PBPC Newsletter September 24, 2020
Welcome to the Plant Based Products Council Newsletter! Read on for the latest in PBPC news and activities, as well as some of the amazing innovations, trends, and developments happening right now in the sustainability and bioeconomy world! If you missed our last edition, check it out using the link below.
GRANT MONEY AVAILABLE FROM USDA
The USDA is accepting funding applications for its Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical, and Biobased Product Manufacturing Assistance Program, per this week’s Federal Register. The program aims to “provide guaranteed loans to fund the development, construction, and retrofitting of commercial scale biorefineries using eligible technology and of biobased product manufacturing facilities that use technologically new commercial scale processing and manufacturing equipment to convert renewable chemicals and other biobased outputs of biorefineries into end-user products, on a commercial scale.”
Eligible borrowers include individual, public and private entities, state and local governments, corporations, farm cooperatives and farm cooperative organizations, associations of agricultural producers, national laboratories, institutions of higher education, and others. Applications are due by October 1, 2020 and April 1, 2021.
Federal Register: USDA Rural Business-Cooperative Service
NEW COMPOSTABLE LABELING GUIDELINES FROM BPI
This week, our friends at the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) announced the release of a first-of-its-kind set of labeling and identification guidelines designed to support the collection of food scraps and reduce contamination for composters. The document features category and material-specific recommendations designed to make it easier for end-users, consumers, and composters to distinguish between compostable and non-compostable items. BPI is North America’s leading certifier of compostable products and packaging, and this is a major step toward improved labeling practices for our industry.
ONE IMPORTANT STEP TOWARD MORE PLANT-BASED PRODUCTION
PBPC, as part of the Biogenic CO2 Coalition, recently filed a 64-page petition with the EPA requesting a rulemaking, arguing that biogenic carbon emissions from agricultural crops do not contribute to elevated greenhouse gases. Biogenic carbon is released during the processing of feedstocks used to create many plant-based products, and this rule change would open the door to expanded production capacities. Inside EPA reports, “Trump EPA officials have said they are receptive to the idea.” Biogenic CO2 Coalition member CRA also placed an op-ed in the Cedar Rapids Gazette on the topic.
Inside EPA: Agriculture Sector Petitions EPA For Crop Carbon Neutrality Rule
BioDiesel Magazine: Biogenic CO2 Coalition files petition for rulemaking with EPA
Cedar Rapids Gazette (Op-Ed): Let Cedar Rapids Grow Green
CA: WHAT COMES NEXT?
Politico examines the future of recycling and single-use plastics bills after California’s failure to pass state legislation in multiple attempts. The reporter asks, “If California can’t solve plastic waste, who can?” 1,500 words of analysis worth your time.
MEMBERS MAKE SUSTAINABILITY A MANTRA
PBPC Members don’t just commit to our organization and call it a day. Instead, they continuously seek new ways to improve their products, policies, and programs to ensure a better tomorrow for us all. Among our favorites featured below, Roquette pledges to reduce water consumption by 20% per ton of product produced in biorefining and prevent 1 million tons of CO2 emissions through innovative technical installations at biorefineries – both by 2025.
Roquette: Sustainability Report
Footprint: Microsoft and X4Impact Highlighting Footprint’s Sustainability
Futamura: Analyzing Ways To Reduce Ocean Plastic
NatureWorks: September 30th SPCAdvance Roundtable
PepsiCo: Progress Report On 2025 Sustainability Goals
Roquette: Biobased Plastics That Completely Break Down in Soil
Tetra Tech: Named Top 10 Green Firms by Engineering News
BIG OIL & RECYCLING – THE ORIGIN STORY
NPR and PBS Frontline examine how the oil industry made the world comfortable with plastics by making recyclability claims, even as the industry knew “recycling wouldn’t keep plastic out of landfills and the environment.”
Biotechnology companies continue to attract funding – a sure sign of investor confidence in these companies and the larger industry. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation offers a report on the role of finance in the circular economy. Meanwhile, investment powerhouse UBS is directing more clients towards sustainable investments, the synthetic biology firm Zymergen has raised $300 million, and Nestle is making its own venture-style investments.
Ellen MacArthur Foundation: Financing The Circular Economy
MarketWatch: UBS Is First To Make Sustainable Investments The Preferred Path For Clients
C&EN: Zymergen raises $300 million for biobased materials
Waste 360: Nestlé Infuses $30 Million Into Circular Economy Private Equity Fund
CPGS CONTINUE TO SEEK SUSTAINABILITY IMPROVEMENTS
Nestlé is creating a new employee education program for tens of thousands of team members and launching a new prize for sustainability. Unilever-owned cleaning brand Persil has unveiled a new liquid formulation made from plant-based stain removers and biodegradable ingredients. Meanwhile, Olay is reformulating packaging in a move that eliminates one product’s plastic waste by 94 percent.
Energy + Environment News: Nestlé Invests Millions in New Sustainable Packaging Initiatives
Edie: Unilever’s Persil switches to bio-based formula and recycled plastic bottles
PopSugar: Olay Launches Trial of Refillable Moisturiser Refill Pods
GOOGLE, AMAZON RIVAL CPGS ON SUSTAINABILITY
Consumer packaged goods companies certainly don’t have a monopoly on the movement. Since last year, Amazon has utilized machine learning to reduce the weight of their outbound packaging by a third. Google has announced a new sustainability pledge, saying it will become the first company to run completely on carbon-free energy across all operations globally by 2030. They also have plans to help cities reduce emissions.
MORE PACKAGING PLEDGES AND SUCCESS
From Legos to hot cocoa to cereal boxes to the baking industry, companies and inventors continue to find new ways to reduce the environmental impact of packaging.
Fast Company: Lego Is Replacing Its Clear Plastic Bags With Recyclable Paper
Inside Indiana Business: Conagra, Berry Global Partner On Sustainable Packaging
Packaging Digest: Sustainable Food Carton Replaces Cereal Boxes
Baking Business: Improving The Sustainability Of Packaging Materials
FUEL FOR OUR FIRE
But it’s not all good news, out there. Science Magazine reveals evidence that “plastic pollution could have ramifications on disease transmission and treatment.” Also: Ocean Conservancy’s latest report announced that for the first time, food wrappers surpassed cigarette butts at global beach clean-ups.
Science Magazine: Microplastic’s Role In Antibiotic Resistance
OC Register: Plastic Food Wrappers Now No. 1 Trash At Global Beach Cleanups