12 September 2018:
A quick scan of recent waste, recycling and related environmental developments from around the globe...
On Monday, the Resource Productivity & Recovery Authority (RPRA) of Ontario announced that the 2019 funding obligation for stewards (producers) participating in the province's Blue Box program will be $126.4 million. The 2018 and 2017 funding obligations were $124.8 million and $123.6 million, respectively.
Ontario's Blue Box Program applies to printed paper and packaging including paper, glass, plastic and aluminum.
Get more information at
Currently, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) permits a temporary tolerable intake of 4 micrograms per kg of body weight for bisphenol A (BPA). That could change once EFSA's Panel on Food Contact Materials, Enzymes and Processing Aids completes a new risk evaluation by 2020. Work on the new evaluation begins this month.
A call for data for the BPA risk assessment is open until October 15. According to the EFSA announcement, "All relevant new studies and data on BPA published since 31 December 2012 can be submitted to EFSA for possible inclusion in this upcoming review of BPA safety."
EFSA also noted that it is in "regular contact with the European Chemicals Agency, whose work on the identification and classification of BPA under the REACH Regulation is continuing in tandem with EFSA's assessment."
For more information, go to
Municipal solid waste (MSW) in Portugal rose by 2% in 2017 from a year earlier. In 2017, 5,007 million tons of MSW was generated.The increase was the fourth in consecutive years, although each of the four increases were in the range of 1% to 2%.
Organic waste was the largest MSW component at 36.56%. Plastic was 11.49% of the total, paper 10.52%, glass 7.27%, sanitary products 7.71%, textiles 4.1%, and composities 4.11%. A number of other streams contributed less than 3% each.
Most of the waste - 57% - was disposed in landfills. Following landfill disposal was recovery as energy at 20.6%, recycling at 12.2%, and composting/anaerobi digestions at 9.8%.
Get more 2017 Portuguese MSW data at
Germany has been a leader in the use of refillable glass beverage bottles. However, the Germany Federal Environment Agency Umwelt Bundesamt or UBA) said yesterday that use of refillable bottles fell in 2016 by to 44%, which is 1.3% less than in 2015. Germany's Packaging Ordinance sets on 80% target for refillable glass bottles, which is routinely missed.
Use of refillable PET bottles also declined in 2016. UBA said returnable PET bottles can be refilled up to 20 times and returnable glass bottles can be refilled up to 50 times, so the agency supports their use.
In comparison to refillable bottles, aluminum can use increased 13.4% and disposable plastic bottle use increased by 2.9%. UBA said disposable plastic bottles remain the leading type of packaging for beverages, accounting for 52.2% of market share.
The UBA announcement is posted at
After becoming the first country in Latin America to ban single-use plastic bags, Chile now appears to be focusing attention on disposable plastic water bottles. Today, the Chilean Minister of Environment, Carolina Schmidt, kicked off a public awareness campaign about the "indiscriminate use of plastic bottles."
"This is a campaign that seeks to instill good citizen practices, and with a small effort from all of us, including companies, we can reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in the garbage and in the oceans, which damages the existing flora and fauna," said Minister Schmidt.
The campaign, called "Chao Bottles," encourages Chileans to considering using water bottles made from stainless steel, glass and other materials that can be washed and reused nearly endlessly. Residents that register with the Chao Bottles campaign can receive stickers to put in relevant locations to "generate a change of consciousness in the use of plastic bottles."
The New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced last week that $2 million has been allocated to provide grants "for food pantries and other emergency food relief organizations of wholesome food to New Yorkers in need and to municipalities as part of a comprehensive effort to reduce food waste and increase food waste recycling."
"In addition to the funding announced today, $800,000 is being provided to the Food Bank Association through Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) funding administered by DEC, $1.2 million has already been committed to municipalities for food waste reduction and recycling, and $4 million is available for food waste generators to implement reduction practices which is being administered by the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute (P2I)," the announcement noted.
Interested municipalities and not-for-profit emergency food relief organizations may apply for grants online. The application deadline is February 1, 2019.
Get more information at
The Mexican Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (Secretaria de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales or SEMARNAT) said late last month that a working group on food waste prevention has prepared guidelines for collaborative use by government, the private sector, and consumers. The guidelines may be helpful to Mexico in meeting an international target to reduce food waste by 50% by 2030.
The SEMARNAT announcement referenced a recent World Bank study that found 34% of the food produced in Mexico is lost during production or wasted post-production. That amount is estimated to be 20.4 million tons annually.
The guidelines cover all food production stages from havesting and processing to distribution and consumption.
For more information, go to
On September 15, International Coastal Cleanup Day and World Cleanup Day, also is the day for the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, according to an announcement yesterday by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC). With support from the Government of Canada, major cleanup events are planned at local shorelines, parks and neighbourhoods in Vancouver, Toronto and Halifax.
"Canadians are encouraged to connect with their local MPs to organize community plastic cleanups," the ECCC stated. "Throughout the week, schools, businesses and citizens can organize their own cleanups."
The ECCC announcement is posted at
Last week, the industry organization Plastics Recyclers Europe (PRE) announced the availability of an online tool for assessing the recyclability of plastic film in Europe. The tool is called RecyClass, and it is expected to better integrate plastic films in the the European Commission's circular economy plans.
According to the RecyClass website, the tool "allows easy and effortless checking of the recyclability of a particular plastic package or packaging concept, and sets out the best way to arrive there. However "RecyClass" is also a label, and a package seperately certified can be promoted as being environmentally friendly. This will influence the buying decisions of consumers who pay attention to the recyclability of packaging."
To access RecyClass, go to http://www.recyclass.eu/en/home/.
The PRE announcement is posted at
Yesterday, The Recycling Association released a series of recommendations to improvie the overall quality of recycled materials in the United Kingdom.
"Never before has the quality of recycled materials, processes and infrastructure been so heavily scrutinised - at home and abroad, by industry and the general public," said Simon Ellin, CEO of The Recycling Association. "We've taken the first steps towards quality, but we've got so much further to go."
Among the recommendations for improvement are these: 1) packaging should only be made from an approved list of materials; 2) improvements need to be financed by increased producer responsibility; 3) local authorities should be compelled to simplify collection systems so that every local authority collects the same materials; and 4) the national government needs to provide support that will lead to investment in UK recycling infrastructure.