In the Daily Digest, the Waste Dive team rounds up insights and moments you may have missed.
THE DIRTIEST TYPE OF CONTAMINATION
Procter & Gamble is working with Italian healthcare company Angelini on a solution that can recycle used diapers into plastic bottle caps and viscose/rayon clothing, as reported by Reuters. The company helping make this happen is Fater, an Italian processor.
“Nappies are made of the highest quality plastics and we’ve shown they can be recycled to extract high-value building blocks,” said Marcello Somma, Fater’s director of research and development and business development, in the story.
Fater claims to have letters of intent from multiple bioplastic manufacturers and paper mills. Potential uses of the recycled plastic from these diapers include desks and playground equipment. The cellulose could become fabric or specialty paper, and the absorbent polymer could become gardening or flood barriers.
Estimates indicate that more than 20 million metric tons of disposable diapers are burned or buried every year and P&G has close to 27% of that global market. The company has set a goal to be able to recycle all of its "absorbent hygiene products" in at least 10 cities by 2030, and expand that going forward.
While no major announcements have come out for this issue in the U.S., the potential success of such European projects could help inspire similar projects here in the years ahead, as both corporations and local governments look for ways to recycle more of their waste streams. Plus, diapers are common and highly unpopular contaminants in recycling streams that MRF operators would be glad to see end up elsewhere.
IN OTHER NEWS
Sodexo announces new plastic reduction policy — Press Release
The major food service company has pledged to cut back on its plastic use in North American facilities. Action steps include eliminating single-use plastic bags and stirrers and switching to straw on request policy in 2019. The company will also seek to eliminate expanded polystyrene foam products by 2025, and begin reducing usage in the meantime. Sodexo will also "continue to seek innovative practices and products to reduce or eliminate other single use plastics." Following similar commitments by companies such as Aramark, this is the latest in a series of wide-ranging pledges that will affect the daily eating experience of many people in a potentially faster way than the spread of local government policy changes.
Vermont city to stop accepting leachate in protest of Casella landfill expansion — VT Digger
Days after Casella received a final permit approval to expand its Coventry landfill, the Newport City Council has come out against the project and will stop accepting the site's leachate at its wastewater treatment plant as a result. The potential presence of PFAS, and how to appropriately address that, was cited as a key concern. Permit conditions require Casella to now conduct regular monitoring of leachate as a result. This move is largely symbolic — as Casella has six other wastewater treatment agreements with plants in Vermont, New York and New Hampshire — but it will mean Newport is forgoing a $185,000 in annual revenue for the service.
Idaho composting expansion faces a delay — Meridian Press
After receiving approval from the Meridian City Council to pursue an expansion last month, the timeline for Timber Creek Recycling's compost site expansion plans has been extended. A public meeting has now been scheduled for Nov. 7 “for the sole purpose of considering additional conditions," and not to reconsider the expansion, but concerns from some local residents are seen as a sign the process could now become more complicated. This expansion is seen as a way to potentially bring curbside organics collection to Meridian, modeled after the program now run by Republic Services in neighboring Boise, Idaho.
Global brands join Latin American food waste campaign — FoodBev Media
The Coca-Cola Company, Nestlé, Grupo Bimbo, Oxxo and Dow Chemical are among some of the companies that have joined the new #SinDesperdicio initiative, organized by the Inter-American Development Bank, to reduce food waste in Latin America and the Caribbean. The bank estimates 127 million tons of food is wasted in the region every year, at the same time as nearly 42 million people are food insecure. This effort will focus on "innovative projects, national and local public policies, knowledge generation, and responsible consumer habits" with initial projects in Mexico, Colombia and Argentina.
SEEN & HEARD
Last weekend, Toter brought sustainability awareness to the Breakaway Music Festival in Charlotte, North Carolina with its "I Can Cart Art Competition." Participants painted Toter carts, and wrote messages to encourage recycling inside the lids, for the chance to win festival passes.
“By thinking creatively about our containers on the outside, we are encouraging consumers to think differently about what they put on the inside. Through the I Can Cart Art Competition, Toter is increasing awareness about how community members can commit to rethink the waste that goes from their cart to the landfill," said Kristin Kinder, director of research and waste stream sustainability for Wastequip, in a press release.
Two New Food Loss and Waste Tools to Know (10-11:30 ET) This session from the World Resources Institute will cover The Food Waste Atlas, "the world’s first global repository of food loss and waste data," and the new Food Loss and Waste Value Calculator, created by Quantis as part of WBCSD’s FReSH program.
EPA SMM Web Academy: Regional Cooperation to Harmonize Recycling Programs (1-2:30 ET) The Recycling Partnership shares tips from a recent initiative it undertook with the City of Milwaukee and surrounding Waukesha County to standardize recycling lists and education. Featuring speakers from each of three aforementioned parties, as well as Rumpke Waste & Recycling.
- Waste management: strategies for a successful recycling program (1-2 ET) This Energy Star webinar will covertips for tracking, education and implementation of multi-unit recycling programs. Featuring speakers from The Recycling Partnership and Seattle Public Utilities.
Do you have events or webinars that should be on our agenda this week? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.