News

U.S. Supreme Court Paves Way for Drug Take-back Law

iStock_000016423595LargeThe U.S. Supreme Court has decided not to hear a challenge to the constitutionality of Alameda County, California’s drug disposal law, which was the first of its kind in requiring drug manufacturers to fund and manage the safe disposal of unwanted medications.

The Supreme Court denied certiorari in a case brought by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the Generic Pharmaceutical Association and the Biotechnology Industry Organization. The decision means that the Alameda County ordinance will stand, along with similar laws passed in San Francisco, California; San Mateo, California; and King County, Washington.

The Product Stewardship Institute has prepared a fact sheet exploring the implications of the Supreme Court decision and another fact sheet outlining the history behind the case.

Africa’s First Bottle-to-Bottle Recycling Plant Opens

Africa Wadeville 3 Bagging stationAfrica’s first bottle-to-bottle recycling plant was officially opened this May by Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa in Wadeville, Johannesburg. The plant is the first in Africa to use a Coca-Cola approved technology for carbonated soft drink bottles, thus enabling closing the loop in the biggest sector of the beverage market.

The 3,000 square metre PhoenixPET plant installed by Extrupet will supply an additional 14,000 tonnes of PET resin per year to the PET packaging industry. It will eventually divert an additional 22,000 tonnes of post-consumer PET bottles from landfills. The plant involves investment of R75 million.

Minister Molewa was joined at the opening ceremony by notable guests from government and the PET industry including (L-R): Ravi Chanrai (Extrupet), Therese Gearhart (Coca-Cola Southern Africa), Laju Chanrai (Extrupet), Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa, Her Excellency Ruchi Ghanashyam (Indian High Commission), Cheri Scholtz (CEO of PETCO and GlobalPSC Advisory Group member), Vijay Naidoo (Extrupet), Randhir Jaiswal (Indian High Commission) and Chandru Wadhwani (Extrupet).

Wadeville Opening

PETCO CEO Cheri Scholtz notes, ‘The cooperation within the PET industry to reach a common goal of integrating recycling into product life cycles is showing very notable results: we have reached a point where 49% of all post-consumer PET bottles are currently recycled – no less than 1.5 billion bottles were recycled in 2014, supporting 44,000 informal income opportunities in PET collection’.

 

Dana Peterson Appointed to GlobalPSC Advisory Group

17979_GPSC_ADVISORY POWERPOINT SLIDE_FEB15We are proud to announce the appointment of an esteemed colleague, Dana Peterson, to the GlobalPSC Advisory Group.

The GlobalPSC and a number of our Executive Committee members have worked closely with Dana over the years, and she brings a wealth of experience to this new role on our Advisory Group.

Dana is a Senior Analyst with New Zealand’s Ministry for the Environment. She has been actively involved in promoting sustainability and resource efficiency in a variety of government roles since 1984. In 2012-2013 she was the government representative in two stakeholder-led product stewardship working parties, the Agrichemicals Review and Tyrewise, and in 2014 was the principal author of government’s public discussion document Priority Waste Streams for Product Stewardship Intervention. She has presented at a number of international conferences on product stewardship and sustainable procurement in Europe and Asia, and served as New Zealand’s representative on an OECD environmental management country review of Norway (focus on waste). At home, she does hands-on organic farming and native forest regeneration on 10 acres on the Kapiti Coast.

 

Consultation on New Zealand e-Waste Product Stewardship Draft Report

The team developing an e-waste product stewardship framework for New Zealand has released a Draft Report to stakeholders for comment.

The report contains domestic and international issues for managing e-waste, stakeholder input, data analysis, options considered and a recommended framework.

Stakeholders are invited to email written comments on the #eWasteNZ Draft Report to ewasteNZ@slrconsulting.com by Friday 22 May 2015 in order to help inform a final version that will be submitted to the Ministry for the Environment for consideration. If any difficulties accessing the document arise, a PDF version is available by emailing ewasteNZ@slrconsulting.com.

 

New Zealand Feedback on Priority Waste Streams

The New Zealand Ministry for the Environment (MfE) has released a summary of submissions on its discussion paper on the prioritisation of waste streams for product stewardship intervention.

Stakeholders generally agreed with the MfE’s criteria for prioritisation but suggested weighting ‘risk of harm’ and ‘resource efficiency’ higher than other criteria. Stakeholders also generally agreed with the MfE’s proposed priority products (electronic and electrical equipment; tyres; agrichemicals and farm plastics; and refrigerants and other synthetic greenhouse gases), but recommended adding packaging and plastic bags for prioritisation.

Mike Mendonca of the MfE (pictured below) announced the summary’s release and reviewed its findings during the recent WasteMINZ Roundup in Auckland, which emphasised product stewardship. In a session with Mike and WasteMINZ Board Chair Darren Patterson, GlobalPSC CEO Russ Martin outlined overseas developments in product stewardship and their implications for New Zealand.

GlobalPSC Advisory Group members Helen Lewis of Helen Lewis Research and John Gertsakis of Infoactiv were also active participants in the Roundup discussions, as was Paul-Antoine Bontinck of the Vinyl Council of Australia.

Public consultations on priority products opened in May 2014.  The GlobalPSC submission developed in conjunction with our Advisory Group is available to GlobalPSC members via our Knowledge Base, under the Frameworks and Harmonisation heading.

 

Australia Consults on Potential Regulatory Changes to TV and Computer Recycling Scheme

DSC_1929The Australian Department of Environment is consulting on potential regulatory changes to the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme. Possible changes include revised recovery targets, changes to conversion factors and scaling factors affecting liability under the scheme, and making the Australian Standard 5377 for the management and recycling of certain electrical and electronic items mandatory. A brief discussion paper has been made available, and comments are invited until close of business 7 May, Australia time.

 

Delivering Resource-Efficient Products in Europe

The European Environment Bureau (EEB), a federation of environmental citizens’ organisations, has released a report on how ecodesign can drive a circular economy in Europe through resource-efficient products.

Drawing from a range of research, the report highlights some of the broader life-cycle and resource implications of products sold in Europe:

  • 40% of all the raw materials used in the EU were sourced elsewhere. For some raw material categories like metal ores, the import dependency is over 90% (Eurostat 2014).
  • Increasing resource productivity by 2% per year could create two million extra jobs in the EU by 2030 (European Commission 2014).
  • Stimulating economic activity in the areas of product development, remanufacturing and refurbishment would provide net material cost savings to EU manufacturing worth up to €410-490 billion per year by 2025 (Ellen MacArthur Foundation 2013).
  • Selected electrical and electronic devices placed on the EU market over one year cause the equivalent of 1,500 million tonnes of CO2 emissions over their lifecycle, equal to the entire energy production of the UK, Germany and Poland combined (EEB).

The report highlights three options that can be combined to reduce resource use in products:

  • identifying design requirements that support better repairability and durability of products;
  • ensuring that selected materials in products are managed carefully from production to end-of-life, including options to use high shares of recycled content and support their high-quality recyclability;
 and
  • removing problematic or hazardous substances undermining the potential for re-using material from products.

Since 2005, design decisions on many energy-using products have been regulated under the EU Ecodesign Directive, with a focus on reducing energy consumption during usage and little emphasis on resource use. The EEB report argues that the relative weight of greenhouse gas emissions embedded in products will grow when looking at a product’s emissions over its life-cycle, resulting in a gradual shift in the attention of policy-makers from the usage phase to the design and production phase of products.

 

Stakeholders Seek EPR in Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia, one of the few Canadian provinces without substantial Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) regulations, has released a summary of stakeholder comments received on its discussion paper on potential solid waste regulations in the province.

Virtually every submission received commented on product stewardship, with an overwhelming majority supporting some form of product stewardship or EPR in Nova Scotia.

According to the government, submissions ‘frequently called for regulations that were not overly prescriptive but more outcome-driven, providing a level playing field with appropriate targets set in consultation with stakeholders’ and a ‘small minority either objected to EPR or wanted the province to conduct more study before moving forward’.

Comments also called for greater stakeholder involvement throughout the process and focused on a shared responsibility model in addition to calling for expanding product stewardship and EPR to a broader range of products.

The government called for comments from early May until 1 August 2014 for the public and industry, and until 30 September 2014 for municipalities. The GlobalPSC sought members’ views and consulted with the GlobalPSC Advisory Group in preparing a submission.

 

Packaging Discussions Focus on Circular Economy, Free-riders and Competition

2015-02-24 20.30.36(L-R: Ullar Huik of ETO, Helmut Schmitz of Duales System Holding GmbH, Joacim Quoden of EXPRA and Seamus Clancy of Repak)

The GlobalPSC and several of our members addressed a range of packaging extended producer responsibility (EPR) and product stewardship issues for packaging and printed paper in Brussels, Belgium, late February as part of the EPR Toolkit Seminar and Packaging Waste & Sustainability Forum.

Joachim Quoden, Managing Director of the Extended Producer Responsibility Alliance (EXPRA)  and member of the GlobalPSC Advisory Group, chaired the EPR Toolkit Seminar on 24 February. The seminar emphasised harmonising EPR rules and guidelines in Europe, learning from international experience (including lessons on Australia by GlobalPSC CEO Russ Martin and Canada by Chris van Rossem of the Canadian Stewardship Services Alliance) and the roles of transparency and competition.

The roles of packaging and EPR in the Circular Economy and in ensuring transparency and accountability of producers were hot topics of discussion throughout the events, analysis of which will be made available to GlobalPSC members.

Calls for Handheld Battery EPR in Australia

The Australian Battery Recycling Initiative (ABRI) is calling for producer responsibility legislation for household batteries. ABRI has written to The Hon Greg Hunt, Australia’s Minister for the Environment, asking the government to investigate co-regulation (equivalent to extended producer responsibility, or EPR) for handheld batteries.

ABRI notes the varying levels of support for voluntary and regulatory approaches, plus the recent efforts of the U.S.-based Corporation for Battery Recycling (including three of the largest single-use battery manufacturers) to work with other stakeholders to develop the Model Consumer Battery Stewardship Act. A media release regarding ABRI’s effort is available here.

Australia’s Battery Implementation Working Group (BIWG) was established in late 2013 to develop a framework for a national battery product stewardship approach. Environment Ministers had stated that their preference was for a voluntary approach. Handheld batteries had also been designated as priority products for product stewardship. Research commissioned by the BIWG shows a recycling rate of only 2.7 per cent. Background research and BIWG recommendations for a voluntary approach are available here.

“ABRI would have preferred to see a voluntary battery stewardship scheme established in Australia, but our focus is now on building an appropriate regulatory framework. We are confident that this can be done in a way that meets everyone’s needs,” Helen Lewis, ABRI’s CEO (and member of the GlobalPSC Advisory Group) told the GlobalPSC.

 

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