News in brief | the latest waste and resource news

News

Dive into the latest waste and resource news with Circular Online's news in brief round up.

In this news in brief, we cover the Environment Agency crushing a tipper truck in waste crime probe, the Sorting for Circularity Europe project findings highlighting the "immense opportunity" to accelerate textile recycling, Alupro launching UK Aerosol Recycling Initiative, and a Romsey man being handed a suspended prison sentence for fly-tipping. However, to start with we look at how the Closing the Loop project has "doubled capacity" with a second plastic waste recycling facility in Ghana.

Closing the Loop project "doubles capacity" with second plastic waste recycling facility in Ghana

Ghana

The ASASE Foundation, in partnership with the Alliance to End Plastic Waste (Alliance) in a project co-funded by the European Union (EU), has launched the CASH IT! Tema West Plastic Waste Reprocessing Plant in the capital city of Accra, Ghana.

The plant is the second facility to be established under the partnership.

The ASASE Foundation says the latest plant has a processing capacity of up to 2,000 metric tons per year when fully operational, effectively doubling the project's total recycling capacity. The Alliance has partnered with the ASASE Foundation since 2020, providing "technical expertise" and financial support to enable the scaling up of operations over 100-fold, the ASASE Foundation says this has increased from an initial annual processing capacity of 35 tons to 4,000 metric tonnes. The ASASE Foundation says the expansion builds on the success of the project's first recycling plant in the Kpone Katamanso district.

Plastic waste collected from the catchment areas of the two communities is washed and processed into high- and low-density polyethene (HDPE, LDPE) flakes and soft polyethene pellets which are then sold to recyclers and turned into various household items or as construction liners and waste bins.

The Alliance believes in funding solutions; circular business models for plastic and partners that deliver impact at scale.

The ASASE Foundation says it now supports direct and indirect employment for over 350 individuals-- of whom more than half are women-- in various roles including technicians, skilled operators, warehouse managers, aggregators and waste pickers. Nicholas Kolesch, Vice President of Projects at the Alliance, said: "The Alliance believes in funding solutions; circular business models for plastic and partners that deliver impact at scale. Through our partnership with the ASASE Foundation, we are helping to expand operations, continuing to support the diversion of plastic waste out of the environment, and unlocking its value through recycling.

"We are proud to support the ASASE Foundation as they continue to move from strength to strength, guided by a strong team with an unwavering vision for their environment and community."

Alupro launches UK Aerosol Recycling Initiative

aerosol cans

Alupro, the aluminium packaging recycling organisation, has launched the 'UK Aerosol Recycling Initiative'.

Alupro is an industry-funded, not-for-profit organisation representing the UK's aluminium packaging industry. The organisation says the move will help increase the awareness and uptake of aerosol recycling among the public and drive increased recycling rates across the UK. The initiative brings together working group partners from across the value chain including Ball Aerosol Packaging, the British Aerosol Manufacturers' Association (BAMA), Ecosurety, a packaging compliance scheme, The Materials Processing Institute, Suez Recycling and Recovery UK and Tandom Metallurgical Group Ltd, processors of reclaimed aluminium.

The project aims to ensure metal aerosol recyclability and viability in a post-extended producer responsibility (EPR) and post-deposit return scheme (DRS) landscape. Alupro says that as Metal recycles forever, the steel or aluminium in metal aerosols can be recycled endlessly, without any loss of quality.

Aerosols top WRAP's annual list of confusing consumer packaging types in regard to recycling.

The cross-industry initiative will follow a three-phase approach to educate consumers around best practice recycling, establish a baseline recycling rate and roadmap for achieving higher future rates for aerosol recycling in the UK, as well as seeking to secure substantial long-term investment into recycling infrastructure. Earlier this year, Alupro, in collaboration with independent environmental consultancy Resource Futures, undertook sampling work to establish knowledge of where a baseline recycling rate for aerosols in the UK lies.

Alupro says the results showed that, despite 95% of councils offering aerosol recycling at kerbside, only 46% of aerosols are correctly separated for recycling by consumers. Alupro says the project will create a roadmap to form a strategic approach toward achieving higher aerosol recycling rates in the UK, including the development of new consumer resources.

Alupro says the programme will help ensure that aerosols become a central part of recycling behaviour.

Executive director of Alupro, Tom Giddings, said: "Consistently, aerosols top WRAP's annual list of confusing consumer packaging types in regard to recycling. As an industry, our goal is to exceed a 50% aerosol recycling rate by 2030, making this initiative critical.

"This initiative will see us work closely with our partners to improve consumer behaviour and aerosol recycling infrastructure in the UK. These changes to the metal packaging industry will contribute not only toward a wider sustainable future but also allow us to take an important step towards a 100% metal packaging recycling rate. "This is just the start of this project; we have big plans for the future and we're actively welcoming new partners who have an interest in maximising the recycling rate of aerosols."

Prison sentence and fine for fly-tipper who dumped industrial waste

Hilden fly tip

A Romsey man has been handed a suspended prison sentence and ordered to pay full costs after pleading guilty to fly-tipping waste including industrial kitchen appliances.

Test Valley Borough Council took Mark Hilden of Scallows Lane, West Wellow, to court after they received a report of a fly-tip near Roman Road, Broughton on 21 October 2021.

The waste was blocking access to the Southern Water Services Ltd site and also a footpath, which leads to the Clarendon Way. The waste included industrial-sized fridges, an oven and an ironing board, together with a large number of blue plastic vegetable crates. The appliances displayed the PAT testing labels which allowed them to be traced back to The Concorde Club in Eastleigh, who confirmed that they had paid GBP300 cash for the waste to be removed and the removal had been captured on CCTV.

A DVLA enquiry confirmed that the vehicle in the CCTV footage was registered to the defendant. The stills from the CCTV were also sent to Hampshire Constabulary who identified Mr Hilden in the images.

I hope this sends a message to those criminals who think they can get away with it, that they absolutely won't.

At Southampton Magistrates' Court on 7 September 2022, Mr Hilden was disqualified from driving for three months and sentenced to 12 weeks in custody, reduced to eight weeks for an early guilty plea, suspended for two years. He was also ordered to undertake 120 hours of unpaid work, reduced to 80 hours for an early guilty plea.

He will pay Test Valley Borough Council GBP133 in compensation to cover clean-up costs, plus full costs of GBP1,041. Portfolio Holder for Environmental Services, Councillor Nick Adams-King, said: "I would like to say a massive thank you to all those involved in bringing Mr Hilden to justice. "Thanks to the breadcrumb trail that started with the PAT testing labels, through to the CCTV that placed the defendant at the scene in his vehicle, we were able to track down the person responsible.

"Fly-tipping is a terrible crime with terrible consequences, and I hope this sends a message to those criminals who think they can get away with it, that they absolutely won't."

Project findings highlight "immense opportunity" to accelerate textile recycling

textiles

The Sorting for Circularity Europe project indicates that 74%, a total of 494,000 tonnes, of low-value, post-consumer textiles is readily available for fibre-to-fibre recycling in six European countries.

Fashion for Good has concluded the Sorting for Circularity Europe project, created in collaboration with Circle Economy, and released a report detailing the findings of the 16-month analysis. Fashion for Good says this represents the potential to generate an additional EUR74 million per year in value by reintroducing sorted and recycled textiles back into the value chain. Using "innovative" Near Infrared (NIR) technology to determine garment composition, traditionally a task performed manually, the project analysed a total of 21 tonnes of post-consumer garments.

On-the-ground examinations were performed over two time periods, autumn/winter 2021 and spring/summer 2022, to account for seasonal changes in the types of garments entering sorting facilities.

This project lays the knowledge foundation that will enable key players to set into motion.

Cotton was found to be the dominant fibre (42%), followed by a large presence of material blends (32%), almost half of which consisted of polycottons (12%). Based on three characteristics, material composition, presence of disruptors, such as zippers and buttons, and colour, 21% of the materials analysed are deemed suitable as feedstock for mechanical recycling, while 53% are suitable for chemical recycling. Fashion for Good says this presents a significant opportunity for circularity as currently only 2% of post-consumer textiles are diverted to fibre-to-fibre recycling.

Managing Director at Fashion for Good, Katrin Ley, said: "As fibre-to-fibre textile recycling commitments and policies increase, as well as the amount of textile waste collected, the infrastructure required to drive the move towards circular systems requires significant investment to scale. "To make informed investment decisions, as well as assess the business case for monetisation through recycling, a deeper understanding of the characteristics of today's European post-consumer textiles landscape is needed. This project lays the knowledge foundation that will enable key players to set into motion."

Environment Agency crushes tipper truck in waste crime probe

environment-agency-van-crushing

A van linked to waste dumped illegally across London has been seized and crushed by the Environment Agency.

Investigators believe the Ford tipper truck belonged to a group operating at various sites in the capital.

Crime officers removed the vehicle from an address at Chesham in Buckinghamshire during a wider probe into organised waste crime. The 18-year-old white van had been seen reportedly dumping waste on open land, in empty warehouses and other sites in Croydon, Merton, Mitcham and Southwark in the past year. Material left at the sites included construction waste, tyres and rubbish from house clearances.

Officers continue to investigate the vehicle's owners, who failed to come forward to claim it before it was destroyed.

Seizing vehicles involved in waste crime, based upon vital intelligence from the public, is an important weapon in our armoury.

Environment Manager for the Environment Agency in the South East, Matt Higginson, said: "Where individuals threaten to undermine legitimate businesses and illegally dump waste, we have no hesitation in using all powers open to us. "Seizing vehicles involved in waste crime, based upon vital intelligence from the public, is an important weapon in our armoury to disrupt waste criminals and can make a real difference to local communities blighted by illegal dumping of waste. "To avoid unwittingly supporting waste criminals, and facing the possibility of an unlimited fine, we ask the public and businesses to always ask for proof of a waste carrier's registration and waste transfer note - and take photos of them - before having any waste cleared."

Crushing suspected offenders' vehicles is one of the tactics of Operation Angola, which investigates large-scale illegal dumping of commercial waste.