New E3 Success Story: Illinois Food Manufacturer

ISTC’s latest case study features an Illinois cannery that received an Economy, Energy, and Environment (E3) assessment. The parent company operates six manufacturing facilities. Their corporate headquarters has its own facility. Its products include both company branded and private labels with a wide variety of recipes. The Illinois site’s footprint is over 300,000 square feet and operates on a 24/4 schedule.  The E3 assessment evaluated the value stream from raw ingredient receiving through processing, canning, and labeling.

The assessment recommended nearly fifty best management practices that the company could use to save money and improve their efficiency. These included:

  • combined heat and power
  • renewable energy
  • controls and commissioning of electrical equipment
  • lighting upgrades to LED
  • variable frequency drives on process motors
  • compressed air system and steam distribution efficiencies
  • investigate aqueous ozone for sanitation
  • repair process water leaks
  • rainwater capture
  • installation of low flow devices in restrooms
  • recover recyclable materials

If the company implemented all of the recommendations, they could:

  • reduce electricity use by 7 million kWh and natural gas use by over 500,000 therms
  • conserve nearly 42 million gallons of water
  • reduce CO2 emissions by over 10,000 metric ton equivalents
  • save up to $1.2 million

The company has already fixed air leaks, which will reduce their yearly energy use by 168,000 kWh and save them over $15,000 annually. The site’s management team and corporate office are investigating other opportunities as well.

 

Illinois EPA Announces Spring 2019 Household Hazardous Waste Collection Events

Illinois EPA has announced scheduled household hazardous waste collections for Spring 2019. Illinois EPA holds household hazardous waste collections  to encourage residents to safely dispose of unused or leftover toxic products commonly found in homes.

Ten collection sites have been confirmed for the spring. IEPA is finalizing an  additional four locations. Details for the additional collections will be announced when they become available.

DATE LOCATION ADDRESS COSPONSOR(s)
March 23, 2019
(COMPLETED)
Gibson City
Ford County
115 South Sangamon Avenue
Gibson City, Illinois
Ford County Soil and Water Conservation District
April 13, 2019 Brookfield
Cook County
Brookfield Zoo, North parking lot
8400 West 31st Street
Brookfield, Illinois
Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago;
Brookfield Zoo
April 13, 2019 Griggsville
Pike County
Western Illinois Fairgrounds
516 South Oak Street
Griggsville, Illinois
Pike County Economic Development Corporation
April 27, 2019 Effingham
Effingham County
Village Square Mall parking lot
South Banker
Effingham, Illinois
City of Effingham, Emergency Management Agency
May 4, 2019 Havana
Mason County
Neiman Foods
parking lot
504 South Promenade Street
Havana, Illinois 62644
University of Illinois Extension, Fulton-Mason-Peoria-Tazewell Unit
May 18, 2019 East Moline
Rock Island County
Rock Island County Fairgrounds
4200 Archer Drive
East Moline, Illinois 61244
Rock Island County Waste Management Agency
May 18, 2019 Sparta
Randolph County
World Shooting and Recreation Complex
1 Main Event Lane
Sparta, Illinois 62286
Randolph County
June 1, 2019 Cobden
Union County
Cobden Community Park
Locust Street
Cobden, Illinois 62286
Village of Cobden
June 8, 2019 Sycamore
DeKalb County
TBD DeKalb County Farm Bureau
June 15, 2019 Roanoke
Woodford County
Woodford County Highway Dept.
301 South Main Street
Roanoke, Illinois 61561
Woodford County Health Department
June 29, 2019 Morrison
Whiteside County
Whiteside County Highway Dept.
18819 Lincoln Road
Morrison, Illinois 61270
Whiteside County
TBD East Dundee
Kane County
TBD Lebanon
St. Clair County
TBD Harrisburg
Saline County

 

Note:  One-day collections are open to all Illinois residents and operate from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on the above scheduled Saturdays.

What items can I bring for disposal?

Items that will be accepted include chemical cleaners, oil-based paints, thinners, antifreeze, motor oil, gasoline, kerosene, weed killers, insecticides and pesticides, old or outdated medication, and similar hazardous household products. Fluorescent and other high-intensity discharge lamps may also be brought to the collections.

Items not accepted include latex paint, explosives, propane tanks, fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, agricultural chemicals and business wastes.

IEPA has a complete list of household hazardous wastes that are and are not accepted at http://www.epa.illinois.gov/topics/waste-management/waste-disposal/household-hazardous-waste/acceptable-wastes/index.

Are there year-round collection facilities?

The following long-term collection facilities are available for disposal of household hazardous waste throughout the year:

For questions concerning the Illinois EPA’s one-day or long-term collections, please contact the Waste Reduction Unit of the Agency at 217-524-3300.

Household Hazardous Waste Collection Schedules are also available on the Illinois EPA website at https://www2.illinois.gov/epa/topics/waste-management/waste-disposal/household-hazardous-waste/Pages/collections.aspx.

How do I schedule a collection event in my community?

If your community wants to host a collection event, download an application or apply online.

IEPA accepts applications each fiscal year, keeps them active indefinitely, and DOES NOT CHOOSE on a first come, first serve basis.

IEPA categorizes applications into potential large, medium or small events then ranks them by a point system based on certain criteria. They choose events each spring and fall by using the ranking system. They determine the number of collections based on available funding.

For more information, visit https://www2.illinois.gov/epa/topics/waste-management/waste-disposal/household-hazardous-waste/Pages/default.aspx.

ISTC research included in new report on developing circular supply chains for plastics

B.K. Sharma - senior research engineer, Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (left) and Sriraam R. Chandrasekaran, lead research engineer. Photo by L. Brian Stauffer
B.K. Sharma – senior research engineer, Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (left) and Sriraam R. Chandrasekaran, lead research engineer. Photo by L. Brian Stauffer

report recently released by the Center for the Circular Economy, a project of Closed Loop Partners, surveys current landscape of research focused on converting waste plastics into safe and high-quality materials, as well as the scale of opportunity for these technologies to meet demand.

The work of ISTC researchers BK Sharma and Sriraam Chandrasekaran are included in the report’s technology profiles appendix. They recently developed a nontoxic, nondestructive and energy-efficient chemical solvent process to recover polymers from the complex plastic blends found in electronic waste. They published their results in the journal ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering. The research was funded by HOBI International and the Hazardous Waste Research Fund.

The report strongly encourages stakeholders to invest in new technologies related to plastics recycling, an area with potential revenue opportunities of $120 billion just in North America .

New Illinois Sustainability Awards case study: Hilton Chicago

ISTC’s latest case study features 2017 Illinois Sustainability Award winner Hilton Chicago.  The hotel, built in 1927 as the Stevens Hotel, was originally the largest hotel in the world. Now with over 1,544 guest rooms and over 1,000
Team Members, it remains one of the largest hotels in Illinois. The hotel has a long history in Chicago, holding a variety of major events and hosting visits
from every past U.S. President since Calvin Coolidge. In 2015, over 1.6 million guests came through the doors of Hilton Chicago.

The hotel provides service to individuals and large groups who consume a wide variety of products and a great amount of energy. In addition to guest rooms, the hotel currently has 235,000 square feet of meeting space, three ballrooms, and 100,000 square feet of exhibition space.

Hilton Chicago uses a wide variety of sustainable practices to manage the 90-year old property. They include:

  • A food composting program, which began in 2010, that sends food scraps from guest plates, buffets, and kitchen prep to a commercial composting service;
  • A hotel-wide recycling program for paper, plastic, and aluminum. The hotel also furnishes recycling bags for use in guest rooms that are labeled with acceptable and non-acceptable items. The practice was shared with other Hilton properties and is now used by the Palmer House, the Drake, and the San Diego Hilton;
  • A glass recycling program that separates glass from co-mingled materials and is sent to a glass recycler monthly. They also recycle electronic waste, bulbs and batteries, ink jet and toner cartridges, and cardboard.
  • Installing LED light bulbs and fixtures in all meeting spaces and guest rooms.
  • Installing new water conserving fixtures in guest rooms. These include new faucet aerators in bathroom sinks, low flow shower heads, and toilet
    flushometers.
  • After completing guest room renovations, the hotel donated all of the furniture from over 600 guest rooms, rather than sell the unneeded furniture to a liquidation company. The furniture went to a local organization called Catholic Charities, which focuses on providing food, clothing, shelter, and counseling to Chicago residents in need. The charity’s St. Leo Campus for Veterans, which received the bulk of the donation, offers 141 single-room occupancy apartments for veterans that were formerly homeless and now work with a case manager to become self-sufficient. The remaining furniture went to 52 additional housing sites.

Hilton Chicago’s actions have resulted in:

  • 265 tons material diverted from landfills
  • 5.8 million gallons of water conserved annually
  • 600 hotel rooms of furniture and artwork donated

Food and beverage manufacturers discover new efficiency approaches at ISTC workshop

On March 27, twenty-five people from thirteen Illinois companies met in Collinsville to learn how to take sustainability to the next level at a workshop sponsored by ISTC’s Technical Assistance Program, the Illinois Manufacturing Extension Center (IMEC), Ameren Illinois, and Energy Resources Group, Inc.

Speakers updated the  attendees on:

  • energy efficiency opportunities for food manufacturers
  • ways to use renewables to make facilities net-zero enery
  • improving water conservation by ensurinng proper water chemistry in water and wastewater treatment systems
  • case studies highlighting waste reduction and diversion best practices
  • safer sanitation methods through effective alternatives
  • LEAN for food and beverage manufacturing

All attendees were offered the opportunity for a free on-site assessment.

Another workshop is planned for the Champaign-Urbana area later this year.

GLRPPR spray paint efficiency webinar recording now available

On March 28, the Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable, the Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Resource Center, and the Kentucky Pollution Prevention Center co-hosted a spray paint efficiency webinar. The webinar was funded in part by a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Attendees learned about EPA’s 6H surface coating regulation and the spray efficiency techniques required. They also learned how simpler refinements in techniques can improve paint quality and maximize transfer efficiency.

The event benefits painters, supervisors, trainers, and technical assistance providers and offers the opportunity to receive a certificate of course completion for painters valid for five years from the date of issue.

Find the webinar recording and links to additional information on the GLRPPR Archive LibGuide.

Scientist seeks to capture, recycle phosphorus from tile drainage

ISTC researcher Wei Zheng recently received a grant from the Illinois Nutrient Research and Education Council (NREC) to develop specially designed biochar to capture and recycle phosphorus. Read FarmWeek’s story about the project here.

Specially designed biochar, seen lower right, would absorb phosphorus from tile drainage water filtered by a woodchip bioreactor. ISTC researcher Wei Zheng is studying special biochar as a water filter, which could be used as slow-release fertilizer. (Illustration by Wei Zheng, ISTC)
Specially designed biochar, seen lower right, would absorb phosphorus from tile drainage water filtered by a woodchip bioreactor. ISTC researcher Wei Zheng is studying special biochar as a water filter, which could be used as slow-release fertilizer. (Illustration by Wei Zheng, ISTC)

This World Water Day, Don’t Take Clean Water for Granted

For those of us in the Midwest, water feels like something that will always be there, as constant a fixture in life as the air we breathe. Although it seems that water is ubiquitous, freshwater comprises only 2.5 percent of the world’s supply. The rest is saline and ocean-based. Furthermore, only one percent of freshwater is available for human use. The rest is trapped in glaciers and snowfields

 Image Courtesy of Phys.org

This tiny percentage is found in our lakes, rivers, and aquifers. As the population continues to increase and weather becomes more unpredictable, the amount of available fresh water has decreased. In Illinois, the supply of water is unlikely to completely disappear in the near future. However, the Illinois State Water Survey has projected that as urban areas continue to grow, water supplies will be unable to keep up with the boost in population. Cost is another factor. Extracting fresh water from surface and subsurface sources is no easy feat, and it will increasingly become more costly as demand rises.  

Another issue is contaminants in water supplies.  Pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) are of particular concern These compounds are increasingly found in groundwater and surface water. They negatively impact the water quality and can also severely impact aquatic species.  For example, steroid hormones are highly potent endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) which, even at levels as low as nanograms per liter (10-9 g/L or ppt), can adversely affect the reproductive biology of aquatic species. These aquatic species aren’t the only ones  to be the only ones impacted. Plant roots could absorb the PPCPS in water and may accumulate in the edible portions of the plant.

In 2018, the Illinois legislature requested that the Prairie Research Institute (PRI) conduct a scientific literature review of chemicals identified in wastewater treatment plant effluents that are recognized as contaminants of emerging concern. It also requests that PRI compile a listing of the specific actions recommended by various state and federal agencies to address the environmental or public health concerns associated with the chemicals.PRI will provide its impartial report to the General Assembly by June 30, 2020. Because of its long history of pollution prevention expertise, the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC), a division of the Prairie Research Institute, is taking the lead on this effort. ISTC researchers have studied a variety of inorganic and organic environmental contaminants as well as developed methods for waste and pollution prevention. Read more about the literature review here..

Water scarcity is also an issue, both within Illinois and throughout the world. ISTC’s Technical Assistance Program (TAP) works with Illinois companies to benchmark how much water they currently use and help them find ways to reduce it. In addition, the Institutional Water Program assists facilities equipped with institutional water systems including cooling towers, chillers, and boilers. IWP advises these facilities to help them reduce their chemical, energy, water, and maintenance costs.

Finally, ISTC’s research program has developed a new technology to filter salt and contaminants from water. The system, dubbed Aquapod, appears most applicable to small- or medium-sized desalination units and for thermally sensitive operations such as food and pharmaceutical processing small- or medium-sized desalination units and for thermally sensitive operations such as food and pharmaceutical processing. The technology is also being tested in coal-fired power plants.

March 22nd is World Water Day. By continuing research into the occurrence, fate, and transport of emerging contaminants, as well as developing new methods for filtering water for reuse and helping companies to reduce their water use, ISTC ensures a future of clean water for all.  

ISTC project informs California school’s food waste diversion pilot program

When California mandated that businesses and organization, including schools, begin diverting their organic waste from the state’s landfills, the Franklin Elementary PTA in Glendale, California decided to take action.

Using information from ISTC’s Green Lunchroom Challenge for inspiration, the school developed an organics diversion program, which is a pilot for the entire Glendale Unified School District.

Monica Favand Campagna, the Parent Foundation’s Green Team captain, says, “We looked to your website as one of our sources for info when we began this project.”

The school’s PTA and Parent Foundation worked with the school to initiate the pilot program.  Southland Disposal, the school’s hauler, provided green bins and picks up the scraps once per week to compost in a commercial facility nearby. The group has also developed a training video for parent volunteers who supervise the daily lunchroom waste separation at breakfast, snack, and lunch.

The Green Lunchroom Challenge, a voluntary pledge program for K-12 schools to improve the sustainability of their food service operations, was funded by U.S. EPA Region 5 from 2015-2016.  The Challenge involved suggested activities ranging in complexity and commitment, which allowed participants choose those that best suited their situation, budget, and available community resources. Participants earned points for documentation of completed activities, and were recognized as having achieved different levels of accomplishment.

Although the project ended in 2016, suggested activities for food waste reduction and prevention are still available on the project web site, as well as in IDEALS, the  University of Illinois’ institutional repository.

 

Prairie Research Institute recognizes three ISTC researchers at Annual Celebration of Excellence

The Prairie Research Institute recognition program honors employees for their outstanding achievements and excellent work. Selection committees composed of staff from across the organization review nominated candidates.

This year, three ISTC staff members have been recognized for their work. They are:

The three were honored at the Institute’s Annual Celebration of Excellence on April 10.