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January 29, 2014

New green management certification standards edge forward

Countries have backed a move to publish a revised version of ISO 14001 as a draft international standard (DIS), paving the way for sustainable management best practices to play an even more central role in corporate decision making.

Over 80 percent of ISO members voted in favor of a second committee draft (CD2) of the revised environmental management systems standard, published in October, in a ballot process that ran up to January 23.

The next meeting of the international working group drafting the standard will be held from 25th February to 1st March and will see the group consider the comments submitted during the latest consultation. A final round of consultation with users will then be undertaken before the new standard is officially launched.

The ISO 14001 standard has proven hugely popular globally with the take up of the guidelines soaring nine percent during 2012 to over 285,000 organizations globally.

Read more at Business Green.

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category : Topics

January 29, 2014

Energy efficient asphalt could drive down road emissions

Using lower temperature asphalt in road construction could save the UK road industry more than £46m over the next 10 years, while also cutting carbon emissions arising from the process by up to 39 percent, a new study has found.

A three year project by Lafarge Tarmac and the Carbon Trust claims to have successfully trialled a material that bonds road materials as effectively as conventional methods, but uses temperatures much lower than the standard 180C and 190C meaning that it requires far less energy.

The project team calculates that should the UK road industry adopt the specifications for the use of the new asphalt that they have designed then the technology could account for 21 percent of the total market within 10 years. Such a market share could save the industry £46.2m and cut emissions by around 260,000 tonnes of CO2 over the decade ? equivalent carbon savings to taking more than 345,000 cars off the road.


Read more at Eco-Business.

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category : Topics

January 29, 2014

Award-winning professor creates cow-less leather with chicken feathers

Professor Richard Wool, a 2013 US Environmental Protection Agency awardee, has devised a leather substitute out of chicken feathers, creating a manufacturing method that uses less energy and water.

A professor at the University of Delaware, he developed a new type of material called Eco-leather, made from a combination of bio-based materials like discarded chicken feathers, flax, and vegetable oils, that is processed using techniques from aerospace engineers. The result is not only a pair of shoes with breathable leather and sturdy soles, but also a manufacturing method that is unlike the usual petroleum-based processes. Traditional leather making or shoe-making uses a significant amount of water and energy, and causes pollution with its hazardous waste.

Wool’s eco-leather and other bio-based materials can be applied to various industries other than footwear, according to the Affordable Composites from Renewable Sources (ACRES) program at the University. The research group, focused primarily on the use of soybean triglycerides as raw materials, noted that potential applications for these eco-materials include the automotive industry, farm machinery, construction industry, and the defense sector.

Read more at Eco-Business.

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category : Topics

January 27, 2014

Philips teams up with mayors to power city LEDs

Washington, D.C. is following in the footsteps of a bunch of cities that have ? or are in the process of ? switching their lighting to LEDs. But unlike the other cities, Washington isn’t paying the high costs of making the switch ? it is taking advantage of the first foray of Philips Lighting (which manufactures the LEDs) into offering a “lighting as a service” model.

In Washington, D.C., Philips will upgrade more than 13,000 lighting fixtures in all its parking garages at no upfront cost to the city and provide a 10-year maintenance contract. Philips will get paid from the $2 million in savings the LEDs are expected to provide each year. The project starts this spring and will take about a year.

“With digital lighting systems, we really need to break the conventional thinking and look to the services and delivery models of the software industry to understand the future of lighting and how we can remove one of the greatest barriers to adoption: the upfront costs,” said Bruno Biasiotta, CEO of Philips Lighting Americas.

Read more at GreenBiz.

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category : Topics

January 27, 2014

Switzerland scores first in global green rankings

Switzerland tops a new index that was released at Davos this weekend, which ranks countries in order of their sustainability efforts.

The Environmental Performance Index, tracks the performance of 178 countries representing 95% of global GDP, under two broad policy areas: ‘protection of human health from environmental harm’ and ‘protection of ecosystems’, that include indicators such as climate change, air quality and water management. The results are used to measure how close countries are to meeting international targets, see what is working best, compare the leaders, and improve performance across the world.

Switzerland came out on top, followed by Luxemburg, Australia, Singapore and the Czech Republic.

Read more at The Clean Revolution.

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category : Topics

January 24, 2014

First Grocer joins How2Recycle

Wegmans Food Markets has joined the How2Recycle Label program, making it the first grocer to use the voluntary recycling label developed by GreenBlue’s Sustainable Packaging Coalition.

The addition of Wegmans also pushes How2recycle past its goal of 20 participating companies including Kellog’s, Best Buy, Clorox, Costco, Estee Lauder Companies Aveda brand, General Mills, Microsoft, Minute Maid, Sealed Air, Seventh Generation and REI. Wegmans is the fifth How2Recycle participant and first retailer to receive a sponsorship from the American Chemistry Council’s Flexible Film recycling Group for use of the Store Drop-off Label on its plastic carryout bags.

Read more at Environmental Leader.

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category : Topics

January 23, 2014

LED street lighting can generate savings as high as 85 percent

The Climate Group, in association with Philips, launched a global ‘consultation process’ with its network of member cities, states and regions to identify and address barriers to the adoption of low carbon LED (light-emitting diode) street lighting in cities.

The collaborative consultation will focus on identifying practical solutions and addressing specific geographical challenges to LED adoption. It will address topics such as the benefits of LEDs, new approaches to LED financing, risk allocation, intelligent and smart lighting, future-proofing, standards, quality thresholds, and related socio-economic benefits from LED lighting.

In its 2012 report, “Lighting the Clean Revolution: The rise of LEDs and what it means for cities”, The Climate Group, supported by Philips, reported that following a global trial across 12 cities, LED street lighting could generate energy savings as high as 85%, making a significant impact in the 19% of global energy consumed by lighting.

Read more at The Clean Revolution.

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category : Topics

January 23, 2014

Singapore to build green features into new public housing

The Singapore government has said that all future public housing developments will be outfitted with a range of standard eco-living features including centralized waste recycling chutes, LED lighting, motion sensors and even a system that uses drained sink water to flush toilets.

The initiative will begin with 3,193 new flats the Housing and Development Board announced under the years’ first Built-to-Order (BTO) allotment launched yesterday. The first batch of BTO flats for 2014 will be located in the long-established Serangoon estate and the relatively newer towns of Bukit Batok, Juron West, Punggol and Woodlands.

Read more at CleanBiz Asia.

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category : Topics

January 23, 2014

Swedish city builds ‘passive houses’ as part of ambitious CO2 reduction targets

Passive housing is catching on across Europe, but Vaxjo boasts innovative highrise project to help country realize goal of eliminating CO2 emissions by 2050.

Passive houses feature wood frames and very thick walls, which keep cold air out and human-generated heat ? from cooking, gadget use, people moving about ? in. Each of the Vaxjo city-funded highrises also has a ventilator in the attic that transports the human-generated heat back into the apartments. The buildings even recycle wastewater, which contains valuable heat.

For Vaxjo, the passive-house push is part of a highly ambitious CO2 reduction plan. The university city, home to some 61,000 residents, has already built a 150km bike-path system and launched a bus fleet running on biogas from sewage. By the end of last year, such measures had resulted in a 41% reduction of the city’s emissions compared to 1993 levels, and by 2025, the city aims to be 70% CO2-free.

Read more at The Guardian.

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category : Topics

January 22, 2014

New Web Platform Launched to Accelerate Green Economy Transition

A robust, state-of-the art knowledge-sharing platform was launched today by the newly established Green Growth Knowledge Platform (GGKP), a diverse consortium of leading institutions and organizations working in areas related to green growth and green economy. The website is in response to the increasing demand from both policy makers and the public for information on ways to achieve sustainable economic growth.

“The GGKP is quickly emerging as the leading platform for managing and sharing knowledge around green growth and its new web platform will help to empower others”, said Howard Bamsey, Director-General of the Global Green Grown Institute (GGGI).

As of January 2014, the GGKP confirms agreements with 29 knowledge partners, including international organization, research institutes and think tanks. Moving forward, the GGKP will work with these partners to promote collaboration and coordinated research on a number of priority themes, including green growth indicators and measurement, trade and competitiveness and green technology and innovation.

Read more at UNEP.

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category : Topics

January 16, 2014

EPA moves hazardous waste e-Manifest system forward

The EPA has issued a final rule that it says is a crucial step in developing a national electronic manifest (e-Manifest) system, which will upgrade the current paper-based system of tracking hazardous waste to an electronic one.

Once fully implemented, the national e-Manifest system will give emergency responders greater access about the types and sources of hazardous wastes that are in transit between generator sites and waste management facilities, says Mathy Stanislaus, EPA assistant administrator for the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response.

The e-Manifest program is the vanguard of the agency-wide initiative to develop new tools to reduce the reporting burden on regulated entities, and provide the agency, states and the public with easier access to environmental data. The EPA estimates the national e-Manifest system will ultimately reduce the burden associated with preparing shipping manifests by between 300,000 and 700,000 hours, and result in cost savings of more than $75 million per year for states and industry.

Read more at Environmental Leader.

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category : Topics

January 16, 2014

EcoATM recycles 2 million electronic devices

EcoATM, a network of automated electronics recycling kiosks, says it has recycled more than 2 million phones and devices in its four-year history.

EcoATM’s more than 800 kiosks, which are located in shopping malls and retailers across the US, recycle consumer electronics ? including mobile phones, tables and MP3 players ? to keep them out of landfills and provide cash payments as an incentive for consumers to recycle. Customers can also choose to donate or all of their cash payment to a number of charity partners.

Only 20 percent of cell phones are recycled today, which shows the potential to keep tons of e-waste out of landfills, says Mark Bowled, ecoATM’s founder.

Read more at Environmental Leader.

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category : Topics

January 14, 2014

Sustainability is impossible until companies admit environmental cost

While companies' impact on the environment remains ignored the question of how society deals with the consequence of this damage will remain unanswered.

Read more at The Guardian.

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