MRW brings you markets, business and policy news from around the world.
US hits 65% recycling rate for drinks cans
The recycling rate for aluminium cans across the US has reached 65.1% as 61 billion were recycled in 2011. The Aluminum Association, the Can Manufacturers Institute and the Institute of Scrap said it rose from 58.1% in 2010.
According to the trade bodies, it is largely due to aluminium can imports increasing by 25% in 2010.
Aluminum Association president Heidi Brock said: “We are excited to have made strong progress toward our goal to increase the can recycling rate to 75%.”
Illinois kicks back plastic bag bill
Illinois governor Pat Quinn vetoed a bill to establish a state-wide recycling programme for plastic bags.
Senate Bill 3442, known as the plastic bag bill, would have required manufacturers to register with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and number each bag. It would also have outlawed the purchase of plastic bags from non-registered manufacturers and prohibited municipalities from starting their own recycling programmes, fees or bans.
The proposed law said manufacturers would have to set up recycling programmes to increase the rate by 12% and make the bags from at least 30% recycled content by 2015.
Quinn said: “While well-intentioned, this legislation is a roadblock to innovation that would do little to boost recycling in Illinois. We can do better.”
Electronics haul hits world record level
Sims Recycling Solutions has set a Guinness World Record for recycling around 80,000lb of e-waste on this year’s Earth Day, held on 22 April.
The US-based company secured the best result in ‘the most consumer electronics recycled within 24 hours at multiple venues’ category. This success was due to collection events organised across seven US states.
Sims president Steve Skurnac said: “We diverted thousands of pounds of electronic waste from local landfills and focused much-needed attention on why recycling electronics is necessary.”
Low-grade waste plan aims for high quality
A European consortium called Prime has launched a project for the recycling of mixed plastic waste. It plans to use the waste to manufacture high-value products with similar strength and surface quality to timber or aluminium. Potential products include flood barriers as well as marine and construction products.
A spokesman said: “One of the biggest challenges facing the European recycling industry is what to do with low-grade plastic waste.”
The consortium has 10 partners, five in the UK including Caro and Brunel University, three in Belgium and one each in France and Hungary.
Umicore wins Toyota battery contract
Toyota Motor Europe has hired Belgian global materials technology group Umicore to recycle lithium-ion batteries.
The aim is to ensure Toyota complies with and even outperforms the European Commission’s recycling efficiency targets in the Batteries Directive.
Toyota has said Umicore was selected as a partner because of its unique rechargeable battery recycling process. It is also the only company operating two battery pack dismantling lines for hybrid and full electric vehicles.
Nigerian state to build waste recycling plant
Nigeria’s Imo State Government is planning to build a waste recycling plant.
General manager of Imo’s Environmental Transformation Commission, Dr Okey Obidike, said it would change the nature of waste management and create new jobs. He said the plant was part of the administration’s programme to improve living standards.
“We don’t want to continue with the old method of waste management. That method has failed the environment. With the establishment of this recycling plant, Imo will become the new face of the green campaign,” he said.
Shanghai pulp plant reuses 95% of water
Asia Pulp and Paper has been recognised for its use of a pioneering waste water system by Guangxi Province’s Science and Technology Bureau, in Shanghai. Guangxi Jinhui Pulp and Paper’s water waste treatment is able to recycle 95% of the water used in its pulp production.
This enables the firm to reuse 93% of alkaline in its waste water, while conserving energy equivalent to 33,000 tonnes of standard coal a year.
Electric arc start-up hits initial targets
The first phase of ZincOx Resources’ recycling plant in South Korea is operating with zinc recovery and iron metallisation at or very close to target, the company has reported. It added that production has been steadily improving after it tweaked start-up issues.
The Korean facility has been designed to treat 200,000 tonnes of electric arc furnace dust a year. The second phase of development is expected to double capacity and is planned for completion in 2013.
CD/DVD process flags up contaminants
Fujitsu has developed a technology that recycles plastic from used CDs and DVDs into components of notebook computers. The system also flags toxic chemical contaminants listed in the company’s risk management database.
The process will eliminate about 10 tonnes a year of virgin plastic in Fujitsu’s products and will cut CO2 emissions by about 15%. Raw materials are supplied by the company’s five recycling centres across Japan, where it collects, disassembles, sorts and recycles personal computers and other consumer electronics.
The first system to include the recycled plastic is the Fujitsu Lifebook P772/E notebook PC.
Western Australia aims for 50%
More options to recycle household waste are part of a plan to boost Western Australia’s rate of recycling by 20% during the next five years, meaning more than 50% of the state’s waste would be recycled.
Environment minister Bill Marmion approved the state waste authority’s five-year business plan to achieve this target and announced AU$17.2m (£11.2m) in funding for the first year. He said the project “outlined ambitious but achievable targets to reduce waste going to landfill”.
Steel can total reaches 153k tonnes
Brazilian steel drinks can producer Metalic has recycled 153,000 tonnes of cans, according to consulting firm Environmental Resources Management. Metalic, located in Maracanaú, accounts for 8% of the steel cans produced in Brazil.
The company produced 23,076 tonnes of steel cans in 2011, equivalent to almost 805 million units, and 85.4% were recycled. About 25% of the beverage cans used in Brazil’s north-eastern region are made of steel.