News

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.

Annual General Meeting and Call for Office-holders and other Executive Committee Positions

Annual General Meeting

The Global Product Stewardship Council is holding its Annual General Meeting via webconference at 0700 Eastern Standard Time in Australia on Tuesday, 9 December 2014. Due to time zone differences, this equates to the following:

  • 2000 on Monday, 8 December in London
  • 1500 on Monday, 8 December in Boston and Toronto
  • 1400 on Monday, 8 December in Minneapolis
  • 1200 on Monday, 8 December in Vancouver

Email admin@globalpsc.net to register for participation in the AGM. While multiple representatives of member organisations are welcome to participate in the AGM, each organisation is entitled to one vote only. Participation details will be emailed to you once registered.

Items to be addressed during the AGM include:

  • President’s report on GlobalPSC activities during the last preceding financial year
  • Member feedback / Q&A on GlobalPSC member services
  • Financial statement
  • Election of office-holders and other Executive Committee Positions

Call for Office-holders and other Executive Committee Positions

In accordance with the Rules of the Global Product Stewardship Council, nominations for office-holders and other Executive Committee positions are now open. Only paid-up full GlobalPSC members may nominate a candidate, or be nominated as a candidate.

The term of office of all currently elected GlobalPSC officers and Executive Committee members will expire at the conclusion of the AGM.  Nominations are called for the following positions (current office-holders are listed), to be in effect for one year:

The Executive Committee currently comprises the office-holders plus Scott Cassel, Garth Hickle and Ed Cordner. All current office-holders and Executive Committee members have opted to run for re-election, as allowed under GlobalPSC Rules.

Nominations for office-holders and committee members must be made in writing, signed by 2 members of the GlobalPSC and accompanied by the written consent of the candidate. Candidates will be required to provide a recent high-resolution digital photograph and a statement of no more than 100 words in support of their candidature.

Nominations should be emailed to russ@globalpsc.net by 1 December 2014.

Reciprocal Discounts on PSI and GlobalPSC Memberships

 

PSILogoforRunner

GPSC_LOGO_RGBThe Product Stewardship Institute and Global Product Stewardship Council are offering 15% reciprocal membership discounts off the first year of membership. Current PSI partners receive a 15% discount off the appropriate GlobalPSC membership category and current GlobalPSC members are eligible for a 15% discount when joining PSI. The discounts will be applied when memberships are first applied for. Several members have already taken advantage of this opportunity to increase their knowledge of product stewardship and expand their network of contacts, all while saving money.

Those who are members/partners of both GlobalPSC and PSI have access to a diverse stakeholder group both within the U.S. and around the world that is directly active on product stewardship, and will have more opportunities to network and develop business opportunities within the product stewardship movement. Members/partners are also kept informed of the latest developments in the product stewardship movement in the though news updates, listservs, webinars, monthly calls and special events in addition to a full range of social media sources.

Email russ@globalpsc.net or rachel@productstewardship.us to take advantage of this offer. Considering joining both at the same time? We’ll help make sure the discounts apply to both memberships.

FluroCycle Gains Voluntary Product Stewardship Accreditation

Sydney, Australia – Federal Minister for the Environment, the Hon. Greg Hunt MP, announced today that FluoroCycle has been formally accredited by the Federal Government as Australia’s second voluntary product stewardship scheme under the Product Stewardship Act 2011.

Under FluoroCycle, organisations from the commercial and public lighting sectors (producers of 90 percent of waste lamps) commit to recycling their own mercury-containing lamps. FluoroCycle has 230 signatories including commercial users, building and facilities managers, government departments, recyclers and others involved in the recycling and re-use process.

“Fluorocycle is a good example of shared responsibility in action: the big users of lamps undertake the safe recycling of the products they use and the lighting manufacturers and importers work together through Lighting Council Australia to operate the scheme,” said Minister Hunt.

 

US Allows Take-back Options for Unwanted Medicines

New regulations by the US Drug Enforcement Administration encourage safe medicine disposal and expanded take-back opportunities at pharmacies and hospitals to address prescription drug abuse.

Patients and family members can also use pre-paid mail-back packages to return unwanted medicines.

The changes apply to controlled substances including opioid painkillers such as OxyContin, stimulants such as Adderall and depressants such as Ativan that previously could not legally be returned to pharmacies.

Participation in the program will be voluntary.

US Attorney General Eric Holder’s video below outlines the intent of the new regulations.

Click here to view
 

New Zealand Developing National Scheme for Waste Electronics

New Zealand’s Ministry for the Environment is progressing a national product stewardship scheme for waste electrical and electronic equipment (commonly referred to as e-waste or WEEE) for the country.

Drawing from international experience with WEEE and actively engaging with stakeholders in NZ and Australia will be essential to the project (which we’ll designate as #eWasteNZ or eWasteNZ where possible).

A key deliverable of the project will be a “White Paper” to the Ministry with advice on, and recommendations for, implementation of a preferred option for the long-term management of WEEE in New Zealand. This will include recommendations on the scope of any potential product stewardship scheme(s) for WEEE.

The information and recommendations from this project will contribute directly to the policy analysis being undertaken by the Ministry on priority waste streams for product stewardship intervention under the Waste Minimisation Act 2008 (WMA).

New Zealand’s Minister for the Environment, the Hon Amy Adams MP, recently released a discussion paper on potential prioritisation. The Minister’s media release for the discussion paper is available here. The discussion paper raises the possibility and rationale for designating some or all of the following four products as priority products under the WMA:

  • WEEE
  • tyres
  • agricultural chemicals and farm plastics
  • refrigerants and other synthetic greenhouse gases.

A call for submissions on the discussion paper closed 2 July 2014. Following consultations, the costs and benefits of a range of options and additional stakeholder input will be considered.

New Zealand’s focus has traditionally been on voluntary product stewardship approaches, and 11 voluntary product stewardship schemes have been accredited to date. An overview of the accredited schemes is included in the discussion paper.

The #eWasteNZ project is being delivered through a partnership of companies, led and managed by SLR Consulting, with MS2 as technical lead and supported by Synergine and Equilibrium. MS2 is a Foundation Member of the GlobalPSC and Director Russ Martin also serves as our CEO.

Stakeholders will be notified shortly of consultation details and invited to participate. For further project details, email ewasteNZ@slrconsulting.com.

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Global Product Stewardship Council

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Email: info@globalpsc.net