13 September 2017:
A quick scan of recent waste, recycling and environmental developments from around the globe...
On Monday, a bill to amend the city health code and ban polystyrene foam food service ware was introduced in the Baltimore City Council. If approved, Bill 17-0117 would take effect 90 days later. Food service providers that violate the ordinance would be subject to fines of up to $1,000 per offense.
The Baltimore City Council considered but ultimately rejected a similar proposed ordinance in 2013. However, polystyrene foam food service bans have since been adopted in nearby Washington, D.C. and Montgomery County, Maryland.
Download a copy of Baltimore City Council Bill 17-0117 at
Yesterday, the Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE) said that the 2016 recycling rate for cartons in the European Union increased to 47%, and roughly 430 tons of cartons were recycled. The combined amount of cartons recycled or recovered as energy rose to roughly 700 tons for a 76% recycling and recovery rate.
Still a concern, according to ACE, is that "several Member States still lag behind when it comes to developing proper collection, sorting and recycling infrastructure."
"The lack of separate collection hampers increases in packaging recycling," said Annick Carpentier, ACE Director General. "While the beverage carton industry is truly committed to supporting increased recycling, it needs regulatory support to enhance collection in order to secure existing and future investments in innovative recycling technologies."
The ACE announcement is posted at
Recycling of construction and demolition (C&D) waste in Catalonia, the semi-autonomous region in Spain and home to Barcelona, increased to 48% in 2016, according to an announcement by the Waste Agency of Catalonia (ARC). The region generated 2.7 million tons of C&D waste and recycled 1.4 million tons.
Since 2010, ARC has imposed a 1.5 euro per ton fee on C&D waste, generating nearly 9 million euros in funding to reuse and recycle construction and demolition materials.
More information is available at
Yesterday, the Brazilian Ministry of Environment announced the availability of R$ 10 million in funding for municipal and inter-municipal composting projects. The funding comes from the Ministry's National Environment Fund (FNMA) and the Socio-Environmental Fund of Caixa, a banking organization. Funding for individual composting projects ranges from R$ 500,000 to R$ 1 million.
Funding for the composting projects is expected to advance the separation of household waste into three streams: organic compostable, dry recyclable and other. The resulting compost will be used in urban and semi-urban agricultural projects and family farming, according to the Ministry of Environment.
For more information, go to
Efforts to reduce food waste are becoming more granular. Yesterday, RECYC-QUEBEC, a provincial government recycling authority, announced it awarded $400,000 to the Quebec Biofood Development Center to reduce fresh meat waste in grocery stores.
RECYC-QUEBEC said the Quebec Biofood Development Center will use the funding for a project aimed at "optimizing the weight of the portions of fresh meat packed to reduce consumer waste; evaluating the impact of HPH treatment (high pressure hydrostatics, HPP) on loss of fresh meat; and informing manufacturers, distributors, grocers and consumers of the advantages and limitations of HPH technology to ensure commercial success."
The RECYC-QUEBEC announcement may be reviewed at
According to "Impacts of smartphones - phones not so smart for the environment," an eight-page guide released yesterday by the French Environment & Energy Management Agency (ADEME), smart phones adversely effect the environment because, among other concerns, nearly 70 kilograms of natural materials are required to produce a single phone.
Smartphone production and also consumes significant energy that increases greenhouse gas (carbon dioxide) emissions, says ADEME.
The guide also encourages consumers to make more sustainable choices regarding smart phones including adopting more sustainable usage, repairing rather than replacing older phones, renting phones, or giving a second life to its old phones through donation.
Download the ADEME smart phone environmental impacts guide at
Last week, the Queensland Government launched a three-month independent investigation into waste transport to the Australian state and is accepting information submissions from interested stakeholders.. The investigation "seeks to understand the financial, economic and regulatory drivers that are giving rise to the transport of waste into landfills in Queensland."
The Queensland Government emphasized that the investigation "is not a regulatory or criminal investigation, and is not expected to detect or investigate criminal conduct." Instead, the state wants to learn if there are "any regulatory frameworks in place that would inhibit or affect this movement of waste in state or national regulations."
The deadline to submit information is September 26. An interim report of findings is expected to be completed by October 18, and a final report is due by November 17.
For more information, go to
Sustainability Victoria, a government-funded authority, announced last month that researchers at the University of Melbourne are using waste glass to make pre-fabricated concrete structures that the researchers claim are "light, strong and cheaper than current construction methods." The project is funded by Sustainability Victoria and the Australian Packaging Covenant.
The researchers claim that finely ground recycled glass in concrete is a viable replacement for sand and existing supplementary material like fly ash and ground-down slag from blast furnaces.
"We are looking forward to working with the cement and concrete industries and building standard regulators to prove the viability of using these products in traditional concrete structures," said Ali Kashani, PhD, a faculty member and researcher at the university.
Today, Colombian Minister of Environment Luis Gilberto Murillo said the country needs to prepare to transition to a circular economy. Colombia generates about 3.6 million tons of waste per day, but the national recycling rate is only 17%.
"We must transition to a circular economy where high incentives are paid not to send tons of waste to the landfills, but to treat, recycle, and discover alternative uses for these materials," said Murillo.
The minister noted that the country already has programs in place to recycle batteries and light bulbs and that more such programs must be developed for other product categories. He also said that the country's current landfills may have capacity for only another five years.
The Colombian Ministry of Environment announcement is posted at
Last week, Eco-Emballages, the French packaging compliance (extended producer responsibility) organization, and Ecofolio, the printed paper compliance organization, merged to create a new organization called CITEO.
According to an Eco-Emballages announcement, CITEO will provide "a simplified customer experience;" data, analytics, and benchmarks to facilitate the management of producer contributions and their environmental performance; enhanced support for eco-design at each stage of product development; and improved support for the implementation of consumer awareness programs.
CITEO has launched a new website at