MRW brings you markets, business and policy news from around the world.
UK expertise could aid Denmark’s recycling
The British Plastics Federation hosted a delegation from the Copenhagen Cleantech Cluster which was visiting to study the UK plastics waste management systems, particularly the operation of plastics recycling.
Denmark has been notable for the high proportion of waste going to incineration. But the shape of EU legislation is shifting towards a demand for higher levels of recycling.
It was pointed out that UK recyclers could play a role in helping Denmark step up its plastics recycling efforts because of the country’s marked shortage of recycling capacity.
Mobile phone bill unlocks a dilemma
The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) has warned that the recycling and refurbishment of cellphones could be limited
if a bill passed in the US House of Representatives, becomes law.
While the bill allows consumers to unlock phones without permission from carriers, it makes it illegal for recyclers and refurbishers to unlock them in bulk, said ISRI.
President Robin Wiener said: “By not allowing unlocking phones in bulk, recyclers and refurbishers are placed in a competitive disadvantage, and may be forced to outsource the repair jobs to facilities outside the US where unlocking is legal.”
MSW recycling number falls in US
The latest figures from the US Environmental Protection Agency show that the overall recycling rate for municipal solid waste (MSW) in the US has fallen from 34.7% in 2011 to 34.5% in 2012.
In 2012, the US generated around 230 million tonnes of MSW and recycled or composted almost 79 million tonnes. On average, Americans recycled and composted some 684g out of an individual waste generation rate of 1.9kg per person per day.
> Waste Management World, 5 Mar
Quebec deal to improve smelters
US aluminium manufacturer Alcoa and the government of Quebec in Canada have agreed to improve the competitiveness of Alcoa’s three smelters in the country.
Under the agreement, Hydro-Quebec will renew Alcoa’s power supply contracts for its Bécancour and Deschambault facilities until 2030 and for the Baie-Comeau plant until 2036.
This will allow the company to proceed with $250m (£150m) in investments at the three smelters during the next five years designed
to improve the company’s competitiveness.
> Recycling Today, 5 Mar
EPR schemes could boost recycling rates
Extended producer responsibility (EPR) schemes for packaging and printed paper can significantly increase recycling rates at similar costs to the current producer responsibility regime in the US.
They could be financed directly by industry with limited impacts, a study on a US-designed EPR recycling model suggested.
Non-profit organisation Recycling Reinvented’s study analyses a proposed EPR model for printed paper that is administered and managed by industry producers and implemented at state level.
The results show that, for most materials, fees on producers would be “fractions of a penny per unit”. For products with high post-consumer value and
well-developed markets, “producers may even receive credits”, the group noted.
Chinese buy New Zealand waste firm
Beijing Capital Group will buy New Zealand’s biggest waste management firm from Australia’s Transpacific Industries Group for almost $800m.
This will enable the Chinese state-owned company to acquire technology that could help combat chronic pollution in the capital and beyond.
Demand for waste management is rising in China as the government launches measures to tackle environmental degradation, which has become a politically sensitive issue.
Transpacific’s New Zealand waste business specialises in environmentally friendly landfill methods, odour management and hazardous waste handling.
Recycling points make prizes in Nigeria
A scheme in Nigeria’s biggest city Lagos hopes to change attitudes towards waste with incentives to recycle plastic bottles, bags and tin cans.
Wecyclers was set up 18 months ago backed by the Lagos Waste Management Authority. Waste collectors are provided with distinctive bikes called wecycles, which can enter narrow streets, unlike the dust carts that collect roadside waste.
The riders go door to door to collect and weigh recycling. Every kilogramme accumulates credits so that residents can trade in their points for prizes.
So far, it has collected nearly 200 tonnes of waste from about 5,000 households.
Plan for Bali villages to get recycling banks
The Denpasar district in Bali wants to establish recycling banks in every village to create a clean and healthy environment, and contribute to the province’s efforts to manage waste.
Mayor Ida Bagus Rai Dharmawijawa Mantra said the banks would have to be managed properly and be established in locations where they did not disturb residents.
> The Jakarta Post, 3 Mar
$3bn bonus for Hong Kong waste treatment
Hong Kong plans to invest $3bn in recycling. The money is to be spent on organic waste treatment facilities, community green stations and waste electrical and electronic equipment processing facilities, said the government’s information department.
Finance secretary John Tsang said the government was “actively taking forward” the development of integrated waste management facilities and the extension of three existing landfills.
Bottle caps can be transformed into toys
Brazil-based packaging company Clever Pack has launched a range of reusable bottle caps called Clever Caps.
Clever Pack said its caps leave the factory with two lives: the first is an effective plastic closure system and the second is a plastic mounting block that is compatible with other caps and Lego-like building blocks already on sale.
By creating a reusable product, Clever Pack said the environmental impact is much smaller because the caps do not have to go through recycling.
They leave a small environmental footprint, are economically viable and can be turned into toys and encourage environmental awareness.
Chevron does not have to pay damages
Oil giant Chevron has won a US court ruling against a $9.5bn payout to residents of Ecuador’s Amazon region.
Ecuadorian courts ordered Chevron to pay damages to residents of the Lago Agrio region in 2011 and 2013.
They accused Texaco, now owned by Chevron, of dumping toxic waste and spilling oil during an 18-year period.
But a US judge said the ruling was “obtained by corrupt means”, and US courts could not be used to enforce it.