In partnership with McMaster University and the University of British Columbia, Vitacore Industries Inc. has launched Canada’s first single-use mask and respirator end-to-end recycling program aimed at reducing the environmental impact of single-use PPE. The pilot program officially launched across Metro Vancouver in February and provides PPE recycling bins at long term care and urgent care facilities at no cost including City Centre Urgent and Primary Care Centre in downtown Vancouver and North Vancouver Urgent and Primary Care Centre. This program provides front-line workers with the opportunity to recycle their single-use face masks and CAN95 respirators and will be expanded nationally to include bins across the country.
Once collected, the single-use masks and respirators are sterilized by Vitacore before being sent to McMaster University to be broken down and repelletized. Polypropylene, the plastic used in single-use masks and respirators, will be given a second life as construction materials to reinforce concrete or siding for buildings and reduce the amount of waste heading to landfills. Furthermore, to expand the possible uses for the repelletized materials, ongoing research is still being conducted by McMaster University.
According to Vitacore president Mikhail Moore, “Over 63,000 tons of Covid-19 related single-use masks and respirators will be used over the next year in Canada, significantly contributing to the pollution in our landfills and oceans. Vitacore is committed not only to providing the highest quality PPE to Canadians, but also to a sustainable future”.
“From product conception to point-of-use and disposal, we are developing a blueprint for maximizing sustainability in the life cycle of polyolefin-based PPE products.” Says Yang Fei, director, Research and Development at Vitacore.
“Environmental sustainability is one of the thematic pillars for research at McMaster’s Centre of Excellence in Protective Equipment and Materials (CEPEM). This project illustrates the innovative approaches the centre is taking, along with partners such as Vitacore, to advance long-term sustainable use of PPE by the public and healthcare workers,” says Ravi Selvaganapathy, CEPEM’s director and Canada Research Chair in Biomicrofluidics. This month, CEPEM received $1.2M in funding from the Government of Ontario to expand its testing infrastructure and partnerships with Canadian companies, such as Vitacore.
https://advancedwastesolutions.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/vitacore-recycling-bins.jpeg21442000John Nicholsonhttps://advancedwastesolutions.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/coollogo_com-184851434-300x23.pngJohn Nicholson2021-02-24 06:21:212021-02-24 06:21:21Vitacore Industries launching Canada's first single-use PPE recycling program
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) recently announced an Enforcement Discretion Policy in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The temporary policy is with respect to environmental enforcement of legal obligations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The policy addresses different categories of noncompliance differently. For example, under the policy the U.S. EPA does not expect to seek penalties for noncompliance with routine monitoring and reporting obligations that are the result of the COVID-19 pandemic but does expect operators of public water systems to continue to ensure the safety of our drinking water supplies. The policy also describes the steps that regulated facilities should take to qualify for enforcement discretion.
“EPA is committed to protecting human health and the environment, but recognizes challenges resulting from efforts to protect workers and the public from COVID-19 may directly impact the ability of regulated facilities to meet all federal regulatory requirements,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “This temporary policy is designed to provide enforcement discretion under the current, extraordinary conditions, while ensuring facility operations continue to protect human health and the environment.”
The temporary policy makes it clear that EPA expects regulated facilities to comply with regulatory requirements, where reasonably practicable, and to return to compliance as quickly as possible. To be eligible for enforcement discretion, the policy also requires facilities to document decisions made to prevent or mitigate noncompliance and demonstrate how the noncompliance was caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This policy does not provide leniency for intentional criminal violations of law.
The policy does not apply to activities that are carried out under Superfund and RCRA Corrective Action enforcement instruments. EPA will address these matters in separate communications.
The U.S. EPA’s policy will apply retroactively beginning on March 13, 2020. The U.S. EPA will assess the continued need for and scope of this temporary policy on a regular basis and will update it if EPA determines modifications are necessary.
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.
https://advancedwastesolutions.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/ewaste-dump.jpg344645hazzmatt1https://advancedwastesolutions.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/coollogo_com-184851434-300x23.pnghazzmatt12019-02-06 03:27:172019-05-11 04:47:14UN Report Highlights Environmental, Health Risks from E-Waste
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) recently launched Dangerous Goods AutoCheck (DG AutoCheck), a new innovative solution for the air cargo industry, which will enhance safety and improve efficiency in the transport of dangerous goods by air, and support the industry’s goal of a fully digitised supply chain.
“The air transport industry handles over 1.25 million dangerous goods shipments transported every year. With the air cargo growth forecasted at 4.9 percent every year over the next five years, the number is expected to rise significantly. To ensure that the air cargo industry is ready to benefit from this growth, it needs to adopt modern and harmonised standards that will facilitate safe, secure and efficient operations, particularly in relations to carriage of dangerous goods. DG AutoCheck is a significant step towards achieving this goal,” said Nick Careen, senior vice president, airport, passenger, cargo and security, IATA.
FACILITATING ACCEPTANCE CHECKS
DG AutoCheck is a digital solution that allows the air cargo supply chain to check the compliance of the Shipper’s Declaration for Dangerous Goods (DGD) against all relevant rules and regulations contained in the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations.
The tool enables electronic consignment data to be received directly, which supports the digitisation of the cargo supply chain. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology also transforms a paper DGD into electronic data. This data is then processed and verified automatically using the XML data version of the DGR.
DG AutoCheck also facilitates a ground handlers or airline’s decision to accept or reject a shipment during the physical inspection stage, by providing a pictorial representation of the package, with the marking and labelling required for air transport.
“The DGR lists over 3,000 entries for dangerous goods. Each one must comply with the DGR when shipped. The paper DGR consists of 1,100 pages. Manually checking each shipper’s declaration is a complex and time consuming task. Automation with DG AutoCheck offers us a giant step forward. The cargo supply chain will benefit from greater efficiency, streamlined processes and enhanced safety,” said David Brennan, assistant director, cargo safety and standards, IATA.
Collaboration is critical in driving industry transformation, especially for a business with such a complex supply chain. DG AutoCheck is a good example of effective industry partnerships.
An industry working group made up of more than twenty global organisations supported the development of DG AutoCheck. The group comprises airlines, freight forwarders, ground handlers and express integrators, including Air France-KLM Cargo, Swissport, Panalpina and DHL Express.
“The air cargo supply chain is currently undergoing a major digital evolution. Collaboration across the industry is essential if the goal of a digitised electronic end-to-end messaging platform is to be realised. There is no time to lose as there is a growing demand from our customers for efficiency of electronic documentation throughout the supply chain,” said Nick Careen, senior vice president, airport, passenger, cargo and security, IATA.
https://advancedwastesolutions.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/dangerous-goods-300x182.jpg182300hazzmatt1https://advancedwastesolutions.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/coollogo_com-184851434-300x23.pnghazzmatt12018-03-30 22:56:462018-05-03 20:11:46IATA rolls out DG AutoCheck to enhance safety in dangerous goods transport
A researcher from the Canadian Environmental Law Association and paralegal, Fe de Leon, recently co-published a paper with HEJSupport International Co-Director Olga Speranskaya to bring public attention to toxic chemicals that appear in new products made out of recycled materials. The authors of the paper argue that many countries have made investments into achieving progress towards a circular economy, but little or no attention is paid on toxic chemicals that appear in new products made out of recycled materials. The paper cites a growing body of evidence of how a circular economy fails to address concerns regarding toxic chemicals in products.
Fe de Leon, Researcher and Paralegal, CELA
In the paper, the authors cite a 2017 study prepared by IPEN, an environmental activist organization that focuses on synthetic chemicals, which revealed elevated concentrations of globally targeted toxic flame retardants in plastic toys. The IPEN study claimed to have found elevated concentrations of toxic persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in samples of plastic toys purchased in different stores in Canada and other 25 countries globally. The study further stated that the levels of some chemicals were more than five times higher than recommended international limits. These chemicals include PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers) such as octabromodiphenyl ether (OctaBDE), decabromodiphenyl ether (DecaBDE); and SCCPs (short chain chlorinated paraffins). They are listed under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants and are internationally banned or restricted due to their hazardous characteristics. They all are persistent, highly toxic, travel long distances and build up in the food chain. However, their presence in new products, although they are banned or restricted, opens up the discussion of a problem regarding recycling as a key component of a circular economy.
The paper concludes that product recycling and a focus on a circular economy should be encouraged. However, material flows should be free from hazardous chemicals, at the minimum those chemicals which have already been regulated under the international treaties.
Olga Speranskaya, HEJSupport International Co-Director, IPEN CoChair
https://advancedwastesolutions.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/coollogo_com-184851434-300x23.png00hazzmatt1https://advancedwastesolutions.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/coollogo_com-184851434-300x23.pnghazzmatt12018-03-30 18:13:072018-03-30 18:13:07Recycling end-of-life materials may be perpetuating toxic chemicals in new products
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.
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
Personal Protective Equipment
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.
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.
https://advancedwastesolutions.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/saver-program.jpg94201John Nicholsonhttps://advancedwastesolutions.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/coollogo_com-184851434-300x23.pngJohn Nicholson2018-03-30 16:53:302018-03-30 16:53:30U.S. System Assessment and Validation for Emergency Responders Program