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APR makes rigid plastics pitch to grocery industry

Plastics Recycling Update Magazine - Tue, 08/18/2015 - 16:55
APR makes rigid plastics pitch to grocery industry

By Editorial Staff, Plastics Recycling Update

August 19, 2015

Grocery store chains could generate significant income by baling and selling their rigid plastic containers, according to a video aimed at grocery leaders.

The training video emphasizes the benefits of baling and selling HDPE and PP rigid containers, as opposed to landfilling them, mixing them in single-stream recycling or stacking and shipping them for recycling. It notes that a grocery chain with 100 outlets could bring in rigid plastics revenues of nearly $120,000 annually.

The video was produced by the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR) in collaboration with Florida-based Publix Super Markets and the American Chemistry Council.

"There is great value in grocery store plastics," Liz Bedard, director of the APR Rigid Plastics Recycling Program, stated in a press release. "The Grocery Store Recycling Project is all about capturing good material for recycling. Baling the material adds good economic value, and we want to make it easy for grocers to see how they can enhance the value of the material by baling it."

The video features practices at Publix, a Southeastern U.S. grocery chain of 1,100 stores that bales its rigid plastics. The video also highlights the financial benefits of using a horizontal baler.

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Sign up for Plastics Recycling Update: Technology Edition

Plastics Recycling Update Magazine - Tue, 08/18/2015 - 16:54
Sign up for Plastics Recycling Update: Technology Edition

August 19, 2015

A monthly newsletter on the biggest plastics recycling technology news is set to debut Aug. 31.

From the publishers of Plastics Recycling Update, Plastics Recycling Update: Technology Edition will offer readers an exclusive look at processing strides, new equipment and the latest research and innovations in the expanding plastics recycling field.

In the first edition of the newsletter, readers will get an inside look at the equipment in Repreve's $25 million facility expansion, letters of no objection from the FDA and a never-before-seen project aimed at recovering laminated films.

To receive the free monthly newsletter, sign up here.

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Communities in action

Plastics Recycling Update Magazine - Tue, 08/18/2015 - 16:53
Communities in action

By Editorial Staff, Plastics Recycling Update

August 19, 2015

A Portland, Ore.-based company has started to accept expanded polystyrene at two drop-off locations, and West Virginia's capital city is making the unconventional move to replace recycling bins with plastic bags.

A MRF operator in the Portland, Ore. area is again accepting expanded polystyrene, but only on the west side of the metropolitan area. Far West Recycling stopped accepting foam after demand from China dropped, but that demand has increased again, reports KGW News. In the meantime, the company moved its densifying equipment to a facility on the western side of the metro area and says it's too expensive to truck it from collection depots in the eastern areas.

The city of South Portland, Maine will consider approving an EPS ban and plastic bag fee ordinance. The mayor of South Portland, population 25,000, said the ordinance would place a 5-cent fee on thin plastic and paper bags, the Portland Press Herald reports. Mayor Linda Cohen wants to give businesses plenty of time to adjust to the changes, particularly the ban on food-service EPS products.

Charleston, W.Va. will switch from recycling bins to plastic bags because the local MRF won't accept wet materials, according to WSAZ.com. The City Council voted to approve the change, with one council member saying that, without the change, the city may find itself with nowhere to take recyclable materials in the future.

The city of Atlanta has launched a partnership with recycling incentive program Recycling Perks, according to the Atlanta Daily World. The program provides residents who recycle curbside materials, including plastic containers and packaging, with discounts at businesses.

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PetroChem Wire: Scrap plastics exports rise in first half of 2015

Plastics Recycling Update Magazine - Tue, 08/18/2015 - 16:51
PetroChem Wire: Scrap plastics exports rise in first half of 2015

August 19, 2015

For the first six months of 2015, U.S. scrap plastic exports were up 2.5 percent from the first half of 2014 – at 1,090,799 metric tons, compared with 1,063,613 metric tons during the first half of 2014.

That's according to the latest USA Trade Online data. The export report also shows U.S. exports of scrap plastic in June totaled 206,083 metric tons, up 11.6 percent from 184,674 metric tons in June 2014.

A 43 percent rise in exports of "other" plastic scrap in June over June 2014 accounted for most of the increase. This category includes various plastic scrap with the exception of PET.

China is the largest destination of U.S. scrap plastic exports. In June 2015, 95,343 metric tons were exported to China, according to USA Trade Online, a division of the U.S. Census Bureau. That number made up 46.3 percent of the total 206,083 metric tons exported in June. U.S. plastic scrap exports to China in June were up 4.1 percent from June 2014.

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 - Tue, 08/18/2015 - 16:51
Wide world of plastics recycling

By Editorial Staff, Plastics Recycling Update

August 19, 2015

Two Australian fishermen get up close and personal with plastic marine debris, and the U.K. plastics recycling sector sees some major injections of capital.

Two U.K. companies producing recycled plastic products have received major capital investments, reports letsrecycle.com. Ireland-based OnePlastics Group has invested "a seven-figure sum" in U.K.-based company Straight, which makes waste and recycling containers. In addition, the firm Jayplas has announced it will invest millions of dollars into its packaging division.

The local government covering a vast swath of northern Great Britain has added non-bottle rigid plastics to its collection program. The Highland Council will begin collecting the additional plastics at the end of August, according to the CIWM Journal. Loose plastic bottle tops can also now be included in the curbside mix.

With Kuala Lumpur's plastics recycling rate at only about 5 percent, the local solid waste management company's CEO is urging to public separate materials for recycling. Residents of Malaysia's capital city throw away plastics each year worth the equivalent of $12.3 million, reports the New Strait Times.

If there weren't video or photos, people probably wouldn't believe them. Two young Australian fishermen were approached by a whale in a harbor north of Sydney, and it seemed to want them to remove plastic bags and fishing wire stuck on its head. One of the individuals reached out and removed the plastic waste and it slapped its fin on the water, seemingly out of appreciation, before swimming off, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Two bottled water companies serving the United Arab Emirates have taken meaningful steps to promote plastics recycling. Others? Not so much. That's according to The National, which said that while two companies, Masafi and Al Ain, recycle and encourage recycling among consumers, six other companies either refused to detail their recycling programs or said they had none in place.

 

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NewsBits from Plastics Recycling Update

Plastics Recycling Update Magazine - Tue, 08/18/2015 - 16:48
NewsBits

August 19, 2015

While the values of many reclaimed plastics have dropped, they've roughly doubled for clean PP film collected from hospitals. Inforum.com takes a look at a blue wrap recycling programs in the Twin Cities area and how it's been successful in recycling major tonnages of film from hospitals that used to go to landfill.

Oregonians support the doubling of the beverage container deposit from 5 cents to 10 cents, a survey from the Northwest Grocery Association shows. That's according to the Statesman Journal newspaper, which reported 55 percent of poll respondents support the increase. Under Oregon law, if redemptions fall below 80 percent two years in a row, regulators can increase the deposit starting in 2017.

Insert a plastic beverage container, feed a stray animal. That's the idea behind a reverse vending machine developed by a Turkish company. Each time somebody puts a used plastic beverage container in it, the machine dispenses some food down at animal height. MTL Blog is encouraging Montreal to adopt the technology.

Roughly two-thirds of farmers surveyed in Wisconsin would haul their agricultural plastics at least 10 miles to participate in a free recycling program, a survey showed. The survey asked dairy farmers about how they dispose of ag plastics and which kinds of recycling programs would engage them. The University of Wisconsin-Extension writes about the study in Daily Herd Management.

 

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Advocacy groups argue over packaging EPR

Resource Recycling Magazine - Mon, 08/17/2015 - 22:07
Advocacy groups argue over packaging EPR

By Jared Paben, Resource Recycling

August 18, 2015

Extended producer responsibility for toxic materials makes sense, participants in a recent webinar agreed. But whether – and how – to extend EPR to packaging in the U.S. was the subject of a fierce debate.

"We do not need EPR for packaging, materials we're already recycling," said Neil Seldman, co-founder of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR).

Matt Prindiville, executive director of EPR advocacy organization group Upstream, disagreed.

"It's purely a way to get producer funding into the recycling system," Prindiville said.

The ILSR-hosted webinar, which drew 69 people, included presentations from Seldman and Prindiville. It was moderated by Maurice Sampson II, president and CEO of Philadelphia-based Niche Recycling.

Prindiville presented on Upstream's model legislation, drafted this spring, establishing what he called a "shared responsibility approach." Packaging producers would provide money to a trust, which would aim for a 75 percent recycling rate by spending the money to improve recycling infrastructure, compensate local governments for collection costs and conduct outreach. The trust would be governed by a board with representation from packaging producers, solid waste agencies, collectors, manufacturers using recyclable materials and environmental groups.

"This is really about getting producer funding into the system and having those funds being administered by the type of folks on this call," Prindiville said.

Unlike a fully producer-controlled system for packaging, Upstream's approach avoids creating a producer-controlled organization or consortium that can upend existing business relationships between local governments and haulers or create turmoil in markets, he said.

"While it doesn't go far enough for some, it provides a politically viable path forward in the U.S.," Prindiville said.

Seldman saw the bill differently.

The effort to extend EPR to packaging interferes with a thriving "zero waste" movement, he said. EPR systems, according to Seldman, shut out citizen involvement, and he pointed to the Connecticut mattress recycling law as a case in point.

"The revolution in solid waste management in the U.S. took place because citizens changed the rules at the local level," Seldman said. "Their efforts ushered in resource recovery parks, bottle bills, minimum-recycled-content laws, bans on bags and expanded polystyrene products and disposal bans for yard debris."

"These are the types of things – these small but cumulative things – that corporate America does not want to see happen, and EPR is the way to do that," he said. "It's a way to corporate bureaucratic responsibility, instead of citizen and local government responsibility."

Dick Lilly, formerly of Seattle Public Utilities' Solid Waste Division, and Mary Lou Van Deventer and Dan Knapp, both of Berkeley, Calif.-based company Urban Ore, also provided additional commentary on EPR for packaging following the presentations.

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WestRock snaps up SP Fiber Holdings

Resource Recycling Magazine - Mon, 08/17/2015 - 22:07
WestRock snaps up SP Fiber Holdings

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

August 18, 2015

WestRock Co. has agreed to purchase recycled fiber company SP Fiber Holdings, continuing a recent spate of paper industry mergers and consolidations.

WestRock – itself the product of a recent merger between two industry giants, RockTenn and MeadWestvaco – will pay $288.5 million to acquire SP Fiber Holdings, the company announced Aug. 11. The deal is subject to regulatory approval.

SP Fiber Holdings produces recycled containerboard and kraft and bag paper at mills located in Dublin, Ga. and Newberg, Ore. The company makes 100 recycled fiber products for end use in consumer and corrugated packaging.

As part of the deal, WestRock also acquires SP Fiber's 48 percent stake in a renewable energy joint venture called Green Power Solutions of Georgia, which provides energy to Georgia Power and steam to SP Fiber's paper mill in Dublin.

"The Dublin and Newberg mills will balance the fiber mix of our mill system, and the addition of kraft and bag paper will diversify our product offering," WestRock CEO Steve Voorhees stated in the announcement. "We expect to apply our operating capabilities to improve the cost structure of both mills. As a result, our mill system will be better positioned to serve the increasing demand for lighter weight containerboard and kraft paper."

WestRock is the second largest paper and paperboard firm in North America, behind International Paper. It already operates recycled paper mills in 10 states in the eastern half of the country and it recovers and recycles roughly 7 million tons of fiber per year.

SP Fiber Technologies says it has 556 employees and produces 2,200 tons of packaging and 500 tons of newsprint per day.

A WestRock spokeswoman said the company doesn't comment on the negotiations of any transaction.

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Getting killed by contamination? Find help at Resource Recycling Conference 2015

Resource Recycling Magazine - Mon, 08/17/2015 - 22:06
Getting killed by contamination? Find help at Resource Recycling Conference 2015

August 18, 2015

Put recyclable materials in; keep the trash out. That call from recycling coordinators, MRF operators and others who depend on cart contents has recently grown in intensity as commodity prices have squeezed profits and single-stream collection has expanded.

At Resource Recycling Conference 2015, expert speakers representing a range of stakeholders will take to the stage to help attendees address contamination in innovative and productive ways. The session's scheduled lineup includes Derric Brown of the Carton Council and Evergreen Packaging; Susan Robinson of Waste Management; Harvey Gershman of consulting firm Gershman, Brickner & Bratton; and Samantha MacBride of the New York City Department of Sanitation.

Resource Recycling Conference 2015 is scheduled for Sept. 28-30, 2015 at the Downtown Marriott in Indianapolis. Head to rrconference.com for all the latest on attending, exhibiting and sponsoring.

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Current export markets: The good and the ugly

Resource Recycling Magazine - Mon, 08/17/2015 - 22:00
Current export markets: The good and the ugly

By Jerry Powell, Resource Recycling

August 18, 2015

Several trends are negatively affecting North American export markets for recovered materials, including the return of detailed material inspections by Chinese customs officials.

The surprise move by the Chinese government to devalue its currency – the yuan – has led to consternation by North American recycling shippers. The devaluation of the yuan makes the U.S. dollar even stronger. Thus, while the government action will make Chinese goods more attractive worldwide, it means that paper, plastic and metals recovered in the U.S. and Canada are more expensive than before devaluation, because such goods are dollar-denominated.

The currency action will spur added Chinese initiatives to acquire more scrap material internally, rather than relying so heavily on North American and European suppliers. Recycling market players fear that additional devaluation steps will further erode import demand by Chinese buyers and will push foreign-trade prices lower.

A second concern of many North American shippers is the resurgence in restrictive actions by Chinese custom inspectors. Some U.S. shippers of secondary materials say they are experiencing enhanced inspections of their loads as the Chinese government once again tightens controls to reduce or eliminate the likelihood of contaminated loads being received. Some U.S. exporters are calling the governmental action “Green Fence II.”

On the positive side, these same exporters say overseas shipping costs are at rock-bottom levels. According to ocean-freight analysts, these attractive container shipping rates reflect the low cost of fuel for shipping lines as well as the impact of a rate war among the major shipping lines.

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APR makes rigid plastics pitch to grocery industry

Resource Recycling Magazine - Mon, 08/17/2015 - 21:59
APR makes rigid plastics pitch to grocery industry

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

August 18, 2015

Grocery store chains could generate significant income by baling and selling their rigid plastic containers, according to a video aimed at grocery leaders.

The training video emphasizes the benefits of baling and selling HDPE and PP rigid containers, as opposed to landfilling them, mixing them in single-stream recycling or stacking and shipping them for recycling. It notes that a grocery chain with 100 outlets could bring in rigid plastics revenues of nearly $120,000 annually. 

The video was produced by the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR) in collaboration with Florida-based Publix Super Markets and the American Chemistry Council.

"There is great value in grocery store plastics," Liz Bedard, director of the APR Rigid Plastics Recycling Program, stated in a press release. "The Grocery Store Recycling Project is all about capturing good material for recycling. Baling the material adds good economic value, and we want to make it easy for grocers to see how they can enhance the value of the material by baling it."

The video features practices at Publix, a Southeastern U.S. grocery chain of 1,100 stores that bales its rigid plastics. The video also highlights the financial benefits of using a horizontal baler.

To return to the Resource Recycling newsletter, click here.

 

Federal legislation aims to complement Closed Loop Fund

Resource Recycling Magazine - Mon, 08/17/2015 - 21:57
Federal legislation aims to complement Closed Loop Fund

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

August 18, 2015

The dollar amount in a zero waste bill in Congress was inspired by the Closed Loop Fund's pledge to invest $100 million in recycling initiatives.

That's according to staff members for U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, a Minneapolis-area Democrat who introduced the Zero Waste Development and Expansion Act (H.R. 3237) in late July.

The bill would establish a grant fund to distribute up to $100 million to municipalities over five years to support waste reduction, recycling and reuse. Ellison staffers say the dollar amount was inspired by the privately funded Closed Loop Fund, which has said it will contribute $100 million in loans to communities and businesses. The idea is to provide a public sector match to the private sector funds.

The bill could face a battle in Congress. Bill supporters will try to convince fiscally conservative Republicans the investment will be paid back with increased jobs and business activity and additional tax revenues. Even if passed, the bill would still need to be funded by Congress.

The bill, which would authorize an appropriation of up to $100 million for fiscal years 2016 through 2021, received kudos from recycling and reuse advocates, including the Reuse Institute.

"We support all efforts to divert reusable materials away from the waste stream and commend Rep. Ellison for putting forth this game-changing legislation," Reuse Institute CEO MaryEllen Etienne told Resource Recycling. "The bill's focus on empowering local governments to establish waste prevention, reuse and recycling infrastructure is paramount to its success. It's especially vital to the reuse industry as these companies tend to be small, locally owned and operated and provide local jobs and increase regional capital retention."

Rob Kaplan, managing director of the Closed Loop Fund, said the organization can't comment on pending legislation because the fund receives a small portion of its committed capital from foundations.


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Wide world of recycling

Resource Recycling Magazine - Mon, 08/17/2015 - 21:55
Wide world of recycling

August 18, 2015

A Taiwanese designer makes strides in recyclable footwear. That story and more can be found in the latest update from our content partner Recycling International.

Aurubis, the world’s largest copper recycling company, has returned "very good" operating earnings of 261 million euros (before taxes) for the first nine months of fiscal year 2014-15; this compares to 75 million euros in the corresponding period of 2013-14.

Axion Polymers in the U.K. has invested significantly in new laboratory and testing facilities to ensure consistent quality of its solid recovered fuel (SRF) products and satisfy the stringent standards of its technical end markets.

A designer in Taiwan has created an innovative piece of composite-free footwear with the help of a 3-D printer. Known as the Bio-Knit shoe, it should "dramatically reduce" the costs associated with recycling current multi-material products, according to its developer.

According to Dutch railway company ProRail, the number of copper theft incidents in the Netherlands fell drastically in the first half of this year when compared with the same period in 2014. A total of 54 cases of copper theft have been reported this year versus 130 in the first six months of 2014.

The Hong Kong government has launched an Advisory Committee on Recycling Fund together with China's Environment Bureau. The new initiative will oversee a $130 million fund intended to stimulate recycling in the autonomous territory.

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Resource Recycling Conference 2015: Get your brand in front of the industry

Resource Recycling Magazine - Mon, 08/17/2015 - 21:54
Resource Recycling Conference 2015: Get your brand in front of the industry

August 18, 2015

Sponsorship and exhibitor packages are now available for the leading North American gathering of top-level recycling professionals.

By integrating your company into the action at the Resource Recycling Conference, you'll be ensuring brand recognition among local government decision-makers, packaging executives, association heads and other sustainability leaders. Be sure to act quickly to secure the best possible exhibit hall placement and sponsorship choices.

Resource Recycling Conference 2015 is scheduled for Sept. 28-30, 2015 at the Downtown Marriott in Indianapolis. Head to rrconference.com for all the latest on attending, exhibiting and sponsoring.

To return to the Resource Recycling newsletter, click here.

Newsbits from Resource Recycling

Resource Recycling Magazine - Mon, 08/17/2015 - 21:51
NewsBits

August 18, 2015

The Economic Development Partnership of Alabama has awarded the City of Montgomery and its mixed-waste processing facility the "2015 Alabama Innovation Award for Outstanding Public Private Partnership." WSFA reports the IREP facility created more than 100 local jobs and is able to "divert 60 percent of the city's material from landfill."

That same facility in Montgomery is also the subject of a highly critical website – savemonckscorner.com – that has made the rounds in recycling circles this week, claiming that the IREP facility lost millions of dollars in its first year of operations.

The City of Atlanta has launched a partnership with recycling incentive program Recycling Perks, according to the Atlanta Daily World. The program provides residents who recycle with discounts at businesses.

Residents in Albuquerque, N.M. recovered 9 percent more material over the past year, but it still falling short of a target in its contract with a MRF operator, the Albuquerque Journal reports. The City diverted 34,000 tons, but it's still short of a target in the contract, requiring it to pay penalties to Friedman Recycling.

The phone book industry is making improvements in sustainability, but it's still falling short in some areas, according to a report from the Product Stewardship Institute. The 2015 Sustainability Report Card of Telephone Directory Publishers evaluates 13 publishers on whether they provide easy access to opt-out programs, use sustainable paper and ink and provide support for recycling programs.

Twin Cities-area nonprofit organization Eureka Recycling is organizing a summit to strengthen the zero waste movement. The event, which will draw 18 experts and innovators to speak, will be held Sept. 18 in Minneapolis. Tickets can be purchased here.

Safeway has joined a program to provide the Oregon Food Bank with food that's past its sell-by date but is still safe to eat, according to the Portland Business Journal. The grocery store will join the Fresh Alliance Program, resulting in an estimated 1.25 million meals per year for low-income residents of Oregon and Southwest Washington.

Single-stream recycling has boosted curbside volumes in Chattanooga, Tenn., but glass continues to be used as alternative daily cover, not recycled into other products, according to the Times Free Press. The local MRF can't find a market for the curbside-collected glass, although it does store and sell presorted glass dropped off at collection depots.

A U.S. Senate committee approved a bill protecting paper recycling from energy recovery when the Department of Energy awards funds to developing energy technology, according to the Paper Recycling Coalition. The Energy and Natural Resource Committee approved an amendment to the Energy Policy Act of 2005 because of increasing concerns about the quality of fiber going to MRFs co-located with waste-to-energy facilities.

Oregonians support the doubling of the beverage container deposit from 5 cents to 10 cents, a survey from the Northwest Grocery Association shows. That's according to the Statesman Journal newspaper, which reported 55 percent of poll respondents support the increase. Under Oregon law, if redemptions fall below 80 percent two years in a row, regulators can increase the deposit starting in 2017.

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Industry and supplier news

Resource Recycling Magazine - Mon, 08/17/2015 - 21:50
Industry and supplier news

August 18, 2015

The Solid Waste Association of North America and the California Resource Recovery Association will develop and offer a Zero Waste Principles and Practices course and certification program in the U.S. and Canada. For more, click here.

The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries has passed a policy on anti-metals-theft laws requiring recycling companies to electronically submit reports to government officials regarding sales information. For more, click here.

Consumer personal care products company Kimberly-Clark Professional has signed on as a benefactor member of the U.S. Composting Council. For more, click here.

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Report: Big players have upper hand in ITAD

E-Scrap News Magazine - Wed, 08/12/2015 - 20:57
Report: Big players have the upper hand in ITAD

By Editorial Staff, E-Scrap News

August 13, 2015

Local IT asset disposition shops will continue to feel squeezed, while mid- to large-sized firms are experiencing growth.

That's according to a report from research and consulting firm Compliance Standards LLC, which surveyed companies on the ITAD firms they do business with.

The survey showed Dell continues to maintain the top position in the U.S. enterprise ITAD market.

"Tier 1 vendors, in particular Dell, have done an outstanding job maintaining leadership as ITAD providers in the U.S. enterprise market, owing not only to their historical strong relationships with the market, but also due to their organizational and structural initiatives that enable sound go-to-market strategies," David Daoud, analyst at Compliance Standards, stated in a press release.

The report said the business outlet was bright for mid- and large-size firms, called Tier 2 companies, including Ingram Micro and Arrow Electronics. Tier 3 vendors, smaller vendors with a range of services, shows mixed performance with some degree of uncertainty in their outlook given ongoing consolidations and drying up of venture capital investments, the report states.

The Tier 4 vendors, independent ITAD shops, will continue to experience consolidations and fewer customers, according to the report. The number of large companies contracting with local shops for ITAD services dropped from over 20 percent in a 2012 survey to 17 percent this year. That number is expected to fall to 12 percent over the next year, according to the report.

"Change in IT procurement strategies, the increasing role of compliance, and the reorganization of the supplier side are among the many factors conspiring to reduce the impact of small IT equipment recyclers," according to Daoud.

Of companies responding to the survey, 41 percent said they contract with Dell for ITAD services. The next biggest players in the market are IBM (32 percent) and HP (20 percent), according to the report. Companies often contract with multiple vendors for ITAD services, the report added.

David Daoud will provide further analysis on the ITAD market during the opening panel of this year's E-Scrap Conference. For more information on the conference, click here.

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Midwest flat-screen processor files for bankruptcy

E-Scrap News Magazine - Wed, 08/12/2015 - 20:56
Midwest flat-screen processor files for bankruptcy

By Bobby Elliott, E-Scrap News

August 13, 2015

Flat-panel display processor 3S International has closed its operations in Illinois and Michigan and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy with hopes of reorganizing the company.

In a statement sent to E-Scrap News, CEO Joe Yob said bankruptcy will "allow 3S to strategically reposition the company to better meet the current and future needs for the recycling of panel displays and other mercury-containing electronics."

Operations at the company's two locations, in Taylor, Mich. and Tinley Park, Ill., have been "temporarily suspended" since July 31, Yob confirmed. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Aug. 6, court records show.

The full statement from Yob on behalf of 3S can be read here.

The Michigan-based company, which was started by Yob, has positioned itself primarily as a processor of mercury-containing flat-panel display TVs and computer monitors. It owns three automated shredding systems manufactured by Switzerland-based Blubox Trading, and the bankruptcy filing shows 3S still owes at least $500,000 to Blubox for the machinery.

Roger Burri, Blubox CEO, told E-Scrap News 3S owes the company "more than $500,000."

"As far as we know, 3S had great plans to cover the North American e-scrap market with its services," Burri stated. "We really do not know why the company filed for Chapter 11. I guess the American market for mercury-containing e-scrap is not ready yet."

He confirmed 3S has purchased three individual Blubox shredding systems from the company.

Though CRT TVs and monitors continue to dominate U.S. residential e-scrap streams by weight, many within the industry expect volumes of mercury-containing flat-panels to grow in the near future and pose processing challenges.

The website for 3S suggests "the problem is poised to be even greater" than what the industry has faced in handling CRT devices. Earlier this year, 3S announced a partnership with IMS Electronics Recycling and Kuusakoski Recycling, among others, to provide flat-panel display processing services.

While the bankruptcy filing does not go into detail about the circumstances surrounding the financial troubles surrounding 3S, it estimates company liabilities of $10 million to $50 million and assets of $1 million to $10 million. Beyond Blubox, 3S is listed as owing 19 other creditors a combined $1.1 million, including rent and pay for temporary employees hired through an agency. All told, the company is listed as having between 50 and 99 creditors.

The bankruptcy filing also shows the company is disputing $70,000 in "overtime back wages and alleged liquidated double damages" claimed by a former employee.

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Deadline extended for discounted room rates at E-Scrap 2015

E-Scrap News Magazine - Wed, 08/12/2015 - 20:55
Deadline extended for discounted room rates at E-Scrap 2015

August 13, 2015

Between pre- and post-conference workshops, early morning sessions, networking opportunities and evening receptions, E-Scrap 2015 will feature hours of business-boosting activity. All events will be held exclusively at the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate. To get the most out of your conference experience, be sure to stay at the host hotel, where thousands of recycling professionals will be an open door away.

The deadline for booking rooms at a discounted rate has been extended to this Friday, Aug. 14. Book now to receive the conference discount room rate of $175 plus taxes for single/double occupancy. The discount rate is available for the dates of Aug. 31 – Sept. 3.

Book your hotel room here.

E-Scrap 2015 is taking place Sept. 1-3, 2015 at Omni ChampionsGate in Orlando, Fla. 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 exhibiting, sponsoring and attending.


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In My Opinion: Solving the industry's woes

E-Scrap News Magazine - Wed, 08/12/2015 - 20:53
In My Opinion: Solving the industry's woes

August 13, 2015

By Lauren Roman, Consultant and founder of TransparentPlanet

One morning not too long ago, I began previewing my schedule for the day ahead and remembered that I had an appointment for a root canal. I actually felt a sense of relief that for a few hours I would have a break from the challenges facing our industry.

Yes, the size of electronic devices is shrinking rapidly, but per-capita e-scrap generation rates continue to rise. The number of players exiting the business has been far exceeding the number entering. So why is the industry in such dire straits and what can be done about it?

Lack of organization

Right now commodity pricing has many firms on the brink of extinction. An industry cannot control commodity pricing, but an organization working in the interest of members can help develop mechanisms for flexibility during market fluctuations. It can monitor market dynamics and provide member alerts. It can generate press to help customers understand and adapt to changes in pricing due to market swings. It can provide support services to help members run more successful businesses and become resilient during difficult times.

As long at the industry remains void of this kind of organizational leadership and guidance, tough breaks will just "keep happening" to electronics recycling businesses.

Lack of representation

Companies with the bandwidth to keep abreast of regulatory activity affecting the industry know that the Illinois EPA recently passed legislation to, among other things, allow the weight of landfilled CRT glass collected for recycling to count toward manufacturer recycling requirements.

How could this happen in a state that has an e-scrap landfill ban? There were no recycling companies at the table.

All that regulators and program managers in Illinois knew was that CRTs were piling up and sometimes even left behind at collection events. They knew about illegal storage and even cases of abandonment that have left Illinois with big cleanup bills. Lawmakers' logical conclusion was that the recycling market for CRTs must be severely constricted and that no CRT recovery options exist. Certainly no one was telling them otherwise.

The amendment to give recycling credit for landfilling CRTs passed unanimously and most regional players found out after the fact.

In late July, I held meetings with the Illinois EPA, the governor’s office and other stakeholders on behalf of a client, an Illinois e-scrap firm that itself offers an end-of-life CRT glass option and is deeply concerned with the recent amendment. I presented our hosts with data showing that in 2014 approximately 10,325 tons of CRT glass was collected under the state program while the regional recycling capacity for CRTs at the time was almost six times that. This was the first time the ILEPA had seen such data. It was the first time the governor’s office had heard of such a thing as legitimate CRT recycling outlets.

In each of our meetings we asked for recommendations on how we could ensure that industry voices were heard. They asked us what industry associations represent our industry and where our lobbyists were.

Lack of representation and advocacy for the e-recycling industry has ramifications far beyond what happened in Illinois. Firms are trying to fight their own battles, and they're not winning.

Lack of innovation

Another answer to industry struggles might be found via fresh thinking and revamped business models. What type of innovation could boost e-recycling? Thinking outside the electronics recycling box may be one answer. What related service opportunities can be tapped into?

Increasingly, enterprises are adapting RFID technology for increased efficiency and accountability in managing IT assets. Are you still using barcode? Could RFID adaptation in your own operation save money and leverage new service opportunities with your clients? What other services do you provide that could be leveraged into new non-recycling business offerings? Reverse logistics is another good example.

Innovation is difficult to come by when everyone is looking out for him or herself. Ever hear of a hackathon? The idea is that dozens – sometimes thousands – of software and hardware developers and other related experts come together to collaborate intensively on projects. Some of our most impactful technologies, including certain wearable health tech devices, are the products of this type of collaboration.

The E-Scrap 2015 conference is just a couple of weeks away. Perhaps it’s time for an industry hackathon aimed at brainstorming solutions to some of the industry’s most vexing problems.

Lauren Roman founded TransparentPlanet in 2008 to develop a tracking platform for the U.S. electronics recycling industry, integrating RFID to monitor material flows. With over 20 years of industry experience, she also provides consulting services to electronics recycling companies of all sizes to optimize market positioning, messaging and effectiveness of sales teams.

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not imply endorsement by Resource Recycling, Inc. If you have a subject you'd like to cover in an Op-Ed, email news@resource-recycling.com for consideration.

See more In My Opinion pieces on Resource Recycling here.

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