Can-Am Recycling of Batteries Made Easier Under New Cross-Border Regulation

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by Jonathan Cocker, Baker McKenzie

The interprovincial and international movement of hazardous recyclable materials, such as used batteries, is already big business and will only grow in the coming years in North America. Internationally, no less than 99% of all (lawful) hazardous recyclables (and hazardous waste) exported from, or imported to, Canada are with the United States.

The coming restrictions under amendments to the Basel Convention will also strengthen and foster demand for North American-based hazardous materials recycling as transfers to developing countries will be increasingly prohibited. The soon-to-be-replaced Canadian legal regime governing flows of such materials, however, has not evolved to match the market opportunities.

What was the Problem?

For starters, there are two principal outgoing federal regulations regarding the movement of hazardous recyclables and hazardous wastes:

  • the Export and Import of Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Recyclable Material Regulations (Export and Import Regulations); and
  • the Interprovincial Movement of Hazardous Waste Regulations (Interprovincial Movement Regulations)

These use different definitions of hazardous recyclables and hazardous wastes and mandate different movement documents, with neither adopting an electronic tracking system. The third hazardous waste law, the PCB Waste Export Regulations, 1996 set PCB concentration limits which rendered it incapable of facilitating exports to either the United States or elsewhere. As a result, there have been no PCB waste exports.

In short, a more commercially-responsive regime was desperately needed.

Growing International Alignment with New Cross-Border Movement of Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Recyclable Material Regulations 

The new Cross-Border Movement Regulations, in final approval stages now with a 6-month lead time period to bring into force, combines the three regulations into one and adopts single definitions and processes for both interprovincial and international movements of hazardous recyclables and hazardous waste.

More notably, the Cross-Border Movement Regulation also seeks to harmonize the adopted definitions with accepted definitions in other jurisdictions (including the US) and international agreements. In other words, the international flows of hazardous recyclables and wastes no longer allow Canada to mainly uniquely domestic (if not parochial) practices.

Clarity on Battery Recyclables and Wastes Harmonizes Globally

The Export and Import Regulations did not expressly address used batteries, creating uncertainly as to which types must be treated as either hazardous waste or hazardous recyclable material. Some types of batteries were clearly caught – but there was uncertainly around certain categories.

The Cross-Border Regulations clarifies that all types of batteries (both rechargeable and non-rechargeable) being shipped internationally or interprovincially for disposal or recycling are regulated. Further, this expanded inclusion of used batteries is consistent with international standards, allowing the battery industry to more easily include Canada in multinational strategies for the resource recovery of these materials, while adhering to increasing restrictions as to where such recycling can take place.

Regional Battery Recycling Hubs to Grow?

With a growing move away from locally-mandated recycling towards open international markets for the delivery of recycling and other resource recovery services, the changes under the Cross-Border Regulation affecting used batteries could not have come too soon.

Further, circular economy laws imposing individual producer responsibility on the battery industry may well now allow battery producers to consider regionalizing its used battery recovery operations to best capture economies of scale without the regulatory difficulties in Canada now addressed by the Cross-Border Regulations.

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The time is now for the North American battery industry to strengthen and extend their reverse supply chains across provincial /territorial boundaries and the US-Canadian border as the best available commercial strategy.

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This article has been republished with the permission of the author. It was first published in Environmental Law Insights.

About the Author

Jonathan D. Cocker heads Baker McKenzie’s Environmental Practice Group in Canada and is an active member of firm Global Consumer Goods & Retail and Energy, Mining and Infrastructure groups. Mr. Cocker provides advice and representation to multinational companies on a variety of environment, health and safety matters, including product content, dangerous goods transportation, GHS, regulated wastes, consumer product and food safety, extended producer responsibilities and contaminated lands matters. He appears before both EHS tribunals and civil courts across Canada. Mr. Cocker is a frequent speaker and writer on EHS matters, an active participant on EHS issues in a number of national and international industry associations and the recent author of the first edition of The Environment and Climate Change Law Review (Canada chapter) and the upcoming Encyclopedia of Environmental Law (Chemicals chapter).

UN Report Highlights Environmental, Health Risks from E-Waste

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As reported by the IISD, Seven UN entities released a report calling for a new vision for e-waste based on the circular economy. The report highlights that annual e-waste production is worth over USD 62.5 billion, underscoring the significant opportunity in moving towards a circular economy.

The report titled, ‘A New Circular Vision for Electronics: Time for a Global Reboot,’ finds that the global economy generates approximately 50 million tonnes of e-waste annually, or approximately six kilograms per person on the planet. Less than 20 percent of this e-waste is recycled, resulting in global health and environmental risks to workers who are exposed to carcinogenic and hazardous substances, such as cadmium, lead and mercury, and to soil and groundwater, which are contaminated by e-waste in landfills, placing food and water systems at risk. Low recycling rates also contribute to the loss of scarce and valuable natural materials: for example, up to seven percent of the world’s gold may be currently contained in e-waste. Under a business-as-usual (BAU) scenario, the UN University (UNU) predicts e-waste could nearly triple to 120 million tonnes by 2050.

“There is a trail of e-waste generated from old technology” that needs to be addressed, the report states. One-half of all e-waste is personal devices, such as smartphones, screens, computers, tablets and TVs, and the rest is household appliances and heating and cooling equipment. Europe and the US generate nearly one-half of global e-waste annually.

The report argues that systematic collaboration with major brands, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), civil society and other stakeholders is necessary to change the system and reduce e-waste. The report calls for a circular economy in which resources are valued and reused in ways that create decent, sustainable jobs and minimize environmental impacts. To capture the global value of materials in the e-waste and circular value chains, the report suggests manufacturer or retailer take-back programs and better product tracking. The report also recommends developing recycling infrastructure and scaling up the volume and quality of recycled materials to meet the needs of electronics supply chains. Further, the report explains that cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT) can support gradual de-materialization of the electronics industry.

The Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy (PAGE) produced the report on behalf of seven UN entities that collaborate on the E-waste Coalition: the ILO; the International Telecommunication Union (ITU); UNEP, the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), UNU and the Secretariats of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm (BRS) Conventions, with support from the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). The UN launched the report at the WEF in Davos, Switzerland. 

Global E-waste Disposal Market Status and Outlook 2018-2025

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Orbis Research, a market research company, recently published an updated report on the global e-waste Recycling market.  This report provides detailed historical analysis of global market for E-waste Recycling from 2013-2018, and provides extensive market forecasts from 2018-2028 by region/country and subsectors. It covers the sales volume, price, revenue, gross margin, historical growth and future perspectives in the E-waste Recycling market.

Included in the report is a profile of the leading players of e-waste recycling including Sims Recycling Solutions,
Eletronic Recyclers International, GEEP, Waste Management, and Veolia.

The report describes the market into sub-sectors by type of equipment (infocomm technology (ICT) equipment and home appliances, and other types of equipment), by application (i.e., refrigerators, televisions, computers, etc.) and by sales channel (direct vs. distribution).

In the report, there is information on e-waste recycling in various regions and countries including North America,
Europe, Asia-Pacific, South America, and the Middle East & Africa.

Nigerian e-waste recycling facility

Previous Global E-Waste Management Market reports performed by competing market research companies predicted that the global e-waste recycling market to be worth $49.4 billion by 2020. It is one of the fastest growing waste streams in emerging as well as developed regions.

Another market research company, Grand View Research, Inc., issued a global e-waste market report in the summer of 2018 which forecast h 63.705 million tonnes  of e-waste would be recycled by 2025.  The Grand View Research report warned that the high costs associated with e-waste recycling is expected to hinder the market growth. The report also stated that  the procurement of high-end machinery to effectively recycle the scrap coupled with instructing the workers about the meticulous execution of every step remain to be the major hurdles in the growth of the e-waste management market. However, the report was optimistic that the e-waste recycling market would continue to grow as the awareness about the hazardous effects of e-waste on human health along with strict regulations concerning the generation and treatment of e-waste in a majority of countries are expected to reduce the effect of the challenges.

U.S. DOD Rapid Innovation Fund for Innovative Technology in Emergency Response Tools

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The United States Department of Defence (U.S. DoD) Rapid Innovation Fund facilitates the rapid insertion of innovative technologies into military systems or programs that meet critical national security needs. DoD seeks mature prototypes for final development, testing, evaluation, and integration. These opportunities are advertised under NAICS codes 541714 and 541715. Awardees may receive up to $3 million in funding and will have up to two years to perform the work. The two phases of source selection are (1) white paper submission and (2) invited proposal submission. The window of opportunity for submitting white papers expires on April 12, 2018 (due by 3:00 PM ET).

Among the numerous R&D opportunities described in the BAA are topics relevant to the development of environmental monitoring and emergency response tools:

  • Handheld automated post-blast explosive analysis device (USDR&E-18-BAA-RIF-RRTO-0001). Handheld automated detection and characterization of explosive residue collected on-scene after an explosion.
  • Handheld networked radiation detection, indication and computation (RADIAC) (DTRA-17-BAA-RIF-0004). A lighter, more compact system for integration into CBBNE situational awareness software architecture of Mobile Field Kit and Tactical Assault Kit.
  • 3-D scene data fusion for rapid radiation mapping/characterization (DTRA-17-BAA-RIF-0005).
  • Immediate decontamination (CBD-18-BAA-RIF-0001). A spray-on decontaminant that can be applied in a single step in ~15 minutes on hardened military equipment.
  • Hyperspectral aerial cueing for chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive (CBRNE) mobile operations (PACOM-18-BAA-RIF-0001). Real-time detection via drone.
  • Mobile automated object identification and text translation for lab equipment (DTRA-17-BAA-RIF-0003). A tool to help users recognize equipment, chemicals, and potentially hazardous material in real time.

https://www.fbo.gov/spg/ODA/WHS/REF/HQ0034-18-BAA-RIF-0001A/listing.html
[NOTE: This BAA was also issued as HQ0034-18-BAA-RIF-0001B.]

U.S. System Assessment and Validation for Emergency Responders Program

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The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) established the System Assessment and Validation for Emergency Responders (SAVER) Program to assist emergency responders making procurement decisions. Located within the DHS Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), the SAVER Program conducts objective assessments and validations on commercial equipment and systems, and provides those results along with other relevant equipment information to the emergency responder community. For more information, read the SAVER Program Fact Sheet.

The SAVER Program mission includes:

  • Conducting impartial, practitioner‑relevant, operationally oriented assessments and validations of emergency response equipment; and,
  • Providing information, in the form of knowledge products, that enables decision‑makers and responders to better select, procure, use, and maintain emergency response equipment.

Addressing Technologies

SAVER contains more than 1,000 assessments of equipment that falls within 21 different categories on the DHS Authorized Equipment List (AEL). Categories include:

  • Search and Rescue
  • Information Technology
  • CBRNE Detection
  • Personal Protective Equipment
  • Decontamination
  • Surveillance
  • Explosive Countermeasures

This information is shared nationally with the responder community, providing a cost-saving resource to DHS and other federal, state, and local agencies. Additionally, more than 20 different programs offer grants to purchase equipment on the AEL List.

Objective Assessments and Validations

SAVER is supported by a network of qualified technical agents who play a critical role in providing impartial evaluations and by helping to ensure these evaluations address real-world operational requirements. Participating organizations include the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic, DHS S&T’s National Urban Security Technology Laboratory, as well as emergency response practitioners, law enforcement officers, firefighters, paramedics, and emergency managers, all of whom help to ensure these activities address real-world operational requirements.

Based on their assessments, technical agents produce documents, including product lists, reports, plans, rating charts, handbooks, and guides that describe the equipment, their capabilities, features, and potential applications. This provides first responders with a well-rounded picture to help inform procurement decisions.

SAVER Documents and Outreach

Partnerships

Biodetection Resources for First Responders

National Institute of Standards and Technology

Lesson Learned Information Sharing – Knowledge Base

Inter Agency Board – Standardized Equipment List

JUSTNet: The Website of the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center

Weather Stations for Public Safety/Emergency Management

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The wireless WeatherHawk can operate independently at a distance of a line-of-sight range up to ½ mile from the base computer, ensuring the safety of personnel. Optional high gain directional antennas can increase that range to over 7 miles under most conditions.

Portability, quick installation, rugged construction, automatic data storage, and Internet compatibility make WeatherHawk the choice for first responders with limited equipment budgets and minimal time to train on special equipment.  Save property, save lives. Choose WeatherHawk.





Forecast for the Global Market for Hazmat Packaging through to 2027

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Hazmat packaging, also referred to as Hazardous Material packaging as emerged as an effective solution in the protective packaging segment. Hazmat packaging is meant for the storage of hazardous substances and material which needs to be transported across borders. Shipping of hazardous materials is not only considered dangerous but it also requires a lot of regulations and guidelines to be transported. To minimize the spilling and snapping cases of the packaged product, the global hazmat packaging market is gaining enormous traction in the global market during the forecast period.

According to a market report from Future Market Insights, the growth of the hazmat packaging market is expected to be mainly driven by the need for a safe and secure packaging for materials that need special handling. Moreover, since the non-compliance with the shipping regulations of hazardous materials is quite costly, all the end users prefer hazmat packaging in order to perfectly comply with the regulations.

Manufacturing activity and industrial output remains important to both the developed and the developing economies. In developing economies, increase in the consumption of end products due to change in living standard and growing income has created new market opportunities to evolve. However, in developed regions, the demand is considered to be fragmented as customers ask for variations and different types of products. Protective packaging service providers need to evaluate and fulfill the requirements of protection. Therefore, the hazmat packaging market, a part of protective packaging is widely dependent on the manufacturing industry.

Interactive packaging is a key trend prevailing in the global hazmat packaging market wherein track and trace labels are being used to track the shipment. Giving the end user a chance to directly interact with the packaging itself, is expected to ring in new opportunities of growth for the global hazmat packaging market.

Packaging type which is less in weight has led to the introduction of packaging types which is specific to the product being packaged, thus, customization according to the needs of the end users is expected to lead to new market avenues of growth for the global hazmat packaging market.

The global hazmat packaging market is segmented on the basis of product type, material type, application, and geography. On the basis of product type, the global hazmat packaging market is segmented into:Cans,Boxes,Cartons,Drums and Pails,Bottles.On the basis of material type, the global hazmat packaging market is segmented into:Plastics,Metal,Corrugated Paper. On the basis of application, the global hazmat packaging market is segmented into:Paints & Dyes,Industrial Chemicals,Lubricants & Oils.

On the basis of geography, the global hazmat packaging market is segmented into North America, Latin America, Middle East & Africa, Europe, and Asia Pacific. North America hazmat packaging market is expected to continue its dominance throughout the forecast period mainly attributed to well-established end user segments in the region.

On the other hand, the Asia Pacific hazmat packaging market is expected to expand at the highest CAGR due to rapid industrialization in key economies such as India and China. Middle East & Africa along with Latin America are together expected to witness growth at a sluggish pace due to slow paced development of end user industries in the key economies. Some of the key players operating in the global hazmat packaging market are The Cary Company, Uline Company, Hazmatpac, Inc., Bee Packaging, Air Sea Containers, Inc., BASCO, Inc., and LPS Industries, LLC.

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