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Vibrant Environment

Solving the Plastic Packaging Problem

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

The packaging industry faces mounting shareholder and public pressure to reduce the environmental impact of plastic. The recycled plastics market in the United States is positioned for growth, but developing a reliable supply of post-consumer plastics will be costly. Reliance on export markets has limited investment in domestic recycling capacity, local collection programs vary considerably, and many consumers are ignorant about what can and cannot be recycled. The low cost of manufacturing virgin plastics compounds these challenges.

E-commerce and the Environment

By Dave Rejeski, Visiting Scholar
Monday, January 6, 2020

After almost getting hit by an Amazon Prime truck as I wandered around Greenwich Village, I started to look around at what was piling up in the foyers of posh condos and on the steps of the venerable brownstones. Maybe lying under these mountains of cardboard was a first edition of The Call of the Wild off eBay, but I doubted it.

Business Intelligence Within the U.S. Coal Combustion Residuals Market, Part 1

By Mark Rokoff, AECOM Senior Vice President of Environment, John Priebe, AECOM Co-Leader of CCR Management Practice, and Dave Cox, FirmoGraphs Founder
Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Although it may not be a trending cocktail party topic, coal ash compliance activities are certainly well-known in the legal and environmental risk management community. Billions of dollars are at stake for the owners and operators of coal power plants impacted by the 2015 Disposal of Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR) rule.

Remembering ELI's Early Years Abroad

Friday, November 1, 2019

My initial thought about this blog was to address a technical chemical regulatory topic, something like “why did it take 40 years for environmental regulators to figure out that perfluorinated compounds contaminate groundwater and don’t degrade over time?” However, this is ELI’s 50th anniversary year, and so I shall talk instead about the work I did over the course of about 15 years with ELI to address chemical regulatory and hazardous waste strategies both in the United States and abroad.

INECE Compliance Conversations Bring Together Experts and Practitioners to Discuss Effectiveness of Lead Paint Laws

By Avital Li, Research Associate
Monday, October 28, 2019

The public health dangers posed by lead exposure have been recognized and documented since the mid-20th century. Despite the pervasiveness of lead-based paint in buildings, including homes and schools, experience has shown that laws can effectively address the issue by phasing out lead paint.

Bouncing Back From Bonnet Carré: What Is Next for Impacted Fisheries?

By Anna Beeman, Research Associate
Wednesday, October 23, 2019

The Gulf Coast region historically is known for producing more seafood than anywhere else in the continental U.S., both in volume and dollar value. However, since Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in April 2010, fishing communities along the coast who depend upon healthy and vibrant marine habitats have experienced significant financial instability.

A Future Without Fertilizer: How Microbes Are Changing Traditional Agriculture Practices

By Mackenzie Allen, Research & Publications Intern
Monday, October 21, 2019

Present-day food consumption relies on high-yielding crops, and these high-yielding crops rely on nitrogen to be able to deliver 40-60% of the world’s food supply. Typically, synthetic nitrogen is provided to crops through the use of fertilizers. In 2015, an estimated 3.54 billion people were fed by synthetic nitrogen fertilizers.

Single-Use Plastic Bans Bring Unintended Consequences for People Experiencing Homelessness and Developing Countries

By Cynthia R. Harris, Staff Attorney; Director of Tribal Programs; Deputy Director of the Center for State, Tribal, and Local Environmental Programs
Wednesday, August 28, 2019

First plastic bags, then straws, and now . . . miniature toiletries.

In a world where half the plastic produced globally is packaging we use just once, and only nine percent of all plastic is recycled, a consumer tide against single-use plastics is sweeping up grocery retailers, restaurants, and now the hospitality industry.

Trichloroethylene, Vapor Intrusion, and Indoor Air

By Bart Eklund, Vice President and Director, Air Quality Practice, AECOM
Monday, August 26, 2019

I’ve conducted research on global climate change and on nuclear waste disposal, but vapor intrusion (VI) is the most challenging topic I’ve worked on during my 40-year career. VI’s technical challenges relate to its multimedia nature and the need to understand pollutant fate and transport both above and below ground.

New U.S. EPA Rule Change Would Inhibit Citizens From Filing Environmental Claims

By Shehla Chowdhury, Research & Publications Intern
Monday, August 19, 2019

Last month, the New York Times reported that the Trump Administration began drafting a new rule that could eviscerate one of the most powerful tools available to U.S. citizens to hold the government accountable for environmental harm. The new rule, if finalized, would prevent concerned citizens from filing cases with the U.S. EPA Environmental Appeals Board (EAB), as well as inherently change EPA’s appeals process and undermine enforcement of environmental law throughout the country.