Posts Tagged ‘North America’

Guest Blog – Addressing the Challenges of Measuring Recycling Performance

Posted by GlobalPSC at 4:45 pm, June 8th, 2016Comments1

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.

 

GlobalPSC Sustaining Corporate Member – The Compliance Map Ltd

Posted by GlobalPSC at 3:22 pm, March 11th, 2016Comments1

 

Compliance Map develops solutions to help businesses manage their environmental compliance obligations arising from regulations and directives and to help optimize their use of resources. This includes product stewardship responsibilities, reporting and minimization of waste as well as carbon disclosure that will play a significant part in identifying, monitoring and driving down their customer’s global environmental impacts.

Both Product Stewardship and Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) regulations and standards are at the core of Compliance Map’s solution offering. This includes mechanisms to collect, store and produce remittance reports required for submission to EPR schemes for directives such as WEEE (waste electrical and electronic equipment), Battery as well as deposit and worldwide Packaging programmes. The solution offered automatically manages sales warehousing data and combines with relevant Packaging, WEEE, Battery, Oil, Beverage or Paint information to produce costs and weight reports ready to be remitted to registered schemes on a monthly, quarterly or annually basis. This enables companies to automate the entire process by which they track and report waste to schemes and programmes worldwide and make better use of their own resources.

Compliance Map are made of a team of regulatory compliance experts with over 20+ years of experience in the arena of environmental compliance which has been fed into their software solution offerings, creating a holistic approach to managing obligations businesses face in today’s regulatory climate.

 

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.

 

Walgreens to Roll Out Safe Medication Disposal Kiosks in U.S. States

Posted by GlobalPSC at 1:46 pm, February 29th, 2016Comments1

In what it touts as the first ongoing national effort of its kind by a retailer, Walgreens will install safe medication disposal kiosks in more than 500 drugstores in 39 states and Washington, D.C., in 2016.

The kiosks at Walgreens pharmacies will be available at no cost during regular pharmacy hours (24 hours a day at most of the locations). The kiosks will allow the return of consumers’ unwanted, unused or expired prescriptions, including controlled substances, and over-the-counter medications.

Initial installation has begun in California. According to Walgreens, by the end of the year, the kiosks will be installed at over 500 locations in the following states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin in addition to the District of Columbia. 

 

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.”

 

U.S. Limits Microbeads

Posted by GlobalPSC at 11:02 am, January 31st, 2016Comments1

The U.S. has passed a law to ban rinse-off cosmetics that contain synthetic plastic microbeads. The ban takes effect 1 January 2018.

The Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015 will prohibit “the manufacture and introduction into interstate commerce of rinse-off cosmetics containing intentionally-added plastic microbeads.” The Act specifically includes toothpaste in the type of cosmetics subject to the ban.

 

GlobalPSC Expands Board for Greater Program and North American Coverage

Posted by GlobalPSC at 12:22 pm, December 18th, 2015Comments2

The GlobalPSC Executive Committee (Board) recently expanded its coverage to include more members with practical program experience in implementing North American product stewardship and extended producer responsibility (EPR) approaches in addition to further deepening its policy expertise. These additions were reaffirmed and complemented by the Board and GlobalPSC members during our recent Annual General Meeting (AGM). These changes will further the GlobalPSC vision of facilitating the development and implementation of effective product stewardship schemes globally.

Recently, the Board expanded its coverage to include David Lawes (BC Used Oil Management Association), Kylie Hughes (Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection) and Mark Kurschner (Product Care Association). During the AGM, Carl Smith (Call2Recycle) was also appointed to the Board. All Board appointments, including long-serving members Scott CasselGarth Hickle and Ed Cordner were affirmed during the AGM and are valid for one year.

The GlobalPSC Board recognises the invaluable contributions of Neil Hastie during his years of service on the Board and as President. Neil has elected to step back from his GlobalPSC duties to focus on other pursuits. Neil has our continued appreciation and support.

During the AGM, the following Board members were elected as office-holders for one-year terms:

The President’s Report and Financial Report from the AGM are available to members.

 

GlobalPSC Members Support Product Stewardship in California

Posted by Brett Giddings at 8:01 pm, November 24th, 2015Comments1

 

San Francisco

On November 4th GlobalPSC members CalRecycle, Call2Recycle and PaintCare joined the California Product Stewardship Council and a range of government and industry representatives to provide perspectives on the role of legislation in driving product stewardship for household hazardous waste (HHW).

In a hearing held by the California Assembly Select Committee on Waste Reduction & Recycling in 21st Century California, participants expressed support for well-considered extended producer responsibility (EPR) to be trialled and ultimately introduced in the state for HHW; including batteries, used pharmaceuticals and sharps. The ubiquity of many HHW products and the potential threats they pose to the environment and human health were highlighted at the hearing, with estimates of approximately 600 million pounds being landfilled in the state each year.

With a ‘patchwork’ of ordinances being introduced in counties throughout the state, many agreed that state-wide EPR programs, underpinned by appropriate legislative frameworks, and managed by relevant industry bodies, would provide a more effective and efficient solution.

The hearing can viewed in full via this video posted by the California Product Stewardship Council.

 

2015 U.S. Product Stewardship Forum: Extended Producer Responsibility and the Circular Economy

Posted by GlobalPSC at 8:54 pm, November 16th, 2015Comments2

On December 8 & 9, the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI) will host environmental sustainability experts from around the world at a conference in Boston to celebrate and assess 15 years of EPR in the U.S.; discuss national and global trends in product stewardship, zero waste, recycling, and the circular economy; and examine future challenges and opportunities for increasing recovery of materials in consumer products. This interactive, discussion-based event is an excellent way to join national and international conversations about the evolving ideas and concepts that shape the work we share.

The conference agenda features world-class speakers that will discuss key issues in product stewardship, the role of regulation in a circular economy, and best practices and key strategies for implementing successful EPR programs. Join us there for a new perspective on how we think about and manage “waste”. Register for the conference here and reserve your hotel room here.

 

Forthcoming Events

Posted by GlobalPSC at 8:17 pm, November 16th, 2015Comments0

The GlobalPSC and some of our members will be active in several events in the near future, including:

We’ll highlight key presentations and findings from these events.

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Global Product Stewardship Council

PO Box 755, Turramurra, NSW 2074, Australia
Tel: +61 2 9449 9909
Fax: +61 2 9449 9901
Email: info@globalpsc.net