15 November 2017:
A quick scan of recent waste, recycling and related environmental developments from around the globe...
Last week, the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) announced it had added perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), two suspected reproductive toxicants, to the Proposition 65 list. The additions took immediate effect.
Under Proposition 65 (the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986), businesses must provide warnings to residents about significant exposures to chemicals that cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm. The warnings may be placed on product labels, store shelves where the product is sold, or through other means.
PFOA has been used in some types of food packaging including takeout pizza boxes and microwave popcorn bags. PFOS has been used in textile coatings, cleaning product, firefighting form, and other products.
For more information, go to
Late last month, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet signed into law a bill to ban single-use plastic bags in 102 communities along the Chilean coast, according to an announcement by the Ministry of Environment. The new law is expected to reduce marine plastic litter. Local municipalities will be responsible for enforcement.
Environmental Minister Marcelo Mena said at a media event featuring President Bachelet that Chile has become "the first country in the Americas to establish a measure of this magnitude."
The law allows the use of biodegradable bags that will need to be certified by the country's National Standards Institute. The Ministry of Environment will develop environmental criteria the National Standards Institute will use for bag testing and certification.
The Chilean Ministry of Environment announcement is posted at
The Swedish EPA said yesterday that the overall recycling rate for packaging in Sweden fell to 69% in 2016, a 4% decline from 2014. The drop was attributed largely to the amount of wood packaging introduced in the country in 2015. Wood has one of the lowest recycling rates for a packaging material, said the Swedish EPA.
For the first time in five years, the aluminum container recycling rate dropped below 90%. The 2016 rate was 87%, a 5% decline since 2014.
Among the positive highlights, the PET packaging recycling increased to 47%, surpassing the 30% target, and the recycling rate for metal containers reached a record high of 79% in 2017, surpassing the 70% target.
Get more 2016 Swedish packaging recycling data at
Last week, MobileMuster, Australia's not-for-profit government accredited mobile phone recycling program, published its 2017 annual report. Among the data highlighted in the report is that 79.1 tons of mobile phone components were collected for recycling in 2016/2017, including over 1 million handsets and batteries. The annual collection rate of available mobile phones was estimated to be 68.5%, exceeding the 57.5%.
Since the phone collection program began, MobileMuster has taken in 1,323 tons of mobile phone components, including 11 million handsets and batteries. Metals recovered from the phones included gold, copper, silver, platinum, cobalt, palladium, lead, aluminum, nickel, cadmium, lithium and steel.
Download the MobileMuster 2017 Annual Report at
Every 4 years, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) produces a report on recycling in the state. Last week, DEQ released its report for 2016, which said the municipal solid waste (MSW) recycling rate increased to 42.6% from 41.5% in 2012. In terms of weight, Virginia recovered 3,306,451 tons of principal recyclable materials, but it disposed of 5,477,421 tons of MSW.
Some State Waste Planning Units (SWPUs) surpassed the state average. For example, Falls Church SWPU and Alleghany County SWPU reported 62.7% and 59.6% recycling rates, respectively.
The most recycled materials statewide were metals at 726,925 tons, paper at 700,302 tons, yard waste at 584,802 tons, commingled materials at 577,556 tons, and wood at 309,452 tons. Only 48,482 tons of plastic and 20,826 tons of glass were recycled, respectively.
Virginia also recycled 24,556 tons of batteries and 8,881 of electronics in 2016.
Download the 11-page Virginia DEQ 2106 recycling report at
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality announced last week that it has $500,000 available in matching grants in its FY 2018 budget to assist cities, towns, municipal solid waste and resource recovery authorities and some other government entities to purchase residential curbside recycling carts.
Michigan is seeks to double its recycling rate from 15% to 30%.
The purchased carts must be deployed by September 30, 2020. The deadline to submit applications is March 9.
The Michigan DEQ announcement is posted at
When the New South Wales (NSW) container deposit scheme launches on December 1, it will include a first, according to an announcement last week by the NSW EPA. The first is the option to credit redemptions to PayPal accounts using smart phones. (The NSW container deposit scheme is called Return and Earn.)
The NSW EPA said redemption payments can be transmitted to PayPal accounts at TOMRA Cleanway reverse vending machines, provided users download and install the myTOMRA app on their smart phones.
"As well as being a world-first, PayPal and TOMRA Cleanaway share the same ambition to make it easy to be green," said Anthony Drury, Director of Enterprise Business for PayPal Australia. "We look forward to continuing to drive innovation together in support of this exciting government initiative."
The NSW EPA announcement is posted at
A blog published last week by the Green Alliance, a United Kingdom environmental think tank, said that "the UK does not have the capacity to recycle the material we currently send to China."
The blog comes in response to statements made days earlier by Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Michael Gove that he was uncertain what effects a recently announced decrease by the Chinese government of future plastic waste imports (called National Sword) would have on UK plastic recycling.
The Green Alliance blog went on to say "the Chinese ban means that it will be difficult to find a new destination for the low quality material the UK produces" and that "some material will either be landfilled or stockpiled here, adding to the already considerable problem of waste fires, as well as offering increased opportunities for waste crime."
To read the Green Alliance blog on the UK's plastics recycling situation, go to
Dutch Recycling firm 4PET Recycling announced on Monday it will boost recycling of PET trays in the Netherlands starting in 2018. The announcement follows the signing of an agreement with Afvalfonds Verpakking, the Dutch Waste Packaging Fund established by packaging producers and importers to take back waste packaging.
4PET Recycling is completing a new plant in Duiven that will provide "a durable solution for the recycling of plastic trays on an industrial scale." It features technology that removes PET trays from the mixed plastic packaging waste stream.
PET trays are used to package meat, vegetables, fruit and other foods. According to Afvalfonds Verpakking, about 10% of household plastic packaging waste is PET trays.
The 4PET Recycling announcement is posted at
Last month, Braskem, Brazil's largest petrochemical company, and Made In Space, described as "the U.S. based leading developer of 3D printers for operation in zero gravity and a supplier to NASA," announced an initiative for 2018 that will be "the first commercial plastic recycling operation in the history of space missions."
The recycled plastic will come from bioplastic tools and other objects produced in space using 3D printers. Braskem manufacturers the sugar caned-based bioplastic that is made into printer filament. The recycling process will include crushing and extruding the bioplastic using a machine installed on the International Space Station.
The Braskem announcement is posted at