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13 February 2019:

A quick scan of recent waste, recycling and related environmental developments from around the globe...

French Environmental Minister Reminds Fast Food Chains about Waste Sorting Obligations

Late last month, French Minister of Ecological and Solidarity Transition Brune Porison summoned executives from fast food chains her to office to remind them of their legal obligation to sort their waste and set a timeline for them to do so. The fast food chains must separate paper/cardboard, metal, plastic, glass, wood and into separate recycling streams and collect food waste for processing, according to a Ministry announcement

"It would not occur to any restaurant to compromise on the rules of hygiene," said Minister Poirson. "The same must apply to waste sorting. Sorting is environmental hygiene. In connection with the local elected representatives, we will be diligent in implementating the administrative and penal sanctions provided by the law in cases of failure."

The announcement stated that food fast chains must provide the Ministry with their compliance strategy by the end of March. The Ministry will review the strategies with food fast executives by the end of April and strategy implementation must begin by September 1.

In April 2018, the Ministry released a circular economy strategy for the country that includes business recycling initiatives.

The Ministry of Environment and announcement is posted at

First Local Single-Use Plastic Bag Ban Approved in State of Wyoming

Wyoming may not be known be known for progressive waste and environmental policies, but the town of Jackson, home to three major ski areas and within proximity of the idyllic Grand Teton National Park, enacted an ordinance last month to ban single-use plastic bags, those less than 0.4 mils thick. The ban applies to compostable and non-compostable plastic bags.

The ban will be phased in, applying first to grocers and larger retailers on April 15 of this year, and then to all retailers on November 1.

The ordinance also imposes a 20-cent "waste reduction fee" on each disposable paper bag and reusable plastic bag distributed. The retailers will retain 10 cents of each fee and submit the remaining 10 cents to the city's finance department, which will place the collected portion in a new Waste Reduction Account. Revenue in the account would be used to support the plastic bag reduction program, clean up community litter, and the support the county Integrated Solid Waste and Recycling Zero Waste Infrastructure and Program.

Get more inforation at

DSNY to Begin Enforcing Expanded Commercial Food Waste Separation Law

The Department of Sanitation of New York (DSNY) said today it will begin enforcing a city ordinance that requires larger restaurants, chain restaurants and grocery stores to separate their food waste from their trash and ensure it is beneficially reused. The ordinance took effect last August but DSNY has delayed enforcement to provide more time for affected businesses to prepare.

Affected businesses are restaurants with a floor area of at least 15,000 square feet; chain restaurants with 100 or more locations in the City that operate under common ownership or control, are individually franchised outlets of a parent business, or do business under the same corporate name; and food retailers (grocery stores) having at least 25,000 square feet of floor space.

Affected businesses found disposin food waste with their trash could face fines starting at $250 per violation. They also must display a special food separation decal inside near the principal entrance to the business and meet other requirements.

For more information, go to

Download a copy of the New York City ordinance at

California Exported 14.6 Million Tons of Recyclable Materials in 2017

According to a new 45-page report by the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle), California ports exported 14.6 million tons of recyclable materials in 2017. Seventy-five percent of the materials by weight were shipped to China, South Korea and Taiwan. China alone accepted 8.1 million tons (56% of the total by weight), which was a decline of 12% from 2016. (China's National Sword Policy restricting waste imports did not take effect until January 2018.)

Total recyclable material exports from California declined in 2017 by about 441,000 tons or 3%. The most exported materials (by weight) were various papers at 40% of the total, followed by ferrous metals at 32%, non-ferrous metals at 7%, and plastics at 6%.

In its conclusion, the report states, "Changes and challenges to California's international recyclable materials exports are representative of challenges faced by the entire country. California has been a national leader in environmental policy and innovation and continues to address the most complex issues that threaten public health and safety and hasten climate change. As California adapts to a new era of recycling management, the state has an opportunity to further demonstrate leadership in creating solutions to a fluctuating and ever-changing global recycling commodities market."

Download the CalRecycle Recyclable Exports report at

UK Household Waste Recycling Rate Up Slightly in 2017

According to a Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) announcement today, the recycling rate for household waste in the United Kingdom increased 0.5% in 2017 to 45.7%. Of the four UK nations, Wales had the highest rate in 2017 at 57.6% while Scotland had the lowest rate at 43.5%.

The EU has set a goal for all Member States to achieve a 50% household waste recycling rate by 2020 although the United Kingdom may leave the European Union (the so-called Brexit) late next month.

Defra also said UK biodegradable waste disposed in landfills decreased from approximately 7.8 million tons in 2016 to aprroximately 7.4% in 2017. However, the recycling and energy recovery rate for packaging waste slipped in 2017 to 70.2% from 71.4% in 2016.

For more information, go to

Ontario Electronic Stewardship Ends Consumer Environmental Handling Fee

As part of the transition to a new provincial stewardship scheme, Ontario Electronic Stewardship stopped collecting an environmental handling fee (EHF) on covered devices on February 1. Previously, consumers paid the (advanced recycling) fee when they purchased covered devices. The fees ranged from $9 to $28 for televisions, depending on screen size, $15 for floor standing IT equipment, and from seven cents to $5 on a range of other devices. The fees had to be itemized by retailers on customer receipts.

Dropping the EHF is a result of the passage of the Waste Diversion Transition Act, 2016, and the current e-waste recycling program managed by Ontario Electronic Stewardship will end on June 30, 2020. While consumers no longer pay the highly visible EHF, they may still pay for the recycling of their e-waste... only now hidden in the list price of the covered devices they purchase.

Get more information at

Danish Environmental Ministry Report Compares Effectiveness of 11 Household Waste Recycling Schemes

Last week, the Danish Ministry of Environment and Food published a 301-page report analyzing 11 schemes for collecting, sorting and recycling house waste to determine which were the most effective. The study is part of Environmental Project 2059, which will used be used in developing Denmark's new national waste plan that is said to "reflect the requirements of the six newly revised EU waste directives."

Life-cycle analyses and socio-economic consequence reviews are conducted for all schemes. The report includes an nine-page summary in English.

Among the findings highlighted in the summary:

  • source separation gives rise to positive environmental impacts because plastics and metal were recycled to a greater extent
  • recycling of source-separated organic waste does not immediately give rise to significant positive environmental impacts because energy utilization in combustion and biofuel is almost the same
  • the environmental impact of optical bag sorting is poorer than for most other source separation scenarios evaluated
  • coarse mechanical separation plants and fine sorting plants provide results that are similar to those for source separation, although source separation provides slightly cleaner materials
  • residual waste sorting plants provide the highest recycling rate and best environmental impact among all the scenarios evaluated

Download the Danish Ministry of Environment and Food report at

Canadians Set New Household Batteries Recycling Record in 2018

Today, Call2Recycle, a North American battery stewardship organization, announced that Canadians turned in 2.7 million kilograms of household waste batteries in 2018, a 3% over 2017 and a record high for Canada.

Residents in the provinces of Quebec and Manitoba each recycled 15% more batteries by weight in 2018 compared to a year earlier, and residents of British Columbia recycled 2% more.

The announcement also noted, "Single use battery collections were higher than rechargeable collections. This is because many rechargeable batteries are now embedded in products where the device is not designed for battery removal."

The Call2Recycle announcement is posted at

UK Paper Industry Association Publishes New Guidelines for Recycling Paper Packaging

Today, the United Kingdom's Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI) in collaboration with the non-profit Waste Resources Action Programme and in consultation with the packaging supply chain, released a 12-page set of new recycling guidelines to "help retailers and brands specify and design packaging that can be reprocessed effectively in paper mills."

The guidelines cover plastics, coatings, varnishes, adhesives, alternative barriers, gift wrap, biodegradable paper packaging, other fibrous materials, fillers and binders, promotional magazines and graphical papers, and contaminants including food.

"Our new Recyclability Guidelines will make it easier for designers and specifiers to identify materials that provide properties such as water resistance and can be processed by UK paper mills while minimising waste," said CPI Director of Raw Materials Simon Weston. "We hope they will provide confidence and direction to the supply chain and benefit the stock of fibre-based packaging being recovered for recycling."

A few tips in guidelines aree:

  • minimize the use of plastic, metallized films and laminates, and waxed or waxed coated papers and siliconized papers
  • choose adhesives that are soluble in water and optimise the quantities of glues and adhesives used in manufacturing
  • minimize food contamination by providing tear-off solutions or peelable surfaces to allow the consumer to dispose of a contaminated surface in general waste and put the clean paper substrate in the recycling bin

Download the CPI Guidelines for Recycled Paper Packaging at

The Recycling Partnership Helps Launch Program to Harmonize Measurements in Municipal Material Management

Last month, The Recycling Partnership, an industry-funded US non-profit organization, and Re-TRAC Connect, a data management software developer, launched the Municipal Measurement Program (MMP) in an effort to "harmonize the measurement of material management programs and to provide municipalities with decision-making tools that can improve recycling program performance."

The free program uses standardized terminology so that municipalities can benchmark performance metrics against national averages, and it simplifies data management by centralizing all municipal waste and recycling program information, according to an announcement by The Recycling Partnership.

"Currently every municipality has its own way of measuring and assessing their community's performance," said Scott Mouw, Senior Director of Strategy a nd Research at The Recycling Partnership. "An industry-wide need for a long time, the MMP will standardize and streamline that data and connect municipalities to The Recycling Partnership's free online best practice toolkits to help communities transform their recycling programs."

For more information, go to

Previous issues of the Bulletin can be reviewed here.

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