MRW brings you markets, business and policy news from around the world.
How waste figures change in a decade
EU member states sent 19% less municipal waste to landfill; recycled or composted 27% more; and incinerated 8% more in 2011 compared with a decade earlier. The data comes from Eurostat, the statistical office of the EU.
The data shows that preferences for treating waste have shifted in a decade, with more waste being pushed up the hierarchy to be recovered for energy or recycled. Indeed, 37% of waste was landfilled in 2011 (down from 56% in 2001), 25% was recycled (up from 17%), 23% was incinerated (up from 17%) and 15% was composted (up from 10%).
But the treatment methods differed “substantially” between member states, with recycling and composting most common in Germany (63%), Austria (62%) and the Netherlands (61%).
Canon launches inkjet cartridge recycling
Imaging and optical products manufacturer Canon is rolling out an inkjet cartridge recycling scheme across 15 European countries following the success of a one-year trial recycling programme in the UK and Germany.
“Our inkjet recycling scheme allows customers to recycle Canon inkjet cartridges for free, and it ensures 100% of each cartridge is diverted from landfill,” the company said.
According to Canon, more than 97% of each cartridge is reused or recycled into other products, while the remaining 3% will serve the EfW sector.
WEEE facility is built of recycled materials
Taiwan is building a factory to process and recycle waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) generated by the island’s consumers and its technology companies.
The plant under construc-tion near Taipei, built by SDTI and Miniwiz, will extract materials from discarded computers and smartphones.
Architect Arthur Huang said: “Not only will this factory do the usual e-waste recycling, by extracting gold and copper from your discarded computers and smartphones, but it will be built completely out of recycled materials. It will have the highest environ-mental standard of any recycling factory in the world.”
Plastic processing failure in Pakistan
The Pakistan market for scrap plastic has been inundated during the past three years, without the proper infrastructure for recycling or monitoring, according to sources at Pakistan’s Environmental Protection Department. It said there is also a lack of regulation of the plastics recycling market.
Importing scrap plastic without proper recycling facilities leaves millions of people exposed to hazardous plastic waste.
Department sources said the Import Policy Order, which dictates that manufacturers need to show customs authorities a certificate proving that the recyclate complies with the Basel Convention and is not hazardous - is not being followed in “its true spirit”.
The sources add that waste plastics are not being properly sorted or cleaned before recycling.
Waste education needs improving across UAE
Environment experts have called for more awareness and education programmes across the Middle East to bring about a decisive change in people’s mindsets on the issue of recycling.
Speaking at the Paper and Plastics Recycling Middle East Conference in Dubai, Saeed Bin Gobash, director of business park Enpark, said the two main challenges faced by recycling in the UAE were persuading businesses to see the financial savings they could make from the practice and educating the public.
Following a large quantity of plastic waste entering the UAE, new regulations were implemented in August 2012 to prohibit the exports of metal, plastic and paper scrap from the EU into the country.
But Surendra Borad, chairman of the Bureau of International Recycling’s plastics committee said: “Plastic waste should be regarded as a resource, not waste, but many people in the Middle East and South East Asia still consider it as scrap.
“Instead of banning the scrap, pre-inspections should be carried out to prevent low- quality materials being imported, [which in turn] will encourage more products to be made from recyclable plastic.”
Call for pre-tender EfW submissions
The Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA) has invited companies to submit qualifications ahead of tendering the engineering, procurement and construction contract for the UAE’s first EfW plant.
The plant will receive around one million tonnes of municipal solid waste a year, and convert it into 100MW of alternative power, enough energy for more than 20,000 households in Abu Dhabi.
The plant is expected to begin operations in 2016/17.
New joint standard for e-waste safety
A new standard designed to help divert WEEE from landfill by imposing a rigorous process for its collection, storage and recycling has been set by Standards Australia.
The joint Australian and New Zealand Standard - AS/NZS 5377:2013 Collection, storage, transport and treatment of end-of-life electrical and electronic equipment - outlines minimum requirements for the safe and environmentally sound handling of end-of-life WEEE.
According to Colin Blair, chief executive at Standards Australia, it sets out principles and minimum requirements in order to maximise reuse, reduce the amount of waste going to landfill, safeguard worker health and minimise environmental harm.
Retail giant drops CFL recycling scheme
Home improvement retailer Home Depot has pulled the plug on its nationwide compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulb recycling scheme.
This has angered an environmental non-profit organisation that said it had handed out hundreds of thousands of the energy-efficient bulbs in Canada.
Stuart Hickox founded One Change and Project Porchlight in 2005, which oversaw the distribution of about 300,000 bulbs in Ottawa alone. Thousands of those bulbs are about to burn out, he said.
Home Depot said it provides customers with alternative locations for CFL recycling on its website.
Plastic film recovery up 55% since 2005
The recycling of plastic film climbed 4% in 2011 to reach 454, 000 tonnes, said the American Chemistry Council (ACC). Citing findings from a report by Moore Recycling Associates, the ACC said that film recycling has increased 55% since 2005.
Due to growth in the plastic and composite lumber industry, as well as growth in the primary market for US-recovered plastic film, domestic consumption of the material averaged 58% in 2011, up from 53% the year before.
USM buys plant of aluminium company
Chicago-based Universal Scrap Metals (USM) has expanded its operations with the purchase of the facility and equipment used by Anheuser-Busch Recycling’s aluminium recycling arm.
USM said the equipment will allow it to offer higher recovery of used beverage cans and aluminium alloys to manufacturers, dealers, waste companies and mills.