The World Congress is the biggest annual event organized by the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA). In 2017, WASTECON® co-locates with ISWA’s World Congress to offer two exciting international events in one location, September 25–27 2017, in Baltimore, Maryland.
These congresses, attended this time by over 2000 people, provided opportunities to see what’s new in collection, processing, marketing and management of compost, recyclables and solid waste. Among the attendees, representatives from Eco Pack (Bulgaria), Eco Rom (Romania) and EEQ (Quebec, Canada) as well as EXPRA’s Managing Director were actively present.

One of the key topics of this year’s ISWA Congress was the fight against marine litter where the respective Task Force of ISWA presented their first findings. In line with the general message of EXPRA, ISWA is calling for massive investments in collection and treatment equipment to avoid that any waste escapes into the nature as well as in design for environment to make all products and packaging easier to collect, to sort and to recycle.

Joachim Quoden, EXPRA MD, in his function as chair of the ISWA Working Group on Governance and Legal Issues, organized 3 sessions on EPR, namely

  • The Role of Extended Producer Responsibility in the Circular Economy
  • View of International Adoption of Extended Producer Responsibility
  • Real Life Implementation of Extended Producer Responsibility in Various Countries for Various Products

Comprising many leading experts in EPR from all around the world like Prof Reid Lifset, Yale University School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, Connecticut who also wrote the governance chapter in the recent EPR report of the OECD and other insiders from Chile, Brazil, Belgium, Canada, US, Germany and Sweden.

EPR is currently implemented or minimum strongly discussed in nearly all South American countries as shown by the presentations from Chile and Brazil but also Columbia and Argentina seem to be on this track to EPR for packaging and other materials.

On the other side, EPR in the US is still concentrated on WEEE, paint, mattresses etc whereas packaging bills have been up to now not been successful; nevertheless, new discussions and initiatives have been started in California and in Connecticut. EXPRA has been contacted by both respective authorities to provide experience and best practices from Europe.

A key part of the discussion in all 3 sessions was the question how to move unrecyclable products (especially packaging) to recyclables within an EPR approach, especially via the modulation of fees.

In the practical part, especially the presentations from the neighbor country Canada, namely the new system in British-Columbia and the EXPRA member system from Quebec, EEQ, took a lot of attention amongst the audience. Allen Langdon, Managing Director of Recycle BC, explained how the EPR system is operating in BC within a dual system approach, whereas Mathieu Guillemette, EcoEnterprises Quebec, highlighted the challenges within a shared responsibility system.

The next ISWA World Congress will take place October 22 – 24, 2018 in Kuala Lumpur in Malyasia.