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This newsletter copyright 1999 Raymond Communications Inc.; permission to
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subscribe to SRLU or RLI, call 301-345-4237. RAY
RECYCLING LAW BULLETIN April 14, 1999
In this issue:
Patent Stifles Commercial Recovery
Cities, Haulers Negative on Plastic Beer Bottle
EUROPEN Publishes Guidance on "Essential Requirements"
Korea Enacts "Excessive Packaging" Law=20
Comedy Night Added to "Take it Back!" =9199 Conference
REMINDER: The Holiday Inn hotel deadline is April 19 for our block of
rooms for the Take it back! conference =96 please make your reservations
now! Use the online order form to register at http:/www.raymond.com or
call 301-345-4237 with your credit card number.
Patent May Stifle Commercial Reuse Programs=20
Re-Source America, Inc. Southhampton PA, has sued American Recycling &
Manufacturing, Rochester NY, claiming its reuse system violates
Re-Source's commercial packaging takeback patent.
Re-Source, which holds a number of patents on a commercial return system
involving "cushioned" packaging, filed the suit in 1997, claiming that
American violated its newer patents because it was a third party system
involving "cushioning." American has cross-claimed for $1 million in
Grey's operation has 30 licensees that take in used cushioned assemblies,
clean and refurbish at sheltered workshops, and get the packaging back to
manufacturers for reuse. The licensees must pay Grey a fee per=20
Re-Source is claiming that American, which takes in commercial
thermoformed trays and totes for reuse on contract for manufacturers,
with no instructions, violates the Re-Source patent. Grey broadened his
patent in August 1998 (after the suit was filed) to apparently include
such trays =97 not just the traditional "cushioning."
"That patent is stifling recycling," declared the packaging manager of a
major electronics company. He says his company tried to use Re-Source but
found it not economic because of low return rates. He tried to set up an
in-house return system that would not violate the patent, but found it
was so complex, it was simply uneconomic to do so. The source said he
knew of many cases in which a manufacturer has simply given up on the
idea of refurbishing their packaging because of the patent
He says what is needed is for someone to challenge the patent in the
patent court. He says no one company will do this because the "return"=20
=97 having the freedom to set up your own system =97 just is not there. Suc=
a challenge would take years and cost about $250,000 in legal fees.=20
(Full story in April 1999 STATE RECYCLING LAWS UPDATE)
Cities, Haulers Negative on Plastic Beer Bottle
The issues of the plastic beer bottle and other new designs and the
question of how to motivate manufacturers to use more recycled materials
and voluntary take back were discussed at length at a recent Municipal
Solid Waste Management Association panel in Washington D.C. MWMA is the
solid waste interest group of they U.S. Conference of Mayors.
The panel included Lupe Vela of the City of Los Angeles, Ellen Ryan from
the City of San Jose, Frank Orlandella regulatory affairs for
Hewlett-Packard Co., Warwick Hassan from Continental PET, (which makes
the beer bottle) Clare Lindsay from EPA, Willie Rhodes from the City of
Austin, with moderator Gary Davis from the University of Tennessee, and
publisher Michele Raymond..
Of interest: Vela, head of recycling for the City of Los Angeles, said no
one from either Continental PET or Miller Brewing had spoken to her
prior to this meeting. Hassan explained all the testing Miller has done
with recyclers and tried to assure skeptical city solid waste managers
that his company is committed to using the recycled PET/nylon material
with a premium buyback program.
However, city officials were rather blunt in their concerns: they did not
think one year was enough time to support the buyback; they were unsure
what would happen to the new material or if it would cause them new
sorting and cost headaches. They were also skeptical that new markets for
amber PET could be developed in so short a time.
As for the general recycling problem, Ryan said that the cities are
bombarded with mandates all the time, and they are tired of trying to
meet mandated goals when manufacturers have no incentive to design
packaging and products to help them reach those goals.=20
"We have to deal with these new materials," she said. "With no design for
environment, we'll just keep filling the landfills. We will not meet the
goals!. . .there are a lot of frustrated state and local officials out
there =96 this is still a highly disposal-oriented society."
"It's great that you are recycling in your plants =96 you must go beyond
that," Vela added.=20
Ryan and Lindsay asked the audience for feedback on what kind of catalyst
is needed to push North American manufacturers in the direction of
Meanwhile one of our most experienced corporate sources, which happens to
use recycled PET, made it very clear that they would not stand for new
contamination of their feedstock stream. He points out that there are
currently four ways to make the plastic beer bottle, and none of them
have been fully tested. Small quantities won't hurt, but if all the
major beer makers successfully market the plastic bottle with different
barrier layers, it could indeed wreck serious havoc on the current PET
The source compared L.A.'s resolution to "the clamshell." He was
referring to the "Stop Styro" campaign in Berkeley which touched off the
entire wave of packaging legislation in the U.S. in 1990.
The MWMA is mulling how and when it should take any further actions on
EPR, either in a mandatory or voluntary way. Rhodes will have some
results at the May 13-14 Take it Back! conference, sponsored by Raymond
Communications and E-Tech Products. Continental PET will also be
presenting at Take it Back! in the packaging session.
Full story in the April 1999 SRLU.
EUROPEN Publishes Guidance on "Essential Requirements"=20
EUROPEN, a European packaging trade association, has published a new
guide to "Understanding the Draft CEN Harmonised Standards on Packaging
and The Environment" The pamphlet explains in plain English how the
standards will work. =20
The "Essential Requirements" are part of the Directive on Packaging &
Packaging Waste. They have been adopted in all 15 European Union
countries, though they are required by law in France and the U.K. They
require companies to keep records on all packaging sent to Europe,
indicating how the package is either recyclable, reusable, safely
burnable, and will not interfere with recycling streams.=20
While only one set of records is required, the initial paperwork has
manufacturers confused. Consultant Victor Bell claims these requirements
will de facto ban some American packages, though European consultants
disagree =96 they believe companies can justify most current packaging
under the guidelines.=20
For a copy of the brochure, Fax 32 2 736-3521.
Bell will present a 2-hour workshop on coping with European packaging
mandates at the Take it Back! =9199 conference May 14.
Korea Enacts "Excessive Packaging" Law
Korea enacted its "excessive packaging" law February 19, complete with
empty packaging restrictions, and "reduction" ratio requirements for a
wide range of packaging. (See Country Pages for tables and full
explanations of proposed law).
The empty space ratio remains as it was in the proposal =97 for example,
processed foods 15%; beverages 10%; cosmetics: 10%; OTC drugs: 20%. In
addition, the limitations on the number of layers of packaging for
certain consumer goods remains - it is two layers for most goods; one for
shirts and underwear.
The "reduction" ratios are complex, as they are based on a formula.=20
Companies must ensure that a certain percentage of their plastic
packaging is being recycled at 50%. There is a reduction ratio for all of
the products covered by the empty space ratio if they use plastic
packaging. The ratios were reduced from the original proposal. . . . The
final law also requires reduction plans to be submitted by electronics
manufacturers for their packaging, if their product is smaller than
30,000 cu cm. The companies must show how they plan to reduce their use
of plastic packaging. =20
The new law also bans use of PVC shrink wraps and laminated PVC for
packaging, as of January 2001.
Full story in the April 1999 edition of Recycling Laws International.
This is just a sample of the kind of stuff you've been missing =96 if you
don't have a subscription to STATE RECYCLING LAWS UPDATE or Recycling
Laws International, call 301-345-4237 or go to http://www.raymond.com to
check it out! Use our handy online order form and its secure server!
<bold>NOTE: We are now selling a special version of SRLU to those with
smaller budgets -- Just ASK for 12 issues for $199 -- special is
available to NRC members, and government right now. Its does not include
the Year-End Edition but we plan to go monthly in 2000, so it includes
mroe than one year of issues and FREE E-mail service in between.
Comedy Night Added to "Take It Back! =9199"=20
"Take it Back, Giuliani!" is the working title of an evening of
improvisational comedy presented exclusively for attendees of the "Take
It Back! =9199" conference, May 13-14 , to be held in Alexandria VA, at the
Holiday Inn Select in Old Town.
The show is included free with your ticket to the two-day conference,
which features speakers from Europe, Latin America, and presentations on
Asia as well. Since we announced the conference in this newsletter,
we've also have the following speaker changes/additions: Elizabeth
Cotsworth, acting director of the Office of Solid Waste, U.S. EPA will
speak instead of Clare Lindsay.=20
In addition, Mark Sharp, Env. Affairs, Matsushita Electric will discuss
electronics takeback in Japan, and design for environment. Carl Horneman
of GE Appliances will discuss electronics takebacks and mercury
legislation at the "Solutions" session.=20
For the Day Two plenary, we've added Consultant Jack Milgrom, who will
explain results of some very secret tests on a new system to separate
mixed trash via steam classification.
Best of luck and have a great spring!
Recycling Laws International
STATE RECYCLING LAWS UPDATE
5111 Berwyn Rd Ste 115
College Park MD 20740
FAX 301 345-5768
Recycling Laws International/ State Recycling Laws Update
5111 Berwyn Rd. Ste 115 College Park, MD 20740)
301/345-4237 Fax 345-4768