municipal recycling programs have traditionally focused on bottle recycling, other plastics – including film and rigid plastics – compose the majority of available plastic waste. As communities seek to reduce waste sent to landfills and meet higher diversion targets, there is increased interest in including these additional plastics in recycling programs. Through the presentations and discussion in this webinar, we hope to explore plastics recycling and its future potential from a variety of perspectives.

Spotlight: Clean Manufacturing Technology Institute

Thursday, June 4th, 2009 by

Continuing our focus on Indiana P2 programs, the Clean Manufacturing Technology Institute (CMTI), based at Purdue University, provides technical assistance, outreach, education, planning services and research to facilitate the adoption of pollution prevention/clean manufacturing strategies by Indiana manufacturing facilities.

CMTI offers assistance in all manufacturing sectors, but has special expertise in plastics (including fiber reinforced plastic), wood products, metal finishing, metal and plastic coatings, foundries and motor vehicle parts manufacturing.

CMTI co-founded (in 1996), and continues to manage, the Coating Applications Research Laboratory (CARL) on the Purdue campus. The lab allows manufacturers to test state-of-the-art coating and curing technologies under the guidance of CMTI engineers expert in their application. CMTI also offers ISO14001 Environmental Management Systems (EMS) services businesses and government entities. Training and energy efficiency assessments are also provided by CMTI.

Check out the CMTI web site for an archive of Technology Transfer/Pollution Prevention Case Studies. You can also browse the CMTI Clearinghouse Bibliography online.

December 2008 Site of the Month: Consumer Reports Greener Choices

Monday, December 1st, 2008 by

It’s holiday time again, which means you’re probably going to buy at least one gift for someone, as well as items for celebrations and holiday meals. You may wish to consult Consumer Reports Greener Choices web site, which provides information to help choose more environmentally friendly products. Articles and “green ratings” are available for the following product categories: Appliances, Cars, Electronics, Food & Beverages, and Home & Garden.  Within these sections, you’ll find links to articles, information on conservation of resources (such as energy, water, fuel, etc.), resources for shopping greener, and information on recycling and disposal. The “Hot Topics & Solutions” section of the site includes the Eco-labels Center (which helps you interpret what product labels really mean), the Electronics Recycling Center, the Global Warming Solutions Center, and sections on Energy, Water, and Waste.

The “Toolkit” section includes calculators to help save energy, water, and money, as well as a Toxics Search tool to find out whether there’s a potential for exposure while using a particular product, and how that can affect your health. The “Community” section of the site includes links to Consumers Union campaigns, forums and resources for further information, as well as blogs on cars, food safety, green homes, and safety.

Michigan Green Chemistry Action Plan Released

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008 by

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) on Sept. 15, 2008 released its strategy to promote research, development, and commercialization of innovative and practical technologies that prevent pollution through cleaner, cheaper, smarter chemistry. The strategy, released in the report “Advancing Green Chemistry: An Action Plan for Michigan Green Chemistry Research, Development and Education” identifies key steps for the success of green chemistry in Michigan.

In October 2006, Governor Jennifer M. Granholm issued Executive Directive No. 2007-6, “Promotion of Green Chemistry for Sustainable Economic Development and Protection of Public Health,” that established state policy encouraging the use of safer, less toxic, or non-toxic chemical alternatives to hazardous substances and the research, development, and implementation of Green Chemistry in Michigan.

The DEQ has been given primary responsibility to implement the Green Chemistry Executive Directive, including establishing a Michigan Green Chemistry Program and convening a Michigan Green Chemistry Roundtable. The Roundtable, which is comprised of experts representing business, academia, environmental interest groups, and the public, had significant input into the development of the Action Plan and will be participating in the implementation of the Michigan Green Chemistry Program.

Source: Michigan DEQ, 9/15/08.

New York State DEC to host REACH workshop

Tuesday, September 11th, 2007 by

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) recently announced that it will host a workshop on the European Union’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemical Substances (REACH). REACH is a recently adopted overhaul of the chemicals management system in the EU. REACH has important implications for United States firms exporting to EU member states and the rules became effective on June 1, 2007. The training session will take place on September 26, 2007 at DEC headquarters in Albany, NY.

An earlier post described a similar workshop that will be held in Lansing, MI on September 27.

For more upcoming events, check the GLRPPR online calendar and Sector Resources.

Lowell Center, MI DEQ Offer REACH Training

Friday, July 6th, 2007 by

The Chemicals Policy Initiative of the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) are offering a training on the REACH (Registration, Evaluation, and Authorization of Chemicals) legislation in September 2007. The training, entitled Turning REACH into an Opportunity: A Training on Implementing The European Union’s New REACH Legislation, will be held September 27 at the Lansing Community College West Campus in Lansing, MI. The following press release from the DEQ describes the training:

“REACH— Registration, Evaluation, and Authorization of Chemicals— is the recently adopted overhaul of the chemicals management system in the European Union (EU). Entered into force June 1, 2007, REACH has important implications for US firms exporting to European Member States.

Attend this one-day training to learn from one of the few REACH authors and other experts about what you need to know to comply with REACH, stay competitive, and advance more sustainable chemicals management in your firm.

Why Should I Attend?
The new REACH system puts much more responsibility on companies to collect data on most chemicals on the market, assess the risk of these chemicals, and define safe use down the supply chain. It also requires companies to justify continued use of chemicals of very high concern. Any company exporting chemicals or chemical mixtures into the EU; competes in Europe, the US or elsewhere with products meeting European standards; or exports finished products to Europe has been effected by REACH.

This training session will help US companies prepare for REACH and turn it from a challenge into an opportunity. European companies have been preparing for the challenges and opportunities of REACH for several years— US companies must be prepared to remain competitive. Attendees will receive a database of tools and resources to help them make informed decisions about chemicals alternatives.

Complete conference agenda and registration information will be available on the Web by late July at www.chemicalspolicy.org. Registration fee is $100 and includes continental breakfast, lunch, and conference materials. Pre-registration and pre-payment is required. Registration and Information Contact: Yve Torrie, Lowell Center for Sustainable Production, 978-934-3121.”

Note that this event has been posted to the GLRPPR calendar, and an electronic version of the registration brochure will be linked to that event record when it becomes available. As part of Michigan DEQ’s Green Meetings Initiative, all marketing of this training will be done electronically. For more information on DEQ trainings, see the Trainings and Workshops section of the DEQ web site.

Thanks to Jennifer Acevedo of Michigan DEQ for providing this information.

Small Business Resources: MPCA's Small Business Environmental Assistance Program

Monday, June 11th, 2007 by

If you operate a small business in Minnesota, be sure to check out the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s Small Business Environmental Assistance Program web pages. Included are general information pages on air, water, waste and clean up issues, a link to the Environmental Guide for Small Businesses in Minnesota, information specific for various sectors (including auto body and auto repair, dry cleaning, halogenated solvent cleaning, automotive salvage yards, chromium electroplating and anodizing, fiberglass fabricators, and wood finishers), links to related EPA initiatives, and archived editions of two newsletters–Small Business Enterprise, a quarterly newsletter published by the SBEAP that covers pollution prevention, compliance and training, and The Cross Link, a newsletter geared specifically toward fiber reinforced plastics (FRP) products manufacturers.

Plastics Energy Best Practice Guidebook Available from Focus on Energy

Tuesday, October 10th, 2006 by

Wisconsin’s Focus on Energy program recently released a Plastics Energy Best Practice Guidebook. According to a Focus on Energy press release, the guidebook emphasizes not only the energy savings advantages, but the additional benefits, such as improved production, reduced waste and lower materials and water usage that result from improving plastics-specific manufacturing processes. The guidebook includes a discussion of energy use in the plastics industry, ways to compare a facility’s performance with other plastics processors, guidelines for energy management best practices and summaries for more than 20 technical best practices for plastics-specific production processes that have been reviewed by plastics industry leaders. To request a copy of the guidebook, contact Craig Schepp at 608-277-2948.