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 Dillard University Deep South Center for Environmental Justice (DU/DSCEJ) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) will host a free webinar that will guide individuals through the data tools myRTK, My Environment, and ECHOS, to geographically view industrial facilities releasing toxic chemicals near their home, work and schools, access data on air and water quality and help users find permit, inspection, violation, enforcement action and penalty information in their communities.
Introduction to My Environment, myRTK, and ECHO TRI Data Tools
Monday, March 10, 2014
11:00 – 1:00 pm Central
Sandra Gaona – myRTK Data Tool
Sandra supports data access and analysis for the Toxics Release Inventory program. Sandra received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Scranton in International Business and her master’s degree from George Washington University in Environmental Engineering Management. Sandra has 12 years of experience working at the federal, state, local level on environmental information reporting and management, air quality permitting, and sustainable development.
Kim Balassiano – My Environment
Kim has been with the USEPA since 2007 and supports public access tool development for the Office of Environmental Information. Kim received her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University in Foreign Service and has her Geography Masters degree from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She has worked as a GIS analyst and geospatial project manager for industry and the government for nearly 20 years.
Rebecca Kane – ECHO Data Tool
Rebecca Kane is a program analyst who has worked at EPA since October 2000. She’s spent most of her time in the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance working on the Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO) website and other web products.
Registration is free. Click on the link below to register for the webinar:
Mary I. Williams – Dillard University - firstname.lastname@example.org
Christine Arcari – EPA - arcari.christine.@epa.gov
Research by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) published in the journal Environmental Pollution shows high concentrations of toxic chemicals in runoff from coal tar sealcoated parking lots months after the sealcoat was applied.
In their abstract, the authors state that “Coal-tar-based sealcoat, used extensively on parking lots and driveways in North America, is a potent source of PAHs….. The [research] results demonstrate that runoff from Coal Tar-sealcoated pavement, in particular, continues to contain elevated concentrations of PAHs long after a 24-h curing time, with implications for the fate, transport, and ecotoxicological effects of contaminants in runoff from Coal Tar-sealcoated pavement.”
SHWEC encourages the use of non-coal tar asphalt sealcoats to reduce the health and environmental risks of coal tar-based sealcoat products. For more information on safer sealcoat alternatives, SHWEC has created an educational series on asphalt sealcoats to help guide Wisconsin citizens and communities on choosing safer asphalt sealcoats:
Coal Tar-Based Asphalt Sealcoats – A Health and Environmental Hazard
Keeping Coal Tar Out of School Yards
Avoiding High Costs from Stormwater Sediment Contaminated by Coal Tar-Based Sealcoats
Avoiding Coal Tar-Based Asphalt Sealcoats
Choosing a Coal Tar-Free Sealcoat
Tuesday, March 18, 2014, 2:00 PM EST
Title: EPA’s Safer Chemical Ingredients List
Presenter: Clive Davies, Environmental Protection Agency, Chief, Design for the Environment Branch
The Safer Chemical Ingredients List was created in September 2012 and now contains almost 650 safer chemicals and includes more than 150 fragrance chemicals. The Safer Chemical Ingredients List serves as a resource for manufacturers interested in making safer products, health and environmental advocates seeking to encourage the use of safer chemicals, and consumers seeking information on the ingredients in safer chemical products. It serves as a guide for manufacturers of Design for the Environment (DfE) labeled products, which must meet EPA’s rigorous, scientific standards for protecting human health and the environment. For additional information, please visit www.epa.gov/dfe/saferingredients.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
2014 Great Lakes Green Chemistry Conference: Innovating for Success
April 1-2, 2014, Cleveland, OH, Wyndham Hotel Conference focus will be on the innovations in green chemistry that drive advances in business, academia, policy, and human health protection in the Great Lakes region, and how integration and collaboration of these areas are crucial for success. The conference will include keynotes (John Warner-Warner Babcock, Julie Zimmerman-Yale, and Dennis McGavis-Goodyear), plenary sessions, panel sessions, breakout sessions, and a poster networking exchange. The conference will be accompanied by a GreenScreen training and a half day meeting of the Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable. For more information, please visit our website at:
Join the Safer Chemistry Challenge Program in 2014 at no cost! The National Pollution Prevention Roundtable invites companies to join the 2025 Safer Chemistry Challenge Program (SCCP). This voluntary initiative aims to motivate, challenge, and assist businesses in reducing their use of chemicals of concern to human health and the environment. The SCCP will also recognize and reward companies for finding safer alternatives to the hazardous chemicals they currently use.
Questions can be directed to email@example.com or Cindy McComas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information on how to become a member of the Safer Chemistry Challenge program visit: http://www.p2.org/challenge
The amount of food waste in modern society is astounding. It is estimated that over 50% of that waste is generated before the food reaches your plate. How can we deal with this growing threat of discarded food? Join James Clark from the Green Chemistry Center of Excellence in the UK as he explains how this waste can be used to replace diminishing traditional chemicals.
Thursday, March 6, 2014 from 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM PST
A toolkit for developing a residential food waste collection program has been developed by the US Composting Council. This toolkit includes an overview of organics recovery, with basic data and examples of outreach materials to aid a city and/or municipal waste management district already collecting yard debris.
Renewable energy growth is dramatic with cumulative investment of more than $1 trillion globally. Worldwide renewable energy capacity is now 480 gigawatts or nearly one half a terawatt using mainstream technology according to Dr. Dan Arvizu, Director of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and speaker at the RENEW Wisconsin Energy Policy Summit January 10, 2014. The renewable energy industry supports American jobs including 143,000 people in solar-related industries in 2012 and 75,000 full-time workers in the wind industry including 30,000 manufacturing facilities throughout the country. In the US, renewable energy provides 13% of electricity and is increasing rapidly. In Wisconsin however, the increase in renewables has not kept up with the rest of the country in the last two years. State by state mandates called renewable portfolio standards (RPS), now in 29 states and D.C., are driving that number up.
Wisconsin’s first RPS in 1999 required utilities to obtain 2.2% of renewables by 2011 and then this was increased in 2005, requiring utilities to obtain 10% of their energy generation from renewable sources by 2015. While in Wisconsin all utilities have reached that target, the mandated RPS number has not been increased as much as in surrounding states. Minnesota’s adjusted RPS for example is 25% by 2025 and they are about to meet that early. Iowa already produced 24.5% of its electricity from wind alone in 2012, enough to power 1.3 million average Iowa homes.
Nationally, 2012 was the best wind year ever uplifting US wind to 29% of the world market. The upper Midwest hosts 7% of the world wind market (in the four states that border Wisconsin). In 2012, Minnesota installed as much wind as Wisconsin has total. Iowa has 24.5% wind compared with Wisconsin at 2.4% of energy generation. Wisconsin was ranked 20th in wind in 2013 at 648 MW. Wind makes up only 3.5% of US energy however yet supports 80,000 full time jobs. 22 facilities in Wisconsin manufacture wind components supporting 2,000 – 3,000 jobs. Wind energy nationally now is cost competitive with natural gas.
The price of solar cells dropped 99% since 1977. When we first sent man into space, which was powered by solar, solar panels cost $76 per watt. Now the panels cost $3.00 per watt. The price of solar dropped 60% by 2011 and 80% over the last 5 years. It is predicted that solar power will be cheaper than any other way to make energy in 10 years. Wisconsin ranked 24th nationally in solar production at 14 MW of solar.
SunVest Solar, a Wisconsin solar electric installation company co-owned by Matt Neumann (the son of former US Rep.(R) Mark Neumann) stated that of the 213 solar installations by his company in 2013, only one system was installed in Wisconsin. He expects that his business will grow by 50% next year and would like to do more business in his own state. He calculates the simple payback on a 5 KW residential solar system is now 7 years. If financed over 20 years at 5%, it will generate an immediate positive cash flow.
Wisconsin is the market leader nationally in biodigesters with 34 farms hosting systems and approximately 150 digesters at farms, industry, municipal wastewater treatment facilities, and landfills. As of 2013 there are 220 digesters on US farms. Germany has 7,000 digesters by comparison. According to Melissa Van Ornum of DVO, a US market leader in anaerobic digesters based in Chilton, WI, the country could support 8,000 systems. She, like SunVest, would like to do more business in Wisconsin. She predicts more Wisconsin digesters will close down when power purchase agreements with utilities, for the price of the energy they generate, expire and utilities reduce the price to below what farmers can afford to operate them.
Wisconsin has the second highest electric rates in the Midwest, reports Gary Radloff of the Wisconsin Energy Institute, but adoption of more renewable energy has the potential to reduce further increases because renewables have no or low fuel costs As conventional fuel cost continue to escalate, renewables will continue to become the better economic alternative. Wisconsin has a vast potential from renewable energy to invigorate Wisconsin’s economy and help it compete for new business ventures, while stimulating job growth and protecting the environment.
* the most comprehensive list of Wisconsin’s medicine collection sites
* tools and suggestions for reducing pharmaceutical waste
* resources for those collecting household medications
* a summary of state and regional efforts to keep pharmaceuticals out of the Great Lakes
* dozens of publications about pharmaceutical waste
* and more!
Check out these resources at:
In 2012, the City of La Crosse undertook a community climate impact vulnerability assessment. Led by the La Crosse Planing and Economic Development Department, with the help of the WI-DNR, WI-DHS, and UW-Extension, a series of meetings with local government officials and a public forum resulted in a “Climate Adaptation Plan Matrix” identifying opportunities to improve climate resiliency.
The complete report is available as WI-DNR publication PUB-SS-1119 2013, and can be downloaded from the following link:
Using wood as a heating fuel is ancient technology…” So begins the new UW-Extension guide to Wood Heating Appliances for Homes and Businesses written by Scott A. Sanford and David S. Liebl, available as UW-Extension publication GWQ066.
While humans have long gathered around fire to cook, socialize and keep warm, modern heating technology has brought major advances in the way we use wood to heat our homes and businesses. As more and more people look to wood as a renewable resource, the risk to health from wood smoke emissions also is growing.
Liebl and Sanford provide guidance on how to choose clean burning wood heating equipment that maximize benefits while minimizing health effects to owners and their neighbors. Topics discussed in the guide include: Types of wood fuels and wood burning appliances; economics of wood heating; minimizing smoke related health impacts; and a worksheet to calculate whether it makes sense to use wood as your heating fuel.
Green Masters Program
January 21, 2014 at 2:53pm
We’ve been busy updating and improving the Green Masters application and are excited to announce that the 2014 Green Masters Application (V3.1) is now open! Just click here to start your application today: http://bit.ly/1cRBB2K
The Green Masters Program is a completely free, objective, points-based recognition program that enables Wisconsin businesses of all sizes and from all sectors to claim credit for sustainability initiatives. Developed by the Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council and Wisconsin businesses, in conjunction with the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Green Masters Program highlights Wisconsin’s sustainability leaders. Any business that has taken at least one action in nine key sustainability areas: energy, climate change, water, waste management, transportation, supply chain, community and educational outreach, workforce, and governance, is eligible to apply.
Successful applicants receive a certificate of recognition and opportunities to network and share best practices with other companies and industries. We also distribute a press release written by Green Masters Program staff for interested companies. Last year, over 165 companies participated in the Green Masters Program. As we grow into our fifth year, we continue to offer innovative tools and resources to help you improve your sustainability performance. In fact, to better meet the management needs of participants, in collaboration with students from the University of Wisconsin and 12 businesses in Wisconsin, we’ve developed dashboards that show participants how they are doing over time and versus their peers. The dashboards, available only to the participant, help identify strengths and areas for improvement and reflect change in the company’s scores from the past three years. The dashboards are yet another tool to assist Wisconsin’s sustainability leaders on their road to a more sustainable future.
Applying is free and easy and should take less than 45 minutes. Set aside time now to reapply at http://bit.ly/1cRBB2K. The Green Masters Program will close this year on October 31st.