Illinois Sustainable Technology Center - University of Illinois

ISTC in the News


Widespread Shallow Groundwater Contamination Found in Southwestern Illinois Cave Streams and Springs

11.21.16

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Abstract: Researchers have detected prescription and over-the-counter medications and personal care products in Illinois groundwater, an indication that humans are contaminating water that is vital to aquatic life. This study was funded by the Prairie Research Institute and the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center and is published in the journal Science of the Total Environment.. ISTC researcher Wei Zheng is a co-author on the paper.


Illini Gadget Garage Helps Fix Electronics

11.18.16

Contact: Joy Scrogum at jscrogum@illinois.edu

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Abstract: Promoting Saturday's America Recycles Day http://www.urbanaparks.org/america-recycles-day-its-electric/) event CI Living featured the Illini Gadget Garage.


Kimberly-Clark Helps Universities Turn Gloves into Durable Goods

11.16.16

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Abstract: The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Purdue University have diverted almost six tons of waste from landfills through a recycling program that turns used lab gloves and garments into shelving, flowerpots and lawn and garden furniture.


25 Companies, Organizations Honored for Sustainability Achievements in Illinois

11.3.16

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Abstract: Abbott Laboratories won an Illinois Governor's Sustainability Award for the 15th time on Tuesday, Nov. 1 at a ceremony at the Union League Club of Chicago. They were among 25 companies and organizations to be honored for their commitment to sustainable business and operations during the Awards' 30th anniversary year.


Illinois Electric Coops Back Carbon Capture Research

10.3.16

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Abstract: ISTC Director Kevin O'Brien thanks Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives' leaders for their support of the Prairie Research Institute's research on carbon capture technologies.

Text: ISTC Director Kevin O'Brien thanks Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives' leaders for their support of the Prairie Research Institute's research on carbon capture technologies. A related story reveals Argonne National Laboratory research to mimic the reaction used by plants to turn carbon dioxide into energy. https://icl.coop/turning-carbon-dioxide-fuel-plants/


Walgreens Creates New Medicine Take-Back Program

8.11.16

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Abstract: Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant's "Rx for Action" featured ISTC's roundup of the latest opportunities for healthy disposal of drugs and personal care products.


Sound Sensors Can Detect Water Pipe Leaks

7.26.16

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Abstract: The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, American Water and Echologics tested acoustic monitoring last year to identify water distribution system cracks. The technology is saving cities and towns that have already adopted it significant investment in repairs, not to mention the costs of lost water, usually turned over to ratepayers.


Styrecycle: A New Effort to Reduce Waste on the Illinois Campus

7.12.16

Contact: Olivia Harris and Elise Snyder at illinois.styrecycle@gmail.com

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Abstract: APRIL 19, 2016 -- Expanded polystyrene -- more commonly known by its brand name "Styrofoam" -- is everywhere. It makes up your disposable coffee cup, the packing peanuts in that care package from your mom, and the insulation in your apartment's walls. At the University of Illinois, countless bottles of chemicals, biology specimens, and fragile parts of lab equipment arrive in packaging made of Styrofoam every day, and, sadly, almost all of it gets tossed in the trash.


Teachers learn drug disposal risks

6.19.16

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Abstract: Teachers from around Illinois are learning about the effects of improper disposal of pharmaceuticals and personal care products during workshops at the University of Illinois this week.


Why Tech Companies Design Products With Their Destruction in Mind

6.16.16

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Abstract: Apple introduced a piece of technology recently that will likely never be used by any consumer. Instead, it kind of cleans up after them: a robot that breaks down iPhones for recycling. The company spent more than three years building Liam, of which there are currently two. Each carefully separates iPhone components such as the camera module, SIM card trays, screws and batteries. Instead of tossing the whole device into a shredder--the most common form of disposal--Liam separates materials so they can be recycled more efficiently. Other electronics makers take a different recycling approach, designing products that simplify disassembly by replacing glue and screws with parts that snap together, for instance. Some also have reduced the variety of plastics used and avoid mercury and other hazardous materials that can complicate disposal. It's all part of the electronics industry's efforts to undo a problem of its own making. The technological advances that replaced typewriters with personal computers, flip phones with smartphones and clunky TVs with flat-screen displays also spawned the consumer expectation that today's cutting-edge product will become obsolete in a few years. The constant churn of new devices has contributed to an increase in electronic waste, some of which ends up in developing nations where local residents must deal with the health and environmental risks.


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