The Global Product Stewardship Council

R2 Pilot Expansion in Latin America

Posted by GlobalPSC in Member Profiles at 9:57 pm, August 25th, 2015

SERI‘s Latin America pilot project has shifted to helping participating recyclers learn and implement the requirements in the R2 Standard, following Spanish and Portuguese translations of the R2 Standard.

Now SERI and project partners Greeneye Partners, DIRECTV, Oracle, Sims Recycling Solutions and Arrow Electronics have announced that Greeneye Partners has completed site visits for the recycling facilities participating in the project,and performed a gap analysis for facilities in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Ecuador. R2 implementation training is also being offered to facility managers and environmental, health, and safety representatives.

“Stakeholders throughout electronics recycling community have recognized the need for more responsible, safe, and sustainable management of used electronics in Central and South America. By working with our partners to increase the number of responsible recycling options, SERI hopes to set a positive example others can build on. There is still much work to be done, but  this project represents an important first step in improving the overall quality of electronics recycling in the region”, Henry Leineweber, Program Director for SERI, told the GlobalPSC.

Progress to date has been encouraging, though many challenges remain such as communicating the importance of responsible recycling and the need for R2 certification in the region.  Developing cost-effective infrastructure to support certification, including local consultants and auditors, translated versions of EHSMS plans and documents, and acceptable end-markets for materials will also prove essential.

e-Waste Product Stewardship for New Zealand Report

Posted by GlobalPSC in News at 4:30 pm, August 24th, 2015

The final report to develop an e-waste product stewardship framework for the New Zealand Ministry for Environment is now available.

 

Guest Blog – Battery Stewardship Moves to the Next Stage in Australia

Posted by GlobalPSC in Guest Blogs at 2:11 pm, August 13th, 2015

The Global Product Stewardship Council periodically invites thought leaders on product stewardship and producer responsibility to contribute guest blogs. Our guest blogger for this post is Dr Helen Lewis, Principal of Helen Lewis Research and Chief Executive of the Australian Battery Recycling Initiative (ABRI). 

 

At their last meeting in July, Australian Environment Ministers agreed to continue work on an industry-driven stewardship program for handheld batteries but with a focus on hazardous and rechargeable batteries only.

This is a significant win for Energizer, Duracell and the Consumer Electronics Suppliers Association (CESA), who have argued that battery stewardship for primary batteries would need to be regulated to ensure that all suppliers participate. During a Product Stewardship Institute battery recycling webinar (5/6 November 2014) Energizer’s spokesman advised that they had ‘zero tolerance’ for voluntary stewardship but would work with ABRI to develop a regulatory solution.

Handheld batteries are one of only two product categories that are still listed on the national ‘priority list’ for government action under the Product Stewardship Act. That list identifies products that the Minister for the Environment will consider for regulation or accreditation under the Act.

The Queensland Government is leading negotiations on the battery stewardship program on behalf of all government jurisdictions. A discussion paper, released in March 2014, outlined proposals for battery stewardship that were well received by most stakeholders but failed to secure the necessary level of industry support, particularly from primary battery manufacturers.

Following the Ministers’ decision to refine the scope to rechargeable and hazardous batteries only, a more focused proposal is expected to be developed by key industry associations and brand owners in late 2015 for broader consultation. While the exact scope of the stewardship scheme is yet to be defined, it is likely to include all handheld rechargeable batteries weighing less than 5kg as well as primary button cells. Button and coin cells have been the subject of extensive media coverage in Australia over the past two years due to an increasing number of infants and children presenting at hospitals with life threatening injuries associated with batteries.

The Australian Battery Recycling Initiative will continue to advocate for ‘all battery’ recycling services because these offer the most convenient and environmentally-responsible solution for consumers. Existing battery recycling programs, which are funded by state government agencies, local councils and retailers such as ALDI and Battery World, already collect both primary and secondary batteries.

Nevertheless, the establishment of a national, voluntary stewardship scheme for rechargeable batteries would be a welcome development because it would increase industry engagement and improve the availability of recycling services. ABRI is working on a series of pilot projects for particular battery types to inform the design of a national program. The first of these, for power tool batteries, will commence in September this year.

At the same time ABRI will continue to work on regulatory options for primary batteries. These include stand-alone regulations (similar to the model legislation developed by the battery industry in the US) or extension of the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme to include primary batteries. If discussions on a voluntary scheme for rechargeable batteries do not reach a successful outcome in 2016 then ABRI will argue that regulations should apply to all handheld batteries.

The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Global Product Stewardship Council.  

Helen Lewis is part-time chief executive of the Australian Battery Recycling Initiative. She has been actively involved in product stewardship initiatives for plastics, packaging and batteries for over 20 years. Helen is a member of the GlobalPSC Advisory Group

 

Guest Blog – Dutch Sustainability Plans for Packaging

Posted by GlobalPSC in Guest Blogs at 1:24 pm, August 13th, 2015

The Global Product Stewardship Council periodically invites thought leaders on product stewardship and producer responsibility to contribute guest blogs. Our guest blogger for this post is Gill Bevington, Policy Analyst, Packaging for Perchards.

 

 

The packaging sustainability institute, KIDV, KIDV has published an overview in English about the progress of the sustainability plans which industry undertook to develop as part of its commitments in the Framework Agreement on Packaging.

KIDV reports that sectoral sustainability plans covering 80% of the weight of packaging on the market have now been submitted. This first set of plans sets out objectives and measures to achieve them by 2018 and further plans will be developed with objectives for 2022.

Since the Framework Agreement was signed, the Packaging Decree has been revised. The revised Decree, which was adopted in 2014, gives the Minister powers to impose statutory sustainability requirements on packaging. These new powers are seen as fall back powers if the plans now being developed do not deliver the results the Dutch authorities are hoping for. It is important therefore that Dutch industry supports and implements the plans.

KIDV’s methodology for the plans is to identify the front runners in each sector, and then aim to bring all companies in that sector up to the same level. Targets for the sector are based on the best in class. The plans were assessed by an independent review committee established by KIDV and consisting of four experts from different universities.

As KIDV’s approach was innovative, it was challenging to get the sectors involved in the development of the plans. Some showed reluctance at first, comments KIDV, but because the approach was unfamiliar, not through lack of interest. KIDV warns that the process will take time, depending on the level of investment needed to implement the plans and because the scientific knowledge needed to set targets was not available in all cases.

Each sectoral plan sets out the measures to be taken by producers in order to increase the sustainability of product-pack combinations within their sector, both measures to be taken by 2018 and then by 2022. Each sector is responsible for implementing its plan. The focus is currently on the product-pack combinations with the greatest potential environmental benefit.

The first plans to be developed cover the fruit and vegetables, food (including animal feed) and e-commerce sectors. A sub-plan for rPET 2018-2022 has been submitted by the Dutch association for soft drinks, waters and juices.

The main focus of the first plans to be submitted is:

  • greater use of sustainably managed and certified raw materials, such as FSC;
  • increase in the proportion of secondary raw materials in packaging, such as in plastic bottles and pots, tubs and trays (PTT)s;
  • decrease in the quantity of materials used, through optimisation and source reduction;
  • increasing the recyclability of packaging, through the use of mono-materials;
  • use of recycling logos on packaging to enable consumers to sort their packaging better.

There is nothing new about policy-makers encouraging producers to improve the environmental performance of their packaging. Industry bodies throughout Europe have for years published good practice examples of optimised packaging, including source reduction, improved recyclability etc, which aim both to encourage other producers and to demonstrate to policy-makers the efforts being made.

It has always been up to each producer to decide whether and how to optimise its packaging. Even in countries like Belgium and Spain, where producers have to submit prevention plans to the authorities, the producers set their own targets in their plans. But the new Dutch approach is different – it seeks to identify which are the best product-pack combinations in a sector under different headings and then to bring all producers in that sector up to that standard. With the threat of legislation if the plans do not yield as much as expected, sectoral trade associations will be working hard to encourage their members to participate in the process.

But it raises some questions:

  • What happens if the front runner is in that enviable position because of a unique set of circumstances which other producers in the sector cannot emulate?
  • How much pressure will individual companies be under to improve their sustainability in order to meet the targets in the plan? There may be sound reasons why a producer cannot match the best in class. Plans are being implemented by the sectors so individual companies will be judged by their peers (competitors) who will understand the constraints. But if it looks as though the objectives in a plan will not be met, which could have implications for all producers in the sector, what then?
  • What about imported products, for which the importer will have to persuade its foreign suppliers to make the necessary changes? That might not be possible or desirable because of the longer transport distances and/or because the preferred packaging type is not available in the country of production. Individual Dutch importers are of course free to set their own product/packaging specifications, but if those specifications are set out in a formal plan, could they represent a barrier to trade to suppliers in other EU member states?
  • Could there be problems with commercial confidentiality? Some front runners may be happy to be named and to provide information about their packaging. But others may prefer to keep the data confidential because their optimised packaging helps to give them their competitive edge. And will the laggards be named and shamed, even if there are sound reasons why they cannot match the best in class?

What happens if the results in 2018 are not as good as expected, even if the sectors have worked hard to improve the sustainability of their packaging? How will Dutch policy-makers respond? Will they acknowledge that the achievements are as good as they possibly can be and that, using the methodology, performance will continue to improve in future? Or will they conclude that this “voluntary” action is insufficient and that legislation is necessary? It remains to be seen whether this new Dutch approach is just rhetoric or whether it will deliver real improvements.

The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Global Product Stewardship Council. 

Gill Bevington joined Perchards in 1991 and currently serves as Policy Analyst, Packaging. She monitors, analyses and reports on European legislative developments on packaging (and industry response to them) at national and EU level, and is an expert on national packaging waste management initiatives across Europe. Gill has carried out many tailor-made studies for clients on aspects of the packaging legislation in place in various European countries and speaks regularly at conferences on the subject. 

 

Progressing Voluntary Paint Stewardship in Australia

Posted by GlobalPSC in Member Profiles at 4:28 pm, August 12th, 2015

iStock_000006361563SmallA voluntary national product stewardship scheme has moved one step closer to reality in Australia with the recent application for regulatory approval of an A$0.15/litre levy to be applied to the sale of new architectural and decorative paint in Australia.

Levy revenue would fund the not-for-profit company Paint Stewardship Ltd to administer all aspects of the collection scheme, including education, marketing and communication, R&D investment, transport and processing of waste paint from trade and domestic sources across the country.

The National Waste Paint Implementation Working Group has completed the scheme’s business plan, economic model, 5-year rollout strategy and engagement plan and voted unanimously to support an application to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for approval of the levy. Assuming a favourable assessment by the ACCC against the Competition and Consumer Act, the scheme is expected to commence in May 2016.

The GlobalPSC and several of our members have helped facilitate development of the scheme since Australia’s Environment Ministers agreed to place paint stewardship on their work plan in April 2013 and the Environment Minister’s June 2013 nomination of paint as a priority product under the Product Stewardship Act 2011.

In conjunction with Sustainability Victoria and the Australian Paint Manufacturers’ Federation, the GlobalPSC facilitated initial stakeholder discussions, featured paint and batteries in a priority product stewardship workshop and developed the public policy and business case for a voluntary paint stewardship approach in Australia. Further details and primary documents are available on the Knowledge Base available to GlobalPSC members.

 

PVC Resource Summit 2015

Posted by GlobalPSC in Member Profiles at 3:26 pm, August 12th, 2015

The Vinyl Council of Australia is convening an interactive Resource Summit to form alliances and plans for PVC recovery and recycling.

The summit will:

  • explore opportunities to access and source PVC for cost-effective input into new products
  • identify products, markets and challenges and form strategies for the future
  • combine expertise and networks to accelerate recovery and recycling in Australia

Key facts include:

  • in 2014 PVC use in Australia reached 190,000 tonnes for windows, flooring, medical, packaging and other areas
  • 85% of PVC is used in durable applications, particularly building products
  • there is an estimated 67,000 tonnes per annum of PVC waste to recycle in Australia
  • currently about 10-15% of this waste is diverted from landfill for recycling

Program and registration details are available here.

 

Celebrating Five Years of Industry-led Electronics Recycling in Prince Edward Island

Posted by GlobalPSC in Member Profiles at 12:26 pm, August 3rd, 2015

The Electronic Products Recycling Association (EPRA) recently celebrated five years of coverage on Canada’s Prince Edward Island (PEI).

In that five years, EPRA has collected and recycled more than 3,000 metric tonnes of unwanted electronics in the province. “That’s approximately 465,000 TVs, computers, printers and a myriad of other electronic devices diverted from landfill and illegal export,” said Cliff Hacking, President and CEO of EPRA. “Not only are these products being recycled responsibly, but they also yield a host of valuable materials such as steel, copper, silver, palladium and glass that is put back into the manufacturing supply chain,” said Hacking.

L-R: Gerard MacLellan, Executive Director of EPRA Atlantic Canada; Cliff Hacking – President and CEO of EPRA; The Hon Robert Mitchell, Minister of Communities, Land and Environment (PEI); Gerry Moore, CEO of Island Waste Management

EPRA is a not-for-profit, industry-led organisation that works in partnership with manufacturers, retailers, municipal governments and consumers to ensure end-of-life electronics are diverted from landfills and recycled in an efficient and environmentally responsible manner. “It’s a strong partnership model that’s seen success here in Prince Edward Island and across the country,” said Hacking.

This view was supported by Minister Mitchell, saying “Islanders can and should be proud of what’s been achieved here over the last five years” and “(t)his level of commitment to responsibly recycling electronics is a true reflection of their belief in being responsible stewards of our beautiful province.”
 The Minister commended EPRA PEI and more than 300 participating retailers, manufacturers, distributors and suppliers of regulated electronics in the province for making the program a success.

EPRA’s success in PEI is attributed primarily to 80% program awareness in the province and to convenient access to collection depots, with 99% of the population within 30 kilometres of an EPRA drop-off depot.

 

São Paulo Brazil Introduces Reverse Logistics Requirements for Products and Packaging

Posted by GlobalPSC in News at 6:34 pm, July 31st, 2015

São Paulo Brazil’s Department of the Environment has introduced obligations on manufacturers, importers, distributors and traders for reverse logistics systems for a range of products and packaging (with some specified exemptions). Specified products include:

  • used lubricating oil
  • edible oil
  • automotive oil filters
  • automotive batteries
  • portable batteries and batteries
  • electronic products and components
  • fluorescent, sodium vapor, mercury and mixed lights
  • scrap tires
  • expired or unused medicines

The GlobalPSC is in the process of seeking clarification of several key provisions and will advise accordingly.

 

South Africa Requires Industry Waste Management Plans

Posted by GlobalPSC in News at 5:20 pm, July 31st, 2015

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South Africa has issued requirements for the paper and packaging industry, electrical and electronic equipment industry and lighting industry to prepare and submit industry waste management plans for approval by the Minister of Environmental Affairs under the National Environmental Management Act 2008.

Details on requirements, consultation process, timeframes and penalties for non-compliance are available to GlobalPSC members in the Knowledge Base under the Frameworks & Harmonization tab.

 

GlobalPSC Members Feature Prominently at AWRE

Posted by GlobalPSC in Member Profiles at 4:29 pm, July 31st, 2015

AWRE 2015_Dates CMYK Horizontal_AWRE HORIZ_ POS

In a few weeks, Australasia’s leading waste and recycling expo will feature a variety of GlobalPSC members from plenary talks to debate on e-waste futures.

Stan Krpan, CEO of Sustainability Victoria, will deliver the opening address and provide an environment portfolio CEO’s update. John Gertsakis, Chief Sustainability Officer for Infoactiv, will chair a debate on the future of e-waste that also features long-term GlobalPSC members Steve Morriss of Close the Loop and Carmel Dollison of ANZRP/TechCollect. Rose Read of AMTA/MobileMuster will chair and present at a session on going e-waste free in the workplace that also features Joel Newland of Infoactiv.

GlobalPSC members are eligible for a 10% discount on registration for the seminars. Contact us directly for the code to access the discount. Expo attendance itself is free but registration is still required.

Program details are available here.

 

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Global Product Stewardship Council

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Tel: +61 2 9449 9909
Fax: +61 2 9449 9901
Email: info@globalpsc.net