Sustainability Reads: May 4- May 10

Food Waste Inspiration: The French Make a Bold Proposal
In April, French policymakers released a comprehensive policy proposal to prevent food waste and keep unavoidable food waste out of the landfill. Under the new policy, businesses generating large quantities of food and other organic waste would be directed to follow a hierarchy of alternatives to landfills; dedicated national agency would be developed dedicated to better measuring and managing food waste; large corporations would be required to include data on food waste in corporate social responsibility statements in order to increase transparency; supermarkets would have a legal obligation to donate extra food to non-profit organizations that ask for it; food production and food waste prevention education and awareness programs would be implemented; and would also include various regulatory measures including clarifying expiration dates on grocery products, establishing parameters around the rejection of food shipments from suppliers by retailers, encouraging waste reduction in government food programs and institutions, encouraging gleaning of unharvested crops on farms, and even offering “clemency” to dumpster-divers. By JoAnne Berkenkamp and Marie Mourad at NRDC Switchboard.

EU agrees ‘landmark’ carbon market deal
A deal has been struck between EU’s parliament, commission, and member states  to remove 1.5 – 2 billion surplus carbon allowances from the European Trading System (ETS), the world’s largest carbon market. Oversupply has kept the price of carbon too low to be effective in encouraging fuel switching and investments. The article presents opinions that although the move is great news, it does have caveats that allows millions of allowances back into the system, it doesn’t sufficiently address the issue of oversupply, and structural issues still weaken the system. By Arthur Nelsen at the Guardian.

Home Idle Load: Devices Wasting Huge Amounts of Electricity When Not in Active Use
A recent study by NRDC, Home Energy Analytics and the Stanford Sustainable Systems Lab, has quantified the amount of electricity wasted by home appliances when they are not in use. The report states that “always-on” energy use by inactive appliances, electronics and miscellaneous electrical devices equals $19 billion a year, about $165 per U.S. household on average; that’s the same as 234 cups of coffee every single day for a year, or more than 85,000 cups of coffee. The study also states that if all homes in the United States reduced their ‘always-on’ load for inactive devices, it could save consumers $8 billion on their annual utility bills and prevent 44 million metric tons of carbon dioxide pollution. Idle-load or ‘always-on’ loads include appliances and equipment in off or “standby” mode but still drawing power or in “sleep mode” ready to power up quickly, as well as appliances that are left fully on but inactive. Although manufacturers should design their products  so that consumers don’t have to worry about idle electricity waste, consumers should still also do their part to address the issue:

  1. Optimize the efficiency of their current devices;
  2. Buy more efficient appliances, electronics, and miscellaneous devices, such as those labeled ENERGY STAR™, whether replacing old models or purchasing new ones;
  3. Urge lawmakers to enact idle load labeling so shoppers can avoid products with high idle loads; and
  4. Insist that all devices be required to meet idle load efficiency standards so there is no need to worry about models needlessly wasting electricity, the same way regulatory mechanisms ensure that our vehicles are safe to drive and foods are safe to eat.

Hawaii Passes Bill To Get 100 Percent Of Its Electricity From Renewables
This past week Hawaii’s state legislature sent a bill to the governor’s desk that moves the renewable portfolio standard (RPS) up to 100 percent by 2045, meaning that all electricity provided by the electric companies will have to come from renewable sources like solar and wind. Hawaii’s currently legislation requires that by 2030, 40% of electricity come from  renewables. Hawaii is the first state to require an RPS of 100% and also has the greatest solar power penetration in the nation, with one out of every eight homes in Hawaii having solar. By Samantha Page at ClimateProgress.

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