Daily Digest: More big plastic promises at G7; New York City safety back in limelight
In the Daily Digest, the Waste Dive team rounds up insights and moments you may have missed.
G7 TURNS SPOTLIGHT ON OCEAN PLASTICS
Earlier this summer, five of the G7 member countries signed an Ocean Plastics Charter that set multiple targets around plastic recycling to mitigate marine pollution. This week, Canada has been hosting the G7 Environment Ministerial Meeting in Halifax to focus on next steps and gain more international support ahead of plans to bring the charter to the U.N. General Assembly.
The event has spurred multiple announcements from recycling stakeholders so far. Chief among them is news that Circulate Capital, the investment firm recently spun off from Closed Loop Partners, has teamed up with SecondMuse to launch The Incubator Network. Its first project, the Ocean Plastic Prevention Accelerator, was developed with a grant from the U.S. State Department and support by Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
The goal is to unlock more than $20 million in funding that can help "accelerate solutions to ocean plastic waste by partnering with existing incubators to build ecosystems of waste management and recycling innovators." This is being done in partnership with the Surabaya Ocean Plastic Prevention Incubator, WeWork Labs India and McKinsey.org. Initial work will be focused on Indonesia and India, with potential interest in Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines. A primary goal will be "to advance opportunities for women in its countries of operation."
Other announcements include:
- Key Canadian stakeholders — including Unilever, IKEA and Walmart — have launched a Circular Economy Leadership Coalition, which signed on to the plastics charter and will work on "the development and implementation of new circular economy solutions that protect and regenerate our natural environment while enhancing prosperity."
- ReVital Polymers, Pyrowave and INEOS Styrolution formed a new partnership to recycle polystyrene packaging from consumer curbside and drop-off programs, as well as commercial and institutional generators. ReVital will install catalytic microwave technology from Pyrowave than can convert the material into liquid monomers and INEOS will use that as feedstock for new polystyrene products.
- Enerkem, an Alberta-based waste-to-biofuels company, has also signed on to the charter and is in talks with The Ocean Legacy Foundation about a potential partnership around processing material recovered from beach cleanups.
IN OTHER NEWS
Michigan collection worker dies from crash injuries — MLive
Justin David Pratt, a 27-year-old employee of Modern Waste, has died from injuries sustained during a Sept. 18 collision. Pratt was temporarily pinned between his collection vehicle and a pick-up truck that rear-ended it. The pick-up driver reported blinding sunlight and impairment is not suspected as a factor. On that same morning, in Louisiana, another collection worker was also killed outside of his vehicle by a pick-up truck.
Update from the ever-political New York commercial waste arena
Earlier this week, the city's Business Integrity Commission held a hearing about proposed rules that would set new reporting requirements around crashes and other events, as well as new requirements for liability insurance coverage. ProPublica covered the proceedings — along with the status of Sanitation Salvage's ongoing legal battle with the city — in a piece that portrayed the industry as resistant to these proposals. It also highlighted supportive comments from advocates for industry reform, including their belief that a soon-to-be-released commercial zoning plan will be the antidote to ongoing safety issues.
Waste Dive didn't attend or watch the hearing, but has received prepared testimony from some of the key stakeholders for further context.
New York Lawyers for the Public Interest expressed full support for the proposal, though was skeptical of whether BIC could fully utilize the data given its enforcement of existing rules. Testimony received from industry groups and companies shows general support for the proposal, but questions about its language and end results. The NWRA, SWANA, New Yorkers for Responsible Waste Management and Mr. T Carting all raised various questions about the specific definition of a crash, how data would be integrated into existing recordkeeping systems and why insurance requirements appear out of sync with industry norms. NWRA also requested a 60-90 day extension for further discussion.
Waste Management working with New York town for new type of landfill odor agreement — Democrat & Chronicle
The upstate High Acres landfill has been a source of community frustration for years, and that has seemingly intensified since the site began accepting waste from New York City via rail under a long-term contract signed in 2017. There has been legal action, state violations and ongoing complaints. Now, Waste Management and the town of Perinton have agreed to a new list of action items to potentially curtail the odor issue that is seen as above-and-beyond the level of expectation for most other landfills in the state. Pending state approval, this would include additional infrastructure upgrades, biweekly meetings with state officials and a multi-month study on seasonal odor differences between waste transported via truck versus rail.
Alpine Waste has a plan to recycle Colorado coffee cups — The Colorado Sun
Alpine Waste & Recycling, now a subsidiary of Waste Industries, plans to start accepting coffee cups for recycling as of Oct. 1. After about a year of research, the company has decided to partner with a Wisconsin paper mill owned by Sustana. That facility has the capability to separate cups' polyethyene liners and recover the fiber for recycling. Alpine has previously estimated it could see up to five tons of cups per month. While coffee cup recycling has picked up in the U.K., and Starbucks recently committed $10 million to solving the issue, it's still rare to see any type of solution at this scale in the U.S.
Swedish grocery store debuts spoiled milk perfume — Inhabitat
Coop, a large Swedish grocery chain, has released a new fragrance called "Old Milk" to help educate consumers about food waste. The company's goal is to get people accustomed to using their sense of smell to determine the quality of food, rather than arbitrary expiration dates. The company has a history of focusing on this topic and is currently working with a celebrity chef on new recipes that can incorporate leftovers.
ON THE AGENDA
- The China Problem: An ISRI Virtual Town Hall (11 a.m. ET) This members-only event will cover all the latest scrap import regulations and trade war effects, with perspective from ISRI Chairman Brian Shine and President Robin Wiener.
- Webinar: Preventing Food Waste Upstream – A Source Reduction Approach (1-2:30 p.m. ET) This is part two of a series in the EPA's Sustainable Materials Management Web Academy. Attendees will "learn about the definition of source reduction, and examples of successful cases of a supermarket, college and elementary school that prevent wasted food at the source."
Do you have events or webinars that should be on our agenda this week? Email [email protected].
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