19 April 2017:
A quick scan of recent waste, recycling and environmental developments from around the globe...
As part of a national crackdown on illegal dumping, the United Kingdom's Environment Agency announced last week that the operator of an illegal waste site had pleaded guilty to violations charged by the agency and was sentenced to eight months in jail. (No fine was mentioned in the announcement.)
According to the Environment Agency, over 40,000 tons of waste was found illegally deposited on the site located in Sittingbourne, Kent in 2014. The operator was ordered to remove the waste by March 2015, but he failed to do so.
The Environment Agency announcement is posted at
On May 9, the Board of Supervisors of Madison County, New York will hold a public hearing on a proposed ordinance to ban the retail distribution of single-use plastic bags. The ordinance would apply to, among other retailers "drug stores, pharmacies, grocery stores convenience stores, foodmarts, apparel stores, home center and hardware stores, stationery and office supply stores, and food service establishments."
Retailers would be required to post signs informing customers about the ban, and they could provide paper bags and reusable bags.
If approved, the ordinance would take effect six months after it is filed with the New York Secretary of State. A retailer that violates the ordinance for the first time could receive a $250 civil penalty. Repeat violations could result in a $500 civil penalty for each violation.
The draft Madison County, New York plastic bag ordinance is available for review at
Last week, the Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA) reported that at least 322 million kilograms of post-consumer plastic packaging were collected for recycling in Canada in 2015, a 0.4% increase from 2014. The data comes from a 23-page report, "2015 Post-Consumer Plastics Recycling in Canada," that was prepared by the consulting firm Moore Recycling Associates Inc.
According to CPIA, "This increase is the result of more plastic products and packaging collected, specifically HDPE (#2) bottles for recycling."
The CPIA announcement stated, "HDPE natural bottles provided the overall growth in 2015 with an increase of 5.7 million kilograms; all other categories combined had a decrease of 4.4 million kilograms. While the net increase is good news, Canadian plastics recyclers want more supply; they have underutilized capacity creating ample opportunity for consumers and businesses to supply our recyclers with more plastics."
The 2015 plastics collection breakdown was: PET bottles (110.2 million kg.), HDPE bottles (74.8 million kg.), non-bottle rigid plastics (71.6 million kg.), film (59.2 million kg.), PP and other plastic bottles (3.3 million kg.) and foam (3 million kg.)
Download the 2015 CPIA plastics recycling report at
On April 11, Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS), the Dutch public railway system, launched a campaign that places personal assistants in railway stations to help passengers properly separate their waste and answer questions about recycling. The campaign launched at a single train station in Arnhem but will expand to least six other stations.
NS and ProRail use a four-color bin systems with separate receptables for food waste, newspapers and magazines, bottles and paper cups. NS says each year about 12 million kilos of waste is left in bins through the public transport system. NS and ProRail have set a goal to recycle 75% of commuter system waste by 2020. It also set a goal to have all trains running on sustainable energy by 2018.
The NS announcement is posted at
In March, the Environmental Audit Committee of the United Kingdom's House of Commons launched a public inquiry into how disposable drinks packaging - plastic bottles and coffee cups in particular - are adversely affecting the environment. Earlier this month, the Local Authority Recycling Advisoy Committee (LARAC), responded to the inquiry.
On April 5, LARAC issued a statement that read in part "while producers and retailers have made progress in cup and bottle design and in making recycling collections more widely available a more appropriate form of Producer Responsibility is needed as part of the UK's future waste policy" and that "direct charging in other countries has seen improvements in consumer behaviour towards recycling."
The LARAC announcement is posted at
The Swedish EPA, in coordination with four other government agencies - the Swedish Chemicals Agency, the Medical Products Agency and the Marine and Water Authority - are finalizing a report to the Swedish Government on using "advanced treatment" of wastewater to remove drug residues flushed down drains, the technical solutions available, and the pros and cons of the solutions and other consequences of using advanced treatment. The report is expected to be delivered to the Swedish Government on May 1.
Some Swedish MPs want a test and evaluation of such advanced treatment technologies in 2018. Possible treatment methods include membrane filtration and use of ozone and other oxidation processes.
New York City soon will be adding old technology - push brooms - to its methods for cleaning litter in the Borough of Staten Island, according to an announcement last week by the Department of Sanitation of New York (DSNY).
"Everyday around the City, the Department of Sanitation's mechanical broom vehicles are familiar sights on residential and commercial streets," the announcement stated. "What is unique about this manual broom litter patrol is that the Sanitation Workers actually sweep the curbs clean with push brooms, sweep the trash onto a shovel, and empty the trash into a collection truck."
However, the addition of manual street sweepers will be limited. A single team will "manually sweep and collect litter from streets, sidewalks, plazas and other public places on Staten Island three times a week for 32 weeks out of the year. They will be deployed all over the island and focus on problem areas and dump out locations identified by Staten Island elected officials and residents who are urged to contact 311."
The DSNY announcement is posted at
Following a think tank event late last month on packaging sustainability, the Australian Packaging Covenant (APC) published online two white papers on sustainable packaging. The first white paper, nine pages long, is titled "Resource Efficiency: Embedding Sustainable Design" and covers barriers and opportunities for sustainable design and recommendations for embedding sustainable design.
The second APC white paper, 11 pages in length and titled "Resource Efficiency: Soft Plastics Circular Economy," identifies the major current challenges to greater soft plastics recycling and makes seven recommendations for boosting recovery.
Download both APC white papers at
Earlier this month, The Recycling Partnership, a non-profit, industry sponsored organization, announced a request for proposals to fund implementation of curbside cart recycling programs. The organization said "awardees will receive up to $7/cart in grant funding, tailored educational materials paired with a communications grant, and best in class technical assistance."
Counties, municipalities, tribes and solid waste authorities with 4,000 or more households seeking to move to cart-based curbside recycling collection are invited to submit proposals. A deadline to do so was not given, but other requirements about favorable candidate projects can be reviewed at https://therecyclingpartnership.app.box.com/s/jb881f18dbh6tkge8kfojh260uzgn764.
The Recycling Partnership announcement is posted at
Earlier this month, The Responsble Package Initiative, which is sponsored by the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) and six other industry associations, launched a redesigned website focused on teaching students about recycling and the sustainability of paper and cardboard packaging.
"In 2017, The Responsible Package's youth education print materials will reach 150,000 fifth grade students at 1,132 schools in 14 states," said AF&PA Director of Packaging Gretchen Spear. "Through our updated website, we are able to distribute these materials to even more educators, students and their families."
Features on the revamped website include downloadable classroom materials and lesson support for teachers on paper recycling, lifecycle and other sustainability information relating to paper, and an online pledge for households to recycle at least 70% of their paper and paper-based packaging.
The URL of The Responsible Package website is