Federal lawmakers reintroduce bills calling for billions in food waste recycling and prevention grants

Read the full story at Waste Dive.

Two bills meant to provide billions of dollars in funding for food waste prevention efforts and support composting projects have been reintroduced in Congress.

The Zero Food Waste Act would offer U.S. EPA grants over ten years for projects that divert or prevent food waste or gather data about food waste practices. The Cultivating Organic Matter through the Promotion Of Sustainable Techniques Act (COMPOST Act) would offer grants and loans for both large-scale and smaller-scale composting infrastructure. 

Prairie Research Institute offers summer internships

In collaboration with the Graduate College’s Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP), PRI is offering hands-on summer internships that will enable undergraduate students from populations underrepresented in graduate study at Illinois to explore careers in applied science. This opportunity is open to students at any U.S. undergraduate institution. 

During the eight-week summer program, interns will be immersed in hands-on field and lab projects led by scientists from INHS, ISWS, and ISTC. Interns will also participate in professional and career development activities and will learn about the pathway to graduate study.

Each summer intern will receive a $4,000 stipend, funds to cover travel to and from Urbana-Champaign, and on-campus housing and meals, plus supplies for workshops and symposiums.

There are opportunities in atmospheric science and climate; biology, ecology, and environmental science; sustainable energy; and water supply and safety. To see all of the internship options and to apply, visit https://go.illinois.edu/PRI-interns

The deadline to apply is Fri., March 3, 2023. 

Commercial Building Incentives: Programs for New Construction and Upgrades in the Inflation Reduction Act and Other Recent Federal Laws

Download the policy brief.

The recent Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), along with the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) from 2021, fund multiple programs and tax incentives to improve the energy efficiency of new and existing commercial and public buildings. The 179D tax deduction is revamped and now includes a new pathway for retrofits. Even larger broad greenhouse gas emission reduction programs under the IRA could be used to reduce emissions from commercial buildings. But the programs use a variety of mechanisms to offer varying incentives with varying goals and criteria. This brief summarizes programs that will or could provide significant resources for energy efficiency in commercial and public buildings. 

Nature-based Solutions Funding Database

National Wildlife Federation’s interactive database for communities interested in pursuing federal funding and/or technical assistance for nature-based solutions. Use the filters to search for nature-based solutions funding and technical assistance resources that fit your needs.

EPA awards research funding to 25 small businesses to develop environmental technologies

In December, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced $2,497,134 in research funding for 25 small businesses to develop technologies that address some of our most pressing environmental problems. Projects include technologies for detecting methane emissions, methods to prolong the shelf life of foods and reduce food waste, software systems to improve recycling and materials management, and a water sampling device to detect the presence of PFAS.

These awards are part of EPA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program which runs an annual, two-phase competition for funding. The 25 small businesses below are receiving up to $100,000 in Phase I funding for six months for “proof of concept” of their proposed technology. Companies that complete Phase I can then apply to receive Phase II funding of up to $400,000 to further develop and commercialize their technology.

SBIR Phase I winners and their proposed technologies are:

  • Beta Analytic (Miami, Fla.) to develop a novel method to trace fugitive sources of methane in atmospheric gas mixtures.
  • Can I Recycle This, Inc. (Athens, Ga.) to develop a circular economy solution that provides real-time, geospatial materials recovery information.
  • Censys Technologies Corporation (Daytona Beach, Fla.) to develop an innovative system for remote sensing of fugitive methane.
  • City of Roses Disposal and Recycling, Inc. (Portland, Ore.) to develop a real-time recycling inventory aggregation and management software for construction and demolition waste.
  • Cleaned and Green, LLC (Indian Springs Village, Ala.) to develop an enhanced efficiency poultry litter-based fertilizer that is cost-effective and environmentally friendly.
  • Aquarius Systems (North Prairie, Wis.) to develop an in-water collection and removal device to capture floating debris.
  • EIC Laboratories, Inc. (Norwood, Mass.) to develop a novel technique for rapid, on-site analysis of water quality.
  • Forever Analytical Services, Inc. (South Bend, Ind.) to develop a rapid, field-deployable water sampling device to measure PFAS.
  • GoodGames (Freeport, Maine) to develop a social networking platform to help build community resilience to disasters, threats, and extreme weather.
  • HJ Science & Technology, Inc. (San Leandro, Calif.) to develop a portable, on-site technology to detect PFAS in complex water environments. 
  • Hydrova Inc. (San Diego, Calif.) to develop a novel process for complete resource recovery and hydrogen production from secondary aluminum processing waste.
  • Imvela Corp (Brooklyn, N.Y.) to develop a novel, natural ingredient that reduces microbial spoilage and extends shelf life of fresh fruit.
  • Iterant, Inc. (Berkeley, Calif.) to develop an online platform for regional plastic packaging reuse systems.
  • J-Tech LLC (Lakewood, Colo.) to develop a septic tank technology that enables low-cost, sustainable disinfection of wastewater for on-site non-potable reuse.
  • Kamilo, Inc. (San Francisco, Calif.) to develop a digital verification system to confirm the percentage of recycled content in products to advance plastic circularity.
  • Mesa Photonics, LLC (Santa Fe, N.M.) to develop a methane monitoring network for continuous measurement of methane emissions.
  • Optimized Thermal Systems, Inc. (Beltsville, Md.) to optimize a machine for improved recovery of a refrigerant with high global warming potential.
  • LeapFrog Design (Bend, Ore.) to develop a modular ecological water treatment system for onsite capture and non-potable reuse from single-family residences.
  • Seacoast Science, Inc. (Carlsbad, Calif.) to develop a fully automated analyzer to monitor air toxics in indoor spaces.
  • Sporian Microsystems, Inc. (Lafayette, Colo.) to develop a high-speed, low-cost imaging system for improved identification of microplastics.
  • Ourobio (Charlottesville, Va.) to produce sustainable indigoid dyes and bioplastics using byproducts of dairy processing
  • UES, Inc. (Dayton, Ohio) to develop an innovative air toxic monitoring system for neighborhood-level monitoring.
  • VISIMO, LLC (Coraopolis, Pa.) to develop a machine learning toolkit for screening research published outside of commercial or academic publishing to improve systematic reviews for chemical risk assessment.
  • Wisely, Inc. (Wilmington, N.C.) to develop a smart food storage system to reduce household food waste by allowing users to track perishables.
  • Zabble Inc. (Walnut Creek, Calif.) to develop an artificial intelligence-based tagging platform for contamination monitoring audits to improve recycling.

Learn more about the winning companies.

Building A Clean Energy Economy: A Guidebook to the Inflation Reduction Act’s Investments In Clean Energy And Climate Action

Download the guide.

This guidebook provides an overview of the clean energy, climate mitigation and resilience, agriculture, and conservation-related tax incentives and investment programs in President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, including who is eligible to apply for funding and for what activities. The Biden-Harris Administration is working quickly to design, develop, and implement these programs; as such, the information in this guidebook is current as of publication. In the coming weeks and months, we will publish new developments on www.CleanEnergy.gov to keep stakeholders and potential beneficiaries of these programs up to date on the latest deadlines and details. This guidebook does not cover the Inflation Reduction Act’s health care provisions or certain corporate tax reforms.

The guidebook groups the Inflation Reduction Act’s tax incentives and investment programs into thematic chapters and explains how the law will deliver on the President’s commitments to the American people. Each chapter outlines the significance of these programs and includes a one-page summary of each program’s eligible uses, potential beneficiaries, and other important information. Given the cross-cutting nature of energy and climate issues, many of these Inflation Reduction Act programs and tax provisions could fall under more than one chapter. For ease of presentation, each program or provision is featured only once in the guidebook. 

Vinyl Institute launches PVC recycling grant program

Read the full story in Recycling Today.

The Washington-based Vinyl Institute (VI), a U.S. trade association representing manufacturers of vinyl, has announced the formation of the Viability program. VI says this is a first-of-its-kind, industrywide recycling grant program aimed at accelerating postconsumer polyvinyl chloride (PVC) recycling in the country.   

According to a news release from VI, the grant program will make available up to $1 million in funds each year for the next three years from four PVC resin manufacturers in the U.S.: Formosa Plastics, based in New Jersey, and OxyShintech and Westlake, all based in Houston. 

EPA seeks input on decarbonizing construction materials and products

On January 19, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the first opportunities for public input on new programs focused on lower carbon construction materials made possible by a $350 million investment from President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act. The Agency will hold three public webinars and will accept written feedback on establishing new grant and technical assistance programs, and a carbon labeling program for construction materials with substantially lower levels of embodied greenhouse gas emissions.

EPA’s new programs will provide grants, technical assistance, and tools to help states and Tribal Nations, manufacturers, institutional buyers, real estate developers, builders, and others measure, report, and substantially lower the levels of embodied carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions associated with the production, use, and disposal of construction materials and products. These new programs, funded by the Inflation Reduction Act, will build upon EPA’s work in the ENERGY STAR Industrial Program and the Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Program, among others, to protect human health and the planet.

EPA will hold three public engagement webinars to solicit feedback from experts and stakeholders, including institutional buyers, developers, builders, manufacturers, and representatives from states, Tribal Nations, non-profit organizations, trade associations, and others.

  • March 2, 2023, 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. EST: Reducing Embodied Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Construction Materials Prioritization and Environmental Data Improvement – This webinar will ask for feedback on how to prioritize construction materials and products and how to improve data on embodied greenhouse gas emissions through measurement, standardization, transparency and reporting criteria. Register here.
  • March 22, 2023, 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. EST: Reducing Embodied Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Grants and Technical Assistance for Environmental Product Declarations – This webinar will ask for feedback on new grant and technical assistance programs to help businesses calculate and report the greenhouse gas emissions data for construction materials and products through Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs). Register here.
  • April 19, 2023, 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. EST: Reducing Embodied Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Carbon Labeling – This webinar will ask for feedback on how EPA could develop a carbon labeling program for construction materials and products with substantially lower embodied greenhouse gas emissions. Register here.

In addition, EPA will issue a Request for Information to solicit written comments on the design of these new programs. Upon publication of the Federal Register notice, comments on any of the questions outlined should be submitted to docket EPA-HQ-OPPT-2022-0924 on Regulations.gov by May 1, 2023. The Agency also published an interim determination under Inflation Reduction Act Sections 60503 and 60506 that was provided in December 2022 to the Department of Transportation and the General Services Administration on their Inflation Reduction Act funded procurement of construction materials and products with substantially lower embodied greenhouse gas emissions.

EPA will use the public input received during the webinars and in writing to guide the development and implementation of its programs.

These actions support President Biden’s Buy Clean Initiative, which leverages the Federal Government’s power as the largest purchaser in the world to advance low-carbon construction materials across its procurement and funded infrastructure projects.

Learn more about these new programs funded by the Inflation Reduction Act.

Background

In August 2022, Congress passed, and President Biden signed, the Inflation Reduction Act into law, creating the largest investment to combat the climate crisis in U.S. history. The Inflation Reduction Act will bolster U.S. energy security, help families save money on energy costs and prescription drugs, reduce the deficit, and create good-paying jobs. EPA received $41.5 billion in appropriations to develop and support 24 new and existing programs that monitor and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, protect health and advance environmental justice.

NRDC is seeking new cities to join its food waste reduction program

Read the full story at Waste Dive.

The Natural Resources Defense Council is expanding its Food Matters initiative with a goal of helping more cities develop strategies around food waste reduction, recovery and recycling.

Cities with populations of 200,000 or more are encouraged to apply by Feb. 17. NRDC will provide technical assistance for certain initiatives, such as estimating food waste generation, assisting with food waste reduction, planning, messaging and funding proposals, facilitating city support for edible food recovery programs and expanding community composting.

2022 Funding Opportunity Announcement for Energy Improvements at Public K-12 School Facilities – Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) – Renew America’s Schools

Applications due: Apr 21, 2023
View the full funding opportunity.

The Office of State and Community Energy Programs is issuing this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) titled Energy Improvements at Public K-12 School Facilities – Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) – Renew America’s Schools.

The activities to be funded under this FOA support BIL section 40541 and the broader government-wide approach to support projects that enable replicable and scalable impacts, create innovative, sustaining partnerships, leverage funding and economies of scale, focus on disadvantaged communities, improve student, teacher, and occupant health, enrich learning and growth, assist schools that serve as community assets (e.g., neighborhood cooling centers or disaster recovery shelters), and are crafted thoughtfully within the context of public school facilities (e.g., procurement restraints, construction windows, etc.).

Topic Area 1 – High-Impact Energy Efficiency and Health Improvements

Proposals contemplated under this topic area will include energy improvements that result in direct reduction to school energy costs, increase energy efficiency, and lead to improvements in teacher and student health, including indoor air quality. Energy cost savings may be realized by reduced loads and/or by demand flexibility and demand response approaches.

Topic Area 2 – Innovative Energy Technology Packages

Proposals contemplated under this topic include innovative energy technology packages. Applicants may include any improvement, repair, or renovation to a school that incorporates two or more of the following energy improvements:

  • Energy efficiency measures
  • Installation of renewable energy technologies
  • Alternative fueled vehicle infrastructure on school grounds
  • Purchase or lease of alternative fueled vehicles to be used by a school

DOE expects to make a total of approximately $80,000,000 of federal funding available for new awards under this FOA, subject to the availability of appropriated funds. DOE anticipates making approximately 20-100 awards under this FOA. DOE may issue one, multiple, or no awards. Individual awards may vary between $500,000 and $15,000,000.