AIM For Climate–A Global Initiative, UK’s KP Snacks Goes EPR, TerraCycle Focuses On Hard-To-Recycle Plastics, USDA Funds For Emissions-Reducing US Agricultural Practices

by | Feb 17, 2022 | Podcasts, The Climate Daily

UK’s KP Snacks Gets All EPR

AIM For Climate, A Global Initiative

TerraCycle Focuses On Hard-To-Recycle Plastics

USDA Funds For Emissions-Reducing US Agricultural Practices.



Ever finish your bag of chips and get bummed out because you know that empty bag is just going straight in the trash to a landfill or even the ocean? You’re not the only one. More than 16 million packets of chips are thrown away every day in the UK alone. It’s been proven that a chip bag can last for over 30 years out at sea.

At least one British company, KP Snacks,  is trying to change that. In 2019, the company partnered with TerraCycle, an innovative recycling company specializing in recycling hard-to-recycle materials. The goal of the partnership is to help UK consumers recycle the packaging waste from purchased  products. 

TerraCycle collects the empty chip bags at one of its 444 drop off locations around the British Isles.. After the packets are cleaned and shredded, the recycled plastic is eventually turned into other items like outdoor furniture, watering cans or storage boxes. 

While the partnership is well-meaning, it’s still clunky. For example, the consumer has to locate the nearest public drop-off location in order to recycle their snack bag.  And while there are 444 participating locations in the UK currently, for a small nation, 444 locations is a small number. 

Yeah, let’s hope at the very least, there’s an app for that.

Why does KP Snacks/TerraCycle recycling partnership matter to us?  It’s a good attempt by both parties to engage in some hybrid of Extended Producer Responsibility–where the producer (KP Snacks) takes responsibility for the full environmental and economic impacts of that product and Product Stewardship–where all parties involved from the producer to the consumer take responsibility for the same. 

Unless or until KP Snacks–and the rest of the snack industry go full EPR, TerraCycle has found a valuable niche providing that bridge. 

(I would also add it matters because KP Snacks established the TerraCycle partnership in response to consumer demand about lessening their collective carbon footprint related to food packaging waste. Consumer sentiment matters.)

DEEPER DIVE: KP Snacks, BakeryandSnacks, TerraCycle



Agriculture Innovation Mission, or AIM for Climate is an initiative launched LAST YEAR at COP26. The United States and United Arab Emirates collaborated on this with  33 other countries and 48 NGOs in response to the increasing vulnerability of global agriculture and food systems to climate change.

The program’s goal is to increase the flow of funding through cooperation between parties both locally and internationally, which would  enable greater public-private and cross-sectoral partnerships for agricultural and food systems innovation. The program is slated to run for the five year period – 2021-2025.

AIM for Climate areas of focus are:

  • Scientific breakthroughs via basic agricultural research through national-level government and academic research institutions;
  • Public and private applied research, including through support to international research centers, institutions, and laboratory networks; and
  • Development, demonstration, and deployment of practical, actionable, and innovative products & services, and knowledge to producers and other market participants, including through national agricultural research extension systems.

The organizing countries see this initiative as a way to “enable a quantum leap in agricultural innovation, empowering agriculture to be part of the solution to address the climate crisis and create co-benefits of climate action.” Why does AIM matter to us? By some scientific estimates, in the absence of effective adaptation to the climate crisis, global food yields could decline by up to 30 percent by 2050.




Our earlier story about the green audit at Cambridge mentioned that the KP Terracycle ‘snack wrapper’ fell into the hard-to-recycle category. So what the heck is TerraCycle and who had the brilliant idea to focus on hard-to-recycle trash?

Tom Szaky founded TerraCycle. He grew up in Canada around the conservationist movement in the 90s. But, it was as a freshman at Princeton University in 2001 when Szaky hatched the idea for TerraCycle. It came after visiting some friends in Montreal who were feeding kitchen scraps to red worms and using the resulting fertilizer to feed some of their indoor plants.

Szaky’s first recycling project was to take the rotting food from Princeton’s cafeterias to create fertilizer using worms. That’s when he got his first investment and it’s been growing ever since.

TerraCycle’s mission is “the elimination of the idea of waste”. It does that by creating the opportunities and the technologies for businesses to close the loop on their linear economy business practices (extract, produce, discard) thus transitioning into the more sustainable circular economy.

The company is in over 20 countries worldwide,  working with over 500 brands. Collecting their specific hard-to-recycle items and turning them into new products. Here’s one:  turning toothbrushes into building materials.

Why does TerraCycle matter to us? According to its website, TerraCycle has engaged over 202 million people in 21 countries to collect and recycle over 7.7 billion pounds of material. It’s also raised in excess of  44 million dollars for charities around the world.

DEEPER DIVE: TerraCycle, Green Dreamer



The USDA announced the launch of $1 billion in funding for climate-smart agriculture and food systems innovation. The funding helps this sector work towards the goal of cutting emissions in half by 2030 through climate-smart practices that curb greenhouse gas emissions or capture and store carbon.

The investment from the USDA came after President Joe Biden announced the launch of AIM for Climate. The Dept of Agriculture program focuses on climate-friendly conservation practices focuses like:

  • No-till
  • Cover crops
  • Rotational grazing
  • Measure and monitor greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural operations
  • Capture and store carbon.

The EPA estimates that the US agriculture sector accounts for more than 10% annual emissions. The grants range from $5 to $100 million and are available for certain public and private entities.

Why does USDA funding matter to us? Last year, the EPA reported  agricultural producers lost $1 billion from exposure to high temperatures. And while that’s less than 1% of the value of the $160 billion dollar US agricultural industry, continuing the same agricultural practices is bound to dramatically increase those losses in the near term.

Said Tom Vilsack, the United States Secretary of Agriculture, “We’re trying to incentivize the creation of climate-smart commodities that hold higher value in the marketplace that farmers can generate additional profit from.”