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How I Spent My Grant: Equipment, efficiency brought to mattress recycling effort

Resource Recycling Magazine - Tue, 05/12/2015 - 11:46
How I Spent My Grant: Equipment, efficiency brought to mattress recycling effort

By Eric Heyboer, recycling grant program administrator, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

May 11, 2015

Here's the latest installment of "How I Spent My Grant," the feature that takes a look at the ways recycling programs translate funding into actionable ideas.

Organization: Spring Back Colorado

Grant: $77,200 from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

The story: In early 2012, Christopher Conway heard about a team of college students at Tennessee's Belmont University that created a pilot program called Spring Back Recycling, which gives those with a criminal conviction a fresh start by offering them employment in mattress recycling.

Conway, who had spent time volunteering at Denver Rescue Mission, believed the students were on to something. Using mattress recycling as a vehicle for redemptive employment opportunities could prove to be a sound business model.

“When I learned about Spring Back, how they developed a sustainable, environmentally conscious business that provides a social benefit, I knew I discovered my purpose,” explained Conway. “I found a way to help break the cycle of being put in prison, getting out, being unemployable.”

In August 2012, he opened a for-profit Spring Back facility in Denver, and the operation grew quickly, processing 50 mattresses and box springs in its first month. Less than one year later, that number grew to 650 a month. To keep up with growing demand, the business needed to improve the efficiency of its operations. “We didn’t have the properly functioning equipment to efficiently process the mattresses and bring our business to the next level,” Conway said.

In July 2013, Spring Back Colorado secured a $77,200 Recycling Resources Economic Opportunity (RREO) grant from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

The grant provided the infusion of funds needed to purchase critical equipment – appropriate baler machines, an upgraded forklift, a truck to pick up mattresses, ventilation fans, scales and pallets. The new equipment had a huge impact on processing output. During the twelve-month grant cycle, Spring Back Colorado went from processing 650 mattresses per month to 1,500 per month.

During the grant cycle, Spring Back diverted more than 693 tons of mattress waste away from local landfills and found secondary markets for 87 percent of collected mattress and box spring material. Just as significant, the grant spurred enough growth to create three additional full time jobs, offering employment to a total of seven disenfranchised individuals.

Shortly after the grant period, the business moved to a warehouse that almost doubled its storage and processing areas.

"The RREO grant was a real catalyst for our growth and for operating at peak efficiency," Conway said. "It's given us the proper machinery to really build a high-volume, sustainable business aimed at reducing the waste stream."

Know of a program, company or group that should be highlighted in How I Spent My Grant? Email news@resource-recycling.com

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$300,000 awarded to KAB affiliates, partners

Resource Recycling Magazine - Tue, 05/12/2015 - 11:45
$300,000 awarded to KAB affiliates, partners

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

May 12, 2015

Affiliates and partners of Keep America Beautiful will receive a total of $300,000 to support cleanup and beautification efforts.

The grants were awarded by Waste Management's Think Green Grants program, which provided money to 39 organizations around the country.

“Through the support of Waste Management, Keep America Beautiful is able to provide our local affiliates and partner organizations with the resources to help people reduce waste and litter, recycle right, and protect the natural areas in which we live,” Jennifer Jehn, KAB president and CEO, stated in a press release.

Waste Management and Keep America Beautiful began collaborating on the community-based grant initiatives in 2007. Since then, they've awarded more than $1.3 million in grant money.

Last year, they awarded a total of $80,000, and during each of the previous two years they provided $100,000.

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NewsBits

Resource Recycling Magazine - Tue, 05/12/2015 - 11:44
NewsBits

May 11, 2015

Residents of Medina County, Ohio will soon see 54 recycling drop-off locations established around the county, leaving its longstanding and controversial mixed waste processing center idle – for the time being. County leaders will vote soon to select the winning bidder for the collection of the dropped off material while also deciding the fate of the mixed waste operation.

TerraCycle, the New Jersey-based organization that sets up infrastructure for difficult-to-recycle items, is taking on single-serve coffee pods. Through its "Zero Waste Box" program, TerraCycle takes back coffee capsules from businesses and communities for a fee and recycles them.

Homes in St. Petersburg, Fla. have started receiving 95-gallon carts in advance of the launch of the city's curbside collection program. St. Petersburg's City Council in November unanimously approved the addition of carts and trucks for a reported $6.1 million.

England is still struggling to boost its recycling rate, new figures indicate. For the third quarter of 2014, the country's recycling rate for both dry and organic materials was 47 percent. That's about the same rate logged during the third quarter in each of the previous two years.

A bill in the North Carolina House of Representative that would formally allow communities to charge for recycling and disposal services has led to heated debate and some confusion. While many communities already charge residents for recycling and trash collection, a group of politicians raised concerns that the bill would unfairly penalize poor North Carolinians while others questioned its overall clarity. The bill, as a result, was removed from the House floor.

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Industry and supplier news

Resource Recycling Magazine - Tue, 05/12/2015 - 11:43
Industry and supplier news

May 11, 2015

Shredder manufacturer Granutech-Saturn Systems has acquired a comprehensive line of industrial hammermills and ringmills formerly marketed under the Magnatech brand, the company announced. The acquisition allows the Dallas-based company to supply shredders for non-ferrous scrap metal. For more, click here.

Eugene, Ore.-based Bulk Handling Systems has hired Ted Pierpont as its director of sales, the company announced. Pierpont has more than two decades of sales leadership experience. For more, click here.

Cart manufacturer Toter has created a 35-gallon cart with a larger footprint and 10-inch wheels, boosting stability. For more, click here.

Equipment maker eFACTOR3 LLC has announced the addition of two partners: Pallmann Industries and Pla.to Technology. Pallman is a major manufacturer specializing in size reduction and preparation techniques, and Pla.to specializes in washing and drying lines. For more, click here.

The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries has released two videos aimed at demonstrating the value and impact of recycling to the public. The videos are focused on plastics and tire recycling. For more, click here. ISRI has also elected three new directors to its board: Brian Henesey, Matthew Kripke and Michael Potash. The three are the new directors-at-large serving two-year terms ending in 2017. For more, click here.

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CEA reports all-time high recycling in 2014

E-Scrap News Magazine - Wed, 05/06/2015 - 16:05
CEA reports all-time high recycling in 2014

By Editorial Staff, E-Scrap News

May 7, 2015

The Consumer Electronics Association has announced manufacturers recycled 660 million pounds of end-of-life electronics in 2014. The group has a goal of reaching 1 billion pounds annually by 2017.

The fourth annual report on CEA's eCycling Leadership Initiative states e-scrap recovery reached an all-time high in 2014. The 2014 total of 660 million pounds represents a 40 million pound increase over 2013's haul and is more than double the amount original equipment manufacturers collected during the first year of the program, in 2010.

It also highlights that virtually all material collected under the program -- 99.9 percent -- went to third party certified recycling companies.

In addition to the overall recovery increase, CEA's vice president of environmental affairs and industry sustainability, Walter Alcorn, noted the increasingly lightweight build of electronics entering the waste stream as evidence that manufacturers are "continuing to recycle an even greater percentage of covered electronics than in years past."

CEA's eCycling project, which was created to increase consumer electronics recycling opportunities in the U.S., has seen its members create more than 8,500 collection locations nationwide. The program has also been vocal in its television and radio-based outreach, broadcasting 9,192 TV ads and reaching 80 million listeners in 2014, the report notes.

While the program will continue working toward a goal of collecting 1 billion pounds of electronics by 2017, the CEA also stresses support for a "national approach" to scrap electronics recycling in the U.S.

The issue of adopting a national collection framework is a complicated one for the electronics recycling industry. Generally, original equipment manufactures (OEMs) have opposed additional electronics recycling laws following the standard model of requiring OEMs to fund the programs. It is unclear what shape a national take-back program would take, although it is likely OEMs would be tasked with some level of responsibility, financial or otherwise.

CEA could not be reached for comment.

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2015 Recycling Innovators Forum launches

E-Scrap News Magazine - Wed, 05/06/2015 - 16:05
2015 Recycling Innovators Forum launches

By Editorial Staff, E-Scrap News

May 7, 2015

Hungry entrepreneurs with innovative ideas for improving the e-scrap recycling industry will receive a helping hand this fall.

The 2015 Recycling Innovators Forum and is now accepting entries from people and organizations with actionable ideas to advance recycling. The deadline for submissions is June 1, 2015.

This fall's Forum marks the third year for the recycling innovation event.

Up to 10 finalists will receive travel and lodging scholarships to attend the Resource Recycling Conference, to be held Sept. 28-30 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The finalists will present their ideas to a panel of judges and an audience of industry decision-makers and investors at the Recycling Innovators Forum, held on Sept. 28 in conjunction with the conference. Judges will select a winner to receive a $20,000 prize to help move their innovation forward.

Resource Recycling magazine, sister publication to E-Scrap News, will also feature the winning ideas in online and print stories.

In 2014, a finalist was Fundente Production Partnership, which aimed the tackle the challenging CRT glass market by using the material as a fluxing agent at copper smelters, feeding an immediate demand for the item as a flux without undercutting higher-end lead smelters.

The third annual Recycling Innovators Forum is made possible thanks to major sponsorships from the American Chemistry Council's Plastics Division, Waste Management and Resource Recycling, Inc., with additional support from the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries and the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers.

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Battery recycling bill on table in Texas

E-Scrap News Magazine - Wed, 05/06/2015 - 16:04
Battery recycling bill on table in Texas

By Jared Paben, E-Scrap News

May 7, 2015

The Texas Legislature's serious consideration of a law mandating take-back and recycling for all household batteries sends a signal to other states considering the same, an advocate for the bill says.

"If conservative Republicans in Texas are advocating for battery recycling, legislatures all across the country have the green light to do this," Robin Schneider, executive director of the Texas Campaign for the Environment, told E-Scrap News. "Even if the legislation doesn't pass the first time around, it provides impetus and some leverage for other legislatures to also get on board with this issue."

HB 3153 would require the battery industry create a free statewide takeback and recycling program for single-use and rechargeable batteries. Battery makers that refuse to participate would be prohibited from selling batteries in the state.

Manufacturers -- or stewardship organizations working on their behalf -- would submit plans to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, which would approve or require plan modifications. The plans would include participating manufacturers, collection locations, goals, plans for recycling and public outreach activities.

At a May 5 hearing, the House of Representatives Committee on Environmental Regulation decided to hold off approving the bill. The decision came after the author, Rep. Rodney Anderson, a Republican representing Irving/Grand Prairie, asked that it be studied in more depth because only one other state, Vermont, has established a similar program.

Some think the bill goes too far, while others think it fails to go far enough, Anderson told the committee.

"It's really trying to create a framework for an agreed-upon bill between industry, between the battery manufacturers," Anderson said.

If it isn't considered this year, the bill could be approved during the next legislative session, which would take place in 2017.

Schneider said the bill would be the first in the country to cover both single-use and rechargeable batteries.

Industry-funded nonprofit organization Call2Recycle organizes the nationwide collection and recycling of rechargeable batteries. Call2Recycle CEO and President Carl Smith testified at the hearing in favor of mandatory participation, noting that his organization pays to collect and recycle a substantial number of batteries from nonparticipating manufacturers.

In 2007, a GOP representative in the Texas House of Representatives carried a bill to establish extended-producer responsibility for computers, and another Republican authored a similar bill for televisions in 2011. Both were signed into law by then-Gov. Rick Perry.

"What we continue to show in Texas is that producer takeback recycling is not a partisan issue and there's strong support from conservative Republicans for this policy," Schneider said.

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Wide world of e-scrap

E-Scrap News Magazine - Wed, 05/06/2015 - 16:03
Wide world of e-scrap

By Editorial Staff, E-Scrap News

May 7, 2015

Poland and Slovenia are in hot water for failing to implement European Union e-scrap and white goods recycling laws, and the head of the United Nations Environment Programme is warning of a glut of e-scrap.

The European Commission has referred Poland and Slovenia to the European Union's (EU) Court of Justice for failing to enact EU e-scrap and white goods recycling laws. Among other things, the updated EU laws include an ambitious new collection target for 2016 of 45 percent of electronic equipment sold.

The head of the United Nations Environment Programme is warning the world about dangers presented by a coming glut of e-scrap. He also pointed to the opportunities to recover vast amounts of precious materials by "urban mining." For some materials, there is a larger quantity in unused electronics above ground than there is underground.

E-scrap recycling companies in Germany are still feeling the squeeze from low values in raw materials and tougher regulations increasing their costs. A slightly higher copper value is providing a temporary reprieve, but analysts don't see reason for the trend to continue.



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Certification scorecard

E-Scrap News Magazine - Wed, 05/06/2015 - 16:03
Certification scorecard

May 7, 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.

Accurate Document Destruction of Elk Grove Village, Ill.; Alliance Document Shredding of Sulphur Springs, Texas; ASDD a division of TCH is a Not for Profit of Tempe, Ariz.; ATI SecureDocs of Austin, Texas; Beacon Secure of Tucson, Ariz.; Beckley's Inc. of Rochester, Minn.; Confidential Materials Destruction Service, Ltd. of New Territories, Hong Kong; DataShield Corporation of Omaha, Neb.; Goodwill of OC/Landmark Services of Santa Ana, Calif.; Greenway Shredding & Recycling of Louisville, Ky.; Texas Security Shredding of Houston, Texas; and Valley Green Shredding, LLC of Westfield, Mass. have either achieved or renewed their NAID Certifications for Physical Destruction of Hard Drives.

Also, e-End of Frederick, Md. has renewed tits NAID Certification for Computer Hard Drive Sanitization and 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, 05/06/2015 - 16:00
NewsBits

May 7, 2015

A California judge has ordered Dollar Tree Stores to pay $2.72 million and improve its waste disposal methods at its California stores after it was found throwing electronics, batteries and corrosive liquids in the trash. The company has already adopted new policies, procedures and training programs related to hazardous waste disposal.

Advanced Technology Recycling now holds the world record for the most e-scrap collected at multiple locations in one week, the company announced. It collected 1,180,442 pounds of electronics over a seven-day period around Earth Day at six sites, setting a Guinness World Record. The previous record, by an Australia-based company, was 1,045,491 pounds.

That shot of Office Space's Michael Bolton viciously attacking the infamously unreliable office printer isn't the only "e-scrapping" clip out there. Slate has assembled a video with the best clips of people quickly transforming their electronics into scrap.

John Shegerian and Allen Hershkowitz of Electronic Recyclers International have weighed in on the dangers exporting e-scrap to China can pose to national securit in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. Parts can be removed from e-scrap, dressed up to look new and sold back to the U.S. to serve crucial roles in military hardware, they write, calling on Congress to tighten export laws.  The Responsible Electronics Recycling Act, which last year failed to move out of a House subcomittee, would tighten restrictions on exports of e-scrap, but has been met with mixed support in the industry.

So far in 2015, Washington state has collected roughly the same amount of e-scrap it did last year, the state Department of Ecology reports. Last year, the state collected 44.36 million pounds of e-scrap, the first time weight collected had decreased from the year before.

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NYC sued over EPS ban

Plastics Recycling Update Magazine - Wed, 05/06/2015 - 10:13
NYC sued over EPS ban

By Bobby Elliott, Plastics Recycling Update

May 6, 2015

A group led by foam manufacturer Dart Container Corporation has sued New York City for banning expanded polystyrene products.

In a legal petition filed with the Supreme Court of the State of New York on April 28, the Restaurant Action Alliance NYC claims the city's ban violates a "clear statutory mandate" that directed New York to develop a recycling system for EPS if doing so was economically and environmentally feasible.

If successful, the suit would nullify the ban and require the City to bring EPS into its recycling program. The group is represented by high-profile New York attorney Randy Mastro.

Under Local Law 142, the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) was required by City Council to determine whether foam could be recycled in its curbside program "in a manner that is environmentally effective, economically feasible, and safe for employees." DSNY eventually concluded the products could not be recycled in a cost-effective manner, announcing on Jan. 8 the City would go ahead with a ban on the material effective July 1.

The ban was championed by Mayor Bill de Blasio and was recently singled out in the city's OneNYC report as a "positive step" toward reducing disposal of all city waste by 2030.

While EPS is recyclable, few communities in the U.S. include it in curbside programs. According to an online database compiled by Dart Container Corporation, San Antonio, Texas is the only community outside California that allows residents to recycle the material curbside. A number of municipalities, including Portland, Ore., Washington D.C. and Seattle, also have bans in place.

According to the Restaurant Action Alliance NYC suit, however, a curbside recycling plan was engineered by Dart and secured Indianapolis-based Plastics Recycling, Inc. (PRI) as a buyer for all recovered polystyrene from New York for the next five years. The lawsuit claims such an infrastructure satisfied Law 142's criteria for a "comprehensive recycling plan" and should have been accepted.

"The City Council set forth very specific criteria for the DSNY to evaluate, and we met or exceeded every one," Michael Westerfield, Dart's director of recycling, said in an press release announcing the lawsuit.

DSNY expressed concern over its readiness and its long-term viability, however.

In a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio in December, DSNY stated EPS recycling would not begin until late 2016 or early 2017 under Dart's proposal. It also warned if the arrangement was not renewed after five years, the city and its recycling processor, Sims Municipal Recycling, "would still have to manage the costs and complications of having designated EPS as recyclable."

In response to those concerns, the alliance's lawyer Randy Mastro told Plastics Recycling Update DSNY commissioner Kathryn Garcia "did not properly consider longevity and readiness."

"Instead, she engrafted new conditions on the statutory standard that are nowhere to be found in the statute," Mastro argued. "She imposed a requirement of having to 'guarantee' a market forever. That is not in the statutory standard. And she imposed a requirement that the recycling program had to be in place by January 1, 2015, which was an impossibility, since she would only be determining whether to recycle by that date."

DSNY declined to comment on the current lawsuit.

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2015 Recycling Innovators Forum launches

Plastics Recycling Update Magazine - Wed, 05/06/2015 - 10:13
2015 Recycling Innovators Forum launches

May 6, 2015

Hungry entrepreneurs with innovative ideas for improving the plastics recycling industry will receive a helping hand this fall.

The 2015 Recycling Innovators Forum and is now accepting entries from people and organizations with actionable ideas to advance recycling. The deadline for submissions is June 1, 2015.

This fall's Forum marks the third year for the recycling innovation event.

Up to 10 finalists will receive travel and lodging scholarships to attend the Resource Recycling Conference, to be held Sept. 28-30 in Indianapolis. The finalists will present their ideas to a panel of judges and an audience of industry decision-makers and investors at the Recycling Innovators Forum, held on Sept. 28 in conjunction with the conference. Judges will select a winner to receive a $20,000 prize to help move their innovation forward.

Resource Recycling magazine, sister publication to Plastics Recycling Update, will also feature the winning ideas in online and print stories.

In 2014, one winner was the Healthcare Plastics Recycling Council, which aims to build stakeholder coordination around recovering and recycling plastic material from hospitals. Those receiving honorable mentions included Creative Plastics Technology, which creates moldings from mixed plastics otherwise headed to landfill, and Zzyzx Polymers, which used a continuous mechanochemical compatibilization to process and optimize the use of mixed plastics.

The third annual Recycling Innovators Forum is made possible thanks to major sponsorships from the American Chemistry Council's Plastics Division, Waste Management and Resource Recycling, Inc., with additional support from the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries and the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers.

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Audit: Hawaii deposit program remains at risk of fraud

Plastics Recycling Update Magazine - Wed, 05/06/2015 - 10:11
Audit: Hawaii deposit program remains at risk of fraud

By Jared Paben, Plastics Recycling Update

May 6, 2015

Hawaii's beverage container deposit fund remains financially susceptible because state officials haven't implemented steps to reduce risks, a state audit recently determined.

However, shoring up the program could be difficult due to the small size of the group that administers recycling in the state.

Auditors found instances of the state overpaying money to redemption centers and receiving fewer dollars from distributors than it was owed, the audit report stated.

"This systemic flaw," the audit noted, "coupled with the absence of a detailed audit function, has exposed the program to abuse and risk of fraud since program inception."

Under-reporting distributed and sold containers and over-reporting redeemed containers would also yield an inaccurately high redemption rate, the audit stated. The rate was calculated at 73 percent for the 2013-14 fiscal year.

The Department of Health, which administers the program, plans to implement an internal auditing program focused on distributors and redemption centers — a move auditors recommended.

"We realize that it's a valuable tool that we direly need," said Darren Park, coordinator at the Office of Solid Waste Management at the health department. "We do not have the current capacity to actually resource the internal auditing program."

The office has 10 employees to handle all recycling functions, including redemption program oversight, abandoned tire recovery and e-scrap recycling, Park said.

"With that small staff size, it's an almost insurmountable task," he added.

The office received permission to hire three additional accountants to support auditing, but the human resources department hasn't yet approved the job descriptions, Park said. He hopes within a year they can get approval to advertise for job candidates.

Auditors also recommended program managers implement a back-end payment system to reduce risks to the state. The Department of Health rejected that move, saying it wouldn't reduce risks but would simply force redemption centers out of business because they'd have to wait longer for reimbursements.

The audit found issues with regard to payments.

From fiscal year 2013 to fiscal year 2014, the state's Deposit Beverage Container Program paid $2.6 million in deposit refunds to redemption centers for about 1,750 tons of material that can't be accounted for, the audit stated.

In reviewing records from the 24 largest distributors, auditors discovered that Whole Foods Market underpaid deposits and fees for all of its Hawaii stores for more than six years, the audit stated. The company said it had mistakenly paid deposits and fees to the state based on cases sold, rather than individual beverages sold. The result was an underpayment of about $34,000 for fiscal years 2012 through 2014, the audit noted.

The attorney general said the state would likely be able to recover unpaid fees from Whole Foods for the past two years but not likely for the prior four years.

The state fund's had a balance of $16.5 million as of June 30, 2014, 19 percent more than it had a year earlier.

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Scrap plastics exports bounce back in February

Plastics Recycling Update Magazine - Wed, 05/06/2015 - 10:10
Scrap plastics exports bounce back in February

By Editorial Staff, Plastics Recycling Update

May 6, 2015

Exports of scrap plastics bounced back from a Chinese New Year-influenced lull in January, but export volumes are still down year-over-year through the first two months of 2015.

February saw a robust rise of 10.2 percent from January 2015 export levels, with 304.59 million pounds of scrap plastics exported in February 2015. When matched against February 2014 levels, however, the volume of plastic scrap exports was down by 12.7 percent.

The weighted price of recovered plastic exports dropped in February. At 18.33 cents per pound, the price was down by 5.9 percent from its January 2015 standing. When compared with its year-over-year (YOY) level, the price was also down by roughly the same amount, 5.5 percent.

Through February, at 581.06 million pounds, the volume of recovered plastics exported was down 17.4 percent from its 2014 year-to-date (YTD) figure. At 18.87 cents per pound, the average price through February was down 2.6 percent from its 2014 YTD standing.

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<i>PetroChem Wire</i>: Recycled PP flake strengthens

Plastics Recycling Update Magazine - Wed, 05/06/2015 - 10:09
PetroChem Wire: Recycled PP flake strengthens

May 6, 2015

Demand for recycled injection grade CoPP and HoPP flake was strong in U.S. East Coast markets at the end of April and very beginning of May.

HoPP extrusion grade regrind (mixed colors) sold at 27 cents per pound delivered the upper Midwest in the last days of April, up a penny, while prices just above 30 cents per pound FOB were indicated in some East Coast markets.

Meanwhile, the prime polypropylene market was steady late last month, with spot prices maintaining a premium to contract and spot generic prime supplies scarce. Prime PP producers are seeking contract price increases in May and June.

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, 05/06/2015 - 10:08
NewsBits

May 6, 2015

Schools in Connecticut , Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania can win a playground made from recycled plastic and other materials through the Recycled Playground Challenge. The competition, through which schools return oral care product packaging by mail, is a partnership between TerraCycle, Colgate-Palmolive and ShopRite stores.

Some types of foam packaging can now be dropped off for recycling in Rhode Island. The Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation has established a drop-off site to collect food service foam and packaging foam, but it will not accept "soft" foam products made of polyethylene and packing peanuts.

The REPREVE brand of recycled plastic fiber will be used in graduation gowns at more than 1,100 colleges and universities this year, according to Unifi, Inc. Each gown is made from the equivalent of 27 plastic bottles. Unifi, the makers of REPREVE, is also involved in a project to promote recycling to young people. REPREVE and Marvel Universe LIVE! donated $100,000 to the Boys and Girls Club of America to help it expand its recycling education efforts at sites across the U.S.


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2015 Recycling Innovators Forum launches

Resource Recycling Magazine - Tue, 05/05/2015 - 10:44
2015 Recycling Innovators Forum launches

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

May 5, 2015

Hungry entrepreneurs with innovative ideas for improving the recycling industry will receive a helping hand this fall.

The 2015 Recycling Innovators Forum and is now accepting entries from people and organizations with actionable ideas to advance recycling. The deadline for submissions is June 1, 2015.

This fall's Forum marks the third year for the recycling innovation event.

Up to 10 finalists will receive travel and lodging scholarships to attend the Resource Recycling Conference, to be held Sept. 28-30 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The finalists will present their ideas to a panel of judges and an audience of industry decision-makers and investors at the Recycling Innovators Forum, held on Sept. 28 in conjunction with the conference. Judges will select a winner to receive a $20,000 prize to help move their innovation forward.

Resource Recycling magazine will also feature the winning ideas in online and print stories.

In 2014, one winner was Ruby Lake Glass LLC, a company that color-coats pulverized recovered glass and uses it in a variety of applications, including bus and bike lane demarcation. Another winner was the Healthcare Plastics Recycling Council, which aims to build stakeholder coordination around recovering and recycling plastic material from hospitals.

The third-annual Recycling Innovators Forum is made possible thanks to major sponsorships from the American Chemistry Council's Plastics Division, Waste Management and Resource Recycling, Inc., with additional support from the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries and the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers.

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UPSTREAM releases model bill for statewide EPR

Resource Recycling Magazine - Tue, 05/05/2015 - 10:44
UPSTREAM releases model bill for statewide EPR

By Dan Leif, Resource Recycling

May 5, 2015

A policy advocacy group says it has a plan for extended producer responsibility in the U.S. that stakeholders here may actually be willing to get behind.

Nonprofit organization UPSTREAM last week released model legislation aimed at state lawmakers looking to overhaul their recycling systems and mandate product and packaging companies to help foot the bill. Such models have been implemented for paper and packaging in Europe and parts of Canada but not in the U.S.

UPSTREAM representatives say their model bill addresses some of the issues that have been raised by U.S. companies and municipalities by leveraging a "shared responsibility" approach. Whereas EPR systems in other countries have tended to shift all funding responsibilities and program logistics decisions to the corporations producing paper and packaging, the latest UPSTREAM model would spread management roles across a group of stakeholders, including packaging makers, local governments, private haulers and end users of recycled material.

"Everyone wants the money and investment in the system," Matt Prindiville, UPSTREAM's associate director, said in an interview. "But there's been a lot of concern from local governments and others about turning over control to the brands."

Prindiville said UPSTREAM organized a six-month dialogue with a number of local government leaders to get their perspectives on the EPR issue, and he said a similar dialogue is currently under way with private waste and recycling entities.

The result is the model bill, which, if adopted by a state, would create a Sustainable Packaging Authority charged with achieving a 75 percent statewide recycling rate for household packaging by June 2021. The Authority would determine the fees producers would be required to pay into the system, and that body would also manage contracts for collection and processing as well as resident outreach and other program duties.

The stakeholders currently involved in those processes have long been resistant to supporting EPR, in part because they've often invested years and significant capital to get current recycling programs developed. They are hesitant to see complete system shifts that would direct decision-making and revenues to product companies.

Chaz Miller, director of policy and advocacy at the National Waste & Recycling Association, said the UPSTREAM model legislation probably would not uproot such reservations among his group's membership.

Miller noted the industry is starting to gear itself more toward sustainable materials management, an approach in which carbon emissions, reduced packaging and other components are all assessed to make decisions about the environmental impact of products. "Under SMM, we're determining that recycling may not always be the only answer," said Miller. "But this bill makes recycling the be-all and end-all."

Miller also questioned whether EPR is fair to taxpayers. In many areas of the country, recycling costs are built into tax structures. "Unless these systems come with a tax refund, you're essentially taxing people twice," he said. "You're still being taxed and now you're going to pay more for products as well."

Prindiville, however, noted if recycling systems are to get the funding they need to grow, brands need to pay a significantly larger share. "Some responsibility for packaging is only fair," he said. "Politically, it comes down to what is the ultimate financial exposure we think brands should have. That's a fight we're willing to have in legislatures around the country."

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Low commodity prices dent hauler revenues

Resource Recycling Magazine - Tue, 05/05/2015 - 10:43
Low commodity prices dent hauler revenues

By Bobby Elliott, Resource Recycling

May 5, 2015

First quarter results for America's largest publicly traded waste management companies indicate recycled commodity pricing is causing significant losses.

Comparing the first quarter of 2015 to the first quarter of 2014, recycling-related revenues for Progressive Waste Solutions, Republic Services, Waste Connections and Waste Management were down an average of 20.5 percent, an analysis by Resource Recycling has found.

Quarterly financial reports also show recycling revenues continue to account for a smaller percentage of overall revenues for the powerful quartet: During Q1 of 2015, recycling-related revenues accounted for just 4.4 percent of company revenues. (Quarterly results for Casella, the nation's other major publicly traded waste and recycling company, are not yet available.)

In financial reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission by all four companies, low recycled commodity pricing is signaled as a major driver of the losses and a looming impediment for 2015 and beyond. Waste Management's CEO, David Steiner, called the situation around recycling an "imperfect storm."

Here are more notable financial results from the four hauling giants:

Progressive

During the first quarter of 2015 (Jan. 1 to March 31) Progressive Waste Solutions' overall revenues were down 2 percent and totaled $460.2 million.

A steep drop occurred in the recycling arm of the company.

Recycling revenues for the quarter totaled just over $12 million, but were down 26.2 percent compared with Q1 of 2014. As a percent of total revenues, Progressive's recycling business accounted for 2.6 percent of revenues, compared with 3.5 percent at this time last year.

In all segments of the company's U.S. operations, recycled commodity prices fell, Progressive's Q1 financial filing shows.

Progressive did not return a request for comment.

Republic

At Republic Services, company revenues during Q1 of 2015 outpaced revenues from Q1 of 2014. According to the company's quarterly filing, revenues neared $2.2 billion after nearing $2.1 billion last Q1. Up $92.2 million, quarterly revenues were not aided by sales of recycled commodities.

According to the company's Q1 filing, Republic made $85.7 million on the sales of recycled commodities, accounting for 4 percent of overall revenues and down 13 percent compared to Q1 of 2014. This was "due to the decline in commodity prices," the company states.

Darcie Brossart, Republic's spokesperson, said in an email recycling is still seen as "one of our core competencies."

"We remain committed to making recycling investments where there is customer demand for our service and we receive an adequate return on our investment," Brossart stated.

Waste Connections

Overall company revenues were also up for Waste Connections. In the company's Q1 report, Waste Connections reported quarterly revenues of $506.1 million, up 5.1 percent compared with last year.

Waste Connections' recycling business, however, was hurt by "lower than expected recycled commodity values."

The recycling business brought in about $10.9 million, accounting for 1.9 of overall revenues and down 24 percent compared with the first quarter of 2014.

Waste Connections did not return a request for comment.

Waste Management

Reporting on the first quarter of 2015, Waste Management (WM) generated revenues of just over $3 billion. Compared to the first quarter of 2014, WM revenues were down $356 million, or 10.5 percent.

In explaining the fall, WM's financial report notes recycled commodity prices as a significant factor. The company states that compared with Q1 of 2014, the average price it received for recycled commodities in Q1 of 2015 was down 14 percent and resulted in sales that were down $42 million. Revenues from WM's recycling business fell 18.7 percent and totaled $282 million, accounting for 9 percent overall revenues.

But it was comments made by WM's CEO David Steiner that caused the most stir in the industry.

"Recycling is in a crisis," Steiner said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. "It isn’t profitable for us, and we have to react to that by shutting down plants."

In extended comments to Resource Recycling, Steiner noted contamination levels, high glass volumes and low commodity pricing have made for an "imperfect storm."

"We’re looking at our operations, ensuring they’re as efficient as possible and evaluating whether some rationalization and consolidation makes sense in some areas," Steiner said. "In other words, we are striving to keep our recycling operations afloat, rather than investing to create more recycling capacity."

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KAB offers ideas on boosting office recycling

Resource Recycling Magazine - Tue, 05/05/2015 - 10:42
KAB offers ideas on boosting office recycling

By Jared Paben, Resource Recycling

May 5, 2015

Offices will generate more recyclable materials and less contamination if each employee is given a large recycling bin and small garbage can, according to a study.

The study, titled "Recycling at Work: Research to Inform Improved Recycling in the Workplace," was commissioned by Keep America Beautiful (KAB) with support from PepsiCo Recycling and commercial real estate giant CBRE.

"It was important to do this because we see recycling in the workplace as a real potential opportunity to increase recycling," said Brenda Pulley, KAB's senior vice president of recycling.

Over six months in 2014, Action Research studied different recycling and garbage bin configurations in CBRE offices in Atlanta, Boston, Houston and San Diego. All offices had single-stream recycling collection.

The stakeholders tried the following configurations at each employee's desk:

  • Small trash can attached to a larger recycling bin
  • Equal-sized recycling and garbage cans
  • Only a recycling bin
  • Making no changes to the existing configuration but providing recycling information

The first configuration, with a small garbage and large recycling bin, showed the greatest success, according to the report. It yielded a higher percentage of recyclable materials and lower percentage of garbage in recycling bins as well as a lower percentage of recyclables in garbage cans.

Before the project, 79 percent of offices had some amount of paper in garbage cans, but the number dropped to almost zero during the experiment, the report stated.

"Our research clearly shows that by combining specific-sized trash and recycling receptacles, with simple signage and messaging, businesses and other organizations can increase employee participation and improve their rate of recycling of office-generated materials," Jennifer Jehn, KAB president and CEO, stated in a press release.

The "recycling-bin-only" option was unsuccessful and might have actually led employees to throw away recyclable materials they would have otherwise diverted, the report noted. It was unpopular for workers, and four offices dropped out of the survey after they were assigned this configuration, the report said.

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