This Week in Sustainability

A Minneapolis bag fee takes effect; eight states raise EV fees; and PepsiCo hits a renewable energy milestone.

January 20, 2020

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Sustainability is fast becoming top of mind for convenience and fuel retailers, and at NACS Daily, our newsfeed is filled with headlines about efforts to minimize waste—of the packaging or food variety—and to reduce or offset carbon emissions. Here are some stories we’ve been following since the new year.

Minneapolis c-stores are among the retailers forced to charge customers a nickel for plastic and paper bags. Under a new city ordinance that took effect January 1, most retailers in the city are required to charge a 5-cent fee per bag. The store keeps the fee, which is tax-exempt. City officials said they won’t enforce the new law until summer. Farmers market vendors, dry cleaners and restaurants bagging takeout or leftovers are exempt. SNAP recipients won’t have to pay for bags. (Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune)

EV owners face new fees as states seek to offset lost revenue from gasoline taxes. New or higher registration fees for electric vehicles took effect January 1 in eight states. Alabama ($200 battery electric/$100 for plug-in hybrids), Hawaii ($50), Illinois ($100), Iowa ($130/$65 for plug-in hybrid), Kansas ($100), Ohio ($200), Oregon ($306/two years) and Utah ($90/$39 plug-in hybrids). EV owners in Oregon and Utah can choose to pay a higher registration fee or a fee for every mile they drive. California will start collecting a $100 fee on new “zero emission” vehicles starting July 1. Electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles accounted for less than 2% of new vehicle sales in 2018, but their market share is projected to climb in the coming decade. State officials are looking to the new fees to help fund road and bridge construction programs. (Source: MarketWatch)

PepsiCo says it will use 100% renewable electricity to power its U.S. operations this year. The food and beverage giant said the move will reduce company-wide direct operations greenhouse gas emissions by 20%, compared with a 2015 baseline. “As an industry leader, we have a responsibility to help spur the use of renewable energy in the U.S., while encouraging the kind of systemic change that can build a more sustainable food system. This is another step forward in that journey,” said Simon Lowden, Chief Sustainability Officer, PepsiCo. The company will buy renewable energy credits, solar or wind farm credits and create power purchase agreements to help meet its renewable energy goal. PepsiCo said it continues to expand its on-site renewable electricity, including installing new solar panels at its global headquarters in Purchase, New York. (Source: PepsiCo Inc.)

U.K. grocer Asda is piloting a store where customers can refill their own food containers. The Walmart-owned chain will open its first “sustainability store” in May at the Asda Middleton site in Leeds for a three-month trial. The goal is to become more sustainable by reducing and eliminating plastic packaging from its stores. The store will sell loose produce and flower bouquets. Customers can refill their own containers with store brand rice and pasta, as well as Kellogg’s cereals and Unilever’s PG Tips tea. The store also will offer plastic bottle recycling. Asda has committed to reducing plastic by 15% by February 2021, as well as making all of its own brand packaging fully recyclable by 2025. (Source: BBC)

To learn more about minimizing food waste in your foodservice operations, head over to NACS Magazine to read “Waste Not, Want Not” in the August issue, and for more on plastics, see “The New Plastic Economy” in the September issue. To read what industry veteran Jacob Schram has to say about capitalizing on the EV evolution, read “EVs Ahead” in the August issue.