MRW brings you markets, business and policy news from around the world.
Final decision to come on first EfW plant
Western Australia’s environment minister Albert Jacob will have the final decision on whether the country’s first energy-from-waste plant goes ahead.
The state’s Environmental Protection Authority has already approved the AUS$180m (£123m) gasification facility, earmarked for Port Hedland.
It would process 100,000 tonnes of rubbish a year, comprised of commercial and industrial waste and household waste.
Thailand targeted for gasification expansion
London-based gasification company Waste2Tricity (W2T) has expanded into Thailand with the launch of its subsidiary Waste2Tricity International (Thailand).
W2T said it hopes to take advantage of the subsidies that exist in the region.
Chairman Peter Jones said: “We liken the opportunities for development of this technology in the Thai market as being at least on a par with the UK market.”
The Thai subsidiary is said to be seeking to deploy plasma gasification plants in multiple locations, and is in advance discussions with several potential partners.
Press Release, 12 Apr
Recyclable carpet heads for Dubai offices
A carpet that can be up to 97% recycled has been launched in the United Arab Emirates. Desso, a European producer, said the polyolefin-based backing would help divert carpets away from landfill.
Recent figures indicate that, in Dubai alone, there are 9.2 million square metres of office space that need carpeting, with potentially another 1.6 million being added this year.
Indian ship breakers are sailing high
A decline in the fortunes of the global shipping industry has boosted Indian ship breakers in Alang, despite stiff competition from Pakistan, Bangladesh and China.
Daniel Chopra, managing director of Doehle Danautic India, said: “Last year, more than 40 million deadweight tonnage (DWT) was scrapped globally. Nearly 55 million DWT of the global tonnage will be sold this year. This will yield approximately 15 million tonnes of steel”.
He said that countries such as Bangladesh will meet half their steel demand from the scrap industry.
Portugal needs better waste collection
Domestic waste volumes in Portugal have dropped by more than 10% during the past two years, according to state-owned utility Empresa Geral do Fomento (EGF), which resulted in a fall of e12m (£10m) in EGF’s overall revenue last year.
Energy-from-waste company The Lipor Group said it experienced a 20% decline in recycling activity since 2010, as well as a 5.2% dip in revenues last year.
EGF and Lipor believe that improving door-to-door collection of recyclables will solve the problem of declining revenues. EGF intends to expand its Lisbon collection scheme to cover 60% of the city’s population by the end of the year.
Bioplastics growing fastest outside Europe
Global bioplastics production capacity is set to grow 500% by 2016, according to The European Bioplastics Association.
A recent report revealed that Europe’s bio-economy sectors are already worth e2 trillion in annual turnover and account for 22 million jobs in the EU.
But the report also notes that bioplastics production capacity is growing “fastest outside of Europe”. Asia accounts for 34.6% of total volumes, followed by South America on 32.8% and Europe on 18.5%.
Scrap firm owner in jail over oil spillage
The owner of Washington-based scrap metal company Principle Metals has been sentenced following the discharge of oil into the Columbia River. Bret Simpson was given a four-month prison sentence, eight months of home detention, 100 hours of community service and three years of supervision as a result of violations to the Clean Water Act.
He previously pleaded guilty to two offences after a spillage from a ship his company was dismantling for scrap metal.
US attorney Jenny Durkan said: “This defendant’s singular focus on maximising his profits at the expense of even minimal environmental safeguards has cost taxpayers millions of dollars.”
Scrap firm moves into iron ore exports
Californian scrap metal exporter SA Recycling has completed its first shipment of iron ore cargo. SA has long been an exporter of ferrous scrap, and operates 55 recycling centres and six vehicle shredders in California, Arizona and Nevada, as well as two port loading facilities.
SA’s managers said that, with the downturn in the scrap market in the past few years, it was looking for opportunities to increase its volumes.
The company added that it hoped the 45,000-tonne iron ore shipment is the start of a new operation with the potential of exporting more than 90,000 tonnes in 2013.
Mattress recycling laws likely this year
Two rival bills relating to mattress recycling have emerged in California, prompting recyclers to think some form of legislation will succeed later this year.
Senator Loni Hancock proposed a bill in March that would require manufacturers to recycle 75% of used mattresses by 2020, as well as allow them to charge retailers or consumers a fee to cover the associated costs.
Following complaints from the industry, a rival bill calls for the state to set a recycling fee to be paid by consumers.
Great Lakes are polluted by plastics
The North American Great Lakes - the largest body of fresh water in the world - has become polluted with a huge amount of small and microscopic plastic debris, according to the American Chemical Society (ACS).
Lorena M Rios Mendoza, a scientist investigating the issue, said: “The massive production of plastic and inadequate disposal has made plastic debris an important and constant pollutant on beaches and in oceans around the world.”
According to the ACS, much of the plastic pollution in the oceans and Great Lakes goes unnoticed by the casual observer because it is so small.
Looser laws push US batteries to Mexico
As the US tightens rules on lead pollution, battery recycling has moved to Mexico, where the regulations are 10 times less stringent.
The North American Free Trade Agreement’s Environ-Mental Co-operation Commission has observed a dramatic increase in exports of spent lead-acid batteries (SLABs) to Mexico during the past decade.
The commission said: “According to our estimates, between 2004 and 2011, US exports of SLABs to Mexico increased by anywhere from 449% to 525%.,”
And the trade keeps growing, a result of a stark regulatory gap that has left Mexico at risk of becoming a “pollution haven,” it added.