14 February 2018:
A quick scan of recent waste, recycling and related environmental developments from around the globe...
According to a report released last week by the European Paper Recycling Council (EPRC), the European recycling rate for paper edged up to 72.5% in 2016 from 71.9% in 2015. The EPRC attributed the recycling rate increase to an increase in the amount of used paper collected and a decrease in new paper sales.
"We continue to make progress in elevating Europe's recycling rate, but we must not remain complacent," said EPRC Secretary Ulrich Leberle. "A renewed focused on separate collection of paper for recycling is even more crucial to ensuring that Europe remains a global leader on paper recycling."
RPRC set a goal to recycle 74% of waste paper by 2020. In 1991, the European paper recycling rate was only 40%, according to the organization.
Download the latest EPRC Monitoring Report at
Last month, Ecovidrio, Spain's glass bottle recycling compliance organization, said that the country's glass bottle recycling rate climbed from 31.3% in 2000 to 73% last year. As announcement came as Ecovidrio commemorates its 20th anniversary this year.
Ecovidrio said that more than 11 million tons of glass bottles were recycled over the past 20 years, preventing more than 7 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions and the extraction of more than 13 tons of raw materials.
To help achieve the relatively high glass recycling rate, Ecovidrio maintains a network of roughly 200,000 glass recycling containers ("igloos") across the country.
Get more information at
On Friday, the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME) announced the availability of €300 million in funding for research and innovation projects in 2018 and 2019.
Following are the categories of projects ADEME seeks to fund: 1) the circular economy and waste recovery, 2) eco-efficient industries, 3) bio-based materials and chemistry, 4) advanced biofuels, agriculture and eco-efficient agro-food industries, 5) mobilization of biomass and production of new resources, 6) renewable energy, 7) optimization of energy networks, and 8) buildings and centers with high environmental performance,
In regard to the first category, ADEME said it is seeking projects that "improve the design of products and services so they are more resource efficient and have less impactful on the environment, yet improve the economy" and "remove the obstacles to the recycling and recovery, including energy, of waste."
The Waste Agency of Catalan, the semi-autonomous region of Spain, announced on January 31 that it is providing €1.8 million in grants to 56 "local entities" to help prevent waste and reuse any waste that is generated. Among them are 31 non-profit organizations.
The funding will support programs that reduce waste generation - particularly food waste - and reuse material items so that they do not need to be disposed or recycled.
The Catalan Waste Agency Announcement is posted at
Last week, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (DEM) said it has awarded grants totaling about $1 million to 12 Indiana companies, local governments and districts. The two largest grants were awarded to businesses: $419,698 to Bunn Box, Inc. to improve its construction and demolition waste processing operations, and $166,355 to Republic Services to improve the quality of glass recyclate it processes.
Financing for the Recycling Market Development Program, which rolled out in the early 1990s, comes from half of the state's 50-cent per ton waste management fee.
For more information, go to
At the end of last month, United Kingdom Environment Minister Therese Coffey said that her government is now accepting "expressions of interest" from non-profit organizations interested in helping "increase redistribution of surplus food from food businesses to people in need." Coffey said £500,000 in funding is available. Individual grants can range from £20,000 and £75,000.
"We're particularly looking for new routes and fresh partnerships to get more surplus food to people in need," said Peter Maddox, Director of the Waste Resources Action Programme, the agency that will be awarding the grants. "I'm keen to see expressions of interest that will increase redistribution from food manufacturers and businesses not already redistributing food, or which can significantly improve and increase existing redistribution chains."
Establishment of the Food Waste Reduction Fund was announced by the UK Government in December.
Get more information at
Concerned that random samples of Danish ground water taken last fall had microplastic particles present, the Danish Environmental Protection agency said on Monday that has begun routine testing of drinking (tap) water across the country. A new testing method developed by Aarhus University is being employed.
So far three pilot tests have been conducted, but two of the three 50-liter samples contained no particles and the third only a single particle. The EPA said it will still roll out a national testing project with results from the testing being published in a report this summer.
The Danish EPA announcement is posted at
Last week, international pastry and coffee purveyor Dunkin' Donuts announced it will begin phasing out the use of coffee cups made of polystyrene foam (extruded polystyrene) in its U.S. stores beginning this spring. The phaseout should be completed by 2020, according to the announcement by the Canton, Massachusetts-based corporation.
Replacing polystyrene foam cups will be cups made of double-wall paper certified to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Standard.
Dunkin' Donuts' announcement follows an announcement by MacDonalds last month in which the fast food giant said it is phasing out the use of all polystyrene foam food and drink packaging.
The Dunkin' Donuts announcement is posted at
Last month, ReFED, a non-profit organization funded largely by corporations, published its Retail Food Waste Action Guide, the latest in a series of guides specific to restaurants, foodservice providers and philanthropic organizaztions.
In preparing the Retail Food Waste Action Guide, ReFED consulted with leading US food retailers Ahold Delhaize USA, Albertsons, Kroger, Publix, Safeway, Target, Wegmans, Walmart, and Whole Foods. The guide addresses topics ranging from standardized date labeling and dynamic pricing systems to dynamic routing and cold chain management, techniques that not only can reduce food waste but increase store profits.
ReFED believes that food waste in the United States can be reduced to the level where 1.8 billion meals per year could be saved. The United States Government set a target to reduce food waste 50% by 2030.
Download the ReFED guide at
The Recycling Partnership, a non-profit organization that uses "public-private partnerships to help budget-strapped local governments get the most out of the recycling program," said last week that Garland, Texas became the 15th community to receive funding and technical assistance to roll out a curbside recycling cart system. The 96-gallon recycling carts now in operation in Garland are expected to boost municipal recycling by another 2,000 tons annually.
Since The Recycling Partnership was founded in 2003, it has helped put more than 412,000 curbside recycling carts into operation.
For more information, go to