7 July 2021:
A quick scan of recent waste, recycling and related environmental developments from around the globe...
Tampons and similar sanitary products, wet wipes, tobacco products with filters and drinking cups that are wholly or partly made of plastic will need to display special pictograms beginning on October 1 of this year, according to an announcement yesterday by the Norwegian Ministry of Environment.
The pictograms will encourage consumers to not litter the products or flush them down a toilet, the Ministry said. Producers and importers of the covered products are responsible for ensuring their products display the required pictograms.
"Later this summer, the government will present a holistic plastics strategy that addresses global, regional and national measures in the life cycle of plastics," the Ministry announcement added.
The Norwegian Ministry of Environment announcement (including sample pictograms) may be reviewed at
Under French law, a number of single-use plastic items were banned on January 1, 2021, but the law included a six-month "tolerance period" for food establishments to transition. On July 1, the French Ministry of Ecological Transition announced the tolerance period had ended, and food establishments must immediately cease using the banned items.
The newly banned items include plastic straws, disposable cutlery, plastic confetti and expanded polystyrene food containers. Disposable plastic cups, glasses and plates were banned beginning in January 2020.
Disposable packaging will be banned in fast food restaurants starting January 1, 2023, and all meals provided onsite must be served in reusable dishes.
The Ministry noted that affected manufacturers are expected to eliminate 450,000 tons of single-use plastic packaging by 2025.
The French Ministry of Ecological Transition announcement is available for review at
Yesterday, the Chilean Minister of Environment Carolina Schmidt helped launch construction of the first of 354 "clean points" across the country to support a packaging extended producer responsibility (EPR) law that took effect in March. Construction of the waste packaging collection points will be financed by packaging producers and importers.
According to the Ministry, the communal waste collection points will operate while curbside collection of waste packaging is being rolled out. The collection points will cover 261 communities and 97% of the Chilean population. Many of the collection points will begin operating next year, and all should be operating by the end of 2026.
Collected packaging materials will include plastics, glass, cardboard for liquids, metal and paper and cardboard.
Last month, the New South Wales (NSW) Government announced that it will spend $356 million over the next five years to phaseout single-use plastics and boost recycling, according to an announcement by the NSW EPA. Small businesses will receive financial support to transition to new products before planned single-use plastic phaseouts come into effect.
"The single-use items we are phasing-out will stop an estimated 2.7 billion items of plastic litter from ending up in our environment and waterways over the next 20 years," said NSW Environmental Minister Matt Kean.
Kean also said all households in the state will have access to food scraps and organic waste bins in an action to achieve zero emissions from organics in landfill by 2030.
The NSW EPA announcement is posted at
Today, the Swedish EPA said it is awarding SEK 70 million in grants to two dozen municipalities, sports field owners, and and a sports team to prevent the run off of microplastic particles and other polluntants from roads, city centers, synthetical turf fields and other locations during storms. Grant recipients must use the funding and complete their projects within the next two years.
Last week, the Danish EPA provided a brief progress report on municipal plans to sort household waste into nine streams: food, paper, cardboard, glass, metal, plastic, food and beverage cartons, household hazardous waste, and residual waste. The higher the degree of sorting, the lower the amount of recyclable waste disposed, the EPA said.
"Several municipalities with a total of over one million Danes are ready to sort next week, while others are well on their way and working to get the new rules implemented before the end of 2022," the EPA said. Ninety-eight municipalities reported sorting efforts with the most sorted streams being paper (67 municipalities), metal (63 municipalities), and glass (60 municipalities). However, only 10 municipalities currently are sorting food and beverage cartons.
Municipalities are using a variety of methods to accomplish their sorting, from dedicated bins for some materials to mixed household waste streams to be sorted later. Some municipalities are opting for communal public bins in place of curbside collection.
"In the future, all waste containers will be equipped with pictograms, which will make it easier to sort waste," the EPA noted.
Get more information at
Each year the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) publishes a report on the amount of municipal solid waste managed at permitted waste facilities - both MSW generated in-state and imported from other states. Last month, DEQ published its report for 2020.
The amount of MSW managed in 2020 decreased by 24,800 tons from 2019, a decrease of more than one percent. The amount of MSW imported into Virginia also decreased by 108,000 tons or 1.9%. Five states - Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Washington, D.C. and North Carolina - accounted for 97% of the MSW imported into Virginia.
More than half the MSW - 13.6 million tons - was landfilled, and another 2.2 million tons was incinerated onsite.
The amount of construction and demolition (C&D) waste increased by 13% in 2020 from a year earlier. More than half the C&D waste in 2020 also was landfilled.
Download the 2020 Virginia Annual Report on Solid Waste Management at
Claiming the average Irish household wastes €700 on food annually and that vegetables, fruit and salad are the foods thrown out most often, today the Irish EPA launched its Stretch Out and Save Campaign that highlights "the variety of ways in which different foods should be stored."
The campaign is focused on produce. For example, it advises consumers to store potatoes in a cool dark place, while tomatoes need to be stored in open air to extend their edibility. Strawberries should be stored with their green tops on in a refrigerator, while carrots should also be stored in a refrigerator but not in a plastic bag. Instead store them loose in a vegetable bin to preserve them/
"As no two foods are the same, different produce will often have different storage requirements," according to the EPA. "Re-learning habits and implementing them as we put our shopping away will help to get the most out of groceries."
The Irish EPA announcement is posted at
Recycle BC, which manages the waste paper and packaging recycling program in British Columbia, unveiled a research project it is conducting with the University of Victoria to determine if flexible plastic packaging waste "can suitably be used as fibre reinforcement while reducing cracking, providing increased tensile strength and durability in concrete.
Recycle BC says concrete is brittle and prone to cracking, which is why it is typically reinforced with steel rebars or various kinds of fibers including plastic. The research project seeks to create a higher end use flexible plastic packaging and reduce GHG emissions associated with managing other flexible plastic packaging while reducing the potential for concrete to crack as it cures.
The initial phase of the project is expected to conclude in about a year.
For more information, go to
Australian state, territorial and national government efforts to address plastic waste are "on the right path," according to the Waste Management & Resource Recovery Association Australia (WMRR) in a July 1 communique.
"There is a ton of work happening behind the scenes between industry and government and of course, as with any new initiative of this size, there are bound to be teething issues, many of which relate to the complexity of what we are addressing and the long timeframes required to set up waste and resource recovery facilities – from the planning approval stage, to receiving specialist equipment from overseas, to construction and commissioning," Gayle Sloan, WMRR CEO stated. "However, we absolutely appreciate the close engagement and funding to date, which we would not have received in the absence of the bans."
The association said that industry is increasingly receiving clean material streams, thanks to strong policies implemented recently in Australia such as container deposit schemes and eliminating single-use plastics, all of which are in operation or about to roll out across jurisdictions.
"Packaging materials are complex and these schemes, coupled with investment in growing our industry, will assist in shifting our thinking, to ultimately create an integrated resource management system that first and foremost avoids the creation of waste, with materials that are consumed then appropriately managed within the waste and resource recovery system where we maximise the recovery and recycling of these materials to be used in remanufacturing," Sloan explained.
The complete WMRR statement is available for review at