Take a Good Look at the Bad Old Days, and How Science Saved the Future

bttf-30thThe 30th Anniversary Celebration of the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) gathered together many of the original leaders of the effort to get a handle on hazardous pollution in the environment.


It was a valuable window into the spirit of the times before 1985 that convinced Illinois lawmakers to create a center for research, industry assistance and public information. Thousands had been killed in Bhopal, Love Canal had blighted whole neighborhoods, the Cuyahoga River had burned, and in Illinois, contamination at Waukegan Harbor and Lake Calumet had brought home to citizens the need for scientific evidence about the threats.


ISTC took the opportunity to tell this story at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on Nov. 9. It was a proud moment for the original players who participated in the event, and for ISTC’s parent Prairie Research Institute, and all of their current researchers who continue to drive sustainable economic development in Illinois. Videos on the presentations will be made available soon at http://www.istc.illinois.edu/news/30anniversaryhome.cfm.


Paper Work Aimed At Preserving Forests, Climate

Craft beers are all the rage. Craft papers not so much. Fresh Press, an agri-fiber laboratory on the University of Illinois campus is pointing the way to turn agricultural waste, not into fuel, but into paper. Their formulations sound like up-scale beer brands: Northwinds Switchgrass Blonde, Double Cooked Soy Brown, Unleashed Mutt.


This clever fun has a serious message. We have an abundance of wild grasses, corn stover and other agricultural by-products, some of which end up in landfills. Paper from trees reduces an environmental resource.


At noon, Thursday, Oct. 3, Eric Benson, Associate Professor and Chair of Graphic Design at the U of I will discuss how Fresh Press brings together farmers, artists, designers, and academics to demonstrate a more sustainable paper industry. He will present “Fields of Gold, Deckles, and Moulds: Fresh Press and Agri-Fiber Papers” at Room 218 Mechanical Engineering Building.


The presentation will also be viewable as a webinar by registering at https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/440998327. Benson’s appearance is part of the fall sustainability seminar series of the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center.


The Printer’s National Environmental Assistance Center at ISTC

Since its inception in 1995, The Printers’ National Environmental Assistance Center (www.pneac.org), has served as a valuable and comprehensive environmental resource for the printing, publishing, and packaging industry. PNEAC is the leading web site for printers and those who assist printers interested in improving their environmental performance. The program is principally funded by U.S. EPA. The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) is the coordinating agency for PNEAC.
PNEAC is a unique and effective partnership between industry, government, and university technical assistance providers. It serves those who interact with the printing industry — one of the largest manufacturing industries in the United States, North America, and the world. The PNEAC mission is to assist regulatory agencies and technical assistance providers by delivering current, reliable environmental compliance and pollution prevention information to printers, publishers, and packagers.
The PNEAC web site has been recently redesigned and new features include compliance and technical tools and resources supporting carbon emission reduction and energy efficiency. The site offers compliance information, fact sheets, case studies, virtual printing plants, contacts, program information, print process descriptions, and training.
Debra Jacobson is an Environmental Engineer and Printing Waste Reduction Specialist, and serves as the Director of the PNEAC. She also has coordinated the Great Printers Project and the Illinois Great Printers Project. Ms. Jacobson has been involved in the printing industry for over 20 years. She provides technical assistance to printers and related businesses regarding pollution prevention opportunities and authors compliance assistance tools, including manuals, fact sheets, and other resources for the printing industry. Jacobson also serves as Regional Operations Manager in the Oak Brook office of ISTC. She is responsible for providing technical, environmental and safety compliance assistance to industrial facilities within Illinois.