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July 2019

CONTENT

NEWS FROM LANDBELL GROUP
New study could have found ‘holy grail’ of recycling
New eco-design workshops for companies
World Circular Economy Forum

WHO'S WHO AT LANDBELL GROUP
Interview with Cecile Gainche, Team Leader International Sales, Landbell Germany
 
TAKE-BACK
Focus on… Iceland

CIRCULAR ECONOMY
Elections bring shift of power to the European Parliament
New report shows plastic pollution hotspots in the Mediterranean

Amendments to Basel Convention target plastic pollution

CHEMICAL CONTROL
TSCA Inventory Notification: “Reset Rule” Deadline
IMPORTANT: Pre-notification window closing soon in Korea

NEW STUDIES AND REPORTS
Mining waste and landfill offer huge potential for recovering raw materials

INNOVATIONS AND FORERUNNERS
Focus on Green Alley Award Finalists 2018: MIWA

EVENTS


New study could have found ‘holy grail’ of recycling 

A group of scientists at the US Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory may have developed a plastic that can be recycled indefinitely, in any number of colours, shapes or forms. This is possible thanks to the new material’s ability to be broken down to the molecular level. 

One of the researchers on the team is Peter Christensen who is circular economy project manager at Landbell Group and a postdoctoral researcher at the Molecular Foundry at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. “Most plastics were never made to be recycled,” Peter explains. “But we have discovered a new way to assemble plastics that takes recycling into consideration from a molecular perspective.” 

This discovery could have a profound effect on the amount of plastic waste that ends up in our oceans and landfills, with researchers stating that the production of facilities to process these plastics could lead to much higher rates of recycling. 

Many plastics in use today are combined with chemicals to make them more flexible or resilient. This, however, can also make them more difficult to recycle and thus more likely to end up in natural environments or landfills. The advancements made by the group at Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory could lead to a more standardized approach to recycling plastics, increasing efficiencies everywhere from production and collection through to recycling of the products.

Read the researchers’ full findings here


New eco-design workshops for companies 

Experts from Landbell Group company, H2 Compliance, have started conducting a series of eco-design workshops for clients. The workshops, which have so far taken place at customers’ premises in Germany and France, aim to raise environmental awareness of the need to design electrical and electronic equipment with end-of-life management in mind. 

The workshops cover both theory and practice. During the theoretical session, the specialists from H2 Compliance’s Circular Economy Engineering team share their knowledge of the waste electronics, batteries and packaging regulations, and discuss trends and available recycling technologies. They also address best practices for eco-design.  

Not surprisingly, participants are most excited about the practical part of the workshop - when, following the experts’ instructions, they get to dismantle electronic devices down to the last screw. Using hammers, screwdrivers and pliers, the teams disassemble end-of-life products, such as the laptops and personal care products which are manufactured by their companies. They also enthusiastically step into the recycler’s shoes and check if appliances have been designed with environmental aspects in mind. At the end of the dismantling activity, the participants then share their hands-on experience and observations, which will hopefully generate ideas for future design improvements. 

Please contact us if you would like to organise an eco-design workshop for your company. 

Contact Landbell Group here

World Circular Economy Forum 

The World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF) is a global initiative organised by the Finnish innovation fund, Sitra. From 3 to 5 June 2019, this year’s forum brought together more than 2,000 participants from over 90 countries, including a wide variety of policy makers, government organisations, business leaders, NGOs and academics. WCEF is held every other year in Finland and every other year in another location: the first WCEF event was organised in Helsinki in 2017; the second was held in Yokohama, Japan in 2018. 

The two days were filled with presentations and discussions of circular economy solutions for governments, industries, businesses and citizens. There is a recognised need to change our unsustainable economic system from a linear to a more circular model, and there is pressure on the European Union to take the lead. The transition has to be scaled up by increasing investments in circular economy businesses, adopting new technologies and making more significant regulatory changes. 

This year’s event was attended by Olli Alanen who manages compliance services for Landbell Group in the Nordics and is one of the experts who selects the finalists for the Green Alley Award, Landbell Group’s annual competition for start-ups and entrepreneurs in the circular economy.


Interview with Cecile Gainche, Team Leader International Sales, Landbell Germany 

What’s your job at Landbell Group?
I’m in charge of the International Sales Team at Landbell Germany. This is the team that takes care of global companies that need to comply with the German packaging regulations. 

What are your most important tasks and challenges?
Despite the fact that there is only one European Packaging Directive, Member States have their own ways of implementing the packaging regulations. It is a challenge for producers to track and comply with these rules as they are complex and everchanging. Furthermore, the new German Packaging Act, which was introduced in January 2019, is only available in German which makes things even more difficult for international companies. My main role is to provide compliance advice and competitive solutions for companies exporting packaged goods to Germany. As I also carry out research for our regulatory tracking team, I can support customers by identifying their packaging obligations in other countries. 

How did you come to work for Landbell Group?   
I studied International Business Administration in France, the UK and Germany. After several years in the paper and printing industry, I started working for Landbell Group in 2015 when I moved back to Germany from Switzerland. Landbell Group is the ideal place to work for me as I am passionate about the environment and I like working in a multicultural company.   

What do you do for the environment in your private life? 
When I moved to Germany for my studies, I was quite puzzled by the various colour coded waste containers – it can take a while for a newcomer to understand what goes in which bin! But many Germans feel so concerned about sorting their waste that they will often help you when you are “doing it wrong.” I have two kids and I see it as an important part of their education to “shape” their taste for healthy food by having fun while cooking and making them aware of the ecological consequences of what they buy. And Greta Thunberg and “Fridays for Future” is a great way of getting them more involved in environmental issues.


Focus on… Iceland 

As a member of the European Economic Area (EEA), Iceland has implemented legislation regarding extended producer responsibility (EPR) and transposed the requirements of the WEEE Directive 2012/19/EU, Battery Directive 2006/66/EC, and Packaging Directive 94/62/EC under the EEA Agreement. The requirements for EEA members are mostly the same therefore as in the European Union. 

According to the law in Iceland, producers and importers are held responsible for the collection and achievement of the defined “utilization norms” (recovery and recycling targets) for a broad range of products that are put on the Icelandic market, including WEEE, batteries and packaging. The recovery and recycling targets follow those set in the European Union (EU) directives and must be achieved by the Icelandic Recycling Fund, to which all producers must subscribe.

However, the registration of producers in Iceland is different to EU Member States. When a product is imported, it automatically triggers a report to the Icelandic Recycling Fund, which then registers the producer with the Environment Agency. To start this process, importers need to register with the Customs Authority first, and local manufacturers need to register with the Internal Revenue department. The Icelandic Recycling Fund then charges the producer a take-back and recycling fee and takes on the producer responsibility as well as the reporting to the Environment Agency.  

If you import to Iceland and need support, Landbell Group can help you.  

Contact Landbell Group here

Elections bring shift of power to the European Parliament 

The recent European elections have brought substantial changes to the European Parliament. Almost two thirds (64%) of its members are new. The former Grand Coalition of the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) and Party of European Socialists (S&D) lost 87 of its seats and no longer has a majority. The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) and the Greens, on the other hand, came out as clear winners, gaining an additional 39 and 18 seats respectively. In particular, ALDE is expected to play an influential role in the future as it will be almost impossible to build a majority without them. 

Although the new composition of the Parliament’s committees is not yet defined, it is expected that key people working on circular economy issues in the last legislature – for example, Simona Bonafè and Frederique Ries - will continue to do so in the new legislature. 

Voter participation increased throughout Europe by about 9 percentage points compared with 2014. This shows an increasing awareness of the role the European Union can play on key issues, especially the ones that made it to the top of the agenda during the campaign, such as climate protection.


New report shows plastic pollution hotspots in the Mediterranean 

A new report by the WWF has identified the areas in the Mediterranean with the highest levels of plastic pollution. The inglorious ranking is led by the Cilicia coastline in southeast Turkey, followed by tourist hotspots such as Barcelona, Tel Aviv and the Po Delta near Venice. The report also identified Egypt as the biggest source of plastic waste in the Mediterranean, followed by Turkey and Italy. 

The growing problem of plastic waste in the Mediterranean stems not only from high levels of plastic consumption by residents and tourists, but from under equipped waste collection and management systems in several countries. The report makes the recommendation that all Mediterranean governments should set targets to reuse or recycle 100% of all plastics and phase out single use plastic items. 

The Mediterranean is rich in all marine species, and presents an invaluable source of tourism and fishing revenue for Mediterranean countries. The WWF has stated that if action is not taken, plastic pollution in the region is expected to quadruple by 2050.


Amendments to Basel Convention target plastic pollution 

In a recent meeting in Geneva, governments from 180 countries agreed on several amendments to the Basel convention in an effort to better protect people and the planet from the hazards of chemicals and waste. The measures particularly target the growing problem of plastic waste by tightening the regulations surrounding the global trading of plastic waste, bringing heightened transparency and implementing a new set of practical support measures for companies, governments, academics and civil society. 

The two weeks of meetings in Geneva called “Clean Planet, Healthy People: Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste”, brought together 1,400 delegates from 180 countries. In addition to tighter regulations surrounding plastic waste, the delegates also agreed on amendments to the Stockholm convention to eliminate two toxic chemical groups, totalling about 4,000 chemicals, which are listed in Annex A of the convention.


TSCA Inventory Notification: “Reset Rule” Deadline 

Manufacturers and processors must notify the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by 5th August 2019 to redefine Inactive substances as Active in the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) inventory.  After this date, using an Inactive substance will be non-compliant unless a Notice of Activity Form (NOA-B) is submitted within 90 days of the actual manufacturing or processing of an Inactive substance. 

TSCA was reformed on 22nd June 2016 and effects manufacturers, importers and processors, including formulators and downstream users. TSCA relies heavily on the inventory to define new or existing substances in US commerce. Under the TSCA reform, the EPA wanted to update the 85,000 substances listed on the inventory to reflect substances still active in the US. This is why it issued the “The Inventory Reset Rule” which was published on August 11, 2017. The rule required companies to notify the EPA during 2018 of substances designated as active, and any substance not notified would be considered inactive. The revised inventory has only about one-half of the substances designated as active so it is very important to check your substances. 

Landbell Group company, H2 Compliance has a dedicated New York office so please contact us if you need TSCA support.

Contact Landbell Group here

IMPORTANT: Pre-notification window closing soon in Korea  

The deadline for pre-notification of existing substances currently being shipped to South Korea – in quantities of more than 1 tonne per year – is 30th June 2019. To ensure uninterrupted supply into South Korea, companies are advised to pre-notify by this date. Manufacturers and importers are affected by this Act; non-Korean manufacturers and importers can use an Only-Representative (similar to the Authorised Representative role for WEEE). 

Please note that the process takes 20 working days, so companies should start the process as soon as possible. Landbell Group company, H2 Compliance works with a partner in South Korea to support clients with their compliance needs. 

K-REACH is a relatively new regulation that entered into force on 1st January 2015 with an Amended Act that came into effect on 1st January 2019. New substances in quantities of more than 0.1 tonne per year must be registered before manufacture or import.

Contact Landbell Group here

Mining waste and landfill offer huge potential for recovering raw materials 

A new report by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre investigates recovering critical and other raw materials from mining waste and landfill. Although practical examples are rare, the report highlights the huge potential in this area. In order to utilise this potential, the report recommends measures such as promoting research and development and education. 

The report targets action #39 of the European Commission’s Circular Economy Action Plan: “Sharing of best practice for the recovery of critical raw materials from mining waste and landfills”. The report builds on discussions held in 2018 highlighting technological innovations and contributions that have led to a more comprehensive knowledge base for raw materials. The report identifies the expansion of this knowledge base as especially important to improving the large-scale deployment of recovery processes.

Read the report here

Focus on Green Alley Award Finalists 2018: MIWA 

In these days of Zalando, Amazon and online food sales, battling the huge amount of packaging waste poses a challenge. In 2016, European consumers produced on average 167.3 kilograms of waste per year, per person. This is what led Czech startup MIWA, the 2018 Green Alley Award finalist, to create a modular retail solution where no packaging waste is produced in the first place. 

This is how it works: producers pack their goods in MIWA’s reusable capsules. The wholesalers supply the stores with these goods, where they are made available to consumers. Once emptied, the capsules are returned through a recollection system to a washing centre. And, when the capsules are sent back to the producers, the whole process starts again. For shopper and community engagement, MIWA provides a shopping app. Founder and CEO Petr Baca is convinced that pre-cycling, the effective selling of goods without packaging, is the future of sustainability: ”We are definitely proud of working on this meaningful project with the potential to bring a large positive impact to the environment.” 

Pre-cycling on a global scale
Baca is not the only one with this belief. The former startup Terracycle has just launched Loop. The US pilot program is a system, very similar to that of MIWA. The fact that Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Clorox, Nestlé, Mars, Coca-Cola, and PepsiCo have all redesigned their packaging to participate in the program shows that big corporates have realized something: it’s time to jump on the circular economy bandwagon.  

Both MIWA and Terracycle have joined the global commitment to eliminate plastic pollution and belong to the 40 brands and retailers that are piloting or expanding reuse and refill schemes. The initiative was created in 2018 by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and includes over 250 corporates and organizations, all committed to the fight against packaging waste.

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, United Kingdom

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

18 July 2019, Circular Economy Club Manchester: Putting Theory into Practice, Manchester, United Kingdom

20 – 21 July 2019, Open Source Circular Economy Mini Festival: Jump in the Loop, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

22 – 26 July 2019, Global Leadership Program on the Circular Economy 2019, Adelaide, Australia

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