Microplastics seeping into wastewater through recycling facilities, says study

Read the full story from Eco-Business.

New research has found that a ‘state-of-the-art’ plastic recycling facility in the UK could be releasing up to 75 billion microplastics per cubic meter of wastewater annually.

Amazon, Yum Brands, Kroger face upcoming shareholder votes on circular packaging

Read the full story at Packaging Dive.

With another season of shareholder meetings in full swing, some advocacy groups and activist shareholders are again seeking changes at consumer goods companies to reduce the amount of plastic in packaging and promote reuse models.

This proxy season, shareholder advocacy nonprofit As You Sow has filed six shareholder resolutions related to consumer packaging with Amazon, Constellation Brands, Kroger, McDonald’s, Restaurant Brands International and Yum Brands. It plans to file another by the end of May and some later this summer for the 2024 season.

Mixed messages: Making sense of Biden’s environmental justice order

Read the full story from Planet Detroit.

On April 20, the Biden administration issued an executive order creating a new Office on Environmental Justice within the White House Council on Environmental Quality to collect and publicize data on cumulative impacts from pollution in overburdened communities.

“Every federal agency must take into account environmental and health impacts on communities and work to prevent those negative impacts,” President Joe Biden said when he announced the order. “Environmental justice will be the mission of the entire government.”

It’s unclear how far this order will go to address concerns over the concentration of polluting industries in low-income areas and communities of color. Some provisions may only have a limited impact. For example, the order requires agencies to notify surrounding communities of a toxic release, which only applies to federal facilities.

Meanwhile, a Detroit environmental justice organization had a far simpler message for the White House: stop approving new fossil fuel projects.

Q&A with Divert CEO Ryan Begin: Preventing food waste with tech and sustainable infrastucture

The bruised banana. The blemished apple. The brown bit at the bottom of that Iceberg lettuce. 

U.S. grocers generate 16 billion pounds of food waste annually, and the U.S. as a whole sends 119 million pounds of food waste to landfills each year. Even though technology has been shifting the way retailers manage inventory, consumer behavior continues to perpetuate the issue.

Waste360 recently connected with Ryan Begin, CEO and founder of Divert, which has been using advanced technology to improve food recovery and create supply chain efficiencies since 2007. 

In 2010, the company partnered with Kroger to build the largest anaerobic digester in the United States. In March 2023, Divert entered a $1 billion infrastructure agreement with Enbridge on the development of food-to-renewable natural gas (RNG) facilities across North America. 

Begin discussed how the food supply chain has evolved in the past 15 years and the challenges of scaling technology solutions to combat food waste and insecurity.

Rising seas swell in southeastern U.S. — study

Read the full story at ClimateWire.

Sea levels have surged along the coastlines of the southeastern United States, new research finds — hitting some of their highest rates in more than a century.

They’ve risen more than a centimeter a year over the last decade — about triple the global average — and the effects on communities near the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean already are being observed in the form of increased flooding, more severe hurricanes and eroding shorelines.

“We have seen the impacts quite significantly,” said Sönke Dangendorf, an expert in coastal engineering at Tulane University and lead author of the new study.

The study, published Monday in the journal Nature Communications, is the latest to point out the trend. Another study, published earlier this month in the Journal of Climate, highlighted a similar pattern — sea-level rise of more than a centimeter per year since 2010 along the Gulf and Southeast coasts.

Elites’ inessential water usage drives cities’ water crises: study

Read the full story at The Hill.

Wealthy residents’ use of city water for purposes like swimming pools and watering gardens contribute at least as much to municipal water crises as climate change, according to a study published in the journal Nature Sustainability.

Over 80 major cities worldwide have experienced major water shortages, with the numbers expected to climb in the years ahead, according to the authors. The authors used the Cape Town, South Africa, metropolitan area as a test case, citing its clear dividing lines between wealthy and poor areas and its 2015-2017 “Day Zero” water crisis.

NREL software models lithium-ion battery supply chain

Read the full story at pv magazine.

The US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has unveiled a tool that surveys how changes in costs, battery adoption scenarios, and international actions affect long-term trends in the battery supply chain.

Anaerobic Digestion Facilities Processing Food Waste in the United States

Download the report.

In 2014, EPA began building a dataset of names and locations of anaerobic digestion facilities processing
food waste to better understand the practice and prevalence of food waste digestion in the United States
(U.S.). In December 2016, EPA was granted the authority to survey digesters annually, and EPA has since
renewed that authority until 2025. This report is the fourth in the series. Each report includes data for
three types of AD facilities: (1) stand-alone food waste digesters; (2) on-farm digesters that co-digest food
waste; and (3) digesters at water resource recovery facilities (WRRFs) that co-digest food waste.

A huge community solar order is latest in US clean manufacturing boom

Read the full story from Canary Media.

A record-setting supply agreement between solar hardware builder Qcells and project developer Summit Ridge Energy was announced last week, indicating that the incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act are already driving the deployment of domestically sourced renewable energy infrastructure.

The 1.2-gigawatt panel deal is the largest equipment purchase for community solar in U.S. history, the two companies said in a release. It will spur the construction of 2.5 million solar panels that will likely be deployed in hundreds of proposed projects across Illinois, Maine and Maryland. Summit Ridge Energy expects the first 200 megawatts to be installed before the end of this year.

Long-forgotten equation provides new tool for converting carbon dioxide

Read the full story from Cornell University.

To manage atmospheric carbon dioxide and convert the gas into a useful product, scientists have dusted off an archaic — now 120 years old — electrochemical equation.