16 January 2019:
A quick scan of recent waste, recycling and related environmental developments from around the globe...
Yesterday the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) conducted an informal rulemaking workshop on product stewardship for pharmaceuticals and sharps waste. The upcoming new rules are required by passage of SB 212, which was signed into law by former Governor Jerry Brown last September. The law is the first of its kind in the United States.
"Draft regulatory concepts" will be presented at the workshop, and CalRecycle will be soliciting feedback on the concepts.
Get more information at
Last week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced he is proposing to ban the retail distribution of single-use plastic bags statewide.
"These bold actions to ban plastic bags and promote recycling will reduce litter in our communities, protect our water and create a cleaner and greener New York for all," said the Governor.
According to the announcement, the plastic bag ban will help reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with plastic bag production and disposal, from petroleum used to produce the bags to emissions from the transportation of bags to landfills.
Following a report released in January 2018 by the New York State Plastic Bag Task Force that the Governor created in 2017, the Governor helped craft a bill for a bag ban but the proposal failed approval by the New York State Legislature.
Today the Massachusetts Deparment of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) said that in 2018 it issued 119 notices to businesses for their "improper disposal of significant amounts of recyclable materials." The notices were issued after MassDEP conducted inspections of waste being discarded by the businesses.
State regulations prohibit the disposal of 13 categories of recyclable materials that include glass and metal containers, some plastic containers, paper and cardboard, leaves and yard waste, commercial food materials, and treated and untreated wood.
"More than 80 percent of observed waste ban violations are for disposal of cardboard, a material that is simple and cost-effective to recycle with well-established market," according to MassDEP. "For most of these violations, companies already had recycling programs in place. While the programs faced issues such as insufficient staff training, lack of signage, or containers that were not the right size or not collected frequently enough, upon receiving a notice for a waste ban violation, companies have addressed issues and returned to compliance."
The announcement also noted that businesses that receive a non-compliance notice must respond to MassDEP with a plan of action to stop the disposal of banned materials.
The MassDEP announcement is posted at
Last week, the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME) and the Ministry of Ecological and Solidarity Transition (MTES), in support of the French packaging recycling compliance organization CITEO, announced they were accepting expressions of interest for proposals to accelerate "the collection of recyclable packaging, plastic bottles and cans, and in priority in areas with the lowest collection rates".
The announcement explained that some regions in French have high packaging waste collection rates, while others suffer from low ones. The call for expressions of interest seeks to provide the underperforming regions with new, innovative solutions that they can test in the real world.
"When packaging is 100% recyclable and all the infrastructure is in place to treat it, we can capture all of it," said Jean Hornain, General Manager of Citeo. "But much escapes us today. Our country is full of innovative initiatives that might significantly improve our collection system. The effort we are taking to fund these innovative projects will test them and identify those that deserve to be replicated on a large scale."
CITEO will be providing 6 million euros for about twenty projects. The period to submit expressions of interest runs from January 10, 2019 through January 10, 2020.
The Danish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said today that the next national waste plan "must raise recycling through more consistent sorting and collection of waste across the country." As an example, the EPA pointed out that 40 of Denmark's municipal governments currently support the separation of household food waste while 58 municipalities do not. All must do so by 2023, the EPA said.
The amended EU Waste Framework Directive - (Directive (EU) 2018/851) - also requires EU Member States to separate their collection of paper, glass, plastic and metal waste. In response to the requirement, the EPA said, "The Ministry of the Environment and Food is analyzing which types of waste could still be collected in the same waste bins."
The EPA said the next national waste plan is expected to be finalized and adopted during the spring of 2020 with a public consultation on the draft version to be launched next January. However, that time frame represents a delay from what was previously announced.
The Danish EPA announcement, go to
Last week, the City of Toronto announced it has grant funding available to reduce residential waste and increase participation in the city's waste diversion programs. Individual grants of up to $25,000 will be awarded.
Eligible projects must 1) result in a reduction in the amount of residential waste produced or an increase in the amount of residential waste diverted, 2) enhance the ability of individuals or a community group to engage in activities that reduce and/or divert residential waste, and/or 3) "foster long-term changes in behavior that result in waste reduction or increased participation in the City of Toronto's diversion programs."
"A priority will be placed on investing in actions that address multi-residential buildings, multi-lingual communities, equity-seeking groups and Neighbourhood Improvement Areas," according to the announcement.
The deadline to submit expressions of interest is March 1, 2019.
The Hong Kong Environmental Protection Department (EPD) last week launched the Glass Container Recycling Charter, a voluntary pledge by businesses, non-profits and other organizations to "actively take part in and jointly promote glass container recycling." The voluntary efforts of charter signatories support the mandatory EPR scheme for glass beverage containers that is now beginning to roll out. The goal of the combined mandatory and voluntary efforts is to recover at least 50,000 tons of glass containers per year.
Additionally, EPD said it has designed a new label for use on glass bottle recycling bins and is creating a new logo and branding "to assist the public in recognising the new bins." A series of promotional and publicity activities are also planned.
In preparation for the EPR scheme, EPD said it has approved two glass management contractors to collect and process the glass container waste. Other contractors will soon be approved.
The Hong Kong EPD announcement is available for review at
Sixty-five local governments and companies will receive a total of $983,244 in grants to clean up scrap tires, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) announced on Monday. The largest individual grant of $150,000 was awarded to Greater Detroit Resource Recovery.
The awards come from Michigan's Scrap Tire Regulatory Fund. Revenue for the fund is generated by $1.50 vehicle title certificate fees collected by the Michigan Secretary of State. Priority is given to grant requests that clean up "collection sites where tires were accumulated prior to January 1, 1991, as well as collection sites that pose an imminent threat to public health, safety, welfare or the environment.
The Michigan DEQ announcement is posted at
Today, the Irish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said it has entered into a three-year partnership with The Rediscovery Centre, a Dublin-based ecology facility that conducts education and demonstration activities. The partnership will focus on "the 'rediscovery' of waste materials through reuse, redesign and repair of clothes, paint, furniture and bicycles." Funding is coming from the EPA's National Waste Prevention Programme.
"This partnership aligns with our ambition to foster a circular and greener economy in Ireland," said EPA Director General Laura Burke. "Demonstrating what the circular economy looks like in terms of, for example, redesigned and recycled fashion and furniture, is an important part of raising awareness amongst the public and through education."
The Irish EPA announcement is posted at
Today, 27 international companies joined together to announce the launch of the Alliance to End Plastic Waste. The companies have "committed over $1.0 billion with the goal of investing $1.5 billion over the next five years to help end plastic waste in the environment," according to an Alliance announcement.
Among the participating companies are BASF, Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LLC, Dow, ExxonMobil, Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings and Procter & Gamble.
The Alliance's initial set of activities and efforts are: 1) partnering with cities to design integrated waste management systems in large urban areas where infrastructure is lacking; 2) funding the development and promotion of technologies, business models and entrepreneurs that prevent ocean plastic waste and improve waste management and recycling; 3) developing an open source, science-based global information project to support waste management projects globally; 4) creating a capacity building collaboration with intergovernmental organizations such as the United Nations to conduct joint workshops and trainings for government officials and community-based leaders; and 5) supporting Renew Oceans to aid localized investment and engagement.
For more information, go to