EPA’s COMET tool blazes a path towards planning cleaner cities

Read the full story from U.S. EPA.

Energy, environment, urban planning, and living standards are all common elements city planners must consider when building sustainable and smarter cities of the future. To equip local officials with the tools they need to find integrated solutions, EPA researchers designed the City-based Optimization Model for Energy Technologies (COMET). COMET allows users to examine the next 40-50 years of energy technology evolution, based on their planning criteria. The model provides practical and applicable energy policy solutions for cleaner energy, especially for cities that aim to achieve air pollution emissions reduction targets. The tool can reveal how the energy system can be balanced at the city level under a different set of scenario assumptions, and how system costs and resulting emissions change with respect to those scenarios.

New tool launched to track Europe’s 3bn trees target

Read the full story at Agriland.

Under the European Green Deal, the EU biodiversity strategy for 2030 commits to planting at least 3 billion additional trees in the EU by 2030.

To assist in keeping track and count of all these trees, the European Commission and European Environment Agency (EEA) have launched a tree-counting tool called Map My Tree.

Manatees, facing a crisis, will get a bit of help: extra feeding

Read the full story in the New York Times.

As manatee deaths spike and Florida rescue centers fill up with malnourished animals, federal and state wildlife officials are trying something new in an urgent effort to help the species through the winter: They will provide food, as needed, at a key location on the state’s east coast where hundreds of manatees cluster when water temperatures drop.

For the first time in over 30 years, the EPA adds to its list of hazardous air pollutants

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to add a powerful dry-cleaning solvent, 1-bromopropane, to its list of hazardous air pollutants was long overdue, environmentalists and industry officials say. Researchers, bureaucrats and even many chemical makers have viewed it for years as a dangerous airborne pollutant suspected to damage nerves and cause cancer.

Yet it took a decade of prodding to prompt EPA officials to register it as a hazardous air toxic. The final rule was announced in a notice published in the Federal Register on Wednesday. The designation allows the agency to set limits on emissions of the solvent, valued by dry cleaners, auto shops and other businesses for its ability to treat dirty fabrics and greasy metal parts.

Funding available for environmental and installation energy technology demonstrations

The Department of Defense (DoD), through the Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP), supports the demonstration of technologies that address priority DoD environmental and installation energy requirements.

The goal of ESTCP is to promote the transfer of innovative technologies through demonstrations that collect the data needed for regulatory and DoD end-user acceptance. Projects conduct formal demonstrations at DoD facilities and sites in operational settings to document and validate improved performance and cost savings.

ESTCP is seeking proposals for demonstrations of innovative environmental and installation energy technologies as candidates for funding beginning in FY 2023. The solicitation requests pre-proposals via Calls for Proposals to Federal organizations and via a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) for Private Sector organizations. Preproposals are due March 10, 2022 by 2 p.m. ET.

Detailed instructions are available on the ESTCP website.

The Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) and Call for Proposals (CFP) for Federal Organizations Outside DoD are seeking pre-proposals for technologies in the following topic areas:

  • Innovative Technology Transfer Approaches
  • Management of Impacted Groundwater
  • Long-term Management of Impacted Aquatic Sediments
  • Detection, Classification, Localization, and Remediation of Military Munitions in Underwater Environments
  • Time-series and New Site Updates to the Defense Regional Sea Level (DRSL) Database
  • Improved Wildland Fire Management Tools for Testing and Training Land Utilization
  • Biological Control of Non-indigenous Invasive Species Affecting Military Testing and Training Activities
  • Technology Demonstrations to Accelerate Deployment of Energy and Water Efficiency and Resilience Solutions
  • Energy Resilience on DoD Installations
  • Solutions to Improve Space Heating and Water Heating
  • Efficiency Use of Thermal Microgrids to Improve Energy Efficiency and Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
  • Improved Life-cycle Management of Packaged Heating, Ventilation and Air-conditioning (HVAC) Systems
  • Improved Water Resilience on DoD Installations
  • Impact of Climate Change on DoD Buildings
  • Climate Impacts on DoD Water Infrastructure
  • Analyzing the Impacts of Weather Events on DoD Installations
  • Improving Climate Resilience of DoD Installation and Surrounding Community Infrastructure

Informational webinar

ESTCP Director Dr. Herb Nelson, Deputy Director Dr. Andrea Leeson, and the ESTCP Program Managers will conduct an online seminar on January 20, 2022, from noon-1:30 pm CST. This briefing will offer valuable information for those interested in new ESTCP funding opportunities. During the online seminar, participants may ask questions about the funding process, the current ESTCP solicitation, and the proposal submission process. Pre-registration for this webinar is required.

If you have difficulty registering, please contact the ESTCP Support Office at serdpestcp.webinars@noblis.org or by telephone at 571-372-6565.

New Jersey passes ambitious recycled content bill, which now heads to governor for signature

Read the full story at Waste Dive.

New Jersey’s recycled content bill, S2515, is on its way to Gov. Phil Murphy’s desk after passing the state’s Assembly and Senate Jan. 10. 

Starting in 2024, rigid plastic containers will need to contain at least 10% postconsumer recycled content, and plastic beverage containers will need to contain at least 15%. These rates will rise incrementally over the years and cap at 50% by 2036 and 2050, respectively, according to the bill.

The bill also establishes a 35% standard for recycled content in glass bottles; a 20% standard for plastic carryout bags; a standard of between 20% and 40% for paper carryout bags, depending on size; as well as a range of standards for plastic trash bags based on thickness. Polystyrene packing peanuts will be banned in 2024.  Washington is another state that recently banned this packaging.

Study shows critical need to reduce use of road salt in winter, suggests best practices

Read the full story from the University of Toledo.

Overuse of road salts to melt away snow and ice is threatening human health and the environment as they wash into drinking water sources. New research from The University of Toledo spotlights the urgent need for policy makers and environmental managers to adopt a variety of solutions.

Reuse rebounds: National Zero Waste Conference highlights policy potential in 2022

Read the full story at Waste Dive.

After early coronavirus fears halted many reuse efforts, year two of the pandemic saw new investments in reuse systems and a desire to circumvent supply chain disruptions in disposable packaging.

Buy Nothing groups offer an antidote to waste and isolation, with a world of free stuff

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

What started in 2013 as a hyperlocal network of “circular gift economies” in Bainbridge Island, Wash., has ballooned into a constellation of Buy Nothing groups with 4.3 million members in 44 countries. Members can request or offer any item or service as long as it’s legal; however buying, selling and bartering are prohibited. The groups are well-represented on social media, particularly Facebook, Reddit and Nextdoor. The Buy Nothing app, launched on Black Friday, has been downloaded more than 125,000 times.

For devotees, Buy Nothing is less a statement about consumerism than an antidote to some of the social ills and financial pressures of the moment. It’s a way to spend less at a time when inflation is near a 40-year high. It’s a means of reducing waste in one of the world’s most wasteful countries. And it’s a form of connection during a pandemic that has left many wrestling with isolation.

Provectus Algae secures $11.4m to scale sustainable synthetic biology biomanufacturing platform

Read the full story at Food Navigator.

With an infusion of $11.4 million in pre-series A funding announced today, Australian startup Provectus Algae is ready to rapidly scale the commercial production capacity of its sustainable and “complementary” biomanufacturing platform that leverages algae to develop a wide range of high-value ingredients, including a high-performance blood red colorant for the alternative protein market.