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April 2019

CONTENT

NEWS FROM LANDBELL GROUP
ERP attended and presented at workshops on EPR in Brussels  
Landbell presented at workshop on compliance and environmental management for WEEE
Webinar series on chemical compliance this Spring/Summer

WHO'S WHO AT LANDBELL GROUP
Interview with Julia Linz, PR and Communications Manager, Green Alley Award
 
TAKE-BACK
European Commission adopts new provisions for registration and reporting on WEEE
Defra proposes increase to WEEE targets for 2019

Update on UK packaging consultation
Deposit return schemes: new obligation trend in EU countries


CIRCULAR ECONOMY
European Parliament adopts Single-Use Plastics Directive 
European Commission publishes report on the implementation of the Circular Economy Action Plan
India follows China in banning the import of plastic waste
Estonian Ministry of Environment to probe switching to circular economy

CHEMICAL CONTROL
Uncertainty over UK REACH database
Information missing from three-quarters of REACH dossiers
Industry calls for clarity on China's draft chemical regulation

SOFTWARE
Three companies using artificial intelligence to advance the circular economy

NEW STUDIES AND REPORTS
Report identifies challenges towards a plastics circular economy
German Environment Agency publishes study on reuse potential of used electronic devices
Study finds: Metal recyclers need improved legal, economic and technological conditions

INNOVATIONS AND FORERUNNERS
Green Alley Award 2019: Sustainable solutions sought for the environment and the economy

EVENTS


ERP attended and presented at workshops on EPR in Brussels  

Landbell Group company, European Recycling Platform (ERP) participated in two stakeholder workshops on extended producer responsibility on 11 and 12 March in Brussels, joining representatives from the European Commission, independent consulting firm Eunomia, and other key figures in the industry. The workshops presented the scope of two ongoing Eunomia studies, “Effectiveness of the Essential Requirements for Packaging and Packaging Waste and Proposals for Reinforcement” and “Preparation of the Commission’s Guidance for Extended Producer Responsibility Schemes”.

Discussions at the workshops quickly focused on the harmonization of requirements with all attendees voicing their support that the criteria for modulated fees should be based on standards. The preliminary results of Eunomia’s studies pointed to new challenges arising from the growth of online sales, the increasing complexity of EPR obligations (with a focus on SMEs), as well as an increased trend towards lighter weight but not necessarily more recyclable products and packaging.

Another topic for discussion was the “necessary cost” models assuring the “right cost” to producers from producer responsibility organizations (PROs) and from municipalities to PROs that Eunomia will evaluate. ERP presented its recommendations on the principles for modulated fees from the point of view of a PRO. These recommendations were echoed by numerous stakeholders.

A further workshop on packaging essential requirements will take place on June 10, followed by one on EPR which is due to be scheduled before the summer break. The full studies from Eunomia are set for release by the end of 2019.

Contact Landbell Group here


Landbell presented at workshop on compliance and environmental management for WEEE

Landbell Group recently had the opportunity to present at a workshop held by the Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration (Fraunhofer IZM) on 14 March 2019, entitled “Compliance and Environmental Management in the Electronics Industry”.

The workshop gave attendees a closer look at the status and developments of directives impacting the electronics industry, such as RoHS, REACH, WEEE, and the Ecodesign and Energy Labelling Directives. It also reviewed related court decisions and standardization efforts.

Thomas Fischer, Head of Market Intelligence & Governmental Affairs at Landbell Group, presented the new requirements from the EU Waste Package, which was published last year, with specific focus on the revised Waste Framework Directive (WFD) and Packaging Directive, and also presented the current Eunomia study on the EPR requirements set by the new article 8a (see article above). Moreover, Thomas also provided an outlook on the likely upcoming revision of the battery directive.

The workshop was part of a series which invites experts and representatives from German SMEs and institutions such as the German Environment Agency to discuss existing or upcoming environmental legislation with a focus on the electronics industry. 

Learn more about the industry workshop series

Webinar series on chemical compliance this Spring/Summer

Landbell Group company H2 Compliance will be running a second series of webinars on chemcial compliance this Spring/Summer:

Tuesday 30 April: Brexit 2.0
With a likely extension to Brexit coming up, this webinar will highlight important deadlines and explain what companies now need to do in order to remain compliant.

Wednesday 29 May: Chemical Regulation in the Rest of the World
Many countries outside the EU either already have or soon will have their own chemical regulations in place. This webinar will explore some of these countries including North America and Korea.

Tuesday 25 June: REACH – one year on – and Risk Management
One year after the registration deadline has passed, this webinar looks at key learnings and dossier maintenance. We will also address risk management.

Register here
Contact Landbell Group here

Interview with Julia Linz, PR and Communications Manager, Green Alley Award 

What’s your job at Landbell Group?
I’m content manager for the Green Alley Award, which means I create stories, provide startup news, and develop the different communication formats we have for our audiences, such as the blog and the newsletter. I also manage the PR and all internal and external communication for the award. This involves providing info material and comms toolboxes to our European startup network, our Award partners and Landbell Group’s local marketing teams.

One of the tasks which I enjoy most each year is evaluating the startup applications and selecting the finalists.

What are your most important tasks and challenges?
Each year, the award has “hot” phases like the launch of the award and the weeks before and after the finals in Berlin when my task is to prepare all the communication and PR. This year’s award launched on Monday 25th March so I am very pleased that the Green Alley Award 2019 is now underway! This is always a super busy and exciting time.

One of my biggest challenges is to connect the topic of pollution from packaging waste and single-use plastics, which we read about in the news each day, to our work at Landbell Group. I try to show that, with the Green Alley Award, we are doing something to tackle these problems by fostering and promoting innovation in the circular economy. This is our corporate social engagement, if you like, what we give back to society. How we help the next generation improve on how things were done in the past.

How did you come to work for Landbell Group?
Before joining Landbell Group, I worked for the startup, TerraCycle, as PR and Account Manager for the Germany, Austria and Switzerland region. Because Landbell Group invested in the startup, TerraCycle used our offices here in Mainz for their work in this region.

I joined the team when Landbell Group started the Green Alley Award in 2014. I helped to build up the whole Award and to organise the event and all the various processes behind it. In a way, the award feels like my baby… I helped to start and establish it and I’ve watched it grow bigger and bigger.

What do you do for the environment in your private life?
I’m a vegetarian, I don’t have a car and I ride my bike to work each day in all weathers. For long trips or holidays, I avoid using cars or planes and try to go by train instead.

I’m a conscious consumer: I try to buy organic, local and seasonal food, and I try to consume less or only choose goods such as clothes from sustainable sources.

I also use green power at home and support several charities in their fight against climate change.


European Commission adopts new provisions for registration and reporting on WEEE

After nearly a year of silence on the issue, the European Commission has finally published its Implementing Regulation, “Registration and reporting of producers of WEEE to the register”. The regulation, which does not need to be transposed into national law, will become directly applicable in all Member States from the start of January 2020.

Article 1 of the implementing regulation defines the format of the producer’s or authorized representative’s registration. Some of the information elements will be fully harmonized and will therefore need to be provided in all Member States, e.g. contact details, participation in a compliance scheme, or distance selling. Other information elements, such as sub-categories of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) are not mandatory, but can be required by each Member State individually. Article 2 defines the format of the reporting to the national registry, following the same structure as article 1.

The new regulation is set to reduce the administrative burden for producers operating at EU level, streamlining, simplifying and harmonizing reporting processes across all Member States. While the formats are harmonized, Member States could not agree on a frequency for the reporting, so no changes are expected there.
Find the implementing regulation here

Defra proposes increase to WEEE targets for 2019

Defra has proposed that producer compliance schemes in the UK will need to collect 12% more waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) in order to meet 2019 targets, with increases to some categories of over 30%. The biggest increases are in UK Categories 2-10 (Small Mixed WEEE).

The producer compliance community met the announcement with some scepticism as to whether the new targets are realistic, but WEEE reprocessors welcomed the news, claiming it would lead to a higher volume of WEEE at their facilities.

Defra’s new targets are in line with the 65% target called for by the EU, and present a steep increase from the 45% target for 2018. With WEEE collection on the decline in recent years, due in part to lighter products, increased levels of reuse, and the hoarding of products by consumers, much work needs to be done to reach the higher target.

Producer compliance schemes that fail to meet the UK targets are required to pay a compliance fee, which is used to finance new initiatives to increase collections in the future. In order to meet the increased target in 2019, producers have proposed to use the compliance fee to finance a major national communication and behavioral change campaign encouraging householders to recycle WEEE – particularly small items that are too easily thrown in the bin – that will also explain how to protect personal data, as well as studies on business WEEE flows and products that make it onto the UK market but are exported before becoming WEEE.

Landbell Group company, ERP UK responds to Defra’s proposed targets each year, contributing its own data and analysis to help ensure that targets are realistically set. ERP UK is also discussing the impact of the proposed targets with its members. For more information, please click on the link below.

Contact Landbell Group here

Update on UK packaging consultation 

Defra launched four new packaging consultations at the end of February to gain insight on implementation of the new Resources and Waste Strategy. The 12-week consultation will take an in-depth look at some of the most pressing details still to be ironed out in the strategy, including deposit return schemes, extended producer responsibility, consistency in recycling collections, and a tax on plastic packaging containing less than 30% recycled content.

England, Wales and Northern Ireland do not currently have a deposit return scheme, and are looking to emulate existing programs in countries such as Denmark, Finland, Germany and Norway, which collect drink containers using reverse vending machines at points of sale. The consultation aims to decide whether the system should focus on single use, on-the-go containers, or cover a wider variety of beverage containers.

Producers, through their extended producer responsibility schemes in the UK, are currently only responsible for around 10% of the costs associated with recycling packaging waste. By extending this to make producers responsible for the whole cost, Defra is hopeful that producers will be more efficient in their packaging use, and opt for more easily recyclable packaging designs.

One of the most complicated issues covered by the consultation is the plastic packaging tax. After initial research last year suggested recycled plastic is quite often more expensive than new plastic, Defra is now seeking proposals on how the upcoming tax will work.

Landbell Group company, ERP UK, is responding to the consultation and has produced summary papers covering each of the four packaging consultations for its members. For more information, please click on the link below.
Contact Landbell Group here

Deposit return schemes: new obligation trend in EU countries 

In addition to England, Wales and Northern Ireland, other Member States and regions in the European Union (EU) are intensifying efforts to cut down on waste and move to a more circular economy by introducing deposit return schemes.

From 31 March 2019, Romania is introducing a deposit return system for reusable primary packaging used for consumer products. The Romanian government will assess the effectiveness of this measure before deciding whether to introduce a deposit return system for single-use glass, plastic or metal drinks containers from 1 January 2021.

On 31 December 2019, Portugal will introduce legislation to set up a pilot deposit system for the return of non-reusable plastic beverage containers. As of 1 January 2022, the law states that Portugal must have a system in place for the return of single-use plastic, glass, ferrous metal and aluminium beverage containers.

Slovakia already runs a reusable packaging deposit system but, from 2022, the country will introduce a deposit return system for single-use plastic and metal beverage containers, supported by ambitious recycling targets.

Many countries may choose to emulate Denmark where they use reverse vending machines to collect drink containers and return the initial deposit to the user. The Danish deposit return system dates back to 1978, when Denmark became the first country in the world to implement recycling laws at a national level.

Finally, the Balearic Islands are in the midst of implementing even more ambitious recycling and waste reduction measures, albeit on a much smaller scale. The Spanish islands voted in an ambitious framework to ban the use of single-use items, focusing mainly on plastics. The new law goes beyond what is required in the new EU laws for the reduction of single-use plastics, and incentivises the use of reusable packaging.

Please contact us for more information on the new legislation and obligations across the EU.

Contact Landbell Group here

European Parliament adopts Single-Use Plastics Directive   

The European Parliament has voted in favour of the political agreement on the Single-Use Plastics Directive that was reached by trialogue negotiators at the end of last year. The Directive now awaits formal adoption by the Council of the European Union, after which time Member States will have two years to transpose the provisions into their national law.

The new Directive’s goal is to cut down on marine litter. It focuses specifically on the 10 single-use plastic products most often found on European beaches, as well as fishing gear and oxo-degradable plastics. The new rules will introduce a ban on selected single-use plastic products for which alternatives exist, measures to reduce the consumption of food containers and beverage cups, specific marking and labelling obligations, extended producer responsibility schemes for additional products, and a 90% separate collection target as well as design requirements for plastic bottles.

Find here the statement of the European Commission

European Commission publishes report on the implementation of the Circular Economy Action Plan  

The European Commission has published a new report on the implementation of the Circular Economy Action Plan which was adopted at the end of 2015. The comprehensive report focuses on the achievements since the implementation of the plan, while touching on challenges still present in establishing a climate neutral, competitive circular economy.

The report states that all 54 actions outlined in the Circular Economy Action Plan have already been delivered or are being implemented, but stakeholder interaction has revealed that much still remains to be done in the IT, electronics, mobility, the built environment, mining, furniture, food and drinks, and textiles industries to become more circular and adopt a holistic approach.

Find the full report here

India follows China in banning the import of plastic waste  

India has taken a big step towards dealing with the growing global problem of plastic waste by banning imports of solid plastic waste into the country. While already partly prohibited, the new law closes loopholes that allowed such imports in special economic zones or for export oriented units. “The country has now completely prohibited the import of solid plastic waste by amending the Hazardous Waste (Management & Trans-boundary Movement) Rules on 1 March,” said an official from India’s Environment Ministry.

The move comes hot on the heels of China implementing similar legislation at the start of 2018. Without the adequate capacity to recycle plastic waste in the country, 40% of plastic waste remains uncollected in India, amounting to 10,376 tonnes per day.

The new regulations should not only help alleviate the growing problem of plastic waste in India, but also serve as impetus to reduce the production of such waste in the originating countries.


Estonian Ministry of Environment to probe switching to circular economy

The Estonian Ministry of Environment has tasked consultancy agency Technopolis Group with conducting a study on the opportunities and obstacles related to switching to a circular economy. The study will assess the current status of Estonia’s circular economy activities, and draft an action plan on how to expedite the shift towards a truly circular economy.

The share of waste recycled in Estonia is currently only 32%, and under current legislation that number will remain well short of the 50% required by 2020. "With all that, it is necessary to establish how far or close Estonia's enterprises are to switching to a circular economy and what the possible bottlenecks are that could potentially pose a hindrance," said Estonia’s Minister of the Environment, Siim Kiisler. “The completion of the circular economy action plan will be something of a cornerstone, upon which we can put the plan into action.”

Estonia has been increasingly involved in the circular economy since its presidency of the council of the European Union in 2017. The circular economy strategy and corresponding action plan is set to be finalized by the end of 2020.


Uncertainty over UK REACH database 

With Brexit looming, progress on an IT system compatible with the European Union’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) program, which is currently under development in the UK, is moving slower than expected. The lack of such a system is one of the many issues still not ironed out that could be set to cause major headaches, especially in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Officials remain optimistic, with Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at Defra, Thérèse Coffey, stating in a debate in the House of Commons on 25 February: "I will be candid with the House (of Commons) that we will make a call this week on whether the system is ready to go live, or whether we will have to introduce our contingency plan of companies providing that information to us."

The feasibility of and costs associated with the contingency plan, however, is unknown and many are warning that the reality could result in a major dilemma for UK companies. "This just adds another layer of doubt to the cocoon of uncertainty already surrounding Brexit," said Chemical Business Association head Peter Newport.

Landbell Group company, H2 Compliance will host a webinar on Brexit in April (please see article above). Please contact us for more information on Brexit and UK-REACH.
Contact Landbell Group here

Information missing from three-quarters of REACH dossiers

The European Chemical Agency (ECHA) has found that key information is missing from almost 75% of REACH dossiers that it assessed for compliance in 2018. ECHA’s annual report on its evaluation activity showed that the agency had to ask for additional information for 211 of the 286 evaluated dossiers, a similar picture to previous years.

Bjorn Hansen, ECHA’s Executive Director said, “Efforts from all actors are needed to ensure that the safety data companies provide complies with the law. As an Agency, we will further improve the efficiency of our work on compliance checks, and both ourselves and Member States must do more to accelerate the evaluation process. But companies also need to treat their registrations as business cards. Compliant registration dossiers are their key investment to a predictable and sustainable future.”

As mentioned in the article above, Landbell Group company, H2 Compliance will deliver a webinar on REACH in June that will cover dossier maintenance. H2 Compliance has over 10 years’ experience of preparing and submitting dossiers to ECHA with the competencies across all disciplines to prepare the required scientific data. H2 Compliance also keeps abreast of regulatory updates, changing requirements and developments on testing strategies, assessment and IT tools, as well as REACH data sharing principles.

Please contact us for more information on REACH.
Contact Landbell Group here

Industry calls for clarity on China's draft chemical regulation

Industry has met China’s new draft regulation on the Evaluation and Control of Chemical Substances with a mixed response. The scope of the new regulation is still unclear, with many worried that the required information and reporting processes, a considerable departure from existing programs, will cause headaches for companies.

Among other changes, the draft removes provisions allowing companies to submit simplified notifications for low volume substances (under one tonne per year), as well as polymers and substances used in research and development.

Reaction to the draft was not all negative, however, with many in the United States chemical industry voicing their support. "The draft appears to create important opportunities to leverage data and information developed in foreign jurisdictions, while respecting the need to protect confidential information," said Michael Walls, vice president of Regulatory and Technical Affairs at the American Chemistry Council.

Should the draft be implemented, all companies producing, importing or using chemical substances in China will be required to comply.

Please contact us for the latest information on international chemical regulations.
Contact Landbell Group here

Three companies using artificial intelligence to advance the circular economy 

A new report from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and Google outlines how increasingly sophisticated artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities can help companies better contribute to a circular economy, while also creating added value. The white paper states that AI could unlock $127 billion USD annually for the food value chain, and up to $90 billion for consumer electronics by the year 2030. 

Three companies currently using AI to contribute to a circular economy are: 

Tomra: Norwegian recycling solutions company, Tomra, is helping to tackle the problem of misshapen fruit or vegetables, which grocery stores often struggle to sell and which may then end up in compost bins or landfill. Tomra uses algorithms to analyse produce and more effectively sort it for best use. In practical terms, the system can identify when a potato may be misshapen, and send it to be made into potato chips, leaving the more desirable products for grocery store shelves. 

Stuffstr: Stuffstr uses AI to quickly assess the value of used clothing, based on both condition and demand, and to help consumers sell it back to retailers. This creates a financial incentive to keep used clothing articles out of landfill. Stuffstr also employs AI to refine sales strategies and enable rapid feedback loops. 

Optoro: Returns optimization platform Optoro has begun to use AI to deal with the growing problem of product returns for online shopping. At present, roughly 25% of returns end up in landfill, as it is often cheaper than properly sorting and assessing what is resellable. Optoro uses AI and predictive analysis to help retailers manage, process and sell returns through the highest-value channel.  

Landbell Group’s Circul8 software also provides sophisticated control of the various operations that waste materials undergo during de-manufacturing to provide quality and traceability levels that are equivalent to a manufacturing plant. This helps companies make the most of their resources to ensure business success.

Contact Landbell Group here

Report identifies challenges towards a plastics circular economy

The European Technology Platform for Sustainable Chemistry (SusChem) has released its new report entitled “Plastics Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda in a Circular Economy”, a response to the European Commission’s plastics strategy. The report identifies challenges and potential solutions to assist in meeting the European Union’s goal of having all plastic packaging recycled or reused by 2030.

The report points to a number of ways in which Europe’s plastics industry, consisting of 60,000 companies, can increase its circularity and help to reach EU objectives. One such suggestion is the improvement of plastics design. Many products are discarded because a single component has worn out, while the rest of the product is still in working order. Improving adhesive design could also allow for easier disassembly and reparability, extending the lifetimes of products.

Recycling is also touched on, specifically the challenges related to detecting different components in plastic products and properly separating them. The report calls for further development of these processes to increase efficiencies and make recycling of plastics more economically viable.

Find the full report here

German Environment Agency publishes study on reuse potential of used electronic devices

The German Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt) has published a new study on the reuse potential of used electronic devices in Germany. The report assesses the potential ecological and economic benefits, as well as the obstacles.

The economic assessment is based heavily on the effects of jobs created to prepare products for reuse. This is a market that is largely undeveloped in Germany, but could see rapid growth if future legislation prioritises the re-use of existing products as a way of curbing waste.

The results of the report stand to be invaluable in ushering in more sustainable, economically viable practices for re-using electronics equipment, while also serving as a guide for future policies to regulate such activities.
Find the full report here

Study finds: Metal recyclers need improved legal, economic and technological conditions

A new study commissioned by the European Commission has uncovered that a more sophisticated system for recycling metals in Europe has the potential to significantly reduce the continent’s CO2 emissions. The report calls for better legal and economic conditions in order to spur the development of the industry, which experts say could have an even bigger effect on CO2 reduction than the greening of production processes or an increase in renewable energy use.

One of the central suggestions in the report is that the metal industry needs to establish its own agenda for the circular economy, and that industry specific solutions are necessary to ensure the best results. The report points out the vastly different processes used to extract metals, with metals such as iron producing considerable emissions regardless of the energy source used in the extraction.

Hot on the heels of the study, steel-recycling association BDSV has commissioned the Fraunhofer Institute for Microstructure of Materials and Systems and Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg to conduct a study into external costs and fair competition in steel production value chains. The study will also look at the ecological importance of steel recycling, with a special focus on reducing CO2 emissions.

Find the full study here

Green Alley Award 2019: Sustainable solutions sought for the environment and the economy  

From midsize companies to global corporations – regardless of whether their focus has always been on efficiency or if they have already supported other environmental initiatives – the sustainable use of resources is set to become vital to European companies in the future.

This is why Landbell Group has organised the Green Alley Award, Europe’s only start-up prize for the circular economy, for the last five years, supporting pioneering solutions in the digital circular economy, recycling and waste prevention. This support has already generated great results: since the first Green Alley Award in 2014, over 800 applications from more than 50 countries have been submitted. Thirty start-ups have had the opportunity to showcase their business ideas at the Award ceremonies in Berlin, and six of those have received awards for their innovations, ranging from reusable shipping packaging for online retailers to insulating material made from waste feathers.

For the sixth year in a row, Landbell group is looking for business ideas that can harness waste as a resource and contribute to a circular economy in Europe. Entrepreneurs who are about to launch their products, services, or technologies, startups already in the growth phase or companies looking to expand to other European markets are all invited to apply. In addition to expert coaching and networking opportunities, the winner of the Green Alley Award will receive a prize of €25,000.
Contact Landbell Group here
10 – 11 April 2019, Plastics Recycling Show Europe 2019 (PRSE), Amsterdam, Netherlands  

22 – 23 April 2019, 21st International Conference on Circular Economy Strategies (ICCES 2019), Tokyo, Japan 

8 – 10 May 2019, RCBC Conference on Circular Economy: Moving Beyond Waste, Vancouver, BC  

10 – 11 May 2019, 3rd Circular Change Conference, Kostanjevica na Krki, Slovenia 

16 – 17 May 2019, 4th Circular Change Conference, Maribor, Slovenia  

18 – 20 June 2019, Circularity, Minneapolis, Minnesota

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