19 February 2020:
A quick scan of recent waste, recycling and related environmental developments from around the globe...
"Tracking harmful chemicals is the key for moving towards a more sustainable circular economy," said Bjorn Hansen, Executive Director of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), on February 17. "All materials are made of chemicals and we need to make sure we know which products contain harmful chemicals before they are recycled. Our upcoming database will help us to make products safer."
The ECHA announcement reminded producers that by January 5, 2021 they will need to submit to ECHA information on Substances of Concern In Products (SCIPs). The February 17 communique also stated that a prototype of the online database for SCIPs is now available for testing. A final version of the online database will be ready for use later this year.
ECHA said a goal of the new database is "to promote the substitution of hazardous chemicals and transition towards a safer circular economy."
For more information, go to
The environmental ministers of Norway and India have agreed to "explore a Global Agreement to stop Plastic Pollution," according to an announcement made last week by the Norwegian Minister for Environment at a United Nations conference.
"Plastic pollution is found in in every corner of the world," said Norwegian Environmental Minister Sveinung Rotevatn. "The amount of plastics litter in the oceans is disturbing. This is a global concern because plastic waste is distributed along the oceans currents, often far away from its point of release."
According to the Indian Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, the two countries "are committed to supporting global action to address plastic pollution and exploring the feasibility of establishing a new global agreement on plastic pollution."
The new effort likely will likely would be channeled through the United Nations Environment Programme.
The Norwegian Ministry of Environmental announcement is posted at
On Monday, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (ELGE) released a report on the amount of solid waste disposed in Michigan landfills in 2019. The 65-page report indicates landfill disposal increased by 11% from 2018, an increase of 25,398 cubic yards.
The amount of Michigan-generated solid waste disposed in Michigan landfills in 2019 increased by roughly 3.4 million cubic yards. Additionally, the amounts of solid waste received from Indiana, Wisconsin and Ohio for disposal in Michigan increased. However, the amounts of solid waste received from Canada, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut and several other states decreased.
Download the latest Michigan EGLE landfilled solid waste report at
The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) announced last week that it approved two pilot programs in an effort to increase the beverage container redemption rate for its container deposit scheme. The two pilot programs of the first of five authorized by the passage last year of two bills - Senate Bill 458 and Assembly Bill 54.
One pilot program, which will be based in Culver City (in Los Angeles County), "features a mobile redemption center that will rotate between two selected locations six days a week for a total of 43 hours. The city and pilot project recycler may add additional locations in the future."
The second pilot program, which is based in San Francisco, "combines a traditional recycling center site with a bag-drop collection program that will utilize collection bins at various locations throughout the city. Consumers will be able to locate collection bins using their mobile phone, drop their tagged bag of empty beverage containers in the bin, and receive electronic payment for their materials within 72 hours after the material is processed."
Get more information at
Earlier this month, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) published the results of a study (based on field research) of roadway litter in the state. The study, which was conducted with assistance from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the non-profit organization Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, was done in 2018-2019.
According to the study, there are an estimated 502 million pieces of litter on Pennsylvania roads. Cigarette butts are the most commonly littered item (37%) followed by plastics (30%) with with film and beverage containers the most prevalent plastic items. An estimated 29.3 million beverage containers line Pennsylvania roads.
Pennsylvania municipalties spend $68 million annually on litter cleanup, education, enforcement, and prevention efforts with Philadelphia alone spending more than $36 million, the announcement noted.
Download the 110-page Pennsylvania roadway litter study at
The Quebec Ministry of Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change said last week that it plans to spend $30 million for modernizing recycling and materials recovery in the province, including improved curbside collection and better sorting and processing facilities. The investment will be in tandem with stronger extended producer responsibility requirements for packaging, printed paper and newspapers to be implemented in the next few years.
"Subject to the adoption of measures by the National Assembly, the modernized curbside recycling would come into force in the fall of 2022," the Ministry communique stated. "As its deployment would be done over a transitional period of three years, this system should be fully operational by summer 2025."
Get more information at
Sustainability Victoria, a a statutory authority funded by the Government of Victoria, announced last week it is making up to $2 million in grants available for "building the capability and capacity to collect, store and reprocess e-waste" in the Australian state.
Last July, the Government of Victoria implemented a ban on landfill disposal of e-waste. The grants announcement last week is the latest round of funding in what is planned to be a $16.5 million investment in e-waste infrastructure development and public awareness building about electronics recycling. Individual grants of up to $500,000 are available for industry, local governments, and Waste and Resource Recovery Groups.
The Sustainability Victoria announcement is posted at
More than $6 million in grants for efforts to boost recycling, reduce waste and litter, and clean up and process scrap tires was awarded by the Nebraske Department of Environmental Quality, according to an announcement earlier this month.
Thirty-three waste reduction and recycling projects received grants totaling $2,415,029. Seventy-seven grants totaling $1,856,735 were awarded to scrap tire projects for tire clean up and "to partially reimburse the cost equipment to process scrap tires and help fund many products made from recycled scrap tires."
Funding for the grants come from three sources: a fee on solid waste disposed in landfills, an annual retail business sales fee, and a $1 per tire fee imposed on each new tire sold in the state.
For more information, go to
Last week, Vereniging Afvalbedrijven (the Dutch Waste Management Association) outlined its concerns publicly about compostable plastics being integrated in the food waste composting stream. Vereniging Afvalbedrijven's position is "focus on the recyclability of bioplastics and avoid the use of compostable bioplastics." The statement follows publication by Wageningen University of findings about the compatibility of compostable plastics and bioplastics and food waste composting.
The association questioned the conclusions of what it viewed as a limited study involving only one composting company and noted that "only a few compostable bioplastic products have been added to the composting process. These products are not representative of compostable bioplastic products in general, because the choice of these products is geared in advance to possible co-benefit and understanding among citizens."
"Compostable bioplastics provide an advantage only in very limited applications, such as collection bags for organic waste, an added value to the circular economy and for this reason the Vereniging Afvalbedrijven continues to argue for the recycling of bioplastics," the association statement concludes.
The Vereniging Afvalbedrijven announcement is posted at
"Billions in Govt Waste Levies But Less Than 10% Spent on Recycling Infrastructure" was the headline for an statement released last week by the Australian Council of Recycling (ACOR). The statement accompanied publication of a 14-page ACOR report analyzing state and federal government recycling grant levels.
According to the report, state governments collected $2.67 billion in waste levies in fiscal years 2018 and 2019 but invested only $446,093,088 million in waste, recycling and resource recovery grants funding. Of the grants funding, only "50.5% ($225.3m) was allocated to infrastructure-related initiatives and reprocessing-related initiatives."
"Governments set up waste levies with the explicit aim of incentivising waste reduction," said ACOR CEO Pete Shmigel. "But more than 80% of these State-based levies are ending up in consolidated revenue or other purposes. This is problematic because recycling rates have plateaued and Australia will no longer be allowed to export a great deal of material to Asia for recycling."
The complete ACOR statement is posted at