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November 2019


Green Alley Award 2019: And the winner is ... Gelatex Technologies!
Landbell Group to speak at E-Waste World Conference 2019

Interview with Kamila Horak, UK Head of Operations

New calculation method for WEEE recycling rates
Update on the European Commission’s EPR guidelines
Review of UK WEEE regulations
Focus on... Singapore  

Commissioner-designate gives insights on new Circular Economy Action Plan
European Council calls for more action to achieve a circular economy
Circular Plastics Alliance commits to increase usage of recycled plastic

European Chemical Agency to launch new database to track hazardous substances in products
Delay to Poison Centre Notification deadline

New initiative aims to increase plastic recycling through product design

Consultancy does not recommend further substance restrictions in RoHS

Interview with Green Alley Award finalist Gelatex Technologies
Interview with Green Alley Award finalist Flustix


Green Alley Award 2019: And the winner is … Gelatex Technologies!

Gelatex Technologies has won the Green Alley Award for 2019. On 17th October, Gelatex convinced the jury during a five-minute pitch live on stage. Their product: an environmentally friendly alternative to leather that is made from low-value gelatine waste from the meat and leather industries.

Jan Patrick Schulz, CEO of Landbell Group, is very happy with this year’s winner: “We presented the Green Alley Award to Gelatex Technologies because they have developed an environmentally friendly alternative to leather – a material widely used in the textile and automotive industries. Making a new product from a waste product is fully in line with the circular economy and therefore worthy of the award.”

Märt-Erik Martens, CTO of Gelatex Technologies, explains the added value offered by the circular economy idea: “With Gelatex we want to offer an alternative to leather that is both environmentally friendly and more affordable,” he says. “The Green Alley Award endorses our green approach: sustainability plays a key role in the circular economy and we are delighted that we were able to convince the jury with our idea.”

The ability to customise the thickness and texture makes Gelatex attractive for both the textile and automotive industries. The startup’s team – founder and CEO Mari-Ann Meigo Fonseca, CTO Märt-Erik Martens and Manufacturing Lead Robert Männa – are already planning to cooperate with big international brands in these industries.

Check out the interview with Gelatex below
Visit the Green Alley Award website

Landbell Group to speak at E-Waste World Conference 2019

Landbell Group is speaking at this year’s E-Waste World Conference in Frankfurt about “ONE YEAR ON: European Union WEEE Open Scope”. The conference takes place on 14th and 15th November and will focus on three topics in the industry: e-waste challenges and opportunities; green and sustainable electronics; and electric vehicles and battery recycling. Each of the three topics will feature presentations from more than 25 industry professionals over the course of the two-day program.

This year’s conference comes hot on the heels of the United Nation’s climate summit in New York, where world leaders came together to discuss solutions to the climate crisis. Sustainable electronics and more robust waste reduction strategies stand to play a leading role in mitigating the severity of climate change.

Visit the event website here

Interview with Kamila Horak, UK Head of Operations

What’s your job at Landbell Group?
As Head of Operations for European Recycling Platform (ERP) in the UK, there are two main aspects to my role. Firstly, I look after our local authority customers. Although they don’t pay us, it is important to remember that local authorities are our customers: they provide us with the waste we need to meet our members’ obligations. I manage a team of regional account managers who look after our contracts on the ground. We want our local authorities to be happy with the service that they receive and we try to maximise collections of WEEE and batteries from their sites. Secondly, I look after our supply chain in the UK and make sure that our suppliers are providing a high-quality, cost-effective service. I also coordinate take-back for our producers and make sure we work with collectors and recyclers who can meet their needs.

What are your most important tasks and challenges?
On a day-to-day basis, we have to provide optimum service to local authorities but we can’t do this at any price. I make sure we are getting good value for money from our suppliers and that they are capable of providing a sustainable service.
I also have to deal with challenges that arise from changes to the regulations. For example, the Environment Agency’s recent interpretation of persistent organic pollutants in WEEE has had a huge impact. We’ve had to work hard to make sure that our operations are still compliant but that we are not paying over the odds. Battery collections are also a balancing act: we try to collect as many portable batteries as we can.

How did you come to work for Landbell Group?
I started my career in finance, but moved into extended producer responsibility in 1997. I’ve been working in this industry ever since! In 2009, I joined Geodis as operations manager for ERP in the UK. When ERP decided to bring management of its operations back in-house, I was invited to join ERP to continue doing the role.

What do you do for the environment in your private life?
I believe that incremental changes are important. If we all make small changes, then this can make a big difference. I am a good recycler: I go around the house taking things out of the bin that should not be there and I feel guilty if the wrong thing goes into a bin! I also turn off lights and unused gadgets to save energy, and I don’t buy plastic. I am a keen knitter and I’ve stopped knitting with acrylic. I only use natural fibres such as silk, wool, cotton and linen now.

New calculation method for WEEE recycling rates

The European Commission is working on a new methodology for the calculation and reporting of recycling rates for waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). A draft of the Implementing Decision is currently being discussed among Member States and is set to be officially adopted by the end of the year.

The main goal of the revision is to ensure that recycling rates are more realistic and comparable among Member States. For that purpose, the new provisions specify – among other things – the definition of “calculation points”, i.e. the points where the different component materials of WEEE are considered to enter the recycling operation.

For plastics, for example, this point is defined as “plastic separated by polymers that does not undergo further processing before entering pelletisation, extrusion, or moulding operations; plastic flakes that do not undergo further processing before their use in a final product.”

Overall, the new provisions, being more specific and standardized, can also be considered as being stricter. This might make it more challenging for Member States to reach their recycling targets but, in any case, it will increase the validity and comparability of recycling rates.

Besides modifying the calculation method for WEEE recycling rates, the Implementing Decision will also lay down the format to be used by Member States when reporting data on WEEE to the Commission.

Update on the European Commission’s EPR guidelines

On 15th and 16th October, the European Commission hosted two stakeholder workshops on extended producer responsibility (EPR) - for packaging and for batteries and waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) respectively. The outcomes from the workshops will feed into the EPR guidelines which the Commission is required to develop in order to help Member States transpose the recently revised Waste Framework Directive.

The workshops were mainly led by the consultancy firm, Eunomia, which is working on a report with recommendations for the Commission’s EPR guidelines and for the planned revision of the packaging essential requirements. The workshops focused on the following aspects: modulated fees; necessary costs; equal treatment; as well as free-riding and online sales. Participants emphasised the need to harmonize rules across Member States. Eunomia will incorporate stakeholders’ feedback and finalise the report by the end of this year.

Landbell Group company, European Recycling Platform (ERP) attended both workshops and shared its experience of operating 35 producer responsibility schemes in 15 countries. ERP will also engage in the upcoming stakeholder consultations planned by the Commission for the beginning of next year.

Review of UK WEEE regulations

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has announced that a review of the existing regulations on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) in the UK will be released in the coming weeks. The review will assess whether the regulations have achieved what they set out to do in 2013 and will include suggestions for improvements.

Graeme Vickery, senior policy advisor at DEFRA, stated that the UK is likely to miss the EU WEEE collection targets for the first time. However, Vickery explained that the problem was not restricted to the UK: “This is not a UK specific issue, I know it is an issue in other EU countries we are talking with.”

Following the European Union’s WEEE Directive, from 2019, overall targets for WEEE collection will jump from 45% to 65% of the weight of new products put on the market. Alternatively, the Directive allows to target 85% of WEEE arising. Internal targets have been missed in the UK in the last two years, and much work will need to be done to keep up with the targets.

For more information, contact us

Focus on… Singapore

The establishment of extended producer responsibility (EPR) for WEEE, batteries and packaging in Singapore has taken a great leap forward following the publication of the Resource Sustainability Act on 4th October 2019.

The regulations establish an EPR framework for a closed scope of electrical and electronic products, such as PV panels, ICT equipment, certain large household appliances, lamps, batteries and electric mobility devices (namely e-scooters), both for household and professional use.

The National Environment Agency is expected to select a single producer responsibility organisation (PRO) during the first months of 2020, which will take responsibility for raising awareness, consumer WEEE collections and meeting collection targets. PRO operations will commence on 1st July 2021.

All producers of in-scope products are expected to register and declare. However, thresholds will apply for smaller producers that will not have to join the PRO. The registry will open in November 2019 and the first declaration period will be in Q1 2021 for 2020 sales. Collection targets will range from 20% to 60% depending on the product categories. Producers of packaging and packaged goods will also need to register in 2020, but the EPR framework for packaging will not come into effect until 2025.

Landbell Group will participate in the tender process to select the PRO and is available now to help producers prepare for their upcoming compliance requirements: identifying producer obligations; providing support during the registration and reporting process; and offering brief summaries of producer requirements in our “At-a-Glance” reports or more detailed explanations in our “In-Depth” reports (see previous article).

For more information, contact us

Commissioner-designate gives insights on new Circular Economy Action Plan

Virginijus Sinkevičius, the designated new Commissioner for the Environment, provided some insights on the new Circular Economy Action Plan during his hearing before the European Parliament’s Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI).

Sinkevičius stated that he wants to “raise the profile of circularity” and referred to the huge potential that a circular economy offers for cutting down carbon emissions. The action plan that the new Commission is planning to release will focus on three major areas:
  • examining the ways in which goods are produced and consumed within the European Union, focusing in particular on improving eco-design and facilitating reuse and repair;
  • helping consumers to make informed choices; and
  • moving beyond recycling, so that waste should not only be reduced, but prevented completely in areas such as textiles and construction.
Meanwhile, the start of the new European Commission will be postponed as there are still three names missing as candidates for Commissioners. So far, there is no new date for the European Parliament’s confirmation vote, meaning that President-elect Ursula von der Leyen and her team will not take office before 1 December.

European Council calls for more action to achieve a circular economy

The Council of the European Union has examined the state of the circular economy in Europe, and called for more action to increase circularity. The Council has invited the European Commission to develop a more robust long-term circular economy strategy with specific targeted actions. The Council highlights the importance of promoting circularity across the whole value chain, stating that consumers, as well as industry, should work in unison to reach targets.

The Council supports the use of a wide range of tools, including environmental taxation, extended producer responsibility (EPR) schemes and improved waste management, to move towards a more circular society. In addition, the Council emphasised the importance of increased investment in clean technologies, as well as more transparent and comparable targets to steer such investments.

See more here

Circular Plastics Alliance commits to increase usage of recycled plastic

More than 100 public and private organisations from throughout Europe have signed a new declaration aimed at increasing the share of recycled plastic used in new products. The alliance hopes to increase the amount of recycled plastics used to make new products in the European Union to 10 million tonnes per year by 2025.

Frans Timmermans, designated first Vice-President of the new European Commission offered the following comment: “I welcome the industry's commitments to rethinking the way we produce and use plastics. By efficiently recycling plastics, we will clean up the planet and fight climate change.”

The declaration sets out concrete strategies to reach the new targets, including improving plastic design, identifying gaps and opportunities in plastic waste collection, developing a research & development agenda for plastics, and establishing a transparent, reliable monitoring system to track plastic flows on the continent.

European Chemical Agency to launch new database to track hazardous substances in products

The European Chemical Agency (ECHA) has announced plans to build a new database for substances of concern in products (SCIP) under the revised Waste Framework Directive (WFD) article 9. ECHA is planning on launching a prototype of the new database in early 2020, with more features being added throughout the year. A stakeholder workshop is tentatively planned for 12 November, where more information will be made available.

The SCIP database is expected by the policy makers to be useful to waste management companies, as it will provide more certainty regarding which products can be directly recycled, and which need to undergo further processing.

Member States of the European Union will need to transpose the requirements of the revised WFD into national law by July 2020. Companies that place products in the European market will be obligated to submit notifications starting 5 January 2021.

For more information, contact us

Delay to Poison Centre Notification deadline

Further to our article on this subject in September, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has confirmed that the first deadline for poison centre notifications via the new submission portal will be delayed. Initially set for 1st January 2020, the deadline will now be postponed until 1st January 2021.

The European Commission is currently working on adopting a delegated act, which will postpone the first compliance date for Annex VIII requirements. The delay of the deadline is a result of consultations with representatives from the chemical industry.

The Annex VIII amendment will also adopt other changes to the original legal text, aimed at improving the applicability of the requirements to business reality.

For more information, contact us

New initiative aims to increase plastic recycling through product design

A new initiative has been launched with the goal of increasing the recyclability of everyday plastic products. The project brings together Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg, the German Plastics Centre (SKZ) and two partners from the Bavarian plastics industry. The main goal of the project is to increase the share of recycled plastics used by reducing the number of unique materials or components. Complicated plastic products are often not recyclable due to problems sufficiently separating the materials after collection.

Jan Werner of SKZ explained: “We’re focusing on the product design stage because the recyclability aspect has largely been neglected by designers so far.” Closing the gap between the designer and recycler could help increase recycling rates by simply making more products easy to recycle.

The scientists hope to create a software platform that can provide more information on recyclability and the material combinations of different products. The project, which was launched in July, is set to run for three years.