By Global Product Stewardship Council President Russ Martin
While in Singapore for the inaugural WasteMET Asia conference recently, three things in particular give me hope for our ultimate ability to help improve environmental outcomes through product stewardship:
- Holding a kilo of pure gold recovered from e-waste;
- Seeing some of the innovative sustainability initiatives at the new Gardens by the Bay precinct (pictured); and
- Hearing the interest from governments and companies alike in implementing product stewardship initiatives.
Courtesy of the senior management and staff of TES-AMM and Cimelia Resource Recovery, I was able to tour two of the largest electronics recyclers in the region and see precious metal recovery from computers, batteries and other e-waste. In addition to seeing molten gold being poured into ingots, one highlight was holding a kilo of pure gold recovered from electronics.
The risk, of course, is seeing the gold and thinking that the electronics recyclers must be making a fortune. Most people don’t realise all of the commercial risks, inherent uncertainties and system costs necessary to end up with those precious metals.
There was a variety of views on some of the barriers and opportunities of product stewardship, but many commonalities as well. The GlobalPSC will continue to explore these issues on behalf of our members.
Product stewardship is a sensible approach to help ensure reliable volumes of end-of-life electronics are available for recovery and ensure these precious materials aren’t wasted in landfills. Of course, this also helps to ensure that manufacturers have these materials available as feedstocks and to avoid many of the life-cycle environmental impacts of extracting and initially processing the raw materials.
Gardens by the Bay opened just before our events and reinforces how man-made solutions can help redress some of the man-made problems we face. The ‘supertrees’ provide foundations for a wide variety of vegetation and solar panels for powering the precinct, serve as heat exchangers and help educate the public on the value of sustainability initiatives. With a little creativity and innovation, we can deliver effective solutions.
While the Global Product Stewardship Council is truly international, has members from six countries and board members from four countries, we are based in Australia and have enjoyed strong support from the Australian Government as one of our first government members and as a sponsor of our inaugural International Product Stewardship Summit.
Australia’s Senior Trade Commissioner in Singapore and her staff were especially helpful and provided the opportunity to meet with the Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water, Senator the Hon Don Farrell. Senator Farrell led the passage of Australia’s Product Stewardship Act and had helped ensure that the GlobalPSC was active in its development.
We are keen to continue working with governments and other stakeholders in facilitating the development of sensible, effective product stewardship programs globally. Public and private representatives from Southeast Asia to Africa were seeking advice on how to get product stewardship in place, and we anticipate many productive efforts in the future.
Representatives of Singapore’s National Environment Agency shared insight on regional developments in product stewardship and introduced us to a wide range of award-winning industry leaders under the Singapore Packaging Agreement. As an example of the value in sharing program information, Australia’s packaging covenant had been a model for the agreement and adapted to suit local circumstances.
We certainly appreciate the interest and engagement of all those involved that have helped us continue to expand our outreach, engagement and knowledge base.
The Global Product Stewardship Council, in conjunction with the Sustainable Packaging Alliance and Packaging Council of New Zealand, held the Auckland Round Table on Packaging Product Stewardship 10 July 2012 in Auckland, New Zealand. Presentations from the Round Table have been posted on the Knowledge Base available to GlobalPSC members.
The presentations posted include those from:
- Michele Bollinger, General Manager of Kimberly-Clark New Zealand;
- Paul Curtis, Executive Director of the Packaging Council of New Zealand;
- John Webber, General Manager of the Glass Packaging Forum Inc.; and
- Russ Martin, President of the GlobalPSC.
Michele Bollinger addressed the commercial implications and opportunities such as brand positioning, risk reduction and cost savings of sustainability and sustainable packaging. Michele discussed Kimberly-Clark’s efforts from forest certification through to sanitary hygiene composting. Discussion of benefits to the Kimberly-Clark brand from association with product stewardship included market research on increased brand awareness, increased sales and increased positive brand association.
Paul Curtis examined the fit of product stewardship within global packaging requirements such as those developed by the Consumer Goods Forum. In particular, Paul examined the role of product stewardship in increasing transparency and accountability across packaging supply chains.
On short notice, John Webber filled in for Lyn Mayes, founder of Mad World Limited, when Lyn was unable to present. John examined product stewardship from a practical business perspective. John also highlighted the Love NZ campaign.
Russ Martin examined options ranging from voluntary, industry-led programs to those with strict regulatory oversight. Cumulatively, these efforts can have tremendous impacts on industries and provide precedent for future programs. Global context was used to examine lessons for the packaging industry in Australia and New Zealand.
Electronics Recycling Asia
November 13 -16, 2012, Guangzhou, China
Conference, exhibition and plant tours organized by World Recycling Forum
The Global Product Stewardship Council has been invited to speak at the Electronics Recycling Asia event November 13 – 16, 2012 in Guangzhou, China, and is partnering with event organisers. The conference brochure is available here.
During the conference, leading recycling experts from around the world – including manufacturers, collectors, processors, steelmakers, legislators and policy-makers – will meet to discuss:
- Opening ceremony with keynote speakers
- Panel discussion with industry leaders: “How rare is rare earth really?”
- Today’s cutting edge recycling technology
- New frontiers of recycling technology
- How to recycle strategic metals out of E-scrap
- E-scrap country reports
- E-scrap collections: The data
- How to recycle lamps and other mercury containing
- E-scrap in Asia: Reports from the biggest players
Simultaneous translation into Chinese and English will be available. An exhibition area is integrated into the conference facility, where vendors meet their clients. Furthermore a cocktail reception and a networking dinner offer an excellent atmosphere to get in touch with your business partners, friends and competitors.
The conference is a platform to exchange information, to meet new business partners and to get easy access to new potential clients.
- Asia’s power has strong impact on the international recycling business
- Learn from the speakers and exhibitors of the conference
- Plant tours: You will have the chance visiting manufacturing and recycling companies within Guangdong province
- Meet your clients and sell your services and products
- Get in touch with the players and also the new upcoming companies of Asia
For further information please contact:
ICM AG, International Congress & Marketing
Claudia Gerstendörfer (English)
Ying Liu (Chinese)
5708 Birrwil, Switzerland
Phone: +41 62 785 10 00
Phone: +86 182 176 289 10 (Chinese)
Fax: +41 62 785 10 05
The Global Product Stewardship Council will periodically invite thought leaders on product stewardship and producer responsibility to contribute guest blogs. Our first guest blogger is Michael Washburn, Director of Sustainability at Nestlé Waters North America.
Annual U.S. recycling rates have stagnated at an unacceptable—and unsustainable—33%. Every year, valuable resources continue to pile up in landfills, logistics costs continue to rise and government recycling programs face deeper fiscal insecurities. Intensified by today’s uncertain economic climate—not to mention the growing effects of climate change—it has become increasingly clear that recycling in the U.S. needs to be reinvented.
At Nestlé Waters North America, the country’s third largest beverage company, we are committed to advancing recycling policies to capture and reuse every beverage container produced. As a packaged goods company, driving a long-term recycling solution is our social and environmental responsibility. It also serves our business interests.
Recycling epitomizes the triple bottom line of “people, profit, planet” and is the cornerstone of a sustainable society. It reduces litter in our communities, saves businesses and organizations money by cutting back on energy and raw material costs, and protects the planet by conserving natural resources and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It also drives economic growth. For example, a recent recycling study shows that if the U.S. could increase its recycling rate to 75% by 2030, it would create 1.5 million additional jobs. All we need is a way to get from 33% to 75%.
We believe we can get there with Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for packaging and printed paper, a model that brings the financial responsibility of recycling to industry, increasing access to curbside recycling and recycling away from home, not just for bottles, but for all product packaging. Designed using private sector efficiencies, an EPR model would increase recycling rates, lower municipal spending on recycling and ultimately, reward taxpayers with fewer costs, smaller government and a more effective recycling system in their communities. Further, EPR promises packaged goods companies increasingly reliable access to recycled materials, so we are able to produce the more sustainable products our consumers increasingly want and expect from us.
To be successful, EPR demands collaboration with a broad range of stakeholder groups, including brand owners, trade associations, private haulers, municipalities, state legislatures, environmental NGOs, retailers and more. One stakeholder group we’ve been working deeply with is Recycling Reinvented, a new nonprofit committed to increasing recycling rates in the U.S. through EPR. We also participate in a dialogue process facilitated by Future 500, a nonprofit that bridges corporations and sustainability advocates, which has brought together more than 30 organizations to talk about the best attributes of an EPR model in the United States , and how to craft and successfully pass state-level legislation. We hope to move legislation in key states in 2013.
Business success today requires constant innovation to meet 21st century sustainability challenges. By collaborating with environmental advocates, industry partners and policymakers through an EPR model, we can increase U.S. recycling rates, provide supply chain stability and sustainability and create millions of green jobs. EPR can work—we’ve seen it demonstrated in Europe and helped pilot it in Canada. The time has come to band together to make it work in the U.S.
Michael Washburn is the Director of Sustainability at Nestlé Waters North America (NWNA). His primary focus is working with a coalition of recycling stakeholders to advance Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for packaging and printed paper in the United States. Michael’s work also includes building NWNA’s efforts towards innovation in energy usage and building design across its manufacturing facilities, encouraging constructive water policy initiatives and engaging with stakeholders about the environmental efforts of NWNA. Prior to NWNA, Michael held a senior position at The Wilderness Society and was Vice President of Brand Management at the Forest Stewardship Council-US. Michael holds a Ph.D. in forest policy from Penn State University and has served as an advisor to the USDA Forest Service on sustainability issues. Michael serves on several nonprofit boards of directors and devotes significant time and energy to the fields of workplace giving and disability advocacy.
 EcoWatch (May 29, 2012). Recycling Reinvented—Working with Top U.S. Industry Leaders to Bring EPR to the U.S. EcoWatch. Retrieved June 19, 2012.
The Global Product Stewardship Council is bringing experts on product stewardship policies and programs together to provide a practical product stewardship implementation workshop on 24 July in conjunction with the Enviro 2012 Conference & Exhibition in Adelaide, Australia.
Australia’s new Product Stewardship Act provides a policy framework for voluntary, co-regulatory and mandatory product stewardship programs. What are the implications? What are the opportunities and risks for your organisation?
Following keynote presentations providing international and domestic context, content will be targeted through short presentations and facilitated panel discussions in order to maximise opportunities for interaction and learning.
International experts will provide insight to overseas experience and commercial drivers for product stewardship and producer responsibility. Federal and state policy makers will provide context and address program expectations. Managers of existing programs will share practical insights and challenges of program implementation. Managers of new programs will address recovery, access, logistics, finance and other aspects of pending programs for collecting TVs, computers, other electronics and other products through product stewardship.
Confirmed plenary speakers include:
- Bruce Edwards, Assistant Secretary Waste Policy Branch of the Australian Government’s Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities;
- Steve Rust, Managing Director of Panasonic Australia (AV presentation); and
- Karen Gomez, Chief Executive Officer of AgStewardship Australia.
Confirmed panel speakers include:
- Vaughan Levitzke, Chief Executive of Zero Waste SA;
- John Polhill, Product Stewardship Specialist – Waste Strategy of Sustainability Victoria;
- Carmel Dollisson, General Manager of Australia and New Zealand Recycling Platform Ltd;
- Peter Bruce, Senior Director – Service Parts Logistics of DHL Supply Chain;
- Rose Read, Manager, Recycling of MobileMuster;
- Ed George of Plasback;
- Greg Leslie, Battery World franchisee recycling spokesperson; and
- Lorraine Lilley, Project Manager of the FluoroCycle Scheme.
GlobalPSC members receive discounted registration rates for the workshop and a 10% discount off Enviro Conference delegate registrations. Registration details are available here.
To discuss sponsorship opportunities, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hyperlinked organisations are all GlobalPSC members.
Contrary to a recent email reminder from Enviro 2012, the workshop will not address the issue of container deposits. The workshop will, however, address various electronics, including TVs, computers and mobile phones, as well as other products such as batteries, fluorescent bulbs and agricultural chemicals and chemical containers.
The Global Product Stewardship Council has compiled a convenient guide to ensure that GlobalPSC members or groups considering becoming members can make the most of partnering with the GlobalPSC. The guide covers benefits of membership, current statistics, promotional opportunities, themes being examined and practical guidance on leveraging membership. Click here to access the guide.
The Australian Government’s Tyre Implementation Working Group (IWG) has issued draft guidelines for the voluntary industry-led tyre product stewardship scheme developed by the Tyre IWG. Comments on the Guidelines are now being sought, with comments closing 23 July 2012.
The Tyre IWG has representation from the Australian Tyre Industry Council, Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, Australian Motor Industry Federation, Australian Tyre Recyclers Association, Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce and the Australian and Queensland governments.
The tyre product stewardship scheme aims to increase domestic tyre recycling, expand the market for tyre derived products and reduce the number of Australian end-of-life tyres that are sent to landfill, illegally dumped or exported as whole baled tyres. The model scheme will be industry-led and operated, market based, and will acknowledge the inherent value of all end-of-life tyres across Australia.
The draft guidelines for the voluntary industry-led scheme have the following features:
- any stakeholder in the supply chain, including tyre manufacturers and importers, retailers, fleet operators, collectors, recyclers and local governments, may apply to become a participant in the voluntary scheme;
- a series of commitments that would apply to stakeholders in the supply chain that become participants in the scheme. These commitments require participants to play their part in ensuring end-of-life tyres go to an environmentally sound use;
- a company called Tyre Stewardship Australia, funded by tyre manufacturers and importers, that will be responsible for administering the scheme and for working to remove impediments to the development of a sustainable domestic tyre recycling industry;
- a tyre stewardship fund to support the scheme including education, communication, market development and early stage research;
- enterprise to enterprise agreements or contractual arrangements between businesses and organisations to ensure that end-of-life tyres go to an environmentally sound use, subject to consideration of relevant competition laws;
- a compliance component to be undertaken by Tyre Stewardship Australia through random and risk based audits, with failure to comply with commitments to the scheme leading to revocation of a participant’s accreditation; and
- costs associated with ensuring the environmentally sound use of end-of-life tyres are likely to be passed on to consumers at around the same level as disposal charges that are paid by many tyre consumers now.
The Tyre IWG is seeking comments, closing on 23 July 2012. During this period, written submissions are invited and information meetings will be held in all capital cities and one major regional centre. Details about the venues are to be confirmed.
|27 June 2012||Canberra||9:00 to 10.00am|
|28 June 2012||Sydney||9:00 to 10.00am|
|2 July 2012||Melbourne||9:00 to 10.00am|
|3 July 2012||Hobart||9:00 to 10.00am|
|4 July 2012||Adelaide||9:00 to 10.00am|
|5 July 2012||Perth||10.00 to 11.00am|
|11 July 2012||Darwin||8.30 to 9.30am|
|12 July 2012||Brisbane||9:00 to 10.00am|
|13 July 2012||Gladstone||9:00 to 10.00am|
Pre-register your attendance at the information meetings or the bilateral meetings as soon as possible (and at least three business days before the scheduled date) by emailing email@example.com. Please include your name, organisation, contact details and number(s)/name(s) of attendees.
Making a submission
The Round Tables are designed to give industry and stakeholders the opportunity to learn of new developments and discuss issues affecting the packaging sector.
Australian Packaging Covenant (APC) signatories receive a $100 discount off event registrations.
A second series of Round Tables, focussed on Flexible Plastics will be held in Sydney (October 24th) and Melbourne (October 26th). The SPA Roundtables align directly with the AFGC Future of Packaging White Paper, which is aimed at driving more strategic and tangible action on packaging sustainability. A full copy of the white paper can be found at the AFGC’s website.
The APC invests in projects that support the achievement of the APC’s vision. One of the challenges identified by the APC is the recovery of flexible plastics. Presentations will be provided on some of the current flexible plastics recovery projects the APC is supporting at the Round Tables.
Speakers vary depending on location but include:
- Tanya Barden, Director, Sustainability Trade and Innovation, AFGC
- Angela McClowry, Sustainability Policy Analyst, AFGC
- Richard Smith, General Manager Technical, Amcor Flexibles Asia Pacific ANZ
- Liz Kasell, Director of Development, RED Group
- Peter Allan, Director, Sustainable Resource Use
- Rowan Williams, President, Australasian Bioplastics Association
- Peter Paterson, National Business Development Manager, Replas
- Mark Jacobson, General Manager, Replas
- Peter Bury, Director, Strategy & Innovation, Plastics and Chemicals Industries Association
- Jason Campbell, Director, Waste Enterprises
- Ed George, Retail Brands Manager, Tapex
- John Lawson, General Manager Development, Global Renewables
A flyer containing full program and registration details is available here.
The first round of events held in Sydney and Melbourne focused on ‘Design for Sustainability”. A diverse set of speakers and organsiations were secured for the events including:
- Dr Helen Lewis of Helen Lewis Research
- Brett Giddings, Membership Services Manager of the Australian Packaging Covenant
- Mark Solari, Packaging & Materials Handling Manager of ASSA-ABLOY (Melbourne only)
- Kane Hardingham, Woolworths (Sydney only)
- Steve Bourke, Director Environment, Health and Safety of O-I Oceania
- Wendy Favorito, Director & Consumer Representative of Arthritis Australia
- Geoff Aitkin, Sales Manager, Food of Ardagh Group (Melbourne only)
- Carmen Rechbauer, Manager Shared Business Services of NSW Health (Sydney only)
- Jacky Nordsvan, Packaging Specialist of Nestlé Australia (Sydney only)
The Australian Round Tables are complemented by the Auckland Round Table on Drivers for Packaging Product Stewardship, which was held 10 July and hosted by the GlobalPSC and SPA in conjunction with the Packaging Council of New Zealand.
Why Join PSI’s Packaging Calls?
The Product Stewardship Institute (PSI), in partnership with the National Recycling Coalition, is launching a technical conference call series to better understand key issues pertaining to the reduction, reuse, and recycling of packaging and printed materials. PSI will be conducting three two-hour calls that build on each other to help participants develop an understanding of the problem, goals, key barriers, and priority solutions. The calls will explore all viable strategies, including both voluntary and legislative, to work toward a comprehensive approach to materials reduction, reuse, and recycling.
These highly interactive calls are open to all interested parties, and will provide an easy way for participants to quickly get up to speed on all current initiatives, and to jointly discuss which strategies might lead to maximum recycling of all material types.
Register today to engage in this important “work group” discussion, for less than a cost of a plane ticket and from the comfort of your own office!
Call #1: Packaging and printed materials in the U.S.: What’s the problem? What are the opportunities? What do the data say?
Call #2: Goals for increasing material recovery and barriers to achieving them
Call #3: Key Strategies – voluntary and regulatory approaches
Detailed program information for each call and registration details are available here.
British Columbia is a leader in developing producer responsibility programs. The BC Recycling Regulation requires producers to collect and recycle the products that they make and sell. This provides producers with a financial incentive to make and sell products that are more durable, reusable and recyclable; contain less toxic material and never become waste.
The BC Ministry of Environment oversees 18 industry-led product stewardship and EPR programs, currently more than any other North American jurisdiction. The programs and the years they were first implemented are:
- Paint (1994)
- Pesticides (1996)
- Gasoline (1996)
- Solvents and flammable liquids (1996)
- Pharmaceuticals (1996)
- Beverage containers (1997)
- Lubricating oil (2003)
- Tires (2007)
- TVs and computers (2007)
- Batteries (2009)
- Cell phones / mobile phones (2009)
- Audio Visual (2010)
- Thermostats (2010)
- Fluorescent lamps (2010)
- Car batteries (2011)
- Smoke detectors (2011)
- Antifreeze (2011)
- Small appliances (2011)
- Expansion to Electronic and Electronic Product Category, including: large appliances; tools; automatic dispenser; medical equipment; lamps and fixtures; ITT; toys; monitoring and control equipment; audio visual and media (2012)
- Packaging and printed paper (2014)
In September 2011, the Global Product Stewardship Council and Product Stewardship Institute held a special policy breakfast session with the Ministry about BC’s new requirement that all producers of packaging and printed paper collect and recycle the products they make and sell. Event details and presentations are available here.