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April 2018


China's import ban: an opportunity for the European economy?
European Recycling Platform supports Going Green - CARE INNOVATION 2018
International Conference on WEEE, Used Battery Management and the EPR Principle

Interview with Peggy Chao, Business Development Manager

Stakeholder consultation reveals need to revise the Batteries Directive
Singapore to implement electrical and electronic waste management system by 2021
An update on India’s E-Waste (Management) Rules
Hong Kong WEEE EPR programme to become effective this year
China places battery recycling responsibility on car manufacturers

Circular Economy Package rubber-stamped
EU Member States produce National Circular Economy plans
Plastics Strategy: European Parliament to launch Own Initiative Report
UK plans to introduce a plastic tax

Poison Centre Notifications
Biocidal product deadlines approaching
US EPA floats plan for reducing animal testing

New educational primer published on key requirements of the North American Chemical Management Programs
Faraday battery challenge: £246 million fund for new battery technologies
EPBA publishes 5th annual report on the collection of waste portable batteries

Finalist of the Green Alley Award 2017: Sulfotools

Plastic eating bacterium may help the Circular Economy


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China's import ban: an opportunity for the European economy?

Although engagement with recycling is increasing, Jan Patrick Schulz, CEO of Landbell Group, still sees growth potential in all European countries. 

China’s import ban on 24 types of waste therefore offers a unique economic opportunity provided that the affected countries continue to expand their recycling capacity. Landbell Group is convinced that manufacturing companies can benefit in the long term as those companies that use secondary raw materials in production could make themselves more independent from volatile commodities markets. “This means greater security of supply for companies, more stable prices, and it makes them less dependent on imports,” says Schulz.

Various policies have already created a legal basis throughout Europe for the return and recycling of products including the EU’s Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive, the Batteries Directive, and the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive. 

European Recycling Platform supports Going Green - CARE INNOVATION 2018 

European Recycling Platform is the official sponsor of “Going Green - CARE INNOVATION 2018,” a biennial conference which moves between Europe, North America, and Japan. The conference attracts more than 400 experts from all over the world and is the only platform for presenting the latest trends in the circular economy, as well as the latest developments in resource-efficient electrical and electronic products and services.

The program will feature topics such as environmental design, clean manufacturing, resource efficiency, climate change, new eco-efficient technologies, collections, reverse logistics, refurbishment, carbon trading, re-use, recycling, and policy making.

The conference attracts leading experts from industry, academia, consulting, recyclers and the public sector from all around the globe. The conference will take place in Vienna, Austria, in the Apothecaries' Wing of Schönbrunn Palace, from 26-29 November 2018.

International Conference on WEEE, Used Battery Management and the EPR Principle

After 40 years of rapid development, China has become a major producer and consumer of electrical and electronic equipment. At the same time, a large amount of e-waste is generated in China each year. This is why the China Household Electric Appliance Research Institute (CHEARI) and partners organize this international conference which is now in its tenth year.

The conference attracts experts, scholars, and entrepreneurs from America, Europe, Southeast Asia and other countries and regions. The conference promotes cooperation between universities, research institutes, EEE producers, suppliers, service providers, and WEEE recyclers. It also acts a platform for communication between the government and companies.

European Recycling Platform, a Landbell Group company, will be at this year’s conference to speak about “The implementation and challenges of EPR for European manufacturers of electrical and electronic products“.  
Visit the conference website

Interview with Peggy Chao, Business Development Manager, Landbell Group

What’s your job at Landbell Group, Ms Chao?
As Business Development Manager, I work with various types of customers, from large, global businesses to small startups and local companies. Landbell Group’s dedicated services and expertise allow me to help customers - large or small - comply with extended producer responsibility (EPR) regulations. In particular, EuropePlus is a service that I consider our customers benefit from most. It is a simplified compliance solution, especially for small and medium sized companies, online sellers and startups, placing small volumes of electronics, batteries or packaging (or products with packaging) onto multiple markets. This service provides an estimated compliance cost for customers and fast lead times to ensure they are compliant with the regulatory requirements in the markets that they want to access.

What are your most important tasks and challenges?
My job is to support customers’ business expansion into the European market, so the important thing for me is to make sure they fully understand and comply with the regulatory requirements. The constant updates from the various countries and the diverse languages make this job very challenging and exciting. Every day is like a school day – I learn something new each day! The other main challenge is the time difference. Due to where customers are based, I can be talking in the very early morning to customers in the Far East, and to customers based in the USA after normal working hours. However, it is very exciting to have this great opportunity to talk to different customers from different countries.

How did you come to work at Landbell Group?
I have been an environmental consultant since I completed my MSc in the USA. My specialised area is waste management, including waste reduction, reuse, recycling and recovery from industries, and management of waste electrical and electronic equipment from households in Taiwan. That was before the WEEE Directive had been implemented in the EU. In 2002, I came to the UK having been awarded a scholarship to study at UEA in Norwich. Since then, having worked as an EPR compliance consultant and a compliance manager for a producer compliance scheme, I have found that many companies cannot expand their businesses due to a lack of understanding of the EPR regulations. My passion is to help them comply so that they can sell their products globally. That’s why I chose to work at Landbell Group because the company offers international compliance services and solutions for all types of customers.

What do you do for the environment in your private life?
I try to do the right thing by unplugging electrical gadgets or appliances to save on electricity and, in winter, wearing jumpers at home to further save on energy. I am quite often asked by people what I do for a living, so I explain that my job is related to recycling waste electrical products, batteries and packaging. I often end up explaining to them the importance of recycling, and how local councils can support residents with the recycling of their waste. I always remind them not to contaminate their recycling bin by putting in the wrong type of waste as this makes recycling economically and environmentally unviable. 

Stakeholder consultation reveals need to revise the Batteries Directive

The European Commission is currently evaluating the Batteries Directive and asked stakeholders to provide their practical experiences and opinion of this legislative act. The results of this stakeholder consultation were presented at a workshop in Brussels on 14 March. The key finding: the Batteries Directive probably needs to be revised in order to reflect new market developments and meet its objectives.

Stakeholders particularly stressed the importance of adjusting the calculation method for the collection rate. All agreed that the current method does not reflect market reality, particularly with regard to the rapid spread of lithium-ion batteries. As a consequence, collection targets would also need to be revised. In addition, stakeholders proposed to improve and harmonise consumer information and labelling requirements. Other topics covered by the consultation included recycling efficiency, removability, and hazardous substances. 

The Commission is expected to publish its evaluation report in August. However, legislative action is only expected after the European Parliament election and the reformation of the Commission in 2019. 

Singapore to implement electrical and electronic waste management system by 2021

The Singapore Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) announced that it will be implementing a mandatory electrical and electronic waste management system by 2021. It will cover five categories of products which pose harm to the environment if not treated properly:  

  • information and communications technology;
  • solar panels;
  • batteries;
  • lamps; and
  • some large household appliances.
The system will adopt the principle of extended producer responsibility. This implies that manufacturers and importers are responsible for organising the collection, transport, and proper treatment of e-waste. For that purpose they will be required to work with producer responsibility organisations (PROs) licensed by the National Environment Agency (NEA). The PROs can also be established by producers of electrical and electronic equipment. The NEA will also be responsible for licensing e-waste recycling facilities, in order to ensure high safety and environmental standards. The MEWR is studying practices in other countries and plans to consult relevant stakeholders on legislation and implementation.
More information can be found here

An update on India’s E-Waste (Management) Rules

In 2016, India’s E-Waste (Management) Rules placed the responsibility for the collection of e-waste on manufacturers and importers. The Central Pollution Control Board initially sent non-compliance notices to over 200 companies, including some of India’s big electronics manufacturers in Bengaluru and Delhi. Since then, the list of non-compliant EEE producers has significantly dropped and only 15 notices were sent to companies in November 2017.

Despite this, 80% of Indian e-waste is still broken down by the informal sector.

As part of the E-Waste (Management) Rules, which were recently amended in April 2018, companies are required to reach collection targets linked to their production numbers and should include these targets in their EPR plans.

Ambitious collection targets were first announced in the 2016 legislation, but had to be scaled back due to insufficient recycling capacity. On 30 October 2017 a draft notification was published, in which more relaxed targets for EEE producers were proposed. The table below summarizes the targets set out in both documents:

Fiscal years  Collection targets (% of WEEE generated)  
May 2016 EPR legislation 
Collection targets (% of WEEE generated)
Oct 2017 EPR legislation (draft)
2016-2017     15%     n/a 
2017-2018 30% 10%
2018-2020 40% 20% in 2018-2019 and 30% in 2019-2020
2020-2022 50% 40% in 2020-2021 and 50% in 2021-2022
2022-2023 onwards 70% 60% in 2022-2023 and 70% in 2023 onwards

In addition, companies must also limit their use of hazardous heavy metals. The Environment Ministry now plans to increase awareness about the hazards of e-waste by initiating a nationwide capacity building program.  

Hong Kong WEEE EPR programme to become effective this year

The Government of Hong Kong has issued three commencement notices regarding producer responsibility for electronic and electrical equipment. Suppliers of regulated electronic equipment (REE), e.g. air conditioners and printers, now have to register with the Environmental Protection Department (EPD). Further statutory requirements include paying levies and submitting returns to the EPD and providing recycling information on product labels as applicable when distributing the equipment. In addition, retailers must provide a collection service plan to be endorsed by the EPD. Finally, all businesses involved in the disposal or recycling of REE products are required to obtain a licence to do so. The landfilling of REE products will be banned by the end of this year and businesses handling the collection of such products will be required to utilise alternative solutions. 

China places battery recycling responsibility on car manufacturers

In line with China's recent efforts to reduce e-waste, an extended producer responsibility scheme for batteries from electric vehicles (EVs) has been introduced. The scheme puts the responsibility for collecting and recycling old batteries from EVs onto car manufacturers. Consequently, manufacturers are responsible for providing facilities for collecting and ultimately recycling the batteries. Furthermore, a tracking system for determining a battery's origin and training for car dealers to dismantle and store spent batteries are also required under the new scheme. Until the regulation comes fully into effect, an interim solution is in force whereby manufacturers have to set up a supply chain for recycling, and ensure that the disposal of a battery can be carried out in a convenient and consumer-friendly fashion.

Circular Economy Package rubber-stamped

The Circular Economy Package has cleared another important legislative hurdle. In its plenary vote on 18 April, the European Parliament gave the green light for amending the six legislative acts included in the package, most importantly the Waste Framework Directive. After formal approval by the Council of the European Union, the package can finally enter into force.

Landbell Group welcomes the outcome of the vote and the definition of new rules for Europe’s waste market. By implementing measures for waste prevention and by setting higher recycling targets, the package paves the way for establishing a more circular, resource-efficient economy in Europe. And by strengthening the principle of extended producer responsibility, the new framework will increase competition and help to create a more level playing field among producer responsibility organisations.  

The European Council now has to agree the package. This is expected to take place within the next couple of weeks.

After entering into force, the package needs to be transposed into national law by the Member States within 18 months.

Find ERP’s press release here

EU Member States produce National Circular Economy plans

Whilst the Circular Economy Package has just been officially adopted by the EU Parliament, many EU Member States have already begun clarifying their approach and implementing strategies for a more circular economy themselves. The European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform has published a list of nine of those strategies adopted at either national, regional or local level by public authorities. Countries like Finland, the U.K., Germany, Italy, and Portugal have already included their road maps or efficiency plans. 

Strategies can be submitted via a specific form on the platform.
More information here

Plastics Strategy: European Parliament to launch Own Initiative Report

On 16 January, the European Commission published its long awaited Communication on the Plastics Strategy. The European Parliament has now followed suit by preparing an Own Initiative Report on this topic. The goal: to establish a circular plastics economy.

The draft report from 27 March, written by rapporteur Mark Demesmaeker (ECR), stresses the importance of preventing the production of plastic waste and increasing plastics recycling performance. It calls on the Commission to establish a post-2020 policy framework for the Circular Economy and to boost research and innovation. In addition, the report points out the need to improve product design for better reusability and recyclability and to create a single market for recycled plastics. 

Parliament’s Own Initiative Reports are non-legally binding, but they send a strong signal to the Commission and express the wish for legislative action to be taken. The plenary vote on this particular report is expected to be held in September.

U.K. plans to introduce a plastic tax

The United Kingdom is considering imposing a plastic tax in order to reduce the amount of single-use plastics and to mitigate their environmental impact. Chancellor Philip Hammond, head of Her Majesty’s Treasury, has called on stakeholders to share ideas on how such a tax or other equivalent measures could be used to tackle the problem.

Some key players have already reacted to the government plans. The British Retail Consortium expressed doubts about the added value of such a tax as packaging items are already implicitly funded by the extended producer responsibility system. Under this, producers are obliged to cover the costs for the collection and recycling of their packaging waste and, as a result, typically factor these costs into their product prices. The Environmental Services Association also acknowledged the existing principle of extended producer responsibility, but proposed to impose a tax on virgin plastics to incentivise the use of recycled materials. 

The public consultation will be open until 18 May. The government will then use the evidence gathered to prepare legislative action.

Poison Centre Notifications  

Poison Centres in EU Member States receive 600,000 calls per year in response to accidental exposure to chemicals, and provide advice to consumers and doctors in these situations.

While advice will still be given at country level, the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) will now play a central role by streamlining the onerous data submission process.

Data will be submitted via the Poison Centre Notification Portal and the first deadline for submission of data on hazardous mixtures on sale to consumers is 1st January 2020.

This link is a useful resource for companies to understand their obligations

An initial step is to request a unique formula identifier number which must then be applied to such products. As this impacts product labelling, this can be a complex process.  

Please contact H2 Compliance for support

Biocidal product deadlines approaching  

The Biocidal Product Regulation states that Biocidal Products can only be authorised if the Active Substance they contain has previously been approved.

18 substances have deadlines approaching next year for product authorisation. The full list of substances is available here. In order to continue the manufacture or use of these products, a product authorisation at either national or EU level must be submitted, by applying directly to the authorities of the Member State where this product is sold or to ECHA. 

Please contact H2 Compliance for support

US EPA floats plan for reducing animal testing

Plans to drastically reduce animal testing in the United States are underway, as the government and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) agreed to increase the use of cutting-edge scientific methods to establish whether a chemical is safe for usage or not. The EPA recently published a multiyear process by which alternative testing methods are to be identified and promoted within the chemical industry. Similarly, Congress reported that it will update the Toxic Substances Control Act in line with improved animal welfare. The EPA seeks to eliminate all testing on vertebrates as stated in a 40-page draft strategy. Furthermore, the EPA is committed to working closely with animal welfare groups in order to accomplish this goal.  

New educational primer published on key requirements of the North American Chemical Management Programs

To assist stakeholders in complying with the Significant New Use Rule (SNUR) of the US Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) and the related Significant New Activities (SNAc) of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA), a new primer has recently been published by the US Environmental Protection Agency, Health Canada, and Climate Change Canada. These organisations are required to review new and existing substances and, where significant risk or the possibility of significant risk accompany the use of such substances, to restrict the uses and/ or impose conditions to the uses that mitigate those risks. To meet the time requirements of the review processes, the agencies consider only the uses reasonably foreseen by the submitters.

Prior to commencing any significant new uses (activities), stakeholders must submit those uses for review through the US SNUR and Canadian SNAc programs. This is required of any entities that would manufacture, import or process any restricted substance for significant new uses. This document details the provisions of the two related programs including:

  • what is a significant new use under SNUR and SNAc,
  • what must you do to comply with the new uses in each country,
  • what is the applicability to consumer products and articles,
  • what resources are required to determine if a substance has SNUR or SNAc restrictions, and
  • a comparison of the two programs.
Read the primer here

Faraday battery challenge: £246 million fund for new battery technologies

The U.K. government announced the implementation of the Faraday battery challenge, a project that is part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. The project has a fund of £246 million and aims to support the development of new battery technologies to develop cost-effective, high-performance, durable, safe, low-weight, and more recyclable batteries. The initial focus of the challenge will be on targeting the full electrification of the automotive sector and zero-emissions vehicles. The Faraday challenge includes three main activities: 

  • The Faraday Institution brings together expertise from universities and industry in order to accelerate the fundamental research needed for future battery development.
  • Funding for research and innovation projects is now available for any U.K. business or research and technology organisation. 27 projects have so far been funded, including some focusing on improving battery lifespan and increasing the recyclability of battery packs.
  • The UK Battery Industrial Centre will be the U.K.’s first automotive battery innovation centre. 
More information can be found here

EPBA publishes 5th annual report on the collection of waste portable batteries

Sagis EPR has published the fifth annual report on behalf of the European Portable Battery Association. The report monitors the achievement of targets for the collection of batteries set in the European Batteries Directive. In addition, it provides examples of best practice by analysing the countries that achieve high collection rates. Based on the results of the analysis, the report also recommends ways to improve collection systems.

The report is an updated version of the original report which was first published in 2013. It provides the most comprehensive analysis of the collection rates for portable batteries in the Member States of the European Union, as well as in Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland. 

Find the report online

Finalist of the Green Alley Award 2017: Sulfotools

How do the beneficial substances in creams, medicines, and dietary supplements get into our bodies? In order to reach the areas where they are supposed to be effective, they need a small transport aid: peptides. However, the industrial production of these biomolecules requires large amounts of toxic organic solvents, which remain after the process as hazardous waste. According to the European Chemicals Ordinance, the Regulation, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), the most commonly used organic solvents in peptide manufacturing are classified as “very high concern”. They are considered harmful to crops and health and therefore a risk to humans and the environment.

So what can we do about the approximately 20,000 tonnes of organic solvents that are used annually for the production of peptides? Sulfotools, a startup based in Darmstadt, Germany, has now revolutionized peptide synthesis: its "Clean Peptide Technology" simply replaces the hazardous solvents with water-soluble building blocks, thus reducing the amount of hazardous waste. This is a major plus for the cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries: their processes not only become more environmentally friendly and sustainable, they can even reduce the cost of peptide production by 50%.

To the Green Alley Award

Plastic eating bacterium may help the Circular Economy

While working on research projects to address global environmental pollution, Japanese scientists from the Kyoto Institute of Technology and Keio University discovered a bacterium in a waste plastic storage facility that is able to eat polyethylene terephthalate (PET).

The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) continued the work by examining the three-dimensional structure of the enzymes used by the bacterium in order to understand how they break down large PET molecules. The scientists at KAIST have now developed an even more effective PET-degrading variant. 

The discovery could be important for developing better recycling technologies and reducing the amount of plastics waste. 

The study can be found online here

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