EPA TO RESTRICT OZONE-DEPLETING
The EPA has issued a new rule that puts tight restrictions on the production of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and is
scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1, 2015. The new production levels
are the lowest ever allowed and the rule also proposes a complete
phase-out of the materials within five years.
Not only will the mandate reduce emissions coming from leakage
and stockpiles of the refrigerants due to decreased production, but
also encourage the use of leak detection, recycling, and reuse of
HCFCs that will reduce the carbon footprint of U.S. refrigeration and
reduce the demand for the dangerous refrigerants.
By limiting and ultimately eliminating the amount of HCFCs that
are produced, the EPA hopes the price of less sustainable options
will increase, incentivizing commercial consumers to upgrade their
equipment to more environmentally friendly cooling systems.
USE OF SUSTAINABLE PRODUCTS SPREADS
Sustainable purchasing in hospital settings
is growing in popularity,
according to a survey con-
ducted by Harris Poll and
commissioned by Johnson
Over 52% of U.S. healthcare providers report that
their hospitals consider
sustainability when making purchasing decisions,
with the number expected
to rise to 81% within the
next two years. The top
five factors that U.S. hospital purchasing decision-makers favor include latex
free, heavy metal free,
energy efficient, synthetic
chemical free, and PVC
A full 79% of U.S. respon-
dents agree that it makes
financial sense to choose sustainable options, with 67% reporting
backing from top hospital management for their green initia-
tives. Additionally, around 80% of respondents say sustainable
products protect hospital staff. More than half also say that green
initiatives improve patient outcomes and are important consider-
ations for patients when choosing a hospital.
NATURAL BED BUG REMEDIES TESTED
With the growing concerns over the exposure to insecticides by humans, a multitude of essential
oil and detergent-based pesticides for bed bug control
have been developed. Researchers at Rutgers University
studied 11 green products that are marketed for bed bug
control to assess their efficacy against the pests.
The study shows that when spraying the 11 pesticides directly on
bed bug nymphs, only two products killed more than 90% of them
and one had a noticeable effect against bed bug eggs. The authors
are quick to point out, however, that under field conditions it’s difficult, if not impossible, to spray insecticides directly on bed bugs, so
the actual efficacy rate is expected to be much lower. Researchers
say more studies are needed to assess the products’ usefulness.
STRONGER, GREENER CEMENT DEVELOPED
Cement is the most used building material on earth, however, its production also causes up to 10% of industry-generated
greenhouse gas emissions. A new study shows that by reducing
the ratio of calcium to silicate in the formula, the resulting
product could cut up to 60% of produced carbon emissions and
achieve up to twice the resistance strength of normal cement.
Though the new formulation has yet to be tested on the
engineering scale, the MIT researchers believe that their findings could translate into stronger buildings with fewer carbon
emissions associated with their construction.
INDUSTRY LEADERS RECOGNIZED FOR
As part of the EPA’s Sustainable Materials Management Electronics Challenge, leaders from Best Buy, Dell, LG Electronics, Panasonic,
Samsung, Sony, Sprint, and Staples were honored by the agency for
their innovative leadership in recycling used electronic devices. In
total, the companies diverted over 220,000 metric tons of used electronics to recyclers in 2013, which is an increase of 7.6% over 2012.
With modern electronic devices using increasing amounts of valuable resources such as precious metals, copper, plastic, and glass, the
U.S. generates nearly 3. 4 million tons of electronic waste per year. By
collecting unused electronic devices and diverting them to third-party
certified refurbishers and recyclers, the industry leaders’ recycling efforts saved an amount of greenhouse gas emissions equal to removing
over 8,500 cars from the road for one year.