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Industry beats sleet, gathers in Dallas

Plastics Recycling Update Magazine - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 17:00
Industry beats sleet, gathers in Dallas

By Editorial Staff, Plastics Recycling Update

Feb. 26, 2015

The Plastics Recycling Conference in Texas this year marked the 10th iteration of the event and drew strong attendance.

Taking place this week at the Hyatt Regency Dallas, Plastics Recycling 2015 brought in more than 1500 attendees from 40 countries. Winter Storm Quantum, which ushered in rare snowfall to the region and icy conditions at airports, caused travel delays for many attendees but networking and education heated up quickly.

Festivities kicked off on Monday with the Recycling Tech Summit from SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association and the Society of Plastics Engineers Plastics Environmental Division's "Plastics Recycling in 2015" forum. Monday evening was marked by an opening reception, hosted by the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI).

Tuesday and Wednesday brought a deep lineup of presentations and panel discussions on a range of trends and topics currently affecting plastics recovery. A dialogue between leading trade association executives, a deep look at the evolution of New York City's plastic recycling efforts and an analysis of the complex relationship between recycling and corporate sustainability served as some of the highlights.

The conference's trade show, which opened a day earlier than in years past, drew nearly 200 exhibitors taking advantage of the opportunity to meet face-to-face with current and future business prospects.

Patric Pike, regional sales manager for optical sorting machine manufacturer Satake USA, said he likes the way Plastics Recycling 2015 was tied in with events from industry trade associations, bringing together customers from every corner of the industry.

"We see tons of existing customers we’d [otherwise] have to drive and spend a lot of time to see,” Pike said.

This year, company representatives were able to talk with existing and potential customers about a smaller optical sorter for plastic flake, regrind and pellets.

“It’s a great place for releasing a new product,” Pike said.

While the conference officially wrapped up Wednesday afternoon with a heated discussion on the role of mixed-waste MRFs in the plastics recycling space, many attendees are staying on for today's Association of Plastic Recyclers' membership meetings and ISRI's Paper Stock Industries Specifications Summit.

The 11th Plastics Recycling Conference will be taking place in New Orleans next year. It's slated for Feb. 1-3, 2016 at the Hyatt Regency. Mark your calendars now, and check in at plasticsrecycling.com for all the latest on next year's gathering. Sponsor and exhibitor opportunities will be available starting in spring 2015.

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Trade association execs confront industry issues

Plastics Recycling Update Magazine - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 16:57
Trade association execs confront industry issues

By Dan Leif, Plastics Recycling Update

Feb. 26, 2015

Recycling professionals, it's time for you to stick up for yourselves. That was the message from one key trade association leader during the opening session at Plastics Recycling 2015.

Steve Russell, vice president of the American Chemistry Council's Plastic Department, made his rallying cry early in a 90-minute panel discussion between recycling association executives, held Tuesday morning.

After reading quotations from the New York Times and other media that voiced skepticism over the effectiveness of plastics recycling, Russell challenged the industry audience. "These are some patently false statements," he said. "But who has spoken up about it? We don't speak up enough."

The words certainly perked up many audience members recovering from long travels times and an unexpectedly icy Tuesday morning at Plastics Recycling 2015 in Dallas, and they helped set the tone for a dialogue in which Russell and the other association executives on stage did in fact speak up – on a number of issues.

The Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers' Steve Alexander, for instance, on several occasions noted that packaging producers and recycling observers attach unreasonable time frames to their demands for innovation from reclaimers and other recycling players.

He said finding solutions for new materials such as flexible film pouches will come as markets progress naturally. "Society wants a silver bullet, but we don't have a 24 hour turn on that," he said. "We're the good guys. We're trying to do the right things in plastic."

Another member of the panel, Kim Holmes of SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association, made the point that if the industry can find ways to collect more robust sets of data about specific resins that will be in demand, firms can feel more comfortable putting major financial commitments behind the research and development necessary to tackle challenging streams.

The notion was in line with Alexander's point that developing effective solutions for processing takes times and resources.

"What is the demand for recycled material now, and five years from now?" she said. "Getting that back to recyclers is important so they feel comfortable making investments."

Robin Wiener, who leads the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, added that in an industry where companies are increasingly heeding the call of customers to offer a variety of recycling services, no single material should be prioritized at the expense of another.

That strategy is becoming particularly relevant as the industry confronts the recent evolution of mixed waste processing, in which recyclables and trash are all tossed in one bin and separated at a tech-reliant facility.

Wiener indicated the need for cooperation extends beyond curbside, however.

"We need to talk across commodities," Wiener said. "When we talk about increasing volumes, the volumes will come from industrial scrap, electronic scrap and other more complex streams."

In several different contexts during the conversation, the executives noted that their collective voice is becoming more about cooperation than competition.

"The organizations and leading companies in various sectors have started to work together and we're seeing a real evolution in how trust is built," ACC's Russell said. "I think maybe we've turned an important corner."

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Port agreement reached after months of deadlock

Plastics Recycling Update Magazine - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 16:54
Port agreement reached after months of deadlock

By Bobby Elliott, Plastics Recycling Update

Feb. 26, 2015

West Coast port workers have agreed to a new multi-year contract, ending more than nine months of contentious negotiations and, at least on paper, freeing up the flow of scrap recyclables for export.

While terms of the agreement have not been announced, the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) announced on Feb. 20 a "tentative" five-year deal had been struck with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU). U.S. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez stepped in earlier this month to push the two parties, who had been negotiating since May 2014, toward a resolution.

ILWU members will have to approve the new contract terms before the deal becomes official.

In response to the new deal, the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) warned the labor stalemate might have "long-term consequences" for the recycling industry.

"Already facing a drop in prices, recyclers witnessed a decline in exports which left many forced to cut their workforce and set aside investments needed to grow their business," ISRI's president, Robin Wiener, said in a release. "There may still be long-term consequences we face such as lost overseas markets."

According to ISRI, exports from West Coast ports in 2014 were down 12 percent compared with 2013 levels, with the value of scrap exports worsening as the year went on.

"It's been hell," said Patty Moore, who runs the Plastic Recycling Corp. of California. She said buyers of material that would be bound for export began showing reservations six weeks ago as previously purchased material sat on the docks.

Over the last three weeks, the situation worsened. "Buyers just kind of gave up," Moore said, noting that the port dispute ultimately hurt the paper industry more than plastics because more recovered paper is sent overseas.

As negotiations continued into late October, PMA accused ILWU of staging "devastating slowdowns up and down the coast." ILWU denied those allegations.

In commenting on the resolution, Labor Secretary Perez suggested the U.S. economy as a whole will be able to recover from the port dispute.

"I think in the grand scheme, I'm confident that we can recover quickly," Perez said.

PRCC's Moore said that if the new agreement does in fact hold and material begins to move, it could take up to two months to clear the backlog of containers.

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ACC: Film recycling up, non-bottle rigid plastics flat in 2013

Plastics Recycling Update Magazine - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 16:52
ACC: Film recycling up, non-bottle rigid plastics flat in 2013

By Bobby Elliott, Plastics Recycling Update

Feb. 26, 2015

Recovery of post-consumer film in 2013 rose to new heights, while China's Green Fence largely kept non-bottle rigid plastics at home, according to a pair of reports from the American Chemistry Council.

Released at the 2015 Plastics Recycling Conference in Dallas this week, ACC's seventh annual "National Postconsumer Plastics Bag & Film Recycling Report" points to an 11 percent increase in film recycling during 2013. The report was authored by Moore Recycling Associates.

"We are pleased to see such strong growth in the recycling of polyethylene wraps," Steve Russell, vice president of ACC's Plastics Department said in a release. "These increases highlight the critical role that grocers, retailers and other businesses play in collecting this valuable material."

All told, 1.14 billion pounds of film was reported recycled in 2013, with 58 percent sent abroad and the remaining 42 percent of that total sent to end users in the U.S. and Canada. While China's Green Fence "had a dramatic effect on the demand for contaminated film," the report states demand for higher value film "continued to see strong demand from both domestic and export buyers" in 2013.

Recycling of commercial clear film accounted for just about half of U.S. film recycling – 516 million pounds – and grew over 2012 levels by 10 percent. Recycling of commercial mixed color film also grew, reaching 236 million pounds (up 51 percent).

Mixed film recycling, a category that includes plastic carryout and grocery bags collected at retail and grocery locations, accounted for about a quarter of the overall recovery activity, reaching nearly 248 million pounds and increasing by 37 percent. Recycling of curbside film fell by 71 percent in 2013 and totaled just over 8 million pounds, the report states.

Nina Butler, managing director at Moore Recycling Associates, says more research needs to be done before assuming there's a correlation between increased mixed film recycling and falling curbside film recycling.

"Project plans are underway to study the impact of education on, not only the retail stream, but the curbside stream in two communities," Butler told Plastics Recycling Update. "While it's likely that instructing consumers to recycle their film packaging through retail programs is leading to less in the curbside stream, we need data to support such conclusions."

The Moore-conducted and authored "National Postconsumer Non-Bottle Rigid Plastic Recycling Report," meanwhile, suggests China's crackdown on the quality of imported material kept non-bottle rigid recycling figures from growing.

According to the report, recycling of non-bottle rigid plastics fell by 1 percent in 2013, coming in at just over 1 billion pounds.

"The slight year-over-year decrease is most likely attributable to China's Green Fence effort," the report reads. Exports were down 25 percent for the year.

The silver lining, however, is that domestic reclamation continued to grow. In 2013, 67 percent of recycled non-bottle rigid plastics was purchased for use by the U.S. or Canada, compared with 57 percent in 2012 and just 37 percent in 2007, the first year ACC began publishing its annual report.

PP accounted for the most readily recycled resin in 2013. A total of 396 million pounds of non-bottle rigid PP was reported as recycled during the year. HDPE, with 357 million pounds recycled, and PET, with 85 million pounds recycled, were the second and third most recycled resins, respectively.

Moore points out estimates for film and non-bottle rigid plastics recycling represent "minimum" figures due to the voluntary nature of the group's annual data-gathering efforts. All told, 600 companies were contacted for each study, with 175 providing data.

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Data effort in Texas leads to recycling rate, plastics info

Plastics Recycling Update Magazine - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 16:49
Data effort in Texas leads to recycling rate, plastics info

By Bobby Elliott, Plastics Recycling Update

Feb. 26, 2015

A data collecting initiative in Texas has arrived at a historically elusive figure: the Lone Star State's recycling rate. It's also led to some fresh data on plastics in Texas.

According to newly published results from the Texas Recycling Data Initiative (TRDI), the state recycled 18.9 percent of its municipal solid waste stream in 2013. Though the figure is below the national average recycling rate of roughly 34 percent, organizers say developing the number offers a starting point for future development.

"The material in our recycling bins is the next big resource boom for Texas," said Maia Corbitt, executive director of the State of Texas Alliance for Recycling (STAR), one of the co-leaders of the effort.

A voluntary but expansive effort, TRDI, under the guidance of STAR and the Lone Star Chapter of the Solid Waste Association of North America, sought out statewide recycling data from processors and end users of materials. Attention was paid to ensure double-counting of data didn't inflate the numbers and the "rigorous and conservative" recycling rate was calculated without crediting reuse, source reduction or waste-to-energy activity.

According to the report, 6.1 million tons of municipal materials were recycled during the year, leaving 26.4 million tons going to landfill. A total of 169,216 tons of plastics were reported recycled.

To arrive at that number, TRDI crunched numbers it received from 36 facilities across the state, including 25 commercial MRFs and two plastics reclaimers. Eight reclaimers did not respond to the survey.

According to the report, most plastics flow through local and commercial MRFs in the state.

On the workforce side, the report found just under 12,700 Texans are employed by the industry either through direct, indirect or induced means.

The Georgia Recycling Coalition chronicled its own data-mining project in a feature-length article that is in the March 2015 issue of Resource Recycling magazine.

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ISRI adds plastics specs

Plastics Recycling Update Magazine - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 16:47
ISRI adds plastics specs

By Editorial Staff, Plastics Recycling Update

Feb. 26, 2015

The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries has added nine new plastics specs to its "Scraps Specifications Circular" document.

The additions were unveiled by ISRI during Plastics Recycling 2015 in Dallas.

"The nine new plastics specs were designed to give definition and clarity in the plastics film market," Robin Wiener, president of ISRI, said in the announcement. “As the market for recycled plastics film evolved, ISRI members recognized the need for our specification to reflect their needs and were the driving force behind their adoption."

The new specs are as follows:

  • Premium Film: This grade consists of 100 percent clean, clear, dry, post-industrial film consisting of LLDPE film or LDPE film;
  • A+ Grade Film: This grade consists of 99 percent clean, clear, dry, post-commercial and/or post-industrial film consisting of LLDPE pallet stretch film. May contain small amount of LDPE film;
  • A Grade Film: This grade consists of 95 percent clean, dry, clear, natural LDPE or LLDPE film. Any mix of post commercial or post-industrial film. Minimal amount of HDPE allowed;
  • B Grade Film: This grade consists of 80 percent clear, up to 20 percent color, clean, natural LDPE and/or LLDPE films. Any mix of post-commercial or post-industrial film is allowed. Minimal amounts HDPE or strapping allowed;
  • C Grade Film: This grade consists of 50 percent clear, 50 percent color, dry, LDPE or LLDPE films. Can be any mix of post-commercial or post-industrial film. HDPE or PP films are allowed;
  • MRF Film: Film collected and sorted at a MRF, typically generated from curbside collections consisting of HDPE grocery/retail bags, LDPE, or LLDPE films;
  • Grocery Film: Any mix of clean, dry, grocery, retail, packaging film or dry cleaner bags collected from store return programs. Bales may contain HDPE, LLDPE or LDPE films combined;
  • Agricultural Greenhouse Film: Films not used on the ground for agriculture or farming. Examples of which may be bale wrap, greenhouse films, dairy bags and bunker silo films which are polyethylene based; and
  • Agricultural Ground Cover Film: Any film collected after in field use. Examples of which may be mulch film and irrigation (drip) tubing which is polyethylene based.

ISRI's "Scraps Specifications Circular" is aimed at providing guidance for buyers of scrap materials. It can be viewed here.

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PetroChem Wire: Prime PET producers eye March rise, rPET Price Holds

Plastics Recycling Update Magazine - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 16:42
PetroChem Wire: Prime PET producers eye March rise, rPET Price Holds

Feb. 26, 2015

Prime PET prices notched up during the third week in February, with spot business done at 57.5 to 58.5 cents per pound delivered Midwest. Prime PET producers announced an increase of as much as 4 cents per pound for March deliveries.

Recycled PET FDA sanctioned clear pellets, assessed FOB US East Coast, were holding at 68 to 69 cents per pound mid-month, at least a 10 cents per pound premium over prime material.

On the West Coast, the work slowdown at ports disrupted loadings of PET bales for export in recent weeks and drove PET bale prices lower. Southern California PET bale prices fell 0.5 to 1.0 cents per pound last week to 18.5 to 19.75 cents per pound FOB LA/Long Beach.

For a free trial to the Repro/Regrind Resin Report or to see sample issues of all PCW reports visit the PetroChem Wire website at www.petrochemwire.com. You can also contact Cindy Bryan at cindy@petrochemwire.com or (713) 385-1407.

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NewsBits

Plastics Recycling Update Magazine - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 16:39
NewsBits

Feb. 26, 2015

Voters in California will now decide the fate of the nation's first statewide plastic bag ban. After being signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2014, the American Progressive Bag Alliance successfully gathered and qualified more than 500,000 signatures to suspend the law from going into effect later this year and include the issue on the November 2016 ballot. Supporters of the ban have expressed confidence that Californians will go ahead with the ban anyway.

The National Plastics Center has awarded the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) $200,000 to put toward its PlastiVan education effort. SPE's mobile program visits schools across North America to explain the chemistry behind plastics, the nuts and bolts behind making resin and the value and importance of sustainability for the industry.

Austrian equipment maker Erema has launched a sister company called Pure Loop. Erema says Pure Loop will "specialize exclusively in the recycling of clean production wastes using shredder/extruder technology."

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Sims sees spike in e-scrap profitability

E-Scrap News Magazine - Wed, 02/18/2015 - 23:01
Sims sees spike in e-scrap profitability

By Editorial Staff, E-Scrap News

Feb. 19, 2015

Financial figures for July through December 2014 indicate Sims Metal Management's recent e-scrap consolidation appears to be paying off.

Publicly traded Sims netted nearly $9.8 million of its estimated $71 million profit for the half-year period from its global e-scrap recycling operations. While the $313 million in revenue from e-scrap sales was down about 5 percent compared with the July-December 2013 split, profitability was non-existent in that span and the latest profits represent "the highest in two years."

Sims Recycling Solutions is the electronics recycling arm of Australia-based Sims Metal Management.

"Stronger earnings were due to elevated performance from Continental Europe and reduced losses incurred from recently exited operations. Performance of this segment is expected to continue to improve as the benefits of the optimisation program flows through into the results," the company's synopsis on the sector reads.

The company announced plans last year to close all of its e-scrap plants in Canada and consolidate operations in the U.K. The move followed closures of Sims' e-scrap facilities in New Jersey and Texas.

During the July-December 2014 stretch, the company cut down on its e-scrap workforce by almost 21 percent. The company's assets fell by 18 percent during the period.

The company has a goal reaching $250 million in profit before taxes and interest by its 2017-2018 reporting period.

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Plastics Recycling 2015: All about e-plastics

E-Scrap News Magazine - Wed, 02/18/2015 - 22:58
Plastics Recycling 2015: All about e-plastics

By Editorial Staff, E-Scrap News

Feb. 19, 2015

North America's largest plastics recycling conference, taking place next week, will offer some useful knowledge and networking opportunities to e-scrap players.

Plastics Recycling 2015 will offer an exclusive first look at In-depth research on the plastics recovered from scrap electronics. This original data-compiling project investigates where e-plastic discards are being generated and where they’re going once they are processed.

A critical analysis of e-plastics consumption, recovery and recycling will be offered, and it will be accompanied by strategies that firms can employ to overcome e-plastic profitability challenges.

Plastics Recycling 2015 is taking place Feb. 23-25 at the Hyatt Regency in Dallas, Texas. Head to www.plasticsrecycling.com for information on attending.


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Southeast processing firm accused of landfilling CRT glass

E-Scrap News Magazine - Wed, 02/18/2015 - 22:54
Southeast processing firm accused of landfilling CRT glass

By Bobby Elliott, E-Scrap News

Feb. 19, 2015

Diversified Recycling has been slammed by the Basel Action Network for allegedly sending glass to a downstream partner that dumped the material at a local landfill. The company is also accused of selling broken devices online.

Following a month-long investigation of Diversified's Norcross, Georgia facility, the Basel Action Network (BAN) announced today Diversified has been suspended for two years from applying to the e-Stewards certification standard due to the alleged activities. BAN is the creator of the e-Stewards standard.

Diversified's Orlando, Florida processing facility was on the verge of becoming certified to the e-Stewards standard when an inaccurate financial report and online electronics sales activity prompted BAN and e-Stewards officials to look into the company's downstream activities in Georgia, which was also aiming to be certified.

According to BAN, the investigation found Diversified had sent CRT glass to Sarah's Trading, which went on to crush and landfill the glass at a nearby construction and demolition debris landfill not authorized to take the leaded glass.

It is unknown how much glass was sent from Diversified to Sarah's, and it's also unclear exactly how long that downstream arrangement was in place.

"It could be massive amounts that ended up in that landfill," Jim Puckett, executive director of BAN, told E-Scrap News. "It seemed very willful. If they had come to us and said, 'We just realized one of our downstreams is really problematic,' that would have been extremely different."

The BAN report also alleges Diversified had been selling used electronics online without proper assurances that they were tested and in working order. In one particular case, Diversified is accused of sending a large quantity of non-working devices to Hong Kong after stating those electronics were functional.

Diversified CEO Bruce Mannseur responded to the announcement in a statement sent to E-Scrap News. He defended the company's actions and argued it was misled by Sarah's Trading.

"Diversified Recycling hereby officially denies all knowledge of the allegations as set forth in the Basel Action Network’s recent publication," the statement reads. "Diversified Recycling was given assurances by Sarah’s Trading that they in fact would adhere to the applicable laws, rules and regulations pertaining to the proper handling and disposal of the cathode ray tube glass. Diversified Recycling takes its responsibilities as an electronics recycler very seriously and has always maintained a strong commitment and a strict adherence to all local, state and federal environmental laws."

Sarah's Trading did not respond to numerous requests for comment. It is not known if the firm is still in operation, though its website is still active.

The BAN report indicates Sarah's moved the CRT glass to construction and demolition debris site Safeguard Landfill Management in Fairburn, Georgia. Representatives from Safeguard did not respond to a request for comment.

The Atlanta office of EPA Region 4 is now handling the case but would not comment on its status.

Diversified's Orlando facility had been certified to the R2:2008 standard until Dec. 31 but has yet to become re-certified under the updated R2:2013 standard. The company's Norcross site has never been certified to either R2, a point the certification's administrator, SERI, pointed out in a press release issued in response to BAN's report.

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Spanish firm expects to take in 67,000 tons of US CRT glass

E-Scrap News Magazine - Wed, 02/18/2015 - 22:50
Spanish firm expects to take in 67,000 tons of US CRT glass

By Bobby Elliott, E-Scrap News

Feb. 19, 2015

A Spanish company supplying CRT glass to the European ceramics industry has been seeing glass tonnages from the U.S. steadily increase.

In an update sent to E-Scrap News, JJ Santos of Camacho Recycling says demand in the European ceramic tile industry for both panel and funnel glass is "increasing more and more."

Moreover, he expects Camacho will receive more than 67,000 tons of CRT glass from the U.S. in 2015. Glass tonnages, according to Santos, will also start arriving from Canada this month.

The company made waves at the E-Scrap Conference last October after presenting on its business model, which boasts competitive pricing despite being far from U.S. processors. It's also a rare example of a CRT glass processing operation that's already in operation and is permitted to take and recycle U.S. CRT glass.

One U.S. company that's begun sending glass to Camacho is Global Environmental Services (GES). As part of GES' new contract to process Kentucky's governmental e-scrap, the firm will be sending glass to Camacho for use in the tiles.

The overall process has received support from the U.S. EPA as a legitimate recycling option for CRT glass processors.

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Certification scorecard

E-Scrap News Magazine - Wed, 02/18/2015 - 22:48
Certification scorecard

Feb. 19, 2015

With the roster of companies attaining third-party certifications or audits continuing to grow, E-Scrap News has compiled a roundup of the firms announcing certification this past week.

Adirondack Mobile Shredding of Schroon Lake, New York; LionCage of Kew Gardens, New York; Norfolk Disposal of Waterford, Ontario; Northwest Shredders LLC of Woodward, Oklahoma; Security Data Destruction, Inc. of Phoenix; and Shred Quick of Bradenton, Florida have either achieved or renewed their NAID Certifications for Physical Destruction of Hard Drives.

E-Scrap News has added OHSAS 18001 and NAID AAA into its certification directory, as well as moved the directory online. If your firm recently completed these certifications, a CHWMEG audit or an ISO 9001, ISO 14001, R2, RIOS or e-Stewards certification, e-mail dleif@resource-recycling.com to be included in this section and in E-Scrap News' directory. The full directory is available here.


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NewsBits

E-Scrap News Magazine - Wed, 02/18/2015 - 22:47
NewsBits

Feb. 19, 2015

EcoATM has collected more than 4 million cell phones, tablets and MP3 players through its automated electronics recycling kiosks, according to the company. As of December 2014, ecoATM kiosks were located in 1,890 locations in 49 states. EcoATM also announced its co-founder, Mark Bowles, will take on a new role with the company as senior vice president of innovation.

Waste Management processed 35,000 tons of e-scrap in 2013, according to its 2014 sustainability report. The e-scrap processed included 1.4 million cell phones, 90,000 laptops and 4,000 tablets.

Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries recently released a video showing the contributions shredding technologies have had on the recycling industry. The 13-minute video shows shredders in action and discusses how they’ve revolutionized a number of recycling processes.

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Industry & supplier news

E-Scrap News Magazine - Wed, 02/18/2015 - 22:43
Industry & supplier news

By Editorial Staff, E-Scrap News

Feb. 19, 2015

E-scrap processor 3S International is finding that partnerships with other companies are yielding benefits for all of them, according to a press release. The Michigan-based company, which specializes in processing LCDs on a large scale, has recently partnered with IMS Electronics. “This partnership allows us to provide the best downstream for our clients’ LCD and mercury-containing devices," said Linda McFarland of IMS Electronics. "There is a huge benefit to electronics recyclers to open doors for each other." Through partnering with IMS and other firms – such as Kuusakoski Recycling, Sims Recycling Solutions and Valley City Electronic Recycling – companies share resources and collection methods and materials are shipped to the company that can best recycle them, according an accompanying op-ed.

Leaders of the e-Stewards e-scrap environmental standard have launched the e-Stewards Consultant Registry Program. Through the program, consultants pre-approved by e-Stewards can link with firms "who need support in preparing for e-Stewards certification audits, training and other valuable services." Get more information here.

IFixit.org now has more repair guides for Android devices than it does for Apple devices, the nonprofit organization has announced. It has repair manuals for 252 different Android devices, compared with 186 Apple-oriented guides. The online electronics repair hub distributes repair information and parts to allow for the repair and reuse of personal electronics. For more, click here.



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Scrap plastic exports continue to outpace 2013

Plastics Recycling Update Magazine - Wed, 02/18/2015 - 17:03
Scrap plastic exports continue to outpace 2013

By Editorial Staff, Plastics Recycling Update

Feb. 19, 2015

Exports of scrap plastics in November 2014 took a fall from October levels, but overall export levels were still up from 2013.

November, the most recent month for which figures are available, saw a steep 19.6 percent month-to-month drop from October 2014 export levels for scrap plastics, with 370.55 million pounds of the material exported. When matched against November 2013 levels (395.40 million pounds), the volume of plastic scrap exports was also down, by 6.3 percent.

The weighted price of recovered plastic exports in November, at 20.79 cents per pound, was up from October 2014 levels by 5.2 percent. When compared with its year-over-year (YOY) level, however, the price was down by 3.9 percent.

Year-to-date (YTD) figures for scrap plastics showed strong gains again with 4.43 billion pounds exported through November 2014, the volume of recovered plastics sent across U.S. borders was up 15.0 percent from its Green Fence-influenced YTD 2013 figure. At 19.84 cents per pound, however, the average price for the first 11 months of 2014 was down by 3.2 percent from its 2013 YTD standing.


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Judge makes ruling on additive case

Plastics Recycling Update Magazine - Wed, 02/18/2015 - 17:01
Judge makes ruling on additive case

By Bobby Elliott, Plastics Recycling Update

Feb. 19, 2015

A federal judge has ruled that a plastic additive company sued by the Federal Trade Commission misled clients and customers but sufficiently corrected its marketing approach and materials by the end of 2013.

In issuing the Jan. 28 preliminary ruling, which can be appealed by both parties within 30 days, Judge D. Michael Chappell determined ECM BioFilms' claims that plastic products containing the company's additive would degrade within 9 months to 5 years were "false and unsubstantiated."

ECM used that time frame – and claims related to studies proving it – in various marketing materials up until the end of 2013. The FTC sued ECM in October 2013 and by December the company had discontinued referencing the timespan.

Judge Chappel is part of the FTC's Office of Administrative Law Judges, which is tasked with independently ruling on all FTC complaints. The plastics recycling industry keeps close tabs on the properties of different additives in plastic products because those additives can affect the recyclability of those items.

ECM, in responding to the ruling, argued the company has discontinued attaching timetables to its degradability claims and has no plans to use them going forward.

"We have long since discontinued making claims concerning estimated periods within which biodegradation may occur and have no intention of making such claims in the future," ECM wrote in response to the ruling.

According to ECM's website, plastics containing the company's additive are "recyclable, compostable, and/or biodegradable wherever they end up (as long as it’s not the frozen tundra, or somewhere else where nothing could biodegrade)."

The FTC had pursued a more stringent ruling against Ohio-based ECM but failed to convince the judge any claims of degradability required and implied "complete degradation" of a product within one year. ECM, court documents show, continued to market its additive as degradable "in some period greater than a year" after 2013, a practice that went against FTC's revised Green Guide.

As a result of its wrongdoing, ECM was ordered to "not represent, in any manner . . . that any product or package will completely biodegrade within any time period, or that tests prove such claims" unless scientific evidence proves such claims. The company will also be required to take part in a 20-year compliance and reporting provision.

Judge Chappell's further ruling – that FTC's counsel did not prove products marketed as degradable had to fully degrade within one year, as FTC's Green Guide argues – essentially allows ECM, and likely others, to continue marketing its additive as degradable.

Steve Alexander, executive director of the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR), weighed in on the decision as it relates to the largely additive-wary plastics recycling industry.

"APR is interested in this matter as degradable additives create a risk of diminished performance properties over the service life for recycled plastic products until proven not to," Alexander said in a statement. "We have a test protocol to show no harm done and we have not seen any data from ECM BioFilms or others showing the protocol limits are met."

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Plastics Recycling 2015: Less than a week away

Plastics Recycling Update Magazine - Wed, 02/18/2015 - 16:58
Plastics Recycling 2015: Less than a week away

By Editorial Staff, Plastics Recycling Update

Feb. 19, 2015

With the 10th annual Plastics Recycling 2015 conference days away, the time is now to stop procrastinating and register.

Running next week in Dallas, the Plastics Recycling Conference is on pace for record attendance this year and will include an extensive lineup of events, presentations and networking opportunities. With representatives from companies in dozens of countries expected to be on hand, the conference offers a unique platform to connect with global members of the fast-evolving industry.

Plastics Recycling 2015 is taking place Feb. 23-25, 2015 at the Hyatt Regency in Dallas, Texas. Head to plasticsrecycling.com to register.

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California bottle deposit case settled for $1.8 million

Plastics Recycling Update Magazine - Wed, 02/18/2015 - 16:55
California bottle deposit case settled for $1.8 million

By Editorial Staff, Plastics Recycling Update

Feb. 19, 2015

An illegal beverage container redemption scheme landed one man in jail and yielded a $1.8 million settlement between a recycling center and the state of California, authorities said.

Under the settlement reached Feb. 11, Los Angeles-area business Action Sales and Metal must pay the state restitution and its owner, Bruce Falk, will be barred from participating in the state’s container redemption program, according to CalRecycle.

The move comes after investigations in 2012 by CalRecycle, the California Department of Justice and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department revealed that used cans and bottles originating in Arizona were being driven to Action Sales and Metal and illegally redeemed for deposits, according to CalRecycle.

"CalRecycle is dedicated to protecting the Beverage Container Recycling Fund and going after people who steal from the program," Caroll Mortensen, CalRecycle director, stated in a press release. "These are public funds – they are owed to consumers who pay (California Redemption Value) when they buy beverages and then return the containers for recycling. We will vigorously pursue these investigations, and we won’t back down until perpetrators are held accountable for their actions."

In May 2014, a jury found the company guilty of conspiracy to commit a crime, grand theft of personal property and recycling fraud. As part of the Feb. 11 settlement with the company, charges against Falk were dropped.

Another man involved in the case, Marcos Vega, who led a group that imported containers from Arizona for redemption, pleaded guilty to illegal refund claims and was sentenced to 90 days custody, three years’ probation and $15,000 in restitution, according to CalRecycle.

California’s bottle bill includes a five-cent deposit for containers less than 24 ounces and a 10-cent deposit for larger ones. Arizona has no container deposit redemption program.


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Marine debris study estimates coastal dumping

Plastics Recycling Update Magazine - Wed, 02/18/2015 - 16:53
Marine debris study estimates coastal dumping

By Editorial Staff, Plastics Recycling Update

Feb. 19, 2015

According to a new study, as much as 14 million tons of plastic found itself in the ocean during 2010.

The study, published by a team of researchers in the U.S. and Australia and the subject of a story in The Wall Street Journal, suggests between 5.3 and 14 million tons of plastic generated by coastal populations worldwide became marine debris in 2010. During the year, those same coastal population generated more than 300 million tons of plastic. [Calculations for the study were made using metric tons. For the purposes of this article, we have converted all metric units to short units.]

Those calculations outstrip past numbers by a wide margin. The most recent and complete study on marine debris suggested a minimum of 269,000 tons of plastic could be found in the ocean.

While China and Indonesia were pegged as the leading sources of marine debris in the new study, the U.S. ranked 20th among coastal populations. The U.S., researchers say, accounted for just below 1 percent of "mismanaged plastics waste" in 2010.

Researchers fear the amount of plastics currently floating in oceans could double by 2025.

Plastics interests were quick to respond to the study and reaffirm pledges to fight against marine debris.

"Ocean litter is a global problem that threatens our health, our marine wildlife and the livelihoods of millions who depend on a healthy ocean," William Carteaux, president of SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association, said in a statement. "SPI and other plastics industry trade associations are working to combat these problems, both by taking actions to stop plastic materials from entering the marine environment and by promoting a change in attitudes to prevent the waste of plastic materials."

The Plastics Division of the American Chemistry Council (ACC) also spoke out on the issue.

“The global dimensions of marine debris are creating opportunities for world leaders, NGOs, and the private sector to work together, and America’s plastics makers will continue to partner with these and other stakeholders to develop solutions for a cleaner ocean," ACC's Steve Russell said in a statement.

Both ACC and SPI are signatories to the Declaration of the Global Plastics Associations for Solutions on Marine Litter, an effort launched in 2011 to spur action among global plastics trade groups to limit marine debris.

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