BioCycle December 2013, Vol. 54, No. 12, p. 6
Recycling Works! Museum Exhibit
The Pennsylvania Recycling Markets Center (RMC) has partnered with Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful (KPB) and the Pennsylvania Waste Industries Association (PWIA) to develop and launch the Recycling Works! Exhibit that is on display through early January 2014 at the State Museum of Pennsylvania, located in Harrisburg. The exhibit features a visual overview of Pennsylvania manufactured recycled content products, the history of recycled content product manufacturing and grassroots recycling in the state, and advancements in the recycling industry and recycling technology. Included in one display case is a copy of BioCycle’s 50th Anniversary issue (April 2009) and Weis Market’s Choice Compost. “Weis Choice Compost was selected because the entire recycling loop — from the organic waste generation at the store level to processing/composting to bagging — is completed in Pennsylvania,” explains Patti Olenick, Weis Market’s Sustainability Manager.
The exhibit is designed to highlight the importance of the recycling industry to job creation and economic development in Pennsylvania. According to a recycling economic study commissioned by the Northeast Recycling Council in 2009, Pennsylvania has approximately 3,800 recycling and reuse establishments; 52,000 recycling and reuse jobs; $21 billion in annual sales receipts; and $2 billion in annual payroll.
More Options To Approach Zero Waste
The Board of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) proposed changes to the composting section of its solid waste regulations and is soliciting public comment. Proposed regulation “61-107.4 Solid Waste Management” allows businesses to compost and reduce landfill waste statewide by 30 percent; reduces regulation for small businesses; invites in new composting industry to manage food waste; and streamlines the permitting process. “DHEC has created a common sense solution that not only reduces the waste to our landfills for future generations, but encourages composting and returning natural materials to the Earth,” says DHEC Director Catherine Templeton. “This change will also allow more economic development for South Carolina by welcoming new composting industry and providing more options to assist our industries with producing zero waste for landfills.” The public comment period will be open for 30 days, beginning November 22, 2013.
“These regulations have been needed in South Carolina for a long time,” said Shelley Robbins, with the environmental group Upstate Forever. “They are an investment in our long-term landfill capacity and our air quality by reducing the organics in landfills that generate methane. At the same time, they create business opportunities for commercial composters, provide another tool for attracting companies that incorporate zero-waste into their sustainability policies, and facilitate the return of nutrients back to our soils, while ensuring safe composting operations. These regulations are a win for everyone.”
USDA, EPA Partnership Supports Water Quality Trading
The U. S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency have announced an expanded partnership to support water quality trading and other market-based approaches that provide benefits to the environment and economy. “New water quality trading markets hold incredible potential to benefit rural America by providing new income opportunities and enhancing conservation of water and wildlife habitat,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “Additionally, these efforts will strengthen businesses across the nation by providing a new pathway to comply with regulatory requirements.” Adds U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy: “EPA is committed to finding collaborative solutions that protect and restore our nation’s waterways and the health of the communities that depend on them. We’re excited about partnering with USDA to expand support for water quality trading, which shows that environmental improvements can mean a better bottom line for farmers and ranchers.”
Water quality trading provides a cost-effective approach for regulated entities to comply with EPA Clean Water Act requirements, including water quality-based effluent limits in National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits (see “How To Generate Tradable Nutrient Reduction Credits,” June 2012 and “Understanding Value Of Nutrient Credits,” August 2012). Trading would allow regulated entities to purchase and use pollutant reduction credits generated by other sources in a watershed. Cost savings and other economic incentives are key motivators for parties engaged in trading. Water quality trading can also provide additional environmental and economic benefits, such as air quality improvements, enhanced wildlife habitat, carbon capture and storage, and new income and employment opportunities for rural America.
Carbon Price Tracking
A new website offers an overview of California climate policies, including price tracking for carbon credits. The California Carbon Dashboard, a project of Climate Policy Initiative, is available at www.CalCarbonDash.org. California’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB32) launched its cap and trade program in the beginning of 2013, one of the state’s key policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. “Unlike many such programs around the world, California’s cap and trade program serves as a critical backstop to a series of complementary policies that cover major emitting sectors in the state, with the goal of returning California emissions to 1990 levels by 2020,” according to a press release from the Climate Policy Initiative. “The California Carbon Dashboard offers in one place, objective, user-friendly information on these policies, with a particular focus on the cap and trade program.” The dashboard includes: Current and historic California carbon prices; relevant updates from the California Air Resources Board, news, and tweets; overview of the role of cap and trade and complementary policies in meeting California’s emissions reduction goals across sectors; and emissions caps and emissions history by sector. To learn more about protocols to become eligible for carbon credits for organic waste composting and anaerobic digestion, visit the Climate Action Reserve website at www.climateactionreserve.com.
Renewables 33% Of New Electricity Generation
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Office of Energy Products has released the “Energy Infrastructure Update” report updated through October 2013. According to the document, solar, biomass and wind “units” account for 694 megawatts (MW) of the new electrical generating capacity for October, meaning that renewable energy sources provided 99.3 percent of all the new electricity available for service. Twelve newly developed solar units, four biomass units, and two wind units generated totals of 504 MW, 124 MW, and 66 MW, respectively. The solar alone account for 72.1 percent of all new electrical generating capacity developed in October 2013.
Through the first 10 months of 2013, renewable energy sources have been responsible for close to one-third (32.8%) of the new electrical generating capacity in the United States, outpacing the contributions of coal, nuclear and oil combined. By itself, solar has contributed 20.5 percent (2,528 MW) of the new generating capacity developed this year. Natural gas is still the front-runner for generating the most new electricity capacity, creating 6,625 MW (53.7%) in 2013.
Greening Cities Guide
“Superstorm Sandy sent a strong message that a new generation of urban development and infrastructure is desperately needed, and it must be designed with resilience in mind,” states a flyer promoting The Guide To Green Cities, a new book from Island Press authored by Sadhu Aufochs Johnston, Steve Nicholas and Julia Parzen. Green city solutions are needed, but often political and budgetary obstacles “threaten even the best-planned initiatives.” Case studies and chapters highlight strategies for overcoming common challenges such as changes of leadership and fiscal austerity. Featured are programs such as the City of Vancouver, British Columbia’s zero waste organics collection, bike sharing in Washington, DC, Green Impact Zones in Kansas City and farm preservation and economic development in western North Carolina. A companion website was launched with release of the book, which offers video interviews of municipal leaders and additional case studies.