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Sustainability

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The aviation industry, broadly understood, has long been the source of substantial waste management challenges, both for the host airports themselves and for the communities in which they are situated. It is only very recently that much attention has been paid to addressing these aviation waste practices and, to date, no meaningful integrated strategy, capturing all aviation waste materials across the supply chain, has emerged. And yet, with recent seismic shifts in air travel demand,…

With all of the talk from the Government of Canada about the coming laws targeting single-use plastics (SUP), it’s worth asking whether the Parliament has such powers and what’s needed for them to act on SUP. After all, the federal government has ceded much of its role to the provinces and territories which regulate over environmental protection generally, including most waste management matters, and some provinces have expressed hostility and a willingness to commence legal…

It should be taken on faith that legislated clean-up of legacy plastic pollution for some industries is coming. After all, the European Union Single Use Plastics Directive expressly requires that the food and beverage container, packaging and bags producers are responsible for the: costs of cleaning up litter resulting from those products and the subsequent transport and treatment of that litter through extended producer liability laws in each member state. In other words, the makers…

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…

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…