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Daily Archives: February 4, 2013

Indian Researchers Create Low-Cost Bricks From Recycled Paper Mill Waste

Read the full post at Inhabitat.

While recycling trash is preferable to simply chucking refuse into the dump, the process still creates tons of byproducts that end up making their way to the landfill. Fortunately, Professors Rahul Ralegaonkar and Sachin Mandavgane of the Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology in India (VNIT) have developed a way to create paper bricks from recycling waste. Made from 90% recycled paper mill waste (RPMW) and 10% cement, the mixture is mechanically mixed and pressed into molds and then cured in the sun. The brilliant recycled building material is low-cost means of eking more efficiency out of an already good practice.

 

A Safe And Easy Way To Mine Metals From E-Waste

Read the full story at Co.Design.

Hal Watts, a designer and recent graduate of the Imperial College in London, has devised an easier, safer way to recycle copper wiring, one of the most common forms of e-waste. His device, called Esource–which started out as his final project at Imperial–includes two components: a bicycle-powered shredder that pulverizes the copper and its plastic coating into fine particles, and a sorter, which separates the copper from the plastic. The process is not only nonhazardous but also results in a 2% greater yield of pure copper.

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2013 in E-waste, Recycling, Sustainable design

 

This Colorado library lets patrons check out packets of seeds

Read the full story at Grist.

In these computer-obsessed days, when books are falling out of favor, libraries are getting more creative. They’re getting in on e-readers, letting kids borrow dolls, and helping patrons garden by lending out packets of seeds.

Yes, lending. Borrowers can’t exactly grow seeds and return the exact same ones, but this library in Colorado has figured out a way around that fact of life.

NPR originally reported the story.

 

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2013 in Agriculture, Green lifestyle, Libraries

 

Webinar: Safer Alternatives to Methylene Chloride Consumer Product Paint Strippers

Tue, Apr 23, 2013 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM CDT
Register at https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/477986714

Methylene chloride has been used for many years in consumer product paint strippers that are purchased from Home Depot, paint supply and hardware stores.  The strippers are used by consumers, small furniture stripping companies, contractors, boatyards and various other businesses to strip a range of items.  The chemical is a carcinogen and acute exposure to methylene chloride strippers is linked to two deaths in California in the last few years.  This presentation will describe two projects that focused on developing, testing and demonstrating safer alternatives to methylene chloride consumer product paint strippers.  It will also focus on the actions California agencies could take to restrict the use of the strippers.

Dr. Katy Wolf is director of the Institute for Research and Technical Assistance (IRTA), a nonprofit organization established in 1989.  IRTA identifies, develops, tests and demonstrates safer alternatives for industrial and consumer product applications.  IRTA also performs emerging and advanced technology demonstrations that reduce or eliminate the use of hazardous substances.  IRTA’s work focuses heavily on solvent alternatives in cleaning, dry cleaning, electronics, paint stripping, coatings, lubricants and adhesives.  Over the last 20 years, IRTA’s projects have led to a reduction in the use of hazardous substances in California of more than 100 tons per day.  Dr. Wolf spent fourteen years at the Rand Corporation, where she performed research on alternatives to ozone depleting substances and chlorinated solvents. Dr. Wolf has authored more than 200 publications. She has a Ph.D. in Chemical Physics.

This Webinar hosted by WSPPN and NPPR is part of the Safery Chemistry Challenge Program Series.

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2013 in Green chemistry, Meetings & webinars

 

Webinar: Sharing Successes from the Safer Chemistry Challenge Program: Washing Systems

Tue, Apr 23, 2013 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM CDT
Register at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6697412645320370432

This webinar will examine a year into the Safer Chemistry Challenge Program. It will provide attendees with a background into the program and a case study of the program in action. Washing Systems, a SCCP charter member, has put significant effort and research toward safer chemistry in their cleaning formulations. Working with their customers, they are eliminating or reducing chemicals of concern. Washing Systems set the following reduction goals as part of their SCCP commitment: 100% nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPE); 100% butyl cellosolve; 100% petroleum hydrocarbon based solvents; and 100% ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA). They have seen significant strides in reaching those goals and all chemical reductions are thus far on target. The most significant reduction has been with phosphates with a goal of 50% and a reduction of less than 5% prior to entering SCCP, they have already reduced 95%, exceeding their program goal.

This webinar is part of the Spring 2013 Safer Chemistry Challenge Program Webinar Series.

 

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2013 in Green chemistry, Meetings & webinars

 

Climate science comes alive as art

Read the full story at Mother Nature Network.

A collaborative effort pulls video gamers, music professors, multimedia designers and polar researchers together to make climate science approachable.
 
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Posted by on February 4, 2013 in Art, Climate change, Music

 

Federal Agencies Working to Make Homes Healthier

Several federal agencies today unveiled Advancing Healthy Housing –A Strategy for Action. White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) Chair Nancy Sutley, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Shaun Donovan, Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, M.D., and Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman discussed the new plan during an event at the National Building Museum this morning.

The initiative represents a bold new vision for addressing the nation’s health and economic burdens caused by preventable hazards associated with the home. The Strategy for Action encourages federal agencies to take preemptive actions that will help reduce the number of American homes with health and safety hazards.

People in the United States spend about 70% of their time in a home. Currently, millions of U.S. homes have moderate to severe physical housing problems, including dilapidated structure; roofing problems; heating, plumbing, and electrical deficiencies; water leaks and intrusion; pests; damaged paint; and high radon gas levels. These conditions are associated with a wide range of health issues, including unintentional injuries, respiratory illnesses like asthma and radon-induced lung cancer, lead poisoning, result in lost school days for children, as well as lost productivity in the labor force. The health and economic burdens from preventable hazards associated with the home are considerable, and cost billions of dollars.

The Strategy for Action unifies, for the first time, federal action to advance healthy housing, demonstrating the connection between housing conditions and residents’ health. It also promotes strategies and methods intended to reduce in-home health hazards in a cost-effective manner.

“It is clear that unhealthy and unsafe housing has an impact on the health of millions of people in the United States, which is why we must do everything we can to ensure that individuals and families have a healthy place to call home,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. “Today’s announcement will help the federal government unify action to controlling and preventing major housing-related exposures and hazards.”

“Thanks to unprecedented collaboration across the federal family and among our many partners, we now have a specific plan for action to address radon and other preventable hazards found in homes across the country. This is important progress, especially when you consider that people spend an estimated 70 percent of their time inside a home,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “At EPA we’re committed to ensuring Americans in all communities have healthy places to live, work and play, and the strategy we announced today is a critical step toward reaching that goal.”

“Healthy homes and communities are essential to our quality of life, our productivity, and our economic vitality,” said Nancy Sutley, Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality. “Through this plan, Federal agencies have committed to working together to make sure all Americans can count on safe, healthy places to live, grow, and thrive.”

Dr. Mary Jean Brown, Chief of CDC’s Healthy Homes and Lead Poisoning Prevention Branch added, “Healthy homes lead to healthier lives. People can take simple steps to protect themselves from health hazards in the home.”

“Energy efficiency and healthy homes are inextricably linked,” explained U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman. “We cannot, in good conscience, pursue one in the absence of the other. DOE is committed to ensuring that our efforts towards creating an efficient national housing stock also strive to maximize the health and safety of the families we serve.”

The overall vision for the Strategy is to reduce the number of American homes with residential health and safety hazards, achieved through five goals:

  1. Establish healthy homes recommendations
  2. Encourage adoption of healthy homes recommendations
  3. Create and support training and workforce development to address health hazards in housing
  4. Educate the public about healthy homes
  5. Support research that informs and advances healthy housing in a cost-effective manner

For more on the Strategy for Action, visit the interagency Healthy Homes website: http://healthyhomes.hud.gov

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2013 in Environmental health, Green building

 

Managing E-Waste

The Delta Institute (Delta), is a 501(c)(3) environmental not-for-profit organization located in Chicago, Illinois and received funding for this project from the US EPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.  Delta worked with businesses and local governments in the Cleveland and Toledo metro areas to develop improved purchasing and management practices that will reduce electronic waste (e-waste) and releases of associated toxic substances.

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2013 in E-waste

 

USGBC Releases 2012 List of Top 10 States for LEED

Read the full story from the U.SS Green Building Council.

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) released its annual list of the top 10 states for new LEED certifications in 2012, highlighting those regions that are transforming buildings and communities across the country.

The per-capita list is based on 2010 U.S. Census data and includes commercial and institutional buildings certified under LEED, through which approximately 2.2 billion square feet of space has been certified worldwide through 2012.

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2013 in Green building

 
 
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