8 February 2017:
A quick scan of recent waste, recycling and environmental developments from around the globe...
Last week, Segolene Royal, the French Minister of Environment, Energy and the Sea, said opaque PET bottles can contaminate HDPE recyclate and asked packaging compliance organizations to place a financial penalty on opaque PET containers within the next 15 days. The penalty would make HDPE more price competitive with less expensive opaque PET for container production.
A Ministry of Environment announcement stated the increasing use of opaque PET bottles "endangers the recycling chain of milk bottles," by disrupting HDPE sorting. The Ministry also said opaque PET can be "difficult to recycle."
According to the announcement, the minister will study the possibility of a French ban on opaque PET bottles if recycling issues associated with the material are not be effectively addressed.
The French Ministry of Environment announcement is posted at
During a meeting on February 6, the City Council of Dubuque, Iowa voted to draft a bill to ban retail distribution of single-use plastic bags. No municipality in the state has adopted a plastic bag ban although the City Council of Iowa City has considered implementing either a tax or ban.
Dubuque City Cuncil members decided against implementing a tax after being advised by the city attorney that action could risk a court challenge. The Council has been considering what to do about plastic bags for six years - since 2011 when the Dubuque Environmental Stewardship Advisory Commission recommended a gradual, voluntary bag phaseout by retailers.
For more information, go to
According to an announcement last week from Eco-systems, the French electronics recycling compliance organization, 517,000 tons of e-waste was collected and recycled in 2016. The per capita e-waste recycling weight increased to 10 kilograms from 9 kilograms a year earlier. Eco-systems claimed that France became the first "large European country" to reach the 10 kilogram per capita milestone.
The 2016 overall e-waste recycling rate was 49.2%, exceeding the 45% statutory target. Eco-systems said the recycling rate for video diplays increased 16%; the rate for heating and air conditioning equipment was up 14%, and the rate for small electrical appliances - a particularly troublesome EEE recycling categoryin the European Union - was up 10.8%
The Eco-systems announcement is posted at
Paper and cardboard production by member companies of the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) fell 0.1% in 2016 from a year earlier. However use of recycled content to make paper and board fell by a bit more - 0.3% year-to-year.
CEPI said two trends continued during 2016 - a decrease in the production of graphics grade paper and an increase in production of paper used for packaging. Paper for packaging increased overall by 2.3% in 2016. More specifically, cardboard used for transport packaging and corrugated boxes increased by 2.2%.
About 90.8 million tons of paper and board by CEPI members was produced in 2016. Of that amount 18.4 million tons was exported outside the 18 CEPI EU Member States.
For more information, go to
Last week, the Brazilian Ministry of Environment reported that takeback of waste packaging by packaging producers has become available to 51.2% of the Brazilian population. Takeback locations have been established in 422 municipalities spanning 25 states and new locations continue to be added, according to the Ministry of Environment. Across Brazil 702 cooperatives are participating in packaging waste collection.
In 2015, 28 industry associations signed a sectoral agreement with the Ministry of Environment to create a national packaging coalition responsible for the reverse logistics (extended producer responsibility) of packaging. The sectoral agreement was required by the National Policy for Solid Waste that was approved in 2010.
Get more information at
Last week, the Danish EPA placed four short videos it produced about sound packaging recycling techniques on its website. The videos, each 1-2 minutes in length, illustrate steps consumers can take to improve the quality of packaging recycling.
One video demonstrates how clean (uncontaminated) paper, cardboard, plastic, metal and glass packaging should be before being placed in a recycling bin. Another video explains that broken ceramics, such as kitchen plates and cups, should not be mixed with glass containers because they can contaminate the glass recyclate stream. A third video explains that aluminum beverage containers should always be recycled even if they are not covered by the national container deposit and that most reverse vending machines will accept them although without payment.
View the four Danish EPA packaging recycling films at
The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) for the Republic of South Africa last week announced the start of a $4.22 million organic waste-to-energy project being built in Johannesburg.
The DEA said the project "aims to promote and accelerate the adoption of biogas as a complementary energy source to contribute to the South African energy mix as one of the renewable energy resources." It will also create green jobs and support agricultural development through the generation and use of organic fertilizer from facility, according to DEA.
The project is being implemented with help from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). According to UNIDO, "$4.22 million project was funded by the Global Environment Facility and raised US$41.88 million in co-financing."
The DEA announcement is posted at
Last week, the US Foam Recycling Coalition said it is accepting applications for grants to "start or strengthen post-consumer foam polystyrene recycling programs." Public and private organizations involved in managing residential curbside recycling programs or material recovery facilities may apply.
The maximum individual grant amount is $50,000, and the deadline to apply is April 17. Generally, the grants are used to purchase polystyrene foam recycling equipment
Over the last two years, the Foam Recycling Coalition awarded $225,000 in recycling grants.
Get more information at
Philips, Unilever, ING, and AkzoNobel were among the 180 Dutch companies, trade and government associations, recycling and environmental firms, government agencies and other organizations signing the National Commodities Agreement last week. Signatories voluntarily agree to take steps to support the Netherlands transistion to a circular economy. The signing follows approval by the Dutch government's plan last fall to achieve a circular economy by 2050.
In announcing the agreement, the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment Secretary Sharon Dijksma said, "We must get rid of the disposable culture and rethink raw materials and waste. In designing products, how the raw materials can be reused we should be considered. This agreement lays the foundation for the recycling economy and is the initial step to address the waste of resources and the depletion of our earth."