EGEB: The most crucial thing countries must do at the UN climate summit

In today’s Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB):

  • The Madrid UN climate summit: Countries must commit to eliminate fossil fuels.
  • How this sustainable toilet paper company succeeds.
  • Ralph Lauren commits to 100% renewable energy by 2025.

The Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB): A daily technical, financial, and political review/analysis of important green energy news.

UN COP25: the mission

Vinod Thomas, a visiting professor at the Asian Institute of Management in Manila and a former senior vice president at the World Bank, writes for the Brookings Institution about how “the top emitters must commit to a U-turn” at the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP25). Thomas writes:

The single biggest step the big carbon-emitting countries could take is to cut their fossil fuel combustion. Eliminating all subsidies to fossil fuel production and consumption is a part of this agenda.

Renewables still account for just 11% of global energy consumption, compared with 80% for fossil fuels. Solar and wind need to overcome technical and logistical impediments on production, storage, and distribution. To counter this, strong policy support and subsidies — justified on grounds of their positive climate effects — could vastly increase their usage.

Further, outdoor particulate pollution kills around 4.2 million people worldwide annually, according to the Lancet and the World Health Organization (WHO). In the US, 88,000 premature deaths occurred in 2015 as a result of outdoor pollution.

The WHO says that cleaner transport such as walking, public transport, and low-emissions vehicles (yes, EVs); energy-efficient homes; greener power generation (solar, wind, hydropower) and industry; and better municipal waste management would improve the earth’s air quality, and thus reduce fatalities caused by outdoor pollution.

And despite the US being the only country to pull out of the Paris Agreement, the US congressional delegation, made up entirely of Democrats and led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, said at COP25 on Monday:

Congress’ commitment to action on the climate crisis is iron-clad. This is a matter of public health, of clean air, of clean water, of our children, of the survival of our economies, of the prosperity of the world, of national security, justice, and equality. We now must deliver deeper cuts in emissions.

Neither Trump nor any senior members of his administration are attending the COP25.

Sustainability: on a (toilet paper) roll

Jeroen Kraaijenbrink takes a look at a successful sustainable Dutch toilet paper company for Forbes. As COP25 gets under way, he holds WEPA Netherlands up as a successful sustainability case study.

The company was founded by brothers in 1935 and sells toilet paper and other hygienic products on a B2B basis. It was taken over by WEPA in Germany in 2017. It has an annual turnover of approximately $72 million and 200 employees. The company has won numerous awards for sustainability.

Their showcase product line is the Satino Black (left), which is produced from 100% recycled plastic, with matching toilet paper and paper towels from “the most environmentally friendly hygienic paper in the world.”

So how do they do it? Kraaijenbrink lists 5 key points of their success:

  1. Believe and persist. “It starts with a strong belief in the importance of creating a sustainable company and the persistence to live up to that belief. This requires consistent leadership with a stable long term mission, patience, and grit.”
  2. Make sustainability the core of your strategy. It’s hard to be unique in the toilet paper industry. By focusing on sustainability, WEPA distinguishes itself from its competitors.
  3. Go all the way. Pay attention to every aspect of your business, and make every step, no matter how small, more eco-friendly.
  4. Build a strong ecosystem of partners. Form partnerships with other companies that are sustainability-oriented so you can all further your goals together and support each other.
  5. Don’t focus on sustainability alone. “To be a sustainable company with impact, you also need a great product that customers want, even if it were not sustainable.”

Ralph Lauren goes sustainable

Fashion giant Ralph Lauren announced yesterday that it is committing to a series of significant sustainable steps. This includes:

  • Powering all of its globally owned and operated offices, distribution centers and stores with 100% renewable electricity by 2025.
  • Joining RE100, a group of large, influential businesses such as Apple, Danone, and 3m, who are committed to 100% renewable power.
  • Signing the UN Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action, which is working to achieve net zero by 2050.
  • Affirmed its commitment to the Paris Agreement and signed a joint letter from companies and CEOs.

According to Environment + Energy Leader, this is how the company will achieve net zero:

[Ralph Lauren] will pursue a combination of virtual power purchase agreements (VPPAs) in North America as well as assess a select number of US sites for onsite solar power installations. For the remaining electricity use, the company will purchase Green Power Products, including Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), Guarantees of Origin (GoOs), and International Renewable Energy Credits (I-RECs).

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Maine Wants to Store, Not Waste, Excess Renewable Energy

(TNS) — Maine could be a prime location for a pilot project that converts surplus electricity from wind farms and other renewable generators into a gas that can be stored in underground pipelines.

Such a project would help solve a growing problem, a top gas company executive told lawmakers this month.

The transmission lines connecting Maine’s far-flung renewable generators to the regional electric grid sometimes are too weak to carry all their power. When that happens, grid operators order generators to reduce output or even stop running, to prevent overloading and jeopardizing reliable service. The practice is called curtailment.

At one substation in northern Maine, there’s a bottleneck that forced grid operators to curtail 75,000 megawatt hours of renewable power last year, according to a recent legislative presentation. That’s enough electricity to run 10,000 homes.

Upgrading the transmission system is very expensive. It could be better if there was some way to soak up the wasted energy potential, not just for a few hours in huge batteries, but for days or even months.

There are ways, according to Kurt Adams, president and chief executive at Summit Natural Gas, one of the state’s gas distribution companies.

Plants that demonstrate these technologies are running in Colorado, and in California, which already produces more solar power than its grid can handle. And in Europe, where electricity is more expensive, plants like this are starting to be built at commercial scale. Two Summit managers just returned from touring plants in Germany, Denmark and Switzerland to get a first-hand look at the power-to-gas process or P2G, as it’s often called.

“The conclusion they came to,” Adams said, “is that this technology is where solar was in 2005 or so. The cost is starting to come down, the technology is becoming commercial, and its role in the energy mix is becoming clearer.”

Potential Power Sources

That’s where Maine could play a leadership role in the evolving development of power-to-gas, Adams told a special legislative committee studying ways to attract energy storage projects to Maine. He cited the Keene Road substation in Lincoln, where power from area wind farms, hydro-electric dams and biomass plants converges on its way south. Congestion there forces ISO-New England, the grid operator, to curtail 75,000 megawatt hours a year.

This situation will worsen and will force curtailments at other choke points in Maine and southern New England, Adams said. That’s because policies in Maine and other states to fight climate change and reduce carbon emissions are encouraging developers to bring on big slugs of solar energy in the 2020s.

One evolving solution is to store excess generation in giant, lithium-ion battery banks. Maine’s Commission to Study the Economic, Environmental and Energy Benefits of Energy Storage has been learning about existing projects and policies in other states that create incentives for developers. On Dec. 2, it plans to finalize its recommendations for the full Legislature to consider next year.

Asked if Summit is positioning itself to develop a project in Maine, Adams said it’s too soon to say. Summit’s primary motivation, he said, is to make the Legislature aware of P2G options and to lobby for policies that level the playing field with battery storage, as a way to attract private investors.

P2G is getting attention because today’s grid-scale battery banks can only absorb enough electricity for a few hours of discharge. For now, their chief roles seem to be in balancing output on the grid and providing bursts of power during periods of peak demand.

That’s why Summit is highlighting the potential for a pilot P2G plant near the substation in Lincoln. From there, gas could be injected into the nearby Maritimes Northeast Pipeline system. By raising and lowering pressure on the system, pipeline operators could make room for the gas and keep it at the ready until demand is high.

“What power-to-gas does,” Adams said, “is allows you to store the energy indefinitely.”

To do this, power-to-gas technology uses surplus renewable electricity to create hydrogen and natural gas, or methane.

For instance: During the winter, wind farms in eastern Maine may produce more power than they can feed into the grid. The pilot plant could use surplus electricity and equipment called an electrolyzer to extract hydrogen and oxygen from water, capture the hydrogen and mix it with natural gas in the pipeline system.

A further step could turn the hydrogen into natural gas through a process using carbon dioxide. In Colorado, the federal National Renewable Energy Laboratory has partnered with California gas utility SoCalGas to build the nation’s first biomethanation reactor.

In Germany, methane gas derived from wind power and created through the methanation process is now being fed into gas pipeline networks.

 

Renewable Gas Options

Besides surplus wind and solar energy, Maine has other significant resources that could be used to generate renewable natural gas, according to Brad Bradshaw, president of the Velerity management and consulting firm, as well as the Portland-based Hydrogen Energy Center. In a presentation to the study group, Bradshaw outlined the potential from landfills, which emit methane as waste decomposes, as well as dairy farms and municipal wastewater treatment plants.

In Maine, a couple of landfills already tap methane for onsite generation.

Summit is partnering with some central Maine dairy farms on a project to turn cow manure into renewable natural gas and inject it into its distribution system. The facility is due to be online in 2021.

At the Brunswick Landing business park, an anaerobic digester system uses municipal and other organic waste to create methane gas and generate electricity. A second digester is in the planning stages, according to the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority, which operates the business park. A manager with the digester’s owner, New York-based Genesis Industrial Group, couldn’t be reached by phone or email to ask about the company’s latest plans.

These and other ventures form a backdrop for recommendations that will be finalized in the coming days at the study commission.

Rep. Tina Riley, D-Jay, who’s on the commission as well as the standing legislative committee that handles energy issues, said she expects the group to recommend storage targets and incentives – but not mandates – some that could be folded into the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard. That law mandates increasing levels of solar, wind and other non-fossil generation.

“Setting a goal gives a clear signal to developers that we are serious about moving forward, and that is key to encouraging growth,” she said.

Riley also is preparing a bill that would encourage a few pilot projects. She said the combination of natural gas pipeline capacity shortfalls in the winter, the trend away from oil heat and growing transmission congestion suggest Maine should offer limited support to emerging P2G technologies that offer solutions.

“It is my intention that we allow the market, rather than the government, to decide what direction our clean energy economy takes, to the greatest degree feasible,” she said.

When Riley’s bill does come up for a hearing, chances are it won’t be universally embraced.

For one thing, some environmental groups are opposed to any incentives that prop up the natural gas industry. In southern California, where renewable natural gas has become an issue for debate, groups such as the Sierra Club label it “greenwashing,” more of a public relations campaign than an earth-friendly solution. Some critics point out that the pipeline system is mostly filled with natural gas and contains only a minor proportion of renewable gas.

Adams, a former Maine PUC chair and a chief development officer at now-defunct wind farm developer First Wind, said he’s aware of that criticism. But to combat climate change, he said, it’s a mistake to write off the role of a nationwide energy pipeline system, in the belief that renewables alone can do the job.

Riley said she, too, has heard these arguments. But in her view, power-to-gas can make a positive contribution in Maine.

“There’s plenty to pick apart,” Riley said. “But the takeaway is, it’s far better to be using a renewable resource. Any amount of fossil fuel we can replace with renewables is a step in the right direction.”

©2019 the Portland Press Herald (Portland, Maine). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Power, energy & the environment

Ensuring that buildings are as energy efficient as possible is an important consideration in a climate where electricity costs are rising and our environment is under constant strain.

Those responsible for designing such buildings are now seeking ways to do this, without compromising on style and curb appeal in the process.

Luckily, innovation in this area is constantly growing, with fresh eco-friendly solutions ranging from smart metering and solar energy to the very latest in battery technology.

Energy storage specialists Redflow, for example, produce small 10kWh zinc-bromine flow batteries that can store renewable energy.

Marketed as ZCell and ZBM2, Redflow batteries are designed for high cycle-rate, long time-base stationary energy storage in the residential, commercial and industrial and telecommunications sectors.

Previously, flow batteries were relatively large in size but Redflow changed the game by designing a small, modular, flow batteries based on zinc-bromine reactant. This means the batteries can be used in spaces previously considered too small for flow batteries.

A handy feature of these batteries is that they are scalable from a single battery installation through to grid-scale deployments.

A great example of the flow batteries in use can be seen at Knox Children and Family Centres at Wantirna South and Bayswater in outer eastern Melbourne.

These two state-of-the-art children and family centres have eliminated an incredible three-quarters of their energy costs during winter through smart insulation and solar panels combined with Redflow batteries.

The two seperate Knox Children and Family Centres each have 100 kilowatts peak (kWp) of photovoltaic solar panels and 18 Redflow ZBM2 batteries, storing as much as 180 kilowatt-hours of energy.

On top of this, the centres have incorporated innovative insulation and thermal sealing to retain heat in winter and cooling in summer.

The performance of the integrated solar panel and battery systems in their first months exceeded council’s expectations, generating 75 percent of the power requirements for both of the hubs during winter.

The installation of the solar array and batteries is predicted to save Council between $110,000 and $120,000 per annum at each centre, delivering an impressive total annual saving of $220,000 and $240,000.

By saving up to $240,000 each year, the council expects to achieve a payback period of about five years on the solar arrays and ZBM2 batteries at the two new centres.

The increasing cost of electricity made energy efficiency a priority for the two centres.  Council selected zinc-bromine flow batteries to provide energy storage for the two new Children and Family Centres because of their potential for a longer life cycle and their ability to discharge all energy on a regular basis without affecting the storage capacity or longevity of the batteries themselves.

As well as retaining the original 10kWh energy storage capacity throughout their operating life, other benefits of zinc-bromine flow batteries include a reduced fire risk compared to other battery chemistries and components that are easy to recycle or reuse at the battery’s end-of-life.

Another customer praising Redflow’s ZBM2 batteries is Australian architecture firm Williams Burton Leopardi which used the batteries to guarantee energy supply for its newly renovated heritage-listed Darling Building in central Adelaide.

After Williams Burton Leopardi bought the derelict 1916 Darling Building that had been largely neglected since the 1960s, they learned that the planned peak energy demand for the renovated building would require more electricity than the local power grid could supply.

The peak power draw during summer was calculated at 290 Amps – whereas SA Power Networks could supply only 200 Amps.

Williams Burton Leopardi director David Burton says many solutions were so expensive they would have made the renovated building commercially unviable.

“We didn’t have the space in the building for a transformer; gas would cost us hundreds of thousands of dollars and ‘winging it’ was not an option,” he says.

A scalable energy storage system based on Redflow batteries was the ideal solution.

They now have six of Redflow’s zinc-bromine ZBM2 flow batteries but can scale the system to 12 or even 18 batteries if they require them.

“The main purpose of the system is to ensure that the batteries can supply energy if the building’s demand outstrips the grid’s supply capacity, so it is primarily a peak management methodology,” he explained.

“But they are also configured to buy power at low demand times to recharge the batteries and when power spikes past a certain price, they dribble energy into the load to manage that spike down.”

The award-winning five-storey renovated Darling Building on Franklin Street now has new lighting, air conditioning systems, kitchen facilities and washing machines and dryers on each floor, as well as a fully-rebuilt heritage-listed elevator.

Redflow partner Solar Depot installed the batteries with three 7.5kW Selectronic SP Pro inverters, delivering three-phase power from the building’s basement.

Burton says Redflow batteries were uniquely suited for the building’s needs.

“For what we want to do, zinc-bromine batteries are ideal,” he says.

“They can deep cycle without damaging the battery and they embody the concept of simplicity and look quite nice in their rows”.

“Lithium-ion batteries would’ve cost us a lot more to completely fire-rate the room because lithium is like putting a bomb in your basement. With the Redflow batteries, we just open the windows and a fan circulates the air.”

Burton described the Redflow-based energy system as an “exciting opportunity” for other building projects.

“One battery system could support several buildings,” he says.

Another company helping clients to gain control of their rising power costs is Maximum Energy, a business dedicated to accessing the latest energy saving technology on the market.

Their goal is to “assess, design and implement the most cost-effective pathway to lower grid supplied energy”.

They do this through new energy solutions such as solar, batteries, LED lighting and smart control systems.

One of their recent clients was Western Hospital in Henley Beach South Australia.

The hospital had noticed a significant increase in energy costs which needed to be addressed.

“They wanted to reduce their green footprint so we dived into their assets to see how we could help,” Maximum Energy’s director Jed Durdin says.

Solutions included a LED light upgrade for the entire hospital which consisted of over 1200 new lights.

This was an effective solution as lighting accounts for a big portion of daily energy consumption, especially in a hospital where the lights need to run 24/7.

Maximum Energy’s LED lights consume less energy with a higher output. LEDs are replacing expensive fluorescent light bulbs and are an incredible 90 percent more efficient over a longer working life. On top of this, the hospital also had a 340kW solar system installed. The projects are estimated to save the hospital over $100,000 per annum in energy costs and have a significant impact on the environment in the process.

Another client Maximum Energy was able to help in slashing their energy costs was Christian Brothers College set across three campuses in Adelaide, South Australia.

The college was looking to improve sustainability and their reduce energy costs. They had many ideas and plans, but nothing significant had been implemented.

The college was in early stages of building their new Centre of Innovation and Learning with an eye catching, futuristic design.

The school decided to complement the “fantastic structure” with a state-of-the art solar power system.They installed a 10kW system, making the centre highly energy efficient and cost-effective to run.

While cost saving was one important factor, the college noted that the installation was also about sustainability and providing educational outcomes for students.

“There’s now a concept called “energy in education” and it’s all about using new technologies to help educate the next generation,” Maximum Energy’s director Jed Durdin explains.

More smart energy swaps included replacing the old lighting in the gym with energy efficient LED lighting installed a 30kW system in the Junior School and a 90kW system in the Senior School.

Now Christian Brothers College has a total of 130kW ready to make the most of the long summer days.

Maximum Energy’s Director Jed Durdin noted there has truly been a change of mindset around the importance of renewable energy in recent times.

“It even changes the way that buildings are designed and built these days,” he says.

“We talk to architects about simplifying the roofs by not adding in as many cuts and edges so we can build more efficient solar systems.”

This helps the solar panels work more efficiently in terms of the amount of sun hours they can get and ensures easier ongoing maintenance of the solar panels.

“People haven’t been thinking about sustainability and efficiently previously but it’s really at the forefront now,” Jed says.

“The market has matured in terms of acceptance”.

“Technology is getting smarter and you really need to understand the assets of your business to see how you control your energy and percure your energy”.

Image:  Knox Children and Family Centres at Wantirna South / Supplied

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The world’s most eco-friendly cities

Charlotte Willis provides you with a complete guide to ecological living in the world’s most earth-friendly cities.

world's most eco-friendly cities

Don’t talk to me about politics. No, really. If I see one more TV debate, hear one more campaign slogan or read about the latest MP to be named and ‘shamed’ for acts performed in their yesteryear, you’ll catch me boarding the next plane straight out of Brexit-bound Britain to a destination far-flung.

However, before you decide to pack your life into a suitcase and rack up some air miles, as a concerned vegan, it makes sense that you’d want to vet your chosen destination for its ethical and vegan credentials. After all, you’ll be residing there for the foreseeable future.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll want to know pretty much every essential detail about your chosen location too: the number of Happy Cow listings, the rate of recycling within the city of choice, right down to the number of bicycles compared to cars on the roads and how much the average one bedroom apartment might cost you to rent out. That all sounds like somewhat of a headache to calculate. Well, luckily enough, I seem to have more time on my hands lately, so I’ve done all of the hard work for you – thank me later by putting me up!

Copenhagen  Denmark

world's most eco-friendly cities

Key Eco Facts: Copenhagen is surely the ultimate eco-destination for a life on the greener and sustainable side. Copenhagen aspires to be the world’s first carbon neutral city by 2025, while Denmark as a whole has been voted one of the happiest countries to live in. When do I move in?

Green Space: There are 2,260 hectares of green space in Copenhagen. These vary from city parks to open areas of public access, with 92 kilometres of coastline. Based on the area and population density of the city, 96% of Copenhageners can reach at least one green area on foot within
15 minutes. The waterways in the city are also pure enough to swim in (the same cannot be said of the Thames river running through London, that’s for sure).

Forward Thinking: More than two-thirds of the city’s hotels boast an eco-certificate, meaning that even your visiting relatives have a low-carbon impact upon the city. Organic food is also considered the norm in Copenhagen, with 24% of all food sold within the city and 88% of all food served in public organisations being certified organic.

Getting Around: In Copenhagen, cycling is the number one choice of transport, with five bikes for every one car on the road in the city. There are also over 100 bike riding centres dotted around the city, a bike-sharing scheme offered by the city itself, and extensive cycling routes to just about every major metropolitan area. Another popular commute option is a collection of solar-powered GoBoats, which can be rented and sailed by anyone!

world's most eco-friendly cities

A Vegan City: With 233 Happy Cow hits, it’s no surprise that Copenhagen is a popular destination for vegans. Copenhagen also has a zero-waste supermarket for a more sustainable grocery shop, with a 3.5k strong vegan community on Facebook.

You Have To See: The stunning University Gardens in Copenhagen is a favourite spot for locals to unwind after another busy day saving the planet.

Average 1 Bed Apartment Rent: £1,000+ pcm for a city-centre location.

Average Flight Price: One-way from £25-£30 flying from London. September is the cheapest month to fly.

Portland  Oregon, USA

world's most eco-friendly cities

Key Eco Facts: Portland is undoubtedly one of the greenest cities in the USA. Portland, on the western coast of the USA, has one of the most eco-minded government policies of all of the states, and is committed to becoming a ‘20 minute city’ – where residents are within 20 minutes of their commute destination. Portland has also completely banned the use of single-use plastic bags (about time).

Green Space: Portland ranks in the top 25 cities in the USA for air quality, and has one of the best water qualities of all major cities in the country, reducing demand upon plastic and single-use water containers and filtration systems. The city also has the greatest area of urban parkland per capita of all the US States.

Forward Thinking: Portland is leading the way in northern America in terms of sustainable city growth, with their own smart growth strategy. This eco-friendly city planning framework favours the development of smaller neighbourhoods with a variety of infrastructure, designated cycle paths and pedestrianised routes. In this way, the government ensures that suburbs become individual communities that are as holistic and self-serving as possible.

world's most eco-friendly cities

Getting Around: Portland boasts 510 kilometres of cycle paths, while the city’s bus network is powered entirely by biofuels. The majority of areas around the central city areas of Portland are also free to travel via bus, rail and street car. For more than just an eco-boost, if you opt to travel to work on foot or via bicycle, you’ll be rewarded by your company, often with purpose built shower blocks for those who opt to break a sweat in the course of the commute.

A Vegan City: Portland has 259 Happy Cow hits, and is well known for its incredible foodie scene. From street food vendors to amazing restaurants and cruelty-free clothing stores, the term ‘vegan’ is commonplace, and you can bet your kale on it that every restaurant in town will be able to provide a brilliant option for you. 

You Have To See: There are so many unique and quirky spots in Portland, you’ll be spoilt for choice. One of my personal favourites is the stunning Cathedral Park, but the Portland Troll Bridge is another must-see!

Average 1 Bed Apartment Price: £1,200 is your average monthly rental amount for an apartment in Portland city.

Average Flight Price: £260 for a one-way ticket from London, the cheapest month to fly being October.

Vancouver  Canada

world's most eco-friendly cities

Key Eco Facts: Out of all major cities in northern America, Vancouver has the lowest greenhouse gas emissions, which is partially due to the success of the hydroelectricity that supplies the city with 93% of its electrical requirements. This coastal city of Canada is picturesque, and full of plant-based innovation.

Green Space: If you’re a fan of al-fresco lunches and long walks on a hot weekend in the city, Vancouver is the place to be. Vancouver boasts an impressive array of beautiful parks and outdoor spaces, from a Chinese Garden to a Lighthouse Park, there’s plenty of space waiting for you to discover.

Forward Thinking: Vancouver is keen to encourage recycling and sustainable waste management within the city’s population. Individual homes have a regular composting collection, while methane gas emanating from landfill and the natural warmth accumulating from sewers is collected and used as a fuel to heat homes. Vancouver also invests heavily in the green economy, encouraging locals to buy from Vancouver-based food supplies and investing in green businesses that serve the local community.

Getting Around: People of Vancouver are keen to ditch their cars, with the local government initiating a bike-share scheme and purpose-built cycle lanes. Those that opt to use the city’s car-share programme can benefit from free, dedicated car parking spaces for the Car2Go scheme in city-centre locations.

world's most eco-friendly cities

A Vegan City: Vancouver has a thriving vegan community, which hosted a pop-up vegan community resource centre in October 2018, encouraging the local population to give veganism a try. Vancouver also has 167 Happy Cow hits, a range of vegan clothing and shoe stores, with the city playing host to a vegan festival every year.

You Have To See: Stanley Park plays host to a range of outdoor music events at the Malkin Bowl, which is a fantastic place to meet new people whilst surrounded in nature!

Average 1 Bed Apartment Price: £1,260 pcm is enough to  get you a city-centre one bedroom apartment.

Average Flight Price: From London, you can catch a one-way flight for £250, if you choose to fly in September.

Singapore

world's most eco-friendly cities

Key Eco Facts: Singapore is Asia’s greenest and most environmentally sustainable city, as well as being breathtakingly beautiful and a hub of excitement. Singapore is famous for its super-efficient water recycling system, hosting an International Water Week in the city every year, which ensures that every drop of water used in the city is accounted for and recycled as much as possible!

Green Space: Singapore has got it all. Open green spaces and parks, yep. Boardwalks and beaches, by the dozen. In fact, Singapore is one of the most ambitious and innovative cities in the world when it comes to tackling the serious issues of urbanisation and the pressures placed upon the environment, being keen and aware to maintain as many green and open areas as possible.

Forward Thinking: Singapore is dedicated to becoming 80% green by 2030. A highlight of the green concept of Singapore is the Building and Construction Authority’s very own zero energy building – a completely off-grid and self-sustaining building, which serves as a model for future offices and housing blocks to be constructed in the city. Solar power is one of the most common green energy initiatives in the city, understandably given the year-round tropical climate. So much so, Singapore is trialling a floating island of solar panels to provide energy for the city.

Getting Around: Singapore has a large number of electronic car initiatives within the city, with the government currently trialling a new electric taxi service around the central business district! Cycle paths are on the up, and are expected to expand to connect all regions of the island.

A Vegan City: The whole island of Singapore boasts an impressive 1,265 Happy Cow Hits, with central Singapore’s metropolitan area having 598 of those hits. Singapore is a diverse city, with plenty of vegan options at restaurants, dedicated eateries and street food outlets too. You’ll be positively spoilt for choice. There are also plenty of nature reserves and gardens to visit, in between all the food, or while enjoying more food (entirely up to you).

You Have To See: Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve is a hidden gem, which will make you believe you have immersed yourself into a tropical rainforest.

Average 1 Bed Apartment Price: A hefty £1,600 per month in a city centre location (start saving up now!)

world's most eco-friendly cities

Average Flight Price: Fly out in March for a one-way ticket costing just £175 from London (more to put towards your rent methinks).

Stockholm, Sweden

world's most eco-friendly cities

Key Eco Facts: Stockholm is home to one of the most well-known eco residencies there is – the development that was ambitiously built upon a former toxic wasteland, Hammarby Sjöstad. This highly sustainable development comprises a range of apartments, built from raw materials, and fuelled by entirely renewable sources. The city aims to be free of fossil fuels by 2040, and is already making use of biofuels generated by sewerage systems. 

Green Space: A third of the total 6,500 square kilometre area of Stockholm is, rather impressively, dedicated to green open space. The city has 12 large parks studded around the city to inject a hefty dose of nature, while every resident is also actively encouraged to set up their own green space – supported by this conscious city’s government. Aside from this, Stockholm focuses on bringing nature back to the urban area by introducing rooftop gardens. A beautiful example of this is the Huddinge area’s rooftop meadow fields, which are dedicated to encouraging butterfly growth and repopulation.

Forward Thinking: Always pioneering innovative design, Stockholm’s central station is equipped with a geothermal system that captures the body heat of the 250,000 strong band of daily commuters to heat water into nearby infrastructure.

world's most eco-friendly cities

Getting Around: Getting from A to B in Stockholm is pretty effortless. You can walk, cycle and even ferry your way about the city with great ease. In fact, 80% of the commuters choose to use public transport to navigate their journey from office to home. There are also dedicated bike lanes, with a city bike rental service, as well as bus lanes aimed at making public transport more appealing.

You Have To See: A rather rare find is Stockholm’s Metro Art Gallery. A section of the public transport network that features an array of artwork – it puts the London Underground to shame!

A Vegan City: Stockholm is an up and coming vegan city, with 202 Happy Cow hits. The city has a range of health food shops, as well as dedicated vegan eateries and cafés dotted around the urban area. There’s also a dedicated vegan shoe and accessories store called Green Laces, which is a must-visit.

Average 1 Bed Apartment Price: A hefty £1,200-1,400 per month for a city-centre dwelling, which falls to around £1,000 when you move slightly outside of the main urban conurbation.

Average Flight Price: Flying out in September, you can get a one-way ticket for around £18, when flying from London.


Charlotte Willis

Charlotte is a freelance journalist and health writer who’s worked with Veganuary and The Vegan Society. She is researching the links between food and psychological health while taking a doctorate degree in counselling

How these farmers are turning manure and food waste to power

Allison Aubrey:

Hanselman says, after six years in the making, he expects to make a profit this year, and he’s optimistic about the growth.

This waste-to-energy approach is new in the U.S., and the extent to which it can take off may depend on how much states or the federal government are willing to incentivize it.

In Massachusetts, it took two new laws, a food waste ban, and a renewable energy law, plus grants to make it happen.

Farmer Denise Barstow is glad it’s all worked out.

Legrand Harnesses Solar for Mobile Charging in Outdoor Spaces

WEST HARTFORD, CT—Legrand, a global specialist in electrical and network infrastructure solutions, has launched a solar charging kit. Two priorities for hoteliers informed its development: the need for guest access to charging solutions in all parts of a property, and the importance of harnessing sustainable energy.

“While Legrand furniture power centers provide charging solutions within hotel rooms, lobbies and restaurants, hotel owners and developers are increasingly looking to integrate convenient charging solutions into outdoor spaces as well, from pools to promenades. They are also looking for eco-friendly ways to provide power that are not a huge hassle to install and maintain,” said Sabrina Snyder, product manager, Legrand. “In an effort to promote accessible and intuitive charging solutions both indoors and outdoors, the solar charging kit was created to allow hotel owners and developers the option to easily install outdoor charging solutions without any rewiring.”

With Legrand’s solar charging kit, hoteliers can add mobile device charging to outdoor spaces.

According to Snyder, sustainability has become a huge selling point and focus for many of Legrand’s consumers. This new product harnesses the energy of solar power to meet the charging needs of today’s hotel guest.

“Once installed onto the light panel, the solar charging kit can be tilted toward the sun to produce power,” she said. “One full day of direct sunlight is enough to fully recharge the station, and because the included battery is designed to hold energy throughout the day and night, it can also be used after dark.”

Aside from the benefits it brings a guest and the sustainable aspect touched on previously, the Solar Charging Kit may be used in any region.

“It includes a solar panel assembly (and a battery), all necessary wiring, a mounting collar and three charging shelves. Each shelf offers two USB-A ports that are illuminated and protected with a siding cover, keeping connections safe from all types of weather,” she said. “Developing a product that can be easily retrofitted into properties was key. Hoteliers can easily add mobile device charging to the outdoor spaces of a property without the need to trench to deliver power.”

With sustainability in focus, Legrand is working to produce more eco-friendly products and educate the industry at large. “This summer, Legrand published four new Health Product Declarations (HPDs) to provide transparency on the health and environmental impact of its products,” she said. “This brings our total number of published HPDs to 11, all part of our greater ongoing initiative to equip our customers with the ability to easily adapt to market regulations and develop green projects using products they can trust.”

Digesting Thanksgiving Leftovers: One Utah Facility Turning Food Waste Into Energy

It’s nearly Thanksgiving, which means extra foodand extra food waste. But one man’s garbage is another’s renewable energy.

 

 

 

Wasatch Resource Recovery in North Salt Lake, Utah, is already taking in more than 350 tons of food waste every day, and it’s only at half capacity. While it started taking some food in February 2019, Morgan Bowerman said that the last few pieces of the facility will be in place in the next few weeks and the facility will be ready to take on more waste — and produce more natural gas.

 

Bowerman is the sustainability and resource recovery manager at the facility, and she said Wasatch Resource Recovery’s anaerobic digesters work using microbes.

 

“When they break down that organic waste without oxygen, they offgas methane. So we are able to capture that methane, clean it up a little bit, and stick it into the pipeline as a renewable natural gas,” she said.

 

Without this facility, most food waste heads to the landfill. Once there, microbes will still break it down, but much slower, and all the methane gas they give off will just go into the atmosphere.

 

“And methane as a greenhouse gas is 20 to 100 times more potent than carbon depending on the timeline that you’re looking at,” she said.

 

Bowerman said most of the food waste comes from manufacturers in the area but also come from places like restaurants, grocery stores and hospitals. And there have been shipments from as far away as Nevada and Idaho. Federal agencies estimate that between 30% and 40% of food produced for human consumption is wasted.

 

Bowerman said that while individuals can’t bring their food to the facility yet, they’re hoping to get that program up and running soon.

Find reporter Madelyn Beck on Twitter @MadelynBeck8

Copyright 2019 Boise State Public Radio

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUER in Salt Lake City, KUNR in Nevada, the O’Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.

Copyright 2019 Boise State Public Radio News. To see more, visit Boise State Public Radio News.

Europe Leads in Financing Green Energy Projects

A new Dutch green bond (officially known as the Sovereign Green Bond) will fund a wide range of low-carbon projects undertaken by governments. This includes three categories: renewables (including onshore solar energy and offshore wind energy); energy efficiency (including residential energy efficiency upgrades); clean transportation initiatives and infrastructure.

The Netherlands Ministry of Finance’s Dutch State Treasury Agency (DSTA) launched this inaugural 20-year green bond on 21 May of this year. Prior to the auction, a total of 32 investors were registered by the DSTA as “green investors,” with a special allocation set aside for them. Bids from those 32 investors and others arrived into the DSTA quickly, and it occurred at the start of the auction. After about seven minutes into the auction, the book (logging the total orders) was already larger than 10 billion euros (US$11.01 billion). In just 18 minutes the order book reached a volume in excess of 15 billion euros (US$16.5 billion). Around 45 minutes later, the spread guidance was narrowed to +18.0 to +19.0 basis points. The order book was closed with a total bid volume of 21.2 billion euros (US$23.3 billion). An amount of almost 6 billion euros (US$6.6 billion) was allocated at a uniform cut-off spread of +18.0 basis points over the reference bond. The allocated amount went to a wide variety of investors. The bond will be reopened to investors several times in the coming years, with the goal of reaching an outstanding amount of approximately 10 billion euros (US$11.01 billion).

This May bond established the government of the Netherlands as the first country with a triple-A rating to issue a green bond (known as a DSL). By issuing the bond, the Dutch aim to support the establishment of a robust green capital market that can provide financing to utilities and others who have bankable projects.

The green-bond market has seen explosive growth in the past decade, presenting an unrivaled opportunity in climate finance. Annual issuance has now risen from zero a few years ago to more than US$155 billion globally, with more growth ahead. But in emerging markets, the green bond era is just beginning.

Combating climate change is now seen to be one of the greatest challenges facing utilities and governments. It will require far more financing than national and local governments alone can provide.

Yet, there is some good news. Climate change is increasingly viewed as a top-tier business opportunity, opening many profitable ways for investors to help protect the planet while returning value to customers.

Almost unknown a decade ago, green bonds now stand as a key private sector solution helping finance the world’s transition to a low-carbon future.

Green bonds generate financing for projects in all of the key categories where utilities are focused: renewable energy, energy efficiency, eco-friendly industries. They tap the vast pools of financing — the trillions of dollars held by institutional investors such as pension funds, insurance companies, and sovereign wealth funds — available in global capital markets. These investors are looking for climate-smart initiatives that make good business sense: opportunities that carry the right risk-reward profiles and meet investor-specific criteria for rating, tenor, yield, and geographic diversity.

But, as green bond volumes inevitably continue to increase, the leading green bond advocates have come to recognize one crucial fact: it will become ever more important to agree to common guidelines that promote integrity and standards governing transparency, responsible investor behavior, and impact evaluation.

Over the course of just one crucial year — 2017 — new green-bond issuance grew by 78%, to more than US$155 billion worldwide. The total in 2018 was more than US$250 billion, according to the Climate Bonds Initiative, an international nonprofit with an important certifying role.

The global market for green bonds began with a climate awareness bond issued by the European Investment Bank in 2007. Since then the World Bank Group has created a notable supply of investable green bonds.

Since 2010, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) has issued more than US$7 billion in green bonds to private investors in its own name — proceeds that have been used in solar power in Mozambique, wind power in Panama, climate-smart public transit in Turkey, and a host of other projects.

At the same time, the IFC has helped client banks in Colombia, the Philippines, Morocco, and other countries to begin to do the same. The most recent: subscribing to a US$100 million, seven-year issue from Argentina’s Banco Galicia to finance projects in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and sustainable construction, among others. These projects are expected to reduce greenhouse emissions in Argentina by about 157,500 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per annum, which is roughly the equivalent to taking 33,700 cars off the roads.

Sovereign issuers are also becoming important players, beginning with issues by Poland, France, and Belgium. To protect its 900,000 citizens and their livelihoods, in 2017 Fiji worked with the IFC and its parent organization, the World Bank, to become the first developing-country government to launch its own sovereign green bond. With the aim of raising 100 million Fijian dollars (US$50 million), the first two tranches drew unprecedented demand from investors and were heavily oversubscribed. Through the green bond, Fiji created a new way to mobilize finance for development — and a market for private capital seeking climate-smart investment opportunities. Since the Fiji bond, Nigeria has also issued a green bond.

Yet in the developing world, the market is still in its nascent stage. And that certainly represents a major opportunity for European investors, and for others.

How to Reduce Your Business’s Carbon Footprint

Running a profitable business is hard. Running a profitable business that is carbon accountable is even harder.

But just because our current free-market economic system does not make it easy to run a sustainable operation doesn’t mean your business should surrender to climate crisis. Climate change will devastate populations, ravage economies and significantly raise the cost of doing business as resources become scarcer and more expensive. From both a humanitarian and business standpoint, it makes a lot of sense for us to take a stand against uncontrolled climate change by negating our company’s carbon footprint.

Beyond dwindling resources, there are other practical reasons to enact policies that reduce your business’s greenhouse gas emissions. For one, as the climate emergency escalates, international governments will likely begin to introduce more stringent environmental policies – meaning that if you can neutralize your carbon footprint now, your company will be ahead of the game. In addition, research has found customers prefer eco-friendly brands and has linked a positive impact on the planet with employee satisfaction and morale.

Major corporations like Microsoft, Google, Lyft, and Salesforce are already committed to going carbon neutral, as are smaller companies like Burts Bees and Diamond Foundry. If you want to join them as a pioneer towards sustainability, here are four powerful first steps business leaders can take to make their company more carbon accountable.

Move towards zero waste

The current way we conduct business that is, through production, transportation, consumption and disposal of materials accounts for 42% of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. Implementing a zero-waste approach is a short-term, powerful action that can pay off immediately for the climate.

Moving towards zero waste begins with an assessment of your business’s current waste generation, management and disposal. During the audit, you can identify where waste is being generated, how often, and where it goes. From there, you can set waste diversion, prevention, and reduction goals and institute policies to achieve them.

When developing waste-reduction strategies, focus your efforts on reducing, reusing and recycling  in that order.

Other types of zero waste could include going paperless whenever possible, donating old electronics and office furniture, and using packaging material that is reusable, compostable or recyclable. Refiling and recycling ink and toner cartridges should be a priority in an office zero-waste strategy  these vessels are incredibly resource-intensive to manufacture and take thousands of years to decompose.

Harness renewable energy sources

Renewable fuels have become more prevalent over the last several years, largely due to climbing oil and gas prices and growing concerns about climate change. Given the finite nature of fossil fuels and the likelihood of international climate change regulations being enacted in the near future, companies should start measuring and reducing their energy consumption now. Not only will this yield environmental benefits, but give your business a competitive edge when climate policies go into effect.

While taking action may require an initial investment, harnessing green energy sources like solar power will save your company money in the long term.

If you are seeking to buy or lease renewable energy equipment for onsite installation at your workplace, solar panels are the most obvious and likely the most practical option. In addition to providing your property with clean, sustainable power, installing solar panels may qualify your business for a federal tax credit.

If you don’t own your property or have limited space, you can look into purchasing renewable energy from your power supplier. Some power companies offer the option to buy “green” service for a small premium in exchange for electricity generated from renewable sources. Depending on the part of the country you are in, you may also be able to choose your own electricity supplier. In states that allow competition among electricity generators, you can opt to work with a supplier who specializes in producing energy from renewable sources.

Cut business travel emissions

Be it air, car or train, modern transportation modes are among the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions. In the U.S., the transportation sector accounts for 29% of total greenhouse gas emissions each year. By reducing emissions and expenses related to business travel, you can minimize your company’s impact on the environment while potentially increasing your bottom line.

If you don’t think there is such a thing as business travel emissions, just ask the GHG Protocol, an organization that is tasked with measuring such emissions. Large corporations such as IBM have adopted standards from the organization to help meausure their carbon footprint. Travel companies themselves even help to cut down on emissions.

Encourage your employees to bike to work by providing a space for them to change and shower. Facilitate carpooling among colleagues with commuter-matching programs and incentives like preferred parking spots. When flying, book the more fuel-efficient economy seats on direct flights.

Of course, the best way to reduce business travel emissions is to not travel at all. Consider allowing employees to work from home to cut commuter emissions. Whenever possible, hold virtual meetings and training sessions rather than flying. This would also include paying to have a speaker come to your location for training as opposed to sending people offiste for training.

Educate and engage employees

Finally, one of the most powerful ways to make your workforce more carbon accountable is to actively engage your employees in the cause. Disheartened by bleak forecasts and jaded by constant corporate greenwashing, it’s easy for individuals to give into climate despair, the sense of powerlessness that keeps us from addressing problems with the environment in a meaningful way.

To combat environmental discouragement and help empower employees to see their own power to affect positive change, educate your team on carbon accountability by making it personal. When employees understand why they are being told to change long-time habits, they are less likely to resist new eco-conscious policies.

In order to inspire your team members to take ownership of their carbon impact, encourage input on workplace energy-saving ideas at staff meetings and by setting up suggestions boxes. Consider instituting a corporate matching program where you financially replicate employee donations to eco-friendly nonprofits. Enroll your team in an environmental subscription service like Forest Founders, which enables users to use a personal dashboard to track and negate their carbon footprint by planting trees through a network of nonprofits like the National Forest Foundation (NFF). Carbon tracking subscription services can help gamify the process of carbon accountability and witness the power of their own environmental impact firsthand.

Nature and capitalism don’t have to be at odds. By minimizing the carbon footprint of your business, you can cut energy costs, improve employee morale, build your brand’s reputation as a leader in sustainability and even increase your bottom line  all while protecting the resources and planet we need to operate and thrive.

Leyline Renewable Capital to finance development of two anaerobic digestion facilities

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released its National Framework for Advancing the U.S. Recycling System. The report is the product of a collaborative effort that began on America Recycles Day 2018. 

During America Recycles Day 2018, which took place Nov. 15, the EPA hosted its first America Recycles Day Summit, which brought together stakeholders from across the U.S. recycling system to join the EPA in signing the America Recycles Pledge. Participants included representatives from federal, state, local and tribal governments; the recycling industry; nonprofits; manufacturers; and product brands. According to the EPA, all 45 signing organizations, including the EPA, pledged to work together over the course of 2019 to identify specific actions to take in addressing the challenges and opportunities facing the U.S. recycling system.

The EPA highlights some of these actions taken by stakeholders in its 2019 National Framework for Advancing the U.S. Recycling System. Areas the report looks at include recycling education, recycling infrastructure, secondary materials markets and measurement. 

Recycling education and outreach

According to the EPA’s report, most Americans believe recycling provides an opportunity for them to protect the environment. However, it can be difficult for consumers to understand what materials can be recycled as well as how and where to do so.

The EPA’s report indicates the need for the U.S. to develop clear, consistent messages about proper materials management activities that enable consumers to recognize the value of reusing, recovering and recycling materials as well as the value of buying products with recycled content.

Some challenges in this area include inconsistent messaging about recycling; products being labeled as recyclable that aren’t supported by infrastructure or secondary markets in a specific location; and limited public awareness about the role of the commodities market in developing better recycling programs. 

Some actions taken in 2019 to address this area included: 

Keep America Beautiful, Stamford, Connecticut; The Recycling Partnership, Falls Church, Virginia; and the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, Charlottesville, Virginia, have developed an infographic that highlights positive messages about the U.S. recycling system. 

• The Recycling Partnership announced the launch of DIYSigns, a free online resource that can be used to educate consumers on what can be recycled in their areas. 

• The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in coordination with the city of Cincinnati, announced the Beyond 34: Recycling and Recovery for a New Economy Program would be expanded in Cincinnati.

• The Can Manufacturers Institute, Washington, and the National Association of Convenience Stores, Alexandria, Virginia, jointly published a report in April 2019 called The Value of Can and Bottle Recycling, which offers guidance to convenience store retailers on how and why to implement recycling programs at their stores. 

• The National Waste and Recycling Association, Washington; the Solid Waste Association of North America, Silver Spring, Maryland; the Northeast Recycling Council, Brattleboro, Vermont; and the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Washington, developed a “Think Twice” poster to get individuals to pause and think to avoid adding contaminants to the recycling stream. 

• The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, with assistance from The Recycling Partnership, surveyed material recovery facilities (MRFs) to identify the top contaminants recyclers are receiving. 

The report sets goals for 2020 to develop and make available a set of common recycling messages on nationally significant issues. 

Enhancing infrastructure

According to the EPA’s report, America’s existing recycling infrastructure has not kept pace with today’s changing materials stream. Contamination in the stream can cause equipment failures and halt production lines to allow for the removal of unwanted materials. 

The EPA’s report states that it hopes for a more holistic, modern and adaptable national recycling infrastructure that embraces innovation and is resilient to changes in material streams, markets and consumer expectations.

Some challenges in this area include the lack of resilient recycling infrastructure; insufficient investment to improve or enhance infrastructure capacity; high costs of recycling in some parts of the country; and regional differences on managing materials. 

Some actions taken in 2019 to address this area included: 

• The Materials Recovery for the Future (MRFF) research program, in coordination with 16 member companies, operated a pilot program to collect flexible film packaging from a single-stream curbside recycling system.

• The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality is offering regional recycling infrastructure grants to help areas develop or refurbish residential commingled recycling infrastructure.

• The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is offering grants for recycling capital projects. 

• The Reducing Embodied Energy and Decreasing Emissions (REMADE) Institute, West Henrietta, New York, has 31 public-private partnerships focused on reducing the cost of technologies needed to reuse, recycle and remanufacture materials.

In 2020, the report states there are goals to conduct and compile research on successful infrastructure investments and potential investment opportunities as well as continue support for the MRFF pilot project. 

Secondary materials markets

Recent policy changes, including import restrictions in China and other nations in Southeast Asia, have accelerated the need to improve domestic markets for recyclable materials and products, the EPA states in its report. The EPA adds that it aims to improve the quality of recycled materials so they can more easily be incorporated into products and drive demand for domestic recycling markets.

According to the EPA, some challenges in this area include a need for contract restructuring between municipalities and MRFs in order to better insulate MRFs for market fluctuations; established end markets and MRF technologies are not always being used effectively to identify recyclables that can be included in recycling programs; and the need for more well-crafted policies to encourage robust recycling markets. 

Some actions taken in 2019 to address this area included: 

• The National Recycling Coalition, Erie, Colorado, in partnership with the EPA, the State of Texas Alliance for Recycling, Austin, Texas, and the California Resource Recovery Association hosted three market development workshops across the country that featured information to spur regional markets for recycled materials. Four more workshops are planned in 2020.

• The National Recycling Coalition, in partnership with More Recycling, is working to connect sellers of recyclable materials with potential buyers to create a virtual or web-based marketplace.

• The Association of Plastic Recyclers, Washington, in partnership with The Recycling Partnership, more than doubled the number of companies participating in the Demand Champion Program.

• The Recycling Partnership has developed a best practices document related to MRF processing contracts.

The EPA report sets goals for 2020 to continue to promote government programs to purchase recycled materials, such as EPA’s Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines. It also sets goals to identify and work with companies designing packaging and products to encourage the use of recycled content and improve recyclability of goods.

Enhance measurement

A variety of definitions and recycling rate methodologies exist across the U.S., which creates challenges when setting goals and tracking progress on improving recycling rates, says the EPA report. Stakeholders across the recycling system agree that more consistent measurement methodologies are needed for waste management.

The EPA says it hopes to establish standardized recycling metrics that are supported by consistent terminology and methodology. 

Some challenges in this area include varying measurement definitions causing confusion and limiting understanding of recycling system performance, as well as the lack of methodologies available to classify some municipal solid waste management materials and activities. 

Some actions taken in 2019 to address this area included: 

• A workgroup started to compile information on a range of recycling metrics and measures for use by organizations across the recycling system. The workgroup also compiled a list of published definitions of recycling from the EPA and other publicly available sources and used it as the basis for a draft definition of recycling. In addition, the workgroup developed a recycling system map showing the flow of materials through the system.

• The Can Manufacturers Institute and the Aluminum Association, Arlington, Virginia, jointly produced a sustainability key performance indicator report on the aluminum beverage can focused on a few key metrics. 

• EPA aims to revise the 1997 document Measuring Recycling: A Guide for State and Local Governments to serve as a tool for states to help standardize reporting information. 

• EPA hopes to update its Recon Tool, which calculates greenhouse gas emissions reductions associated with recycled content material.

In 2020, the report states there are goals to provide input to develop additional draft definitions associated with materials flow through the system and to develop a central compilation of data and metrics used to measure recycling or components of the recycling system.