MRW brings you markets, business and policy news from around the world.
General Motors makes $1bn with recycling
US car maker giant General Motors generated $1bn (£660m) from recycling and reuse activities last year. In its latest sustainability report the company said that it had recycled 90% of its manufacturing waste, obtained 105 landfill-free facilities and reduced total waste by 25kg per vehicle since 2010. As part of the waste reduction plan, General Motors’ facilities in India, Thailand and Russia have replaced wooden pallets with reusable plastics and reduced the amount of paint thinner used in car production by 181 tonnes.
Business Green, 15 July
US EfW plants in Afghanistan under-utilised
A US Congress investigation has revealed that two out of four waste incinerators at US military base in Afghanistan were out of operation, leading to waste being disposed of in open air burn pits. The underutilization of the incinerators put the health of 13,500 military and civilian residents at risk, said the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. The energy from waste facilities were not in use because a contract for their operation and maintenance had not been awarded.
Voice of America, 11 July
Sims sells aerospace subsidiary
Sims Metal Management has sold Metal Management Aerospace to ELG Utica Alloys. Aerospace, based in Hartford, Connecticut, which specialises in the recycling of titanium alloys and high temperature metals. Sims said the subsidiary was not considered to be a core business “due to the unique aspects of its processing capabilities and associated commodities”. It is not releasing terms of the sale but says a pre-tax loss of around $9m (£5.9m) is expected in relation to the transaction. Sims is due to release full year results on 23 August.
Press release, 15 July
EuPR calls for separate plastics collection
A European plastics trade body has called for the separate collections of PET trays and bottles. Plastics Recyclers Europe (EuPR), which represents 90 members responsible for 2.5 million tonnes of plastic recycling, pointed out that if the materials were mixed, reprocessors could face problems with material quality.
EuPR said: “The 700,000 tonnes of PET trays yearly consumed in Europe can be recycled as valuable material if they are properly separated from other streams such as PET bottles or polyolefins. This trend will enable investments in lines able to recycle trays and improve Europe’s resource efficiency.”
EuPR also said that the mixing of trays with more valuable bottles ‘could endanger the recycling of one of the most recycled plastics in Europe”
Resource.uk.com, 17 July
German label system questioned
A German association of local waste management providers has called for the abolition of Germany’s 20-year old recycling scheme “Green Dot”.
The scheme was introduced in the early 1990s following regulations mandating that producers and suppliers offered bring-back services for household packaging. The Green Dot label marked packaging that could be brought back as part of the scheme. Manufacturers and distributors must pay a licensing fee in order to print the eco-label on their products.
The Association of Local Utilities claimed that the system put profits over environmental considerations, with quality faltering and costs for households rising as a result.
Deutsche Welle, 15 July
Saudi Arabia passes waste management law
Saudi Arabia’s Government has approved new regulations on the management of solid waste in the country’s cities. The regulations will introduce an integrated framework for waste separation, collection, transportation, storage, sorting, recycling and processing.
The system will be overseen by the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs. The ministry will also develop an education programme to educate residents on how to dispose of waste.
Arab News, 17 July
Kenya mulls WEEE producers and recyclers registers
The Kenyan environment agency has drafted a law to introduce a national register of manufacturers and suppliers of electronic equipment in order to tackle the problem of e-waste. Registered suppliers and manufacturers will need to provide information on the amount of electronic equipment they put onto the Kenyan market ever year.
The law will also create a register of local WEEE recyclers to monitor how much e-waste can be recycled every year. Collection centres will be set up across the country to incentivise the proper disposal of e-waste. A public consultation on the law will be open in the coming months.
Capital FM Business, 15 July
Collection stopped in Ghana’s capital
Ghana’s waste management companies have warned that landfill sites in the country’s capital have reached capacity. Trucks have stopped collecting the over two thousand tonnes of waste produced in Accra every day because they do not have a final destination for them. As a result, refuse remains piled up in front of homes and residential areas.
The township is considering plans to acquire land for the construction of a new landfill site, said Samuel Kpodo, the deputy director of waste management at the Accra Metropolitan Assembly. He added that the problem arose after the administration close a landfill site, Achimota, located near the capital following strong opposition from residents.
GhanaWeb.com, 7 July
A Chilean venture capital has raised $16m to be invested in a fund to support the energy-from-waste sector. Austral Capital’s “Waste to Energy” was set up in January and is now investing in two biogas plants. The fund aims to provide an annual return of 20%, according to chief executive Gonzalo Miranda.
Diario Financiero, 15 July
Planned port expansion threats Great Barrier Reef
Australian politicians have said they would support the dumping of dredged waste in the sea that hosts the Great Barrier Reef to enable the expansion of a coal port.
Michelle Landry, candidate for the Queensland seat for the centre-right Liberal National Party, said she would like a suitable dumping site to be found in the sea, and was supported by Labour’s candidate Bronwyn Taha and MP George Christensen.
In June, the United Nations noted its concern at the level of development beside the reef, warning that it would place the vast coral ecosystem on its “in danger” list if the government didn’t commit to limiting the development of ports.
The Guardian, 17 July
Revenues grow for Indian WEEE recyclers
Electronic waste recyclers in India have experienced rising revenues and investor interest since the country introduced producer responsibility regulations last year. Revenues rose as much as five times in the past 12 months, according to Shankar Sharma, a director at WEEE recycler Green Vortex.
“Four years ago, the organised sector handled less than 3% of the e-waste generated in India, but today the figure has moved up to 7.5%,” he said.
Also increasing were investments in the sector. “We are seeing start-ups becoming more active after the regulations came into force,” according to Subrata Barman, a senior operations officer at IFC, the investment arm of the World Bank.
The Economic Times, 10 July
Hong Kong eyes pyrolysis plant to hedge Green Fence
A Hong Kong plastics recycler filed an application to build a pyrolysis plant in the island, saying it will help to process the large amount of low quality waste that cannot longer be exported to China as a result of Operation Green Fence.
Hong Kong Telford Envirotech Group said the plant would have an initial capacity of 7,200 tonnes per year. It would start operation in 2015.
A recycling industry trade group said that an estimated 10,000 tonnes of plastics that in the past would have been sent to China for recycling have been landfilled in Hong Kong since the crackdown by Chinese authorities.
Plastics News, 11 July