Welcome to the Solid & Hazardous Waste Education Center’s Blog. SHWEC staff post information and updates related to the center’s programs and areas of expertise. This is where we share information, resources and other items in a timely manner. Please consider subscribing to either our RSS feed or use the Subscribe 2 function. These tools allow posts to this site to be sent directly to you.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced the release of an updated version or their Waste Reduction Model or WARM. This model allows decision makers to compare life-cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) and energy implications for various materials management options or common municipal solid waste materials. This new version incorporates several changes to reflect recent developments in life-cycle inventory data. Based upon EPA’s email announcing the release the landfilling and composting pathways have undergone significant revisions. The model can be found online at: http:www.epa.gov/warm.
Flame retardants are compounds added to commercial and consumer products that inhibit, suppress, or delay the production of flames to prevent the spread of fire. There are several categories of retardants, but two types, organohalogens and organophosphorous, are toxic. They are often associated with serious health and environmental concerns including disruption of hormones, developmental and reproductive problems; they do not readily break down into safer chemicals and accumulate in body tissue (bioaccumulate). Major uses of flame retardant chemicals are in electronics, building insulation, polyurethane foam and wire/cable.
Due to flammability standards, furniture made with fabrics and foams (including carpeting) often contain flame retardants. For example, the foam of 101 American couches bought between 1984-2010 were tested; 85% of the couches contained toxic or inadequately tested flame retardant chemicals.
Duke University (Durham, NC) is conducting a study to determine the prevalence and type of flame retardants used in furniture and help you find out what chemicals may be present in the furniture in your home. Foam samples from your home will be analyzed and you will be sent the results. For more information, click here.
Information about flame retardants and reducing your exposure to them in your home have been published by both Duke University and the Green Science Policy Institute at the University of California – Berkeley (fact sheet).
The National Recycling Coalition and the Pennsylvania Recycling Markets Center are sponsoring a webinar that will explain how the Federal Trade Commissions “Green Guides” are designed. The Green Guides are intended to ensure claims about carbon offsets, “green” certifications and seals, and renewable and recycled material material claims are valid. Julia Solomon from the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection will be the main presenter.
The webinar will take place Tuesday July 15th at 12:30pm CST. You can register by following this link: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/907563313
Chemical foot- print can be defined “as the number and mass of chemicals of concern (COC, highly toxic chemicals) used in manufacturing and supply chains, and contained in the final product”. Chemical foot printing can be used as a process of assessing progress towards the use of safer chemicals and away from COCs. The Plastics Scorecard (plasticsscoreracd14_bizngo ) was developed to evaluate the chemical footprint of plastics and as guidance in selecting safer alternatives.
Via US EPA-
The EPA has recently released a free, new resource to reduce food and packaging waste! The Reducing Wasted Food & Packaging Toolkit helps restaurants, grocers, caterers, and other commercial kitchens to save money and reduce their environmental impact. We encourage you to explore the toolkit and share extensively with those in your food services network.
Understanding the amount, type of, and reason for food waste is the first step toward reducing it. The kit includes an Excel audit tool that allows users to tailor their waste tracking to the level of detail needed for their facility. Once the data is entered, the spreadsheet automatically generates graphs and data summaries to help facilities identify opportunities to reduce waste.
You can find this free resource and others at http://www.epa.gov/foodrecovery/tools/index.htm.
We encourage food services to join EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge (FRC), a free program for any organization which prepares, sells or serves food. Participants reduce wasted food through source reduction, donation and recycling, saving money, helping communities and protecting the environment. We share tools, webinars and other useful information on tracking and reducing wasted food and give annual EPA awards.
We are happy to answer any questions you have about the toolkit or other resources EPA has to offer.
Amanda Hong and Wendi Shafir
PS. Some email users have trouble with hyperlinks. Here are the full links in case that’s you:
PDF guide: http://go.usa.gov/8m7W
Excel tool: http://go.usa.gov/8m7d
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in various environmental compartments and biota, including humans. This has lead to regulatory restrictions in Europe and elsewhere. A number of flame retardant producers have responded to these concerns by developing more environmentally compatible products based on phosphorus, inorganic and nitrogen chemistries (PIN FRs). This paper will present an overview of flame retardant alternatives and their health and environmental assessments, like the European collaborative research project ENFIRO as well as legislative activities in Europe in the context of REACH and RoHS. US activities like the US-EPA projects on Design for Environment and assessment schemes like Greenscreen, will also be touched upon.
U.S. National Climate Assessment
In May 2014, the U.S. Global Change Research Program released the Third National Climate Assessment, the authoritative and comprehensive report on climate change and its impacts in the United States.
The Highlights of USGCRP’s Third National Climate Assessment include an overview, the report’s 12 overarching findings, and a summary of impacts by region. The report also discusses how climate change affecting regions of the United States, and the impacts on key sectors like health, water, and agriculture?
For more information:
U.S. Global Change Research Program
The May 7 webinar will provide an overview of the health and environmental risks of sanitizers and disinfectants, as well as examples of safer alternatives, which is based on a report from the city of San Francisco.
Registration is required: http://www.bizngo.org/resources/entry/safer-sanitizers