18 October 2017:
A quick scan of recent waste, recycling and environmental developments from around the globe...
The Israeli Ministry of Environmental Protection in Israel reported last month that the distribution of single-use plastic bags in the country fell by 80% during the second quarter of 2017 compared to the second quarter of 2016, based on data provided to the Ministry by major retailers. In January of this year, a new law went into effect that banned the distribution of single-use plastic bags and required a 10-agorot fee for use reusable plastic bags.
According to the Ministry of Environmental Protection the new law helped prevent the consumption of 350 million plastic bags weighing a total of 1,800 tons.
Sarel Danziger, Director General of the Ministry of Environmental Protection, said that the reduction in single-use plastic bag use was "part of an increasing trend in the ministry to focus on prevention at source and reducing environmental loads, not just reducing pollution and risks after they are created."
Switzerland generates an estimated 110,000 tons of industrial, artisanal and agricultural polyethylene film waste annually or about 14% of all PE film waste in the country, according to an announcement late last month by the Federal Office of Environment (FOEN). FOEN would like to increase the percentage of PE film waste recycled and said it is coordinating with the industrial and agricultural sectors to encourage voluntary product stewardship systems.
Currently 70% of industrial and agricultural PE film is recovered as energy in addition to 6% being used as fuel in cement plants. Only 24% is recycled.
To assist PE producers in understanding the current waste PE situation, FOEN commissioned and adopted a 15-page report.
Download the Swiss FOEN industrial and agricultural PE waste report at
The Waste Resources Action Programme (WRAP), a largely government-funded UK registered charity, launched an online stakeholder consultion on adopting a national color scheme for waste and recycling containers.
The consultation is part of the Framework for Greater Consistency in Recycling in England. According to WRAP, "Every household in England should be able to recycle a common set of dry recyclable materials and food waste collected in one of three different ways. The framework includes a commitment to explore the adoption of a national colour scheme for bins and containers over time."
The stakeholder consultation consists of 14 questions addressing subjects such as possible benefits and barriers to a color scheme, the implementation period, cost/benefit options, and whether the color scheme should be voluntary or mandatory.
The consultation closes on November 9. WRAP said it will publish the results of the consultation in January.
Access WRAP's public consultation at
Last week, the Singapore National Environment Agency (NEA) presented its first awards to shopping malls that in 2016 reduced waste generation and increased recycling. However, during the same year, large shopping malls (those having more than 50,000 square feet of selling space) produced 225,000 tons of waste or about 7% of all waste disposed in Singapore landfills.
"Although much of this waste is recyclable, such as packaging waste, and can be diverted away from incineration, the average recycling rate for the sector has remained low, at just 8 per cent in 2016," according to an NEA announcement. The low 2016 rate occurred despite 90% of large shopping mall operators reporting to NEA that they have waste reduction plans in place.
NEA also noted that at the current disposal rate, landfill capacity at the island nation's Semakau Landfill will be exhausted by 2035.
The Singapore NEA announcement is posted at
Earlier this month, RECYC-QUEBEC, a government-funded nonprofit corporation, issued a call for proposals for pilot projects and demonstration projects that "address residual materials issues in the industrial, commercial and institutional (ICI) sector." In particular, projects focused on textiles and clothing, furnishings and upholstery distribution, transport packaging, and dangerous waste residues are sought.
Businesses, associations, local governments, economic development organizations, environmental organizations and other entities are welcome to submit proposals. Funding will range from $50,000 to $75,000 per project and will cover up to 70% of eligible expenses. The deadline to submit proposals is October 31.
For more information, go to
Pesticides, veterinary products, lubricating oil, electrical equipment and batteries are among the hazardous wastes the Irish EPA expects to collect from farmers during a two-month collection drive that started this month. Collection events are scheduled at 10 locations across the country. Some types of wastes may be dropped off at no charge, but a fee ranging from €2-4 per kilogram will be charged for others.
"This initiative has demonstrated the feasibility of running these collections, the strong demand from farmers for the service and what can be achieved with the commitment of a wide range of engaged partners," said EPA Office of Environmental Sustainability Director Eimear Cotter in an announcement made today.
This is the fifth consecutive year of the drive. Over the past four years, 6,800 farmers have participated, dropping off more than 800 tons of hazardous wastes.
Get more information at
According to an announcement last week by the government-funded agency Zero Waste Scotland, 1.1 million Halloween pumpkins were disposed in Scotland last year, presenting a challenge to an agency responsible for helping to reduce national food waste 33% by 2025. One possible solution: eat pumpkins after the Halloween holiday.
A survey of Scottish residents by Zero Waste Scotland found "over half of all respondents saying they had never thought of a Halloween pumpkin as food," and "61% of people surveyed said they wouldn't know how to cook pumpkin."
In response to the survey findings, Zero Waste Scotland said it is creating "a toolkit with easy pumpkin recipes." Among the recipes being offered are pumpkin-based brownies, risotto and feta-lentil salad.
For more information, go to
If you think the world needs another day or week to promote recycling, waste reduction and other environmental issues, you are in luck. On Monday, the Bureau of International Recycling announced the establishment of the first Global Recycling Day, which will take place on March 18, 2018. The event seeks to take "a global approach towards recycling and calling on world leaders, international businesses, communities and individuals to make seven clear commitments in their approach to recycling."
The day includes making seven commitments including to "focus on international legislation and agreements," "boost free and fair trade of recycling materials across the globe," "agree to a common language of recycling," and "work with the industry to encourage 'design for recycling' in the repurposing of materials - reducing waste, integrating 'end-of-life' planning at design stage."
The URL of the Global Recycling Day website is
The trade association European Bioplastics yesterday highlighted a report prepared by the Italian Consortium for Collecting, Recycling, and Recovering Plastic Packaging; the Italian Composters Consortium (CIC); and Assobioplastiche (the Italian Bioplastic and Biodegradable and Compostable material Association) that claims"there are no negative effects on the properties of recycled plastics containing starch film and PLA recyclates. Biodegradable plastics are designed to be treated in industrial composting plants. If they do enter mechanical recycling streams due to misthrows, they can easily be sorted out by available sorting technologies such as NIR (near infrared)."
The report also found, "Biodegradable and compostable plastics facilitate separate collection of bio-waste and help to divert organic waste from other recycling streams. Organic recycling is a well-established industrial process ensuring the circular use for biodegradable plastics while creating a strong secondary raw material market and opportunity for renewable energy generation."
However, a few negative concerns were identified in the report. For example, "contamination of organic waste streams by misthrows of non-compostable plastics is high and constitutes a real problem for composting facilities and negatively affects the quality of compost."
Last week, Austria-based Borealis AG announced it is leading a €4 million initiative called Project STOP that "aims to make a scalable front-line contribution to marine plastic debris prevention and ocean health"
The south-east Asia focused project follows a three-month "assessment" in Indonesia to implement ""system-enabler" partnerships with city governments - providing expertise and support to transition the waste management system to a zero-leakage pathway with increasing rates of plastics recycling, job creation in new after-use economies and public health benefits." The first such city partership will launch in Indonesia next year.
Other companies in Project STOP are plastics manufacturer Borouge, plastics recycler mtm Plastics, and SYSTEMIQ, a venture capital provider.
The Borealis AG announcement is posted at