7 November 2018:
A quick scan of recent waste, recycling and related environmental developments from around the globe...
The European Paper Recycling Council (EPRC) said last week that the European paper recycling rate in 2017 was 72.3%, up only slightly from 72% in 2016. The statistic is contained in EPRC's Monitoring Report 2017. EPRC seeks to achieve a 74% paper recycling rate by 2020.
In addressing the only modest increase, EPRC explained that "the Chinese waste import restrictions have had an impact on markets, and Chinese imports of European paper for recycling have started to decline. This decline is gradually being balanced by a stronger use of paper for recycling in Europe, and other countries, due to investments in additional paper recycling capacities. The Chinese waste import restrictions also shed light on the importance of ensuring the quality of the collected paper for recycling. Improving separate paper collection is one of the priorities of the EPRC, exemplified by, for instance, the ImpactPapeRec project."
Download the EPRC Monitoring Report 2017 at
Recently the The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries commissioned the Harris Poll to survey 2,000 Americans about their thoughts on curbside recycling, and ISRI released the results of the survey last month. ISRI noted, "Since China banned the import of most recyclable material at the beginning of this year, curbside recycling programs in the United States have been in the spotlight. And municipalities have sought ways to improve collection and sortation."
The Harris Poll found that 79% of the Americans surveyed have curbside recycling, and of those who do 88% find it to be valuable. However, the survey also found about half of the respondents said their programs are effective and efficient, but the other half said their programs can be improved.
Regarding improvements, 36% believe more frequent collections were needed; 35% believe separate bins should be added for different recyclable materials; and 35% wanted larger recycling containers to manage volume.
Last week, Zero Waste Scotland said it was offering grants of up to £1 million for projects that will "drive forward innovative, transformational, cost-effective and collaborative approaches to keeping food-based products in high value use, or to reducing waste in the food supply chain."
The organization said that 75% of food waste from the food service sector could be avoided and £166 million could be saved through food waste prevention in the hospitality and food services sector.
Examples of the types of projects being sought include software solutions designed to improve supply chain and reduce waste, innovative packaging which will extend product shelf life and reduce food and drink waste, design of novel processes to extend shelf life and reduce waste, development of packaging solutions which may be applicable to other sectors, and business innovation which creates value from by-product or what would have been waste product.
Small and medium enterprises in Scotland are invited to submit expressions of interest to Zero Waste Scotland by January 31, 2019
Glass, wood, plastics and comingled recyclables are among hard-to-recycle materials, according to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. To help increase their recycling, Massachusetts DEP said on November 5 that it is providing $1 million in grants to six recycling companies through its Recycling Business Development Grant Program.
The individual grants ranged in size from $80,000 to $300,000. Grant recipients must provide at least a 25% match in funding.
"Massachusetts has a goal to reduce our trash disposal by 2 million tons annually by 2020, and under our updated Solid Waste Master Plan for 2020-2030, we will seek to better that goal," said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. "The businesses receiving these grants w ill help to keep these valuable materials out of the waste stream and, instead, turn them into new products, valuable compost or a renewable energy source."
The Massachusetts DEP announcement is posted at
The Waste Agency of Catalonia (Agencia de Residus de Catalunya or ARC) announced the start of a pilot project to reuse 100,000 wine bottles, preventing 45 tons of bottle glass from possibly being disposed in landfills. The project also will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the production of new bottles.
The pilot project will run 18 months and is a collaboration between ARC, four participating wineries, 60 restaurants and shops, and Project reWine, which has received funding from the EU Life Program. The wine bottles will display a special label indicating that they are intended for reuse. Once the empty bottles are collected, they will be washed, relabeled and refilled.
If the pilot project is successful, ARC says the model could be applicable to Catalonia's entire wine industry.
The ARC announcement is available for review at
All lighting sold in Singapore in 2023 must be at least as energy efficient as LED bulbs, the country's National Environment Agency said last week. The transition to more efficient lighting is expected to save households about $3.5 million in energy costs annually.
NEA will be raising Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) to phase out incandescent, halogen and some other bulbs and will establish MEPS for fluorescent lamp ballasts. It also will extend Singapore's Mandatory Energy Labelling Scheme to more lighting products. The changes are expected to be in place by November 1, 2019.
Last week, Synergie Sante Environnement (SSE), a non-profit organization whose mission is to help healthcare and long-term care institutions reduce their environmental impacts, and RECYC-QUEBEC launched an online guide for the aforementioned institutions to reduce waste generation and recycle or recover more of the residual waste. Such institutions manage waste materials that could be chemically, biologically or even radioactively contaminated.
The guide consists of several tools including an Excel-based registry for waste materials generated to help visualize streams, information sheets on handling typical residual wastes generated, and case studies illustrating successful solutions already being implemented by healthcare and long-term care facilities.
Access SSE/RECYC-QUEBEC guide and information tools at
Last month, the Paper Shipping Sack Manufacturers' Association (PSSMA) said that a special recycling logo that debuted in 2016 has been placed on 27 million shipping sacks. The logo indicates the paper shipping sacks, when shaken clean of any food residues, can be recycled in t he same stream as corrugated cardboard.
Paper shipping sacks feature multiwall construction and are different from paper carryout bags distributed by retailers. They are used to package agricultural, industrial, construction and consumer goods and materials.
The PSSMA anouncement noted, "By recovering the bags and boxes together, end-users are able to reduce waste disposal costs while adding to their companies' sustainability efforts. " PSSMA did not mention the recycling rate for the sacks.
The PSSMA announcement is posted at
Diageo, a global distributor of alcoholic spirits and beverages, announced that its Glass is Good recycling program, which was started in Brazil in 2010, has surpassed the 20,000-ton milestone, the equivalent of more than 40 million bottles.
"Glass is recyclable but currently only 47% is recycled," said Daniela De Fiori, Director of Corporate Relations at Diageo Paraguay, Uruguay and Brazil. "This is a scenario that we want to help change."
Diageo sends glass bottles collected by recycling cooperatives to Owens-Illinois to produce new glass packaging.
Among Diageo's 2020 environmental performance targets are to make 100% of its packaging recyclable or reusable, increase recycled content in its packaging to 45%, and reduce total packaging weight by 15%.
Get more information at
Last month, the Australian Council of Recycling (ACOR) said that the Australian state of New South Wales could save an estimated $250 million in taxes each year by recycling more and sending less waste to landfills. The annual savings per household would be about $100, according to ACOR
"If we boost recycling, we avoid a cost most NSW households don't know about but currently pay through their Council rates," said ACOR CEO Pete Shmigel. "As well as more regional jobs and a better environment, more recycling can also mean less tax."
"Last year alone, some $727 million was collected through the waste disposal levy with the municipal sector accounting for about a third," added Shmigel.
The Australian National Waste Report estimates that New South Wales generates about 4.6 million tons of municipal solid waste annually. Only 2.4 tons million is recovered for recycling, while 1.9 million tons is disposed in landfills. (Another 370,000 tons is recovered as energy.)
The complete ACOR announcement is available at