4 December 2019:
A quick scan of recent waste, recycling and related environmental developments from around the globe...
Last week, the Hong Kong Environmental Protection Department published municipal solid waste (MSW) and recycling data for 2018. The MSW recycling rate decreased to 30% in 2018, down from 32% in 2017. Seventy percent of Hong Kong's MSW in 2018 was disposed in landfills.
The leading materials recovered for recycling (by weight) included ferrous metals (44% of the total) and paper (39%). The leading materials disposed in landfills included food waste (31%), paper (24%) and plastics (21%).
Two bright spots in 2018: food waste and e-waste disposed in landfills in 2018 were reduced by 2.6% and 7.8%, respectively.
For more 2018 Hong Kong waste and recycling data, to go
Last week, the United Kingdom's Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) published 2018 data on residential household waste generation and recycling as reported by local governments. The data shows the 2018 household waste recycling rate decreased to 44.7%, down from 45.2% in 2017. The amount of household waste recycled decreased to 9.8 millions, down from 10.1 million tons in 2017.
On a positive note, the amount of separated food waste collected for recycling in 2018 increased to 414,000 tons, up from 386,000 tons. As an EU Member State, the UK has a target to recycle at least 50% of its household waste by 2020.
The DEFRA data also shows household waste generation decreased from 22.4 million tons in 2017 to 22 million tons in 2018.
Download the DEFRA statistics on waste managed by local authorities in England in 2018/19 at
Collection of e-waste through Wisconsin's E-Cycle Program declined for a fourth straight program year, according to a report published late last monnth by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
In program year 2019, 23.6 million pounds of electronics were collected, yielding an annual per capita level of 4 pounds. Televisions accounted for 55% of the total collected weight. Computers accounted for only 8%.
"Due to the popularity of smaller and lighter devices and manufacturers’ design improvements, the weight-based manufacturer recycling targets, set by a statutory formula, have declined by more than 10.1 million pounds (32%) since 2013," the report explained. "While some manufacturers have continued to voluntarily exceed their recycling targets, overall there were nearly 1.4 million pounds recycled during the 2018-19 program year for which manufacturers did not pay. Dwindling markets for leaded glass in cathode ray tubes (CRTs) and plastics used in electronics, along with lower commodity values in newer devices, have increased recyclers’ per-pound costs, but manufacturer payments have not always risen to match."
Download the 2019 Wisconsin E-Cycle Report at
Last month, the Philippine Environmental Management Bureau published a new update (report) on local government units compliance with requirements in the National Solid Waste Management Framework. According to the update, the number of illegal dumpsites in the country was reduced from 553 in 2015 to just 331 as of October 2019. During the same time period, the number of sanitary landfills increased from 101 to 186.
The number of material recovery facilities (MRFs) increased from 9,335 in 2015 to 10,722 as of October 2019. The Philippine Government set a goal to divert 68% of its waste by 2020.
The update also projects that waste generation nationwide will increase from 20,616,390 tons in 2018 to 21,425,676 tons in 2020. In Metro Manila, waste generation is projected to increase from 3,348,038 tons in 2018 to 3,466,469 tons in 2020.
Download the latest Philippine Waste Management Plan Compliance Update at
Late last month, the United States Department of Energy (DOE) announced the launch of the Plastics Innovation Challenge, which DOE described as "a comprehensive U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) program to accelerate innovations in energy-efficient plastics recycling technologies."
Among the 2030 goals of the program will be to develop 1) collection technologies that prevent plastics from entering the ocean, 2) new plastics that are recyclable-by-design, 3) biological and chemical methods for deconstructing plastic waste, and 4) technologies to upcycle waste chemical streams into higher-value products. The program also seeks to "support a domestic plastics upcycling supply chain for US companies to scale and deploy new technologies in domestic and global markets."
DOE said it would be conducting stakeholder workshops and information requests on the subject in upcoming weeks. Eventually DOE plans to announce funding opportunities and strategic partnerships to spur innovative solutions to plastics recycling.
Get more informationat
More than $1 million in recycling grants was awarded to six local governments in the Australian state of New South Wales, according to a New South Wales EPA announcement last week. The grants, awarded by the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, "go towards developing new Community Recycling Centres, which are permanent drop-off centres for common household problem wastes that can’t be collected through kerbside collection services."
The drop-off centers will be used to collected "problem wastes" such as oils, paints, batteries, gas bottles and fire extinguishers. The grants come from the New South Wales Government's Waste Less, Recycle More initiative, which is funded through landfill taxes. More than 100 Community Recycling Centres have been funded in the state and 92 are currently in operation, the EPA said.
The New South Wales EPA announcement is posted at
Last week, RECYC-QUEBEC said the Quebec Ministry for Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change has allocated $500,000 in funding to support research and development of products from waste tires. Currently the province recycles about 80% of waste tires into products such as recreational surfaces and sports fields, speed bumps, mudguards and agricultural cover. About 9% are used for fuels largely in cement plants.
"Projects will need to demonstrate that they help to stimulate the end-of-life tire processing market and promote the emergence of high-value markets," RECYC-QUEBEC stated. The deadline to submit proposals in December 20.
The RECYC-QUEBEC announcement is posted at
The Irish Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment unveiled a dedicated website of authorized waste collectors (haulers) in an effort to reduce the unwitting use of businesses that dump waste illegally to avoid paying landfill taxes. The website's main feature is an interactive map of conveniently located waste collectors.
"Illegal dumpers are a scourge on communities across the country," said Richard Bruto, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment last week. "The new map being launched today on my waste.ie, will ensure householders from Donegal to Cork, Dublin to Galway, are able to check that the waste company collecting their waste has the appropriate authorisation to do so."
The department said it has allocated €3 million this year to tackle illegal dumping, a 50% increase from last year.
Today, the Coca-Cola Foundation and Keep America Beautiful (KAB) announced the availability of grants to purchase recycling bins in 2020 for placement in public spaces. The Coca-Cola Foundation is providing $350,000 in funding through KAB to award grants. According to the announcement, an estimated one-third of all beverage containers are consumed on the go and can become litter.
"Grant recipients will be chosen by Keep America Beautiful based on their potential to collect the most cans and bottles as well other considerations such as creating new or expanding access to recycling in a community; providing greater numbers of people with exposure or access to collection bins; providing access in environmentally sensitive areas, e.g. along waterways; and the long-term potential of the public space recycling efforts to increase recycling participation in a community," the announcement stated.
The deadline to submit applications is December 31.
For more information, go to
On Monday the European Recycling Industries' Confederation, released a two-page position statement on the need for measures to protect the financial health of European paper recyclers. The headline of the position statement is "Urgent need to reconcile circular economy in paper with market realities as paper recycling industry faces difficult situation."
The statement explains in part, "A periodical year-end slowdown in domestic demand from paper mills in Europe combined with long-lasting trade restrictions at international level have further increased the misbalance between supply of recovered paper collected and treated in Europe and domestic demand in the EU-28. As a matter of fact, the efficiency of Europe’s paper collection and recovery value chain leads on a year to year basis to an oversupply of an average 8 out of 56 million tons, dependent on exports."
The position statement recommends six steps governments can take to help support the European recycled paper market including increasing demand for recovered paper through stronger green public procurement, adopting eco-design measures to ensure that paper can be recovered in all products, taking stronger action to prevent the implementation of trade restrictions on waste paper, and "substantially increasing, whenever technically and legally feasible, the financial contributions to companies involved in the collection and recovery of waste paper falling under EPR schemes."
Download the EuRIC position statement at