2 June 2021:
A quick scan of recent waste, recycling and related environmental developments from around the globe...
Defra noted that since the original five-pence charge took effect, consumption of single-use plastic bags fell a dramatic 95%. Before the charge, per capita consumption of single-use plastic bags was 140 bags. Currently, per capita consumption is only four bags.
"The 5p bag charge has been hugely successful, but we can go further," said Environmental Minister Rebecca Pow. "From today we will increase the charge to 10p and extend it to all businesses. This will support the ambitious action we have already taken in our fight against plastic as we build back greener."
The Defra announcement is posted at
Last week, the International Aluminum Institute (IAI) said collection of aluminum scrap for recycling reached 20 million tons in 2019, a new high. By recycling the scrap about 300 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions were avoided, according to the IAI.
"Aluminium demand is expected to increase by about 80% in 2050, and the IAI forecasts that recycled aluminium could meet half of that demand," said Marlen Bertram, Director of Director of Scenarios & Forecasts. "With ambitious collection targets for used beverage cans and improved recycling technologies for foil, this rate could even be higher."
Most of the aluminum scrap collected in 2019 came from three sector: packaging, vehicles and building and construction.
The International Aluminum Institute communique may be reviewed at https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210525005793/en/International-Aluminium-Institute-Post-consumer-Aluminium-Scrap-Tops-20-Million-Tonnes-for-the-First-Time.
Yesterday, the industry association Waste Sweden (Avfall Sverige) said the amount of household waste recycled per capita increased 5% in 2020, from 147 kg in 2019 to 155 kg in 2020. In total, more than 4.8 million tons of waste was recycled last year.
The amount of bulky waste collected from household also increased by 10%, and the recycling rate for organic waste, the largest stream in household waste, increased by 13%.
"Residual waste decreased by 5 percent, so increased sorting of food waste and packaging has an effect," said Jenny Westin, advisor for statistics at Avfall Sverige. "This means that we are on the right path to achieving Avfall Sweden's and the municipalities' goal of reducing the amount of food and residual waste by 25% by 2025 compared to 2015."
The Waste Sweden announcement is posted at
Last week, Ecoembes, the Spanish packaging recycling compliance scheme, said that in 2020 recycling of plastic bottles, metal cans and cartons increased by 8% from 2019 while recycling of cardboard and paper increased by only 2.7%.
Based on materials placed in community yellow (packaging containers) and blue (cardboard and paper) bins, the per capita deposit amounts for recycling in 2020were 28.3 kg for containers and 19.5 kg of paper and cardboard.
A combined 209,621 tons of household packaging, cardboard and paper were collected for recycling in Madrid in 2020, an increase of 8% despite the covid-19 pandemic.
Last week, RECYC-QUEBEC and Circle Economy published a 30-page progress report on the province's progress in transitioning to a circular economy. The top level statistic: the province's economy is only 3.5% circular, which means that "the majority of resources the economy uses to satisfy its needs and wants are not cycled," according to the report.
The report discusses a series of metrics used to gauge circularity progress. The metrics are based on four types of mateiral "flows" four and "circular inputs and non-circular inputs." For example, circular inputs include socioeconomic cycling (the share of secondary materials in the total consumption of an economy) and ecological cycling (the share of renewable primary biomass in the total consumption of an economy.)
Analyzing the data provided a foundation for RECYC-QUEBEC and Circle Economy to make six priority recommendations to increase economic circularity in Quebec. The recommendations are designing circularity into material stocks, prioritizing conscious consumables, striving for circular agriculture, leveraging government procurement, making manufactring more circular, and making mobility cleaner.
The report could provide a useful template for anyone interested in gauging circularity in a structured manner. Download an English language version of the circular economy report on Quebec at
Last week, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced it is awarding $20.7 million in Clean Communities Grants to clean up and reduce litter in communities across the state. The grants program is funded by a tax placed on 15 categories of businesses that "may produce litter-generating products."
Grants are awarded to municipalities and counties, and the largest grants ranged in size from $430,941 to $59,594.
The Acting DEP Commissioner, Shawn LaTourette, also recommended residents start using reusable shopping bags in advance of a new law that bans the distribution of single-use plastic carryout bags beginning in May 2022. DEP said single-use plastic carryout bags are a commonly littered item.
Get more information at
Last month, the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) said it will award $3.5 million in Food Waste Prevention and Rescue Grants to fund infrastructure that will divert fresh food away from landfills where it generates methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Twelve projects will be funded.
"Grant projects are expected to create up to 24 new jobs and reduce climate pollution by 134,951 MTCO2e – equal to taking more than 29,000 cars off the road for a year," CalRecycled said.
The department also noted that California disposes of approximately 11 billion pounds of food annually.
The CalRecycle announcement is posted at
Last week, five leading UK manufacturers with coordination with Ecosurety, a major producer responsibility compliance scheme in the UK, announced the launch of the Flexible Plastic Fund, which was created to "help make flexible plastic recycling economically viable for recyclers and easier for consumers." The five manufacturers are Mars UK, Mondelēz International, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Unilever.
"The Fund intends to improve flexible plastic recycling and reduce plastic pollution by giving the material a stable value," according to the May announcement. "This will in turn increase the supply of recycled plastic enabling industry to become more 'circular' and meet the forthcoming UK plastic packaging tax obligations. This will motivate investment in much needed jobs and infrastructure to make flexible plastic recycling a financially sustainable system in the UK."
The five manufacturers contributed a combined £1 million for the fund. The announcement said the fund welcomes collaboration from other manufacturers, retailers and recyclers. The fund also was welcomed by the British Plastics Federation.
Get more information about the new fund at
Last week, the Chilean Ministry of Environment, the Federation of Chilean Industry (Sociedad de Fomento Fabril), and the Association of Plastics Industries (Asociacion de Industriales del Plastico) jointly launched a project to collect and recycle post-consumer flexible polypropylene, according to a Ministry of Environmenta announcement. Also participating in the project are packaging producers Agrosuper, Carozzi, Nestle, Tresmontes Lucchetti and Walmart.
The program seeks to recycle waste polypropylene packaging into pellets that can be used to manufacture other products. Two environmental management firms, TriCiclos y MSur, will operate eight collection points in metropolitan areas. The project should be fully operational in five months, according to the Ministry of Environment.
So far this year, three US states approved laws supporting the "advanced recycling" of post-use polymers to manufacture a range of products from new polymers to chemical feedstocks and even fuel. Other states have approved similar laws in the past few years. Yesterday, the US Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) weighed in on the legislative trend.
APR President and CEO Steve Alexander said the APR supports advanced recycling of post-use polymers " but it should only be called recycling if it goes back into new plastics."
For more information, go to