“Materials Recovery for the Future: Flexible Packaging Research Program” by Michael Timpane, vp, RRS:
- MRFF is a new research collaborative with a simple vision and goal: Flexible packaging is recycled, and the recovery community captures value from it. In partnership with FPA, Assn. of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers, SPI.
- The packaging waste stream is evolving: Decreasing in prevalence are newspapers, glass, steel and aluminum containers; increasing in prevalence are corrugated containers, PET bottles/jars, plastic bags/sacks/wraps, and other plastic packaging.
- Total Life Cycle Management is the expectation for packaging; while flex packs perform well from a life cycle perspective due its low use of raw materials, many stakeholders expect end-of-life management options to improve.
- Flex packs currently present processing challenges for today’s material recovery facilities (MRF). Optical sorters are most cost-effective, practical way to separate flex packs from fiber. Adequate optical-sorter capacity on fiber lines allows most of the flexible packaging in a single-stream MRF to be captured.
- Further field testing on disc screens to achieve high flex-pack recovery at normal throughput rates.
“A Holistic Vision Across Packaging in the Circular Economy” by Anthony DiIenno, president-Recycling & Waste Solutions, HAVI Global Solutions:
- Our Thought Leader Survey showed sustainability as the top opportunity in the coming decade; 78% rated it as most important to 2023.
- Drivers include expected transparency in supply chain sourcing; greater focus on social responsibility; growth of emerging markets; expanded legislation targeting packaging through EPR, landfill bans for certain materials, and EU Circular Economy principles.
- Top trends affecting foodservice and its packaging: meal kits, e-commerce, grocerants, local ingredients, take-home/delivery, food trucks, next-generation vending, foodies.
- Holistic Design Process: First Use—minimize footprint of what goes in; then employ product improvement in use; Next Use—maximize re-usability of what goes out.
“ISO 14001:2015” by Dan Roczniak, senior director, American Chemistry Council:
- Key items in the revised standard include enhanced senior management accountability, planning focus on “opportunities,” communications upgrade and documentation changes.
- Environmental Management System (EMS) new model features planning, doing, checking and acting; EMS is now part of a company’s strategic planning.
- Policy now includes a “commitment to protection of the environment.” Companies with effective public dialogue/outreach programs have an advantage. No longer audited clause by clause. Auditors will need to see connections throughout the corporate management system.
“Revised Air Quality Standard for Ground Level Ozone” by Howard Feldman, American Petroleum Institute:
- New standard to be 65 ppb ozone at ground level; states have only begun to implement the existing standard of 75 ppb; EPA proposal is approaching background levels of ozone.
- National Assn. of Manufacturers study says new regulation could: Reduce US GDP by $140 billion per year, and $1.7 trillion from 2017-2040; result in 1.4 million fewer jobs on average through 2040; and cost the average US household $830 a year in lost consumption.
- In using Controlled Human Exposure Studies, the EPA relied on inappropriate statistics and concluded there were effects even at 60 ppb.
- Many areas of the country will be unable to meet EPA’s lower standard; look for higher vehicle fees, must register wood-burning fireplaces, restrict lawn mowing, etc.
- Half of the counties in the US will be in non-attainment zones at >68 ppb; a single event-related exceedance can make a county in non-compliance.
- EPA will sign final rule and issue final guidance documents by August 2016.
“Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Proposed Rule” by Shari Klika, waste & remediation mgr., Bemis Co. Global EHS:
- The program has been around for 30 years, with 2004 and 2013 re-evaluations by EPA.
- “Many of the changes are revisions to existing rules designed to improve generator compliance without any increase in burden,” says EPA.
- Among the changes:
- CESQG Waste Consolidation: FPA supports; recommends allowing shipment if “minority share.”
- Episodic Generation: FPA strongly supports; one planned, one unplanned on a rolling annual basis; 45-day limit is unrealistic
- Conditions for Exemption: FPA calls “enforcement concern” for “A generator may accumulate hazardous waste on-site for 90 days or less without a permit…”
- Waste Determinations: FPA says hazardous waste determinations are OK; non-hazardous waste determinations are unreasonable.
- Closure for Container Sites: FPA says “should not adopt” new requirements.
- Contingency Plan: FPA comments that many of the clarifications are helpful, but don’t define “immediate access;” objects to LEPC agreements.
- Satellite Accumulation Areas: FPA agrees that clarification is needed, disagrees with examples given for “under control of operator.”