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Recent news and developments from the waste and environmental services industry.

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December 10, 2018
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Amazon invests $10 million in Closed Loop Fund

Amazon has announced it will invest $10 million in Closed Loop Fund, New York, to support recycling infrastructure in the U.S., according to an Amazon news release. Amazon’s investment will increase the availability of curbside recycling for about three million homes in communities across the country, making it easier for customers to recycle and further develop end markets for recycled commodities.

Amazon says the investment will divert about 1 million tons of recyclable material from landfill into the recycling stream and eliminate about 2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide by 2028.

“This investment will help build the local capabilities needed to make it easier for our customers and their communities to recycle and to increase the amount of material recycled across the country,” says Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president of worldwide operations. “We are investing in Closed Loop Fund’s work because we think everyone should have access to easy, convenient curbside recycling. The more we are all able to recycle, the more we can reduce our collective energy, carbon and water footprint.”

Closed Loop Fund invests in sustainable consumer goods, advanced recycling technologies and the development of the circular economy. Closed Loop Fund CEO Ron Gonen adds, “Amazon's investment in Closed Loop Fund is another example of how recycling is good business in America. Companies are seeing that they can meet consumer demand and reduce costs while supporting a more sustainable future and growing good jobs across the country. We applaud Amazon's commitment to cut waste, and we hope their leadership drives other brands and retailers to follow suit."

According to Amazon’s news release, the company’s investment in Closed Loop Fund furthers its commitment to reducing packaging waste through its Frustration-Free Packaging programs, which are designed to produce less waste than traditional packaging. Amazon says it has eliminated more than 244,000 tons of packaging materials, equivalent to 500 million shipping boxes, over the last 10 years.

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Malaysia takes another step back from plastic scrap

The government of Malaysia, which placed a moratorium on issuing new licenses to import plastic scrap in July, has reportedly stated it will extend that moratorium indefinitely.

A market report from Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) committee member Steve Wong says a government minister has announced an extension of the moratorium, although exceptions will be made “on imports of quality and homogeneous plastic scrap [that] can be recycled for reuse and [for which] the importer can meet certain conditions.”

An online news article from The Star, based in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, says several government ministers met on Oct. 26 and decided to extend the moratorium then.

While Wong’s report indicates existing license holders may continue to import plastic scrap, it also mentions a timetable to completely phase out such imports. “A complete ban on plastic scrap imports shall take effect after three years,” writes Wong, who is also president of the China Scrap Plastic Association and chairman of the Hong Kong-based plastic recycler Fukutomi Co. Ltd.

Manufacturers in Malaysia who consume plastic scrap also “must [now] use 30 percent local plastic scrap while importing the remaining 70 percent, and the ratio of imported scrap will be reduced to 60 percent in year two and 50 percent in the year following,” reports Wong.

Other policy changes agreed to by the ministers include: restricting the source of imported plastic scrap to the U.S., the European Union and Japan; charging an import levy of at least 15 Malaysian ringgits ($3.58) per metric ton; and requiring a deposit from scrap importers in case of violations.