Market Intelligence Report
April/May 2024 Newsletter

A debrief highlighting the most important, impactful and interesting topics affecting the sector.

Market Intelligence Report

ISB Global Waste & Recycling One North American Launch at Waste Expo Las Vegas
“Despite being a country that is almost 5 times the population of the UK, Waste Expo had approximately the same footfall as the Recycling & Waste Management Show (RWM) in the UK. This might reflect the relative maturity of the European market compared to the US, where waste management is gaining traction due to several factors. The US is actively transitioning towards a circular economy, with a growing focus on recycling as a source of valuable resources. Public consciousness about sustainability is rising, driving demand for responsible waste management practices. Sustainability legislation is on the rise too, pushing for reduced greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) through improved waste management practices.”

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News we thought was of interest

Plastics Recyclers Europe Report – PET on the Road to Circularity

“Despite extreme uncertainty, figures show advancement in the market. However, the disparities in the collection, sorting and recycling of PET around Europe will need to be addressed to achieve the EU recycling targets in the mid and long-term.

PET collection and recycling accelerated in 2022 ahead of the new EU Single-Use Plastic Directive targets. The collection rate of PET in 2022 was 60%, showing an increase from the 45% achieved in 2020. Furthermore, the sorted for recycling rate for PET beverage bottles alone was estimated to be 75%, compared to 61% in 2020.

This collection rate is expected to keep growing in years to come, due to the wider rollout of deposit-return systems across Europe. In 2022, 12 countries in EU 27+3 were reported to have this collection method operational, while 9 have taken the political decision to install DRS in the near future.As for the collection, almost 2.7 million tonnes of PET waste were sorted for recycling. In addition, the total installed recycling capacity was around 3 million tonnes, out of which 1.4 million tonnes were destined for food contact applications.”

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Aldersgate Group Report Programme for Government on Green Sector Growth

“The Aldersgate Group publishes its Programme for Government, developed following extensive engagement with major businesses, NGOs and academic institutions. It provides a clear set of recommendations that the next government should take forward to strengthen the UK economy and put the country on a positive footing for the future.

The UK’s green economy has remained resilient despite a challenging context and will be a crucial engine of future growth. Research demonstrates that the low-carbon sector grew 9% in 2023 in contrast with the wider economy, which saw only 0.1% growth during that period, and businesses involved in the sector currently provide gross value added (GVA) of £74 billion to the UK economy.”

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Earth Day Planet vs. Plastics Coincides with UNEP’s INC 4 Plastics Treaty

What is Earth Day? “Millions of people took to the streets of US cities and towns on 22 April 1970 in mass protests over the damage being done to the planet and its resources.

Amid the demonstrations, protesters brought New York City’s usually bustling Fifth Avenue to a halt, while students in Boston held a “die-in” at Logan Airport.

The environmental impact of the post-war consumer boom was beginning to be felt at that time. Oil spills, factory pollution and other ecological threats were on the rise, with little if any legislation in place to prevent them.”

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Inger Andersen’s Opening Speech for INC 4

“Polyvinyl chloride, polyethylene, polystyrene, polyester, polycarbonate, polypropylene, and so much more. Since their invention over the last century, these materials have become part of our lives. In the early 1950s, when the materials were mass-marketed in commercials and ads, the adds had to emphasize that we were to throw the materials away after use. This was an entirely new concept.

We were in the post Second World War world, and no civilization had lived with the concept of using a material — a bottle, a plate, a fork, a container, a cup, a bag – only once.  We had to learn that. But both the convenience and the apparent low cost made us quick learners. And just some 75 years later, every child sees this throw-away world from the moment she opens her eyes. Every child grows up in “a-use-once-and-throw-away world.”

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Edie: Talks for a global plastics treaty fall short of critical action

“According to a recent analysis, nearly 200 fossil fuel and chemical industry lobbyists registered for the negotiations during the fourth session, including approximately 16 on country delegations.

The US, one of the biggest producers of oil and gas, signalled to the G7 that it would commit to reduce plastic production, but did not deliver on it at the talks. The nation’s proposals lacked binding targets and focused on cutting demand for plastic rather than production itself.

CIEL’s senior attorney Melissa Blue Sky said: “We need to know if Member States have the political courage to say, ‘enough is enough’ and secure majority voting, or will they continue to let obstructionist countries grind the process to a halt by threatening veto power?””

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Grist – Taking Big Oil to court for ‘climate homicide’ isn’t as far-fetched as it sounds

“A new legal theory suggests that oil companies could be taken to court for every kind of homicide in the United States, short of first-degree murder.

The idea of “climate homicide” is getting attention in law schools and district attorney’s offices around the country. A paper published in Harvard Environmental Law Review last week argues that fossil fuel companies have been “killing members of the public at an accelerating rate.” It says that oil giants’ awareness that their pollution could have lethal consequences solidly fits within the definition of homicide, which, in its basic form, is causing death with a “culpable mental state.” In other words, the case can be made that oil companies knew what they were doing.”


USA: Vanguard, TotalEnergies announce joint venture for at least 10 RNG facilities

The partners left open the possibility to expand their partnership to encompass up to 60 organic-waste-to-RNG facilities.

“TotalEnergies and Vanguard Renewables are embarking on a partnership to build renewable natural gas facilities in at least 10 locations, with the possibility for more. The deal was signed April 12 and announced Wednesday, per a release. The partners plan to build the first three anaerobic digesters on dairy farms in Wisconsin and Virginia. They anticipate beginning work on the remaining seven facilities within the next 12 months. Each facility will produce about 75 gigawatt-hours of energy annually. The initial 10 facilities will produce about 0.8 terawatt-hours of energy annually once completed, bringing TotalEnergies closer to its goal of producing 10 terawatt-hours, or 10,000 gigawatt-hours, of RNG by 2030.”

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USA: National Composting Strategy

“The Recycling and Composting Accountability Act (RCAA) would strengthen data collection on US recycling systems and explore the potential for a national composting strategy. This legislation would require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to collect and publish data on recycling and composting rates nationwide to provide an accurate picture of performance both at national and state levels. According to the bill’s sponsors, this information is critical to the improvement of existing recycling and composting programs and the evaluation of future recycling policies.

Conversely, the Recycling Infrastructure and Accessibility Act (RIAA) would establish a pilot recycling programme at EPA. On a competitive basis, this programme would grant funds to eligible entities to improve recycling accessibility in a community or communities within the same geographic area. The purpose of the programme is to fund eligible projects that would substantially increase access to recycling systems in underserved communities through the use of a hub-and-spoke model for recycling infrastructure development.”

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