MRW brings you markets, business and policy news from around the world.
Greece to face EU Court over landfill
The European Commission has announced it will take the case of Greece’s Kiato landfill to the EU Court of Justice.
The landfill, which is located in the Peloponnese region, is operating despite having reached capacity and without a permit since 2002, in breach of EU waste and landfill legislations. The site represents a “serious risk for human health and the environment”, according to the Commission.
The Commission acknowledged the efforts made by the Greek authorities to address the problem, but said that the necessary measures to clean up the landfill have not been taken.
Europa.eu, May 30
Unemployed Italians turn ex-factory into recycling plant
A group of former workers have set up a recycling business Milan, Italy after having lost their job at a car maker factory because of the economic recession affecting the country.
Dozens of former employees of the Maflow plant, which belongs to a company part of the UniCredit banking group, founded a social co-operative, dubbed Ri-Mafow, and took over the plant to turn it into a facility for the repair or reclycle of electronic equipment destined for scrap.
The project is illegal but tolerated by the local authorities and the owner of the site.
Business Insider, June 2
Wiping off mobile data to boost recycling in Norway
Norwegian operator Telenor has announced it will use a software to delete sensitive contents from mobile devices once they are returned to encourage customers to bring back their phones for recycle.
Telenor said that customers are reluctant to return their devices to dispose of them as they fear personal data could be retrieved and misused of. The company therefore partnered with Finnish software specialist Blancco to provide a data erasing service to customers that return their phones for recycle.
Telenor said that it will also provide locked containers to be installed in shops to store phones until contents are deleted.
Techworld.com, 29 May
Japanese firm turns rice waste into fuel
A Japanese manufacturer of transportation and industrial equipment said it has developed a cost-efficient technology to turn farm waste into fuel.
Kawasaki Heavy Industries’s technology enables the production of ethanol from rice straw waste produced by Japanese farms.
A study sponsored by the Japanese government established that the biofuel production could happen at competitive costs in comparison to the import of Brazilian ethanol, which is currently used by Japanese oil companies in a mixture with gasoline.
However, Kawasaki Heavy Industries said that it has no plans to launch the product commercially at this stage, and the Japanese government said in September that the production of ethanol from non-food sources will take at least five year.
Reuters, 30 May
Colombo introduces recycling
A recycling system has been introduced in Colombo, Sri Lanka’s largest city, to tackle the issue of increasing waste levels.
Under the new system citizens are encouraged to dispose of paper, plastic, glass and metal items, as well as coconut shells, in bags provided by the municipality.
Colombo mayor A M Muzammil said that council workers will no longer collect garbage from households that do not separate their waste.
“The CMC [Colombo Council] spends around Rs1.5bn (£7.6m) for the garbage problem. We cannot spend such a huge sum. This money can be used for other development projects,” he added.
Daily News, 31 May
EcoChic competition launched in Singapore
A Hong Kong-based NGO has launched a design award in Singapore to encourage sustainable fashion and the reduction of textile waste.
Young fashion designers participating in the EcoChic Design Awards will have to submit ideas on how to use textile waste to produce new clothes and employ zero-waste design techniques.
Redress, the charity promoting the event, will support applicants with educational online materials, articles, workshops and seminars.
Winners will design a recycled textile clothing collection for global retail brands such as Esprit.
Eco Business, 29 May
US Airlines to fly with biofuel
US Airlines has reached an agreement with AltAir Fuels for the provision of waste-derived biofuel for its planes.
From 2014, AltAir Fuels will provide US Airlines with a blend produced from agricultural wastes and non-edible natural oils.
As part of the agreement AltAir Fuels will retrofit part of an existing petroleum refinery to turn it into a 30m gallon (1.14m litre) biofuel refinery near Los Angeles, California.
The price of the biofuel will be competitive in comparison to petroleum-based jet fuel, according to US Airlines.
Waste Management World, 6 June
Canadian Aborigines take over recycling business
Two Aboriginal NGOs have founded an association to acquire a WEEE recycling business in the Canadian city of Winnipeg.
The association, called Mother Earth Recycling, has taken over the activity of recycler Syrotech Industries following the retirement of the owner.
The project serves the twofold aim of capitalising on opportunities of the green economy and providing training services for the aboriginal community, said the association.
Winnipeg Province has granted $50,000 (£32m) to Mother Earth Recycling for the purchase of a truck.
Winnipeg Free Press, May 30
Liberia launches a campaign on food waste reduction
Liberia’s environment protection agency has launched a national campaign to reduce food waste, hoping to raise awareness on what it called “food security disasters” in the country.
The campaign, dubbed “Think, Eat, Save, Reduce Your Food”, was inaugurated on the occasion of the World Environment Day on June 5, and aims at following in the UN and FAO efforts to reduce food loss and food waste.
Liberia’s Deputy Agriculture Minister Dr. Zizi Subah said that citizens could take several measures to reduce food waste, for example processing cassava into flour, or beating peppers to dust.
FrontPageAfrica, 5 June
Nigeria to ban plastic bags
The Nigerian government is working on plans to ban the use of plastic bags in the country.
The environment minister Hadza Mailafia made the announcement on the occasion of the World Environment Day on 5 June, saying the ban could come into effect as early as in January 2014.
The minister noted that unlike their paper alternatives, plastic bags are made of non-biodegradable materials that could stay in the soil for years and contaminate water sources.
National Mirror, 6 June
Integrating workers in recycling
A group of recyclers, global corporates, local and international organisations has launched a programme to integrate South American informal waste collectors into the formal recycling market.
The programme was announced during the Inter-American Conference on Corporate Social Responsibility, held by the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) in Asuncion, Paraguay, on 24 May.
Coca-Cola and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation support the initiative.
It is estimated that more than 4m people in Latin America live on income earned from the collection of recyclable waste materials, and informal collectors are responsible for recovering up to 90% of recyclable material in some cases.
Greener Packager, 2 June