12 May 2021:
A quick scan of recent waste, recycling and related environmental developments from around the globe...
Today, the United Kingdom's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) published provisional data on household waste for the quarter April through June 2020. The data is compiled quarterly from reported provided by local governments. For that quarter reported, the recycling rate fell 3.4% from the same quarter a year earlier. For 2020, the rate was 45% compared to 48.4% for the same quarter in 2019.
The amount of household waste generated also declined from 5.9 million tons during April through June 2019 to 5.7 million tons for the same quarter in 2020. Consequently, the per capita waste generation level declined from 105 kilograms during the 2019 quarter to 102 kilograms during the same quarter in 2020.
Download Defra's statistics on waste managed by local authorities for April through June 2020 at
According to the 2020 annual report recently published by Dansk Retur System, the Danish beverage container deposit scheme operator, Danish consumers returned roughly 1.7 billion beverage cans and bottles in 2020, a 19% increase from 2019. By recycling the returned containers, 178,000 tons of CO2 emissions will be prevented.
Dansk Retur System also said the higher rates of beverage container redemptions since 2017 resulted in a 58% reduction in the fees that beverage producers and importers paid over the five-year period.
The Danish deposit scheme places a deposit of 1 to 3 kroner (depending on volume) on plastic and glass bottles and metal cans.
Download the 52-page Dansk Retru System 2020 Annual Report at
According to an announcement last week by the Swedish EPA, consumption of single-use plastic carryout bags in the country fell by 26% last year compared to 2019. Per capita single-use plastic bag consumption was 55 bags in 2020, compared to 74 bags in 2019 and 83 bags in 2017. The Swedish EPA attributed last year's decline to a plastic bag tax that took effect on May 1 last year.
"The goal within the EU is to reduce use of plastic carrier bags to 40 in 2025," the EPA stated. "The level for 2020 means that Sweden has the goal within reach, although much work remains."
In 2020, 1.2 billion single-use plastic carryout bags were manufactured in or imported into the country, the Swedish EPA said.
The Swedish EPA announcement is posted at
Last week, the Chilean Ministry of Environment said a private-public partnership project is recycling discarded plastic masks used to protect against the covid-19 virus into new products including drink coasters, flower pots and pencil holders.
According to the Ministry, the used masks are generated by workers in Chile's fish processing industry, and from July to December 2020, more than 145 kilograms of three-ply and N95 masks were recovered from the sector. The project is a partnership among the Social Board of Regional Government and the Association of Fisheries Industries (ASPIES) in coordination with the Technological Development Unit of the University of Concepcion.
"This union of the academic sector with ASIPES allows us to think about a future of recycling these masks in order to give a second life to the materials that have already given us protection during this pandemic," commented Chilean Minister of Science Andres Couve.
For more information, go to
Last week, the Irish National Litter Pollution Monitoring System published its 2020 monitoring results. The annual survey provides information to the Irish Department of Environment, Climate and Communications on "the national picture regarding litter pollution" as well as feedback to local governments on the results of their litter mitigation activities.
The most littered items in Ireland in 2020 were cigarette related litter (46.5%), packaging items (21.9%), food related liter (11%), confection related litter (9.5%), paper items (5.8%) and "deleterious litter" (5.8%).
The most littered packaging items were bottle caps, bottles, drink lids, drink cups, non-alcoholic beverage bottles, bags and wrappers, alcoholic beverage cans, non-alcoholic beverages cans, and alcoholic beverage bottles, in that order.
Compared to 2019, cigarette litter increased by 7.4%, and packaging items increased by 7%, while food related litter decreased by 1.3%.
Download the 65-page 2020 Irish National Litter Pollution Monitoring System results at
Today the Government of Quebec announced it is awarding grants totaling $14 million to improve the province's "performance in terms of outlets and recycling of residual materials."
Thirty-four projects will receive funding. The projects include ones that introduce technological innovations for the treatment of residual materials, support the development of the reuse and recycling of beverage containers, and modernize and further develop selective collection sorting centers.
Last week, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) said 34 local governments, regional groups and non-profit organizations received a total of $1.3 million in grants to increase diversion, reuse, composting and recycling of materials. The grants come from MassDEP's Sustainable Materials Recovery Program.
"MassDEP awarded funds in several categories, including start-up incentives for Pay-As-You-Throw (PAYT) programs, wheeled-carts for curbside collection of recyclables, large containers for collection of target materials at municipal transfer stations, school recycling assistance programs and innovative waste reduction projects," the announcement stated.
The largest individual grant of $125,000 will be used to help establish a regional household hazardous waste collection center to serve all Cape Cod municipalities. Two other of the largest individual grants will be used to set up regional waste glass processing operations.
The MassDEP announcement is posted at
The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) announced last week it is accepting applications for grants from its Recycling Market Development Program. Proposed projects should focus on reuse, reduction, and recycling methods that increase recyclable material collection or consumption, reduce municipal solid waste shipped for final disposal, or improve partnerships with communities to boost recycling, according to IDEM.
Grants range from $50,000 to $500,000, but require a 50% funding match by recipients. Public/private businesses, solid waste management districts, local government, schools, and not-profit organizations are eligible to apply. The deadline to do so is June 23. The total amount of grant funding available was not disclosed.
For more information, go to
Last month, the Australian Council of Recycling (ACOR) published a 32-page discussion paper that supports "converting harder-to-recycle waste into clean energy". The discussion paper is titled, "The evolving relationship between clean energy and waste."
"Pursuing a waste to clean energy policy could have the dual benefit of helping with the de-carbonisation of the electricity system while reducing the amount of waste going to landfills, which are a source of methane, one of the most destructive of all greenhouse gases," ACOR said in releasing the discussion paper.
"Increased waste to clean energy capabilities could also have the added benefit of off-setting the waste levies imposed by some states," said ACOR Interim CEO Cameron O'Reilly. "As the economics of recycling and resource recovery facilities are underpinned by avoided landfill levies rather than wholesale energy prices, they can be viable through periods of low or negative wholesale prices unlike some other forms of clean energy generation."
To review the ACOR announcement, go to
Yesterday, the industry association European Plastics Converters (EUPC) said that four European certification schemes have joined PolyCert Europe, a technical platform that seeks to "provide quality certification and verification of recycled content in converted products." PolyCert was launched last October, and EUPC is a founding PolyCert Europe partner organization.
The four certification schemes are QA-CER (Belgium), AENOR (Spain), Plastica Seconda Vita (Italy) and Wertstoff PET (Germany).
"The purpose of PolyCert Europe is to contribute to a comprehensive mutual recognition framework among certification schemes on the uptake of secondary raw material by converters and compounders complying with REACH Regulation and/or with European and/or National Product Standards or Legislations," explained in the announcement. "The mutual recognition framework has the objective to interface with other certification schemes along the polymer value chain based on the principles of chain of custody."
The EUPC announcement is posted at