Daily Archives: January 11, 2013

Tribromophenoxy Flame Retardants in the Great Lakes Atmosphere

Yuning Ma, Marta Venier, and Ronald A. Hites (2012). “Tribromophenoxy Flame Retardants in the Great Lakes Atmosphere.” Environmental Science & Technology 46 (24), 13112-13117. DOI: 10.1021/es3033814.

Abstract: The 2,4,6-tribromophenoxy moiety is a common structural feature of several brominated flame retardants, and we have previously reported on the environmental concentrations of one such compound, 1,2-bis(2,4,6-tribromophenoxy) ethane (TBE). Here we report the atmospheric concentrations of TBE and three other tribromophenoxy compounds: allyl 2,4,6-tribromophenyl ether (ATE), 2-bromoallyl 2,4,6-tribromophenyl ether (BATE), and 2,3-dibromopropyl 2,4,6-tribromophenyl ether (DPTE). The samples were collected at five sites near the shores of the Great Lakes during the period 2008–2009, inclusive. Of these four compounds, TBE and ATE are currently used as flame retardants, and DPTE was formerly used as a flame retardant until its production ceased in the mid-1980s. The total concentrations of ATE, BATE, and DPTE were 2 pg/m3 in the cities of Chicago and Cleveland and 0.1–0.4 pg/m3 at the rural and remote sites. The concentrations of TBE were 1 pg/m3 in these cities and 0.2–0.8 pg/m3 at the rural and remote sites. In both cases, this was a very significant urban effect. The concentrations of ATE, BATE, and DPTE did not change significantly over the two-year study, but the concentrations of TBE decreased by about a factor of 2 during this time. This temporal change was statistically significant but not strong compared to the urban effect.


When bad things happen to good, sustainability-minded companies

Read the full post at GreenBiz.

While we don’t often hear about it, it’s not totally unexpected that a business pursuing sustainability gets hit with an “old economy” pollution problem and has to deal with it. For example, it may inherit an unpleasant surprise from a previous owner, or through the actions of long-departed management. I’ve seen nothing about this kind of thing in the sustainable business field, so it looks like some guidelines for getting through it — and in a sustainability-oriented way — are due.

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Posted by on January 11, 2013 in Green business


Why small companies will lead the second chemical revolution

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Lehigh Technologies is a prime example of how upstarts and disruptors are poised to transform the industrial economy using green chemistry.

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Posted by on January 11, 2013 in Green business, Green chemistry


Global Food: Waste Not Want Not

Via Docuticker.

Global Food: Waste Not Want Not
Source: Institution of Mechanical Engineers (UK)

From Press Release:

Between 30% and 50% or 1.2-2 billion tonnes of food produced around the world each year never reaches a human stomach;

as much as 30% of UK vegetable crops are not harvested due to them failing to meet exacting standards based on their physical appearance, while up to half of the food that’s bought in Europe and the USA is thrown away by the consumer;

about 550 billion m3 of water is wasted globally in growing crops that never reach the consumer;

it takes 20-50 times the amount of water to produce 1 kilogram of meat than 1 kilogram of vegetables;

the demand for water in food production could reach 10–13 trillion m3 a year by 2050. This is 2.5 to 3.5 times greater than the total human use of fresh water today and could lead to more dangerous water shortages around the world;

there is the potential to provide 60-100% more food by eliminating losses and waste while at the same time freeing up land, energy and water resources.


Should Parking Lots Be Taxed to Fund Bike Paths?

Read the full story in Governing.

One former state transportation director thinks so. The revenue would provide a steady stream of funding for public transit and bike path improvements.

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Posted by on January 11, 2013 in Government


Neat reuse idea: Pallet sofa

Via Fancy That.

Use wooden pallets to build patio furniture.

Use wooden pallets to build patio furniture.

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Posted by on January 11, 2013 in DIY, Green lifestyle, Reuse, Sustainable design, Upcycling


One Airport’s Trash Is 2 Million Worms’ Treasure

Read the full story from NPR.

Food waste is not just a problem for restaurants — airports also have to deal with piles of this kind of garbage.

At one of the nation’s busiest airports, Charlotte Douglas International in North Carolina, each passenger generates half a pound of garbage on average per visit. But instead of just sending all that trash to the landfill, Charlotte has taken a different approach. It’s the first airport to put worms to work dealing with trash.


Sea trash spiraling out of control, study finds

Read the full story at Mother Nature Network.

After a yacht captain stumbled across the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the late 1990s, scientists soon began finding similar patches of plastic waste in oceans around the world. They’ve since identified at least five, each fed by currents that carry plastic bags, bottles and other trash into vast vortices of seawater known as gyres.
Since most plastic isn’t biodegradable, this trash keeps swirling around for years, often crumbling into smaller pieces but refusing to fully break down. Much like carbon dioxide emissions — which linger stubbornly in the sky as they fuel climate change — garbage patches have come to symbolize the effects of man-made pollution run amok.
And now, thanks to a new study by Australian scientists, we have a clearer picture of just how amok all this pelagic plastic really is. Using GPS-equipped drifter buoys to model the travels of maritime trash, researchers at Australia’s Center of Excellence for Climate System Science report a sobering discovery: Even if no plastic waste entered the oceans after today, Earth’s garbage patches would still continue growing for hundreds of years, both because of plastic’s longevity and its long transit time to the gyres.
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Posted by on January 11, 2013 in Plastics, Pollution, Publications, Research, Water


New York Times Dismantles Its Environment Desk

Read the full story at Inside Climate News.

The New York Times will close its environment desk in the next few weeks and assign its seven reporters and two editors to other departments. The positions of environment editor and deputy environment editor are being eliminated. No decision has been made about the fate of the Green Blog, which is edited from the environment desk.

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Posted by on January 11, 2013 in Journalism


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