24 June 2020:
A quick scan of recent waste, recycling and related environmental developments from around the globe...
Last week, Miljodirektoratet (the Norwegian Environment Agency) said it is contacting plastic packaging producers that it believes are "free riders" in Norway's packaging extended producer responsibility program. Under the Norwegian Waste Regulation, packaging producers that manufacture or import more than 1000 kilograms of covered packaging annually must join a recycling system to recover their used material.
According to Miljodirektoratet, a letter was sent to "102 of the supposedly largest free riders" requesting evidence that the producers have payed to belong to a packaging recycling system, and about half the producers responded by saying they now have joined a recycling system. Miljodirektoratet said it plans to take additional action with the non-respondents, and it also has sent letters to another 120 packaging producers and importers seeking clarification on their regulatory compliance.
"It is important both in the short and long term that everyone who makes and uses plastic packaging keeps providing financial support so that the recycling system does not break down and so that the packaging we produce is able to become new products and does not accumulate or simply be lost," said Miljodirektoratet Director Ellen Hambro.
The Miljodirektoratet announcement is posted at
Due to the covid-19 pandemic, Michigan, like some other states with container deposit schemes, suspended deposit redemptions in late March. On June 5, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) announced that the suspension is being lifted. The announcement stated that "all supermarkets with Reverse Vending Machines located at the front of the store, or housed in a separate area, must accept deposit container returns on or before June 15."
Beverage retailers were provided with temporarily guidelines to help ease the financial pressure of a backlog of anticipated redemptions. According the Michigan DEQ, beverage retailers may 1) limit the number of beverage containers that may be returned by a single individual per day to a deposit refund amount of $25, 2) establish special or limited hours of operation for container return facilities, 3) limit the number of available and operating reverse vending machines, 4) periodically close bottle deposit facilities as needed for cleaning and supply management, and 5) implement such other procedures or restrictions as each retailer may determine are necessary or advisable to promote safety and/or efficiency.
The Michigan DEQ announcement is posted at
Today the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) announced that it is "seeking additional input on specific issues related to the Commonwealth’s Draft 2020-2030 Solid Waste Master Plan (SWMP), which establishes the policy framework for solid waste management in Massachusetts." The SWMP is updated every ten years.
To gather public input, Mass DEP said it has scheduled four online/telephone public hearings on the draft SWMP. The first hearing scheduled for July 22. The public comment period will close on September 15.
Waste generation rose 9% in Sweden from 2016 to 2018, according to a 49-page report released last week by the Swedish EPA. In 2018, Sweden generated 136 million tons of non-hazaardous waste and 2.9 million tons of hazardous waste.
The top three waste contributors in 2018 were the construction industry at 12.4 million tons, consumers at 4.5 million tons and service industries at 2.1 million tons
The EPA said that 6.5 million tons of the waste was recycled, composted or aerobically digested. Energy recovery was used to process 8.9 million tons, and 6.6 million tons was used as construction material and backfill.
Download the 2018 Swedish EPA national waste report at
Yesterday, the Virginina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) released its 2020 Annual Solid Waste Report for CY2019. According to the report, the total amount of solid waste received at Virginia facilities in 2019 increased by 3.3% from 2018. For 2019, 22.53 million tons of solid waste was received.
The amount of solid waste imported from other states also increased. A total of 5.78 million tons originated from other states, an increase of 13% from a year earlier. Maryland, Washington, D.C., New York, New Jersey and North Carolina were responsible for 97% of the waste imports.
According to the DEQ, "Approximately 13.81 million tons (73%) is disposed in landfills, and about 2.2 million tons (12%) is incinerated. The remainder was managed by other means, including composting, mulching and recycling."
Virginia DEQ publishes a separate annual report on state recycling near the end of each calendar year.
Download the 2020 Annual Solid Waste Report for CY2019 at
Earlier this month, the New Jersel Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced it is awarding $19.4 million in Clean Communities grants to clean up litter and improve water quality. The grants are being awarded to New Jersey municipalities and counties and are generated from "a legislated user-fee on manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors that produce litter-generating products."
Thrity-eight jurisdictions will receive grants. The largest individual grant of $404,694 is being awarded to the City of Newark.
Grants are awarded for "cleanups of stormwater systems that can disperse trash into streams, rivers and bays; volunteer cleanups of public properties; adoption and enforcement of local anti-littering ordinances; beach cleanups; public information and education programs; and purchases of litter collection equipment such as receptacles, recycling bins, anti-litter signs and graffiti removal supplies."
The New Jersey DEP announcement is posted at
Earlier this month, the Swedish EPA announced that per capita consumption of single-use plastic bags in 2019 declined to 74 bags, below the 2019 European Union (EU) target of 90 bags.
2019 is the third consecutive year of bag consumption reductions beginning in 2017 when per capita consumption was 83 bags. However, the EPA said the rate of reduction will need to accelerate if Sweden is to meet the next consumption reduction target of no more than 40 bags per capita per year by 2025.
As landfill disposal taxes are increased to incentivize more recycling, illegal dumping or 'fly-tipping' tends to increase. Waste hauling services that skirt the law and fly-tip may offer a cheaper alternative to licensed haulers that pay the required disposal taxes.
Earlier this month, the Government of Wales launched a campaign to encourage residents to use only registered waste haulers to address the problem. The public awareness campaign states that residents have a "duty to care" when choosing waste haulers, and it features the URL for Natural Resources Wales' online list of registered waste haulers.
"Everyone in Wales has a duty of care to dispose of their household waste responsibly and to know where their rubbish is going," said Hannah Blythyn, Welsh Deputy Minister for Housing and Local Government. "By working together we can combat fly-tipping and keep Wales clean. I encourage everyone in Wales only use registered waste carriers and not put their household waste into the hand of fly-tippers, by being aware of potential scammers and adverts promoting cheap waste collection services."
The Government of Wales announcement is posted at
Last week, the Hong Kong Environmental Protection Department (EPD) launched the Reduce and Recycle 2.0 Campaign. The campaign has two phases. The first phase, which will run for three months, will "highlight different types of recyclables and the community recycling network." The second phase will "focus on raising public awareness of plastic-free living and encourage the avoidance of single-use plastic tableware, packaging materials and more at source."
The second phase of the campaign also will include new initiatives to promote clean recycling, including a pilot scheme on collection and recycling services of plastic recyclable materials in three districts and another on using reverse vending machines.
The campaign will include outreach to property management companies and the public with how to better implement waste separation and cleaner recycling. The campaign is focusing on boosting recycling of paper, aluminum cans and plastic bottles.
Get more information at
"British public set to dispose of 67 million clothing items as UK comes out of lockdown," stated the United Kingdom's Waste Resources Action Programme (WRAP) in an announcement today. WRAP operates the UK's Love Your Clothes campaign.
According to WRAP, a public survey it recently conducted found 41% of respondents "had a clear out of unwanted textiles and clothing during the Covid-19 lockdown, with the majority storing their items at home until lockdown lifts." WRAP estimated that about 67 million pieces of clothing are about to be donated to charities, placed in collection boxes or discarded. That is in addition to 22 million pairs of unwanted shoes.
"Everyone can play a role in supporting the charity and textile reuse and recycling sector," said WRAP Director Peter Maddox. "Our insights tell us that most people prefer to donate or recycle unwanted clothes, but with an unprecedented volume about to be unleashed it's important that we all take a few simple steps so not to overwhelm the sector."
The WRAP announcement is posted at