13 March 2019:
A quick scan of recent waste, recycling and related environmental developments from around the globe...
Last month, the New Zealand Government announced it was seeking a contractor to "assess the implications and opportunities for New Zealand's transition to a circular economy." The assessment would include evaluating the potential environmental, economic, and social benefits of a circular economy including potential waste reduction, material reuse, greenhouse gas emission reductions, and job creation.
Funding for the circular economy asssessment is coming from the Ministry of Environment's Waste Minimisation Fund. The tender closed on March 7, and the Ministry plans to choose a contractor and have the assessment begin before summer. A report of findings will be prepared with the goal to be to "stimulate businesses to increase circularity of resource use and minimise the environmental impacts of waste using circular economy principles."
The New Zealand Ministry of Environment announcement is posted at
Starting on March 1, 2020, microwave ovens, e-book readers, GPS devices, video game systems and controllers, and computer external hard drives, optical drives and modems will be added to the list of products banned from landfill disposal, according to an announcement last month by the Province of Nova Scotia. Also banned will be used oil, oil filters, oil containers, glycol coolant, and glycol containers.
"The affected industries must develop or expand recycling programs for these products," the government announcement stated. The required recycling programs will take the form of product stewardship. The changes are required by recently approved amendments to the Nova Scotia's Solid Waste-Resource Management Regulations.
Get more information at
Last month, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Government said that more than 14 million deposited beverage containers were redeemed since its container deposit scheme (CDS) launched on June 30, 2018.
The ACT CDS places a 10-cent deposit on beverages in containers made of glass, PET, HDPE, aluminium, steel or liquid paperboard (cartons) between 150 milliliters and 3 liters in volume.
In August last year, the Chilean National Congress enacted a law that restricts retailers from distributing more two single-use plastic bags per customer. Last week, Chilean Minister of Environment Carolina Schmidt said the law is having its intended effect - an estimated 1 million fewer single-use plastic bags were distributed during the past six months after the law took effect. Schmidt said the distribution of roughly 7,350 tons of plastic bags was prevented.
The next phase of the law is now commencing - a complete ban on single-use plastic bag distribution by large retailers. (The complete ban will not apply to small retailers until August 3, 2020.)
"Chile is the first country in Latin America to prohibit the delivery of plastic bags by businesses throughout the national territory, recognizing a deep desire of the citizenship," said Schmidt. "This Sunday, February 3, big businesses such as supermarkets or other large stores, will not be able to provide any plastic bags, achieving for Chile a new milestone in the care of the environment."
The Chilean Ministry of Environment announcement is posted at
Yesterday, the Norwegian Environment Agency (Miljodirektoratet) said it is awarding NOK 70 million (roughly $8.1 million US) to fund 69 marine litter cleanup projects around the country. During the application period, 192 organizations submitted proposals.
Among the proposals receiving funding are a collaborative project "where 11 waste disposal companies are merging with municipalities to clean, collect and process marine waste in 82 municipalities in four counties," a project to develop methods that can address lost fishing equipment, and multiples projects mobilizing local residents to clean up litter along the coast and rivers.
Miljodirektoratet also said it and other environmental authorities are working to reduce marine litter by "a subsidy scheme for handing in and processing discarded pleasure boats, an increased deposit on beverage packaging, and strict follow-up of waste plans in ports."
Late last month, German Environmental Minister Svenja Schulze met with larger retailers, manufacturers and environmental and consumer organizations to begin a discussion about how to reduce disposable packaging used in supermarkets.
"I do not understand why cucumbers are shrink-wrapped in plastic, fruit and vegetables are packed in plastic trays, more sausages and cheeses are pre-portioned in packaging, and reusable bottles are not found on store shelves," said Minister Schulze.
The coalition will meet again in the fall to discuss voluntary alternatives for reducing food packaging, particularly plastic packaging. Last November, the Ministry announced a five-point plan for reducing plastics use and increasing recycling.
""Experience shows that we can sometimes set more ambitious goals voluntarily and reach them much faster than through coercion, and that's the effect I want to take in having a dialogue with industry," Schulze added.
The BMU announcement is posted at
Yesterday, the Danish Environmental Protection Agency said it recently completed a survey of municipal waste sorting schemes and found "there are large differences in the municipal schemes for handling organic waste, paper, cardboard, glass, plastic and metal from households." For example, some municipalities require separating plastic into a dedicated container while other municipalities allow plastic waste to be mixed with metal and glass.
On a positive note, the survey found the number of municipalities require household separation of waste increased from 31 in November 2017 to 40 in December 2018.
"We need to recycle more waste, so it is good news that more and more municipalities are now establishing waste separation schemes," said Anne Kamstrup an EPA manager. "But there are also differences between the schemes. In the Government's circular economy strategy, the focus is on increasing the recycling of waste, which requires more uniform collection of waste among citizens across the country's municipalities."
The Ministry said it is preparing "industry-common standards for sorting criteria and collection schemes for all municipalities."
Last week, the Ministry of Environment of Peru launched a public education campaign to encourage residents to separate household waste into four streams : usuable (recyclable), unusable (trash), organic waste and household hazardous waste. The name of the campaign is "En casa yo reciclo" (I recycle at home).
The Ministry of Environment said about half of the 800 grams of per capita household waste generated daily is organic and is compostable. Sought after recyclable materials are paper and cardboard, glass, plastic, metal, and textiles and leather. Among household hazardous wastes are batteries, lamps, expired medicines and pesticides. Each waste stream should go in a separate container, according to the Ministry.
A smartphone app is being developed to help residents learn which materials and items go in each of the four containers, the Ministry added.
The Australian Packaging Convenent Organization (APCO) in collaboration with the Institute of Sustainable Futures published a packaging materials flow analysis at the end of February. APCO describes the free 50-age report as "mapping the current state of post-consumer packaging in Australia." The report analyzes packaging made of glass, paper/paperboard, metals and plastics.
"To achieve the 2025 National Packaging Targets, we need to first understand the journey materials take along the entire supply chain and establish a baseline of data to measure change and interventions," said APCO CEO Brooke Donnelly. "This report, APCO Packaging Material Flow Analysis 2018, is the first step in this process."
In addition to discussing the aforementioned packaging materials, the report analyzes Australian recycling infrastructure capacity and briefly looks at five future scenarios (e.g., expanded container deposit collections and compostable packaging processing) and their likely effects on the collection efficiency, sorting efficiency and recovery rates for the four materials..
Download tha APCO-ISF Packaging Materials Flow Analysis at
The On-Pack Recycling Label (OPRL) program announced on February 28 that it has entered into a partnership with the Waste Resources Action Programme (WRAP) to increase package recycling in the United Kingdom. Specifically, the two organizations will work together to improve the quality and quantity of household recycling and 'on the go' recycling and provide consistent messaging on packaging to reduce consumer confusion about what can and cannot be recycled.
"Maintaining and developing further the strong links between OPRL's on-pack messaging, and WRAP's work through their Recycle Now campaign and local authority communications, remains essential to delivering more and better recycling of packaging," said OPRL Chair Jane Bevis. "OPRL's latest research shows that advice on-pack is the single most important source of information for citizens on recycling, but that people also seek information from other trusted sources to support this."
The UK Government and the packaging industry have set goals to recycle 70% of plastic packaging by 2025 and 70% of all packaging by 2030.