International Business Briefs: recycled paper, disposable plastic, gas detection, hazardous waste, and water management

In this week’s International Business Briefs, a major US stationery company announces an environmental paper procurement policy; disposable plastic packaging in Taiwan; a GPS option for wireless gas detectors; forest stewardship certificates for a Japanese firm; success for a Canadian water treatment equipment company; and recycling of tin and selenium.


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US stationery company Staples has announced its environmental paper procurement policy, including a commitment to a transition to paper products that contain recycled paper. Staples also has chain-wide recycling initiatives, energy conservation programmes, and educational initiatives, the company says. The latest initiative is a week-long printing cartridge recycling programme by which customers returning used cartridges receive a free ream of 30% recycled copy paper.

Taiwan-based Wei Mon Industry and US-based Cargill Dow have announced an agreement to promote and distribute packaging made in Taiwan from annually renewable resources such as corn. The plastic performs as well, or better than, traditional petroleum-based plastics, and is also 100% compostable, says Cargill Dow.

RAE Systems, a gas detection and smart sensing network solution provider based in California, has introduced a new global positioning satellite option for its existing AreaRAE wireless gas detectors. The new option allows up to 16 deployed sensors to broadcast their exact location to the host gas monitor located up to two miles away, in real-time. This provides an advantage for hazardous material response teams in defining a perimeter as well as protecting personnel and communities by allowing incident commanders to have instant indication of where team members are located and where potential hazards are present, says RAE.

The Japanese Mitsubishi Corporation has announced a policy of endorsing third party certification for all of its forest product operations using Forest Stewardship Council principles. Chairman Minoru Makihara has noted that the move is more than a simple statement of principle. “We are proceeding to seek FSC certification of the operations of Alberta Pacific Forest Industries (ALPAC),” said Makihara. ALPAC is 70% owned by Mitsubishi and operates a pulp mill in Alberta, Canada.

Canadian water treatment technology company Zenon Environmental has opened a new membrane manufacturing plant just outside Budapest in Hungary. The plant will be fully operational in January, and has been developed in order to meet the increasing demand for Zenon’s ZeeWeed membrane technology around the world. This week, the company has also won a contract to supply ZeeWeed for a new drinking water plant in Kamloops, British Columbia.

And finally, US-based Hydromet Environmental Recovery has announced that it has received formal written approval from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to begin operations at its hazardous waste recycling facility in Newman, Illinois. This allows the company to receive and process tin and selenium waste materials.

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