Sustainability Awareness Promoted by Major Music Festivals in the Great Lakes Region

May 6th, 2014 by

The days are getting longer, the weather is getting warmer, and music festival season is rapidly approaching. Every year, music festivals across the country attract hundreds of thousands of music enthusiasts. Many of these festivals are taking action to become more sustainable and encouraging their attendees to do so as well.

Summer Camp Music Festival – Chillicothe, IL – May 23-25, 2014

Summer Camp Music Festival has a team of volunteers that help collect and sort trash, as well as educate festival attendees about the recycling and composting programs that are offered. With color coded trash bins and portable recycling bags, Summer Camp makes it easy for fans to help keep the festival clean. Moreover, the festival requires that all vendors use compostable materials, greatly limiting the amount of trash that ends up in a landfill.

Every year, Summer Camp brings in numerous nonprofit organizations to promote sustainability, renewable energy, and carbon offsetting amongst the festival-goers. Attendees learn about many different ways that they can lower their impact on the environment, even after the festival is over.

Working with engineers at Caterpillar, Summer Camp has been able to use a higher concentration of biodiesel in their generators for all electricity needs, which significantly lowers their use of traditional energy sources. For the past three years, the festival tracked and offset their estimated CO2 emissions to reduced their environmental footprint.

To learn more about this eco-friendly festival’s sustainability initiatives, visit the Summer Camp Music Festival website.

Pitchfork Music Festival – Chicago, IL – July 18-20, 2014 

Through recycling programs, purchasing carbon offsets, and using sustainable power, Pitchfork Music Festival takes responsibility for their environmental impact, and acknowledges the importance of encouraging their fans to participate in the efforts to become a clean, green festival.

Recycling crews work with vendors to separate the trash generated at the festival, sending food waste to composting facilities and recycling as much as possible. Additionally, the festival has reduced oil demand and carbon emissions by powering the festival entirely with biodiesel and using hybrid vehicles for festival and musician transport. Pitchfork understands that being an international music festival creates the need for a lot of travel, which is why the festival has decided to buy carbon offsets to cover the transportation of all of their musicians. Purchasing these carbon offsets help fund projects to reduce CO2 emissions, so the festival strongly encourages attendees to purchase their own as well.

Visit the Pitchfork website for more information.

Lollapalooza – Chicago, IL – August 1-3, 2014

Lollapalooza is constantly seeking new, eco-friendly businesses to join the ‘Green Street Art Market’. Local businesses, as well as artisans from across the globe, are encouraged to promote their environmentally responsible goods to the thousands of fans that walk by throughout the weekend.

For the past few years, Lollapalooza has partnered with Camelbak to provide free, ice cold water to festival-goers at several filling stations throughout the park. This encourages the use of reusable water bottles and hydration packs and prevents up to 3.2 million disposable water bottles from becoming waste at the end of the 3-day festival. Lollapalooza also has hundreds of recycling bins located throughout the entire park, many of which are accompanied by a volunteer to inform people of what types of trash should be discarded into each container.

The festival implemented these programs not only to prevent the festival from causing harm to the environment and promote environmental awareness, but also to encourage volunteers from the Chicagoland area to be a part of the Environmental Initiatives programs. The application will become available mid-May, so check the volunteer information section of the FAQ page often throughout May because positions fill up quickly!

More information about the festival can be found on the Lollapalooza website.

National P2 Roundtable offers P2 101 training as three-webinar series

April 30th, 2014 by

This course will provide an outline allowing your organization to pursue P2 action while increasing your long-term profits.  The course will consist of three one-hour webinars.

Why should you take this training?

  • Your organization will learn how to involve employees and management to participate in addressing pollution sources and contribute to developing P2 solutions.
  • This training will demonstrate how P2 will support other green initiatives employed by your organization.
  • P2 101 is ideal for engineers, scientist, technical assistance providers, environmental health and safety managers, plant managers, production personnel and regulators who are interested in learning about the foundations and applications of P2.

Webinar Dates

  • Wednesday, May 21, 2014 at 2 PM ET
  • Wednesday, May 28, 2014 at 2 PM ET
  • Wednesday, June 11, 2014 at 2 PM ET

Cost

  • This three-part webinar training series will be offered for $500 for up to three participants from your organization.

Please contact Kim Richards at kim@p2.org to register or request more information.

**If you register for the course but are unavailable to participate in one or more of the webinars, the webinar recording will be made available for your use.

Three Tips on the Road to a Great Governor’s Award Application

April 28th, 2014 by

This post, authored by John Mulrow, Business/Industrial Sustainability Specialist at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, originally appeared on the ISTC Blog. Although it is directed at Illinois companies that are applying for an Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Award, its excellent sustainability reporting suggestions apply to any organiztion.

To learn more about the Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Award, visit http://www.istc.illinois.edu/info/govs_awards.cfm. Also be sure to check out John’s recent P2 Impact column entitled “3 magic words to mute ‘sustainababble‘”, which offers examples of ways that organizations can make sustainability a meaningful word.

If your organization has done a lot in the name of sustainability – from projects that save money and resources to initiatives that strengthen the people and communities you work for – what are you waiting for? The Governor’s Sustainability Award provides a great opportunity for you to pull all of your sustainability work together into a single document: Your award application!

Because sustainability encompasses the triple bottom line – People, Planet, Profit – it can be tough to wrap one’s brain around all that should be included in your application. Our How To Apply page and FAQ’s will help you in that process, but we know that’s a lot to read! Here are three tips to help you cut to the chase, and get started on your application (due May 22).

1. Get key people on board

Governor’s Award Applications are typically a team effort, but there is often a single person or small team that drives the process forward. The application drivers can be anyone – from top management to employees who volunteer time on a Green Team. If you’re reading this, you may be the driver!

Send a note out to co-workers letting them know you’re preparing a Gov.’s Award application. Here are some key people to get on board early (positions vary by organization):

  • Top Management
  • Facilities/Operations Manager
  • Plant Manager
  • Sustainability Officer/Green Team Lead
  • PR Officer

 2. Read these two things

  1. Narrative Guidelines –You have up to six single-spaced pages to describe your sustainability accomplishments. These guidelines tell you how.
  2. Metrics Form Instructions – Download the Metrics Form (Microsoft Excel format) and read the Instructions tab.

 3. Check out the sample applications

ISTC provides sample applications that display best practices from past winners’ applications. Note that a good application typically includes a variety of projects touching on multiple impacts or aspects of sustainability. The project descriptions will also include some detail on how they were conceived and who was involved. We want to hear how your organization went from idea to implementation.

BONUS TIP: Consider normalizing your data

Normalized data is reported on a relevant per-unit basis. One of our 2013 award winners, Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District, tracked their water use in this way before and after implementing water conservation measures in their wash bay. Instead of simply reporting total gallons of water consumed, they reported gallons per vehicle-hour, providing us with a water-use measure that can be compared across years, regardless of how many trips the buses make.  This type of measurement, a normalized metric, is extremely helpful for evaluating your progress – the true impact of a sustainability project.

Check out the Illinois Manufacturer Inc. sample application for more normalization examples and talk to your team about what per-unit measures you might use in your application.

If you still have questions about the process, contact John Mulrow for more information at jmulrow@illinois.edu or 630.586.9168.

2014 Michigan Green Chemistry Governor’s Awards nominations open for innovative projects

April 24th, 2014 by

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has opened nominations for the sixth annual Michigan Green Chemistry Governor’s Awards.

The Governor’s Awards recognize advances that incorporate the principles of green chemistry into design, manufacturing, or use of chemicals and materials. The awards honor innovative efforts to design, implement, and promote safer and more sustainable chemicals, processes, and products.

Awards are open to individuals, groups, and organizations, both non-profit and for profit. Entries must be sent no later than July 18, 2014. The awards will be presented at the 2014 Michigan Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference, which will take place this fall at Michigan State University.

The program was established by the Michigan Green Chemistry Roundtable to celebrate innovation in Michigan, with fifteen winners having been presented with an award in the first five years of the program.

To find a copy of the nomination packet, examples of past award winners’ projects, or more information on the Michigan Green Chemistry Program, visit the DEQ Web site at www.michigan.gov/greenchemistry. You may also contact Mr. Chris Affeldt, 517-284-6851, affeldtc@michigan.gov.

Earth Day Festivities Become Week Long Celebrations

April 22nd, 2014 by

Happy Earth Day, everyone!

Every year, schools and universities across the nation participate in Earth Day activities. Many of the ‘Big Ten’ universities have extended Earth Day into a week-long series of events to create sustainable awareness across the student population.

INDIANA UNIVERSITY

Indiana University is hosting a week full of events and activities  to involve students  in the Earth Week Celebration. The Environmental Management and Sustainable Development Association (EMSDA) has planned an event each day, including presentations about sustainability and renewable energy, a documentary viewing about sustainable agriculture, and a bike ride to a  farm to learn about local organic farming practices, while promoting green transportation as well! To learn more about how Indiana University promotes Earth Week, please visit http://www.indiana.edu/~iuemsda/earthweek.php .

MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY

One of the main events hosted by Michigan State University for Earth Week is the Greening the Supply Chain Conference 2014, which took place on Monday, April 21, 2014 at the Jack Breslin Student Events Center.  In addition to the conference, the annual Tri-County Environmental Leadership Awards will take place on Wednesday, April 23 to honor the sustainability leaders from Eaton, Clinton and Ingham counties. The University has also hosted a Spring Bike Sale to promote sustainable transportation and has several Community Reuse Days planned to encourage the community to reduce, reuse and recycle. A full list of events can be found here.

OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY

To celebrate this planet that we all share, Ohio State hosted many events in the past week leading up to Earth Day. The celebration has been a huge success,  with the popular Green Lunch Series events and the Sustainability Summit. Whether it was the Community Recycled Art Project, the Environmental Film Screening, or the many seminars about recycling and sustainability, there was something for every member of the Ohio State community to become involved in to celebrate Earth Week. More information and a full list of events can be found here.

UNIVERSITY OF IOWA

In efforts to accommodate all students’ busy schedules, the University of Iowa celebrates Earth Day with an entire month of sustainability and environmental activities, with events almost every day throughout the month of April. Although the month is coming to an end,  Earth Month has been a great success, and there are even more  excellent events to come! For a full list of upcoming events or to submit your own event, visit the University of Iowa sustainability page and check back often for updates!

UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign  is currently celebrating Earth Week this week to promote awareness for the sustainable living and environmental appreciation. With a variety of events and activities, the students of the University, as well as the members of the surrounding community, are given a plethora of opportunities to become a part of Earth Week. From a Clothing Swap held at the University YMCA to the Sustainability Symposium held by the Institute for Sustainability, Energy & Environment, there is something for everyone to attend! More information and a full list of events can be found at the sustainability website.

Minnesota Freshwater Society Offers Opportunities for Residents Interested in Pollution Prevention

April 10th, 2014 by

This post was authored by Lauren Murphy, who joined the GLRPPR staff in March. Lauren is a junior in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois.

Minnesota has always been a welcoming place for organizations advocating for pollution prevention. The Freshwater Society, a nonprofit organization established in 1968, is dedicated to promoting conservation, protection, and restoration of all freshwater resources, which plays a large role in pollution prevention of Minnesota waters.

Recently the Freshwater Society launched two projects aimed at taking action to restore Minnesota’s freshwater resources.

Master Water Stewards Program

The Freshwater Society and the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District recently launched the Master Water Stewards program to certify and support community leaders to implement pollution prevention programs within the District. The program’s goals are to further educate the community, reduce pollutants from urban runoff, and allow more water to soak into the ground before running into storm sewer systems.

The MWS Program provides a 50-hour long program of courses and projects for residents of the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District who would like to become volunteer community leaders for future pollution prevention projects.

Learn more about the program by watching this video.

If you are a resident of the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District and are interested in the program, visit the program’s web site for more information, a calendar of events, and for the application to join the 2014 class.

2014 State of Water Conference

The 2014 State of Water Conference will be held at Cragun’s Resort in Brainerd, MN from May 1, 2014-May 2, 2014. It provides opportunities for individuals who are committed to improving and protecting water resources to network and connect with professionals from around the state, gain technical insights, and identify opportunities to become involved in water resource protection.

The conference will feature 70+ presenters, including Darby Nelson, author of the book For Love of Lakes, and Dr. Peter Sorenson, the head researcher at the new Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center at the University of Minnesota, as well as a variety of breakout sessions offered throughout the two days. These workshops and breakout sessions will give attendees the latest information about water issues related to runoff pollution, local impacts, watersheds, aquatic habitat restoration, and aquatic invasive species. The full conference schedule can be found here:
http://freshwater.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/State-of-Water-brochure.pdf.

For more information and to register to attend the conference, visit http://www.conservationminnesota.org/state-of-water-conference/.

Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards Accepting Nominations through April 30, 2014

March 27th, 2014 by

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is accepting nominations for the 2014 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards. The awards promote the environmental and economic benefits of developing and using novel green chemistry both in academia and industry. The American Chemical Society’s Green Chemistry Institute® administers the awards in coordination with the EPA.

Deadline for submitting nominations is April 30, 2014. Winners will be announced in the fall and there will be a special awards ceremony in Washington DC.

Please visit the EPA’s Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards website for further details and to download this year’s nomination package.

Sustainability and behavior change article roundup

March 18th, 2014 by

Here are some recent articles on behavior change and sustainability.

Tackle your company’s waste and create change from within — The Guardian

It’s hard to reduce anything by 90% – and waste to landfill is especially tricky. But that goal is what Los Angeles-based retail supplier, Farmer Brothers, has been working on for the last few years. The size of the reduction is ambitious. Even more remarkable, though, is that this initiative did not originate in the company’s sustainability department, the facilities crew, or even the CEO. Instead the leader was an inspired product manager named Sarah Beaubien.

myActions Platform Turning Engagement with Waste, Wildlife Initiatives Into Action — Sustainable Brands

Engaging people in sustainability remains one of the cause’s biggest challenges – ensuring their behavior reflects their engagement is another. A number of studies have been devoted to bridging the gap between people’s attitudes and their actions, and it remains a conundrum for many organizations on a mission to promote positive behavior. Luckily, tools such as myActions are helping companies not only engage certain groups on the merit of more conscious behaviors but motivate them to follow through. myActions builds and designs online communities and social tools that track the digital sharing of real-world actions. For every action taken, a donation is made to the cause of the user’s choice. The company partners with organizations from municipalities (Ohio Valley) to nonprofits (Net Impact) to brands (EKOCYCLE) that provide the greatest opportunity for impact through their networks.

Consumers may change behavior if delivered the right message — GreenBiz

If you’ve heard me speak at a conference, you know there’s a point in the presentation where I typically say, “Don’t try to educate your audience into changing their behaviors.” Then I ask the audience to raise their hands if they can think of at least one thing they know they should do on a daily basis to be healthier but that they don’t do. Nearly every hand goes up, and I say, “See, knowing a thing doesn’t mean you’re going to do a thing.”

But I might be wrong.

WaterSense H2Otel Challenge Webinars

March 5th, 2014 by

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officially launched the WaterSense H2Otel Challenge one month ago to help hotels assess, change, and track their water use using best management practices. Interested hotels can dive right in and take the pledge today, and any organization can help spread the word and recruit hotels.

As part of the H2Otel Challenge, WaterSense is offering a series of technical training webinars that begin this week. To learn more about the WaterSense H2Otel Challenge, review specific water best management practices, and hear from professionals who are using water more efficiently, register now:

Registration now open for the 2014 Great Lakes Green Chemistry Conference

February 27th, 2014 by

2014 Great Lakes Green Chemistry Conference
Cleveland, OH
March 31-April 2, 2014
Register at http://www.glrppr.org/conference/register/index.cfm

Learn first-hand about the business case for green chemistry and how companies can take advantage of technical assistance opportunities to help them move forward in their sustainability efforts. Network with others who are interested in adopting green chemistry principles to advance economic development and a healthy environment in the Great Lakes region.

Join leaders from industry, academia, government, non-profits, U.S. EPA Region 5, and those involved in the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable’s Safer Chemistry Challenge Program in Cleveland, OH from March 31-April 3, 2014. Conference events include:

  • Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable meeting (afternoon of March 31)
    • Meeting cost $15 to pay for food during mid-afternoon break
  • Great Lakes Green Chemistry Conference (April 1-2)
  • GreenScreen Training Workshop (April 3)
    • Cost: $150 ($95 for government agencies, NGOs, and educators)

See the conference web site for more information and to register.