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The Bulletin news briefs

13 May 2020:

A quick scan of recent waste, recycling and related environmental developments from around the globe...

Chilean Government Sets Initial Date for Manufacturers to Declare Priority Products under New EPR Law

In Chile, a recently enacted extended producer responsibility law (Law 20,920) requires makers and importers of "priority products" to declare the number of products they introduce in the Chilean market annually. On May 12, the Ministry of Environment announced that the deadline to submit product introduction data for last year is June 4. It is the first such declaration.

The priority products are lubricating oils, packaging, electrical and electronic devices, batteries, tires and automotive (lead-acid) batteries. Producers can enter the required information online at http://vu.mma.gob.cl.

For more information, go to
https://mma.gob.cl/ministerio-del-medio-ambiente-informa-fecha-de-declaracion-de-los-productores-de-productos-prioritarios/.


United Kingdom Government Publishes Guidance for Reopening Local Recycling Centers during Covid-19 Pandemic

Last week, the United Kingdom's Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs and the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government jointly released a guidance on "how recycling centres can be safely re-opened during the coronavirus outbreak." The guidance covers the rationale for how and when to open household waste recycling centers, determining what materials can be collected safely, decision-making advice for local governments, and workforce and public protection issues. It also contains an annex on communicating with residents.

"Councils are being encouraged to open sites to avoid the build-up of waste in homes and businesses and reduce the opportunity for fly-tipping - but only where social distancing can be maintained and the public and staff can be kept safe," according to the government announcement. "Under the terms of the lockdown, householders can travel to a centre if the waste in their home presents a risk of injury or a risk to public health or the local environment. The guidance sets out how local authorities could manage access and the number of people who are able to be on site at any one time."

The UK Government guidance is available at
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/ministers-urge-councils-to-plan-for-safe-re-opening-of-recycling-centres.


Connecticut DEEP Approves Resumption of Container Depost Scheme Operations

Beverage container redemptions under the Connecticut container deposit scheme (CDS) will resume on May 20 on "a limited basis," according to an announcement last week by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). Since March 17, DEEP "has allowed retailers to temporarily suspend their redemption activities, providing them with greater flexibility to more effectively maintain and manage their store environments with a focus on product supply and safety measures during the COVID-19 pandemic."

"Retailers are planning to resume bottle operations on a limited basis on May 20, with a full resumption of operations by June 3," DEEP explained.

The Connecticut CDS places a five-cent deposit on beer and malt beverages; carbonated soft drinks and waters, and noncarbonated beverages provided in glass, metal or plastic containers of three liters or less in volume.

The Connecticut DEEP announcement is posted at
https://portal.ct.gov/DEEP/News-Releases/News-Releases---2020/State-Eyes-Full-Resumption-of-Bottle-Redemption.

Government of New Zealand Allocates $8 Million for Grants to Reduce Waste

The New Zealand Ministry of Environment has placed another $8 million in its Waste Minimization Fund to "invest in projects that are designed to reduce, reuse and recycle and ensure New Zealand has a proud track record on waste, according to announcement by the Ministry last week." Money for the Waste Minimization Fund, which was established in 2008, comes from landfill disposal levies.

"In particular, projects around food rescue and distribution, supporting existing waste sector organisations and advancing product stewardship are encouraged as we support New Zealand's economic recovery from COVID-19," said Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage.

Businesses and non-businesses are eligile to apply, and the deadline to submit expressions of interest in May 22. Eligible projects include those that promote waste minimization through education; reduce litter; obtain information on existing waste quantities and composition, behavior, or economic incentives, as a precursor to effectively reducing waste and/or increasing reuse, recycling and recovery of waste materials; or help design targeted product stewardship schemes to promote and achieve waste minimization.

Get more information at
https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/reducing-waste-and-creating-jobs-minister-announces-2020-waste-minimisation-fund.


Hong Kong Government Provides Waste Workers $6.5 Million to Protect against Covid-19

The Government of Hong Kong said last week that it is providing $6.5 million in subsidies to 809 private municipal solid waste (MSW) collectors to help them purchase more personal protective equipment and "strengthen the disinfection of refuse transport vehicles to curb the risk of virus transmission and maintain environmental hygiene." Each of the waste collectors will receive a "one-off relief subsidy" of $8,000.

"The beneficiaries of the subsidy are the eligible private MSW collectors operating in the first quarter of this year, i.e. those refuse transfer station account holders who transported MSW to refuse transfer stations or landfills between January 1 and March 31 of this year," the government announcement explained.

The Government of Hong Kong announcement is posted at
https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202005/06/P2020050600201.htm.


Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Announces Grants to Support Recyclables Market Development

Last week, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MCPA) said it has $400,000 available for businesses and non-profit organizations that use recyclable materials in their products. The Recycling Market Development Grants program was approved by the Minnesota legislature last year in part "in the wake of China refusing to import U.S. recyclables."

MCPA is particularly interested in proposals for "research, development, and testing of new or existing recyclable materials as the basis for products" and is wants to support "businesses looking to expand their use of recyclable materials with new equipment, facilities, or production methods."

Individual grant amounts can range from $50,000 to $250,000. The deadline to submit applications is May 29.

For more information, go to
https://www.pca.state.mn.us/news/mpca-grants-aim-strengthen-demand-recyclable-materials.


Brazilian Ministry of Environment Highlights Accomplishments during First Year of Zero Waste Plan

Last week, the Brazilian Ministry of Environment commemorated the first year of the country's Zero Waste Plan by published a list of plan accomplishments month-by-month for the year ending on April 30.

Among the actions taken to support the zero waste plan were the launch of a national information system for states and municipalities to help them manage municipal solid waste, investing R $ 64 million in waste management activities and infrastructure, supporting the inclusion of more energy recovery from solid waste, opening a public consultation on a stewardship plan (sectoral agreement) for electronics, finaling another sectoral agreement on waste lead-acid batteries, expanding the product stewardship scheme for lubricating oil, and undertaking actions in support of World Cleaning Day.

Get more information at
https://www.mma.gov.br/informma/item/15745-programa-lix%C3%A3o-zero-fecha-seu-primeiro-ano-com-s%C3%A9rie-de-entregas.html.


Ontario Launches Provincial Day of Action on Litter

Yesterday the Ontarion Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks announced the launch of the Provincial Day of Action on Litter "when all Ontarians can raise awareness and take action to reduce litter and waste at home and in our communities."

Actions the Ministry encouraged residents to take include choosing products with less packaging and replacing single-use food wraps with reusable storage containers, better understanding what to place in curbside green bins and blue boxes, and ensuring the garbage bags containing disposable gloves and masks used during the covid-19 pandemic are properly tied or sealed.

The Ministry announcement also stated, "When the time is right, our government will work with communities and our partners to organize litter clean-up days across the province. We know that Ontarians are eager to return outdoors, and this will be a great opportunity to reconnect with nature."

The Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks announcement is posted at
https://news.ontario.ca/ene/en/2020/05/ontario-marks-the-first-provincial-day-of-action-on-litter.html.

Australian Recycling Industry Group Voices Concerns about Plastic Waste from Covid-19 Epidemic

The Australian Council of Recycling (ACOR) said in a media statement,"Urgent action is needed to manage the additional volumes of plastic waste being generated by Australians during the CODIV-19 shutdown." Residential curbside recycling and waste collection volumes are up by over 10% and recyclables contamination by soft plastics is at "unprecedented levels in some locations," according to the statement issued late last month.

"As people are staying at home more, there are exceptionally high levels of soft plastic going through the system," said ACOR CEO Pete Shmigel. "This includes items like fresh food packaging, biscuit wrappers, pasta and bread bags, some ready-to-eat meal packaging, the wrapping around paper towels and toilet paper, postal and delivery sacks, and plastic shopping bags. Regretfully, too much of this soft plastic is ending up where it does not belong – the kerbside recycling bin – and that spoils our good recycling efforts as a country."

Among the government actions called in the ACOR statement are making the display of recycling labels mandatory and "proactively purchasing recycled content products such as plastic roads, noise barriers and other items."

The complete ACOR media statement is available for review at
http://www.acor.org.au/uploads/2/1/5/4/21549240/mr_covid_consumption_changes_causing_new_plastics_problems_final.pdf.


European Furniture Industry Report Discusses Being Part of the Circular Economy

Late last month, the European Furniture Industries Confederation (EFIC) published a 14-page report that discusses the role of the furniture sector in a European circular economy. The EFIC report comes in response to the European Commission publishing its New Circular Economy Action Plan in March.

"For the European Furniture industries, 'circularity' is not only a trendy buzzword," EFIC stated in publishing the report. "Our companies are gradually adapting and changing business models, actively transitioning from traditional to lifecycle design to prolong the life of products and materials and constantly promoting circular loops such as reuse, refurbishment, remanufacturing and recycling."

The report includes sections on circularity during furniture production, consumption, and the waste management phase. It also discusses a possible harmonized extended producer responsibility scheme for furniture at EU level; promoting green public and business-to-business furniture procurement; providing adequate and harmonized information tools; enabling furniture care, repair and refurbishment; and developing "disownership models," among other subjects.

Download the EFIC report at
https://9e2160bf-a0b5-460b-aec7-e9af818978ee.filesusr.com/ugd/a1d93b_1cceb0f7013c41cd931e1c1872f09566.pdf.


Previous issues of the Bulletin can be reviewed here.


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