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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.

 

European Commission Withdraws Circular Economy Package

In an expected move, the European Commission has withdrawn the Circular Economy Package from consideration, with the package likely to be revisited in around one year.

The Commission normally proposes around 130 initiatives a year, but has committed to adopting 23 targeted initiatives in 2015.

In Questions and Answers: the 2015 Work Programme, the Commission states,

“In some cases the Commission is proposing to withdraw proposals in order to replace them subsequently by more ambitious proposals or to tailor them more closely to its ten priorities (for example to present a new proposal with a broader approach on the circular economy to meet our ambitions in a more effective way).”

The GlobalPSC will continue to follow Circular Economy developments closely and share insights.

U.S. Carpet Industry Launches Voluntary Product Stewardship Program

The U.S. carpet industry has launched the Voluntary Product Stewardship (VPS) Program (“Program”) as a voluntary, nationwide effort to divert post-consumer carpet from landfills. A stated objective is also to “… find market-driven solutions to the diversion of Post-Consumer Carpet from landfills as an alternative to EPR (extended producer responsibility)–type legislation or regulations”.

The Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE) would serve as the Program’s stewardship organisation.  US$4.5 million in funding is being provided through the Carpet and Rug Institute for the first year of the anticipated two-year program.

Consistent with its stated opposition to EPR, the Program is available across the United States, except for where carpet has been collected or sorted in states or local municipalities that have EPR legislation or regulations for post-consumer carpet. With carpet EPR regulation currently in place in California, carpet sourced from or sorted in California would not be eligible to receive funding through the Program.

Details on the program are in the Knowledge Base available to GlobalPSC members. FAQs are available here. A media release for the program is available here.

 

Australia Conducts Operational Review of National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme

Australia is conducting an operational review of its National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme (the scheme). Australia’s Minister for the Environment, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, announced the scheme’s review on 22 September 2014. A fact sheet and discussion paper on the review are now available. The Department of the Environment has invited submissions on the operational review by 6 February 2015.

The scheme was established nearly three years ago to achieve the following key objectives:

  • Recycle televisions and computers rather than landfill them.
  • Build on existing e-waste management activities across Australia, including ongoing activities by private and charitable recyclers and state and local government efforts.
  • Implement a progressively higher annual recycling target to increase television and computer recycling to 80 per cent within 10 years.
  • To incentivise investment, increase capacity and create employment within the recycling industry in Australia.
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Email: info@globalpsc.net