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Global news - 20 July 2013

MRW brings you markets, business and policy news from around the world.


EU takes Russia to WTO over vehicle recycling fees

The European Union has filed a case against Russia at the World Trade Organisation to challenge the imposition of recycling fees on imported vehicles.

Russia has imposed a minimum levy of €420 (£361) per imported vehicle to cover the cost of recycling. But EU officials argue that as the fee applies only on imported vehicles it is underpinned by protectionist aspirations rather environmental ones.

Unless the two parties reach a settlement in 60 days the WTO will start adjudication procedures. If the WTO finds against Russia it could be forced to change its policy or become subject to sanctions.

The Financial Times, 9 July


Irish farm plastics recycling on the rise

Irish farmers have doubled the amount the plastics material recycled in the past five years, according to a local farm plastic recycling scheme.

Farmers working in collaboration with the Irish Farm Film Producers Group (IFFPG) collected more than 21,000 tonnes of farm plastics in 2012, with a further increase expected for 2013.

Following increasing demand for recycling services, the IFFPG launched Farm Plastics Recycling, a non-profit organisation providing support for farmers to dispose of plastics waste., 3 July



UAE call to reduce food waste

The United Arab Emirates’ environment agency has urged residents to reduce food waste and launched a campaign to donate uneaten food to people in need.

The Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi (EAD) in partnership with UAE Red Crescent Authority and the charity Quattro Group will run a scheme to donate 250 meals daily of untouched and safe leftover food to people in need in Abu Dhabi as part of the Saving Grace Project.

Sultan Al Shehi, director of the project, said that EAD is playing a significant role in raising awareness among community members on the importance of conserving the environment by reducing food waste at social events, restaurants, hotels, governmental organisations and in private entities.

The Gulf Today, 8 July



Australian university studies roots of food waste

Packaging has a vital role to play in minimising food waste in the supply chain, according to a study by Australia’s Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.

The University’s Centre for Design conducted the first research in the country to study where and why food waste occurs along the fresh and manufactured food supply chain.

According to Karli Verghese, research leader, packaging actually plays a critical role in protecting fresh produce and processed food in transit, in storage, at point of sale and prior to consumption. “In doing so it helps deliver a wide range of functions while reducing food waste,” he said.

Supply Chain Brain, 8 July



China incinerator protests

Residents in Guiyang in southern China plan to march on local government headquarters to protest against an incinerator to be built near residential areas in the Guizhou capital.

Organisers expect 300 people to turn out to voice their opposition to the plant, which they say will emit toxic air pollution and contaminate their water supply.

One organiser said the group wanted the government to move the site at least 10 kilometres from residential areas. The current location for the incinerator is just 3 kilometres from a community of around 50,000 people, including schools and a hospital, on the northern side of the city.

South China Morning Post, 10 July


Indian waste crisis

Residents associations in Kottayam, Kerala, have started promoting home treatment of organic wastes after municipal waste collections were halted for more than a month.

The local landfill site will also be closed at the end of the year, meaning households and businesses will have to come up with a plan to deal with waste themselves.

Many residents associations have already started closing down waste dumping points within their region. A resident who lived near a waste point said: “For 29 days the waste has not been removed. People from other places used to come here during night and dump garbage, which included those from hotels and cold storages also.”

Times of India, 11 July


‘Germany-styled’ waste treatment plant in South Goa

Manohar Parrikar, chief minister of Margao, has revealed that a waste treatment plant capable of processing 100 tonnes at a time will be set up in South Goa.

“The proposed garbage treatment plant will be 100% foolproof and odourless,” said Parrikar.

He said the technology has been finalised and has received the approval of the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute. While the process of setting up the plant will begin in August, the project is expected to begin operations within a year.

Times of India, 10 July


Panasonic starts WEEE trial in Singapore

Electronics conglomerate Panasonic Asia Pacific has launched a six-month trial for WEEE recycling in Singapore.

The Heartland E-waste Recycling Programme will run until December 2013 in two locations in Singapore’s south east district.

Panasonic has partnered with the South East Community Development Council, National Environment Agency, electrical and electronics retailer Best Denki, e-waste recycler Cimelia and public waste collector SembWaste to provide an integrated recycling platform from the community to retailer level.

The Heartland E-waste project accepts refrigerators, TVs, and other home appliances, besides personal entertainment gadget via free collection from households or bins located outside retailers.

Eco-Business , 8 July



First US mattress recycling law passed

Connecticut has become the first US state to pass a law on mattress recycling.

As part of the regulations the mattress manufacturing industry will have to create a mattress recycling programme by July 2014. The programme will include the setting up of a fee paid by customers that will support the process of recycling.

The law was drafted with the support of the International Sleep Products Association (ISPA), which lobbied for the creation of a cost-effective recycling system that would not be unduly burdensome for the mattress industry.

Producers will work in collaboration with retailers to offer a mattress collection system and the two recycling facilities currently operating in Connecticut, according to ISPA president Ryan Trainer.

Bed Times, 8 July


Oregon recyclers reject plastic bags

An investigation by the KGW news channel in Portland has revealed some recyclers are now refusing to take plastic bags, as China and Singapore no longer accepts them.

“For now, we can’t take any plastic bags,” said Vinod Singh, Operations Manager at Far West Fibers. “A grocery sack - those single-use bags you get at the grocery store - produce bags, bread bags, it could be paper towel bags. It could be when you buy a case of water bottles, it comes in that.”

Plastic film has never been accepted, but now for the first time they’re not being taken at Far West either., 9 July



Garbage truckers join strike

Waste has been collecting on the streets of Buenos Aires as Argentina’s largest truckers union called a nationwide one-day strike to protest against taxes and pose a challenge to president Cristina Kirchner.

Recycling and yard waste truck drivers joined the anti-government strike.

Secretary general of the CGT labour confederation, Hugo Moyano, said the union workers will not accept paying for the government’s “adjustment plans” with their salaries. They say anti-government sectors have been long protesting the harsh austerity measures at a time when the inflation hovers round 25%.

Press TV, 9 July



Namibia funds research on waste tyres

A Namibian consultancy has been granted £10,000 by a local fund to conduct a study on the economic and environmental impact of waste tyres.

With the support received by the Environmental Investment Fund, an entity funded with international donations and domestic levies, Green Cycle Investments will carry out a three-month research on global trends in the waste tyre collection, treatment and value addition, and provide commercial solutions to the problem.

According to Henny Seibeb, partner in Green Cycle Investments, landfilled waste tyres not only cause environmental damages, but creates a serious threat to human health. “Waste tyres provide an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes which carry and transmit life-threatening diseases such as dengue fever, encephalitis, malaria and the west Nile virus,” he said.

The Namibian Economist, 5 July

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