Newsletter of the Canadian Association of Recycling Industries
Volume 18, No.2, February 2013
PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE | FAST FACTS
Our industry has been battling the issue of metal theft for generations, but it has become a significant problem in recent years. We have had to become more vigilant in the way we buy and sell, and now have increasing administrative duties placed on our businesses due to new government regulations. The industry responded to the problem with tools such as CARI and ISRI’s joint website, www.ScrapTheftAlert.com, and by working with law enforcement wherever possible.
However, most recently the metal theft issue has begun to change and grow. Now that the industry operates on such a free-flowing international scope, the problem of material theft has become international and in some cases appears to be related to organized crime. Often, thieves are targeting material being shipped offshore and material is shorted or does not arrive at its intended destination.
Last year BIR alerted its members to reports of thefts from containers in certain ports. At their fall convention in Rome they organized a special workshop to discuss the problem and demonstrated how cargo could be removed from containers without breaking the seals. Over the last weeks, more companies have reported cases of cargo theft and fraud, and of containers being tampered with en route.
- ISRI’s 2013 Scrap Specifications Circular is now available at www.isri.org/specs. This version includes revised and new nonferrous specifications as well as plastic scrap specifications that were approved by ISRI’s Board of Directors in 2012.
- In January, Pennsylvania put into effect the Pennsylvania Covered Device Recycling Act, which prohibits residents from throwing electronic devices into the trash. Trash haulers will no longer take computers, laptops, computer monitors, televisions, tablets and other listed devices unless the municipality develops a curbside electronics recycling program. The new law requires electronics manufacturers to provide mail-back programs and permanent collection programs for consumers, and to work with electronics recyclers to ensure the e-waste is handled and processed properly.
- Manufacturers are also required to register their device brands and attach brand labels to the devices, and retailers are prohibited from carrying the listed electronics without brand labels.
- A new report from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation says businesses and consumers world-wide could see economic benefits as high as $700 billion per year by adopting a circular economy. The Foundation’s aim is to integrate recycling and reuse into manufacturing and consumption. According to the report, the economy would also benefit from land productivity and supply chain stability. Focussing on product categories that represent 80% of the total consumer goods market, the report gives examples of businesses that derive competitive advantage from making better use of their material flows.
- PEI’s Island Waste Management Corporation is considering adding a stewardship fee to fluorescent bulbs. The group says only 40% of fluorescent bulbs on P.E.I. are being disposed properly and adding a point-of-sale stewardship fee would give the agency the resources to add more drop-off locations.
- The EU’s Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe is threatened by the overuse of incineration in some countries, according to a study by the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives. The Roadmap recommends prioritizing prevention, reuse and recycling but the study shows an increased percentage of waste in the EU is being incinerated. Incineration capacity is expanding, with construction of 48 new incinerators scheduled over the next few years. Some EU states already have the ability to burn more than the non-recyclable waste generated.
- A Vancouver non-profit group has proposed the province remove glass recycling from its blue box program, suggesting residents should instead take such materials to a depot. Multi Material BC says 71,000 tonnes annually is returned to provincial depots for a refund, while only 2,500 tonnes of glass is collected through blue boxes in a year. The group also says the glass collected curb-side is often broken or contaminated beyond re-use. Mayors from a number of municipalities have opposed the scheme, saying more material would be sent to landfill because most people will not take the time to bring their recyclables to a depot.
- Battery and cellphone collector Call2Recycle says 10 million pounds of used batteries were collected in North America in 2012, a 16 percent increase from 2011 figures. The organization attributes the sharp increase to California and Canada, which each collected more than one million pounds. The battery collection program grew by 56% in Canada, mostly due to its expansion in the province of Quebec.
- Tonnes of Japanese tsunami debris are expected to wash up along Pacific shores over the next few months. The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has warned coastal B.C. communities to expect the first big increase in debris in April. The total amount of tsunami debris in the Pacific is unknown, with estimates ranging between 5 and 25 million tonnes, but most is expected to sink or become caught in the eddies of the North Pacific garbage patch. But the bulk of what remains afloat is expected to hit the Pacific Coast, from California to Alaska in 2013–14. Scientists say the debris is unlikely to be contaminated with radioactivity, because the majority of the material would have been swept away before the Fukishima reactor’s meltdown. However, the province will test samples of the debris as a safeguard.