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June 2019

CONTENT

IMPORTANT NEWS
EU Directive on single-use plastics officially adopted

NEWS FROM LANDBELL GROUP
ERP Germany increases collection of waste batteries
News from the UK
European Recycling Platform takes part in EPR conference in China
ERP and LG Electronics Portugal promote debate on e-waste in Lisbon

WHO'S WHO AT LANDBELL GROUP
Interview with Simone Klett, Head of Human Resources
 
TAKE-BACK
Focus on… Russia
Scotland to introduce deposit return scheme for beverage containers
New rules on plastic waste shipment could boost recycling in the European Union

CIRCULAR ECONOMY
E-commerce: Opportunities and threats for the circular economy  

CHEMICAL CONTROL
Widespread opposition to European Commission’s plans for titanium dioxide classification
New rules for the import and export of hazardous chemicals

SOFTWARE AND TECH
Applications open for Bethnal Green Ventures’ Tech for Good Programme
Prodigentia to exhibit in South Africa and Canada

NEW STUDIES AND REPORTS
Textiles should become next EU circular economy priority

INNOVATIONS AND FORERUNNERS
Focus on Green Alley Award Finalists 2018

EVENTS


EU Directive on single-use plastics officially adopted 

The Council of the European Union has adopted the European directive on the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment, also known as the single-use plastics directive. The directive, which the European Parliament approved in March, was initially agreed upon by trialogue negotiators at the end of last year. The primary aim of the directive is to tackle litter by setting measures to reduce the volume of plastic which finds its way into our oceans and other natural environments. 

The directive also takes a holistic approach to drastically reducing Europe’s reliance on disposable plastic products, including a ban on certain single-use plastics, measures to reduce consumption, extended producer responsibility schemes for certain single-use plastic items and fishing gear, and a 90% separate collection target for plastic bottles by 2029.  

With the official passing of the directive, Member States now have two years to transpose the legislation into national law. A publication in the Official Journal is expected very soon.


ERP Germany increases collection of waste batteries

European Recycling Platform (ERP) in Germany has increased its collection of waste portable batteries. In 2018, the take-back scheme collected a total of 1,598 tonnes, which corresponds to an increase of 1.6 percent on the previous year.  

According to the German Battery Law, all take-back schemes must collect and treat at least 45 percent of the batteries put on the market by their respective producers. The manufacturers that use ERP Germany’s collection system put a total of 5,140 tonnes of batteries on the market in 2018, 1,820 tons more than in the previous year. Accordingly, more waste batteries had to be collected in order to meet the 45 percent target, which ERP Germany has exceeded once again by reaching 47.9 percent. 

Last year, ERP Germany relaunched its online presence, ran a targeted advertising campaign, and redesigned its battery collection boxes to increase collections. The campaign was a success: to date, over 6,300 collection boxes have been delivered to mainly voluntary collection points, including 800 businesses, 50 retailers and 145 schools and local administrations, with over 19,500 kg of waste portable batteries collected for recycling.  

ERP is also working hard in other countries to increase the collection of waste portable batteries. To cite just two examples, ERP UK  has revamped the design and increased the online promotion of its battery collection boxes and, since 2017, ERP Ireland has ran the successful battery recycling programme, ‘Batteries for Barretstown’. See links below.

For more information on ERP UK's battery collection solutions click here
For more information on ERP Ireland's battery recycling programme click here


News from the UK 

On 9th May 2019, ERP UK sponsored the Circular Economy Success Award at the Awards for Excellence in Recycling and Waste Management at the Landmark hotel in London. ERP UK’s guests from Hewlett-Packard, Sweeep Kuusakoski, Epson, techUK, and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) provided lively discussion of the current issues and were on hand to witness John Redmayne, ERP UK managing director, present the Circular Economy Success Award to Dell EMC for its Bezel2Bezel closed-loop plastic initiative. 

In early May, ERP UK also submitted its responses to the Government’s four consultations on packaging reforms, which Defra launched to gauge stakeholders’ views on the following four topics: extended producer responsibility (EPR), consistent collections for recycling, a deposit return scheme, and a ‘plastics tax’.
 
At a recent round table discussion on EPR, Caroline Morrison, ERP UK’s head of compliance, commented on the funding aspect of EPR for packaging: “It is very important. We talk about modulated fees and who should set those fees and decide what is recyclable. There are so many parts of the industry who need to have an input. The consultation talks about having a management organisation to deal with all of this but that management organisation will need people sitting on the board from every aspect of the industry.” You can read the full discussion from the round table here

ERP is also keen to ensure that modulated fees are harmonised across the EU. This is why the company took part in two stakeholder workshops on EPR on 11th and 12th March in Brussels, where it presented its recommendations on the principles for modulated fees to representatives from the European Commission, independent consulting firm Eunomia, and other key figures in the industry.  Read full story here.

Eunomia is currently conducting two studies into “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”. ERP will attend further upcoming workshops on packaging essential requirements and on EPR. Eunomia’s full studies are set for release by the end of 2019.

Contact Landbell Group here

European Recycling Platform takes part in EPR conference in China

European Recycling Platform (ERP) was the co-organiser of the 12th International Conference on WEEE & Used Battery Management and EPR Principle which took place between 8th and 10th May in Chuzhou, China. The conference, which was hosted by the Chinese Home Electronic Appliances Research Institute (CHEARI), was attended by around 150 people, including manufacturers, politicians, academics, as well as representatives from collection/treatment facilities and overseas companies. 

This year’s edition was all about extended producer responsibility (EPR). The conference examined the progress made on the EPR system for waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) in China and discussed ways to improve existing approaches. The conference also covered other important issues, such as the latest developments in regulatory standards and technological advances.

For more information click here

ERP and LG Electronics Portugal promote debate on e-waste in Lisbon 

On 22nd May, LG Electronics and European Recycling Platform (ERP) organised an e-Waste Summit in Lisbon, Portugal to discuss “Sustainable Technology in the Digital Era, Reality and Challenges”. The summit brought together experts, business leaders, academics, environmentalists and representatives from the Portuguese Government and Environment Agency, including the Secretary of State for the Environment, to analyse the current state of e-Waste management in Portugal.  

ERP and LG Electronics Portugal are working together to raise awareness of the environmental threat of electronic waste, of which only 15 to 20% is recycled worldwide, and the two companies will organise further initiatives by the end of the year. The organisation of the e-Waste Summit is part of LG Electronics’ Corporate and Social Responsibility strategy, whose main objective is to create a management system that protects the environment and contributes to communities both socially and environmentally.  

"LG's environmental strategy, defined in 1994, seeks to implement environmental management systems throughout the lifecycle of its products to reduce impacts on the environment,” explained Hugo Jorge, Marketing Director for LG Electronics Portugal. "LG is already developing a worldwide assembly process for its televisions that is implemented in such a way that the dismantling allows recycling of most of the components, as we are aware that e-waste is almost 100% recyclable as long as it is properly treated." 

"These initiatives are very relevant because they allow us to raise awareness of the importance of adopting sustainable behaviours,” commented Rosa Monforte, General Manager of ERP Portugal.

Contact Landbell Group here
For more information click here

Interview with Simone Klett, Head of Human Resources 

What’s your job at Landbell Group?
I’m Head of Human Resources for Landbell Group. We have over 300 employees in more than 20 locations, so my main task is to channel the various HR activities across all the countries where we are based. This involves implementing the programs and initiatives for recruitment, performance management and appraisal, training and development, labour cost management and staff allocation. Here at the Group‘s headquarters in Mainz, we also compile statistics for senior management. Furthermore, my colleagues and I in the German HR team take care of our employees based in Germany. Every country has its own labour laws and I rely heavily on the local support and knowledge of my HR colleagues around the world.  

What are your most important tasks and challenges?
One of my most important tasks is to find the right balance between keeping local advantages and trying to fit everything into a Group scheme. We also work in a challenging, fast-paced environment where we have to react to new situations, adapt organisational charts and make decisions very quickly.  One of the big challenges we will face in the future is recruitment and retention as the profiles we need at Landbell Group are very specific. This goes hand in hand with high employee engagement: only satisfied employees are able to deliver good work. Adaptability, flexibility and balance are the three qualities that are essential to long-term business agility. 

How did you come to work for Landbell Group?
I studied business administration and have a diploma in psychology. I started working for Landbell in 2014, when the Landbell Group was first formed and we began to take on a much more international dimension. For the previous eight years, I had lived and worked in Spain and, when we moved back to Germany, this was just the environment I was looking for: I wanted to make use of my cultural experience and language skills, and build up an HR department. The size of the company seemed perfect for such a project, and I jumped at the chance to be able to implement ideas, work on processes and expand at the same time. 

What do you do for the environment in your private life?
I am passionate about separating waste correctly – as my friends and family will tell you! In Germany, we have been doing this for a very long time, but there is still room for improvement. For example, not enough people know about removing aluminium lids completely from yoghurt pots and only buying yoghurt pots with the paper around them (not those ones with the text printed on the material itself). My family and I are now trying to get used to going shopping with reusable nets for vegetables or fruit. We’ve been using textile bags for a long time, so this is the next step!


Focus on… Russia 

The concept of extended producer responsibility (EPR) was introduced in Russia via the amendment to the “Federal Law on Industrial and Consumer Wastes” in 2015. According to the law, producers and importers are held responsible for the collection and achievement of the set “utilization norms” (recovery and recycling targets) for a broad range of products (including WEEE, batteries and packaging) that are put on the Russian market. 

The legislation provides the obligated parties with two possible compliance options: self-compliance (organization of operations individually or collectively) or payment of an eco-fee to the state.  

However, new developments are afoot and EPR could possibly be abolished in 2020. Last year, the Ministry of Finance suggested amending the country’s Tax Code and the draft law proposes substituting the existing approach for a mandatory payment of the eco-tax.  

Public discussion of the document ended on 26 April. At this stage, it is undergoing a Regulatory Impact Assessment before it is presented to the Government. Landbell Group will closely track further legislative developments.

Contact Landbell Group here

Scotland to introduce deposit return scheme for beverage containers 

Scotland has outlined a proposal for a comprehensive deposit return scheme for drink containers. The planned program comes in the form of an “all in” deposit scheme model – with a deposit level of 20p for PET plastic drink bottles, aluminium and steel cans and glass bottles. The proposal, presented by Scotland’s cabinet secretary for the environment, Roseanna Cunningham, will not include milk bottles made of high-density polyethylene, although they could be added at a later date. 

Cunningham noted that the deposit return scheme would be overseen by a not-for-profit organisation made up of soft drink producers and retailers. Participation in the scheme will be compulsory for all retailers selling drinks to consumers. 

Scotland is the first UK administration to commit to a deposit return scheme. The scheme is set to come into effect in 2020.


New rules on plastic waste shipment could boost recycling in the European Union 

European and international officials are hopeful that the passing of a new proposal by the United Nations (UN) will lead to higher levels of plastics recycling. The proposal, which was put forward by Norway, was almost unanimously agreed upon in a UN vote and will require exporters of hazardous materials and waste plastic to secure the consent of the destination country before shipments can take place. The measure is designed to stop marine litter and to help developing countries reject more easily waste that has little or no recycling value.  

This decision is also a reaction to recent international developments. Since China introduced its ban last year, reports suggest that significant quantities of non-recyclable plastic waste from the US and Europe were diverted to other countries in the region, such as Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and Taiwan. India also recently introduced a ban on the importing of plastic waste. 

The new rules will leave developed countries with much higher volumes of plastic waste, potentially spurring developments in both recycling and reduction strategies throughout Europe. Countries will need to develop comprehensive recycling frameworks to deal with the low quality, low value plastic waste that was often previously exported or incinerated.


E-commerce: Opportunities and threats for the circular economy 

Last year, the European Commission and its Directorate General Joint Research Centre (DG JRC) launched a study, "Identification and assessment of opportunities and threats for the Circular Economy arising from E-commerce". The study, which is supported by the consultancy firm Ramboll Environment & Health GmbH, is running two surveys to get input from stakeholders from a wide variety of sectors. In addition, it hosted a workshop between 20th and 21st May in Seville which was attended by European Recycling Platform (ERP).  

According to the preliminary results of the study, e-commerce offers many opportunities for developing a more circular economy, but it may also pose threats. In addition to concerns about environmental impacts – for example, from individual shipments and product returns – one of the biggest challenges arising from e-commerce is compliance with existing legislation such as extended producer responsibility regulations. The reasons for this are manifold: online retailers might not be aware of their obligations at all or decide to exploit the lack of consistent regulation and enforcement by ignoring their take-back obligations. 

At the workshop, participants reviewed the opportunities and threats identified to date with the aim of clustering and prioritising them. The final report on the study is expected by the end of this year.

Contact Landbell Group here

Widespread opposition to European Commission’s plans for titanium dioxide classification  

The European Commission is facing harsh criticism to its waste classification guideline amendments for titanium dioxide, with both industry as well as environmental non-governmental organisations (NGOs) displeased with the Commission’s decision to change the technical guidance. 

The current draft proposal stipulates that if waste is not in the physical state in which it is considered hazardous, then it will not be included in the Waste Framework Directive’s concentration limits. Only titanium dioxide in its powder form is classified as a category 2 carcinogen – an assessment with which environmental NGOs disagree as they deem other states to be equally carcinogenic. The recycling sector is also concerned that waste could contain different forms of titanium dioxide. Titanium dioxide is used in a wide range of applications, including paint, sunscreen and food colouring. 

The new categorisation presented at the Competent Authorities for REACH and CLP (Caracal) meeting on 9th May includes provisions that would consider waste as non-hazardous if the hazardous substances within it are in a non-hazardous state. NGOs consider this treatment of titanium dioxide a “very worrisome precedent” for other hazardous substances, whereas waste treatment representatives also argue that the new guideline does not reflect reality and could hinder effective recycling.


New rules for the import and export of hazardous chemicals 

The European Commission is working on new provisions for the international trade of hazardous chemicals. The delegated regulation is set to change annexes I and V of the regulation for the export and import of hazardous chemicals, with annex I addressing chemicals which are subject to export notification procedures and annex V addressing chemicals which are subject to an export ban. 

The delegated regulation will change the lists of chemicals in both annexes on the basis of developments in European Union law. Twenty substances are added to annex I. The only newly added substance on the export ban list (annex V) is Endosulfan, which is classified as a pesticide. The official adoption of the delegated regulation by the Commission is expected for the second quarter of 2019.

Contact Landbell Group here

Applications open for Bethnal Green Ventures’ Tech for Good Programme 

Green Alley Award partner Bethnal Green Ventures has just launched their Autumn 2019 funding round, looking for the next group of tech for good founders to take under their wing. The application period will run until 18th June, with interviews taking place in London between 8th and 12th July. The autumn programme will then start in earnest on 18th September 2019. Bethnal Green Ventures focuses on high impact companies in the fields of health, sustainability, education, civic engagement, tech to support young people, and worker tech. Successful applicants will receive, among other things, an investment of £20,000 for a 6% equity, a three-month tailored programme of workshops, talks and mentoring, and access to an experienced community of more than 200 tech founders. 

A Green Alley Award partner since 2015, Bethnal Green Ventures’ three-month support programme takes advantage of the quick scalability and declining unit costs possible in tech, with new tech and software based solutions primed to unlock substantial social and economic opportunities in shorter periods of time.


Prodigentia to exhibit in South Africa and Canada 

In the second half of this year, Landbell Group company, Prodigentia will exhibit at two conferences in countries with emerging and already established extended producer responsibility (EPR) legislation. 

From 9 – 11 July, Prodigentia will be at IFAT Africa in Johannesburg – Africa’s leading trade show for the water, sewage, refuse and recycling industries. In South Africa, new regulations require producers to submit a waste management plan to implement the phasing-out of batteries to landfill and another to set up producer responsibility organisations (PROs) for electronic waste. Prodigentia’s sister company, European Recycling Platform (ERP) is playing an active role in discussions there: see previous articles on the WEEE and Batteries symposiums that ERP hosted in South Africa earlier this year. 

From 5 – 7 November, Prodigentia will also take part in the 2019 Conference on Canadian Stewardship in Vancouver. In Canada, EPR legislation is diverse and dynamic and multiple streams are covered by EPR regulations. 

Prodigentia are attending both conferences to showcase their cloud-based software suite for the circular economy, Circul8. Circul8 Products automates producer reporting activities for PROs and regulators, whilst Circul8 Waste coordinates waste and resource management activities for municipalities, PROs, regulators, logistics operators, recyclers and consolidation centres – even producers who want to manage their own take-back programs.

For more information click here

Textiles should become next EU circular economy priority 

European Commission officials, experts and other stakeholders at the 22nd European Forum on eco-innovation have suggested that textiles should be the next priority for the European Union’s circular economy strategy after plastics. The forum, held between 7th and 8th May in Vienna, brought together a wide variety of participants to develop the next generation of eco-friendly solutions in the EU. 

The textile sector represents the fourth largest consumer of primary raw materials in the EU, using up to 1.3 tonnes per capita. Furthermore, textiles represent the second largest amount of land use, and the fifth largest of water use. A working document issued in early March states that footwear and apparel account for eight percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. 

The Commission listed eco-design, better labelling, green public procurement and extended producer responsibility as some of the potential ways of increasing circularity in the industry. One of the main hurdles standing in the way of a circular textiles market in the EU is the reliance on foreign production – at present only 15% of the industry’s resource footprint is actually in the EU.


Focus on Green Alley Award Finalists 2018 

Refurbed: From a unique idea to the 30 under 30 Forbes list
When refurbed co-founder Peter Windischhofer needed a new smartphone, he opted for a used version, because he believed in the reuse principle to save resources. After a few weeks the phone was broken and he had no warranty to cover the costs. The idea for refurbed was born.  

Generating more than 50 million tons every year, electronic waste is the fastest growing type of waste worldwide. The Austrian startup refurbed, finalist of the 2018 Green Alley Award, refurbishes used smartphones, tablets, monitors and other appliances. The products, which are as good as new, are sold at lower prices and come with a one-year warranty.  

A global shift in consumer behaviour
Peter’s decision to go for a sustainable choice reflects a global shift in consumer behaviour: purchasing decisions are not only based on product quality and prices, but consumers are also interested in where their products come from, how they have been produced, and the effects of that production process on the environment. This is where refurbed co-founder Kilian Kaminski sees a niche for his company: “We are buying electronic devices from major brands in a sustainable way, without risk and you even save money while doing it. With these additional benefits, we hope to convince people who are not yet willing to pay a top-up price for a sustainable option.” 

Since the 2018 Green Alley Award finals, the company has jumped on the fast-track for growth, hiring 19 more employees and expanding their online platform to Poland and Italy. Co-founders Peter Windischhofer and Kilian Kaminski made it to the 30 under 30 Forbes list this year and, in 2019 they are pursuing a new marketing strategy to expand their customer base, including their first TV advertisement.
 
3 – 5 June 2019, 3rd World Circular Economy Forum in Helsinki, Finland 

12 June 2019, INTERNATIONAL PLASTIC PROCESSING & RECYCLING CONFERENCE 2019, Berlin, Germany

12 – 13 June, Resourcing the Future 2019, London, England

13 – 14 June 2019, 11th World Congress and Expo on Recycling, Edinburgh, Scotland

13 – 14 June 2019, A Circular Future with Plastics, Berlin, Germany

18 – 20 June 2019, Circularity, Minneapolis, Minnesota

1 – 3 July 2019, 4th International Conference on New Business Models, Berlin, Germany

2 – 3 July 2019, International Stewardship Forum, Paris, France

2 – 3 July 2019, Circular Economy - rational use of raw materials, Racławice, Poland

4 July 2019, 1st OECD Roundtable on the Circular Economy in Cities and Regions, Paris, France

8 – 9 July 2019, 1st International Conference on Construction Circular Economy, Manchester, England

9 – 11 July 2019, IFAT Africa 2019Johannesburg, South Africa 

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