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February 2020

CONTENT

NEWS FROM LANDBELL GROUP
ERP comments on the Extended Producer Responsibility Draft Guidance by Eunomia
National media campaign to promote battery recycling in Italy
Landbell Group attends edie Sustainability Leaders Forum and Battery Recycling Europe
 
TAKE-BACK
European Commission publishes Implementing Decision on WEEE calculation methods
Focus on… Belarus


CIRCULAR ECONOMY
European Green Deal Outlined
EU publishes its new Circular Economy Action Plan


CHEMICAL CONTROL
Update on Brexit and REACH
Philippines phases out all lead containing paints
Europe moves to regulate non-stick and stain-resistant chemicals

SOFTWARE AND TECH
New Vending Machine by TOMRA takes 100 bottles at once
Recycling CO² into chemical products could hold great potential

NEW STUDIES AND REPORTS
Green Alliance releases new report on plastics
PlasticsEurope publish 2018 statistics on European plastics recycling rates

INNOVATIONS AND FORERUNNERS
2020 is going to be SUSTAINABLE!
Good-bye to Plastics 

EVENTS


ERP comments on the Extended Producer Responsibility Draft Guidance by Eunomia

European Recycling Platform (ERP), a Landbell Group company, has commented on the recent draft guidance on Extended Producer Responsibility produced by the environmental consultancy, Eunomia. With more than 20 years’ experience implementing extended producer responsibility schemes across Europe, ERP fully supports the EU’s efforts to achieve greater harmonization. The company has produced this comments paper to share some of its operational experience and expertise and to highlight certain aspects that it feels are not sufficiently taken into account in the draft guidance, thereby challenging some of the conclusions and implicit recommendations. ERP has also produced this paper to offer suggestions as to how the EU can better achieve its goals.

The comments paper covers a wide range of topics, offering suggestions on the scope of costs covered for reinforcement, how to distribute funds to make up for geographical differences, and how to ensure efficient service delivery. ERP also comments on fee modulation, equal treatment, and tackling free-riding.

To read the comments in full, download the PDF here.
For more information on this issue, please contact us.


National media campaign to promote battery recycling in Italy

Landbell Group’s partner in Italy, Consorzio ERP Italia, is involved in a national campaign, which launched in January, to promote the recycling of waste portable batteries. Consorzio ERP Italia actively participated in the development of the project as a member of the National Batteries and Accumulators Coordination Centre (CDCNPA).

The campaign features popular television personalities, the Casa Surace family, who use humour to educate people about the proper collection and disposal of waste portable batteries at collection points across Italy. The campaign will run on the main national radio broadcasters, with cross-media promotion on digital and social media.

The campaign, which incorporates original storytelling and the hashtag #RaccogliamoPiuPile (‘let’s recycle more batteries’), aims to educate people about battery recycling and how to find their nearest battery collection point.


Landbell Group attends edie Sustainability Leaders Forum and Battery Recycling Europe

On 4th-5th February 2020, Landbell Group attended edie Sustainability Leaders Forum - the UK's only dedicated sustainability event. This year’s theme “igniting a decade of business transformation” was chosen to inspire companies to make critical changes in an effort to reach the ‘climate turning point’.

John Redmayne, managing director of Landbell Group company, ERP UK, was there on day 2 to present “Building closed loop recycling programmes: the challenges and lessons learned”. John outlined Landbell Group’s experience of offering global takeback solutions to customers. His presentation explored the advantages of designing and implementing dedicated and voluntary takeback programs, the challenges of implementing closed-loop projects in certain markets, and how the combination of takeback and digitalisation can provide a successful template for the wider circular economy.

John will also speak at the Battery Recycling Europe conference, which takes place in London on 19th-20th February. The conference brings together industry experts, collection scheme operators and battery manufacturers to discuss the latest recycling technologies, updates in policy and regulations, and the commercial benefits of recycling waste batteries. John’s presentation will look at producer compliance for portable batteries from a UK and European perspective, and will explore how technology can solve some of the issues that the industry is facing.


European Commission publishes Implementing Decision on WEEE calculation methods

The European Commission has published its Implementing Decision (2019/2193), laying down rules for the calculation, verification and reporting of data, and establishing data formats, for the purposes of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive, 2012/19/EU. Please see previous article on the subject here.


The Implementing Decision defines (and provides related reporting templates) for Member States, and includes:
  • Rules for the calculation of the minimum recovery targets referred to in Article 11(1) of the WEEE Directive
  • Formats for reporting of data referred to in Article 16(6) of the WEEE Directive and quality check report
Calculation methods now become much stricter for Member States, but this measure should ensure more realistic and comparable data and help to create a more level playing field. Member States will also need to justify estimates in the quality check report. It is assumed that the largest impact will come from the specification of “calculation points” (article 1(2) + annex 1). 

The first report that will need to be submitted according to the new methods will be for reporting year 2020, and this will need to be reported by 2022 (“within 18 months of the end of the reporting year for which the data are collected”). Member States will also need to transpose 2018/849 into national law by 5th July 2020. 

For more information on this issue, please contact us.

Focus on… Belarus

On 17th January 2020, the president of Belarus signed Decree No. 16 “On Improving Management of Waste Products and Packaging”, which will enter into force on July 1, 2020 and will repeal Decree No. 313 “On Some Issues about Treatment of Household Waste”, 2012. The new decree retains the basic EPR principles established by current legislation; however, it also introduces a number of new provisions. In particular, new exemptions from the EPR obligation are added and the use of funds received by the operator is regulated in more detail. 

The decree annuls the current restriction of individual compliance (application of own collection and treatment facilities) for manufacturers and suppliers of paper and cardboard packaging. In order to encourage enterprises to use eco-friendly packaging, a method for compensating the difference in costs compared to polymer packaging is proposed. To receive the compensation, the eco-packaging must be made up of recycled materials – cullet and waste paper – and be manufactured in Belarus. 

The Council of Ministers will issue the implementing legislation which will introduce, among others, a new list of products and packaging subject to EPR, requirements for individual compliance, and regulated reporting procedures.

For more information, please contact us.

European Green Deal Outlined

The European Commission has released a detailed package outlining important details of the European Green Deal, an ambitious set of climate measures created to usher in a new era of sustainable growth. The deal includes a one trillion euro investment plan aimed at giving investors confidence in making long-term investments in environmental projects. Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, referred to the Green New Deal as “Europe’s new growth strategy” before stating, “We have to act now”.

Landbell Group recently released a white paper, “Innovative and Sustainable: Transitioning Europe towards a Circular Economy”, which gives recommendations for a better policy framework to support the circular economy in Europe.

To learn more about these policy recommendations, read the white paper here.

EU publishes its new Circular Economy Action Plan

The European Union has published a new Circular Economy Action Plan to accelerate the transition to a circular economy. The roadmap points to the fact that only 12% of materials used in Europe come from recycled sources, which leaves considerable room for improvement.

Landbell Group company, European Recycling Platform (ERP), provided feedback to the stakeholder consultation on the action plan, drawing on its long-standing experience as a pan-European producer responsibility organisation for electrical and electronic equipment, batteries, and packaging. ERP’s feedback makes clear the need to foster a well-functioning, integrated internal market for secondary raw materials, which will only flourish with a standardised system of quality assurance.

As feedback on the action plan from far over 300 stakeholders is carefully pored over, the European Commission is working on a consolidated version to be published on March 4th, together with the Industrial Strategy which will be followed by a stakeholders' conference around May/June.

Read ERP’s feedback here.

Update on Brexit and REACH

The House of Commons and the European Parliament have ratified the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated between the UK and the European Union and the UK has now entered an implementation (or transition) period from 31st January 2020 until the 31st December 2020. During this implementation period, the UK will continue to apply EU legislation (including REACH) as if it were an EU Member State.

In preparation for a no-deal scenario, some UK companies supplying to the EU initiated a transfer of their registration to an EU Only Representative (OR). This activity can be put on hold until later in the year. Whether or not this can be done during the transition period (1st February to 31st December 2020) has yet to be clarified. As such, there is no current requirement to transfer UK held registrations to EU 27 legal entities by 31st January 2020 in order to retain EU market access.

Many uncertainties still remain. The extent of the UK’s ongoing participation in REACH will be determined by the outcome of the negotiations during the implementation period. If, at the end of this period on 31st December 2020, the UK is no longer a participant of REACH, then UK companies will need to take action to retain EU market access. The current December 2020 End of Transition date may also change, of course, as many dates have done so already.

We will keep you updated as further clarifications are provided.

For more information on this issue, please contact us.

Philippines phases out all lead containing paints

The start of the new decade came with news that the Philippines had phased out all lead containing paints and inks for industrial applications. The phase-out comes four years after lead-containing architectural, household and decorative paints were banned in the country. Paints containing lead compounds of more than 90 parts per million were all effected by the phase-outs.

Ely Kenneth Ong Sue, President of the Philippine Association of Paint Manufacturers commented on the success of the phase-out: "The industry-wide shift to lead-free paint manufacturing is a superb way to usher in 2020. It’s a milestone made possible by unique government, industry and civil society collaboration.”


Europe moves to regulate non-stick and stain-resistant chemicals

The EU has announced plans to classify close to 5000 chemicals considered polyflouroalkyl substances (PFAS) as one class of compound and then regulate them under the EU’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Directive. PFAS have long been used in food packaging, non-stick surfaces, and stain resistant textiles, but have shown to be extremely persistent, staying in natural environments long after the end of their useful life. The compounds have also been linked to major health issues, including cancer, reduced immune function, birth defects and fertility problems.

A document drafted in December suggests the phase-out of all non-essential uses of PFAS, calling for EU action by 2025, with a ban coming into force by 2030. The European Commission says that large amounts of these chemicals are currently released into the environment, making it difficult to evaluate and manage risks on a case-by-case basis. Costs associated with these chemicals, including negative effects on human health, are estimated to amount to tens of billions of euros annually in the EU alone.


New Vending Machine by TOMRA takes 100 bottles at once

TOMRA launched a reverse vending machine that is able to take 100 empty beverage containers at once. When returning up to 100 containers, recycling is said to be up to five times faster than at a single-feed machine. While awareness of plastic pollution is growing rapidly, this concept is said to transform the recycling experience, making it easier for people to help reduce reliance on raw materials.

According to TOMRA, the R1 is available in Norway and Sweden, is being rolled out in the US, and will be introduced in Germany and other regions in the coming months.


Recycling CO² into chemical products could hold great potential

Researchers in Germany are taking a new approach to reducing CO² concentrations, using bacteria to recycle it into useful chemical products. Inspired by the bacteria found in intestines, researchers from Frankfurt’s Wolfgang Goethe University are working to train these bacteria to feed on CO² and hydrogen instead of the usual carbohydrates. The goal is to make these organisms create ethanol, reducing the need to cultivate biomass en masse.

The scientists are doing so by genetically modifying bacteria, optimising the CO² eating behaviour to hopefully one day make it a cost competitive process. The future of this technology is exciting not only because of the great potential for climate mitigation, but it also stands to unlock a new, more sustainable revenue stream. For a society continually pushing for greater circularity, widening the scope of how and what we recycle could have a major effect on sustainability in industries largely outside of the public eye.

Bacteria seem to offer boundless environmental and commercial possibilities. One of the 2019 Green Alley Award finalistis, VEnvirotech is a Spanish biotechnology startup which creates polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) bioplastics using bacteria. The bacteria are fed with organic waste from agricultural food companies, making their bioplastic 100% bio-based. The bioplastic can then be used for packaging, biomedicine, adhesives or 3D printing.

For more information on VEnvirotech, please visit their website.

Click here to visit the Green Alley Award website.

Green Alliance releases new report on plastics 

British think tank Green Alliance has released a new report looking at action being taken in the grocery sector to cut down on plastic packaging waste. The report shows an industry consistently behind the curve, taking a reactionary approach to changing consumer habits and demands. One supermarket representative cited an 800% uptick in customer inquiries on plastic packaging in the last year alone. 

While there are some positives to take from the report, it is very clear that much still needs to be done to keep up with rapidly growing customer awareness. In 2018, 50% of the top 10 grocery chains in the UK had set plastic reduction targets; by 2019, they had all set targets of some sort. Less encouraging, however, is the fact that 97% of all plastic produced by company signatories to the New Plastics Economy is single-use, with a measly 3% being reusable. 

Read the report to learn more about what the grocery sector is doing to combat plastic waste.

PlasticsEurope publish 2018 statistics on European plastics recycling rates 

PlasticsEurope has published new figures on recycling rates on the continent, uncovering new insights into the progress being made by different countries. While overall rates have risen 1.4% from 2016-2018 to 32.5%, several nations still lag behind the pack. The country with the lowest recycling rate is France, with a 24.2% recycling rate in 2018. This puts them far behind other western European nations: Spain leads the way, with a recycling rate of 42%, followed by Germany and Sweden with 39%.  

See the full report here.

2020 is going to be SUSTAINABLE!

Change can start on any day and any month of the year. Nevertheless, the beginning of a new year has a special air to it: it is fresh and crisp; completely unblemished and free of failure. While the Green Alley Award startups do their best to find new solutions to existing waste challenges, each and every one of us can contribute to the circular economy. So why not choose the beginning of a new year to implement some sustainable new year’s resolutions? 

Clothes make the (hu)man?

Global fibre consumption is expected to reach 130 to 145 million metric tonnes by 2025 and the clothing sector is often described as one of the most polluting and resource-intensive industries. So what can consumers do to contribute to a more circular textile economy? Either buy new, but sustainable clothes that are made of fully biodegradable fibres or opt for second-hand, flea markets and sharing platforms. To move towards more circular clothing, we will have to rethink our attitude towards clothes, and let go of fast fashion in favour of holding onto fewer, but loved and cherished items. For more ideas on sustainable fashion, check out sustainability blog my green closet. And keep an eye out for 2019 Green Alley Award winner, Gelatex Technologies, and their gelatine-based alternative to leather. 

EU policymakers are hard at work trying to shift the clothing industry away from its current linear economic model, towards one that is more circular and sustainable announcing that the Green Deal will look into measures that focus on textiles. While many companies have pursued their own initiatives to increase circularity, without concrete frameworks and a system of checks and balances real progress has been difficult to achieve.  

Two recent position papers from The Policy Hub, a joint initiative from the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, the Federation of the European Sporting Goods Industry and Global Fashion Agenda, have taken a look at the issue and offered some key points that policymakers should focus on to drive circularity. Some of the recommendations made include better leveraging existing industry tools and incentivising the use of secondary raw materials to make them competitive with virgin raw materials.  

Every cup counts

While Green Alley Award finalists and winners work on solutions to conventional packaging, it is equally important to reduce the amount of plastic in our everyday lives. We’ve heard it a thousand times already, but these simple but effective life-hacks have the power to change: use re-usable coffee cups, take a cotton bag for shopping, and bring your lunch in a Tupperware box from home whenever possible. Then, the next time you order something on Zalando, your items will hopefully be delivered in a 2014 Green Alley Award winner Repack bag or you could find your cheese wrapped in 2019 finalist Cellugy’s biodegradable alternative to plastic, EcoFLEXY.

For more ideas on reducing plastic check out the less plastic blog.
For more information visit the Green Alley Award website.

Good-bye to Plastics 

44% of all plastic ever manufactured has been made since 2000. In 1950, 2.3 million tonnes of plastic were produced globally; by 2015, this amount had risen to 448 million tonnes. Hopefully, 2020 will be the start of a new era with less plastic and more plastic alternatives. 

Businesses looking for alternatives

The growing single-use plastic problem is not one that will go away on its own. Across the world, both consumers and companies have become accustomed to the low costs, convenience, and ubiquity of plastic packaging.  

With many regions giving little reason for companies to change their ways, ambitious retailers and manufacturers have decided to take the issue into their own hands. Recent advancements made by companies to curb the growth of single-use plastics, include the creation of edible packaging, paper-based packaging, naked products (no packaging), refills and takebacks, upcycling waste plastic and chemical recycling processes.  

Green Alley Award finalist in 2018, MIWA is a Czech start-up whose technology enables food retailers and consumers to buy and sell without packaging. Visit their website for more information on their refills and takeback solution. 

Legislative Action

In March 2019, the European Parliament approved a new law banning single-use plastic items by 2021, including the following products:
  • Single-use plastic cutlery (forks, knives, spoons and chopsticks)
  • Single-use plastic plates
  • Plastic straws
  • Cotton bud sticks made of plastic
  • Plastic balloon sticks
  • Oxo-degradable plastics and food containers, and expanded polystyrene cups
Social Commitment

If you find it difficult to imagine drinking a coke without a straw or eating take-away food without plastic cutlery, maybe it’s time to visit Penzance, a small city in Cornwall. Penzance is the UK's first town to achieve the new Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) Plastic Free Coastline status. The campaign raises awareness of the impacts of coastal pollution by combining community action, education and political lobbying. 

Another inspiring example of successful citizen action is City to Sea. Founded in 2015, City to Sea is a non-profit organization, campaigning to stop plastic pollution. The organization focuses on freeing coastlines and oceans from plastics, by working together with communities, corporations and retailers. One cornerstone is the refill campaign: citizens can refill their water bottles at designated shops, cafés and restaurants instead of buying new ones. Let’s hope that the combined effort of politics and society can improve the state of our environment and make items suchas plastic straws and cutlery a thing of the past. 

11 – 12 February 2020, Conference: Responsible industry leads sustainable development - industry clusters connecting circular economyKemi, Finland  

12 – 13 February 2020, European Biopolymer Summit, Zaragoza, Spain

18 – 20 February  2020, Materials Resource Exchange 2020, London, United Kingdom 

27 – 28 February  2020, Waste Management in the Circular Economy 2020, Berlin, Germany

4 – 5  March  2020, VII International Seminar on Biopolymers and Sustainable CompositesValencia, Spain 

11 – 13 March 2020, 20th International Automobile Recycling Congress, Geneva, Switzerland

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