Posts Tagged ‘recycling’

GlobalPSC Member – Equilibrium

Posted by GlobalPSC at 9:15 am, January 20th, 2017Comments0

Since 2009, specialist sustainability company Equilibrium has been providing strategic, technical, business and policy advice across many sectors of government and industry. The company works extensively in policy and regulatory development, especially in waste and materials efficiency and extensively in product stewardship policy and scheme development. Equilibrium is recognised as one of Australia’s leading authorities in product stewardship, working with the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme, Tyre Stewardship Australia, Paintback, Australian Packaging Covenant, FluoroCycle and more. In late 2016, Equilibrium founders Nick Harford and Damien Wigley teamed up with John Polhill – former Victorian Government product stewardship specialist – in order to work even more closely with industry and all levels of government to actively progress product stewardship opportunities in Australia. To find out more, visit here.

 

Guest Blog – Promoting the Business Case for Product Stewardship

Posted by GlobalPSC at 1:17 pm, December 7th, 2016Comments0

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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 Dr Helen Lewis, Principal of Helen Lewis Research and author of Product Stewardship in Action.

 

Product stewardship is often promoted as an environmental strategy for companies, or as an effective public policy solution to the costs of waste and recycling.

During my research and in-depth discussions with industry practitioners over the past few years, the broader benefits and value of product stewardship to business have become clear. Companies that understand the environmental and social impacts of their products; engage with stakeholders through genuine and open dialogue; and then implement appropriate strategies; can create shared value for themselves and their stakeholders. This applies whether the company is taking individual action or collaborating with industry peers.

Product stewardship in action: the business case for lifecycle thinking (Greenleaf UK) builds on my own experiences in eco-design, recycling and product stewardship. It would not have been possible, however, without the generosity of those I interviewed. Russ Martin, CEO of the GlobalPSC, supported this project from the beginning, provided useful information and insights, and connected me to local and international practitioners.

GlobalPSC members feature in some of the detailed case studies, including Call2Recycle (batteries and mobile phones), Vinyl Council of Australia (PVC packaging, medical products, flooring etc.), TechCollect (TVs and computers) and Close the Loop (printer cartridges). Other members, such as the Product Stewardship Institute, Product Stewardship Society, Dell, CalRecycle, Australian Packaging Covenant, Perchards Limited and PETCO, are also included as either mini-case studies or interviews.

My heartfelt thanks to all of the people who contributed their time, knowledge and insights to the project. GlobalPSC members can purchase the book at a 30% discount – please email Russ Martin for details.

 

2016 International Sustainability Symposium – Green Manufacturing

Posted by GlobalPSC at 6:05 pm, November 13th, 2016Comments0

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2016 International Sustainability Symposium – Green Manufacturing

Innovation Campus, Wollongong University, Australia


 

1 and 2 December 2016, 8.30am – 6.30pm

Registration is free and available here

The GlobalPSC is co-hosting Day 1 of the 2016 International Sustainability Symposium – Green Manufacturing event in conjunction with the UNSW Centre for Sustainable Materials Research & Technology (SMaRT@UNSW).

Day 1 Overview

This interactive event will delve into the interactions between increasingly complex products desired by consumers and product stewardship, including recycling, that is increasingly expected of producers.

Environmentally-friendly technologies and products, like solar panels, organic cotton garments, bamboo flooring or additive-free foods are important. But even greater environmental and economic benefits can be generated by ‘greening’ the industrial processes that deliver the materials, components and products our mass, global markets demand. This session focuses on the many new opportunities to leverage high temperature reactions to transform even complex waste streams in the production of a new generation of ‘green materials’. By redirecting waste, as a valuable resource, back into our industrial processes we can transform it in the production of previously unimaginable value-added materials and products; that is, truly green materials.

Extended producer responsibility (EPR) was originally intended to reduce environmental impacts of products (primarily through redesign) by shifting physical and/or financial responsibility of post-consumer products to producers. EPR almost always has a regulatory underpinning, while the related concept of product stewardship may be voluntary or regulatory. Although product stewardship addresses full life-cycle impacts of products and their use by consumers, product stewardship and EPR programs have traditionally focused on recycling and material recovery.

Efforts to reduce environmental impacts across supply and recovery chains can be affected by the very processes used in green manufacturing. For example, green manufacturing can result in products without existing markets for recovered materials and are therefore not effectively captured by ‘traditional’ models of product stewardship and EPR. Producers are also increasingly being held accountable for responsibly managing products that do not have significant redesign, reuse or recycling options, such as household-generated ‘sharps’ and unwanted medicines.

Day 1 will explore these complex interactions and trade-offs with notable speakers and feature audience interaction to create a framework for how policies and practices are prioritised in order to produce optimal social, economic and environmental benefits.

 

TIC Group Opens Australia’s First Automated Mattress Recycling Facility

Posted by GlobalPSC at 8:13 pm, October 31st, 2016Comments0

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TIC Group recently opened Australia’s first automated mattress recycling facility in Melbourne. The facility uses state-of-the-art technology developed in the Netherlands and deconstructs mattresses with recovery and recycling rates of up to 85% (and an objective of increasing this rate to 100%).

A second facility is being commissioned in the neighboring state of New South Wales that will be operational in 2017.

TIC Group’s efforts are intended to address the roughly one million mattresses ending up in landfill each year in Australia. Stacked on top of each other, that’s enough mattresses to reach the International Space Station.

TIC Group has partnered with social enterprise group Soft Landing to collect the mattresses from councils, transfer stations, retailers, hotels and hospitals.

Highlights from the launch are provided below.

 

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(L-R: Rob Millard, CEO of Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group; Hon Lily D’Ambrosio MP, Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change; Michael Warren, Managing Director of TIC Group Mattress Recycling; Stan Krpan, CEO of Sustainability Victoria)

Photos and supporting information provided by TIC Group via Equilibrium.

 

Child Car Safety Seats – What a Valuable Waste!

Posted by GlobalPSC at 5:12 am, October 3rd, 2016Comments0

Sitting and gathering dust in a garage and waiting for the right time to pass on your used child car safety seat to a friend or relative may soon be a thing of the past.

Child car safety seats that have been involved in an accident or have been mistreated could result in damage to a number of the key safety components. Continuous exposure to heat and sunlight, something Australia’s climate serves up best, could also degrade the plastic structure and other important parts.

It has been found that the average consumer has little knowledge about the existence of recommended expiry dates and the continuingly updated Australian Standards applied to the manufacture of child car safety seats – which in turn has an impact on the suitability of seats to protect children and infants over a period of time.

Removing potentially unsafe or worn or damaged child car safety seats from the market will not only protect children and infants, but could provide an opportunity to responsibly divert these products from landfill and implement an efficient resource recovery and recycling program.

Without a means to effectively remove child car safety seats from the public domain, expired and damaged seats may remain in circulation. They could be offered for sale in online stores such as Gumtree and eBay, illegally dumped on the side of a road or removed from kerbside hard rubbish collections to only be reused again.

There are currently no general programs or schemes within Australia to enable parents to responsibly dispose of and/or recycle child car safety seats. With a growing population and demand for new products, the cost to Governments and communities for the collection and disposal of child car safety seats will only increase.

Setting up a product stewardship and recycling program presents an opportunity to reduce the end-of-life child car safety seats being reused, sold or ending up in landfills which is what Equilibrium, an Australian based sustainability consulting and management company, is hoping to achieve.

Equilibrium will be bringing together a number of key stakeholders from product importers and manufacturers, retailers, automotive clubs and recyclers in early October 2016 to explore how a voluntary product stewardship program might be established to manage the whole of life cycle of a child car safety seat and significantly increase resource recovery and recycling as a result of providing an avenue to return and recycle end-of-life systems.

 

Content provided by Equilibrium

Photo provided by Infasecure

TechCollect Product Stewardship Forum

Posted by GlobalPSC at 7:00 pm, August 31st, 2016Comments0

Collaboration and shared responsibility are key, and while Australia has implemented a range of product stewardship approaches, there is room for improvement. These were common themes at a product stewardship forum hosted recently in Sydney by GlobalPSC Corporate Member TechCollect. The forum was well-attended and featured a range of product categories including electronics, paint, agricultural chemicals and chemical containers, and tyres.

Carmel Dollisson opens TechCollect PS Forum 120816

TechCollect CEO Carmel Dollisson opens TechCollect’s Product Stewardship Forum

 

The Australian Government, a long-standing GlobalPSC Government Member, also provided essential context on Australia’s experience to date and on plans for the five-year review of Australia’s Product Stewardship Act 2011.

Peter Brisbane on PS Framework 120816

Peter Brisbane, Director, Stewardship and Waste for the Australian Department of Environment and Energy outlines Australia’s product stewardship framework 

Contact TechCollect or the GlobalPSC directly for more information and insights from the forum.

 

Guest Blog – Coordination in Waste Policy

Posted by GlobalPSC at 4:32 pm, August 31st, 2016Comments1

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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 Nick Harford, Managing Director of Equilibrium

The latest edition of Corporate Waste Solutions contains an article in which I argue that in Australia there are pockets of good resource recovery and product stewardship, but that more can be done.

The article points out that the resource recovery side of waste management is increasingly influenced by global factors and where the market is not delivering good waste management, where valuable resources are being lost and where health and the environment are exposed to risk, policy needs to address market failures and provide appropriate interventions.

In this regard, a key outcome of Australia’s National Waste Policy has been the Product Stewardship Act and the product stewardship schemes it has, if not directly spawned, aided. These include the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme (NTCRS), Paintback, FluoroCycle and Tyre Stewardship Australia, as well as endorsement for the long-running MobileMuster.

Clearly, while the performance of some schemes such as the NTCRS has attracted criticism because of failed recyclers and some poor outcomes, what cannot be refuted with respect to the schemes is this: if they were not in place e-waste and other materials would be a bigger environmental and social problem.

While the National Waste Policy may have been somewhat neglected and patchy as a vehicle for driving national coordinated approaches to a range of waste and recycling issues, product stewardship is proving to be a successful means for industry and government to establish programs that will have lasting economic, environmental and social value. For more detail, click here.

 

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

Nick Harford is Managing Director of Equilibrium, a Melbourne-based sustainability consulting and management company servicing a range of private companies and governments. From 2009-2014 Nick was also a director of the Metropolitan Waste Management Group. Prior to Equilibrium, Nick was Group General Manager of environment at packaging and recycling company Visy and has a background in corporate affairs, government and the media.

 

GlobalPSC Member Profile – Valoryza

Posted by GlobalPSC at 8:53 am, June 29th, 2016Comments2

 

 

Based in Santiago, Chile, Valoryza Environmental Advisors offer strategic advice and expertise to cost-effectively support compliance with extended producer responsibility (EPR), by way of product stewardship programs to producers and organizations that are affected by environmental regulations.

As a regional expert with access to a global best practice network, Valoryza assists local and foreign companies in navigating through and succeeding within Latin American waste management regulatory systems and frameworks.

Key services include, but not are limited to, those listed below.

Offering representation and consultancy services to:

  • Chilean industries seeking to participate in the elaboration and detailed design of the EPR systems.
  • International companies with obligations under the EPR and other environmental regulations.

Strategic advice:

  • Design, implementation and administration of waste management systems under EPR regulations.
  • Cost-effective management of product impacts, in line with product stewardship requirements.
  • Elaboration of Strategic Plans to help guide companies as they face new challenges related to new and more demanding environmental regulations.

Solution design, implementation and management for:

  • Source separation, collection, packaging, processing and re-use of all types of waste.
  • Waste management aimed at recovery services to ensure the fulfillment of business sustainability goals and environmental commitments with both local and national authorities.

Valoryza consultants have extensive experience in conducting investigation, research studies, audits, assessments and developing strategic forecasts to support clients in meeting their obligations regarding manufacturing, waste management, sorting, transport and final disposal in the most responsible and cost-effective way.

If you represent a business with opportunities related to EPR, waste management or other environmental matters in Latin America, Valoryza is available to help.

Contact:

Rodrigo Leiva Neumann
General Manager
+56 9 72143053

Rodrigo.leiva@valoryza.com

 

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 Corporate Member – TIC Mattress Recycling

Posted by GlobalPSC at 5:33 pm, June 2nd, 2016Comments1

TIC Mattress Recycling employs world’s best practice to provide sustainable end-of-life mattress recycling. TIC services local governments and mattress retailers to provide high levels of resource recovery.

The company commenced operations in 2013 and has built Australia’s first automated mattress deconstruction facility based on European technology that it has developed further and is now marketing globally.

TIC’s processes ensure maximum resource recovery and environmental controls while minimizing handling and exposure to safety risks.

The company is working closely with mattress manufacturers, retailers, local government and other stakeholders to develop a mattress product stewardship program for Australia. TIC is committed to working with others to establish a mattress stewardship program that shifts costs from local government, encourages innovation, increases resource recovery and is transparent and accountable.

In an industry that has been dogged by poor practices, low resource recovery and boom and bust cycles, TIC Mattress Recycling heralds a new era of advanced and sustainable mattress recycling.

TIC Mattress Recycling is part of the TIC Group. Further details can be found here.

 

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Global Product Stewardship Council

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Email: info@globalpsc.net