The week in recycling: Friday 23 March

Recycling Technologies raises €4.2m from crowdfunding

UK-based Recycling Technologies has closed a fundraising campaign on Crowdcube, raising three times the amount of its target, two weeks after opening it to investors.

The specialist in the chemical recycling of mixed plastic waste, announced 20 March that the fundraising was oversubscribed by more than 300%, reaching its cap of £3.7m for a target raise of £1.2m.

Recycling Technologies’ innovative RT7000 machine recycles mixed plastic waste, including those considered unrecyclable such as films, coloured and laminated plastics including crisp packets and food pouches.

The machine recycles the plastic waste into an oil commodity, called Plaxx, which replaces fossil-fuel derived feedstock in new polymer production and industrial waxes.

The company has set a target to add 10 million tonnes of plastic recycling capacity, worldwide, by installing 1,300 RT7000 machines by 2027.

Recycling row erupts as London council admits all street bin rubbish goes to landfill

A west London council was today accused of misleading the public over recycling as it admitted that all waste from street bins goes to landfill or is incinerated.

Hounslow said that despite providing separate recycling receptacles with its public bins, the waste is not sorted and it is all disposed of together.

Hounslow restructured its recycling and waste services last year to save £1.3 million. It has a target of recycling half of all waste by next year but achieves about 33 percent — well below the national average.

A Hounslow Council spokesman said: “There are approximately 750 litter bins across the borough and only 150 of these are dual bins which can take both general litter and recyclable litter.”

Crèche improves recycling efforts

Snip Kleuterskool in Garsfontein impressed their teachers and environmentalists when they collected an impressive 11 tons (11000kg) in the 2017 Mpact Recycling Schools Competition – a marked improvement from the 3.3 tons they collected the previous year.

The city kindergarten, of 126 children aged 3 months to 6 years, said those who had participated showed so much enthusiasm to collect paper that the competition organisers called them “outstanding” and said they were already making a great impact in the competition.

“What we wanted to encourage was for our learners to know that it’s wrong to litter, we have always told them that picking up paper is important in keeping the environment clean.

Mpact Recycling hosts a School’s Recycling Competition annually. The competition runs from February to September every year. Prizes to the value of R20000 will be won by deserving schools.

Key themes reinforced on Global Recycling Day

Materials diversion was celebrated around the world on Sunday 18 March 2018, when the first Global Recycling Day was observed with events in several cities and statements released online.

To mark the occasion, events were held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Johannesburg; London; Mumbai and New Delhi, India; Paris; São Paulo; Sydney; Washington, D.C. and elsewhere.

The Bureau of International Recycling (BIR), which organized the occasion, called the celebration a “huge success” and said it had inspired thousands of people across the world to take steps toward engaging in and advocating for more recycling.

“Whilst we often think of recycling as a local issue, Global Recycling Day helps us to elevate this important challenge to the global level, encouraging us to strengthen our commitments and develop new, dynamic and energetic partnerships across communities and cultures, and between governments and industries,” he said in a statement.


NSW launches $47 million rescue package after China recycling ban

The NSW government has set aside $47 million to help consumers, local councils and the waste industry cope with the crisis caused by China’s clampdown on imported recyclables.

China has been the biggest destination for recycled materials exported by Australia, accounting for more than a third of all plastics collected and significant amounts of paper and metals. But this year it effectively imposed a trade ban by imposing draconian limits on the contamination of material.

NSW Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton on Tuesday announced a rescue package to allow councils to offset the cost of kerbside recycling, improve tendering processes and fund community education to reduce contamination of recycled materials put in “yellow-lid” bins.

The crisis is expected to put further pressure on landfills including in Queensland, where Premier Anastacia Palaszczuk this week announced a plan to reintroduce a waste levy to clamp down on the cross-border waste trade.

Victoria in January launched a $13 million emergency package to shore up local councils and the waste industry until June 30, the earliest date that councils can raise rates. They are expected to put up the charges by about 4.5 percent to cover the increased costs of processing waste.

Only half of plastic bag levy has gone to support recycling

Only about half of the nearly R2bn raised through South Africa’s plastic supermarket bag levy has been officially allocated to recycling.

The levy was introduced 14 years ago and was originally meant to go towards development of the recycling sector. The figure has emerged since the plastic bag levy featured in then finance minister Malusi Gigaba’s budget speech. Gigaba said the levy would rise to 12c a bag on 1 April 2018.

The levy is applied to the manufacturers of the plastic bags but is ultimately passed on to consumers, who buy the bags at tills for varying prices from 60c up.

Nearly 15 years later, according to figures from the Treasury, R1.8bn has been raised via the plastic bag levy and just R919.6m has been allocated to recycling projects. Plastic pollution is now at crisis proportions.

Treasury said in response to questions that funding raised from the levy was not ring-fenced for the recycling industry as this strategy was no longer considered best practice. The plastic bag levy money was channelled into the National Revenue Fund and allocated to government departments.

Plastics SA CE Anton Hanekom said: “The agreement was … [funds] would be ring-fenced. Now they can be allocated anywhere deemed to be a national priority…”

Patient details in the recycling? Hospitals should cut down on paper to protect privacy: study

Researchers at Toronto’s St Michael’s Hospital say they collected nearly 600 kg of paper from recycling bins at other city health institutions over one month to see how much personal information was potentially exposed.

Hospitals should step up their efforts to protect patient privacy by trying to generate less paper and ensure confidential files are shredded rather than recycled, a new study suggested Tuesday.

“Before, if you got a test, … you treated that piece of paper as precious,” Baxter said in a telephone interview. “But now that we have it on our computers electronically, if you print out a chart for ease of review or to facilitate workflow, we’re just throwing it out. So we’ve actually generated a lot more pieces of paper to throw out. So actually with the electronic records I think many people would have thought that this problem had gone away when in fact it likely is worse.”

While generating less paper would make a great start, she said health-care facilities could consider other measures to limit the potential for human error.

Hospitals, for instance, could dictate that all documents being purged from doctor’s offices should go directly to shredding rather than recycling in order to minimize the possibility of sending patient records through the wrong disposal channel.

A sustainable future for ink cartridges

By automatically replacing used ink cartridges and recycling them in a closed circuit, HP develops printing “as a service” and evolves its business model.

HP wants to reinvent “the way products are designed, manufactured, used and recycled” by reorienting its business model towards a more circular approach.

According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation , a year after its launch the service already had nearly 1 million subscribers. “The key value of this service using the Internet of Things is that it enables the company to build a stronger customer relationship through a reliable and convenient service,” says the Foundation.

To make this new model possible, HP needed to both improve the design and performance of its ink cartridges, and reduce packaging, ultimately eliminating 57% of the waste associated with printing documents.

In addition, the company relies on data collected through this service to feed its ecodesign thinking.

In its latest Sustainable Development Report, the company says it is reinventing “the way products are designed, manufactured, used and recycled”, reorienting its business model towards a more circular approach. For example, it recovered 119,900 tonnes of equipment and consumables for recycling in 2016.