MRW brings you markets, business and policy news from around the world
Italy in court again over illegal landfills
The European Commission is taking Italy to court for a second time following its failure to comply with an earlier court judgement ordering the state to clean up hundreds of illegal landfills and uncontrolled waste tips.
Italy will also be fined e56m (£45m) and a daily penalty of e256,819 will be imposed if the second court ruling is infringed.
The earlier court judgment took place in 2007, and the next hearing will be held at the European Court of Justice at a date to be confirmed.
Despite some progress, there remain 233 landfills, 16 of which contain hazardous waste, to clean up.
The Commission also had not received evidence that Italy had set up a monitoring system sufficient to deter new illegal landfill sites.
German households hoard their old PCs
Around 20 million old computers are lying unused in German households, according to a representative survey by Bitcom.
Approximately 30% of respondents admitted to having at least one old PC or notebook at home. One in 10 reported having two or more older computers gathering dust. One average, one out of every two households had an old computer.
Bitcom vice-president Volker Smid said more than 80% of the material could be recycled. The amount of raw materials to be recovered from individual computers was small but, collectively, millions of pieces of equipment could make an important contribution to resource conservation and environmental protection.
Grants to cut marine plastic pollution
The Environmental Protection Agency has awarded grants totalling $214,000 (£133,000) to the Product Stewardship Institute and Monterey Bay Aquarium to reduce sources of marine pollution.
The institute will use its part of the grant, $164,000, to research the reduction of plastic packaging, especially plastic water bottles and polystyrene containers, at three coastal universities in California.
The aquarium will use a $50,000 grant to train 100 teachers so that they can guide 7,500 students in leading 40 community projects to reduce sources of ocean debris.
GM goes down the zero-waste route
General Motors (GM) has published a white paper on the business case for zero waste at a time when 7.6 billion tonnes of non-hazardous industrial waste go to landfill in the US.
The paper advocates the idea of ‘by-product synergies’, where one company’s waste can be another’s useful resource.
GM reported that it recycles 90% of its manufacturing waste from around the world. It currently has 102 facilities that do not send waste to landfill, and the goal is 125 by 2020.
Mike Robinson, vice- president of sustainability and global regulatory affairs, said: “A landfill-free programme requires investment. It is important to be patient as those upfront costs decrease in time, and recycling revenues will help offset them.”
Wal-Mart deadline on sustainability
Retailer Wal-Mart has given global suppliers a deadline of five years to adhere to its sustainability strategy or risk having their contracts cancelled. The company announced its new hard line in China, where it has more than 20,000 suppliers making toys, electronics and clothes.
The company said that, by the end of 2017, 70% of its 4,000 stores and 600 wholesalers will be using its Sustainability Index. Waste reduction is a key part of the index, especially cutting down on packaging.
Drugs firm launches inhaler recycling
Inhalers often end up in landfill. But now GlaxoSmith-Kline (GSK) is launching a recycling service called Complete The Cycle to solve that problem.
The public can drop off their used inhalers in pharmacies in 31 communities across the US, from Anchorage to Syracuse. The inhalers are then shipped to a specialised recycler that will turn the plastics into household products, while another company will capture the remaining gas and recycle the metal from the canister.
Jorge Bartolome, senior vice-president of GSK’s respiratory business, said: “GSK piloted the programme earlier in five markets and collected nearly 2,700 inhalers. By expanding to 31 US markets, we hope to recycle more than 100,000 empty GSK inhalers.”
Recyclable e-waste mounts up in Chile
Chile produces 7,000 tonnes of WEEE a year and this is set to almost triple to 20,000 tonnes by 2020, according to a study by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. This amount includes 1.7 million discarded computers.
More than 80% of discarded WEEE ends up in dumps rather than a recycling centre. But the Chilean National Movement for Recycling said that 97% of WEEE could be reused or recycled.
JCB adds fourth Indian factory
JCB is planning to expand its manufacturing operations in India by investing £62m in a factory that will manufacture equipment used across the waste industry.
It has signed a land purchase agreement for a 70-acre factory site at Jaipur, in Rajasthan. This will be the fourth JCB factory in India, and will join the others in exporting to Africa, the Middle East and south-east Asia.
Novelis opens state-of-the-art can facility
A new aluminium recycling and casting centre costing $400m has been opened at Novelis’ facility in Yeongju, South Korea.
Novelis said this is now the largest aluminium can recycling operation in Asia, and it will cater for the world’s fastest-growing market for rolled aluminium to be used in cans, cars and electronics.
President and chief executive Phil Martens said: “Combined with our other recycling operations worldwide, this state-of-the-art facility makes Novelis the world’s leading recycler of aluminium, saving valuable natural resources while enabling our customers to create world-class products with a much smaller environmental footprint.”
Phone firm promotes WEEE recycling
Kenyan mobile phone company Safaricom has launched a $25,000 initiative to promote the recycling of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE).
The public will be encouraged to deposit their end-of-life electronics at any of the 36 Safaricom shops across the country. The WEEE will then be dealt with by the non-profit WEEE centre, which will be responsible for collecting the waste and making sure it is recycled into household products.
Safaricom chief executive Bob Collymore said: “Rapid growth of the mobile phone industry is, to some extent, responsible for the e-waste crisis.”
He said a report by the United Nations Environment Programme in 2009 showed that Kenya is responsible for more than 17,000 tonnes of e-waste every year, from which mobiles contribute more than 150 tonnes.