10 December 2018:
A quick scan of recent waste, recycling and related environmental developments from around the globe...
Last week, the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) announced the arrests of three subjects alledged to have defrauded California's Beverage Container Recycling Program. The California Department of Justice and the Arizona Department of Public Safety coordinated with CalRecycle in making the arrests.
According to CalRecycle, the three suspects are accused of smuggling out-of-state containers from Arizona into California to redeem the deposits. On November 5, "California DOJ agents coordinated with Arizona law enforcement authorities to serve three search warrants on known locations where used beverage containers were packed and loaded onto California-bound trucks."
"Based on evidence, agents believe the suspects, in collaboration with Arizona-based collection yards searched, are responsible for defrauding approximately $16.1 million from the CRV fund over the past three years," the CalRecycle announcement stated.
Get more information at
Last week, the Portuguese Environment Agency published draft criteria (manuals) for the green public procurement of six categories of products and services as required by the National Strategy for Ecological Procurement (ENCPE 2020). The six categories are office buildings, medical electrical and electronic equipment, public lighting and road signage, printer and copier paper, food products and catering, and transportation.
The public consultation closes on December 28.
To access the consultation and draft criteria documents, go to
According to a 118-page report published last weed by the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Resources Institute, 66% of countries worldwide (127 out of 192 countries surveyed) have "adopted some form of legislation to regulate plastic bags." The report is titled, "Legal Limits on Single-Use Plastics and Microplastics: A Global Review of National Laws and Regulations."
According to the report, 27 countries have banned single-use plastic bags and packaging; 27 countries have imposed taxes on the manufacture and production of plastic bags; 30 countries charge consumers fees for plastic bags at the national level; and 43 countries have included elements or characteristics of extended producer responsibility for plastic bags within legislation.
Regarding microplastics, the report says only 4% of countries worldwife have established bans of plastic microbeads through national laws or regulations. Those countries are Canada, France, Italy, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Sweden, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States. (Four other countries have proposed regulations.)
To combat plastic waste in the environment, the report recommends that more countries adopt legislation that "either places controls on producers or manufactures to address waste minimization, adopt recycling targets or charge enough to disincentivize the purchase of plastic products."
Download the UNEP and World Resources Institute report on Single-Use Plastics at
The New South Wales (NSW) Environmental Protection Agency said last week that the container deposist scheme (CDS) that was launched only a year ago already has surpassed the one billion container redemption mark. The CDS is called Return and Earn.
"Reaching the one billion drink container mark on the first anniversary of Return and Earn shows that the people of NSW back it and are now recycling more drink containers than they are throwing away," said Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton. "I thank everyone who is using the scheme. You are voting with your drink containers, and every one counts when it comes to saving the environment."
The NSW CDS places a 10-cent depositon on a range of beverages in containers made from PET, HDPE, glass, aluminum, steel and liquid paperboard and ranging in volume from 150 milliliters and 3 liters.
The NSW EPA announcement is posted at
According to the 2017/2018 annual municipal waste management report published last week by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs of Northern Ireland (DAERA), the amount of household waste directed to reuse, recycling and composting increased to 48.1%, up from 44.3% in 2016/2017.
The amount of household waste generated in 2017/2018 decreased by 0.8%, and the percent of household waste disposed in landfills fell by 4.7% to 32%, an all-time low according to the report. The landfill disposal rate has steadily fallen since 2006/2007 when nearly three-quarters of household waste was sent to landfills.
Download the DAERA 2018/2018 municipal waste report at
According to a waste characterization study published last week by the Irish Environmental Protection Agency, too much residential food and plastic waste that could be recycled is being disposed as trash.
"We can see that most misplaced waste goes in the black bin, with 36 percent being more appropriate to the compost or recycling bin," said Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton. "While recycling volume has risen, it is still modest and we need to do more to encourage people to recycle. General waste is rising rapidly, at 580 kilograms per head per year (2016 figures) but it is the composition of this waste that is also of concern, with an increased percentage of this waste coming from plastics, cardboard and metal. This raises concerns about unnecessary packaging."
The study says almost 50% of household organic waste is being disposed in black bins as garbage instead of being placed in brown bins for composting or aerobic digestion. Food residue in containers and non-recyclable materials in recycling bins contaminates those streams and reduces the amount of waste that can be recycled.
"Plastics have replaced organic waste (food and garden) as the largest waste type in the general waste from households, while the share of plastic in waste from businesses has almost doubled," the EPA noted. "Single-use materials (e.g. coffee cups, and tissue paper/ napkins) have become a very significant part of what we throw away and measures will be needed to address this."
Get more information at
The trade association European Bioplastics said last week that the global market for bioplastics is predicted to grow by about 25% over the next five years. Powering the predicted growth are "the increasing demand for sustainable products by both consumers and brands alike, stronger policy support for the bioeconomy, and the continuous efforts of the bioplastics industry to develop innovative materials with improved properties and new functionalities," according to European Bioplastics.
Global bioplastic production could incease from 2.1 million tons in 2018 to 2.6 million tons in 2023.
The association also said that production of bio-based PE also is predicted to grow "as new capacities are planned to come on line in Europe in the coming years," and that PLA (polylactic acid) and PHAs (polyhydroxyalkanoates) also are helping drive production growth.
The full European Bioplastics statement is posted at
French packaging recycling compliance organization CITEO said last week that it has started a trial project in Paris to compost the bio-plastic polylactic acid or PLA, which is used for packaging as well as filament for 3D printers. CITEO said PLA requires an industrial composting process and can not be composted at home with other bio-waste.
CITEO explained that for effective composting, PLA needs to be "sorted, crushed into small-size plastic flakes and mixed for 3 days in the composter with bio-waste to start the composting process." The composting then continues "in a closed container thus allows a rapid degradation, in 6 weeks, thanks in particular to a regular mixture of the compost with the help of mechanical blades and to a system of aeration allowing a complete oxygenation."
Coordinating with CITEO on the project is the composting consulting firm Les Alchimistes. Initial results from the project are expected to be published next May.
For more information, go to
As reported in the last issue of State Recycling Laws Update, five Republican state lawmakers introduced a bill late last month in the Michigan Legislature to repeal the state's container deposit scheme at the end of 2022. Michigan's CDS was one of the first in the United States, established in 1976. Last week, the Aluminum Association came out in opposition to the bill in a letter sent to the five Michigan representatives.
"Already today, Michigan has among the highest aluminum can recycling rates in the country," the letter said in part. "In our view, the changes proposed in House Bills 6532-6536 to eliminate the deposit program would likely significantly reduce both the quantity and quality of aluminum available for recycling in the state, hurting both the economy and the environment."
"Michigan currently boasts the highest container redemption rate in the country, at above 91% in 2017 and like the other deposit states, has an aluminum can recycling rate far above the national average," the letter continued. "Indeed, while the ten U.S. deposit states represent about a quarter of all can consumption, they represent more than 40 percent of all cans recycled each year. If all deposit laws in this country were repealed tomorrow, it is likely that the average U.S. consumer recycling rate for aluminum cans would drop 10 to 20 points. This would mean that hundreds of millions of additional pounds of this valuable commodity would end up in landfills or in litter, contributing to the problem of debris in waterways, which is a significant concern to constituents living in communities along rivers and streams."
Download the complete Aluminum Association's letter to the Michigan lawmakers at
The Foodservice Packaging Institute (FPI) said last week that two million Americans now have access to recycling of hot and cold drink cups through a cup recycling partnership with the organization. The two million Americans are the combined residents of Denver, Chattanooga, Louisville, and Washington, D.C. where the cities have FPI partnerships.
FPI said that paper cup recycling also is in place in New York City, Seattle and San Francisco, although not through FPI partnerships.
"We spent five years researching real and perceived barriers to recycling foodservice packaging before launching our FPI Community Partner program last year," said FPI President Lynn Dyer. "Our approach relies on strong end markets partnering with recycling processors and communities educating their residents to ensure these materials are recycled properly."
The FPI announcement is posted at