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October 2018


Landbell Group and ERP to take part in CARE Innovation conference
REACH 2018 and beyond: what you need to know
Update on the WEEE Directive and open scope
ERP joined EU Circular Economy Mission to India     

Interview with Beth Bidstrup

New OECD report on extended producer responsibility and online sales
Thailand to ban import of e-waste

European Parliament to vote on action against single-use plastic
Global definition of “plastics recyclability” announced
Companies look for new circular economy strategies  
FEAD calls for a single market for recycled plastics

Companies voice support for toxic-free circular economy  
Over 21,000 chemical substances registered under REACH  

EU project to improve recovery of WEEE
Case study reveals economic potential of a circular economy in the U.S.
Study identifies growth potential of the European recycling market

Green Alley Award 2018 – Here are the finalists
New technology to help clear mountains of waste LCDs    

European firms push recycling    


Landbell Group and ERP to take part in CARE Innovation conference 

Landbell Group and its subsidiary, European Recycling Platform (ERP), will sponsor and take part in the CARE Innovation conference in Vienna on 27 November 2018. Topics to be discussed will be the latest market, technological, and legislative developments.

In a first session, Andreas Bohnhoff from ERP will discuss reverse logistics for lithium-ion batteries and how to comply with the European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR). In a second session, Arne Campen from Landbell Group will evaluate the EU regulations on geo-blocking and sales of goods, as well as their impact on extended producer responsibility for distance sellers of electronic equipment.

The CARE Innovation conference aims to present and discuss the latest developments in eco-efficient electrical, electronic, and automotive products. The program includes input from leading industry stakeholders and organisations from relevant sectors.
More about the conference

REACH 2018 and beyond: what you need to know 

Beth Bidstrup, Director of Chemical Stewardship and Risk Assessment at H2 Compliance, spoke at the Product Stewardship Conference in Washington DC on Thursday 27th September. The Product Stewardship Conference brings together professionals from over a dozen industries to discuss global safety, environmental and regulatory issues.

Beth addressed the misconception held by many companies that their REACH obligations ended with the last EU REACH deadline on 31 May 2018. During her presentation, Beth explained the other REACH challenges beyond registration and outlined the benefits to attendees of proactively managing their substances. The session also covered important issues such as Brexit.

Visit the Product Stewards website for more information:

Update on the WEEE Directive and open scope 

European Recycling Platform (ERP) has published an updated overview of the new requirements of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive, which entered into force on 15 August 2018. The new WEEE Directive requirements introduce six revised product categories replacing the former 10 categories. These new categories are defined by the principle of “open scope” which means that all electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) will be classified within the Directive’s scope unless explicitly excluded. Classification into the six new categories is based on either the functionality, or the combination of the functionality and size, of the product.

The new Directive provides some freedom for Member States to adjust the category system, as long as they are able to report to the Commission in the six new EU categories. ERP’s summary further provides information concerning the progress of the national transpositions of the new requirements of the WEEE Directive.
Read ERP’s complete summary for producers here

ERP joined EU Circular Economy Mission to India  

As announced in the last newsletter, European Recycling Platform (ERP), a Landbell Group company, took part in the Circular Economy Mission to India from 4 to 7 September. ERP was invited by the European Commission which organised the trip.

During the trip, and at the accompanying conference, ERP was able to share its experience of more than 25 years of extended producer responsibility (EPR) in Europe and of operating 34 producer responsibility organisations. These insights were particularly welcomed by Indian stakeholders as the country is about to introduce EPR for plastics and waste electrical and electronic equipment.

The Circular Economy Missions are regular events that promote sustainable and resource-efficient policies in countries outside the European Union. ERP joined similar missions to Chile, China and South Africa and is happy to support the European Commission on future trips.

More about the Circular Economy Missions

Interview with Beth Bidstrup

What’s your job at Landbell Group?

As Director of H2 Compliance’s North American subsidiary, I support the US operations and pharmaceutical business development for chemical services. I am also responsible for the management and delivery of technical and strategic services for such chemical regulations as EU REACH, US TSCA, EU Biocides and GHS worldwide. My job can vary greatly day to day but typically involves business support, consultancy, delivery of strategic and compliance services, client relationship management and leadership of a technical team based in the EU.

I have to balance my leadership and business role with the delivery of time sensitive projects to clients with the quality they expect. As the regulatory landscape changes quickly across the globe, it requires diligence to stay abreast of the regulatory requirements. However, it’s this diversity, and the relationships with colleagues and clients, that makes my day enjoyable.

What are your most important tasks and challenges?

I always want my clients to know I am looking out for their best interest and considering all sides to a solution. Therefore, an important task is to listen to my client, understand their issues and concerns, and offer solutions that best address their needs within the framework of the regulations.

I also represent H2 Compliance both nationally and locally, serving on the board of directors for the Society of Chemical Hazard Communications and on the Eastern New York Industrial Hygiene Association. I make efforts to engage at conferences and I recently spoke at the Product Stewardship Society conference at the end of September.

How did you come to work for Landbell Group?

I’m an Industrial Hygienist and spent 20+ years working with the pharmaceutical industry doing corporate health and safety along with managing European chemical regulations, such as Reach and GHS. Then, in 2010, I crossed paths with H2 Compliance. They needed someone to deliver services that I could offer, and I really liked the company. So, in 2013 I became H2 Compliance Inc.’s Director and joined the Landbell Group when they acquired H2 Compliance in 2016.

What do you do for the environment in your private life?

I owe everything to my 94-year-old father. He taught me to recycle newspapers, to pick up trash, to keep the outdoors clean from toxins, and to consider that everything has a second life. Over the years he’s returned enough plastic bottle at 5 cents apiece to raise over $5000 for his grandchildren. I’ve taken this to heart and take steps to recycle wherever possible, to donate what I don’t want or need anymore, to “leave no trace” on my daily runs or hikes, and to pass on his principles to my kids.

On a side note I am also Captain of Landbell Group’s running team, which completed their first relay race in northern Germany at the end of August: 10 of us from different companies and countries ran 250 km over 24 hours, a great example of teamwork!

New OECD report on extended producer responsibility and online sales 

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has conducted a new report on online sales and their impact on extended producer responsibility (EPR). The report stresses that online sales create new opportunities for producers and retailers to “free-ride” and not meet their legal obligations.

The report focuses on EPR for waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). Free-riding in this context means that producers and retailers do not comply with their physical ‘take-back’ obligations or do not pay their share of WEEE management costs. The problem is estimated to total up to 5% to 10% of the OECD market for electrical and electronic equipment which is equivalent to between 460,000 and 920,000 tonnes.

In order to combat free-riding, the report gives several policy recommendations, such as raising awareness of legal obligations, improving enforcement, and harmonising EPR frameworks.

Find the report here

Thailand to ban import of e-waste 

Thailand is considering imposing an import ban on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). Licences for the importation of e-waste will not be renewed, according to the Department of Industrial Works. It was recently revealed that more than 90,000 tonnes of imported hazardous and electronic waste had been treated improperly.

The country faces many problems with the transportation, treatment, and disposal of WEEE and is struggling to enforce legal provisions. A government committee is currently working on short and long-term measures to tackle these problems, including withdrawal from the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal.

Since the Chinese import ban, waste exports to Thailand have increased dramatically, resulting in protests and complaints from people living near recycling factories and dumping sites.

European Parliament to vote on action against single-use plastic  

The European Parliament is debating measures to combat the growing problem of plastic leaking into the environment. The new Directive on single-use plastic is tabled for vote on 22 October.

Possible legislative actions include market restrictions for certain single-use plastic products like cutlery and straws. For other products like cups for beverages and lightweight carrier bags, Member States shall be required to introduce extended producer responsibility schemes. Producers would then need to cover the costs of managing the collection and treatment of their products after use. Initially, the European Commission had proposed to oblige producers to cover the costs of cleaning up litter. However, according to a compromise reached by parliamentarians, this requirement will probably be softened and limited to activities undertaken on a regular basis by public authorities. The Commission will publish guidelines on the distribution of the corresponding costs.

The European Commission published its draft of the Directive in May. It is currently being discussed within the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and is tabled for vote on 10 October before being referred to the plenary 12 days later.

Global definition of “plastics recyclability” announced 

In order to set clear standards and improve the sustainability of plastics, two of the leading international recycling organisations, Plastics Recyclers Europe and the Association of Plastic Recyclers, have developed a global definition of the term “recyclable”. It has become clear that “plastic recyclability” goes far beyond the technical process of recycling.

The organisations identified four conditions that a plastic product must meet in order to be considered recyclable:
  • The plastic the product is made of has to be collected for recycling and have a market value.
  • The product must be sortable in defined recycling streams.
  • The product must be compatible with commercial recycling processes.
  • It must be possible for the recycled plastic to be reused.
An appropriate definition is important to guide the labelling of a product or package as “recyclable”. The definition still needs to be accepted and applied globally.

Companies look for new circular economy strategies

The benefits of companies adopting circular economy strategies are wide-ranging. The environmental benefits are clear but, when implemented correctly, these strategies can also improve profitability. With the introduction of the European Union’s Circular Economy Package in April, firms are now looking to implement strategies to comply with these new regulations, and to increase their profitability.

An article published in Harvard Business Review outlines three successful strategies: adopting modular product architecture; leasing instead of selling certain products; and expanding options for in-house refurbishment.

Increasing the modularity of products allows individual components to be easily replaced or repaired, whilst leasing products enables companies to easily recover their products from customers, so they can be refurbished. This reduces logistics costs and allows companies to ensure a steady flow of products for refurbishment. Investing in in-house refurbishing infrastructure gives companies the opportunity to not only design their products with disassembly and refurbishment in mind, but also to keep the perceived value of their products higher: customers value products that have been refurbished by manufacturers more than those refurbished by a third party.

Overall, it is the combination of these three strategies which will allow companies to make the transformation from a linear to a circular economy. These strategies can be used as great starting points for formulating strategies that are both sustainable and profitable.
More information in Harvard Business Review

FEAD calls for a single market for recycled plastics

The European Federation of Waste Management and Environmental Services (FEAD) has called for decisive action with regard to the European Union’s plastics strategy. In order to enable the transition towards a circular economy, the EU needs to create a genuine single market for recycled plastics.

According to FEAD, there should be mandatory rules for recycled content as well as reduced value-added tax for products containing recycled material. Both measures aim to offset the competitive disadvantage of recycled material in comparison to virgin material and to increase its uptake. FEAD also calls for the introduction of quality standards for recycled plastics and a more consistent legislative framework with regard to the interface between chemicals, products, and waste in order to obtain toxic-free material cycles.

Companies voice support for toxic-free circular economy

A paper published by NGO ChemSec outlines the determination of companies and trade groups to develop a circular economy free of hazardous chemicals. The paper, which includes contributions from H&M, Ikea, Dell, Shaw Industries, Apple, and Lego, urges the European Commission to consider individual needs and situations when implementing its plan to boost recycling and preserve resources.

The report includes updates on what individual companies are doing to reduce their reliance on non-recyclable, single-use plastics. The report also highlights the importance of eliminating the use of toxic chemicals which can make the recycling of certain components impossible. Restricting such chemicals is the first plan of attack for many of these firms, as it can solve many problems related to recycling components later on.

The report also calls for heightened transparency about what is included and what can be recycled in original materials.

Over 21,000 chemical substances registered under REACH

The 10-year process triggered by the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulation has come to an end.

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) had previously predicted that 21,000 chemicals would be registered across the three registration deadlines in 2010, 2013, and 2018. While the numbers so far are well below that goal, Director of Registration, Christel Musset, stresses that final numbers could be higher after all checks have been completed. In addition, Musset said that ECHA is convinced that the majority of substances currently used on the market have been registered.

In an effort to promote the continued registration of chemicals, the Director’s Contact Group (DCG), a platform of ECHA, published a recommendation to outline the legal obligations of all parties. These obligations include providing information on hazards, uses, and risk management measures; the coordination of joint responses to regulatory requests; and the managing of data and cost sharing.

Find the DCG recommendation here
Contact H2 Compliance for support

EU project to improve recovery of WEEE

In Europe, 12.3 million tonnes of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) are produced every year. In order to increase recycling rates, the European Union funded a project called “CloseWEEE” which aims to improve the collection and treatment of WEEE by developing and implementing new tools and methodologies. For example, CloseWEEE recently designed a new treatment technology based on microwaves for waste lithium-ion batteries. The project consortium includes research organisations like the Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV and producers of electrical equipment like Philips.

More about CloseWEEE

Case study reveals economic potential of a circular economy in the U.S.

A consortium led by the United States Chamber of Commerce Foundation has published a case study on the development of a public-private partnership for recycling. The study finds that the transition to a circular economy could generate additional economic growth of $4.5 trillion in the United States. The study focuses on the Orlando region, where recycling materials which are currently disposed of, could save over $62 million.

The study recommends creating networks of best practice recyclers, developing regional recycling plans, promoting technologies that help the recovery of recyclables, and implementing supportive waste policies. Moreover, public and private stakeholders are encouraged to collaborate and create regional initiatives.

The case study was compiled by “Beyond 34”, a multi-stakeholder pilot project which works to improve the current recycling rate of 34% in the U.S. Orlando was chosen as the pilot city serving as the basis for evaluation. Scalable models are provided that enable communities, cities, and businesses to improve their recycling and recovery rates. Ultimately, “Beyond 34” aims to promote a market-driven circular economy in the U.S.

Find the case study here

Study identifies growth potential of the European recycling market

Deloitte Sustainability has published a cross-country analysis of packaging waste flows in Europe. The report identifies the growth potential of the European recycling market but, to reach a recycling rate of 55% by 2025 in Europe, industrywide collaboration is needed.

The report reveals a great variance of collection and recycling rates for different packaging across the examined countries. Room for improvement can be found in the collection rate of PET, for example, which is currently at around 53%. Furthermore, a large amount of plastic waste is exported to non-EU countries, which signifies missed opportunities for European recyclers. The report also recommends that the high complexity of current recycling processes could be reduced by more ecofriendly design.

Find the study here

Green Alley Award 2018 – Here are the finalists     

215 business ideas from 30 different European countries were submitted for this year’s Green Alley Award, the first start-up prize focused on the circular economy. Six exceptional start-ups have been selected to move on to the final round, and will have the opportunity to present their ideas at the award ceremony on 18 October in Berlin. At the end of the night, after an evening of live pitches to the jury, one team will go home with the € 25,000 prize and the coveted Green Alley Award.

The solutions put forward by this year’s six finalists are as diverse as the challenges posed by the circular economy. Italian start-up Ecoplasteam for example, has a solution to solve one of the most tedious challenges associated with recycling: instead of separating plastic and aluminum layers in composite materials, the Italian company has developed a new material which combines the two, resulting in a product which is just as valuable as the two separate raw materials. Austrian start-up Refurbed is also tackling the growing problem of electronic waste and its marketplace for refurbished electronic goods hopes to put a dent in the 50 million tonnes of e-waste currently produced annually. The digitization of the Circular Economy is the focus of Dutch start-up Circular IQ, who have created software to supply valuable data on everything from the procurement of source materials through to the signing of supplier contracts.

The fight against packaging waste is the focus of the remaining three finalists: MIWA from the Czech Republic have developed their vision for the supermarket of the future, capable of delivering food from supplier to consumer without the need for wasteful packaging. In the event that packaging is still necessary, cellulose based covers from German start-up Superseven would be an ideal solution. The material is designed to fully biodegrade within 42 days and has been optimized to hold even large and heavy items easily. An alternative insulation material to Styrofoam, for keeping food refrigerated during transportation, has been developed by British start-up Aeropowder who look to nature to deliver a more sustainable solution, using feathers which would otherwise be discarded for their product.

Detailed information on the six finalists can be found in both the Green Alley Award Newsroom as well as the Blog.
To the Green Alley blog

New technology to help clear mountains of waste LCDs

A group of researchers, recyclers, and engineers have come together to develop a new solution to help solve the growing problem of LCD waste stockpiling across Europe. A new machine, the ALR3000 is capable of processing 60 LCD screens per hour, a task which was until now mainly done manually.

The manual disassembly of these screens is slow and expensive, and results in large numbers of LCDs piling up in recycling plants, which are unable to keep up with demand. LCD screens contain both mercury, as well as liquid crystals, which EU law requires to be removed and processed properly.

The machine was developed by a three year eco-innovation project called ReVolv, a consortium led by Votechnik and the University of Limerick. The ReVolv project will now look to market the ALR3000.

More about the ReVolv project

European firms push recycling  

European producers of plastics and consumer products are teaming up to develop solutions for dealing with hard-to-recycle plastics like multilayer packaging and polystyrene.

The companies Borealis, Henkel, APK, and Mondi are working on an innovative recycling solution for multilayer packaging that uses a solvent-based system for separating layers. Another cooperation between Total, Saint-Gobain, Citeo, and Syndifrais is testing the feasibility of recycling polystyrene which is very light and therefore difficult to manage.

With these initiatives, the companies are responding to the European Union’s plans to tackle the growing environmental problem of plastic waste in Europe.

22 – 24 October 2018, Resource Recycling Conference, St. Louis, USA

30 – 31 October 2018, 8th PETAsia & Recycling Outlook, Bangkok, Thailand

26 – 29 November 2018, 7th International Symposium “Going Green – CARE Innovation 2018”, Vienna, Austria

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