A Circular Economy for Lithium-Ion Batteries Used in Mobile and Stationary Energy Storage: Drivers, Barriers, Enablers, and U.S. Policy Considerations

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In this report we analyze drivers, barriers, and enablers to a circular economy for lithium-ion batteries (LiBs) used in mobile and stationary BES systems in the United States. We also analyze federal, state, and local legal requirements that apply to the reuse, recycling and disposal of LiBs as well as the legal liability associated with noncompliance. Finally, we provide an overview of policies and initiatives in the United States that expressly address reuse/recovery and disposal of large-format LiBs.

Florida restricting sales of pythons and lizards amid fears of invasive species

Read the full story in the Tampa Bay Times.

Florida is restricting the possession and private breeding of certain exotic animals, including Burmese pythons, green iguanas and tegu lizards, citing concerns about invasive species overrunning the state. The move comes in the face of fervent opposition from reptile enthusiasts and dealers.

EPA says latest cleanup at the former Kopper’s Tie Plant site in Carbondale is complete

Read the full story in the Southern Illinoisan.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced the completion of another cleanup at the former Koppers Wood-Treating Facility at 1555 N. Marion St. in Carbondale, according to a press release dated Feb. 24. The agency required the current owner, Beazer East Inc., to address dioxin/furan-contaminated soil on 16 acres of the site.

California Continues to List Food Packaging in Draft Priority Product Work Plan

Read the full story in the National Law Review.

California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) recently released a draft of its third priority product work plan under its Safer Consumer Products (SCP) Program covering the period of 2021-2023.  The goal of the Safer Consumer Products Regulations is “to create safer substitutes for hazardous ingredients in consumer products sold in California…”

Food Packaging has been carried over as a Priority Product the Draft 2021-2023 Priority Product Work Plan so that DTSC can continue to evaluate Candidate Chemicals in food packaging. However, the draft plan states that food packaging containing ortho-phthalates is no longer being considered as a Priority Product. The draft proposes a revised definition for Food Packaging to clarify that single-service items used to serve or hold food both for dine-in service and takeout are included. However, DTSC declined to extend the definition of Food Packaging to include food processing equipment, although this had also been requested.   

Carbon neutral vs. carbon negative: What’s the difference?

Read the full story at CNET.

GM outlined its strategy to become carbon neutral in late January; Apple in July 2020. But Microsoft’s January announcement that it would be carbon negative by 2030 introduced another term into the mix. As more companies and governments talk about carbon emissions and climate change, we wanted to explain the key differences between the two phrases. 

Implementation science can improve our environmental health

Read the full story in Environmental Factor.

Successful public health programs tend to rely on people adopting certain behaviors. In a country like the United States, these behaviors may include simple handwashing or obtaining timely cancer screenings. In low-and-middle-income countries, the behavior may involve using a different type of cookstove to reduce smoke inhalation. In all cases, the changes improve general health status.

Identifying barriers to adoption of these behaviors and finding strategies to overcome those barriers is the work of implementation scientists. The field also studies how to scale-up evidence-based interventions to have the greatest impact on public health.

The Demise and Potential Revival of the American Chestnut

Read the full story in Sierra Magazine.

In central Pennsylvania, there are monuments to the dead. Inside century-old barns and farmhouses, ceiling beams and wide floor planks that are straight grained and honey red with age serve as reminders of one of the deadliest epidemics to ever reach American shores. Between 1904 and 1940, some 3.5 billion American chestnut trees, the giants of the Appalachian hardwood forest, succumbed to a fungal blight called Cryphonectria parasitica.

When the kids started getting sick

Read the full story in the New Yorker.

After pressure from families, Pennsylvania has launched studies into whether fracking can be linked to local illnesses.

Financing a Greener Planet

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In order to decarbonize the world, a whole portfolio of mitigation needs to be developed and implemented across the highest carbon-emitting sectors. Although the pace of innovation has accelerated and investment has increased, the investment gap between what’s being spent currently and what needs to be spent is huge— as much as $3-$5+ trillion per year.

Capital is needed to fund the technologies required help markets evolve towards decarbonization. Advancements in battery technology, the hydrogen economy, carbon capture and storage, electrification, and efficiency require investment to become reality. Carbon management (i.e., carbon dioxide removal) and carbon pricing will help to align investment and economic activity with climate goals.

Public sector spending is crucial to funding climate action together with private investment. Luckily, green momentum in the investor community has led to an explosion in assets under management incorporating ESG considerations. At over $30 trillion, the challenge is putting these assets to work. Developing a clear green framework will help deploy ESG assets where they are most needed.

Financial innovation is the key to matching capital supply and demand. Instruments including project finance, green, social, and sustainability (GSS) bonds, SPACs, ‘efficiency as a service’, and green securitization are used to close the gap.

Given the scale of the issue, we’ve published Financing a Greener Planet in two volumes. Volume I — Catalyzing Private Capital for a Net Zero Emissions World — focuses on the three factors which indicate we are at a tipping point on climate action — policy and regulation, innovation, and green momentum in the investor community. Volume II — Bridging the Gap between Green Investment and Investors — is dedicated to the financial options available to close the massive climate investment gap.

PFAS: An evolving challenge

Read the full story at Waste Today.

While the responsibility for PFAS management has largely been placed on landfill operators, waste industry leaders say there is more to the picture.