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E-Scrap News Magazine - Thu, 10/09/2014 - 00:18
NewsBits

Oct. 9, 2014

E-scrap reclaimers can blame weak precious metals prices for the slump in the value of scrap printed wiring board. Gold is at a four-year low in terms of price, silver has fallen to a 52-month low and palladium is at a five-year bottom. Commodity investors are pushing down prices because of a fear the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates (higher interest rates typically dampen the demand for metals such as gold). In addition, the continuing improvement in the U.S. economy, coupled with a strong dollar, lowers the desire for investors to put money into protective assets, such as precious metals.

After a string of late-summer fatalities at U.S. recycling facilities, the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) has declared Oct. 15 Safety Stand-Down Day and is encouraging firms and employees to dedicate time on that date to focus on safety education. "Since early August, we have suffered at least 11 fatalities and multiple critical injuries at facilities owned by, or associated with, ISRI members and at some non-ISRI member owned facilities," the group said in a press release. "This is a disturbing trend that must be stopped."

Apple has released a tool that allows prospective buyers of used Apple devices to check to make sure the product in question has not been marked lost or stolen by a previous owner. Apple had previously installed an Activation Lock function on devices that required a user to enter a code once the lock was activated, but hackers found a way to circumvent that system.

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PET bottle recycling rate holds steady in 2013

Plastics Recycling Update Magazine - Wed, 10/08/2014 - 10:29
PET bottle recycling rate holds steady in 2013

By Dan Leif, Plastics Recycling Update

Oct. 8, 2014

A just-released report shows the U.S. PET bottle recycling rate was 31.2 percent last year, a slight rise from 2012's 30.8 percent mark.

The recycling rate was determined by a pair of industry groups and announced in a report made public today.

In 2013, 1.798 billion pounds of PET bottle material was collected for recycling, an 80 million pound increase from the previous year. Representatives from the groups behind the study — the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR) and the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR) — note those collection increases were a product of upticks in material from states with bottle deposit legislation, as well as continued growth in single-stream and commercial recycling programs, which brought more PET into materials recovery facilities (MRFs) nationwide.

The study also notes that due to reduced demand for mixed plastic bales brought about by China's Green Fence policy (which hit its peak in 2013), "MRFs may have been incentivized to move materials from mixed resin bales to PET bales."

The trend toward lighter and smaller bottles among beverage makers is again noted as a factor holding back recycling rate growth in the PET arena. The report also indicates some states with developed curbside recycling programs reported declines in total weight collected.

China's Green Fence also seems to have made an impact on the tonnages of PET bottle material exported from the U.S. Roughly 469 million pounds of collected material, or 26 percent, was exported in 2013. That's the lowest volume since 2004 and the lowest by percentage of total collection since 2000.

U.S. reclaimers, however, increased consumption of U.S. bottles by 17 percent, compared with 2012.

"Despite very real challenges for PET recyclers due to limited supply and decreasing bale yields, this report shows a maturing, entrepreneurial industry that continues to innovate and find new material sources and process efficiencies," said Scott Saunders, APR chairman and general manager at KW Plastics Recycling Division. "Notably, domestic recyclers are contributing more than 790 million pounds of material back into U.S. production of new PET packaging; this is a significant demonstration of domestic closed loop manufacturing."

Over the past decade, U.S. PET bottle recycling rates have climbed each year. The 0.4 percentage point climb between 2012 and 2013 is the second-smallest increase the industry has seen in that time frame. The only time it was smaller was between 2010 and 2011, when the rate went from 29.1 percent to 29.3 percent, according to figures supplied in the most recent report.

Between 2011 and 2012 the rate increased from 29.3 percent to 30.8 percent.

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Closed Loop Fund to move fast on initial projects

Plastics Recycling Update Magazine - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 22:12
Closed Loop Fund to move fast on initial projects

By Dan Leif, Plastics Recycling Update

Oct. 8, 2014

The leader of the $100 million Closed Loop Fund says the initiative's submission period will officially open next week, and by the end of this month, administrators will begin reviewing proposals.

Ron Gonen, CEO of the Closed Loop Fund, spoke Monday on a webinar organized by the Pennsylvania Recycling Markets Center. He said his group's website, ClosedLoopFund.com, will go live on Oct. 15 and at that point parties interested in submitting proposals to nab funding will be able to do so.

He added that Fund decision-makers will be meeting Oct. 29 to discuss the first crop of proposals and to start determining which will receive financing from the group. Fund representatives will then be meeting on a quarterly basis to review and greenlight more submissions.

"We're looking to be aggressive and put carts out on the street and help MRFs advance recycling," Gonen said.

The Closed Loop Fund, which was announced in April, is backed by Walmart, Procter & Gamble and several other giants in the consumer packaged goods realm. On Monday, Gonen also confirmed Colgate-Palmolive recently joined the list of backers, and he said he expects more corporate entities to be joining soon.

Those companies say they have struggled to consistently source enough recovered material to meet their recycled content goals.

Using contributions totaling more than $100 million from those corporate partners, the Closed Loop Fund will over the next five years be making zero interest loans available to municipalities looking to finance projects that can significantly bolster diversion rates and bring more material into the market. Gonen has mentioned a number of example initiatives that would fit the Fund's parameters, such as transitions from bins to carts, construction of new MRFs and anaerobic digestion development.

On Monday, Gonen said he envisions most loans to be in the $500,000 to $5 million range, and he said the loans are open to municipalities and business entities throughout North America as well as the Caribbean.

While municipalities will be eligible for zero interest loans, any loans from the Fund to business groups would be subject to interest rates. Gonen noted those interest rates would be "below market."

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PetroChem Wire: Tight recycled LDPE supply reflects strong exports

Plastics Recycling Update Magazine - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 22:09
PetroChem Wire: Tight recycled LDPE supply reflects strong exports

Oct. 8, 2014

U.S. recycled LDPE film pellet prices have risen in recent weeks due in part to healthy demand from Asian export markets and the resultant tighter supply.

LDPE film grade repro in mixed colors rose 1-2 cents per pound to 46-50 cents per pound FOB Eastern U.S. LDPE injection regrind (flake) business was done at 46 cents per pound FOB Eastern U.S. for natural and 43 cents per pound for mixed color.

The U.S. Gulf market for prime LDPE, film grade, domestic resale (DER) was steady at 92 cents per pound in late September and early December.

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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Massachusetts bottle bill foes accused of fudging facts

Plastics Recycling Update Magazine - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 22:07
Massachusetts bottle bill foes accused of fudging facts

By Editorial Staff, Plastics Recycling Update

Oct. 8, 2014

Opponents of bottle bill expansion in Massachusetts are under fire for possibly grossly overstating the percentage of state residents who have access to curbside recycling.

In TV ads trying to convince voters to shoot down the expansion, the beverage-industry-backed "No On Question 2" group says 90 percent of Massachusetts residents have curbside access. The group argues such high access levels makes expanding the deposit legislation to bottled water and other drinks unnecessary.

After environmental groups and other supporters of the bottle bill initiative voiced concerns over the validity of the 90 percent number, the group began attributing the statistic to the Massachusetts Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

But in a lengthy story this week by the Boston-based State House News Service, the statistic was questioned by officials from the state's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), which is part of the Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and maintains waste-related figures.

"I like to have the right data out there in these kinds of discussions and that doesn't seem to be the right data," DEP Commissioner David Cash told the News Service. Another DEP spokesperson quoted in the story said his department's numbers show 64 percent of residents have curbside access.

So far opponents of the bottle bill have raised nearly $8 million for their fight against the ballot proposal. Supporters of bottle bill expansion in the Bay State, meanwhile, have raised just over $500,000.

That financial disparity and the resulting messaging coming to voters seems to be making a difference in the arena of public opinion. An August Boston Globe poll found 62 percent of respondents supported the bottle bill expansion. A poll held at the end of September, however, found a majority of respondents said they would vote against expansion.

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Wide world of plastics recycling

Plastics Recycling Update Magazine - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 21:52
Wide world of plastics recycling

By Editorial Staff, Plastics Recycling Update

Oct. 8, 2014

An Australian firm has launched with the goal of turning reclaimed plastic film into a variety of products, and a startup in Mexico is using recycled HDPE in decking material.

A recently launched Australian company, Plastic Forests, is aiming to reduce the amount of plastic film that ends up landfilled or incinerated by processing the material and turning into products such as electric cable casings and garden edging. The firm began as an effort from Sydney-based Global Renewables.

The U.K. county of Surrey is trying to make a clear connection between recycling and economics in a push to get more residents to divert their plastic bottles. The campaign materials state that if each one of Surrey's 983,000 adults recycled one more plastic bottle each week, the county would save 200,000 pounds (roughly $322,000) annually in waste disposal costs.

Two college students in Mexico have launched a company that manufactures decking materials from recycled plastic. The firm, called Madenova, will start with a focus on consuming HDPE.

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Patent watch

Plastics Recycling Update Magazine - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 21:50
Patent watch

Oct. 8, 2014

A group of researchers led by Frank J. Levy, from Quogue, New York, was given Patent No. 8,794,552, which describes an apparatus and process for separating carpet fibers.

A method of manufacturing recycled crosslinked vinyl-alcohol polymer coated films is the subject of Patent No. 8,795,811, awarded to Toray Plastics (America), Inc. from North Kingstown, Rhode Island.

Patent Applications No. 20140209716 and 20140209725 were awarded to the Wisconsin Film & Bag, Inc. from Shawano for post-consumer scrap film recycling systems and processes.

Asker, Norway's Tomra Systems ASA was given Patent Application No. 20140210967 for a system and method of reading features on recyclable containers for reverse vending machines.

A multi-function device for separating and washing scrap plastics is the subject of Patent Application No. 20140213159, given to Yubin Feng from Guangzhou City, China.

Patent Application No. 20140213740 was given to Omaha, Nebraska's Columbia Insurance Company for a method of recycling PET plastic materials.

For more information on these or any patents, please consult the U.S. Patent Office database online.

Copies of patents can be ordered by number for $3 each from the Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA, 22313-1450.

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NewsBits

Plastics Recycling Update Magazine - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 21:45
NewsBits

Oct. 8, 2014

Officials in Medina County, Ohio are set to continue using a system in which recyclables are separated from trash at a dedicated facility. The county, which is located south of Cleveland and has a population of roughly 172,000, has utilized the "dirty MRF" concept for over a decade, and officials recently announced they are considering bids from two firms that would continue the arrangement for at least seven years. One of the bidders, Vexor Technology, says it will invest $11.5 million to renovate the county's processing facility.

In its latest sustainability report, Coca-Cola stated it has used more than 25 billion PlantBottles in 40 countries since the packaging concept was launched five years ago. The PlantBottle is a PET container that can be recycled in traditional PET streams, but part of the plastic in the bottles is derived from sugars instead of petroleum.

A Denver-based company called Higher Standard Packaging has launched a line of 100 percent recycled HDPE containers for, you guessed it, marijuana. Nearly 300,000 pounds of legalized pot is expected to be sold in Colorado this year alone, and Higher Standard says it has successfully developed the first FDA-approved, recycled packaging for the drug.

The former president of recycling at Waste Management has joined become CEO of WCA Waste Corporation, the Texas-based firm has announced. After leaving Waste Management last month, Bill Caesar will take control of WCA and focus "on executing a successful long-term growth strategy and building WCA into a leading non-hazardous waste services company," according to a press release. Before entering the waste management industry in 2010, Caesar had worked for 13 years as a principal at consulting firm McKinsey & Company.

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Massachusetts (ready or not) rolls out organics ban

Resource Recycling Magazine - Mon, 10/06/2014 - 23:09
Massachusetts (ready or not) rolls out organics ban

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Oct. 7, 2014

The Boston Globe Magazine recently ran an in-depth look at how state agencies and commercial food scrap generators are scrambling to develop the necessary infrastructure to support a statewide organics landfill ban that went into effect this month.

The story highlights the on-the-ground struggles that can come with implementing a massive organics shift.

First, the facts. The Massachusetts organics landfill ban that went into effect Oct. 1 applies to businesses and institutions that generate at least 1 ton of food scrap material per week. Approximately 1700 such entities exist in the state. According to the Globe landfill tipping fees in the Bay State run between $75 and $90 per ton, and fees for organics processing are roughly 20 percent lower.

Capacity has emerged as one of the key organics issues yet to be solved. The current annual capacity of licensed composting and anaerobic digestion facilities in the state is only about half of what the ban is expected to divert. Regulations around opening new processing locations (and fears about their profitability) have kept new development slow, but "Massachusetts has recently announced several programs to kick-start the business, including offering grants and low-interest loans, as well as access to land at two state prisons," the article states.

The state also hoped to begin implementing a biogas program at a site operated by the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority. The initiative's potential is described as "blockbuster" by one official, but its pilot phase has been stymied by a nearby community that has refused to allow tanker trucks holding the diverted material to regularly roll through its streets. Officials are now aiming to push ahead a barge-based transportation effort.

The Globe makes clear the long-term benefits of the now-enacted ban can be huge. But food scrap generators, administrators and processors are still in the midst of finding ways to make the process work in a cost-effective manner. "This year," the story explains, "the race has been on to sort it all out."


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E-Scrap Academy 2014: Expand into electronics recycling

Resource Recycling Magazine - Mon, 10/06/2014 - 23:07
E-Scrap Academy 2014: Expand into electronics recycling

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Oct. 7, 2014

Jumping into the electronics recycling business can be daunting, but e-scrap newbies now have a crash course to help them make the right moves from day one. At the inaugural E-Scrap Academy, beginners will learn how to maximize profit margins in the e-scrap space as well as get all the basics on material markets and operating best practices.

The creators of the annual E-Scrap Conference have launched E-Scrap Academy to help usher in the next wave of industry professionals. Established experts will show attendees the most important facets and tools of the business, opening the door to informed business decisions and quick growth.

E-Scrap Academy 2014 will be held Oct. 23, 2014 at the Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, Florida. Head to www.e-scrapacademy.com for more information on this unique event.

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Closed Loop Fund to move fast on initial projects

Resource Recycling Magazine - Mon, 10/06/2014 - 22:58
UPDATED: Closed Loop Fund to move fast on initial projects

By Dan Leif, Resource Recycling

Oct. 7, 2014

The leader of the $100 million Closed Loop Fund says the initiative's submission period will officially open next week, and by the end of this month, administrators will begin reviewing proposals.

Ron Gonen, CEO of the Closed Loop Fund, spoke Monday on a webinar organized by the Pennsylvania Recycling Markets Center. He said his group's website, ClosedLoopFund.com, will go live on Oct. 15 and at that point parties interested in submitting proposals to nab funding will be able to do so.

He added that Fund decision-makers will be meeting Oct. 29 to discuss the first crop of proposals and to start determining which will receive financing from the group.  Fund representatives will then be meeting on a quarterly basis to review and greenlight more submissions.

"We're looking to be aggressive and put carts out on the street and help MRFs advance recycling," Gonen said.

The Closed Loop Fund, which was announced in April, is backed by Walmart, Procter & Gamble and several other giants in the consumer packaged goods realm.  On Monday, Gonen also confirmed Colgate-Palmolive recently joined the list of backers, and he said he expects more corporate entities to be joining soon.

Those companies say they have struggled to consistently source enough recovered material to meet their recycled content goals.

Using contributions totaling more than $100 million from those corporate partners, the Closed Loop Fund will over the next five years be making zero interest loans available to municipalities looking to finance projects that can significantly bolster diversion rates and bring more material into the market. Gonen has mentioned a number of example initiatives that would fit the Fund's parameters, such as transitions from bins to carts, construction of new MRFs and anaerobic digestion development.

On Monday, Gonen said he envisions most loans to be in the $500,000 to $5 million range, and he said the loans are open to municipalities and business entities throughout North America as well as the Caribbean.

While municipalities will be eligible for zero interest loans, any loans from the Fund to business groups would be subject to interest rates. Gonen noted those interest rates would be "below market."

Note: An earlier version of this story stated Closed Loop Fund administrators would this month be choosing initial projects to finance. Closed Loop Fund has since clarified that it will be reviewing submissions at the Oct. 29 meeting but will not necessarily be making final funding decisions at that point.

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Resolute Forest Products sells recovered paper assets

Resource Recycling Magazine - Mon, 10/06/2014 - 22:55
Resolute Forest Products sells recovered paper assets

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Oct. 7, 2014

A major international consumer of recyclable paper has sold its fiber collection and processing assets.

Resolute Forest Products has sold its paper recycling arm – known as AbiBow Recycling – to EWJ International, an affiliate of Jordan Trading, the longtime player in the recovered fiber business.

The transaction includes 16 processing centers. However, paper packing plants in Boston and Thorold, Ontario were not included in the deal, and Resolute is expected to separately sell these operations.

According to a RISI story (subscription required), Jordan sold the business to processors immediately after buying. The company "is not in the collection and processing business and didn't want to compete with our suppliers," a Jordan official said.

The agreement calls for EWJ to supply fiber to Resolute mills in Georgia, Ontario and South Korea.

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Wide world of recycling

Resource Recycling Magazine - Mon, 10/06/2014 - 22:53
Wide world of recycling

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Oct. 7, 2014

Comparing recycling rates across the U.K. just got a whole lot easier, and Novelis opens a massive recycling center in Germany.

U.K. waste management firm SITA has released an interactive map detailing county-by-county recycling rates in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Most recycling rates in the region fall between 30 and 60 percent, with just a few counties below or above that range. SITA has also released specific maps for London and some other cities.

Aluminum maker Novelis has officially unveiled its $258 million recycling center in Nachterstedt, Germany. Novelis says the new facility will process up to 440,000 tons – or 400,000 metric tons – each year. Novelis CEO and president Phil Martins has stated the move represents a shift "from a traditional linear approach to an increasingly closed-loop model."

Despite steady recycling rate increases in recent years, the Welsh city of Cardiff saw its recycling rate fall by 2 percentage points in 2013, new figues show. Going from 52 percent in 2012 to 50 percent during 2013, Cardiff will need to increase recycling going forward to avoid stiff fines of as much as $33 million and meet a government-mandated 75 percent recycling rate target.


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Bottle bill debate shines light on recycling access

Resource Recycling Magazine - Mon, 10/06/2014 - 22:51
Bottle bill debate shines light on recycling access

By Bobby Elliott, Resource Recycling

Oct. 7, 2014

With roughly a month to go before voters in Massachusetts decide on whether to expand their state's bottle bill, interest groups on both sides of the debate are turning up the heat and offering two distinct vantage points on the convenience of recycling in the state.

Thus far, opponents of the push to add a nickel deposit on water and many other non-carbonated plastic beverage containers have spent a reported $7.8 million to paint the move as unnecessary and costly in a pair of TV ads and wider media campaign. Proponents, meanwhile, have contributed roughly $525,000 into the "Update the Bottle Bill Coalition" and attacked deep-pocketed, "big soda" companies for allegedly misleading the general public leading up to the Nov. 4 vote.

"The purpose of these ads is to trick voters and scare them into voting no," Janet Domenitz, executive director of the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group, said in statement. "I expect the next thing their ads will say is that the cow jumped over the moon."

One specific issue the two groups have ">butted heads on is the percentage of residents with access to curbside recycling. In the TV ads, the anti-expansion camp argues that access has reached 90 percent. Update supporters have countered that claim by suggesting that less than half of Massachusetts' cities and towns ‒ 47.5 percent ‒ have access to "easy, walk-outside-your-door curbside recycling."

Both groups claim that access directly correlates with recycling rates. If the access is high, the thinking goes, a bottle bill expansion wouldn't be necessary, but if the access is low, that expansion could get more containers in the recycling stream by putting a nickel bounty on them.

So which side is right? According to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), which openly supports the deposit addition, "nearly all Massachusetts cities and towns offer their residents the opportunity to recycle." But just 25 percent of water and non-carbonated beverage bottles are getting recycled through those opportunities, MassDEP figures show.

The groups on both sides of the bottle bill debate are expected to continue to ramp up their efforts to reach Massachusetts voters in the next month.

The ads produced thus far from the "No on Question 2" campaign can be viewed here. The official pro-expansion response, conversely, can be viewed here.

For the past decade, Massachusetts has wrestled with the idea of expanding the state's beverage deposit system. A Boston Globe poll in August found strong support for the ballot measure, which is also supported by Gov. Deval Patrick, while the latest poll found a healthy majority of voters ‒ 58 percent ‒ stating they would like to keep the bottle bill as is.

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ReuseConex 2014: A global community comes together

Resource Recycling Magazine - Mon, 10/06/2014 - 22:47
ReuseConex 2014: A global community comes together

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Oct. 7, 2014

The fast-approaching ReuseConex conference in Austin, Texas offers materials management professionals the unique opportunity to meet and learn from a wide array of individuals pushing the reuse market forward.

Speakers, exhibitors and attendees include city planners, economic development leaders, reuse entrepreneurs, green builders, creative reusers, reusables manufacturers, sustainability consultants, venture capitalists and environmental educators. Recycling coordinators for corporations, institutions and government agencies will also be on hand.

ReuseConex2014 is taking place Oct. 23-25 in Austin, Texas at the Holiday Inn Austin Midtown and is hosted by Reuse Alliance and the City of Austin. For more information, head to www.reuseconex.org.

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NewsBits

Resource Recycling Magazine - Mon, 10/06/2014 - 22:37
NewsBits

Oct. 7, 2014

A Denver-based company called Higher Standard Packaging has launched a line of 100 percent recycled HDPE containers for, you guessed it, marijuana. Nearly 300,000 pounds of legalized pot is expected to be sold in Colorado this year alone, and Higher Standard says it has successfully developed the first FDA-approved, recycled packaging for the drug.

Prompted by states beginning to consider extended producer responsibility (EPR) programs, the Aluminum Association has shared its thoughts on the approach in a post entitled "Extended Producer Responsibility: Common Sense Policy for Common Sense Solutions." While making clear that "the aluminum industry does not have a formal position on EPR," the post does provide a list of things to take into account before making producers of packaging responsible for the collection and recycling of their products. The domestic recycling rate for aluminum cans has largely stayed flat in recent years – at around 54 percent.

Ad sales at the seven trade publications serving waste and recycling can be a good indication of general market conditions in those sectors, and an analysis by Resource Recycling of the first three quarters of 2014 shows continued sluggishness. Ad sales at the seven periodicals dropped 4 percent in the first three quarters of this year. That said, well over half of the falloff can be attributed to the large slump in sales at just one periodical – Waste360, which had ad placements down by 24 percent. This follows a 30 percent drop at the publication in 2013. Four periodicals saw a rise in ad sales, but sales growth was minimal among these magazines. While Resource Recycling had the largest growth, it was a mere 3 percent.

The former president of recycling at Waste Management has become CEO of WCA Waste Corporation, the Texas-based firm announced. After leaving Waste Management last month, Bill Caesar will take control of WCA and focus "on executing a successful long-term growth strategy and building WCA into a leading non-hazardous waste services company," according to a press release. Before entering the waste management industry in 2010, Caesar had worked for 13 years as a principal at consulting firm McKinsey & Company.

Officials in Napa Valley, California have indicated their pursuit of greater diversion totals will also lead to higher program costs. Currently in negotiations for a new waste and recycling contract to take effect in 2017 and last for 12 to 14 years, the City expects the overall cost to exceed $250 million and increase the municipal diversion rate from roughly 65 percent to its 2020 goal of 75 percent.

The incentives-based recycling tech company Recyclebank has recently marked its 10 year anniversary and CEO Javier Flaim has reflected on the past decade in an article on Greenbiz.com. You can read it here.

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APR shrink sleeve study released

Plastics Recycling Update Magazine - Thu, 10/02/2014 - 14:42
APR shrink sleeve study released

By Editorial Staff, Plastics Recycling Update

Oct. 3, 2014

A working group has identified a series of recycling-friendly design tips for manufacturers of full-wrap shrink sleeve labels.

Importantly, the suggestions, put forward by the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR) Shrink Label Working Group in a new report, won't ask label makers to ditch the full-wrap concept altogether. Instead, the working group says it has arrived at some design adjustments that will help PET bottle reclaimers identify and sort the labeled bottles.

"Recyclers were seeing more and more containers with full-wrap shrink sleeve labels contaminating their material," said John Standish, technical director of APR, in a press release. "We formed a group to clearly identify steps that would allow brand owners to take advantage of these labels without creating a negative impact on the quality of the rPET stream."

Those steps, outlined and fleshed out in the report, include:

  • Employ sleeve labels that will float in water and separate from PET flakes in a sink/float material separation step.
  • Employ printed labels where the label inks do not stain PET flakes in the wash/rinse step.
  • Use APR’s Critical Guidance Document for Shrink Labels for PET Bottles as a comprehensive laboratory test program to assess the impact of a label on recycling PET Bottles.
  • Where possible, use a sleeve label that leaves at least 20 percent of the PET bottle surface area exposed. This will allow the most accurate auto-sortation by the broadest range of color sorters installed at processing facilities.

By following the four steps listed above, APR says, bottle reclaimers won't face the sizable challenges Standish highlighted in an in-depth article in the August 2014 issue of Plastics Recycling Update.

APR cautions the industry it will take some time to fully implement the group's recommendations. "We cannot expect a widespread change in label technologies for at least two to three years' time," APR writes in the report, noting that existing labels are simply cheaper to produce at the moment and that brand owners have to honor their current contracts before making label changes.

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Plastics Recycling 2015: An entire industry under one roof

Plastics Recycling Update Magazine - Thu, 10/02/2014 - 14:38
Plastics Recycling 2015: An entire industry under one roof

By Editorial Staff, Plastics Recycling Update

Oct. 3, 2014

North America's largest gathering of plastics recycling professionals is set for next February in Dallas, Texas.

Plastics Recycling 2015 is your opportunity to network with clients, prospective partners, colleagues, vendors and industry leaders all in one location. The 2014 edition, held in Orlando, attracted more than 1,775 attendees from over 30 countries. Meeting everyone in one venue will save you precious time and travel expenses.

Plastics Recycling 2015 is taking place Feb. 23-25 at the Hyatt Regency in Dallas, Texas. Head to plasticsrecycling.com for complete information on attending the conference as well as exclusive exhibiting and sponsorship opportunities.

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California bag ban signed as opponents eye referendum

Plastics Recycling Update Magazine - Thu, 10/02/2014 - 14:32
California bag ban signed as opponents eye referendum

By Bobby Elliott, Plastics Recycling Update

Oct. 3, 2014

California's plastic bag ban has been signed into law, but opponents have pledged to fight on.

The nation's first state-level ban on single-use checkout bags was signed into law on Sept. 30 by California Gov. Jerry Brown, who afterward praised the measure as a sign of things to come.

"This bill is a step in the right direction – it reduces the torrent of plastic polluting our beaches, parks and even the vast ocean itself," Brown said in a press release. "We’re the first to ban these bags, and we won’t be the last."

That announcement, however, was countered by a fierce proclamation from the ban's primary opponent, the SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association-funded American Progressive Bag Alliance (APBA). After lobbying aggressively but unsuccessfully in the weeks and months leading up to the bill's passage through the California legislature, APBA has now set its sights on a referendum.

"We have taken the necessary steps to gather signatures and qualify a referendum to repeal SB 270 on the November 2016 ballot," an APBA statement reads. "Since state lawmakers failed their constituents by approving this terrible bill, we will take the question directly to the public and have great faith they will repeal it at the ballot box."

APBA has been a vocal critic of bag ban ordinances throughout the country, attacking the overall effort as misguided. The group characterized California's law as "a backroom deal between the grocers and union bosses to scam California consumers out of billions of dollars without providing any public benefit."

The website of California Secretary of State Debra Brown confirms that a referendum is indeed possible on the measure, although APBA will have to move quickly.

"A proponent has only 90 days from the date of the enactment of a bill … to request and receive a title and summary from the Attorney General … print petitions, gather the required number of valid signatures, and file the petitions with the county elections officials," the explanation reads.

APBA will have to gain a little more than 500,000 valid signatures to get the issue in front of voters.

In addition to banning single-use plastic bags, the California law requires a minimum 10 cent charge on paper, compostable and reusable bags.

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Massachusetts bottle bill debate shines light on recycling access

Plastics Recycling Update Magazine - Thu, 10/02/2014 - 14:21
Massachusetts bottle bill debate shines light on recycling access

By Bobby Elliott, Plastics Recycling Update

Oct. 3, 2014

With a little more than a month before voters in Massachusetts decide on whether to expand their state's bottle bill, interest groups on both sides of the issue are turning up the heat and offering two distinct vantage points on the convenience of plastic recycling in the state.

Thus far, opponents of the expansion, which would add a nickel deposit on water and many other non-carbonated plastic beverage containers, have spent a reported $7.8 million to paint the move as unnecessary and costly in a pair of TV ads and a wider media campaign. Proponents, meanwhile, have contributed roughly $525,000 into the "Update the Bottle Bill Coalition" and attacked deep-pocketed, "big soda" companies for misleading the general public leading up to the Nov. 4 ballot vote.

"The purpose of these ads is to trick voters and scare them into voting no," Janet Domenitz, executive director of the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group, said in statement. "I expect the next thing their ads will say is that the cow jumped over the moon."

One specific issue the two groups have butted heads on is the percentage of residents with access to curbside recycling. In the TV ads, the anti-expansion camp argues that access has reached 90 percent. Update supporters have countered that claim by suggesting that less than half of Massachusetts' cities and towns ‒ 47.5 percent ‒ have access to "easy, walk-outside-your-door curbside recycling."

Both groups claim that access directly correlates with recycling rates. If the access is high, the thinking goes, a bottle bill expansion wouldn't be necessary, but if the access is low, that expansion could get more containers in the recycling stream by putting a nickel bounty on them.

So which side is right? According to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), which openly supports the deposit addition, "nearly all Massachusetts cities and towns offer their residents the opportunity to recycle." But just 25 percent of water and non-carbonated beverage bottles are getting recycled through those opportunities, MassDEP figures show.

The groups on both sides of the bottle bill debate are expected to continue to ramp up their efforts to reach Massachusetts voters in the next month.

The ads produced thus far from the "No on Question 2" campaign can be viewed here. The official pro-expansion response, conversely, can be viewed here.

For the past decade, Massachusetts has wrestled with the idea of expanding the state's beverage deposit system. A Boston Globe poll in August found strong support for the ballot measure, which is also supported by Gov. Deval Patrick.

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