18 July 2018:
A quick scan of recent waste, recycling and related environmental developments from around the globe...
Last week, government agency Bruxelles Environnement opened a public consultation on an updated extended producer responsibility (EPR) scheme for batteries and rechargeable batteries.
The plan authorizes two organizations to collect and recycle batteries: ASBL Bebat would be responsible for portable household batteries and portable industrial and automotive batteries while a second organization, Febelauto, would be responsible for the growing waste electric and hydrid vehicle battery market. Febelauto, established in 1999, currently is responsible for the collection and recycling of end-of-life vehicles throughout Belgium.
Separate EPR plans for both sectors are available for review.
Download the Bruxelles Environnement public consultation document at
The Dutch Ministry of Intrastructure and Water Management (Rijkswaterstaat) announced last week that it signed an agreement with a number of public agencies and private companies to have a minimum of 5% recycled content in new concrete preparations. The Netherlands uses about 15 million cubic meters of concrete per year.
The Ministry also said the agreement calls for all signatories to "cooperate extensively on sustainability, from 100% recycling of materials to a substantial reduction in CO2 emissions."
"The time of making, using and then throwing away is over: the Netherlands is working on an economy without waste, and that applies just as well to concrete," said State Secretary Stientje van Veldhoven, whose ministry plans to renovate or replace about 200 concrete bridges in coming years.
The Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management announcement is posted at
On Sunday, the Israeli Ministry of Environmental Protection said that consumption of single-use plastic bags declined by 80% following the imposition in January 2017 of a NIS 0.10 fee on all such bags distributed by large supermarkets. The country consumed 7,091 fewer tons of plastic bags in 2017.
The Ministry of Environmental Protection said it is now "setting ambitious targets for reducing the use of plastic bags in future years, based on these results. A memorandum of regulations recently submitted by the Ministry indicates that in order to maintain success, a target of 170 bags per person was set for the years 2019-2025; 120 bags per person between 2025 and 2030; and every year from 2031 onwards, the target is 65 bags per person."
The help meet the future targets, the Ministry also said it is considering prohibiting the free distribution of disposable bags in all Israeli businesses and more extensively enforcing the country's packaging (extended producer responsibility) law.
The Israeli Ministry of Environmental Protection announcement is posted (in English) at
Last week, Der Grune Punkt, the German packaging waste compliance scheme, released its 2018 annual Environmental Performance Balance document. According to the document, De Grune Punkt recovered more than 1.78 million tons of waste packaging in 2017. The recovery rates for glass; paper, board, and cartons; and lightweight packaging were 85%, 71%, and 100%, respectively. All three rates exceeded targets set by the German Packaging Ordinance.
"We mechanically recycled almost 170,000 tons of plastic packages alone," said Der Grune Punkt CEO Michael Wiener. "This is a significant increase compared with the preceding year, but it's only the beginning when we start looking at the years ahead. We shall be recycling significantly more plastics, and also upsizing our own capacities."
Der Grune Punkt estimated that by recovering and recycling packaging in 2017, 1.1 million tons of CO2 equivalent emissions were avoided and 41 billion megajoules of primary energy were conserved.
To review the 2018 annual Environmental Performance Balance document, go to
Some US states are concerned that China's National Sword Policy, which restricts waste imports in that country, is adversely affecting their recycling programs. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (PCA) has a somewhat different perspective.
According to a PCA news release earlier this month, "Minnesota has an opportunity to be a leader in such markets, as we are seeking to increase the number of businesses that use recycled materials."
The PCA says that the state's "public and private sectors have made strategic investments in recycling over the past 30-plus years", and today more than 260 Minnesota companies use recycled materials to manufacture their products, generating approximately $3.2 billion in wages and $665 million in federal and local tax revenue.
"Minnesotans wondering about shifting world markets need to stay the course - keep recycling, but recycle right," said the PCA. Then the agency provided tips for improving the quality of household recycling streams.
The full Minnesota PCA news release is posted at
Last last month, the Dublin (Ireland) City Council, along with two county councils and the Irish EPA, launched a major public awareness campaign that argues "disposable cups are having a detrimental impact on the environment." The campaign will run for three weeks using radio, Dublin Bus signs, cinema advertising, and digital and social media.
"These cups cannot be recycled in Ireland and can only be disposed of to landfill or incineration," said Fionnghuala Ryan, Executive Environmental Scientific Officer, Waste Management Services for the Dublin City Council. "A recent trial of segregated waste bins in Dublin City centre found that coffee cups contaminated all waste streams, so this presents a major litter problem for all local authorities."
The campaign, which is called "Don't Be Dick," encourages residents to carry reusable coffee cups with them when they order their favorite carryout coffees.
The City of Dublin announcement is posted at
Late last month, the City of Denver (Colorado) announced the launch of a collaborative effort to reduce residential and business food waste. Denver's partners in the effort are the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Rockefeller Foundation.
The effort seeks to reduce food waste, rescue edible surplus food for needy residents and recycle no longer edible food. Elements in the effort are a public education campaign, voluntary challenges for food-related businesses, and encouraging and incentivizing organics recycling and composting by residents. It is one component of the city's Food Action Plan
The City of Denver announcement is posted at
For a second summer, French paint and chemical waste recycling compliance provider EcoDDS will be setting up a sort of chemical waste playland for children. The beach attraction, which features "inflatable structures of 5 meters high representing waste and various obstacles make up the 'Mission Waste' course, will appear on seven popular French beaches from July 17 through August 11.
According to EcoDDS, children wanting to complete the Mission Waste course will be required to "deposit the fake chemical waste entrusted to them in the collection bin."
An unusual public education concept or something just plain creepy? You decide.
Recently, Washington, D.C. Mayor became an official supporter of the Our Last Straw Campaign, which describes itself as "a coalition of restaurants, bars, cafes, hotels, event venues, and organizations across the DC metropolitan region and beyond on a mission: Eliminate single-use plastic straws."
"Mid-way through the Year of the Anacostia [River], there is no better time for our community to double down on efforts that protect our waterways and help us meet our waste diversion goals," said Mayor Muriel Bowser. "Residents and businesses are eager to be part of the solution, and through the Our Last Straw coalition, it's going to be easy to do just that. I encourage everyone to take the pledge to say no to plastic straws, and to help keep our neighborhoods, our waterways, and our city trash free."
According to the announcement by the District of Columbia Department of Environment (DDOE), 200,000 pounds of trash is estimated to enter the Anacostia River each year, including plastic bags, foam, and other food service ware items. The city was already banned the retail distribution of single-use plastic bags and polystyrene foam carryout food packaging.
The DDOE announcement is available for review at
Last month, WEEE Ireland, a not-for-profit organisation funded by electronic and electrical equipment producers, announced that in 2017, the organization recycled a record 35,708 tonnes of e-waste. The organization recycled an additional 874 tons of waste batteries. The per capita recycling rate rose to 10.08 kilograms.
The statistics are included in WEEE Ireland latest annual report.
Helping push the overall increase was the category of small household appliances, which saw the recycling rate increase from 26% in 2016 to 32% in 2017. Also recycled were an estimated 3.2 million lamps and lightbulbs and 195,000 televisions and monitors.
"68 percent of all household and dual use electrical and electronic equipment placed on the market by WEEE Ireland members was recycled in 2017, ensuring WEEE Ireland areas remain on track to exceed the 65 percent target by 2019," WEEE Ireland stated in the announcement.
Get more information at