4 August 2021:
A quick scan of recent waste, recycling and related environmental developments from around the globe...
The British Columbia Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy said last week that more than 20 municipalities in the province are developing bylaws banning single-use plastics. The local governments were recently authorized to do so under an amendment to British Columbia's Community Charter.
The Ministry also said the emerging single-use plastics municipal bylaws are "one part of the CleanBC Plastics Action Plan. The Province is also expanding the number of products to be recycled through residential recycling programs by adding milk and milk-alternative containers to the deposit-refund system effective February 2022, and more single-use items to the packaging part of the Recycling Regulation effective January 2023."
Get more information at
To support a product stewardship program that collects and recycles mattresses in California, mattress retailers in the state must pay a $10.50 fee on each mattress and box springs they sell. Last week, the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) announced it had reached a $63,034 settlement in penalties and back payments with a mattress retailer for collecting recycling fees from customers but not forwarding them to the stewardship program as required by law. CalRecycle said the retailer would have to pay an additional $49,098 in penalties, if it violates the law again within the next three years.
The California Used Mattress Recovery and Recycling Act was approved in 2013. Last year, more than 1.5 million mattresses were recycled in the state, diverting more than 64.8 million pounds of material from landfills, according to the California Mattress Recycling Council.
The CalRecycle announcement is posted at
Today, Germany's Federal Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamtes) reported that in 2019 the use of refillable (returnable) glass beverage bottles increased for the first time since 2003, the year a deposit on disposable bottles took effect. However, the increase was slight: only 0.6% from 2018, and it was due largely to greater use of refillable water bottles.
Refillable glass beverage bottles placed in the market in 2019 accounted for 41.8% of all containered beverages, but that is well below the yet to be achieved 70% statutory target.
"The data show that further efforts are necessary to strengthen reusable systems and thereby counteract our excessive packaging consumption," the UBA announcement stated. "Because every time a returnable bottle is refilled, this saves the waste of one-way beverage packaging. If the current development continues (with the exception of water), the reusable target of the Packaging Act cannot be achieved."
For more information, go to
Last month, Sustainability Victoria, an agency of the Victorian Government of Australia, announced it will award a total of $6.3 million in grants to 23 projects that will help transition the state to a circular economy. The grants come from the Victorian Circular Economy Business Innovation Centre.
Twelve of the 23 funded projects will reduce or recycle food waste by 50,280 tons annually. Altogether the 23 projects will implement new business models to design out more than 41,450 tons of business waste and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 42,760 tons each year, according to Sustainability Victoria. They are projected to recycle 27,680 tons of waste into new products each year.
In late July, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) announced that it awarded five grants totaling $565,000 to "expand the recycling operations and increase the amount and quality of recycling" at five companies in the state. The grants come from the Massachusetts Recycling Business Development Grant Program.
The program targets "difficult-to-recycle materials, including container glass, food waste, mattresses, and textiles," Mass DEP explained. "This round of grants will fund projects that support recovery of these wastes by stimulating the development of the state’s infrastructure to better manage these materials. As a condition of receiving funding, grant recipients commit to meeting tonnage goals over a two-year period."
The announcement noted that since 2016 MassDEP awarded $4.3 million in grants to state recycling businesses.
Last week, the Waste Agency of Catalonia (Agencia de Residus de Catalunya or ARC) unveiled details of a pilot program to replace disposable plastic cups with deposited drinking glasses at beach bars located in seven municipalities within the Delta de l'Ebre National Park.
Instead of receiving their beverages in disposable plastic cups, customers will have their drink orders filled using washable, reusable glasses that bear a special logo designed for the pilot program. The cost of the glass is included in the drink price. Customers may opt to keep their glasses as souvenirs or return them to the bar and receive deposit refunds.
"The measure will help to improve the environment and the attractiveness of the beaches and, at the same time, raise awareness and change the behavior of the local population and visitors to the generation of disposable plastic cups, promoting reuse and the prevention of this waste, which often ends up in the sea as marine litter," according to the ARC announcement.
The pilot in Catalonia, a semi-autonomous region that includes Barcelona, is one of ten pilots planned in the Mediterranean basin as part of the European Plastic Busters MPAs project.
On Monday, the Peruvian Ministry of Environment (Minam) approved Ministerial Resolution 138-2021-MINAM, which provides guidance to municipalities in establishing source separated recycling programs. The document is "a technical instrument that must be prepared, approved and implemented by the provincial and district municipalities, thus allowing an adequate valuation of the organic and inorganic usable solid waste."
The resolution addresses four phases of source separated recycling programs including planning and design, formulating and getting approval, implementation, and progress monitoring. The goal of such programs is to maximize the value of recoverable waste materials.
Download Peruvian https://cdn.www.gob.pe/uploads/document/file/2049456/RM.%20138-2021-MINAM.pdf.pdf
The Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) published a 23-page guide late last month to support Australian businesses to use more recycled content in their packaging. Among other subjects discussed in the guide are the current barriers to using recycled content and how to overcome them and practical steps for businesses to use more recycled content.
APCO said the guide "provides a detailed look at each material stream, exploring the applications, performance and appearance of recycled content for a range of packaging material types. The materials covered in the document include – PET; HDPE; PP; flexible plastics; other plastics (including polystyrene, expanded polystyrene, polyvinyl chloride and nylon); paper and paperboard; glass and metals – aluminium and steel."
APCO is a "co-regulatory organization" of businesses, industry groups, and state and federal governments tasked with helping Australia achieve its 2025 National Packaging Targets.
Download the APCO guide at
We know the covid-19 pandemic has caused problems for industrial output, supply chains and other economic aspects of business. Last week, the British Plastics Federation (BPF) released statistics on plastics forcework reductions due to covid-19 self-isolation requirements imposed by the National Health Service (NHS). Receiving a self-isolation text message from the NHS is referred to as "getting pinged."
Based on a survey BPF conducted of 106 of its member companies earlier in July, 60% reported they were missing staff due to self-isolation requirments with an average of 7% of staff being absent because of the requirements.
Further, BPF said 53% of plastics companies surveryed "have had to reduce production, with 60% of those citing a lack of a staff due to COVID-19. Since the start of the pandemic, one in five companies has completely stopped production at some point."
"Plastic and plastic products are absolutely essential for many industries and services to function," said BPF Director General Philip Law. "The pandemic is presenting huge challenges to almost every business and the safety of workers should be of paramount importance. But if the situation gets worse, it risks having a knock-on effect, disrupting numerous supply chains, so it is imperative that the UK plastics industry receives clear messaging from the government on whether plastics manufacturers are deemed a ‘critical’ sector."
The BPF announcement is posted at