Archive for the 'Product Stewardship' Category

State E-waste Legislation Update

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010 by

Over on the Sustainable Electronics Initiative (SEI) blog, Aida Williams provides an update on three new state e-waste laws that have recently passed in Vermont, South Carolina and New York.

The SEI has also produced a new resource comparing and contrasting e-waste laws, the products covered within the laws, whether disposal bans are involved, etc. Check it out online or download the chart in PDF format.

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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SEI "Ask an Expert" Service Provides Information on Electronics and the Environment

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009 by

The Sustainable Electronics Initiative (SEI), hosted by the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC), is pleased to announce the availability of its online “Ask an Expert” service for the submission of questions related to electronics and their environmental impacts.

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Documents recently added to GLRPPR sector resources

Monday, June 22nd, 2009 by

These publications were recently added to GLRPPR’s Sector Resources. This list is also available as an RSS feed at http://www.istc.illinois.edu/info/library_docs/SectorRSS.htm.

Lead-Free Wheels
Mon, 22 Jun 2009 20:15:14 GMT
The Lead-Free Wheels Program is partnering with retail tire outlets to make lead-free wheel balancing available to consumers when they purchase new tires. They are also actively working with numerous state and local fleets to phase out the use of lead wheel balancing weights. Site also includes information on sources of lead-free weights, wheel balancing, and lead-free alternatives. A project of the Ecology Center (Michigan).

National Lead Free Wheel Weight Initiative (NLFWWI)
Mon, 22 Jun 2009 20:11:37 GMT
The National Partnership for Environmental Priorities (NPEP) National Lead Free Wheel Weight Initiative encourages the transition from the use of lead for wheel weights to lead-free alternatives. Wheel weights are clipped to the rims of every automobile wheel in the United States in order to balance the tires. These weights often come loose and fall off. They are either washed into storm sewers and end up in waterways or are gathered during street cleaning and placed in municipal landfills. The weights are susceptible to atmospheric corrosion. Currently, there are no regulatory controls governing the use of lead wheel weights.

Google PowerMeter
Mon, 22 Jun 2009 20:10:19 GMT
Google PowerMeter shows consumers their electricity consumption in a secure Google gadget. Google is currently testing the product with utility partners in the US, India and Canada.

Know the Number
Mon, 22 Jun 2009 20:08:42 GMT
The Carbon Counter displays the running total amount of long-lived greenhouse gasses in the earth’s atmosphere, measured in metric tons.

Electronics Environmental Benefits Calculator
Mon, 22 Jun 2009 20:06:51 GMT
The Electronics Environmental Benefits Calculator is intended to assist institutional purchasers, including Federal Electronic Challenge (FEC) program participants, in quantifying the benefits of environmentally sound management of electronic equipment. The Calculator estimates the environmental and economic benefits of purchasing EPEAT-registered products, in addition to improvements in equipment operation and end-of-life management practices. Currently this tool is designed to evaluate EPEAT-registered desktop (with a CRT or LCD) and notebook computers. For end-of-life, users can calculate the benefits of reuse and recycling of computers as well as mobile telephones.

TranAtlas
Mon, 22 Jun 2009 20:03:18 GMT
This interactive map uses a Google Maps interface to display: Existing and planned alternative fueling stations; Alternative fuel production facilities; Light-duty vehicle density; Roads and political boundaries. Users can customize the map display, print, and query the underlying data.

Climate Change Portal
Mon, 22 Jun 2009 20:00:46 GMT
This portal includes links to reports and other technical literature on the subject of climate change and how it affects water supply. Developed by the Santa Clara Valley Water District, so the focus is California, but there is a lot of good, general information here.

Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States
Mon, 22 Jun 2009 17:10:10 GMT
The report summarizes the science and the impacts of climate change on the United States, now and in the future. It focuses on climate change impacts in different regions of the U.S. and on various aspects of society and the economy such as energy, water, agriculture, and health.

Practice Greenhealth
Wed, 17 Jun 2009 20:11:09 GMT
Practice Greenhealth is the nation’s leading membership and networking organization for institutions in the healthcare community that have made a commitment to sustainable, eco-friendly practices. Members include hospitals, healthcare systems, businesses and other stakeholders engaged in the greening of healthcare to improve the health of patients, staff and the environment.

Top 25 Green Energy Leaders
Wed, 17 Jun 2009 15:05:40 GMT
It is no longer enough to just conserve energy. More and more corporations, government agencies and entire cities are making large, long-term commitments to ensure that the power they do use comes from renewable sources. To recognize these trendsetters, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency publishes a quarterly list of the top American users of green power: organizations that generate their own renewable energy, buy it from suppliers, or purchase offset credits to compensate for their traditional energy use.

Life-Cycle Environmental and Economic Decision-Making for Alternative Biofuels
Thu, 11 Jun 2009 21:58:54 GMT
The specific aims of this program are to develop and apply methods to study the life-cycle health, environmental, resource, and economic impacts and performance of the various pathways from biomass to fuel use. This program will produce a comprehensive framework for assessing both the benefits and impacts of biofuel technologies for environmental quality, human health, natural resources, and local, regional and global economies. This effort includes methods development, data collection, information management, and decision-support tools.

GoodNanoGuide
Thu, 11 Jun 2009 21:53:17 GMT
The GoodNanoGuide is a collaboration platform designed to enhance the ability of experts to exchange ideas on how best to handle nanomaterials in an occupational setting. It is meant to be an interactive forum that fills the need for up-to-date information about current good workplace practices, highlighting new practices as they develop.

Green Building Sherpa
June 9, 2009 at 12:26 pm
An online directory of environmentally friendly products, services and information pertaining to building design, construction, management + operation.

Flexible Solar Power Shingles Transform Roofs From Wasted Space To Energy Source
June 9, 2009 at 9:59 am
A transparent thin film barrier used to protect flat panel TVs from moisture could become the basis for flexible solar panels that would be installed on roofs like shingles.

Climate TechBook
Tuesday, June 09, 2009 8:43 AM
The Pew Center’s Climate TechBook serves as an information resource on technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from across the economy, including: overviews of greenhouse gas emissions from the key economic sectors: electricity, transportation, industry, residential and commercial, and agriculture; technology overviews for broad technology areas, such as buildings and biofuels; and fact sheets that provide background information about specific technologies, the current status of the technology, cost information, policy options to promote the technology, and obstacles to further development and deployment.

New GLRPPR Sector Resource on Electronic Waste

Friday, May 22nd, 2009 by

Recently Indiana became the 19th state in the U.S. to enact electronic waste regulations with the signing of HB 1589. The group of states with such regulations also includes Michigan, Minnesota and Illinois in the Great Lakes region. According to the Electronics Take Back Coalition, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and New York will be considering e-waste legislation in 2009. At the local level, New York City also has electronic waste regulations. At the federal level, H.R. 1580, the Electronic Waste Research and Development Act, has been voted upon by the U.S. House of Representatives and been received by the Senate.

Given this trend, it seems appropriate to launch a resource collection on the Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable (GLRPPR) site focused specifically on e-waste issues. The GLRPPR Electronic Waste Sector Resource will include links to relevant legislation, news, events, funding opportunities, and contacts. This resource list is under development, so if you are aware of resources for e-waste programs in your state, please feel free to send links to Joy Scrogum for potential inclusion in this new resource list. An RSS feed is available for the Electronic Waste Sector Resource so you can be aware of new resources as they are added.

GLRPPR is a member of the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange (P2Rx) a national network of pollution prevention information centers. Another P2Rx center, the Western Sustainability Pollution Prevention Network (WSPPN) has also developed a P2Rx Topic Hub on Electronic Waste. This is linked to within the new Sector Resource on the GLRPPR site and is also available on the main GLRPPR Topic Hub page.

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.

IL Electronic Products Recycling and Reuse Act

Thursday, September 25th, 2008 by

On September 17, 2008, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich announced legislation requiring electronics manufacturers to collect and recycle or reuse electronics products. At no charge to consumers, the law authorizes the use of a combination of incentives and mandates to reduce the ever-increasing amount of electronic waste – televisions, printers, computer monitors, computers, laptops, printers, fax machines and MP3 players – and their toxic substances, such as lead, cadmium, copper, flame retardants, and phosphorus, from being disposed in Illinois landfills.  It also gives manufacturers flexibility in the strategies they use to meet their goals, such as partnering with retailers and local governments to sponsor collections.  Manufacturers, recyclers, refurbishers and collectors must also register annually with the Illinois EPA. Effective January 1, 2012, landfills would be prohibited from knowingly accepting any of the covered electronic devices for disposal. SB 2313 is effective immediately.

For further information on SB 2313, as well as a link to the resulting Public Act (095-0959; the Electronic Products Recycling and Reuse Act), see the Illinois General Assembly web site.

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.

International Environmental Nanotechnology Conference, Oct. 7-9

Monday, September 22nd, 2008 by

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 will host the 2008 International Environmental Nanotechnology Conference: Applications and Implications, Oct. 7 – 9 at Chicago’s Hyatt Regency Hotel, 151 E. Wacker Dr. Researchers from Asia, Australia and Europe will join U.S. scientists and government officials to discuss nanotechnology applications for environmental cleanup, pollution control and the implications of releasing engineered nanoparticles into the environment.

Opening remarks Oct. 7 at 8 a.m. will be provided by EPA Region 5 Deputy Administrator Bharat Mathur, EPA Office of Research and Development Assistant Administrator George Gray and EPA Nanotechnology Manager Jeff Morris. The conference agenda includes over 100 presentations and poster sessions.  About 40 exhibitors will be represented at the poster session the evening of Oct. 9. Registration for the entire event is $475.

Partner agencies represented at the conference include the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Science Foundation, U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Department of Energy and University of Illinois at Chicago’s Great Lakes Centers for Occupational and Environmental Safety and Health. Find more information at http://emsus.com/nanotechconf/index.htm, or contact EPA’s Warren Layne (layne.warren@epa.gov, 312-886-7336) or Charles Maurice (maurice.charles@epa.gov, 312-886-6635).

For more upcoming events, see the GLRPPR Calendar.

August 2008 Site of the Month: INFORM, Inc.

Friday, August 1st, 2008 by

INFORM, Inc. is “dedicated to educating the public about the effects of human activity on the environment and public health.” Its goal is to “empower citizens, businesses and government to adopt practices and policies that will sustain our planet for future generations.”

The ININFORM logoFORM web site provides information on current projects, including Waste Prevention: Extended Producer Responsibility, Cleaning for Health, and INFORM Media, the organization’s effort to spread environmental literacy by “making strategic use of video and the web to reach a greatly expanded audience with critically important information about how to preserve the environment and protect human health.” Thus far, INFORM has produced “The Secret Life of Cell Phones” as part of its media project, with future videos planned to focus on paper, jeans, antibacterial soaps and single-use plastic bottles.

The INFORM site also provides publications and topical RSS feeds. New site features reportedly “coming soon” will include blogs and a “tools and calculators” section.