Recent News

  • Chevrolet is using old batteries to save...bats?
    Chevrolet's landfill-free ?goal? requires it to account for every single waste stream generated at its operations. Circuit trays called the attention of environmental engineers at the landfill-free Kokomo Operations in Indiana? as they were not wanted by any local recyclers. After a bit ?of ?stewing on the problem, Chevrolet staff John Bradburn had an eureka moment when he realized that he could swap out the wood pallet layers in the original bat box design with the trays, which also would save time as he could just notch two wood pieces on the sides, enabling him to slide these trays one after another right inside the battery case. Source: GreenBiz, 6/29/15
  • Sprint, Staples, Kimberly-Clark: the litmus test for wheat-straw paper
    Most people equate paper with cutting down trees, but an abundant eco-alternative covers literally tens of millions of acres across the North American prairies. Wheat straw, typically burned or landfilled by farmers to make way for new crops, is slowly gaining credibility as a durable replacement for virgin and recycled fiber from trees. The latest evidence comes from Sprint, which will test wheat straw paper made by Prairie Paper -- the Canadian startup co-founded by actor Woody Harrelson -- in customer mailings. Office supplies company Staples and tissue manufacturer Kimberly-Clark likewise have committed to this 'rapidly renewable' source of fiber. Other big companies getting behind wheat straw paper including Staples, which began stocking approximately two years ago. The office retailer estimates that for every two boxes of Step Forward Paper consumed, one tree is saved. Kimberly-Clark is using wheat straw, along with bamboo, for a series of products that use 20 percent plant fiber instead of tree fiber or recycled paper. The items include tissue paper and paper towels. The company is sourcing straw for the GreenHarvest line directly from farmers. Source: GreenBiz, 6/29/15
  • Lessons from an E-Scrap Workshop
    Scott Cassel writes about participating in a panel at the Indiana Recycling Coalition Conference as part of Indiana's first E-cycle stakeholder meeting. "In a room filled with dedicated solid waste managers, recyclers, environmentalists, and government officials, we took a look at Indiana's current e-scrap recycling law to identify successes, challenges, and potential solutions." Source: The PSI Blog (Product Stewardship Institute), 6/30/15
  • Inside the Foundry -- AT&T's IoT innovation center
    The IoT Foundry, part of a network of AT&T tech innovation centers, is a hub for the fast-growing Internet of Things, or IoT for short. Amid the quirky Silicon Valley vibe -- the rat's nest of cables, the mobile furniture, the indoor scooters and all the rest -- there's a decidedly serious mission: to envision and invent the next generation of efficiency technologies. Source:, 6/29/15
  • Upcycling for Good: Meet the Digitruck
    For a decade, in partnership with Arrow's Value Recovery business, Close the Gap (CTG), an international nonprofit organization working to bridge the digital divide, has been distributing high-quality, pre-owned computers to people in developing and emerging countries. These computers are donated by large and medium-size corporations and public organizations that want to make a difference. Together, over the past 10 years, Close the Gap and Arrow Value Recovery have processed 440,000 donated computers and reached over 1.5 million users. However, the digital divide isn't simply due to a lack of available technology. For many, it starts with a lack of electricity. What good is a device if you don't have the electricity to power it? For many of the 75 percent of Africans who live in rural communities, a lack of infrastructure, including utilities such as electricity, makes the digital divide a veritable chasm. To span this great divide, Close the Gap has partnered with Greenlink to create a solar-powered mobile unit -- the Digitruck -- which is built with triple insulation to withstand the sub-Saharan African heat. The Digitruck can be used as a classroom or a clinic and can travel from village to village. Source: Arrow Value Recovery, 12/22/14
  • ISRI: Residents oppose one-bin collections
    The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries says a new poll supports its position opposing one-bin collections for delivery to mixed-waste processing facilities. The ISRI and Earth911 poll asked online readers the following: Is it worth the convenience to not separate your recyclables from your trash if when sorted after collection, it negatively affects the amount of materials that can be recycled? The result: 75 percent supported maintaining a separate bin for recycling. Source: Resource Recycling, 6/23/15
  • Google to transform carcass of Alabama coal power plant into clean-powered datacenter
    Google plans to build a new datacenter in Alabama, which will by their 14th site globally. But they're not going to just build it in any regular spot; they will be taking over the Widows Creek Plant, a shut down coal power plant located on Guntersville Reservoir on the Tennessee River, in northeast Alabama, and convert the location to host this vital part of the internet infrastructure. What makes this extra-interesting is that the former-coal-plant-turned-datacenter will be powered by renewable energy. Source: TreeHugger, 6/25/15
  • Apple's Lisa Jackson to lead all of Apple's social policy initiatives
    Lisa Jackson, former head of the Environmental Protection Agency and Apple's top executive on environmental issues, will become the company's lead on all policy initiatives, including the environment, education and accessibility. Her new title will be the vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives. In a memo to employees, Apple chief executive Tim Cook said that Jackson's new role is in line with the company's dedication to "leaving the world better than we found it." As part of her promotion, Jackson will also take over leadership of the company's global government affairs and public policy teams. Source: The Washington Post, 6/23/15
  • How an upcycled battery could keep smartphones from destroying the planet
    Better Re is a crowdfunded reusable smartphone battery made by a team in Korea that could help solve the massive global problem of e-waste. Source: TechRepublic, 6/12/15
  • Federal government sticks with EPEAT after all
    Federal officials have allayed concerns that an executive order regarding environmentally friendly electronics purchasing will erode use of the EPEAT program. President Obama's March 2015 executive order on sustainable-product purchasing excluded an explicit requirement that federal agencies give purchasing preference to electronics meeting the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) standards. That omission concerned EPEAT advocates, who feared the decision could lead to the erosion or demise of the standard. But the implementing instructions, dated June 10, indicate nothing less stringent than EPEAT would be acceptable. Source: Resource Recycling, 6/18/15
  • New Jersey bills tackle e-scrap program, hard drive shredding
    Legislation in play in New Jersey would provoke an overhaul of the state's e-scrap program and offer an easing of state requirements for mobile hard drive shredding. Senate Bill 2973 would likely increase original equipment manufacturer recycling targets, and SB 2978 would allow mobile hard drive shredders to operate without a state permit. Both passed unanimously through the Senate Environment and Energy Committee on June 15. The next step for the bills would be a reading on the full Senate floor. Such action is not yet scheduled for either bill. Source: Resource Recycling, 6/18/15
  • EPA Report Shows Progress on E-Recycling and Identifies Opportunity to Advance G7's Recognition of Circular Economy
    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released the Advancing Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) Facts and Figures report showing progress in consumer electronics recycling in the United States. Consumer electronics recycling went up from 30.6 percent in 2012 to 40.4 percent in 2013, the same year EPA launched the SMM Electronics Challenge to promote responsible donation and recycling of used electronics. Source: U.S. EPA, 6/17/15
  • Adobe Helps Customers Ditch Paper Waste
    So, how does a business help customers be more sustainable? One business that's answering this question is Adobe, which helps its customers ditch paperwork. And paperwork is still being generated in this digital age. In the U.S., 30 billion documents are printed annually, Kevin Lynch, vice president of document services for Adobe, told TriplePundit. Much of the paper waste generated in U.S. offices can be eliminated. A document created, signed, shared and stored in Adobe Document Cloud has 91 percent less of an environmental footprint than it would if it were printed, and it has a cost savings of over 90 percent. Source: Triple Pundit, 6/16/15
  • How Sustainable is 3-D Printing?
    Although 3-D printing brings with it the promise to make manufacturing 'cleaner and greener,' the enabling technologies don't boast those qualities yet. Even as we extol 3-D printing, all of its advantages need to be taken with a grain of salt -- at least until the time we see more sustainable solutions to bypass the problems highlighted in this article. Source: Triple Pundit, 6/16/15
  • IL: Legislation reopens electronic recycling
    Brian Younker hopes to reopen Orland Township's drop-off recycling center as soon as Gov. Bruce Rauner signs a bill that boosts the amount of electronics that manufacturers are required to pay to recycle each year. The legislature averted a recycling crisis by the House and Senate each unanimously passing House Bill 1455 in mid-May. It increases by about 13 million pounds what the manufacturing companies must pay for during the next three years -- a short-term fix that's expected to get recycling centers to take electronics again. Source: Chicago Tribune, 6/5/15
  • The Business Of Reuse: Tech Entrepreneur Diverts E-Waste, Teaches Future IT Experts
    Triangle Ecycling is a company in Durham, NC that refurbishes used computers and other electronics, and sells them at up to 60-percent off their original price. It collects the computers local companies, like those in the research Triangle Park, and local agencies. Source: WUNC, 6/5/15
  • Keeping Your Old Cell Phone Is Horrible For The Environment
    The constant cycle of phone upgrades -- in which consumers buy phones once a new model comes out every two or so years -- is having serious effects on the environment, according to a new study. Source: Think Progress, 6/10/15
  • Amazon data centers and the Ohio energy conundrum
    There's a lot of news swirling around Amazon's decision to locate a data center in Ohio. While it's undoubtedly a great economic opportunity for Ohio, given Amazon's commitment to use renewable energy to power its facilities, one wonders how the company will make that happen under Ohio's current energy policy. Source: GreenBiz, 6/10/15
  • Best Buy's 5 pillars for building a successful take-back program
    E-waste is a big issue, and it takes time to build a pilot project into a replicable component of business operations. Here's what the mega-retailer learned along the way. Source: GreenBiz, 5/28/15
  • A new kind of wood chip: collaboration could lead to biodegradable computer chips
    In an effort to alleviate the environmental burden of electronic devices, a team of University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers has collaborated with researchers in the Madison-based U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) to develop a surprising solution: a semiconductor chip made almost entirely of wood. Source: University of Wisconsin-Madison, 5/26/15
  • Black silicon solar cell hits record efficiency, could bring solar to more parts of the world
    For years, one of the most promising emerging solar technologies has been what is called "black silicon" solar cells. The technology is really a solar cell composed of nano-sized needles atop a silicon wafer that has been proven to capture more of the light spectrum and harness energy from even low light angles. Gains have been made in the efficiency of black silicon solar cells, but they have remained confined to the lab. That may all change soon. Researchers at Aalto University have produced black silicon solar cells capable of reaching a 22.1 percent conversion efficiency, which is a full 4 percent increase from the previous record. Source: TreeHugger, 5/26/15
  • What Yahoo's energy efficiency strategy borrows from farms
    Silicon Valley tech giant Yahoo has been relatively low-key about its sustainable operations strategy since CEO Marissa Mayer took over in July 2012. But a lack of noise shouldn't be conflated with a lack of progress. Early this month, Yahoo opened a massive data center that uses an innovative "Compute Coop" design -- a building layout that reduces the amount of power necessary to cool off the servers housed within. As you might imagine from the name, it looks like a traditional chicken coop, with side openings and a vented roof ridge. Just as significant: last fall, the Internet company disclosed its first big power purchase agreement (PPA) for wind-generated electricity (PDF), echoing a series of similar long-term sourcing arrangements announced by other big cloud services companies, most notably Google and Apple. The 15-year-long contract will offset much of Yahoo's energy consumption for its operations in the Great Plains region. Source:, 5/13/15
  • The Dark Side of Recycling Lighter Electronics
    It seems that every year electronic devices are getting smaller and thinner, yet they pack in more functions and versatility. While this is great for consumers wanting the latest products, it has different consequences for those of us concerned about recycling electronics at their end of life. Source: Waste360, 5/21/15
  • Beyond the Chief Sustainability Officer
    Companies are full of roles--big and small--that should be charged with thinking about the environmental and human costs of doing business. Source: The Atlantic, 5/20/15
  • Flame retardants may be coming off of furniture, but they're still in your TV sets
    Consumers are often unaware of all the flame-retardant chemicals in and on electronics. While flaming laptops and even iPods -- and recalls from manufacturers such as Dell, Apple, Lenovo, Toshiba and, more recently, Sony over fire safety fears -- might help make the case for coating circuit boards with flame retardants, fierce debate is raging over whether they are necessary on the external plastic casings of items like televisions, stereos, computers, video game consoles and cellphones. Source: The Guardian, 5/19/15
  • Milwaukee Water Council Startup Aims to Save A Billion Gallons of Water This Year
    MeterHero rewards users for using less water and electricity. McGee Young came up with the idea with his students at Marquette University. Source: Milwaukee Public Radio, 5/18/15
  • Is the Obama administration lowering the bar on green electronics?
    Environmental advocates fear that a recent executive order from the Obama administration may spell the beginning of the end for a federal ratings system aimed at greening America's electronics industry. Source: The Guardian, 4/23/15
  • Minnesota ban on fire retardants would be toughest in nation
    Minnesota legislators are on the verge of approving the nation's most restrictive use of flame-retardant chemicals in furniture and an array of household items such as textiles, mattresses and children's products. Source: Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 5/12/15
  • Elsevier announces Green and Sustainable Chemistry Challenge
    The Elsevier Green and Sustainable Chemistry Challenge is open to individuals or organisations operating in the not-for-profit and for-profit sectors from all countries. Projects can be in any field of Green or Sustainable Chemistry so long as they are applicable for use in developing countries. Projects which are within their early stage are preferred. The winning project in the Elsevier Green and Sustainable Chemistry Challenge will receive a single payment of € 50,000; the winner of the second prize will receive a single payment of € 25,000. Source: Environmental News Bits, 5/15/15
  • CEA Announces New Record for eCycling Leadership Initiative: 660 Million Pounds Recycled in 2014
    The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) has announced a new milestone for consumer electronics (CE) recycling under the eCycling Leadership Initiative (ELI): The responsible recycling of 660 million pounds of electronics in the United States in 2014, the CE industry's highest ever annual total. The U.S. is now recycling CE products in record numbers, according to the Fourth Annual Report of the eCycling Leadership Initiative -- a CE industry effort, led by CEA, to increase collaboration among CE manufacturers, retailers, collectors, recyclers, non-governmental organizations and governments at all levels and to continue to increase the industry's sustainability efforts. Source: Consumer Electronics Association, 4/30/15