22 March 2017:
A quick scan of recent waste, recycling and environmental developments from around the globe...
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection announced yesterday it denied a variance to Nulife Glass NY "from classifying as a solid waste millions of pounds of processed or used cathode ray tubes (CRT) currently stored at warehouses in Pennsylvania." The waste CRT glass is being stored at five locations in the state.
"Since May 2014, Nulife transported approximately 17 million pounds of CRT materials to Pennsylvania warehouses while it was in the process of obtaining a permit from the New York Department of Conservation to construct and operate a lead smelter to recycle the CRT glass in Dunkirk, New York," stated DEP. "Since that time, DEP has been informed that Nulife will cease its lead smelting operations at the Dunkirk facility and surrender its Title V Air Permit."
Nulife Glass NY was ordered by DEP to remove all the stored glass within a year, including "removing a minimum of 5 million pounds of CRT materials by June 30, 2017."
The Pennsylvania DEP announcement is posted at
Last week, the Irish Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment and the Director General of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) initiated a voluntary charter to reduce food waste by 50% by 2030. The two government bodies are encouraging businesses, nonprofit groups and individuals to sign the charter, which can be accomplished online.
The charter is end-to-end "from farm and fishing boat; through processing, distribution and retail; to final consumption." Among the objectives of the charter are to adhere to the food waste hierarchy, prioritizing the prevention of food waste; promote innovative food waste prevention solutions; and implement technical and behavioral interventions to reduce food waste.
For more information, go to
Last week, the Swedish EPA says it supports a draft proposal floated by the Nordic Council of Ministers to ban the use of microplastic beads in rinse-off cosmetic products, except for any that may be demonstrated to completely biodegrade. The support for the ban was expected, but the EPA raised an additional point usually absent in proposed legislation.
Because wastewater processing systems are not designed to remove microplastic beads, the EPA suggested that sludge from the treatment centers be monitored for microplastic beads until the beads from legacy cosmetic products no longer are detected. Depending on what happens to the sludge after it is processed, plastic microbeads could inadvertently be released into the environment.
The Swedish EPA opinion is available for review at
Last week, Ecovidrio, the Spanish glass container recycling scheme, said that per capita glass container recycling in Spain increased 4% in 2016 to 16.2 kilograms or about 62 bottles. A total of 752,234 tons of glass was collected in 2016.
Spain has one of the European Union's highest glass container recycling rates at 73%, exceeding the European Union target of 60%.
The Ecovidrio announcement is posted at
Earlier this month, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management said it is accepting applications for recycling market development grants. Matching grants of 50% are available ranging from $1,000 to $500,000. Municipalities, non-profit organizations, and public and private businesses located and doing business in Indiana are eligible to apply for funding.
Projects should focus on reuse, reduction, and recycling methods. The deadline to submit applications is May 10.
For more information, go to
On Monday, the Danish Environmenta Protection Agency announced that the country's first robotic waste sorting center (materials recovery facility or MRF) opened in the city of Holstebro. The EPA hopes the automatic sorting center will be particularly uesful in sorting plastic waste from single-stream recycling deliveries.
The facility received 5.4 million kroner in government subsidies, but the EPA said the facility will create regional recycling jobs and the robotic/optical technology will be exported to other countries.
The Danish EPA announcement is posted at
According to a March 15 announcement by the Mexican Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat), Mexico and Chile will be pooling technical and financial resources to solve waste management concerns they have in common. The initiative will focus on waste management projects to benefit rural and hard-to-serve communities.
Some organic waste pilot projects mentioned in the announcement include construction of biodigesters that use livestock waste to generate electricity, opportunities to produce biofuels and expand municipal composting, and using by-products of edible oils and unsold food to combat hunger in vulnerable groups.
The Semarnat announcement is posted at
Last July, Portland, Oregon enacted an ordinance requiring that structures built in 1916 or earlier or historic properties be deconstructed to salvage materials for reuse instead of being crushed for landfill (demolition). The Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) said 22 such properties have been deconstructed, and the deconstruction by law must be performed only by qualified contractors.
Responding to an increased demand for such qualified "deconstruction workers," the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability recently launched an immersive worker training program, according to an announcement last week by the BPS. Many of the trainees were women and minority members, so the training program also helps build diversity in the workplace.
BPS said the deconstruction law is expected to divert 4,000 tons of materials for reuse each year.
Get more information at
Yesterday, the French Ministry of Environment, Energy and the Sea announced the first tranche of funding awards supporting sustainable energy projects using biomass. The 12 winning projects were chosen from among 41 applicants, and will be provided with 170 million euros in funding.
Of the 12 projects, 10 will combust biomass to produce energy, and the remaining two will convert biomass to methane. Combined, they will produce 480 MWh of renewable electricity annually.
The Ministry said a second funding applications round has opened. Applicants have until September 1 to submit project proposals.
The French Ministry of Environment, Energy and the Sea announcement is posted at
The Materials Recovery for the Future Collaborative (MRFF), a group organized within the American Chemistry Council (ACC), said last week it is launching a curbside flexible plastic packaging pilot program and it is seeking a material recovery facility (MRF) with which to partner on the project.
Candidate MRFs must processes at least 20 tons per hour and meet "other essential criteria." According to ACC, "MRFF is offering technical assistance and financial stewardship to help upgrade the U.S. MRF that participates in the pilot."
"The intent of the pilot is to help communities that want to recover potentially valuable materials instead of landfilling them and partner with innovators in the MRF industry to recycle this material," said Jeff Wooster, global sustainability director for Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics and MRFF chairperson.
The ACC anouncement is posted at