California beverage makers struggle to meet upcoming recycled content requirements

Read the full story at Waste Dive.

Bottlers must use at least 15% postconsumer resin in plastic containers by 2022, and more from there, but a recent CalRecycle report shows many haven’t yet hit the mark.

Del Monte Foods begins trials on two new plant-based plastic alternatives

Read the full story from Environment + Energy Leader.

Del Monte Foods has published its fiscal year 2021 Sustainability Report, highlighting, among other goals and commitments, trials on two new plant-based plastic alternatives for packaging.

Mirova launches environment solutions-focused impact private equity fund

Read the full story at ESG Today.

Sustainability-focused investment manager Mirova announced the launch of the Mirova Environment Acceleration Capital fund, a new pan-European private equity fund aiming to invest in companies providing sustainable innovative solutions and technologies contributing to the environmental transition.

GreenScreen Certified™ for Cleaners & Degreasers in Manufacturing launched

Clean Production Action has released GreenScreen Certified,™ for Cleaners & Degreasers in Manufacturing to promote safer chemical use and innovation in the electronics sector and beyond.

Industrial cleaners and degreasers account for some of the highest use materials in the electronics sector and are under increasing scrutiny from regulators and environmental health and safety organizations. Clean Production Action developed the new certification with Apple, a leader in safer chemistry adoption, to create clear criteria for assessing the safety of cleaners used in the electronics industry and beyond. 

For years, Apple has used GreenScreen® for Safer Chemicals to assess and promote safer chemicals in their supply chain and 100% of their supplier final assembly sites now utilize only approved safer cleaners. Today’s launch of GreenScreen Certified creates a path towards an industry-wide transformation by making information about safer alternatives readily available throughout the electronics industry.   

“These standards represent a new playbook to help companies everywhere use safer chemicals that are better for people’s health and for the planet,” said Kathleen Shaver, Apple’s director of environment and supply chain innovation. “We’re always innovating and glad to work with our partners to help drive the use of safer chemicals across industries.”

GreenScreen Certified™ for Cleaners & Degreasers in Manufacturing joins the family of GreenScreen certifications that are advancing safer chemicals in products. The criteria for GreenScreen certifications are freely and publicly available and build upon the well-established GreenScreen® for Safer Chemicals benchmark scores. Certification requirements include full ingredient disclosure, compliance with a comprehensive list of prohibited substances including per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), and testing to demonstrate the absence of priority restricted chemicals and chemical classes.

“Knowing which products are safer for workers in the electronics sector is a complicated task,” said Shari Franjevic, GreenScreen Program Manager. “GreenScreen Certified for Cleaners & Degreasers in Manufacturing now provides assurance that these products are third party certified and free of thousands of chemicals of high concern. We are very proud to supply another tool in the toolbox for safer chemistry innovation.”

For further information on the certification go to:

Register for the webinar November 18, 2021 at 3:00 PM EDT:

About Clean Production Action

Clean Production Action is an independent, non-profit organization based in the United States. Our mission is to design and deliver strategic solutions for green chemicals, sustainable materials, and environmentally preferable products. Our core programs are: GreenScreen® for Safer Chemicals, BizNGO, Chemical Footprint Project, and Investor Environmental Health Network.

About GreenScreen® for Safer Chemicals

GreenScreen is a globally recognized tool designed to assess and benchmark chemicals based on hazard. Companies, governments, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) use GreenScreen benchmark scores to identify chemicals of concern to human health and the environment, select safer alternatives, and to track and communicate their progress. GreenScreen criteria and guidance are fully transparent and available for anyone to use.

About GreenScreen Certified™

Built upon GreenScreen® for Safer Chemicals, GreenScreen Certified™ is an independent, non-profit certification that promotes the use of inherently safer chemicals in products and manufacturing.

Space waste and sustainability: Who is working to keep Earth’s orbit clean

Read the full story at Waste360.

In a recent virtual event, Ian Christiansen and Chris Blackerby, group COO, Astroscale, spoke about the implications of space exploration and the waste it creates.

As the climate bakes, Turkey faces a future without water

Read the full story at e360.

No nation in the Mediterranean region has been hit harder by climate change than Turkey. But as heat and drought increase, Turkey is doubling down on water-intensive agriculture and development and spurring a water-supply crisis that is expected to get much worse.

Sustainability Awards 2021 winners revealed

Read the full story at Packaging Europe.

This year’s overall winner was NEXTLOOPP, with its ground-breaking project that aims to create a circular economy for food-grade polypropylene. Winners in the other categories included CMCHelloFreshwatttronSearious BusinessMibelleHuhtamaki and McDonald’s, and Nestlé. Meanwhile, the recipient of our Readers’ Award was Procter and Gamble’s reuse and refill system.

Who pays and who benefits from a massive expansion of solar power?

Aerial view of the 6-megawatt Stanton Solar Farm near Orlando, Fla. Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

by Felix Mormann (Texas A&M University)

Electricity generation produces a quarter of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions that drive climate change. The electric grid also is highly vulnerable to climate change effects, such as more frequent and severe droughts, hurricanes and other extreme weather events.

For both of these reasons, the power sector is central to the Biden administration’s climate policy.

President Joe Biden’s proposal to produce 45% of the nation’s electricity from solar energy by 2050 seeks to transform the power sector from problem child into child prodigy. As the details evolve, two cornerstones have emerged.

First, Biden has repeatedly called for extending tax credits for solar power and other renewables, at a projected cost of US$200 billion over the next decade. Second, his administration has proposed a Clean Electricity Performance Program to subsidize electric utilities that increase the share of solar in their sales. This initiative is budgeted at $150 billion.

Reduced emissions and cleaner air help everyone, but who ultimately pays for public spending on this scale, and who will reap the economic benefits?

I have studied renewable energy for years, including the allocation of clean energy policies’ costs and benefits. My research focuses on direct economic benefits, such as government subsidies and tax breaks.

By proposing $350 billion in policy incentives, Biden is pushing solar further into the mainstream than ever before. Most of the costs and benefits of this massive solar play are distributed fairly, but I see room for improvement. [View chart illustrating solar PV cost trends in past decade]

A break for lower-income households

Many clean energy policies, including renewable portfolio standards and net metering programs – strategies that dozens of states have adopted – pass their costs onto electricity customers. Renewable portfolio standards require utilities to source a certain share of their power sales from renewable sources. Net metering requires them to credit customers for generating electricity at home, typically from solar power, and feeding it back into the grid. In both cases, power companies bill their customers for associated costs.

It may seem sensible to ask electricity customers to pay for new resources, but rising electricity rates impose heavier burdens on lower-income households. Already, one-third of U.S. households struggle with energy poverty, spending disproportionately large shares of their income on basic energy needs. The Biden administration avoids such inequities by using tax dollars to fund its solar push.

Many low-income households contribute to federal tax revenue via payroll taxes, but most do not pay federal income tax. This largely leaves higher-income households to fill the federal tax coffers that finance solar incentives, which reduces the risk of widening the income and wealth gap.

A tenfold increase in solar power’s contribution to the U.S. electricity supply would require significant upgrades to the grid. But not all of these upgrades would be covered by incentives funded with tax dollars, so some would fall to ratepayers. To minimize burdens on lower-income households, the Clean Electricity Performance Program earmarks some of its incentives for electric utilities to help struggling electricity customers pay their power bills.

Community solar projects enable people who may not own their home or can’t put solar power on their roofs to buy shares in larger projects and receive credit on their electric bills for the power those projects generate.

Direct economic benefits are less widely shared

While Biden’s proposed solar policies spread costs broadly across U.S. taxpayers, they allocate direct economic benefits more narrowly. The Clean Electricity Performance Program specifically targets electric utilities that sell power to homes, businesses and other end users.

Under the economic plan that Congress is now considering, utilities that grow the share of clean energy in their retail sales by a specified amount compared to the previous year would receive payments based on the amount of clean electricity they add. Utilities that fail to meet the growth target would pay penalties based on how far they fall short.

Electric utilities own many of the country’s existing, mostly fossil-fueled power plants. Most have been reluctant to promote solar, which would reduce demand for electricity from their own power plants.

But the Clean Electricity Performance Program does not cover another category of power company, called non-utility generators. Instead of selling power to end-use customers, these companies sell electricity to utilities, marketers or brokers. Non-utility generators provide over 40% of U.S. power and have driven much of the recent deployment in solar and other renewables.

Graphic showing sources of U.S. electric power.
About 60% of the U.S. electricity supply comes from fossil fuels. EIA

Non-utility generators may benefit indirectly if utilities buy solar power from them to comply with the Clean Electricity Performance Program. But by focusing on utilities, the program threatens to alienate non-utility generators and stifle competition.

In contrast, tax credits for solar appear to offer economic benefits for a wide swath of taxpayers. In theory, anyone installing a new solar array on their rooftop or elsewhere earns tax credits for a portion of their investment. But I have found that, in practice, only those with higher tax bills can readily profit from these tax breaks.

Tax credits don’t normally have cash value – they merely reduce the amount you owe to Uncle Sam on April 15. A typical homeowner’s tax bill in the hundreds to low thousands of dollars is easily reduced to zero using part of the solar tax credit. But the remaining credit value will go unused, at least until subsequent tax years.

Since the tax code prohibits “selling” one’s tax credits, third-party financiers offer ways to structure solar projects so that the financier’s higher tax bill is used to monetize tax credits, passing part of the value onto homeowners. But such help comes at a price, diverting a significant portion of these tax incentives away from their intended use and beneficiaries.

How to retarget solar policies

A large-scale expansion of solar power would be an important step toward a low-carbon economy, with huge environmental benefits. A few tweaks could help make the Biden administration’s proposal more efficient and spread its benefits more widely.

As former President Barack Obama suggested in his 2016 budget proposal, solar tax credits should have a refundable cash value, like the child tax credit, that converts to cash if the recipients don’t owe enough taxes to use the credit. Lower-income households who install solar or buy into community solar projects could use this cash value to take immediate advantage of the credits, regardless of their tax bills.

Expanding the Clean Electricity Performance Program to bring non-utility generators into the fold would foster competition among power producers to help further reduce the cost of solar. Finally, since environmental justice is a central theme of Biden’s climate policy, it would make sense to add place-based incentives to the solar tax credit provisions that direct clean energy investment toward historically disadvantaged communities to make up for previous environmental injustices.

by Felix Mormann, Professor of Law, Texas A&M University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Coca Cola talks deposit recycling schemes and plastic quality: ‘We need a step-change for packaging collection’

Read the full story at Food Navigator.

On its path to achieving zero waste and net zero GHG emissions, Coca-Cola Europacific Partners is advocating for deposit recycling schemes across Great Britain. Julian Hunt, VP of Communications & Public Affairs tells FoodNavigator this would help deliver best outcomes for businesses, consumers, and the environment.

Microsoft’s million-tonne CO2-removal purchase — lessons for net zero

Read the full story in Nature.

Strengthen markets, measures and definitions for removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to fight climate change.