Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,
The autumn season brings a great deal of news from the world of recycling – here in Austria, in the EU and at the other end of the world.
Once more we have gathered a colourful selection of topics and wish you an interesting and informative read.
Your ERP Austria Team
We proudly present: our waste prevention initiatives
ERP provides part of the annual turnover for waste prevention initiatives. Currently, three different institutions are supported by us. In the following issues of our newsletter, we want to introduce them one by one. The first one is the Repair and Service Centre (R.U.S.Z.):
The Repair and Service Centre (R.U.S.Z.)
The Repair and Service Centre R.U.S.Z. is a Social Business. Besides its day-to-day business as a provider of reputable repair services, it is a centre for consumer protection and sustainability. The R.U.S.Z. is the best-known independent repair workshop for electrical appliances in the EU. The transition employees who are working there (long-term unemployed people over 45, people with disabilities, people released from prison) can mostly be placed in an employment relationship. The autonomous mechatronics company annually carries out about 9,000 repairs of electrical and electronic devices and thereby reduces their ecological footprint. Furthermore, the R.U.S.Z. runs Austria´s biggest Re-Use-Centre for Large Domestic Appliances and provides a weekly Repair Café where interested persons can learn to repair defective electrical devices on their own under guidance of professionals.
The R.U.S.Z. initiated the RepairNetWork Vienna (www.reparaturnetzwerk.at), the Austrian Umbrella Association of Relevant Social Economy Enterprises RepaNet (www.repanet.at) and the EU Umbrella Association RREUSE (www.rreuse.org). The latter managed to prominently position Repair and Re-Use in the WEEE directive as well as in the Waste Framework Directive through successful lobbying in Brussels.
Currently, the R.U.S.Z. is working on the further development of the Ecodesign Directive and the systemic change from a resource-wasting linear to a circular economy. The unique Austrian Standard “Quality label for durable, repair-friendly constructed electrical and electronic appliances” raised enormous interest of the EU institutions. The ongoing standardization process “Energy Related Products – Material Efficiency Aspects for Ecodesign”, ordered by the EU commission, is partially oriented to this Austrian Standard.
For further information, please visit the website of R.U.S.Z.: https://www.rusz.at/
Green Alley Award 2018: Austrian start-up among the finalists!
For five years, Landbell Group has presented the Green Alley Award to start-ups whose business ideas help advance the circular economy. The finalists for 2018 are six start-ups from six European countries whose concepts for the development of sustainable materials, waste prevention or digital tools for the circular economy have already convinced the judges. The overall winner will be announced on 18th October in Berlin.
This year’s finalists were selected from a total of 215 applications from 30 European countries, with most submissions coming from Germany, the UK and Italy. This year’s call for applications focused on three key building blocks for the circular economy: waste innovation, which accounted for 37 percent of the business ideas; innovations and new recycling technologies, which made up 37 percent of the submissions; and digital solutions for the circular economy, which accounted for 26 percent of applications.
These are the finalists:
Refurbed (Austria): The Austrian start-up Refurbed brings whole products, not just raw materials, back to life. Used electrical and electronic equipment such as smartphones, tablets, monitors, and household appliances are overhauled by experts and made new again. Equipment which would otherwise be recycled in parts is recycled as a whole – and costs up to 40 percent less. www.refurbed.de
Superseven (Germany): Superseven from Germany uses the Repaq brand to develop completely biodegradable packaging solutions that can technically compete with plastic packaging. The foil packaging is made of cellulose and its home and garden compostability is TÜV-certified. In addition, the packaging is completely free of pollutants, suitable for food, and harmless to the environment, humans, and animals. www.repaq.de
MIWA (Czech Republic): Minimum Waste is the aim of this start-up whose newly developed technology enables food retailers and consumers to buy and sell without packaging. Traders receive their products from producers in refillable containers from which consumers can take the exact amount needed on site. The containers are then cleaned and returned to the producer so that they can be used again. www.miwa.eu
Ecoplasteam (Italy): The solution ‘EcoAllene’ tackles a problem which many circular economy experts still see as an obstacle: the difficulty of separating material mixes such as waste products consisting of a metal and plastic layer. Instead of using complex processes to separate these components, Ecoplasteam’s patented production process results in a versatile new material which can be used in clothing, paving stones or household items. www.ecoplasteam.com
Circular IQ (Netherlands): Making sustainable purchasing decisions requires detailed information on the sustainability of products. ‘Circular IQ’ is an application that collects and aggregates data across the entire supply chain, from the source of the materials to the supplier contracts. This enables companies to monitor and optimise the sustainability of their products and to create transparency for customers and buyers. www.circular-iq.com
Aeropowder (United Kingdom): The British start-up Aeropowder has developed an alternative insulation material for packaging. This environmentally friendly and sustainable product is made of recycled materials, which can be used to replace conventional insulated polystyrene boxes. The product ‘pluumo’ consists of excess feathers, which would otherwise be disposed of, inside certified biodegradable protective covers. www.aeropowder.com
European Recycling Platform supports Going Green – CARE INNOVATION 2018
European Recycling Platform is the official sponsor of “Going Green – CARE INNOVATION 2018,” a biennial conference which moves between Europe, North America, and Japan. The conference attracts more than 400 experts from all over the world and is the only platform for presenting the latest trends in the circular economy, as well as the latest developments in resource-efficient electrical and electronic products and services.
The program will feature topics such as environmental design, clean manufacturing, resource efficiency, climate change, new eco-efficient technologies, collections, reverse logistics, refurbishment, carbon trading, re-use, recycling, and policy-making.
The conference attracts leading experts from industry, academia, consulting, recyclers and the public sector from all around the globe. The conference will take place in Vienna, Austria, in the Apothecaries’ Wing of Schönbrunn Palace, from 26 to 29 November 2018.
Germany: New Packaging Law per 01.01.2019
Germany’s new Packaging Law, VerpackG, comes into effect on 1st January 2019. A new single national authority (Zentrale Stelle) will be established to increase the transparency of the overall system. More importantly, it will support the enforcement authorities to combat the so called “free-riding”. The goal is to create an overall system for the national packaging waste disposal that is sustainable and eliminating competitive distortion.
In addition to significantly increased targets for material recycling, the VerpackG will also tighten several obligations and definitions.
In the future, manufacturers will be required to register with a newly created national authority, the Zentrale Stelle, before putting packaging on the market. Packaging must not be placed onto the market without such a registration (filled packaging sold to consumers or to distributors). The registered manufacturers will be published on the website of the Zentrale Stelle to ensure full transparency for all market participants.
Further information in English can be found here: https://verpackungsgesetz-info.de/en/
EU: Circular Economy Package enters into force
The Council of the European Union has officially adopted the Circular Economy Package. The Member States gave the final green light after the European Parliament voted in favour of the package in April. The revised Directives, most prominently the Waste Framework Directive, were published in the EU Official Journal on 14th June 2018. Member States will now introduce the necessary laws, regulations and administrative provisions to comply with the Directive by 5th July 2020.
The new legislation includes increased recycling targets as well as new requirements for extended producer responsibility. According to the EU, the new rules represent the most ambitious regulations of their kind in the world, positioning Europe as a world leader in waste reduction and recycling.
European Recycling Platform contributed to the development of the amended laws and is in continuous dialogue with the European Commission which has to draft approximately 60 implementation documents such as guidelines and Q&As.
EU: Final REACH registration deadline
Ten years of REACH registrations ended with the final registration deadline on 31st May 2018. This deadline requires any chemical substance placed on the EU market in excess of 1,000 kg per year to be registered. Failure to do so restricts the ability to sell onto the EU market after this date.
As of 28th May, the total number of substances registered between 2010 and 2018 is just over 20,000, which is significantly less than the forecast amount of approximately 30,000 substances. Joint Registration Costs vary widely, but are on average € 30,000 each, so it is a significant investment for a company to make per substance.
Landbell Group company, H2 Compliance (https://www.h2compliance.com/), has already helped over 200 companies fulfil their REACH obligations across six continents.
Further information can be found here: https://echa.europa.eu/registration-statistics-infograph#
News from Landbell Group: Software solutions from Prodigentia
- New web portal for managing customer take-back
A major electronics manufacturer selected Prodigentia to develop a new web portal for managing individual customer take-back requests. This solution replaces an old web portal, and provides several additional features, including a back office for the program manager and manufacturer’s suppliers to manage orders, as well as an automated quote generator.
The new portal is already deployed in the EMEA region and now, due to its success, will be extended to other regions. This tool is a valuable contribution to the digital circular economy and will help the manufacturer to improve the management of its resources.
- FLEX deployed in Canada
A major recycling association in North America has chosen Flex to replace their legacy operations management solution. The association chose Flex because of the ease of adaptation to its requirements, the reduced total cost of ownership, and their experience using Prodex, which was first implemented back in 2012.
Flex and Prodex are software tools developed and maintained by Prodigentia. They provide green enterprise resource planning for the various organisations involved in compliance and resource management. The association chose Flex to strengthen its capacity to play a central role in the North American circular economy.
Prodigentia has been selected to participate in CarE-Service, an international project which has received an EU grant under the Horizon 2020 programme. Prodigentia will develop the ICT platform for CarE-Service. The precise functionality of the platform will be defined during the design phase but will include features such as a searchable inventory of available car parts.
The general goal of CarE-Service is to demonstrate the large-scale feasibility of innovative circular business models applied to electric vehicles and heavy electric vehicles, and to offer new, highly-customized and performance-based mobility services for European citizens.
Such services and business models will affect customers’ behaviour and drastically shift the current EV value chain further towards sustainability. The CarE-Service consortium is made up of 15 participants from all over Europe, including Fiat Chrysler (Italy), Fraunhofer Institute (Germany) and Envirobat (Spain).
Visit Prodigentia´s website: https://prodigentia.com/
Nigeria: 60,000 tonnes of used EEE and WEEE imported annually
A two-year study in Nigeria by the Basel Convention Coordinating Centre for the Africa Region (BCCC Africa) and the Sustainable Cycles (SCYCLE) programme of the United Nations University (UNU) has shown that approximately 60,000 tonnes of used electrical and electronic equipment were shipped to Nigeria in each of the last two years, with a majority coming from European Union ports. At least 15,400 tonnes of the 60,000 tonnes was initially deemed unusable, although actual figures could turn out to be much higher.
The study found that close to 70 % of the e-waste arrived inside cars which are shipped to Nigeria to be sold on the second-hand market. While the importing and sale of used electronics can be quite profitable in Nigeria, the importing of non-functional electronic waste is prohibited under both the Basel Convention as well as the EU’s Waste Shipment Regulation. The study also revealed that none of the illegal shipments resulted in sanctions for the importers or exporters involved, pointing to a glaring hole in the enforcement of these international directives.
The Director of UNU’s SCYCLE programme, Ruediger Kuehr, points to standardised functionality tests accepted by both exporting and importing countries, and universally recognised test certificates as the logical next steps to stopping this problem in the future.
Australia: All packaging to be 100 % recyclable, reusable or comostable by 2025
Australia has taken a progressive step towards solving a looming environmental problem. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced that, by 2025, 100 % of packaging produced and used in Australia will be recyclable, reusable or compostable. This comes on the heels of China banning the importation of material from 100 countries, Australia included. With the realisation that the country’s external waste disposal options are dwindling, Australia has taken decisive action to produce less waste.
This move also comes alongside an agreement by Australian industries to voluntarily reduce their use of microbeads, which have been shown to be especially detrimental to marine life and ecosystems. Along with the phasing out of plastic bags by regional governments, these new initiatives signal a strong push by Australia to take a leadership role when it comes to recycling and the reduction of waste.