Newsletter of the Canadian Association of Recycling Industries
Volume 18, No. 6, June 2013
PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE | FAST FACTS
Those of us who have been in this industry long enough have seen substantial changes to the way we do business. Over the last few decades, technological innovations and new equipment have made our businesses more modern and efficient, while changes to health and safety and environmental practices have made our workplaces less dangerous to our employees, our customers, and the environment. Now we are increasingly seeing another new trend in the way we do business; certification is becoming an industry standard for recyclers of all materials.
Certification is nothing new. For years manufacturers have been complying with ISO quality standards, largely because those that hold such certification have an edge over their competition. Holding ISO 9001 certification assures customers and stakeholders that a product and its producer meet the necessary statutory and regulatory requirements. Similarly, recycling certification programs are intended to verify recyclers are maintaining responsible business practices. More and more, customers are looking for due diligence from the people with whom they do business. Recyclers are increasingly discovering the competitive advantage that comes from holding recognized certification.
Certification is becoming particularly important for those of us shipping materials overseasespecially electronics materials. Whether or not you hold industry certification will affect your ability to sell your material and remain viable within the market.
In addition to the benefit to business, CARI believes certification programs can help reduce the development of unnecessary stewardship programs. We have supported the Automotive Recyclers of Canada’s CAREC code of practice, which is a national standard of environmental safety and best practices for Canadian automotive recyclers. We believe this program will help provide evidence that ELVs are already being recycled efficiently and do not require extended producer responsibility.
Unfortunately, given the number of different options, knowing which certification programs are best for your business is not straightforward. The trend toward certification was discussed at this year’s BIR and ISRI conventions, and is on the agenda for CARI’s panel discussion series at our June convention in Halifax. Certification might not be necessary, but it can be an opportunity to make your business more competitive and it is certainly an opportunity for our industry to put our best foot forward.
- In May, the EU’s Science for Environment Policy published a study by Portuguese researchers that indicates recycling construction and demolition waste can provide substantial environmental benefits. Researchers found that over a standard 60-year lifespan, recycling C&D material results in 10 times fewer CO2 emissions. Over that period of time, a C&D recycling plant would produce more than 135,000 tonnes of CO2, but would have prevented emissions of about 1.4 million tonnes. Researchers noted these benefits are only realized if the recycled output materials are subsequently used in the fabrication of new products. Although the study focussed only on CO2 emissions and energy consumption, these are a recycling plant’s primary environmental concerns.
- R2 Solutions recently announced it would begin charging companies an annual fee of $1,500 per facility to retain R2 certification. The fee will be connected to the annual surveillance audit conducted at each facility. A discount will be offered to non-profit organizations, but there will not be a sliding scale for smaller facilities. At the same time, R2 Solutions described the revisions to the standard that will take effect July 1. In addition to the new fee, R2 eliminated its environmental health and safety management system requirements, substituting a requirement for facilities to become certified through programs like ISO 14000 or RIOS. This provision will also entail additional cost. The other major electronics recycling certification body, e-Stewards, charges an annual marketing and licensing fee. Its cost is based on sliding scale related to a company’s annual revenues from electronics material.
- To help member companies better understand how their individual safety record compares with the industry as a whole, ISRI Safety & Environmental Council is asking each of its members to submit their Incident Rates and their DART rates to ISRI Safety. This data will be scrubbed of identifying information, aggregated, and then shared with the entire membership. The numbers needed to perform the calculation are all available on a company’s OSHA 300 form.
- Earlier this month, Ontario’s Minister of the Environment introduced a new Waste Reduction Act and Strategy, which would replace the current Waste Diversion Act. Among other changes, the new Act proposes an all-in pricing system that would eliminate the at-the-cash eco-fees. The Act also proposes new individual producer responsibility standards, reimbursement to municipalities by producers for collection of designated materials, and the creation of a Waste Reduction Authority that will have the power to fine producers for non-compliance.
- The chasing arrow symbol will soon be replaced by a solid equilateral triangle on plastics with the Resin Identification Code (RIC). An ASTM plastics committee announced the change this month. The RIC is a number one through seven inside a three chasing arrows, but was meant to indicate a package’s resin content, not its recyclability. Many municipal recyclers and other recycling organizations had requested a change, because consumers associated the chasing arrow symbol with recycling.
- ISRI staff have been participating in conferences and meeting with Chinese government officials, Chinese recyclers and industry consumers, and US & European exporters to gain a better understanding of the “Green Fence.” They have learned some of the shipping problems stemming from the new initiative may be an unfortunate consequence of a crackdown on Chinese importers, rather than exporters shipping to China. The operation is an attempt by the Chinese government to enforce their import licensing requirements, because some mixed plastic going into China was being purchased by importers with improperly issued licenses, and some licensed importers were illegally auctioning the plastics they imported to unlicensed recyclers. The “Green Fence” was initiated to deal with a few unscrupulous exporters that were knowingly shipping waste rather than scrap. Several Chinese officials indicated the level of enforcement could be moderated before November 30, and many industry members have confirmed that CIQ is relaxing the enforcement level, except for those who have had a history of shipping problematic loads.
- Over the next six-to-12 months, the Canadian Stewardship Services Alliance plans to roll out a shared systems, applications and products (SAP) system and national call center for packaging stewardship. The program is intended to integrate administrative and customer service infrastructure across Canada’s various packing-materials stewardship programs. CSSA includes product manufacturers, retailers and stewardship groups in Canada, including Canada Safeway, Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, the Retail Council of Canada, and Wal-Mart.