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Sustainability

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After the uncertain rise and precipitous fall of a number of Canada’s energy-from-waste (EfW)  industries, it may have been easy to underestimate the commercial opportunities for renewable natural gas (RNG). After all, the corporate community lost much of its interest in capital intensive and technologically uncertain EfW projects at some point following the 2008 crash.  With a few notable exceptions, EfW became a local, and mostly municipal, waste management issue, usually undertaken on a small scale.  …

Jonathan Cocker’s abstract on North America’s first circular economy law was accepted by the Yale University Journal of Industrial Ecology’s special issue on Material Efficiency for Climate Change Mitigation.

The irony will not be lost on the electronics sector.  The Basel Ban Amendment, short a few remaining votes at the May meeting of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, ultimately failed to get the necessary support for passage in spite of much fanfare.  The Basel Ban Amendment would have meant a virtual halt in the continued export of e-waste internationally.  As of September 2019, it…

The Canadian Biogas Association (CBA) has recently released a new proposed standard, the Canadian Anaerobic Digestion (AD) Guideline, with a “view to assist[ing] stakeholders in siting, design, approval, and operations of AD facilities that process food and other organic waste materials in Canada.”   The timing for the release of the new standard, with comments due September 11, 2019, could not be more opportune. AD as Regulatory Strategy AD has long been one of the few…

International E-Waste Laws Extend to Victoria The global push for prohibitions on both the landfilling and exporting (to the developing world) of e-waste has given rise to new legislative initiatives in many parts of the world.  The Australian State of Victoria has just enacted new e-waste restrictions effectively prohibiting the disposal of electronic or electrical equipment to landfill and requiring its treatment to occur within Australia, thereby generating opportunities for domestic resource recovery providers. The…

This week is Baker & McKenzie’s annual International Environmental Conference in Chicago, Illinois on June 19-21, 2019. Jonathan Cocker is moderating the panel, “Understanding the Scope of the Circular Economy Dilemma – The Global Plastics Challenge”. The panelists include Tim Carey (PepsiCo), Mario Facio (B&M – Mexico City), Renata Amaral (B&M – Sao Paulo), Pascal Mallien (B&M – Antwerp), Doug Sanders (B&M – Chicago). The panel will discuss a high level overview of 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…

2019 will likely go down as the year that (developing) Asian countries have finally had enough of western garbage. Indeed, their final victory in repelling imports of unrecyclable plastics and other wastes won’t come too soon for international brand owners whose reputations have increasingly been harmed with the scrutiny now being paid to the final destinations of their products and packaging. The Shift in Asian Waste Imports It started last year with the China National Sword,…

Jonathan Cocker’s latest blog entry entitled, “Can-Am Recycling of Batteries Made Easier Under New Cross-Border Regulation” has been republished on the Advanced Waste Solutions website. To read the article, click HERE.

The interprovincial and international movement of hazardous recyclable materials, such as used batteries, is already big business and will only grow in the coming years in North America. Internationally, no less than 99% of all (lawful) hazardous recyclables (and hazardous waste) exported from, or imported to, Canada are with the United States. The coming restrictions under amendments to the Basel Convention will also strengthen and foster demand for North American-based hazardous materials recycling as transfers to…