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Circular Economy

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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…

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 has certainly been rapid growth in the market for electric vehicles (EV), in part due to their associated (and celebrated) environmental attributes. What receives much less attention, however, is the looming waste-management challenge, particularly for EV lithium-ion batteries (LIBs). The proliferation of post-consumer LIBs has yet to fully materialize given the recent installation of long-life LIBs across multiple vehicle industries, but the environmental price for the switch to EV will soon be paid by…

Following some recent key milestones for the tire-derived fuels industries, it appears that TDF is now positioned for significant growth across Canada in the coming years. It hasn’t been easy in light of long-standing environmental concerns and pressures for circular economy solutions for end-of-life tires but TDF may well be poised to gain ready acceptance as part of Canada’s resource recovery strategy. Nova Scotia Legal Challenge Unsuccessful The watershed moment for TDF in Canada arguably…

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.  …

The numbers speak for themselves – construction, along with renovation and demolition (CRD) waste has long been one of the largest waste streams in Canada (e.g. wood, asphalt roofing, drywall, etc). Further, unlike waste streams of similar size such as municipal solid waste and organics/food waste, CRD waste has been relatively untouched by regulation in either its generation or its disposal.  This appears about to change.   CAP Required EPR for CRD Wastes by 2017…

With some important recent developments, the battery industries and their resource recovery partners have taken significant steps in preparing for the coming individual producer responsibility (IPR) circular economy laws. More specifically, Ontario’s Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act will impose regulated IPR obligations upon makers, brand owners and first importers of a range of small and large size batteries as of June 30, 2020.   Clearly, the time for needed industry-wide structural adjustments to meet this…