MRW brings you markets, business and policy news from around the world.
Russian eyes shift to recycling
The Russian Government is taking steps to create a new waste disposal infrastructure system.
According to Nils van der Vegte, project assistant at green services company Den Boer Econom, Russia’s Ministry of Natural Resources is preparing a law to forbid the incineration of unsorted, recyclable waste. The Government is also putting together a fund to create waste disposal facilities.
Vegte said that the Russia generates an estimated 60 million tonnes of unprocessed waste every year in, of which 40% could be recycled, but Russia lacks of a coherent framework for waste management, and current regulations make it simpler and cheaper to landfill than to recycle.
The Voice of Russia, 21 May
Japanese town to export eco-wisdom
Japan’s green city of Kitakyushu and the UN Industrial Development Organization have agreed to work together to promote the concept of “eco-town” in developing countries.
The eco-town concept is based on a zero emissions approach and seeks to use the waste generated by domestic and industrial activities as the raw material for other industries.
As part of the partnership agreement, Kitakyushu and the UN agency will hold seminars with countries’ representatives to help them initiate policies and replicate best practices on recycling and waste management.
Kitakyushu was designated as an eco-town in 1997, and was Japan’s first.
Unido.org, 22 May
CCTV to monitor Irish waste
A camera system that films bins as they are emptied has been set up on waste trucks in Dublin as part of a pilot to decrease recycling bin contamination.
Households that are caught throwing general waste in their recycling bins are sent a warning letter.
The manager of Panda Waste, the company that runs the project, said the aim was to discourage people to drop “horrendous stuff” in recycling bins, singling out nappies as the worst contaminators.
After four weeks of the trial contamination levels dropped from 32% to below 10%, he added.
The initiative will be extended to all of Panda’s Dublin lorries by January 2014.
Recycling International, 24 May
Smart bins to boost WEEE collection in Italy
High-tech containers have been installed in an Italian town as part of an EU-sponsored pilot to encourage the collection of electronic waste.
The bins are opened with magnetic card readers, and project participants that have a card can and dispose of unwanted electronic equipment inside.
The aims are to make e-waste more easily traceable, monitor its disposal, prevent dumping and double the collection of WEEE.
Some 19,000 household participate in the project, which cost €3.5m (£3m) and sponsored by the EU, in partnership with the Hera Group, Ecolight – an Italian WEEE consortium- and Spanish foundation Ecolum.
The scheme will be rolled out in other Italian towns if successful.
Recycling International, May 29
Cycling waste away in Nebraska
A local NGO has set up a waste collection service run on bicycles instead of trucks in Omaha, Nebraska.
The charity inCommon hopes that the project, dubbed Common Good Recycling, will provide four jobs that will be given to people wanting to re-enter the workforce after being homeless or recovery form substance abuse.
The initiative was awarded a $25,000 (£16,500) grant in a Facebook contest organised by a US insurance company last year.
Six local businesses have signed up for the service, which according to the organisers fills a gap in recycling transport services to the town’s recycling facilities.
Omaha World Herald, May 21
The hazard is in your phone
US scientists have called to increase efforts in the recovery, recycling and reuse of lithium batteries, saying that they should be considered hazardous materials.
American Chemical Society’s researchers raised concerns on the growing number of lithium batteries in circulation as a result of their widespread use in smart phones and electronic equipment, combined with a short life span. The scientists pointed out that because of the batteries’ cobalt, copper and nickel content, they should be categorised as hazardous waste by the US Government.
They stressed the need to develop policies at the local, national, and international levels to encourage the safe recovery and disposal of the batteries.
Science Daily, May 22
Wal-Mart guilty of environmental crimes
Retail giant Wal-Mart has pleaded guilty to charges of illegally disposing of hazardous materials and agreed to pay a total of $110m (£72m) to settle the cases brought against them by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
According to US authorities, from a date unknown until January 2006 Wal-Mart failed to train its employees on proper hazardous waste management and disposal practices. As a result hazardous waste, including chemicals were “were either discarded improperly at the store level - including being put into municipal trash bins or, if a liquid, poured into the local sewer system,” said the EPA.
FBI.gov, 29 May
Environmental alliance pushes for sector overhaul in Nicaragua
In Nicaragua, seven environmental groups have joined forces to promote a reform of the country’s waste management and recycling sector.
The alliance includes environmental associations, recyclers, international NGOs and private sector actors. It will lobby for the finalisation of a draft law on waste management, which is currently discussed in the country’s parliament.
More than 4,700 tonnes of waste are produced in the country every day, with less than 8% of it being recycled.
The alliance claims that the Nicaraguan waste management sector lacks of a sound organisational structure and of protection and legal rights for workers.
El Cronista Digital, May 23
South Africa wheels back
South Africa’s environment agency has announced the launch of a five-year plan for the collection of waste tyres, in partnership with a civic society body.
The plan includes setting up and managing a national network for collecting and temporarily storing waste tyres, delivering it to recyclers, and promoting the development of a waste tyre recycling industry.
The plan also envisages the imposition of a levy on manufacturers to subsidise the collection and recycling process.
South African authorities estimate that the tyre industry produces more than 10 million waste tyres every year, with between 60 million and 100 million scrap tyres currently stockpiled in the country.
Business Report, 27 May
Send your WEEE abroad, says Malawi minister
Malawi’s minister of environment and climate change management, Aloysius Kamperewera, has acknowledged he has no plans to manage electronic waste, which he suggested should be shipped abroad for disposal.
He said that in the country there are no facilities to collect and dispose of discarded electronic equipment, whose volumes are on the rise. He therefore encouraged the public, distributors and retailers to collect electronic equipment at the end of their life and ship them back to the original manufacturers for disposal.
MANA online, 27 May
Rwanda’s PET recycling longing
An official from Rwanda’s environment agency has called for the setting up of a plastic recycling industry in the country to tackle the problem of soaring plastic waste.
The deputy general director of the Rwanda Environment Management Authority, Coletha Ruhamya, said that there is a need to raise awareness on the issue of PET bottles disposal and on the possibility of them being recycled into fibres.
Researchers at the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology said that they are looking into ways to use plastic bottles in the construction industry.
The New Times, May 29