2013 Naturally Illinois Expo

 


The Prairie Research Institute presents the fifth annual Naturally Illinois Expo on March 8-9, 2013, on the University of Illinois Urbana campus. Families, teachers, and students of all ages are invited to attend and enjoy exhibits, demonstrations and hands-on activities that showcase the work of the Institute, home of the State Scientific Surveys (Illinois Natural History SurveyIllinois State Archaeological SurveyIllinois State Geological SurveyIllinois State Water Survey, and Illinois Sustainable Technology Center).  Continue reading “2013 Naturally Illinois Expo”

Webinar: Beyond Energy Efficiency: Behavior Change Tactics for the Pollution Prevention Community

Thursday, January 17, 2013, 2-3 pm
Register at https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/833280647

 

Join Susan Mazur-Stommen, Director of Behavior and Human Dimensions Program at the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), to discuss what behavior change research tells us about how people make decisions and what motivates them to make changes. She will also examine how pollution prevention technical assistance providers can use that research to influence behavior change and improve implementation rates at the companies they work with.

 

The webinar is hosted by the Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable (GLRPPR) and  is part of the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange’s Behavior Change and Social Media webinar series.

November 15 is America Recycles Day

Happy America Recycles Day! Celebrated annually on November 15 since 1997, America Recycles Day is a program of Keep America Beautiful, Inc. and is about educating the public about how and what to recycle, while encouraging people to do so as part of their daily routine. Those of us who were alive in the 1970s will remember Keep America Beautiful, or KAB, as the folks who brought us the public service campaign involving a Native American man weeping while bearing witness to thoughtless pollution. (You can watch a clip of that famous public service announcement featuring Iron Eyes Cody, and read more about KAB’s history on the organization’s web site.) As a child in the 70s, I suppose those PSAs, along with learning from Woodsy Owl to “Give a Hoot” and not pollute, marked the beginning of my personal journey to working on environmental protection and promoting pollution prevention and sustainability to businesses and citizens in Illinois and beyond.

 

ISTC provides a lot of information relevant to America Recycles Day through its various projects and web sites. On the Sustainable Electronics Initiative web site, you’ll find a fact sheet on Electronics Take-Back and Donation Programs that will help you learn about recycling options, or if you’re interested in selling devices for some extra cash or donating your electronics for a good cause. SEI also provides an extensive Summary of U.S. State Laws on Electronic Waste and Disposal Bans so you can learn what laws, if any, apply in your area. The Law & Policy section of the SEI web site will also help you learn about regulations on the local, federal and international levels, as well as providing more information on voluntary initiatives. The SEI Resources section also provides links on various aspects of electronics recycling. Read about the existing Certification programs on the SEI site to learn about what is involved in the responsible recycling of electronic devices. SEI also provides a RefWorks Database of journal articles on sustainable electronics and e-waste, which includes downloadable citations. And SEI’s International E-Waste Design Competition provides inspiration for the recycling and reuse of electronics scrap, as well as greener electronic product design, through a contest open to current university students and recent graduates from around the globe.

 

On the Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable (GLRPPR) web site, the extensive Sector Resources section provides information on Recycling & Waste Exchange, Product Stewardship, Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (if you’re interested in products with recycled content among other considerations), Electronic Waste, and Sustainable Product Design (again, relevant to items incorporating recycled materials or those that were designed with recycling in mind). Construction & Demolition provides information on recycling wastes associated with those activities. In the Topic Hubs section of the site, you’ll find a resource on Industrial Composting developed by the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange (P2Rx). The GLRPPR Funding Opportunities page provides information on grants to support sustainability activities including recycling. For example, the IL DCEO’s Recycling Grants Program provides technical assistance and grants for capital equipment to governmental entities, private businesses, and not-for-profit organizations for projects involving paper, plastic, metal and glass; the deadline for that program is November 19.

 

ISTC’s Librarian and GLRPPR Executive Director, Laura Barnes, has developed several subject guides for the collection of such guides on the Prairie Research Institute Library web site. The guides on Battery Recycling and  Lamp Recycling and Disposal are excellent resources to consult on America Recycles Day as you learn more about what you can do to recycle more items in your day to day life.

 

So even though recycling may seem like a simple concept that you’ve heard lots about, take some time today to consider all the ways you can incorporate recycling into your work and personal life. Odds are, there’s room for improvement, and every little bit helps!

2012 Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Awards

A pair of environmental recognition programs have joined together to honor Illinois organizations that have accomplished significant achievements in protecting the environment and helping to sustain the future. Winners of the Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Awards and the Illinois Campus Sustainability Compact Awards Program were presented during a luncheon in Oak Brook, IL.  Continue reading “2012 Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Awards”

Illinois Biochar Group Meeting – Fall 2012

The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) is getting ready to host its fall Illinois Biochar Group meeting.  Meetings are held three times a year and are usually located at ISTC.  The Illinois Biochar Group encourages research in the production and use of biochar including the project topics: soil amendments, site remediation, carbon sequestration, and supercapacitors. Continue reading “Illinois Biochar Group Meeting – Fall 2012”

Orange and Blue Go Green

Sustainability Week 2012

The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) participated in several events during the 2012 UI Sustainability Week, October 22-26, 2012. The center was one of the stops on the Sustainability Scavenger Hunt. ISTC gave out biodegradable plastic sports bottles at its location in the hunt and has also donated reusable tote bags made from recycled plastic as part of the grand prize for the winners of the hunt.

 

ISTC also was at the Orange & Blue Go Green Sustainability Expo on Thursday, October 25 from 11:00am-2:00pm. The Sustainability Expo was located in the Lobby of the Student Dining & Residential Programs Building (SDRP), 301 E. Gregory Drive, Champaign. ISTC had a table with information on our Center and ways to be more sustainable as well as a few sustainable giveaways.

 

ISTC hosted the award winning documentary Bag it: Is your life too plastic? from 7:00pm-9:00pm on Thursday, October 25. Dr. BK Sharma, Senior Chemist at ISTC gave a 15 minute presentation before the film on how he converts plastic bags, non-recyclable, and not easily recyclable plastic into oil to potentially be used as fuel or lubricants.

 

Award-winning documentary “Bag It” comes to the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center

The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC), a division of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, is hosting a screening of the  award-winning environmental documentary Bag It at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center located at One E. Hazelwood Dr., Champaign, IL 61820 on October 25, 2012 from 7:00 to 9:00 P.M. Click here for a map and directions.

 

Bag It follows “everyman” Jeb Berrier as he tries to make sense of our dependence on plastic bags. Although his quest starts out small, Jeb soon learns that the problem extends past landfills to oceans, rivers and ultimately human health.

 

The average American uses about 500 plastic bags each year, for about twelve minutes each. This single-use mentality has led to the formation of a floating island of plastic debris in the Pacific Ocean more than twice the size of Texas.

 

The film explores these issues and identifies how our daily reliance on plastic threatens not only waterways and marine life, but human health, too. Two of the most common plastic additives are endocrine disruptors, which have been shown to link to cancer, diabetes, autism, attention deficit disorder, obesity and infertility.

 

The screening will also include a short talk about ISTC’s research project “Plastics to Oil” in which Dr. B.K. Sharma will discuss how he uses pyrolysis to convert plastic bags into oil. One potential use for the oil is as a substitute for food oils in biolubricants.

 

ISTC recognizes the importance of reducing single-use plastic use for the safety of its community and the environment. Its mission is to be at the forefront of environmental and energy research and innovative technological advances that protect natural resources and reduce wastes.  ISTC imparts this knowledge to the general public, businesses, state agencies, and the scientific community to improve the environment and economic viability of Illinois, the nation, and the world.

 

Screening Date: October 25, 2012

Screening Time: 7:00 to 9:00 P.M.

Screening Location: Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, One E. Hazelwood Dr., Champaign, IL 61820

Admission:  Free

This event is open to the public.

Science & Technology at the Market

This fall the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) at the University of Illinois will be presenting information about several of its research and outreach projects at Urbana’s Market at the Square. Topics include:
• September 22 – Waste Biomass Projects: Turning waste into energy. Come learn how ISTC researchers, Dr. Junhua Jiang (Senior Research Engineer), uses biochar – a black carbon-rich solid made from biomass – in supercapacitors. Dr. B.K. Sharma (Senior Research Engineer) and Joe Pickowitz (Environmental Engineer) will also present how they turn everyday household and restaurant waste into bio-oils/bio-lubricants and biodiesel.

• September 29 – PPCPs in the Environment: More and more we hear of various chemicals being found in our streams and rivers. ISTC researcher, Dr. Wei Zheng (Senior Research Chemist), will discuss his research on fate and transport Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products (PPCPs) in the environment.

• October 6 – Sustainable Electronics Initiative (SEI) and the Indoor Climate Research & Training: Have you ever wondered where your discarded electronics go or just how much electronic waste the US produces each year? Visit with Joy Scrogum (Emerging Technologies Resource Specialist) who can answer these questions and others about SEI, e-waste, and responsible recycling.
Your home is your sanctuary; a place where all the worries of the world go away. Learn with Bill Rose (Senior Research Architect) and the ICRT program about way to improve your sanctuary’s performance in the areas of indoor air quality, roofing materials and attic ventilation, freezing pipe conditions, thermal performance at wall-ceiling junctions, and more.

• October 20 – Mud to Parks: Have you ever seen abandoned industrial areas that are eye sores in communities? Come learn how ISTC’s John Marlin (Research Affiliate) helped to discover how river sediments can be used to turn old industrial sites into parks.

• October 27 – Water Use and Reuse: Ever wondered how your drinking water gets cleaned? Learn how a couple of ISTC researchers, Dr. Kishore Rajagopalan (Associate Director for Applied Research) and Eric Duitsman (Chemist), clean a variety of liquid wastes with reverse osmosis membrane technology.

• November 3 – Waste to Oil: Dr. B.K. Sharma is back to demonstrate how he turns those pesky plastic grocery bags and other discarded plastic items into oil.
For more information on ISTC and/or these topics, please visit www.istc.illinois.edu or contact Elizabeth Luber at 217-333-7403 or eluber2@illinois.edu or Nancy Holm at 217-244-3330 or naholm@illinois.edu.

Celebrate National Pollution Prevention Week 2012

Today marks the first day of National Pollution Prevention Week. Pollution Prevention Week is annually the third week of September. Pollution Prevention Week is a time when businesses, environmental groups and citizens can join forces for a common cause. By sharing information about pollution prevention, businesses can become more competitive, businesses and government can realize cost savings, and environmental quality can be enhanced.P2 Week 2012 poster

The theme for Pollution Prevention Week 2012 is “Safer Chemicals for a Safer World,” which embodies a national effort for safer alternatives to chemicals of concern. This is to ensure the safety and health of workers and communities. Using safer chemical alternatives also provides companies with a marketing edge over their competitors.

For more information on P2 Week, see the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable web site at http://www.p2.org/p2-week/. See also the US Environmental Protection Agency P2 Week page, with tips on preventing pollution at work, home, on the road, and at school, as well as information on various P2 Week activities.

Read the text of the Pollution Prevention Act of 1990 here.

For further assistance, see the Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable (GLRPPR) web site (GLRPPR is a project of ISTC), or the ISTC Technical Assistance program page.