24 July 2019:
A quick scan of recent waste, recycling and related environmental developments from around the globe...
Last week, Recycle BC, which manages the provincial residential packaging and paper recycling scheme, announced that British Columbia's Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy approved a new five-year Packaging and Paper Product Extended Producer Responsibility Plan.
The plan includes 2020 goals to recover 90% of paper products, 67% of metal packaging and 75% of glass packaging, and 2025 goals to recover 50% of plastic packaging overall including 60% of rigid plastic and 25% of flexible plastic.
Recycle BC said the new plan includes special projects such as a First Nations Recycling Initiative and exploration of packaging and paper collection in the organics stream.
Download the British Columbia Packaging and Paper Product Extended Producer Responsibility Plan at
Last week, the Irish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published data about waste packaging management in 2017 and said "further measures will be needed to ensure that packaging recycling levels don't stagnate."
The EPA said that Ireland generated over 1 million tons of packaging waste in 2017 and that per capita packaging waste generation increased slightly from 2016. The country's 66% packaging rate was above the 55% EU target, but the EPA said meeting the EU's 2030 target of 70% would be "challenging but is achievable."
An area for improvement is household waste separation, according to the EPA.
"The EPA's recent waste characterisation study, looking at the contents of household and commercial bins, showed that up to one third of the contents of our general waste bins could be diverted to recycling with better separation and treatment," said EPA scientist Stephen Treacy. "Improved separation and lower levels of contaminated waste will help improve recycling rates which is needed to put Ireland on track to a circular economy."
Get more information at
In 2018, Virginia waste facilities managed 13,856,312.45 tons of municipal solid waste (MSW), up from 13,019,050.21 tons in 2017, according to the Virginia 2019 Annual Solid Waste Report published last month by the Department of Environmental Quality.
Construction and demolition (C&D) waste fell in 2018 to 4,337,408.88 tons, down from 4,767,306.07 in 2017. Yard waste increased in 2018 to 502,743.16 tons, up from 432,370.19 tons in 2017.
Total solid waste (MSW, C&D, yard waste and nine other waste streams combined) increased in 2018 to 21,805,425.52 tons, up from 21,591,302.02 tons in 2017. A significant amount of the solid waste managed in Virginia - 3,852,754.16 tons - came from other states. Five states accounted for nearly all of Virginia's imports: Maryland (47.22%), New York (18.52%), Washington, D.C. (17.79%), New Jersey (7.82%), and North Carolina (6.90%).
Download the 2019 Virginia Annual Solid Waste Report at
According to the 2018 Milwaukee Annual Residential Recycling Report released earlier this month by the Department of Public Works, the department collected 25,451 tons of residential recyclables, an increase of 19.45 tons over 2017 for a 0.6% increase. Contributing the most to the increase was corrugated cardboard, up 16.9% from a year earlier. Collection of steel cans and glass containers also were up in 2018 from a year earlier.
Collection of organic and yard waste also increased in 2018 to 33,272 tons, an increase of 3.2%, according to the report. The residential landfill diversion rate for the year was 25.8%, an increase of 0.5% over 2017.
Download the Milwaukee Annual Residential Recycling Report at
Last week, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation published guidelines for making jeans part of the circular economy. At least 16 clothing manufacturers and retailers plan to follow the new guidelines including GAP, Lee, Tommy Hilfiger and H&M.
The Jeans Redesign Guidelines address four subjects: durability, material health, recyclability and traceability. To make jeans more recyclable, producers should ensure they contain a minimum of 98% cellulose fibers (by weight), use fewer or no metal rivets and make any "additional material added to the jeans" easy to disassemble. To make jeans more durable, producers should include labels with clear information on product care and ensure jeans can "withstand a minimum of 30 home laundries, while still meeting the minimum quality requirements of the brands."
"The way we produce jeans is causing huge problems with waste and pollution, but it doesn't have to be this way, said Francois Souchet with the Foundation's Make Fashion Circular initiative. "By working together we can create jeans that last longer, that can be remade into new jeans at the end of their use, and are made in ways which are better for the environment and the people that make them."
Get more information at
The United Kingdom's Waste Resources Action Programme (WRAP) published a 14-page design guidance last week to help improve the recyclability of rigid plastic packaging. By following the guidance packaging producers will "ensure that packaging is designed to be 'best in class' to ensure that it is recyclable under the current UK recycling infrastructure. It will help increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the UK recycling system while helping to reduce confusion amongst the public over what can be recycled."
The guidance applies to the following types of packaging: milk bottles, bottles and pots, tubs and trays for both food and drink and non-food and drink. It discusses which packaging typically is considered recyclable or non-recyclable and includes advice on using container caps, labels, sleeves, and in the case of spray bottles, pumps and triggers.
Download the WRAP design guidance on recyclable rigid plastic packaging at
Last week, the Brazilian Ministry of Environment announced that the federal government approved R$ 2.1 million to address marine litter, and the Ministry is accepting proposals to fund two types of activities. The first type of activity (funded at R$ 1.5 million) is the installing and operationg waste containment barriers to prevent land-based waste from becoming water-borne. The second type of activity (funded at R$600,000) is cleaning litter from beaches.
The funding announcement followed the Ministry's release of a National Plan to Combat Marine Waste in March.
A range of recycling and waste management programs have expanded and a new waste management system launched in the past year, according to the 2019 Strategic Plan Update released by the New York Department of Sanitation (DSNY) earlier this month. Among the accomplishments during the past year are residential composting program and expansion of the city's curbside organic waste collection.
The progress report also highlighted that DSNY collected nearly five million pounds of textiles in its refashionNYC textile recycling program, launched a new food donation portal as part of its DonateNYC reuse and donation platform to facilitate connections, expanded its ecycleNYC electronics recycling program, and launched a commercial waste zone system.
13,019,050.21 2019 DSNY Strategic Plan progress report at
Last week, the French Ministry for Ecological and Solidarity Transition announced it had signed a voluntary pact with seven French tire industry organizations, including the French tire extended producer responsibility organization Aliapur. The goal of the agreement is to reduce the environmental impacts of tires and help them integrate into the circular economy.
Among the five actions the tire industry will take are collecting up to 15,000 tons of waste tires being used in silage (covered agricultural materials) on farms and agricultural facilities, doubling the level of funding for research and development in waste tire recovery and applications, incorporating durability information on tire environmental labels, and coordinating with local governments and waste authorities on more effective waste tire collection.
Get more information at
The industry organization Plastic Recyclers Europe (PRE) released a 21-page evaluation protocol for HDPE packaging last week. PRE described the evalution protocol as "a useful tool for addressing and testing specific design features with regards to recyclability of HDPE rigid packaging, which will contribute to a correct recyclability assessment of the overall package."
The document covers HDPE laboratory testing methods and HDPE extrusion to pellets, conversion and sheet production. Among other subjects it examines how the following items affect HDPE recyclability: resins; barrier materials; mineral fillers and additives that increase the density of the HDPE packaging; non-PE closure systems; non-PE liners, seals and valves; and non-PE labels and sleeves; adhesives; and inks;
Download PRE's HDPE packaging recyclability evaluation protocol at