MRW brings you markets, business and policy news from around the world.
India ‘too bureaucratic’ to support EfW
Despite the fact that waste in India is increasing, the county is failing to support early efforts to generate electricity from waste.
One Indian engineer, KS Sivaprasad, spent four decades developing an EfW technology that incinerated the soggy waste found in poor parts of Asia. But his first EfW plant is now operational in Malaysia because India was too bureaucratic to support the new technology, said Sivaprasad.
In India, the urban waste mix is nearly 47% water, according to Columbia University, which is caused by a high content of food waste and less packaging.
Danger of e-waste recovery in villages
A study published in Environ-mental Science and Technology has found that people living near e-waste recycling areas in the Chinese countryside face higher risks of lung cancer compared with a heavily polluted site in the city of Guangzhou.
“People were recycling waste in their yards and homes, using utensils and pots to melt down circuit boards and reclaim metals,” said Staci Simonich, a professor of environmental and molecular toxicology at Oregon State University.
The process of recovering precious metals from e-waste through incineration can release toxic fumes. When inhaled, these are carcinogenic and linked to lung cancer.
The scientists concluded that those living in the e-waste village are 1.6 times more likely to develop cancer from inhalation than their urban-dwelling peers.
Scavengers are legit in Payatas landfill
Waste scavengers in Manila in the Philippines are now an organised and recognised part of the recycling chain rather than part of the informal economy.
The Payatas landfill site in Manila was the first waste-management project in south-east Asia to be funded under mechanisms intro-duced by the Kyoto Protocol. It is now properly managed, old landfills are being turned into an eco-park, and landfill gas is being used to generate electricity.
The 3,000 scavengers now working at the waste facility all belong to the Payatas Alliance Recycling Exchange. Days are divided into two shifts and revenue evenly shared. Each truck-load is checked at the entrance to exclude gang members.
China failing to recover enough paper
China’s recovered paper production has seen rapid growth in recent years. Consumption jumped from 6.8 million tonnes in 1994 to 64 million tonnes in 2011, China Paper Association figures show.
But despite the fast growth, the industry is still at a preliminary stage, according to the China Resource Recycling Association.
Although China recovered 39.5 million tonnes of waste paper domestically in 2011, the recovery rate was only about 45% compared with the world average level of 57%.
Waste treatment too costly in Argentina
The rubbish on many streets in the Argentine capital Buenos Aires reflects the inefficiency of a waste collection and treatment system that has become increasingly costly.
The crisis in Buenos Aires is a result of the saturation of the city’s landfills. This is due to increased levels of consumption during the past decade and substandard collection service, according to civil society groups and opposition parties.
The amount of rubbish sent to landfills from the city grew from 1.4 million tonnes to 2.2 million tonnes between 2002 and 2010, despite no significant increase in the number of residents.
Recyclers hoard e-waste across the US
Instead of sending leaded cathode ray tube (CRT) glass from TV sets and computer monitors to processors, electronics recyclers in the US have ‘stockpiled’ more than 270,000 tonnes of material, according to a report from e-scrap consultant Transparent Planet.
It said: “Increasing awareness of e-waste disposal issues and the success of state-legislated take-back programmes have resulted in unprecedented volumes of CRT glass entering the recycling stream.
“But a combination of market factors and mismanagement have resulted in price wars and stockpiling of collected glass.”
Transparent Planet claimed that around 300,000 ‘ghost’ tonnes of CRT glass sent for recycling “are sitting in locations throughout the US with recycling costs approaching $350m (£215m)”.
Bid for grant to install recycling bins
Sustainability non-profit body Keep America Beautiful and the Coca-Cola Foundation are calling for applications for this year’s recycling bin grants, supported by $300,000 from the Foundation.
Since 2010, almost 30,000 recycling bins have been distributed because of the fund, reaching 4.3 million people on school campuses, at non-profit groups and government agency sites.
Lori George Billingsley, vice-president, community relations, for Coca-Cola Refreshments, said: “We are pleased to support Keep America Beautiful and look forward to the continued community impact of this initiative.
“Bins placed in convenient locations significantly improve the amount of material that is recycled.”
Spanish paper waste must stay in Europe
In Spain, large retailers, banks, hotels, service firms, councils and other large generators of scrap paper can now legally demand that their recyclable waste materials be consumed in Europe.
David Barrio, director of recycling at paper industry association Aspapel, said: “The Spanish Waste Act, passed in November 2012, upholds the legality of recycling ‘made in Europe’, and gives Spanish generators of recyclable waste materials powers to decide on the final destination of their waste.”
The legislation is a follow-up to the 2011 Waste Act, which gave councils the option to give priority to recycling within the EU.
Commission sticks to contamination limit
The European Commission is declining to drop its end-of-waste proposal for a 2% limit on foreign materials in copper scrap, despite not receiving the required majority from member states.
The Commission is continuing to suggest the same threshold in a proposal to the European Parliament.
Based on a technical report by the Joint Research Centre (JRC), the proposal is currently in the hands of legislators. The draft underlines the JRC’s conclusion “that 2% represents a safe environmental limit value on foreign materials for copper scrap to cease to be waste”.
Cell damage from e-waste claim
A consultant neurologist at Bingham University College of Health Science, Karu, Nigeria, said that electro-magnetic transmission from e-waste could destroy human body cells.
Tunde Adetunji told the New Agency of Nigeria that it was important for the public to manage and control e-waste properly as not doing so could be harmful to the environment.