28 February 2018:
A quick scan of recent waste, recycling and related environmental developments from around the globe...
Following a public consultation last year, the New South Wales (Australia) Environmental Protection Authority officially launched a new Illegal Dumping Strategy on Monday for 2017 through 2021. The strategy is outlined in a 22-page document.
Many of the activities in the new strategy are a continuation of those in the previous strategy that ran through 2016. The new strategy is built on the following six action areas: 1) improving data acquistion; 2) improving stakeholder engagement with local governments and other entities; 3) increasing community and industry education and awareness; 4) adding prevention and infrastructure improvements; 5) updating regulation and enforcement efforts; 6) and monitoring and evaluating results.
The NSW Government allocated $65 million to implement the new strategy through 2021. It set a goal to reduce all types of illegal dumping in the state by 30% by 2020.
Download the NSW Illegal Dumping Strategy 2017-2021 at
Earlier this month, the Swedish Chemicals Agency (Kemikalieinspektionen or KEMI) released a 40-page report on its latest analysis (conducted in late 2017) of consumer products and packaging for restricted hazardous substances. Of the 261 items analyzed by an independent testing laboratory, nearly 23% contained substances above European Union legal limits set by the REACH Regulation, the RoHS Directive, the Toy Directive and other environmental laws. The bulk of the items tested were consumer electronics.
The most common problems discovered were lead in solder used in electronics, short-chain chlorinated paraffins found in soft plastic products, and banned phthalates in other plastic products.
According to the KEMI announcement, all 19 of the manufacturers/importers of the illegal products were directed to remove their products from the Swedish market, and 16 were referred to the environmental prosecutor's office.
Download the KEMI report at
According to a report released last week by the American Chemistry Council's (ACC) Plastics Division, the amount of post-consumer plastic film and bags collected in 2016 increased to at least 1.3 billion pounds, a 123 million pound or 10% increase from 2015. Of the 1.3 billon pounds, 53% was exported and 47% was used by US and Canadian processors.
40% of the collected film was clear polyethylene (PE), followed by mixed color PE film at 22%, agricultural PE film at 15%, retail PE film and bags at 15%, curbside film at 3%, and other film at 6%.
The report also shows steady growth in post-consumer plastic film and bag collection since 2005 when 652.5 tons of the material was collected.
Download the ACC plastic film and bag recovery report at
Yesterday, the Government of Wales said it will provide another £7.5 Million to local governments to "make improvements to the collection and sorting of recycling."
The funding announcement followed data released last week by the United Kingdom's Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs that indicated Wales was "the best municipal recycling nation in the UK," according to the Welsh Government. More specifically, Wales was 12% above the UK average that also includes England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Wales hopes to achieve zero waste to landfill by 2050.
The Welsh Government announcement is posted at
The concept of "urban mining" or retrieving resources from landfills, has been a conversation topic in the European Union for several years. Earlier this month, the Danish Ministry of Environment and Food published a 274-page report of an urban mining demonstration project that includes an analysis of what was retrieved from beneath the ground and its value.
The project involved excavating about 2,000 tons of mixed waste, then sorting and weighing what was removed. However, in this particular project, the results were not positive from a financial perspective. According to the report, most of what was excavated - 88% - was "soil-like in nature." Only 1.5% of the excavated material was metal, and only 10% was plastic, wood, textile and rubber.
The project also illuminated some problems during the recovery progress. For example, the sorting facility had difficulty separating heavy items and other problems with plastic film. The estimated value of the sample materials recovered form the landfill indicated that the cost of excavating and processing the material was less than its market value.
Download the Danish Ministry of Environment urban mining report at
The French Government set a goal to reduce household and similar waste generation by 10% by 2020 as part of Decree No. 2015-662 of June 10, 2015. Last week, Agence de l'Environnement et de la Maitrise de l'Energie (ADEME) published a 20-page guide for local government officials on the methods, tools and keys to success to help achieve that goal.
Based on three years of research, the guide discusses obtaining participation of needed stakeholders, conducting an analysis of local or territorial waste generation, developing a plan that incorporates stakeholder consultations, conducting pilot projects, building partnerships among those needed to implement the plan, monitoring progress, and publishing results to continue to secure stakeholder support.
The combined results from the local waste reduction programs will underpin the country's National Waste Prevention Program.
Download ADEME's community waste prevention guide at
Last week, the Federal Environment Agency of Germany (Umwelt Bundesamt or UBA) launched a research project called Now Is Counting Day! 2018. The project will quantify litter as a first step in developing new measures to prevent littering. The agency is inviting the public ("citizen scientists") to participate in the research by registering on the UBA website. Three webinars discussing the project are also planned.
Citizen scientists will document the types of litter they find in assigned public spaces. They may submit their findings either directly to UBA using a smartphone app or recording their findings on a paper form for upload later.
The research project will coincide with the Let's Clean Up Europe Campaign that runs from March through May of this year.
Get more information at
Last week, the Solid Waste Association of North America announced that it created a Recycling Task Force to address "challenges facing recycling programs in the United States and Canada." A key challenge will be Chinese restrictions on waste material imports.
"Now that China's waste import restrictions have taken effect, reducing contamination will be an obvious focus; however, the Task Force will also evaluate strategies for increasing demand for recycled material, and educate elected officials about the job growth opportunities associated with improving domestic recycling operations to meet this challenge," said David Biderman, SWANA Executive Director and CEO
For more information, go to
Earlier this month, the Foam Recycling Coalition within the North American Foodservice Packaging Institute announced it awarded a grant of roughly $50,000 to Gaudreau Environnement in Quebec to purchase a foam densifier for its current materials recovery processing system.
"Waste companies like Gaudreau Environnement provide the processing we need to help increase foam recycling across North America," said Lynn Dyer, Foodservice Packaging Institute President. "This grant money is central to Gaudreau's strategy to increase its diversion rate, and these efforts mean valuable materials can be recycled in the communities served instead of going to the landfill."
The Foodservice Packaging Institute also said that more grant funding will be available later this year. Gaudreau Environnement is the ninth grant recipient to receive funding from the Foam Recycling Coalition since 2015.
The Foodservice Packaging Institute announcement is posted at