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Long-awaited, and much-contested, new repairability requirements will soon impact many household electronic appliances within the European Union. Compliance deadlines for these standards start as soon as April 2020. Until these recent regulatory changes to the EU’s 2009 Eco-Design Directive, electronics repair rights had been successfully resisted on proprietary and safety grounds across target industries. The broader complaint, not commonly articulated by industry, is the discernible shift these repairability standards signal in the relationship between producers…

Some might have wondered what the purpose might be for this joint assessment from Environment and Climate Change Canada and Health Canada: Draft Science Assessment of Plastic Pollution, January 2020. After all, the federal government and the provinces have already entered into an agreement through the Canadian Council of the Ministers of the Environment to create a regulated circular economy for plastics in the name of environmental harm reduction. In fact, a single-use plastics law…

The European Union’s landmark Single-Use Plastic (SUP) Directive is set to be enacted into member states’ national laws by 2021. Some countries outside the EU have already signaled their intention, in all but name, to adopt consistent SUP laws, for good commercial and regulatory reasons. Confidence in the EU as the world’s standard bearers on environmental management, including product environmental regulatory matters, is in its ascendancy, particularly with initiatives such as the Circular Economy…

There is no question that dramatic changes are coming for the supply and reverse supply chain for plastics that will impact packaging, containers, and plastic products. From resins and polymer mixes to ocean plastic clean up and waste export bans and everything in between, it is difficult to not foresee a fundamental regime shift coming for the regulation of plastics globally. But just who decides on these new rules and how will disparate initiatives and…

Resource recovery through the operation of reverse supply chains requires substantial funding, at least while producers work to internalize and minimize those costs over time. Under government-run waste diversion schemes, those costs are borne by the consumer through payment of much maligned “eco fees”. The model used for charging and passing along eco fees among supply chain parties can have significant impacts upon long term circular economy strategies. Two models have been adopted in the…

The announcement earlier this year by the British Columbia Ministry of the Environment granting a waste-based ethanol the lowest the carbon intensity value ever issued a transportation fuel in that province properly raises questions as to where energy-from-waste (EfW) now stands in the coming age of resource recovery / lifecycle circularity in North America.  The answer isn’t entirely clear. Haven’t the Europeans Already Figured This Out? North Americans will do well to recognize the origins…

Following the recent shock and awe felt by North American producers at the prospect of individual producer responsibility (IPR) for their coming circular economy legal obligations, attention has inevitably shifted towards the role to be played by producer responsibility organizations (PROs) as potential surrogates for producers in the discharge of their core resource recovery duties, while the legal liabilities remain non-transferrable.  Producers will want to ask themselves… You Want Us to Join a Not-for-Profit Collective?  …

When the Waste-Free Ontario strategy was first released in 2016, the dramatic scope of the legislated individual producer responsibility regime (IPR) no doubt drew the attention of the international automakers, which have been regulated under a multitude of government-run waste diversion programs across Canada for a number of years. Individual Producer Responsibility – But For What? IPR represents a fundamental shift in product lifecycle thinking, essentially de-regulating the means by which producers resource recover their…

The explosive growth of corporate sustainability programs truly affirms the prominence, if not centrality, that many of these programs have within multinational producers across a wide variety of industries.  Further, the breadth and specificity of many of these programs can rightly be said to reflect the granular analysis in which many companies engage in determining the content and resources expenditures for these initiatives.  But what’s truly notable in its absence – either buried in the…