MRW’s weekly round-up of recycling and waste management news from around the world
Commuters get credit for used PET bottles
Beijing’s vast army of plastic bottle scavengers will get an automated rival later this month, when the city introduces its first reverse vending machines that pay subway credits in exchange for returned containers. More than 100 recycle-to-ride devices will be installed in an attempt to reduce the environmental impact of the informal bottle collection business and improve the profits of the operator, which works in an industry thought to be worth billions of dollars. Donors will receive between 5 fen and 1 mao (about 1p) on their commuter passes for each polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle they insert into the machine, which then crushes them to a third of their original size and sorts them according to colour and type.
Guardian.co.uk, 4 July
CMR moves into vehicle dismantling
China Metal Recycling (CMR) has agreed to set up a joint venture with Guangdong Metal Recycling (GDMRC) for scrap motor vehicle dismantling and auto parts trading in Guangdong. The venture will allow the Hong Kong-listed CMR to enter the vehicle dismantling business, which it previously was not licensed to do, a source at the company said.
Metal Bulletin, 4 July
Battery recycling plant for Qatar
A battery recycling factory in Mesaieed Industrial City, Qatar, is expected to enter service next year and treat some 10,000 tonnes per year of used batteries. A local news report claimed that the facility - which will not only recycle and manufacture batteries but also neutralise hazardous sulphuric acid - will be the first environment-friendly battery recycling facility in Qatar. Sheikh Soud bin Nasser Al Thani, chairman of the company developing the facility is reported to have said that the plant will enter service by early 2013.
Qatar currently generates around 4,000 tonnes of used batteries each year from workshops, garages, heavy trucks, cars, machines and other equipment. In the absence of a recycling facility, the report said that at the moment used batteries are sent to Saudi Arabia for recycling.
Waste Managment World, 4 July
Funding for ‘drop-in’ biofuels for military
Companies have been invited to submit proposals to a $30m (£19.3m) biofuels initiative aimed at reducing the US military’s reliance on imported oil. The funding is set to be provided by the US Department of Agriculture, the Navy, and the Department of Energy (DOE) to match private investments in commercial-scale advanced ‘drop-in’ biofuels - so-called because they can act as immediate substitutes for diesel and jet fuel without the need for new engines or fuelling infrastructure. The latest fund is part of a $500m programme launched by the three bodies last year to help build up the supply of biofuels to help meet President Obama’s goal of reducing oil imports by a third by 2025.
Alongside the funding, the DOE also announced a further $32m of new investments in early stage research to accelerate the development of biofuel technologies. The department announced that $20m would be made available to support pilot-scale bio-refineries that produce jet fuel and diesel to military specifications using a variety of non-food biomass feedstocks, waste-based materials, and algae, with an additional $12m for research into synthetic biofuels processing.
Business Green, 4 July
LA metals firms face environment charges
Los Angeles city prosecutors took the unusual step of filing criminal charges against the owners of three metal recycling businesses, accusing them of polluting the environment and putting the public at risk by illegally stockpiling hazardous waste and releasing toxic chemicals into the water. “These facilities pose a significant threat to human health and the environment,” said Patty Bilgin, who heads the Los Angeles city attorney’s environmental justice unit. “These are toxic chemicals. We don’t know where they are going.”
LA Times, 27 June
Tenessee wants tyres out of landfill
The state of Tennessee has granted 41 local communities more than $2.8 million in 2013-14 to help recycle tyres and keep them out of landfill. The grants are supported from the state’s Solid Waste Management Fund, which receives revenue from a pre-disposal fee on the purchase of new tyres. Tennessee estimates it recycles 55,000 tons of tyres per year, diverting them from landfills and sending them to beneficial end-use facilities, according to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.
Tyre Business, 26 June
Bid to stop plastcs bags bill in Illinois
Environmentalists are urging Illinois governor Pat Quinn to veto a bill that would require manufacturers of plastic bags to set up collection and recycling programmes, calling it a ploy by industry to get around communities that want to adopt more stringent recycling or reduction programems — or ban the ubiquitous bags altogether.
The proposed law would require plastic bag manufacturers to set up recycling programmes with the goal of increasing the recycling rate by 12% by 2015 and to eventually make bags from at least 30% recycled content. It also would require manufacturers to register with and present plans to the state by next July; retail stores then could use bags only from registered manufacturers.
Associated Press, 3 July
Study reconfirms recycling attitudes
A recent study by BMi Research Consumer Division to test if consumer attitudes towards recycling had changed much showed that consumers at the higher end of the market still recycle out of obligation and those at the bottom end still do it for the financial rewards. It remains obvious that more recycling initiatives and consumer education is needed to make it second nature.
Bizcommunity.com (Cape Town), 27 June
Polystyrene use rises in food industry
The use and recycling of polystyrene in the food industry has increased over the past few years. Polystyrene Packaging Council (PSPC) of South Africa director Adri Spangenberg says that once manufactured, it is easy to transport and less material needs to be recycled, adding that polystyrene can be recycled up to ten times. “It arguably has the lowest carbon footprint thanks to its light weight. Only about 4% of expanded polystyrene foam packaging is polystyrene, the rest is air,” Spangenberg is reported. Styrene, from which polystyrene is manufactured, is not toxic but a natural product found in many foodstuffs including strawberries, beans, wine and coffee beans. Spangenberg told Cape Business News that polystyrene packaging can come directly into contact with food as it is “completely lifeless and meets all the prevailing international health standards.
Cape Business News, 3 July
Denmark wants to delay ship regulation
According to a recent Danish EU presidency proposal, the draft regulation on ship recycling would prove most effective if it were to apply two years after its publication in the official journal rather than one year as previously suggested by the European Commission. It has also asked that the proposal relating to an inventory of hazardous materials on board ships should apply seven years after publication of the rules. The Commission confirms this is a valuable objective and expresses a preference for industry to meet the requirement within six years.
Recycling International, 3 July
Recovered paper prices fall in Italy
Italian paper mills’ thin order books and the resulting slump in demand for recovered paper were the main topics of discussion on Italy’s recovered paper market in June. EUWID sources reported that prices for all grades had fallen during the month as a result. A few market players found that mixed paper had been affected less by the price cuts than old corrugated case material. They tied this to the slightly higher levels of demand for mixed paper on the domestic market which made the grade relative scarce.
EUWID, 4 July