18 January 2017:
A quick scan of recent waste, recycling and environmental developments from around the globe...
During its January 24 public meeting, the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) will discuss the 2016 California Paint Stewardship Program report submitted to CalRecycle last month by PaintCare, the national stewardship organization that manages the California program.
According to the report, the program collected and processed 3,127,052 gallons of postconsumer paint during the past four years. Ninety-five percent of the collected paint was reused, recycled back into paint or another product, or used for a purpose other than landfill. The program also recycled approximately 1,754 tons of plastic and metal paint cans.
The program maintained 776 year-round paint drop-off sites and managed paint from 247 HHW drop-off events. It also coordinated with 16 door-to-door-only HHW programs to manage paint collected through their service.
The 2016 California Paint Stewardship Program report can be downloaded at
For information on participating in the CalRecycle meeting via the Internet, go to
Last week, the European Chemicals Agency announced that bisphenol A (BPA) was one of four new substances of very high concern added to the agency's Candidate List. (The other three chemicals are PFDA, p-(1,1-dimethylpropyl)phenol and 4-heptylphenol.) BPA, a suspected endocrine disrupting chemical, was added because it is considered to be a reproductive toxicant.
Under REACH, chemicals on the Candidate List can be to elevated to ECHA's Authorization List, which prohibits the use of a chemical except for specific applications and for a limited time.
Recently, the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment added BPA to its 'Proposition 65 List,' requiring warnings be provided to consumers about the presence of chemical in products and packaging.
The ECHA announcement is posted at
Yesterday, the Waste and Resource Network Denmark (DAKOFA) highlighted a new report on global plastics recycling sponsored by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and said it supported the foundation's call for a 70% global recycling rate. The report was presented at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, and it includes a 2017 plan for a new plastics economy initiative launched in May 2016 by the foundation.
The 68-page report makes a number of recommendations and offers data to support them. For example, the report argues that "without fundamental redesign and innovation, about 30% of plastic packaging will never be reused or recycled." The report also argues that "for at least 20% of plastic packaging, reuse provides an economically attractive opportunity."
Get more information on the initiative and download the report (in English) at
Data released last week by the Irish EPA shows authorized recycling of end-of-life vehicles (ELVs) fell 6% in 2014 (the latest reporting year) from a year earlier. Because only about 87,000 ELVs were processed at authorised treatment facilities in 2014, the Irish Government believes a significant number of vehicles were scrapped elsewhere.
While Ireland met European Union reuse/recycling and reuse/recovery targets for 2014, the year-to-year decline is troubling because 2015 targets are higher. By January 1, 2015, Ireland must have achieved a minimum 85% reuse/recycling rate for ELVs but the rate was only 81% in 2014.
The Irish EPA said that "Ireland is at high risk of missing new, higher targets in force since January 2015,," and it urged consumers to "ensure end-of-life vehicles and waste tyres are managed by authorised waste treatment facilities."
For more information, go to
Earlier this year, Spanish packaging recycling compliance organization Ecoembes said it signed a voluntary agreement with the Waste Agency of Catalonia to promote packaging ecodesign. The two organizations have a history of collaboration including conducting pilot projects for packaging ecodesign in specific sectors such as fast food and working together on European Waste Prevention Week and European Cleanup Day.
According to an Ecoembes announcement, a monitoring committee with members from both organizations will develop an an annual packaging ecodesign roadmap and monitor projects development.
In 2015, Catalonia, a semi-autonomous region of Spain that includes Barcelona, established a ecodesign strategy. Ecoembes has set a goal for member companies to reduce the amount (weight) of packaging they produce by 20% by 2020.
As Chile transitions from landfilling waste to recycling and extended producer responsibility programs, the Ministry of Environment has been conducting workshops to help develop the knowledge and skills of some 60,000 independent scrap collectors so they can participate in the emerging circular economy. The Ministry has been coordinating the skills development with national trade and labor groups such as the National Movement of Chilean Recyclers and the Chilean Municipalities Association.
Certification is being managed by ChileValora, a national labor certification commission. According to the Ministry of Environment, the certified recyclers should find it easier to secure goverment and private sector recycling employment.
Last week, Unilever announced that by 2020 all the plastic packaging it produces will be 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable.
Previously, the global consumer goods producer announced it would reduce the weight of its packaging by one third by 2020 and to use a minimum of 25% recycled content in its packaging by 2025 (using 2015 as a baseline).
Unilever Chairman Paul Polman said that Unilever and other packaging producers "need to work in partnership with governments and other stakeholders to support the development and scaling up of collection and reprocessing infrastructure which is so critical in the transition towards a circular economy. Ultimately, we want all of the industry's plastic packaging to be fully circular."
The Unilever announcement is posted at
According to the United Kingdom's Waste Resources Action Programme (WRAP), signatories to the Courtauld Commitment 2025, a voluntary agreement to reduce waste and increase resource efficiency, said they would seek to "double the amount of food surplus they send for redistribution, and help other companies further increase the level of unsold food redistributed, by 2020."
"Based on a 2015 baseline of surplus food redirected by the current Courtauld 2025 business signatories, this will mean levels are likely to double to at least 30,000 tonnes within five years," the WRAP announcement explained.
Signatories to the Courtauld Commitment 2025 include 124 food producers and brands, grocery stores, restaurants, community and trade associations, governments and non-profit organizations.
The WRAP announcement is posted at
The US Institute for Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) said last week that draft specifications for glass and mixed recyclables headed to material recovery facilities (MRFs) are available for review online. The specifications may be approved and become official when ISRI's board of directors meets on February 10.
The proposed glass specifications apply to 3-color (clear, green and brown) mixed container glass separated at MRFs. The inbound mixed recyclables specifications apply to a broad range of materials including paper and cardboard, cartons, plastics, metals and glass being delivered to MRFs for separation.
To review the draft ISRI specifications, go to
Last week, ASTM International published C1798, Specification for Returned Fresh Concrete for Use in a New Batch of Ready-Mixed Concrete. The standard supports efforts to increase construction and demolition waste recycling.
The organization said the new standard addresses process, verification, and record-keeping procedures for ready-mix concrete recycling. It was developed by the ASTM's Committee on Concrete and Concrete Aggregates.
"Because of this new standard, the industry can participate in a more sustainable construction practice in which millions of cubic yards of concrete can now be recycled in a way that is safe for end users and provides a more conscious approach to environmental stewardship ," said Rich Szecsy, Texas Aggregates and Concrete Association President and ASTM member.
The ASTM International announcement is posted at