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New York state considers electronics 'right to repair' bill

E-Scrap News Magazine - Thu, 04/16/2015 - 09:57
New York state considers electronics 'right to repair' bill

By Jared Paben, E-Scrap News

April 16, 2015

A "right-to-repair" bill in the New York legislature would require electronics manufacturers to provide repair and recycling information, parts and tools to independent e-scrap recycling entities.

The bill, S3998 in the state's Senate and A6068 in the Assembly, would require manufacturers to provide the same information, parts and tools to independent shops and individual consumers that they provide to authorized repair centers.

A similar bill has been introduced in Minnesota.

One repair advocate said the recent legislative movement could open significant profit avenues in the electronics recycling and refurbishment industry.

"This is the single biggest revenue-generating opportunity that’s come along for the recycling industry in a long time," said Kyle Wiens, founder of online electronics repair resource iFixit.org. "This is the best chance to offset the reduction in weight from new product design."

However, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), which represents original equipment manufacturers, has raised concerns about wording in the legislation.

"Ironically, these bills could have the unintended result of actually reducing the amount of product repair that manufacturers can support," states a CEA document summarizing association members’ concerns. "This could happen if it became so burdensome for manufacturers to address all the requests for information, code updates, repair and test fixtures … that manufacturers may be forced to reduce the scope and timeline for supporting products in general."

Groups in support of the Minnesota and New York bills – many of which recently fought and won the right for consumers to "unlock" mobile phones – say the bill would support local repair jobs and protect the environment. More than 1,600 letters have been sent from New York residents and businesses to legislators through the website of the bill supporter Digital Right to Repair Coalition.

Wiens said the New York bill would do for the electronics repair industry what a Massachusetts law – and a subsequent industry agreement – did for the auto repair industry. Massachusetts voters in 2012 approved overwhelmingly a measure requiring automakers to turn over repair information to independent repair shops.

CEA hasn’t taken an official position on the current electronics legislation, but some of its members have expressed concerns about various aspects of the proposed laws, said Walter Alcorn, vice president of environmental affairs and industry sustainability for CEA.

Whereas automobiles involve a long history of component assembly, electronics are moving toward smaller and more integrated systems, so consumers’ repair expectations are different, Alcorn said. Some manufacturers also have concerns about unqualified repair personnel failing to properly repair products that still have the original manufacturer’s logo on them, he said.

The bill is also much broader than the one for auto repair, which CEA supported, he said. It would affect not just consumer electronics but also industrial equipment, servers, robotic equipment and toys.

"This basically would apply to any piece of equipment that has a board,"" he said.

Wiens described the legislation as “very common sense" and added "it’s not requiring anything that the manufacturers don’t already have."

In addition to hampering reuse, a lack of repair information can make recycling e-scrap difficult and even dangerous, particularly when it comes to removing batteries, he said.

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E-Scrap 2015: A big-picture look

E-Scrap News Magazine - Thu, 04/16/2015 - 09:56
E-Scrap 2015: A big-picture look

April 16, 2015

We all know the major trends that are quickly re-shaping the e-scrap industry. Think processor consolidation, CRT glass struggles and the changing nature of the electronics recycling stream.

Understanding exactly how those developments intertwine and shape market opportunities can be a bit of a mind boggle. Fortunately, E-Scrap 2015 will be bringing the top minds in the sector together to explore the issues and offer attendees an illuminating big-picture look at electronics recycling.

Make your plans now to head to the industry's leading conference this September. The education sessions, networking events, bustling trade show and collection of ancillary meetings will give you a textured understanding of how the industry is developing – and where your business fits in.

E-Scrap 2015 is taking place Sept. 1-3, 2015 – the week before Labor Day – at Omni ChampionsGate in Orlando, Florida. Last year's conference brought together more than 1,300 attendees from 35 countries and similar numbers are expected for the upcoming iteration. Check in at e-scrapconference.com for the latest on attending, sponsoring and exhibiting.

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Minnesota e-scrap firm fined over CRT glass

E-Scrap News Magazine - Thu, 04/16/2015 - 09:55
Minnesota e-scrap firm fined over CRT glass

By Bobby Elliott, E-Scrap News

April 16, 2015

Minnesota-based Materials Processing LLC has been fined $125,000 for storing 2,500 tons of CRT glass in more than 100 semi-trailers around the Twin Cities. The company also recently closed its dual-certified Philadelphia facility, E-Scrap News has learned.

According to a press release from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, "crushed" leaded glass belonging to Materials Processing LLC (MPC) was found in 128 semi-trailers in the St. Paul-Minneapolis metro area. As part of an enforcement action brought against MPC by state regulators, the company has paid for the material, totaling 2,500 tons, to be moved to "a permitted hazardous waste facility."

No improper storage of CRT glass was cited at the company's Mendota Heights, Minnesota headquarters. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency provided E-Scrap News with a copy of the stipulation agreement between the agency and MPC, and that document indicates the trailers were located at four other sites, one in Minneapolis and three in local suburbs Roseville and Forest Lake.

The stipulation agreement also shows Minnesota regulators were alerted to the situation through a complaint in August 2013. Regulators initiated dialogue with MPC soon after, and the company provided a list of trailers containing CRT glass. In late 2013 and early 2014, Pollution Control Agency officials inspected the sites. MPC told the agency the glass in question was moved to a Peoria, Illinois landfill before June 1, 2014, according to the stipulation agreement.

The company was fined $125,000 for mismanagement of hazardous waste and failure to permit the four locations containing trailers.

MPC did not return several requests for comment.

The company was formerly known as Materials Processing Corporation but changed its name to Materials Processing LLC on Jan. 28, 2014, the stipulation agreement states. The company is listed as a registered recycling entity under Minnesota's manufacturer-backed electronics recycling program.

Founded in 1983, MPC is e-Stewards-certified at its Minnesota headquarters and also held an R2 certification there until September 2014. At that point, the company did not renew its annual licensing agreement, said John Lingelbach, the executive director of R2 administration organization SERI.

The company's Philadelphia location, which apparently shuttered in the last six months after the processor was sued for back-rent by its landlord there, was certified to both e-Stewards and R2:2013 at the time of its closing.

The Philadelphia location had been open since 2011 and spanned more than 110,000 square feet. At its peak, the facility employed 100 workers and processed 4.5 million pounds of material per month, according to an official company response to the lawsuit from the Philadelphia landlord. 

Jim Puckett, executive director at e-Stewards creator Basel Action Network, said the Minnesota glass management issue at MPC came as a surprise to him. "We are in discussions about whether their actions and the situation triggers our Critical Non-Conformity Policy and if so, were there extenuating circumstances," Puckett wrote in an email to E-Scrap News.

The non-conformity policy was last brought into play by Georgia's Diversified Recycling and resulted in the processor being hit with a two-year suspension from applying to the e-Stewards standard.

MPC was also one of four registered recycling partners of the Minneapolis-based Electronic Manufacturers Recycling Management Group (MRM), which administers state-mandated recycling services on behalf of equipment manufacturers Mitsubishi, Panasonic, Sanyo, Sharp and Toshiba.

In a statement, MRM's president, David Thompson, said the group "ended its relationship with MPC from the middle of last year."

"MRM continually reviews its business relationships with a view to increasing relationships with recyclers who offer the greatest technological potential for maximizing use of materials from electronic products collected for recycling while also maintaining strict environmental performance standards, providing excellent customer service and cost competitiveness," Thompson stated. "Last year MRM made a business decision, based on a number of factors, not to work with MPC any longer."

MPC is being sued by its landlord in Philadelphia, Drummond Decatur and State Properties, for back-rent in excess of $100,000, rent for the remainder of the lease, which ends in Nov. 2018, and costs associated with repairing, altering and/or preparing the site to be leased to another party. Drummond Decatur did not return a request for comment.

In court documents reviewed by E-Scrap News, MPC claims multiple repairs left untended at the facility gave it no choice to shutter the operation.

The phone number associated with the plant is no longer in service.

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CRT glass processor opens Virginia plant

E-Scrap News Magazine - Thu, 04/16/2015 - 09:53
CRT glass processor opens Virginia site

By Bobby Elliott, E-Scrap News

April 16, 2015

Nulife Glass has officially opened its second U.S. facility and says it will take a year for the Virginia operation to start smelting leaded glass.

Replete with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a video message delivered by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Nulife's Bristol, Virginia location marked its first day of business on April 9. It is the U.K.-based company's second U.S. outpost, joining Nulife's Dunkirk, New York facility.

Nulife CEO Simon Greer said at the Virginia event it will be "about a year" before the Bristol site gains full approval from state and federal environmental officials to operate a glass-smelting furnace. Once approved, Greer estimates the furnace, which will mirror the one being assembled in New York, can be built in six weeks.

"We'll have hot lead a year from now," Greer told E-Scrap News. "We're very happy with how things have gone."

Greer noted the company has begun receiving glass already at the site. He noted its smelter in New York is "on track" to start running in June of this year.

Nulife, which has thus far hired one employee in Bristol, expects to hire 46 workers at the plant, a goal that has gained the support of the leader of the state's government.

"The addition of 46 new jobs in a region that has experienced challenging economic headwinds is tremendous news," Gov. McAuliffe said in the video aired at the opening.

As part of a reported $5.9 million investment by Nulife to open the Bristol site, the company received $300,000 in grants, including $110,000 from the Governor's Opportunity Fund.

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ISRI releases mobile app

E-Scrap News Magazine - Thu, 04/16/2015 - 09:51
ISRI releases mobile app

By Editorial Staff, E-Scrap News

April 16, 2015

Networking with peers, accessing safety information and reading industry news can be done on the go with a recently released mobile app from the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries.

ISRI Mobile, available for both Apple and Android devices, includes tools for ISRI members and other stakeholders.

ISRI members get access to a member directory, which is searchable by commodities handled and location. They also get access to the latest newsletters, Scrap magazine and advocacy tools.

The app includes information on ISRI’s annual convention, occurring next week in Vancouver, British Columbia, including schedules, speakers and exhibitor information.

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Certification scorecard

E-Scrap News Magazine - Thu, 04/16/2015 - 09:49
Certification scorecard

April 16, 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.

All-Shred, Inc. of Frederick, Maryland; Goodwill Easter Seals Of The Gulf Coast, Inc. of Mobile, Alabama; Quality Shredding of Deer Park, New York; Securis of Chantilly, Virginia; Shredder's, Inc. of Halifax, Nova Scotia; and Shred-Ex LLC of Colchester, Vermont 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 - Thu, 04/16/2015 - 09:47
NewsBits

April 16, 2015

The Nevada attorney general’s office is investigating Sparks, Nevada-based Laptop & Desktop Repair, after complaints the company was offering consumers more for their electronics than it was actually paying them. Through its websites, which include cashforlaptops.com, cashforsmartphones.com and others, the company was allegedly initially offering more than it was paying. Consumers could turn down the actual offer via phone, but the company’s phone system was set up such that people found it difficult or impossible to reach a person.

In celebration of Earth Day 2015, an Illinois-based e-scrap recycling company will attempt to break the world record for the most electronics collected over one week at multiple sites, the company announced. Advanced Recycling Technology will hold collection events at its six facilities in five states. The current Guinness World Record, achieved by TechCollect/ANZRP of Australia in May 2013, is 523 tons.

Best Buy aims to make its large e-scrap collection and recycling program a “break-even operation,” according to a Minnesota Public Radio report examining issues of e-scrap recycling. The company collects 60,000 tons per year of electronics for recycling.

 

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Do your PET bales make the grade?

Plastics Recycling Update Magazine - Wed, 04/15/2015 - 10:43
Do your PET bales make the grade?

By Editorial Staff, Plastics Recycling Update

April 15, 2015

Under a new PET bale grading system, reclaimers will hopefully have better access to higher-quality material.

Produced by the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR), the tool uses letter grades A, B, C and F to assess the overall composition of PET bales received by reclaimers from materials recovery facilities. The system, as well as a complementary auditing protocol, is now being reviewed by the Association of Postconsumer Plastics Recyclers (APR) for formal inclusion into the model bale specifications for PET, NAPCOR said.

According to the group, the system sends "a message to the marketplace that the PET reclaiming industry needs better PET bales."

"We are willing to reward quality and we've developed a way to measure it," NAPCOR member Byron Geiger wrote in a press release. Geiger is owner and president of Custom Polymers PET.

Bales earning an "A" will need to have at least 94 percent PET. Bales containing 72 percent or less of PET will earn an "F."

Bale quality has become an increasingly important issue in the PET space in recent years. As the availability of the material has risen, so too has demand for pure and clean bales.

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Canada plastics recycling rises

Plastics Recycling Update Magazine - Wed, 04/15/2015 - 10:41
Canada plastics recycling rises

By Editorial Staff, Plastics Recycling Update

April 15, 2015

Canada's plastic packaging recycling activity continues to grow, according to a study from the Canadian Plastics Industry Association.

The group's annual report, conducted by Moore Recycling Associates, suggests nearly 343,000 short tons of plastic packaging were collected for recycling in 2013. That figure represents a 9 percent increase from 2012's total of about 314,000 tons and follows a trend since 2009 of rising annual recovery.

For comparison's sake, U.S.recovery of plastics packaging in 2012 totaled 2.8 million tons, according to the U.S. EPA. The EPA has not yet released data for 2013.

Figures for overall generation in Canada, which would allow for a plastics recycling rate estimate, were not made available in the report.

Carol Hochu, president and CEO of Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA), pointed out most consumption of that material occurs in North America, not in overseas markets.

"We are proud to report that over 80 percent of the plastic material reported was reclaimed in Canada or in the USA," Hochu said in the announcement.

Approximately 289,000 tons of Canadian plastics were reported purchased by U.S. or Canadian reclaimers in 2013. That means roughly 84 percent of Canadian recovered material was consumed by entities in the U.S. or Canada.

Plastic bottles are the most commonly recovered plastic product in Canada, accounting for about 60 percent of recovery, the report states. Film recycling, which was up 23 percent compared with 2012 numbers, represented 17 percent of overall recovery while non-bottle rigids represented roughly 21 percent of activity. Foam recycling, which was also up for the year, accounted for the remaining recovered tonnages.

The group notes, however, capacity continues to outstrip utilization at Canadian plastics recycling operations. According to the group, film recycling operations had a 44 percent utilization rate in 2013 while non-bottle rigid recycling was at 72 percent capacity.

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Plastics Recycling 2016: Where the action never stops

Plastics Recycling Update Magazine - Wed, 04/15/2015 - 10:40
Plastics Recycling 2016: Where the action never stops

April 15, 2015

If you've ever been to the Plastics Recycling Conference, you know the buzz. The event brings together more than 1,500 industry professionals for the most focused networking and business-building event in the industry.

The excitement, camaraderie and profits are palpable.

Don't be left out on around-the-clock industry connection. Start planning now to make sure your business or organization is well represented in New Orleans next February by checking out the sponsorship, exhibitor, workshop and attendee options available. Registration for all these conference components is open now.

Plastics Recycling 2016 is taking place Feb. 1-3 at the Hyatt Regency in New Orleans, Louisiana. Head to plasticsrecycling.com for all the information on attending, exhibiting and sponsoring at the plastic recycling industry's longest-running conference – now in its 11th year.

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California bills target recycled content minimums

Plastics Recycling Update Magazine - Wed, 04/15/2015 - 10:37
California bills target recycled content minimums

By Jared Paben, Plastics Recycling Update

April 15, 2015

Legislation in front of California lawmakers would require beverage companies to use at least 10 percent recycled plastic in bottles if they want to continue receiving discounts on fees they pay to the state.

The state Senate’s Committee on Environmental Quality will hold a hearing today on one bill, while an Assembly committee is set to consider a separate bill that would also address recycled content in glass.  

The Senate bill, sponsored by environmental group Californians Against Waste, would require manufacturers of plastic beverage containers sold in the state to prove they’re using at least 10 percent recycled content starting in 2017. It would apply to all resins.

California’s bottle bill requires manufacturers to pay a recycling processing fee to CalRecycle, the state agency that manages waste and recycling concerns. CalRecycle then submits payments to recycling companies to subsidize their costs for recycling containers. However, if certain container diversion rates are achieved, the state reduces the amount manufacturers must pay. It then dips into state funds from unclaimed deposits to make up the difference when it cuts the check to recycling companies.

Under the Senate bill, manufacturers would have to hit the recycled content minimums if they want to continue receiving the discounts. It would apply to containers produced out of state as well.

It’s not clear what the average recycled content is for containers in California, according to a bill analysis. Coca-Cola uses, on average, 6 percent recycled content for PET packaging, while PepsiCo reports using 10 percent for beverage containers, the analysis states. Nestle states that five of its brands use a range from 50 percent to 100 percent recycled PET.

A separate bill in the California Assembly would require a 10 percent minimum recycled content for PET food and beverage containers starting in July 2016. Assembly Bill 1447 would also extend the current 35 percent minimum recycled content requirement on glass all bottles filled in California, not just those made in California.

The bill would help PET recycling companies struggling to compete with makers of virgin PET because of low oil prices, according to Californians Against Waste.

“California recycled material processors and recycled product makers are starting to lose market share to out of state/country ‘virgin’ producers,” according to Californians Against Waste.

The Assembly’s Natural Resource Committee is expected to hear the bill on April 27.

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APR announces 2015 webinar lineup

Plastics Recycling Update Magazine - Wed, 04/15/2015 - 10:36
APR announces 2015 webinar lineup

By Editorial Staff, Plastics Recycling Update

April 15, 2015

How much more revenue could a MRF operator expect from additional sorting of non-bottle rigid plastics and would that offset the added costs?

An online calculator from the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR) can help answer that question.

The calculator methodology is one of the topics APR will explore with its 2015 webinar series. The free webinars are slated to cover the following industry issues:

  • May 12: The Sort for Value Online Calculator: An APR Pricing Tool Creating More Value for MRFs
  • June 23: Foam Recycling: Facts, Figures and Market Potential
  • Aug. 11: What Really Goes in that Bale? An Overview of the 2015 National Mixed Rigid Bale Composition Study
  • Sept. 15: APR Resources to Support Domestic Plastic Recycling Markets
  • Oct. 27: Keep Your Caps On! A 2015 Update

The webinars all begin at 1 p.m. EST.

 

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PetroChem Wire: Recycled nylon 66 prices higher in April

Plastics Recycling Update Magazine - Wed, 04/15/2015 - 10:35
PetroChem Wire: Recycled nylon 66 prices higher in April

April 15, 2015

Higher nylon feedstock prices are strengthening recycled nylon resin prices in April.

Nylon 66 post-industrial flake prices are up about 5 cents per pound from late March. Business was done in the first full week of April at 44 to 46 cents per pound for post-industrial unfilled black regrind and at 42 to 43 cents per pound for PI mixed color regrind.

Nylon 6 PI unfilled flake prices were steady during the same time frame, with black material at 23 cents per pound and mixed color at 21 cents per pound, both FOB U.S. East Coast.

The spread between Nylon 6 and Nylon 66 pellet prices has widened slightly from late March to mid-April, moving from 2 cents per pound to 3 cents per pound as Nylon 66 strengthened. Still, that’s far from the more typical 10 to 12 cents per pound spread nylon 66 has commanded over nylon 6 in the U.S. East Coast market in the recent past.

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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Wide world of plastics recycling

Plastics Recycling Update Magazine - Wed, 04/15/2015 - 10:34
Wide world of plastics recycling

By Editorial Staff, Plastics Recycling Update

April 15, 2015

One of the of the world's largest cities has banned petroleum-based plastic grocery bags, and the U.K.’s Green Party says if elected it would take new steps to reduce plastic waste and increase recycling.

Sao Paulo, the largest city in the Southern Hemisphere, has banned petroleum-based plastic grocery bags. The new law allows stores to offer only plant-based plastics. A 2012 ban was halted by industry legal action and opposition from consumers.

The U.K.’s Green Party, if elected, will increase the country’s diversion goals and increase funding to support recycling, according to its new pledge. It would tax plastic bags and other packaging as well as ban disposal of food waste in landfills. The party says it would also make it difficult for the waste-to-energy industry to move forward.

Cascades Recovery and CellMark BC Holdings have formed a joint venture marketing and selling recovered materials generated from four Canadian provinces and the Pacific Northwest in the U.S., according to a press release. The new venture, called CasCell Trading Group, will be headquartered in Surrey, British Columbia. For more, click here.

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NewsBits from Plastics Recycling Update

Plastics Recycling Update Magazine - Wed, 04/15/2015 - 10:33
NewsBits

April 15, 2015

Lansing, Michigan newspaper City Pulse recently delved into challenges local company Dart Container Corp. is facing as governments nationwide implement EPS bans. While the material is recyclable, costs and market challenges make it difficult or impossible to efficiently recover, particularly through a curbside model.

W Hotels Worldwide will begin using bed sheets made using recycled PET with the EKOCYCLE brand, part of a deal between the hotel chain, the Coca-Cola Co. and musician and entrepreneur will.i.am. Each set of king size sheets has the equivalent of 31 plastic bottles (20-ounce bottles).

Local governments in Arizona will not be able to ban or impose a fee on plastic bags, after Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill into law. The state law prohibits cities and counties from regulating the bags. Ducey provided no explanation to accompany his signature, according to the Arizona Daily Sun.

California regulators negotiated a $1.74 million settlement with a recycling company they said redeemed beverage containers and then sold the material to another company, which redeemed them a second time. After redeeming millions of pounds of plastic and aluminum containers, Alco Metal & Iron Co. resold 487,926 pounds of the aluminum and 496,121 pounds of the plastic to a non-certified recycler, Wan Best Trading of Daly City, a company CalRecycle cannot track down.

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UPDATED: CalRecycle settles beverage container fraud case

Resource Recycling Magazine - Tue, 04/14/2015 - 08:25
UPDATED: CalRecycle settles beverage container fraud case

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

April 14, 2015

California's CalRecycle has rooted out another defrauder of the state's beverage deposit program.

San Leandro, California-based Alco Metal & Iron Company has agreed to pay the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) $1.74 million for orchestrating a scheme to redeem beverage containers twice. The company has been allowed to continue participating in the state's deposit program on "a Last Chance Reinstatement basis for the next five years."

According to CalRecycle's April 7 announcement, between December 2009 and February 2011 Alco redeemed more than 5 million pounds of aluminum cans and plastic bottles. The company then resold nearly 1 million of those containers to Wan Best Trading, which went on to redeem them a second time.

"The operators of Wan Best Trading are believed to have fled to China," the release states.

In an official response to the settlement, Alco stated it "believed Wan Best Trading would legally export that material outside the country."  Upon learning of Wan Best's actions, Alco says it "fully and thoroughly cooperated" with the investigation and "acknowleged its failure to perform due diligence required by law."

The company's full response can be read here.

The settlement reached with Alco is the latest in a series of actions against supposed bad actors in the state's deposit program. CalRecycle has identified fraud as a significant challenge in attempting to ensure the solvency of the redemption model in California.

"CalRecycle continues taking a major and multi-pronged effort to protect the recycling fund, including new approaches to curb fraud," the release states.

Note: This article has been updated to include the official response of Alco to the settlement.

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Judge lets Indy go forward with mixed-waste processing

Resource Recycling Magazine - Tue, 04/14/2015 - 08:24
Judge lets Indy go forward with mixed-waste processing

By Bobby Elliott, Resource Recycling

April 14, 2015

A ruling will allow the City of Indianapolis to move ahead with controversial plans for a mixed-waste processing facility to recover recyclables.

A lawsuit that challenged those plans was dismissed April 6 by Marion County Judge Cynthia Ayers. The ruling was first reported on by the Indianapolis Business Journal.

Indianapolis' mixed-waste strategy includes a 14-year contract with waste-to-energy company Covanta. The company would finance, build and operate a processing facility with the capability of separating recyclable materials from garbage. Such facilities, which are sometimes termed dirty MRFs, have been at the center of industry debate over the past year.

Indianapolis' director of sustainability, Melody Park, welcomed the decision on the Covanta deal, writing in an email that "Indy’s effort to boost recycling rates is moving forward."

"Covanta’s private investment, estimated at $45 million, in the Advanced Recycling Center (ARC) will feature innovative, game-changing recycling technology that will benefit the environment and taxpayers," Park wrote. "The Covanta ARC will work in tandem with the city’s existing curbside and drop-off recycling programs to position Indy as a national leader in sustainability."

Many in the recycling industry, including the Indiana Recycling Coalition (IRC), have opposed the plan on the grounds that it would give the mixed waste processing center a monopoly on the city's MSW and shut out the possibility of developing a robust curbside recycling system.

Carey Hamilton, IRC's executive director, told Resource Recycling her group is "disappointed and awaiting word from the plaintiffs about a possible appeal."

Under the Indianapolis contract, a copy of which was obtained by Resource Recycling, the Covanta facility will be required to divert at least 18 percent of the material it receives. While the contract does allow existing Indianapolis recycling programs to continue, it includes stiff financial penalties for introducing any alternative programs.

Indianapolis residents can currently subscribe to a curbside program through Republic Services. Drop-off recycling is also available.

"If the City grants any contractor the right to implement a recycling program for single family residential households in any part of Marion County, the parties acknowledge that the Company will suffer material damages … equal to $333,333.33 per month, multiplied by the number of months remaining in the then-current term of the Service Agreement," the contract reads.

Paper companies Graphic Packaging International and Rock-Tenn Converting Company along with citizen Cathy Weinmann were plaintiffs on the recent lawsuit. They claimed city officials failed to follow "the statutorily proscribed public process" in awarding the $112 million contract to Covanta without seeking and considering additional bids. Paper companies that use recycled feedstock have been particularly opposed to mixed-waste processing.

Graphic Packaging and Rock-Tenn  said in a brief statement sent to Resource Recycling they were "considering next steps."

In the original lawsuit, the plaintiffs argued the plan would "degrade the recycling stream, harming both the public and the plaintiff companies that rely on recycled waste, and actually creates a disincentive for the City to promote clean recycling."

In her ruling, Ayers found the City acted legally in amending a contract it already held with Covanta. The City has contracted with Covanta since 1985 and previously amended its agreement in 2008.

According to Indianapolis' Park, the facility "should be on-line by fall of 2016."

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RecycleManiacs divert 40,000 tons from landfills in 2015

Resource Recycling Magazine - Tue, 04/14/2015 - 08:20
RecycleManiacs divert 40,000 tons from landfills in 2015

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

April 14, 2015

For the second year in a row, a small Seattle-area university achieved the highest diversion rate in the RecycleMania tournament.

Antioch University Seattle took the Grand Champion award in the 2015 iteration of the event by diverting nearly 97 percent of its waste from landfill. The private college with about 720 students, faculty and staff took the same award in 2014, when it achieved a 93.1 percent diversion rate.

Overall in 2015, more than 40,000 tons of materials were diverted during the competition, which pitted 394 colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada against each other and themselves to recycle more materials and reduce waste. The event is managed by Keep America Beautiful (KAB).

The 2015 winners in categories in the competition division:

  • Grand Champion: Antioch University (96 percent)
  • Per Capita Classic (total pounds recycled per person): Loyola Marymount University (73.9 pounds)
  • Waste Minimization (least overall waste per person): North Lake College (3.3 pounds)
  • Gorilla (most overall pounds recycled): Rutgers University (1,115 tons)
  • Food Service Organics (most overall recycled): Colorado College (14.5 tons)

Loyola Marymount University also took the top award in different types of materials collected per capita. The private college of 10,370 students, faculty and staff recycled 32.4 pounds of paper, 28.1 pounds of corrugated cardboard and 13.4 pounds of bottles and cans, per capita.

In the E-cycleMania category, Southwestern College took first place by recycling 22.2 pounds per person. In the film plastic category, Stanford University took the top award by recycling 0.08 pounds per person, for a total of 2,340 pounds recycled.

New to the 2015 competition was the “3R Actions Challenge,” which encourages students to reduce, reuse and recycle and share those actions via text, Twitter or a mobile app.

The competition, made possible with sponsorship from Alcoa Foundation and the Coca-Cola Co., took place during February and March.

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Compostable single-serve coffee pod announced

Resource Recycling Magazine - Tue, 04/14/2015 - 08:19
Compostable single-serve coffee pod announced

By Jared Paben, Resource Recycling

April 14, 2015

Canadian roaster Club Coffee has developed what it says is the first fully compostable single-serve coffee pod.

Representatives of Club Coffee and other organizations held a press conference in Seattle on April 8 to announce the PurPod100.

The pod works in machines made by Keurig Green Mountain, which controls about 90 percent of the single-serve coffee pod market, the company states. Club Coffee is one of several companies that have sued Keurig, claiming the company uses its monopoly power to keep single-serve coffee prices artificially high. The company has also filed a Competition Bureau complaint in Canada.

In 2014, 27 percent of U.S. households owned a single-serve coffee maker, Club Coffee CEO John Pigott said. And last year, sales reached $4 billion, a 32 percent increase over the year before.

The ring of the PurPod100 is made from coffee chaff, the skin of the bean that comes off during the roasting process. The pod is designed to be digestible by bacteria.

The company is in the process of having the PurPod100 certified by the Biodegradable Products Institute, and Gemmiti said he was "very optimistic" that it would qualify. The company is also seeking other certifications, including for backyard composting, that will make the technology available to consumers across North America.

The U.S. Composting Council has done a preliminary review of the PurePod100 testing data and is very encouraged by the results, said Al Rattie, director of market development for the U.S. Composting Council.

"We’re really looking forward to seeing the final certification and we are very, very confident that that will be as positive as everything we’ve looked at so far,” he said. “Composting is the solution for recycling our organics residuals, period. And this product make that a whole lot easier for both the user and the compost manufacturer."

Club Coffee CEO Pigott said the pods will break down in a commercial composting facility in a matter of weeks.

Recycling of single-serve cups is difficult because consumers need to separate the used grounds from the cup, and the small cups are difficult to capture at materials recovery facilities, so they end up as residual sent to landfill, said Alan Blake, executive director of PAC NEXT, a membership group focused on reducing packaging waste.

 

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NewsBits

Resource Recycling Magazine - Tue, 04/14/2015 - 08:18
NewsBits

April 14, 2015

The Carton Council and recycling bin supplier Recycle Away have partnered to provide more than 600 milk and juice carton recycling containers to New York City schools. The bins themselves look like giant cartons.

An emergency rule issued by the state of Washington to protect its apple crop from the infamous apple maggot could put a serious wrinkle in the city of Spokane’s composting program. The rule could prohibit debris from the city’s new curbside yard organics collection program from going to the composting center because it would cross a county line. The facility is one mile over the county line.

Florida’s Palm Beach County this summer will begin counting as recycling material sent to a soon-to-open waste-to-energy facility. That practice is legal under Florida law. According an article in the (Fort Lauderdale) Sun Sentinel, the county “generates twice as much revenue from burning trash than from recycling.”  

Some residents of one Florida county say their new, larger recycling carts are simply too large. A number of residents in Lee County are complaining that the 64-gallon carts are too difficult to store and handle, and they’ve asked for smaller ones.

Bills have been introduced in California, New York and Massachusetts to address product packaging, according to PAC NEXT. Legislation in California would seek to, among other things, promote EPR. In New York, a bill would require packaging meet standards for reduction, reusability and recycled content or recyclability. In Massachusetts, a bill would impose a packaging reduction and recovery fee on producers.

A thermostat recycling program has been launched in Oklahoma, allowing homeowners and contractors to drop-off intact old thermostats at any Locke Supply location free of charge. The thermostats are delivered to Thermostat Recycling Corp. for recycling, according to a press release. An average wall thermostat contains four grams of mercury.

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