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Global news - 24 August 2012

MRW brings you news from around the globe. We gather top international markets, business and policy news that affect the UK industry. For more on each story, visit the links.

EUROPE

Containers fraud and theft being monitored

The Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) has subscribed to the London-based International Maritime Bureau (IMB) in an attempt to clamp down on container fraud and theft. The IMB will collate incidents experienced by BIR members relating to container shipments for a trial period running to June 2013. The BIR secretariat is requesting all its members to forward reports of fraud and theft from container shipments with supporting documentation to the IMB.

Recycling International, 14 August

Biofuel is ‘only viable’ from waste supplies

The German National Academy of Sciences published a report claiming that waste is the only viable feedstock for the production of bioenergy, but cautioned about its availability and optimal use. The report claimed that the expectations set for bioenergy are too high, and that in Germany the availability of biomass as an energy source was very low relative to the country’s primary energy consumption and that few bioenergy sources were without environmental, ecological and climate risks. The researchers found that while around 6% of Germany’s primary energy consumption is currently met from biomass or biomass products, the percentage met through the conversion of renewable wastes makes up just an additional 0.7%.

Waste Management World, 15 August

ASIA

Scrap recycler to be restructured

Eastern China’s Shagang Group, the country’s largest scrap consumer, has signed a framework agreement to restructure China’s leading scrap recycling firm, Fengli Group, Shagang. Both companies are located in Zhangjiagang in Jiangsu province. A Shagang spokesperson said the reconstruction would help the two companies “better weather the chill in the steel market” and ensure a steady supply of ferrous scrap and to lower scrap costs. In 2011, Shagang purchased around three million tonnes of ferrous scrap domestically, with Fengli supplying around 15% of the total. Fengli’s total ferrous scrap sales exceeded two million tonnes last year.

Recycling International, 15 August

Radioactive vehicles pile up in scrap yards

Vehicle recyclers in the Fukushima area of Japan are suffering serious consequences of last year’s nuclear power plant failure. End-of-life vehicles and car carcasses contaminated with radiation are said to be accumulating in recyclers’ yards. According to Napro Fukushima, a car recycler in Hironomachi in the so-called Emergency Evacuation Preparation Zone, a shredder operator group has established a voluntary limit of 0.3 microsievert if blocks of pressed cars are to be accepted. Any blocks with radiation levels exceeding the limit are rejected.  

Recycling International, 8 August

India scrap imports rise year-on-year

India scrap imports advanced sharply by 33.8% year-on-year to 6.257 million tonnes in 2011. The UK was the largest scrap exporter to India with 955,000 tonnes, a 4.4% year-on-year increase. The US was the second largest scrap exporter to India with 942,000 tonnes, a 14.6% year-on-year increase. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) was the third largest one with 859,000 tonnes, a gain of 34% year-on-year.

Scrap Monster, 16 August

Shipbreaking returns to Bangladesh

Bangladesh’s shipbreaking industry has seen business pick up pace again after courts lifted a ban on the import of ships to allow government ministries develop guidelines for the sector. In 2011, 150 ships were dismantled, and officials say 143 ships have already been broken in the first six months of 2012. The industry is worth around $1bn (£637m) and shipyard owners say the sector employs nearly 200,000 workers. Shipbreaking yard owners claim they satisfy nearly 60% of the country’s total steel demand. The industry is hoping to extract around three million tonnes of steel from broken ships by the end of this year.

Recycling International, 13 August

Polyester recycler opens up in China 

Japan company Teijin announced it will establish a joint venture with China’s Jinggong Holding Group, one of the country’s largest production bases for fibre products. Through the joint venture, starting next month, Teijin will chemically recycle polyester, as well as manufacture and sell the resulting fibres, with the aim of establishing a closed-loop recycling system. The joint venture is targeting annual sales of JPY 10 billion (£80m) in the first year of business. It will be the first time Teijin has operated polyester chemical recycling outside Japan.

Teijin press release, 9 August

NORTH AMERICA

World’s largest MRF opens in San José

Waste management company Republic Services, has started up what it calls “the world’s largest material recovery facility (MRF)” near San José in California, US. The 110 tonnes-per-hour multi-stream system, which has been designed, manufactured and installed by Bulk Handling Systems, processes all commercial waste generated in San José and recovers more than 80% of the material under a 15-year contract with the city. It has the capacity to process 420,000 tonnes of material per year, including organics, commercial dry waste, commercial single stream and residential single stream.

Recycling International, 14 August

SOUTH AMERICA

Contraband booze is recycled into products

Brazil’s Federal Revenue Service is sending seized illegal alcoholic beverages to Universidade Estadual do Centro-Oeste (Unicentro), a public university in Guarapuava in the state of Paraná. The university’s lab then turns them into alcohol gel and ethanol fuel. The Federal Revenue Service confiscated 71,000 litres of alcoholic beverages in the state of Paraná in 2010 and 2011. Prior to the partnership, confiscated alcohol was emptied into the sewage system and bottles and cans were sent to landfill. Glass and bottle caps are sent to recycling co-operatives.

Infosur Hoy, 15 August

AFRICA

Egyptian waste pickers fear initiative

Egyptian president Mohamed Morsy has launched the ‘Clean Homeland’ campaign, an initiative to clear piles of waste from the country’s urban landscape as well as to reduce corruption. The campaign is backed and facilitated by large waste management contracting firms, but the president’s waste disposal plans are being questioned by industry experts and by Egypt’s informal collectors and recyclers - known as the Zabbaleen, a minority religious community of Coptic Christians who have served as Cairo’s informal garbage collectors for approximately the past 70 to 80 years. The Zabbaleen, who fear they will be sidelined, collect door-to-door and separate out recyclable commodities for sale to stores, factories and exporters, achieving recycling rates as high as 85%.

Recycling International, 15 August

AUSTRALASIA

Sydney opera house lights to be recycled

The Sydney Opera House Trust has been recognised by the Australian Government for committing to recycle fluorescent lights from its iconic building. Senator Don Farrell, parliamentary secretary for sustainability and urban water, presented certificates to the trust in recognition of them joining the national FluoroCycle recycling scheme. Farrell said having the Sydney Opera House on board was a “huge boost” for the scheme. So far 135 organisations nationally have signed up to the initiative.

The Information Daily, 10 August

Carpet backing helps cut waste to landfill

Carpet manufacturer Cavalier Bremworth has unveiled a recycled carpet backing it claims will reduce around 1,200 tonnes of waste from landfills each year. The usual jute backing is replaced with a recycled wool product that has taken two years to develop. It is estimated New Zealanders dump 5,000 tonnes of carpet in landfill each year and synthetic carpet takes 50 years to break down.

3 News, 16 August

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