The "Loop" shopping platform seeks to reduce packaging waste through the use of reusable containers for consumer products. | Via TerraCycle/Facebook

Sustainability Notes: ‘Milkman’ model returns; Columbia climate plan keeps moving



Columbia’s Mayor’s Task Force on Climate Action and Adaptation Planning will meet Thursday at city hall. The task force’s Climate Action and Adaptation plan, which has been in the drafting process since last year, is now about 75 percent complete, the Columbia Missourian reported.

Since setting targets for resident and municipal emissions reductions last summer, the task force has been developing a plan of policy goals aimed at reductions in six areas: energy, health, waste, natural resources, transportation, and housing, building and development. The task force has also been working to incorporate community feedback from meetings in the fall.

Individual policy goals within in the current version of the plan include expanding walking, biking and green space infrastructure; installing solar panels on city buildings; and adopting a “pay-as-you-throw” scalable cost system for trash services, according to the Missourian.

The plan is scheduled to be presented to and voted on by the Columbia City Council in June.

Proposed loan program changes draw criticism

Legislation that would affect Missourians’ ability to borrow money for home projects has drawn mixed reactions from financial institutions and consumer advocacy groups, the Energy News Network reports.

The bills would give oversight of Missouri’s residential Property Assessed Clean Energy program, previously overseen by local city and county boards, to the state’s Division of Finance.

The PACE program was created to allow “local government entities to raise money … to fund energy efficiency and renewable energy projects to eligible property owners,” according to the Missouri Division of Energy. About $33 million has been loaned out in the state for about 2,000 residential projects since 2016, the Energy News Network reports.

The Missouri Bankers Association played a large role in writing the legislation and claims it would “reduce confusion” about the loans. Critics disagree: a clean energy group says the banks backing the legislation want less competition, while a spokesman for Missouri’s attorney general said there hadn’t been any complaints regarding PACE.

A return to the ‘milkman model’

“Sleek, reusable containers that will be picked up at your door, washed and refilled” could be the way consumers receive products like Pantene shampoo and Haagen-Dazs ice cream in the near future, the Associated Press reports.

These so-called “Loop” containers are a creation of the American recycling company TerraCycle. The idea is to revert to a “milkman model,” in which consumers receive a product, and ultimately return its container.

“Removing plastics from the ocean is not enough,” TerraCycle CEO Tom Szaky said. “We need to get at the whole idea of disposability and single-use items.”

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