Posts Tagged ‘Canada’

Guest Blog Addressing the Challenges of Measuring Recycling Performance

Posted by GlobalPSC at 4:45 pm, June 8th, 2016Comments0

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 Carl Smith, President and CEO of Call2Recycle, Inc.

Prior to becoming the head of a non-profit 12 years ago, I had spent most of my career with big for-profit companies where we measured everything. These measures provided continuous feedback on what was working and what needed to be fixed (or stopped). Upon arriving in the non-profit, product stewardship world, I noted that much less was measured and that organizational performance metrics were at best elusive.

One of the biggest frustrations we have is how to accurately assess the performance of our battery recycling efforts. The recycling field has typically relied on “diversion rates” as a measure; specific to battery collection and recycling, the more specific “collection rate” measure is typically used. As has been defined by the EU, battery collection rate is defined by the amount recycled in a year divided by the average annual sales of batteries for the previous three years. Like “diversion rates”, a “collection rate” is expressed as a percentage.

Traditionally, the focus of the Call2Recycle® program in the US has been on collecting and recycling rechargeable batteries. For a variety of reasons, this ‘typical’ approach to measuring our performance simply didn’t make sense.

First, fairly soon after I took this position, it became clear that rechargeable battery companies simply do not know what their consumer battery sales are into any specific jurisdiction. There are simply too many channels, applications and value chains to even estimate sales. For a very simple example, let’s look at how a big retailer like Walmart operates in the US. It purchases in vast quantities directly from a manufacturing facility in Asia. The facility transports via container ship to a West Coast port where they are then trucked to a distribution facility in a Midwestern state. Given the North American Fair Trade Agreement (NAFTA), units could also be shipped to distribution centers in Canada and Mexico. Those distributions centers then fulfill store orders on a ‘just in time’ basis. So if you asked the manufacturer how many batteries it has sold in, for instance, the state of Vermont, it won’t know. It sold to Walmart and where they actually appeared in the US market is a mystery to them.

Second, the rechargeable batteries we’re collecting today are likely 5, 10 or even 20 years old. On average, they were certainly not sold during the three-year window that a typical collection rate calculation would measure. A related issue to this is the general inclination that consumers “hoard” electronics and batteries long after their useful life. How many old cellphones do you have sitting in a drawer? When is the last time you used your first power tool?

These issues are particularly difficult for rechargeable batteries which generally last longer than primary batteries, are hoarded more (with the products they power) and are sold through much more complex value chains. So the conventional approach to assessing our performance using a collection rate just didn’t work.

We commissioned a study to see if we could develop a methodology that was repeatable, credible and defensible that would provide us more insight into this issue. When we started the study, we focused on two stages:,

  1. develop a way of accurately measuring battery sales; and
  2. adjust sales for the lifespan of the batteries.

The more we immersed ourselves into this subject, a third issue emerged that was in the initial research requirements.

Increasingly, rechargeable batteries are designed so that they cannot be easily removed by the consumer, which generally means that they are not typically available to be recycled. Cellphones, tablets and laptops are the most obvious examples of this. But how about electric toothbrushes and cordless shavers? Even when the host product is recycled by, let’s say, an electronics recycler, the batteries are not typically the material most coveted in the process. Therefore, even if they are technically recycled with the host product, the process has not often been optimized to reclaim the precious material in the battery.

We maintain that embedded batteries are not generally available for collection by a battery stewardship program and should be excluded from the calculation of “collection rate”. So we added a third stage of this research: adjust sales downward by the amount of embedded batteries in order to determine an accurate assessment of the amount of batteries truly available for collection.

The outcome of this research – the paper available via this link – shows our results. It gives us a new denominator called “available for collection” that would replace the EU standards of the average of the last three years’ sales. In the end, we now say:

Collection Rate = Batteries Collected / Sales (Lifespan) – Embedded Batteries

In addition to the important data generated through this research, we came away with four important observations consistent with the conversation above:

  • For primary batteries, battery sales from “bricks and mortar” retail locations are less and less of the total market. There are many more diverse channels for batteries to enter the marketplace including, in particular, on-line markets.
  • A new method for measuring collection rates is needed for rechargeable batteries to measure collection performance. Such a method must meaningfully capture longer battery and product lifecycles and increases in embedded batteries.
  • While some but not all of the products that rechargeable batteries power are managed through other stewardship programs, they are generally getting “lost” in tracking performance.
  • It is imperative that collection programs incorporate long product lifecycles into their funding models, as batteries remain in market long after they are sold.

The last point is notable. Most battery stewardship programs charge stewards based on sales into the market. However, there may be a 20-year lag time between when steward fees are paid on a sale and when we incur the cost to collect and recycle the battery from that sale. This puts a strain on funding models that are often forced to minimize reserves that might take care of the long-term “tail” associated with rechargeable batteries.

In the end, we felt we “moved the needle” on creating a better way to measure performance. We also added to the conversation on the issues associated with battery collection and recycling. But we don’t believe we’ve totally solved the challenges, hopefully giving others the opportunity to contribute to this discussion.

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

Carl E. Smith is President and CEO of Call2Recycle, Inc., North America’s leading product stewardship organization. With more than 35 years’ experience in environmental issues, program development, advocacy, corporate communications and technology, Carl is a nationally and internationally recognized spokesperson and leader in the corporate responsibility, sustainability and product stewardship arena. Carl leads the Atlanta-based non-for-profit organization in its efforts to help preserve the environment through responsible recycling of batteries among other products. Carl is also a GlobalPSC Executive Committee member and our Treasurer.

Automotive Industry Stewardship Plan for Ontario out for Consultation

Posted by GlobalPSC at 2:39 pm, February 29th, 2016Comments1

Automotive Materials Stewardship Inc., representing the Canadian automotive sector, has submitted an automotive materials Industry Stewardship Plan (ISP) for Waste Diversion Ontario’s (WDO) approval under the Waste Diversion Act and WDO’s procedures for ISPs.

The ISP applies to the following designated materials:

  • Antifreeze, and the containers in which they are contained
  • Oil filters – after they have been used for their intended purpose
  • Containers that have a capacity of 30 litres or less and that were manufactured and used for the purpose of containing lubricating oil

For further information, including details of the consultation process, contact WDO.

 

Call2Recycle Set New Battery Recycling Records in 2015

Posted by GlobalPSC at 12:16 pm, January 31st, 2016Comments1

 

Call2Recycle has reported that their collections increased five per cent during 2015 to a record 12.6 million pounds (5.7 million kilograms).

Since collections began in 1996, Call2Recycle has produced a year-over-year increase in the volume of batteries diverted from landfills and recycled for 19 consecutive years. Call2Recycle credits strong, collaborative relationships as the foundation for increasing consumer awareness and driving growing collection volumes. More than 90 percent of residents in the U.S. and Canada live within 10 miles (15 kilometers) of one of Call2Recycle’s public drop-off locations.

Over 7.1 million pounds (3.2 million kilograms) of batteries were collected in the U.S. in 2015, with the great lake states and mountain regions showing the greatest growth (12 per cent and 11 per cent, respectively). California collected more than 1 million pounds (0.45 million kilograms) of batteries for the 5th consecutive year.

Nearly 5.5 million pounds (2.5 million kilograms) of batteries were collected in Canada in 2015. Collections in British Columbia saw a 36 per cent increase in collections from last year, for a total of almost 1.4 million pounds (630,000 kilograms) of batteries.

“Our battery recycling results are directly linked to the vital support of our program participants, consumers and key constituents,” said Carl Smith, CEO & president of Call2Recycle. “Without their environmental commitment, we would not be able to continue collecting, and arguably become one of the most successful recycling programs in North America.”

 

CleanFARMS Expands Programming to Seed and Pesticide Bags

Posted by GlobalPSC at 9:26 am, October 28th, 2015Comments1

Canada’s leading agricultural stewardship organization, CleanFARMS, is expanding its stewardship programming. Starting in 2016, Eastern Canadian farmers will have access to a seed and pesticide bag collection program that will help keep these bags out of municipal landfills.

This program draws its roots in the Maritimes where farmers, ag-retailers and stewards have been working together to collect and safely dispose of empty pesticide bags since 2006. The program then moved west to Ontario and Quebec where it was offered on a pilot basis in select regions from 2012 – 2015.

The program will collect both small pesticide and seed bags (typically under 30 kilograms) and bigger bulk bags. The small bags are generally made of multi-walled paper though some manufacturers are using other materials such as plastic and plastic laminates. Most bulk bags (mainly 500 kg and 1000 kg) bags are made of woven poly-propylene plastic.

Empty bags will be accepted back at the point of purchase which gives farmers easily accessible collection points. They are then disposed of through waste to energy incineration facilities. As the program grows, CleanFARMS hopes to move higher up on the 3Rs hierarchy by recycling of the bags. The key to recycling some of these bags will be to ensure a consistent and adequate supply of the bags.

CleanFARMS and its predecessor CropLife Canada, on behalf of the agricultural industry, have been operating extended producer responsibility (EPR) programs for over 25 years. This new program shows that the agricultural industry embraces EPR and incorporates the practice as normal business practice.

In 2014, 197,000 bags were collected through the program. This is in addition to the 4.5 million containers that came through CleanFARMS’ award-winning empty pesticide and fertilizer container recycling program. To round off 2014, 224,000 kilograms of obsolete pesticides and 5,000 kilograms of obsolete livestock medication were collected and safely destroyed.

CleanFARMS now joins agricultural stewardship organizations around the world offering EPR programs on a voluntary basis with results rivalling most regulated programs.

Visit here for more information.

Photo supplied by CleanFARMS.

 

EPRA Wins Canadian Stewardship Award

Posted by GlobalPSC at 10:50 am, October 14th, 2015Comments1

The Electronic Products Recycling Association (EPRA) was awarded the 2015 Canadian Stewardship Award in the Business/ Organization Category at the recent Conference on Canadian Stewardship in Banff, Alberta. On hand to accept the award on behalf of all eight EPRA programs and the team of EPRA/OES employees was Cliff Hacking, President and CEO of EPRA.

“This is an award that we have all won together,” said Hacking “and I thank all of our team for their contribution towards our success and the winning of this award.” Hacking also acknowledged that “the success of the programs and the award would not be possible without our founding organizations, Electronics Product Stewardship Canada and Retail Council of Canada, our over 6,500 stewards, and the EPRA and OES Board Members.”

 “The judges were able to make this choice based on the excellent work that EPRA has been doing since its inception,” said Mark McKenney, Managing Director – Conference on Canadian Stewardship. “My personal congratulations to all our EPRA colleagues. Your organization is a deserving winner of this award.”

L-R: Cliff Hacking, President and CEO of EPRA; Mark McKenney, Managing Director – Conference on Canadian Stewardship

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

Posted by GlobalPSC at 12:26 pm, August 3rd, 2015Comments1

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.

 

Call2Recycle 2014 Annual Report

Posted by GlobalPSC at 4:20 pm, May 21st, 2015Comments1

20th Anniversary Badge

Call2Recycle®, North America’s most successful battery collection program, has released its 2014 Annual Report. Call2Recycle attributes their 20 years of growth directly back to the investment of time, money and ideas by their stewards, partners and stakeholders. Two historic milestones are noted for 2014: cumulative battery collections of 100 million pounds (45 million kilograms) and 18 years of year-over-year increases in the volume of batteries collected. Other highlights include:

  • In 2014, Call2Recycle diverted nearly 12 million pounds (5.4 million kilograms) of batteries and cellphones from landfills
  • Battery collections in California topped more than 1 million pounds (454,000 kilograms) for the 3rd straight year
  • Collections in Canada reached over 2.2 million kilograms (4.4 million pounds) of batteries collected, and the provinces of British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec recorded double-digit collection growth

 

Stakeholders Seek EPR in Nova Scotia

Posted by GlobalPSC at 10:01 am, March 31st, 2015Comments1

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.

 

Melissa Walsh Innes and Mark Kurschner Appointed to GlobalPSC Advisory Group

Posted by GlobalPSC at 9:50 am, January 31st, 2015Comments1

We are proud to announce the appointment of two esteemed colleagues, Melissa Walsh Innes and Mark Kurschner, to the GlobalPSC Advisory Group.

The GlobalPSC and a number of our members have worked closely with Melissa and Mark over the years, and they bring a wealth of experience to these new roles on our Advisory Group.

As a legislator with the US state of Maine, Melissa was the sponsor of Maine’s first-in-the-nation Product Stewardship Framework Law of 2010, as well as the sponsor of a successful electronic recycling program expansion in 2011 (both enacted with unanimous bipartisan support). Melissa is the former deputy director for Recycling Reinvented, a US national nonprofit working to advance recycling policies to increase national recycling rates for packaging and printed paper. She is currently President of Innes & Company LLC, a US-based consultancy assisting clients around the globe in reaching their goals in the areas of product stewardship and sustainability.

Mark is the President of Product Care Association, a non-profit industry association that manages extended producer responsibility (EPR) and product stewardship programs across Canada and in the US. Product Care manages programs on behalf of its members and also as program manager for other stewardship organizations. Products and programs managed by Product Care include paint, lighting products, flammable liquids, pesticides, smoke alarms, as well as large and small appliances and outdoor power equipment. Product Care also worked with PaintCare to initiate the US Paint Recycling program and on January 1, 2015 launched the Washington State Mercury Containing Lamps program. Product Care also works with the US mattress industry for their product stewardship programs which also begin in 2015. Mark is a qualified lawyer and became the president of Product Care in 2002.

GlobalPSC Corporate Member – Orora Limited

Posted by GlobalPSC at 9:13 am, January 30th, 2015Comments2

Orora Limited is a leader in innovative packaging solutions, employing 5,700 people across 115 sites in seven countries. Orora supplies a broad range of fibre, metal and glass packaging solutions, as well as packaging-related services including distribution and recycling. The team at Orora prides itself on innovation, working closely with its customers to deliver design and engineering services that ultimately improve the way people consume products in everyday life. Orora is headquartered in Melbourne, Australia and is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange. 

 

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