February ’22 at-a-glance … environment

Quebec responds to coalition working toward compliance with new recycling/ reclamation law

NAFEM continues to work with a broad, industry coalition to address Quebec’s Ministry of Environment and Fight Against Climate Change (MOE) recycling/reclamation legislation. The requirements took effect Dec. 5, 2021, but the ministry granted a six-month “tolerance,” which pushed the compliance dates to May 2022.

The new rule requires that sellers have or be a member of a program that allows products to be returned to the seller or a designated recycler that will certify products are recycled in an approved manner. It applies to refrigerators, freezers, refrigerated vending machines, ice machines, food displays, dairy bar equipment, cooling cells, beverage centers and beverage coolers. Excluded are used appliances or anything heavier than 300 kilograms or 660 pounds, walk-ins, or products that are less than 2.5 cubic feet.

EPA expands list of acceptable substitutes

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) expanded the list of acceptable substitutes for use in refrigeration, foam blowing, and other applications under the Significant New Alternatives Program Jan. 20.

Study finds higher-than-estimated environmental issues with home gas stoves

Recent research published in the Journal of Environmental Science and Technology indicates that home gas stoves release more planet-warming methane gas than estimates by the EPA. Researchers measured emissions from stoves in 53 California homes and, based on the findings, estimated that stoves in U.S. homes have a similar climate impact to driving 500,000 gasoline-powered cars for one year. Based on this information, EPA intends to include “post-meter emissions” like these that occur inside homes in its next Greenhouse Gas Inventory.

The study also found that families who don’t use range hoods and have poor ventilation, often in cramped kitchens, have greater exposure to harmful gases, promoting one scientist to call the situation an “environmental justice issue.”

Boston, Denver, Seattle and numerous California cities have banned new natural gas hookups in new buildings in the past few years. New York City recently did the same, but exempted buildings used for manufacturing, hospitals, commercial kitchens and laundromats. New York Governor Kathy Hochul recently proposed the first statewide ban on new natural gas hookups.