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February 1, 2019



Today, consumers want—and can increasingly afford—new clothing after wearing garments only a few times. Entire business models are built on the premise of “fast fashion,” providing clothes cheaply and quickly to consumers through shorter fashion cycles. This model of buying, wearing and quickly discarding clothes negatively impacts people and the planet’s resourcesOne garbage truck of clothes is burned or sent to landfills every second! The average consumer bought 60% more clothes in 2014 than in 2000, but kept each garment for half as long. Business models based on longevity, such as Rent the Runway and Gwynnie Bee, are the beginnings of an industry that supports reuse instead of rapid and irresponsible consumption. Just as Netflix reimagined traditional film rental services and Lyft disrupted transportation, we are beginning to see options for consumers to lease clothes rather than buy and stash them in their closets. Ideally, an “end of ownership” in apparel will be implemented in a way that considers impacts on jobs, communities and the environment.



People who call Alaska's government offices will now hear songs from bands that have connections in the state. Meanwhile, the state of Alaska gets to take some credit for launching these five memorable bands. At the same time, the bands get additional exposure. It's a winning situation for all involved and an idea that other states could easily use - possibly getting rid of mind-numbing hold music altogether. The idea for the project came three years ago, when state Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins got sick of listening to the same song again and again when he was on hold with the state. He decided it was time for change, describing the old music as the audio equivalent of plastic. It was important to look to Alaskans when choosing new music, Kreiss-Tomkins said. “I mean, I feel like one’s government should reflect the people and the culture of the place,” he said. “In big ways and small ways, it always makes sense to try to make that happen.” Three years later, with help from the Department of Administration, GCI, the Alaska State Council on the Arts and the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council, it’s becoming a reality.



The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) at the U of I began a Solar Panel Recycling Initiative last year and is working with a variety of state and national stakeholders (IL EPA, ISEA, SEIA, installers, developers, recyclers, and others) to develop a comprehensive plan for end-of-life handling of solar panels in the state. This is in anticipation of a large uptick in panels needing to be recycled or repurposed in the next 5 – 10 years and beyond. An overview of this initiative was presented in a seminar at ISTC in September 2018 and is archived on the ISTC website. ISTC recently held another seminar related to solar, and this time brought together a panel of speakers from the Illinois Environmental Council, the Coalition for Community Solar Access, and the Illinois Solar Energy Association to discuss the potential impact of the Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA) on community solar development in Illinois. That seminar is also accessible on ISTC’s website. Check the ISTC website for future solar seminars or contact Jennifer Martin at to be added to the solar seminar email list.



University of Illinois Extension’s Community and Economic Development team will host a webinar, Local Efficiency Assessment Program (LEAP), presented by Norm Walzer and Andy Blanke of the NIU Center for Governmental Studies on Thursday, February 7, 2019 at Noon (CST).  This webinar will address Illinois' shifting demographics, such as a decrease in rural populations, an increase in the proportion of elderly who will require more services, higher per capita property taxes, and more. Discussions will cover ways that local governments can adapt to these shifts, such as reducing the costs of public services and property taxes and using technology, and will include a larger discussion on how local governments can prepare financially, logistically, and realistically for the next five to ten years.  REGISTER HERE



February 7 (Webinar) - Local Efficiency Assessment Program (LEAP)

February 15 - Governor's Volunteer Service Awards Nomination Deadline

February 21 (Webinar) -Think Global, Eat Local

March 6-7 (Springfield) - 30th Annual Economic Development Conference

March 21-22 - 2019 Emerging Contaminants in the Environment Conference