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Resource Recycling Magazine - Tue, 04/14/2015 - 08:16
Industry and supplier news

April 14, 2015

New York City’s Department of Sanitation and Veolia will double the number of events meant for collecting solvents, automotive parts, flammables and electronics, according to a press release. The program, called SAFE, will now hold 10 events each year. For more, click here.

National Recovery Technologies (NRT) has named Jennifer Jones as its new research and development engineer, the company announced. She will work to bring to market new systems and algorithms for materials identification in high-speed sorting environments. For more, click here.

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

General Kinematics, makers of vibratory equipment for bulk materials processing, has promoted Thomas P. Musschoot to president of the company. Since starting with the company in 1999, Musschoot has held various positions in marketing, production and sales. For more, click here.

Harris Waste Management Group has hired Dave Beshear as the company’s field service manager. He will be responsible for leading all Harris Field Service efforts in Cordele, Georgia. He most recently served as an engineering support technician for Jacobs ASG. For more, click here.

The Carton Council of North America has received a “Trashies” award from the Sustainable Packaging Coalition and Smithers Pira. The Carton Council won the award under the “Partnership” category. The Trashies are new industry awards included as part of the annual SUSTPACK conference. For more, click here.

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Stone Castle glass causing headaches in Utah

E-Scrap News Magazine - Fri, 04/10/2015 - 07:12
Stone Castle glass causing headaches in Utah

By Bobby Elliott, E-Scrap News

April 10, 2015

Millions of pounds of CRT devices abandoned by Utah's Stone Castle Recycling continue to plague local communities.

According to a pair of articles appearing April 5 in the Salt Lake Tribune, six former locations of Stone Castle remain piled high with CRT devices. Company CEO Anthony Stoddard "has not paid for any of his defunct recycling centers or their cleanup," the newspaper states.

Stone Castle closed in 2014 following a string of fires that were examined as potential cases of arson.

A year ago the Basel Action Network issued a blistering report on the state of Stone Castle.

According to Andy Renfro, the owner of a warehouse space leased to Stone Castle in Clearfield, Utah, approximately "3.5 million pounds of television glass" remains stored there. The cost to get the material recycled, Renfro told the paper, is likely $500,000.

Thus far, only one Stone Castle site, located in Parowan, has been cleaned out. EPA Region 8 federal on-scene coordinator Steven Merritt confirmed with E-Scrap News "all the disposal of all treated wastes was finished in January." According to Merritt, the rest of the sites are currently being handled by Utah's Department of Environmental Quality.

And who will pay for cleaning out the sites? "There is no simple answer," Scott Anderson, the director of the Utah Division of Solid and Hazardous Waste, told the Salt Lake Tribune.

"I don't have a pot of emergency-response money," Anderson stated. "That's not how I'm budgeted."

One of Stone Castle's largest upstream suppliers of glass, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its Deseret Industries thrift store chain, has stated Stone Castle "guaranteed the material would be recycled properly" and thus far has resisted calls by BAN to help fund the cleanup process.

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Keystone State locked up on e-scrap

E-Scrap News Magazine - Fri, 04/10/2015 - 07:10
Keystone State locked up on e-scrap

By Bobby Elliott, E-Scrap News

April 10, 2015

Environmental officials in Pennsylvania say manufacturers aren't paying enough to ensure collected electronics are getting recycled.

"The issue here is that the reimbursements being provided by manufacturers are not aligning with the actual costs to recycle the items," Amanda Whitman, spokesperson for the Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), told E-Scrap News.

Under Pennsylvania's e-scrap program, which went into full effect in 2012 and covers computers, computer peripherals and TVs, manufacturers are required to pay "for recycling the amount of covered devices that have an equivalent weight to what they sold two years prior," Whitman explained.

Recently, the amount of collected material has exceeded those goals and the DEP has had to "work with recyclers and manufacturers to ensure the excess material was appropriately managed."

Several other states have experienced similar challenges in over-collection of materials, including New Jersey and Wisconsin.

In some instances, Whitman says manufacturers in Pennsylvania are "selecting to exclude CRTs in their collections and rely on other materials that have positive value to meet their required weight goal under the act."

Whitman told E-Scrap News "manufacturers should include all covered devices in their plan."

A story featured in the Chambersburg, Pennsylvania newspaper Public Opinion highlighted some of the challenges faced by collectors and intermediary recycling firms stuck with CRTs to recycle and no manufacturer funds to cover the costs.

Doug Smith, Sony's director of Corporate, Environment Safety and Health, told E-Scrap News, "Sony operates a compliant system in Pennsylvania."

"Sony operated a CRT recycling facility in conjunction with its TV manufacturing plant just outside of Pittsburgh for years and has put considerable effort into continuing proper recycling of CRTs through strategic contracts," Smith said in a statement.

According to Smith, "the problems described in the [Public Opinion] article are very common in many of the states with take-back laws with the exception of California."

California is the only state electronics recycling program to be funded through point-of-sale consumer fees for new products. All other state programs, including Pennsylvania's, are funded directly by manufacturers of covered products.

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Minnesota bill would amend state e-scrap program

E-Scrap News Magazine - Fri, 04/10/2015 - 07:06
Minnesota bill would amend state e-scrap program

By Editorial Staff, E-Scrap News

April 10, 2015

Minnesota is the latest state to consider updating its e-scrap recycling law.

On March 4, a bill was introduced to state lawmakers, proposing to amend the structure used to determine e-scrap collection requirements for equipment manufacturers. Manufacturers are currently mandated to finance the state's electronics recycling program, and each company's requirement is determined by the volume of equipment they sell into the state annually.

The Product Stewardship Institute included a brief analysis of the proposed legislation in an email update this week, characterizing the change to the manufacturer requirements in the following way: "The new bill would ... change the state's reuse and recycling goals every year in response to changing weights and quantities of electronic products sold and recycled. [Minnesota Pollution Control Agency] will publish a new recycling goal each year based on the sum of the average weight of the electronic devices collected for recycling in the preceding two years."

A number of states, including New Jersey and Illinois, have in recent months made similar moves to update their own e-scrap legislation. Many state bills were passed nearly a decade ago, and they didn't fully anticipate the glut of CRT devices and corresponding cost crunch that have hindered the electronics recycling landscape of late.

Minnesota's e-scrap legislation was passed in 2007 and amended in 2009.

The bill introduced this month also proposes to broaden the scope of state's electronics disposal ban. Currently, CRT devices are prohibited from entering the municipal solid waste stream. The bill would add a variety of products to that ban, including cellphones, video game consoles and computers and computer peripherals.

The bill was introduced by Rep. Frank Hornstein, who represents a district in Minneapolis and is a member of the Democratic-Farm-Labor party. It has been referred to the House of Representatives' committee on Environment and Natural Resources Policy and Finances.

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Concerns over federal order excluding EPEAT

E-Scrap News Magazine - Fri, 04/10/2015 - 07:04
Concerns voiced over federal order excluding EPEAT

By Editorial Staff, E-Scrap News

April 10, 2015

An industry advocacy group says President Obama’s recent executive order on federal government sustainability could spell the end of the green electronics standard EPEAT.

The Oakland, California-based Electronics TakeBack Coalition is urging the White House to change its executive order, issued March 19, so that it includes EPEAT.

As written, the order is “the Grim Reaper for EPEAT,” Barbara Kyle, national coordinator of the Electronics TakeBack Coalition, wrote on the group's website.

“We are surprised that Obama administration would want to be known (among other things) as the administration that killed the EPEAT program,” Kyle wrote. “What a shame, after so many years of time and effort by so many people to help the government use its purchasing power to promote sustainability.”

The new order, which does not mention EPEAT, replaced a 2009 order that ensured the federal government gives purchasing preference to electronics registered to EPEAT standards. EPEAT addresses product longevity and recycling by encouraging design that allows for cost-effective reuse and recycling.

The EPEAT program, managed by the Green Electronics Council (GEC), was formed in 2005 as a global rating system for a wide range of electronics. Companies that seek to have their products registered to EPEAT have to hit standards in a wide range of areas, including repairability, end-of-life management and use of recycled content.

“There continues to be head-scratching among the green electronics community about this step by the Obama Administration," GEC's CEO Robert Frisbee commented in a statement sent to E-Scrap News. "The EPEAT Registry has been a very successful part of their environmental initiatives. This move injects uncertainty into purchasing and manufacturing alike. If the U.S. steps out of its leadership role in green electronics, who will step into this fast growing space?"

Kyle wrote a letter calling for changes to the order to Kate Brandt, the federal environmental executive in the White House.

The White House’s Council on Environmental Quality said in a statement to E-Scrap News the order avoids endorsing any non-federal label.

According to the GEC, eight national governments, including the U.S., and hundreds of private and public purchasers around the world use EPEAT ratings in their purchasing decisions.

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E-Scrap 2015: Plug into practical solutions

E-Scrap News Magazine - Fri, 04/10/2015 - 07:01
E-Scrap 2015: Plug into practical solutions

By Editorial Staff, E-Scrap News

April 10, 2015

Start planning now to be sure you and your company are represented at the North American e-scrap industry's biggest business-building and networking conference.

E-Scrap 2015 will offer well-curated sessions covering the topics that matter to electronics processors. Experts will analyze EH&S issues, innovative technologies, refurb hot topics and much more.

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


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Certification Scorecard

E-Scrap News Magazine - Fri, 04/10/2015 - 06:58
Certification scorecard

April 10, 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.

TBS Industries of Philadelphia is now certified to the following standards: ISO 9001, ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001 and R2:2013.

3N Document Destruction, Inc. of Clifton Park, New York; AAA Certified Confidential Security Corp. of Peoria, Illinois; American Document Destruction of St. Louis; American Document Securities of Carrollton, Georgia; AmeriTex of Houston; A Shred 2 Pieces of Irving, Texas; Commonwealth Document Management, Inc. of Danville, Virginia; DocuGuard of Enid, Oklahoma; Document Shredding & Storage of Amarillo, Texas; EnTrust Records Management of Richmond, Virginia; Pioneer SecureShred of Minneapolis; Shred Ace of Durham, North Carolina; The DocuTeam LLC of San Luis Obispo; Time Shred Services (Shred Services, Inc.) of Hillside, New Jersey; Vanish Document Shredding of Houston; Viking Shred of West Sacramento, California; and Wiggins Shredding, Inc. of West Chester, Pennsylvania have either achieved or renewed their NAID Certifications for Physical Destruction of Hard Drives.

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

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NewsBits

E-Scrap News Magazine - Fri, 04/10/2015 - 06:57
NewsBits

April 10, 2015

Cascade Asset Management has earned accolades from the Indiana state government for its workplace safety and health efforts. The Indianapolis-based e-scrap company picked up certification in the state’s Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program. The company collects between 300 and 400 tons of e-scrap per month from sites across North America.

The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge smartphone gets only a 3 out of 10 for repairability, according to iFixit.com. The tech repair site did a tear-down of the new phone to determine whether its design allows for easy reuse of old phones. In comparison, Apple’s iPhone 6 scored a 7 out of 10.

The e-scrap industry is too quick to send reuseable electronics to the shredder for recycling, the CEO of Sage Sustainable Electronics wrote at Environmental Leader. Doing more to ensure repair and reuse is better for the environment and for businesses’ bottom lines, Bob Houghton wrote.

Manufacturers selling electronics and appliances in the U.K. met their target for recycling e-scrap in 2014 after all, new government data shows. Early signs had hinted manufacturers would fall short of the poundages they need to collect and recycle. But after the late submissions of recycling reports, the government now says about 545,000 tons were collected, about 1 percent over the target.

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Oregon officials fine Agilyx PTO site

Plastics Recycling Update Magazine - Wed, 04/08/2015 - 08:08
Oregon officials fine Agilyx PTO site

By Bobby Elliott, Plastics Recycling Update

April 8, 2015

Oregon's Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has fined plastics-to-oil company Agilyx for improper storage and labeling of hazardous waste. The company has requested a contested case hearing with the DEQ.

The fine, totaling $46,500, stems from a September 2014 visit to the 701 N. Hunt St. Wastech facility operated by Agilyx in Portland, Oregon. The site has been owned by Waste Management since the mid-1980s and began retooling it in 2011 as a waste-to-oil hub operated by Agilyx, Oregon DEQ records show.

Although Waste Management temporarily shuttered the operation in August of 2014, citing the need for more advanced technology to push along its waste-to-oil operation, a DEQ visit the following month identified several lingering infractions found at the closed plant.

Without a permit to store hazardous waste at the facility, Agilyx kept nine 250-gallon totes and 72 55-gallon drums-worth of various hazardous wastes on the premises, the DEQ notice alleges. Some containers were not properly labeled or closed and others were stored for more than 90 days, the DEQ states.

Given until April 2 to appeal the fine and related violations, Agilyx on March 30 submitted a request for a hearing with the DEQ.

In the hearing request, Agilyx "denies elements of the findings" related to improper storage and labeling of hazardous waste at the facility. The company does admit to failing to have "an up-to-date contingency plan for responding to emergency situations" and a permit to store hazardous waste.

Representatives from Agilyx and Waste Management did not respond to a request for further comment on the matter.

Steve Siegel, an environmental attorney for the DEQ, told Plastics Recycling Update an informal meeting will take place before a hearing is decided on.

The DEQ notice states hazardous waste is no longer at the facility, and it says the "company's efforts to correct the violations" were considered when deciding on the fine amount.

The situation mirrors similar violations at another Agilyx facility, located in Tigard, Oregon, which was fined last year by the DEQ for nearly $50,000.

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PetroChem Wire: Prices rise for HDPE bales

Plastics Recycling Update Magazine - Wed, 04/08/2015 - 08:05
PetroChem Wire: Prices rise for HDPE bales

April 8, 2015

HDPE natural and mixed color post-consumer bale prices rose at the very beginning of April due to tight supply, particularly in the Northeastern U.S.

Natural bales were assessed at 30 to 31 cents per pound and mixed color bales at 29 to 30 cents per pound, both FOB east of the Rockies. Some markets were at a 1 to 2 cents per pound premium to those numbers due to tight supply, the result of reduced winter curbside collection.

Meanwhile, flake and pellet trade was light in the week leading up to Easter weekend, with an increase in prices seen. HDPE post-consumer fractional melt mixed color pellets, for example, sold at 54 to 58 cents per pound FOB southern U.S., up 3 cents per pound from the previous week. In the prime HDPE market, U.S. Gulf spot blow-mold material rose 1.5 cents per pound from March 26 to April 2, reaching 63 cents per pound.

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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UPDATED: Plastic bans may be banished in Arizona

Plastics Recycling Update Magazine - Wed, 04/08/2015 - 08:03
UPDATED: Plastic bans may be banished in Arizona

By Bobby Elliott, Plastics Recycling Update

April 8, 2015

Arizona lawmakers have approved a bill that outlaws local bans, taxes and fees on a variety of "auxiliary containers," including plastic bags and beverage containers.

Passing the Arizona Senate last Thursday by a vote of 18-11, Senate Bill 1241 now awaits the signature of Republican Gov. Doug Ducey to become law. If signed, it would be the second statewide law to keep municipalities from installing a ban on plastic bags.  Florida has restricted the enactment of a ban on bags and other items since 2008. 

Georgia lawmakers voted down a similar ban last month and Missouri's Senate is currently reviewing a House-approved measure to forbid muncipalities from banning plastic bags.

While recycling of plastic film, including bags, has increased in recent years through retailer drop-off options, plastic bags are not generally accepted in curbside recycling programs. Materials recovery facilities (MRFs) nationwide have reported difficulties with bags clogging recycling equipment and interfering with operations.

Under the Arizona bill, cities and towns throughout the state are banned from banning, taxing or applying a fee to "auxiliary containers," including reusable bags, disposable bags and beverage containers.

"The legislature finds that small businesses are particularly sensitive to the costs and expenses incurred in complying with regulatory actions of a city or town," the legislation states.

Bisbee, about 90 miles southeast of Tucson and home to fewer than 6,000 residents, is the only municipality in Arizona with a bag ban currently in place. Officials in Tempe and Flagstaff have recently contemplated bag bans of their own.

California last year ushered in legislation that is completely opposite to that which has passed in Arizona. The Golden State passed the nation's first statewide ban on bags (though voters will be given an opportunity to overturn it in 2016). Many large cities have enacted local bans on plastic bags – this group includes Chicago; Portland, Ore.; Seattle; and Washington, D.C.

Note:  This story has been updated to clarify that Florida passed a ban on taxing or banning auxillary containers in 2008.  A previous version of this story stated Arizona's law would be the first in the nation.  We regret this error.

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Plastics Recycling 2016: Best in the business

Plastics Recycling Update Magazine - Wed, 04/08/2015 - 08:00
Plastics Recycling 2016: Best in the business

By Editorial Staff, Plastics Recycling Update

April 8, 2015

Next February marks the 11th iteration of the Plastics Recycling Conference, and our event's staying power is a testament to the innovative opportunities and business-boosting environment offered at the conference every year.

Plastics Recycling 2016 is produced by Resource Recycling, Inc., the publisher of Plastics Recycling Update and other recycling journals. Our editorial staff analyzes and investigates plastics recycling like no other organization. And that means the Plastics Recycling Conference is able to bring fresh, objective viewpoints that guide attendees into the sector's current and future profit centers.

In addition, our staff's relationships with individual attendees, recycling firms of all sizes and hotel and logistics groups give the Plastics Recycling Conference an edge when it comes to personalized service, competitive pricing and networking needs.

As you plan your event and trade show calendar for next year, start at Plastics Recycling 2016, the industry conference with a proven track record and a passion for evolution.

Plastics Recycling 2016 is set for Feb. 1-3 at the Hyatt Regency in New Orleans, Louisiana. Head to plasticsrecycling.com to register and get all the facts on exhbiting and/or sponsoring.

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Industry price woes grab mainstream attention

Plastics Recycling Update Magazine - Wed, 04/08/2015 - 07:57
Industry price woes grab mainstream attention

By Editorial Staff, Plastics Recycling Update

April 8, 2015

A number of reports from major consumer media outlets recently delved into the possible implications low oil prices could have on North American plastics recycling – and on the economics of recycling as a whole.

The Wall Street Journal, for instance, this week published a story about plastics reclaimers feeling the squeeze from the low price of oil, and it stated the result could be more of the material going to landfill.

NPR's "Planet Money" also recently ran a segment that focused attention on the relationship between low oil prices and plastics recycling profitability.

According to the Journal, at the beginning of 2015, virgin PET cost 83 cents per pound, 15 percent higher than the per-pound price of recycled PET, the article states. By the end of March, the cost of prime PET dropped to 67 cents per pound, 7 percent lower than recycled PET.

The Journal story also noted some new contracts between municipalities and reclaimers are written such that governments may end having to pay to get their plastics moved downstream, a significant switch from the current norm in which recovered plastics represent a revenue stream.

TerraCycles’s founder and CEO Tom Szaky, meanwhile, recently told CBS News some companies are currently storing plastics in the hope that oil prices increase again. New Jersey-based TerraCycle specializes in handling difficult-to-recycle materials.

Szaky added the storage strategy is not always going smoothly, however. "Once their storage is full, they simply dispose of the material in landfills or incinerators versus increasing the amount stored,” he said.

 

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NewsBits

Plastics Recycling Update Magazine - Wed, 04/08/2015 - 07:54
NewsBits

April 8, 2015

A recycling company producing more than 80 percent of the recycled plastic used in milk bottles in the U.K. may be saved from bankruptcy after all. Closed Loop Recycling previously said it may have to go into administration, a form of bankruptcy, because low oil prices have driven down costs of virgin HDPE. But, after an outpouring of support from purchasers in the dairy industry, the company’s leader says a solution is on the table.

An Oregon bottled water company has established a system allowing it to use recycled PET from Oregon to manufacture new water bottles, the company announced. EartH20, located in Central Oregon’s high desert, will use content from bottles collected statewide by ORPET, a PET reclaimer that is a joint venture between Pacific PET Recycling LLC and the Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative.

The West Coast ports labor dispute that hampered recyclable material exports cost the U.S. jobs, the president of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries wrote to the secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Robin Wiener also wrote that the prolonged disruptions to U.S. scrap export shipments could cause permanent damage if overseas customers lose confidence in the U.S.’s ability to reliably deliver scrap.

Proctor & Gamble has joined the American Chemistry Council's Flexible Film Recycling Group.  The group is active in numerous efforts to increase the recovery of films and bags nationwide, including promoting and supporting in-store drop-off programs. 

Tom’s of Maine and recycling company TerraCycle have teamed up to launch a toy-recycling program. Through the program, parents can obtain a free Toy Recycling Box with prepaid shipping label. Items including dolls and board game pieces can be mailed to TerraCycle, a company that specializes in recycling difficult-to-process items.

 

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Rhode Island mulls EPR for packaging

Resource Recycling Magazine - Tue, 04/07/2015 - 07:46
Rhode Island mulls EPR for packaging

By Bobby Elliott, Resource Recycling

April 7, 2015

Two bills introduced by Rhode Island lawmakers suggest the possibility of the state putting end-of-life product management duties onto the shoulders of packaging producers.

House Bill 5508 (HB 5508), introduced on Feb. 12, calls on packaging producers to develop a plan to fund the recycling of at least 80 percent of packaging sold in the state by 2020. House Bill 5673 (HB 5673), meanwhile, calls on various stakeholders within the Ocean State to assess the management of "existing and future EPR and/or product stewardship programs." That legislation was introduced on Feb. 26.

EPR, short for extended producer responsibility, is a concept in which product manufacturers finance and coordinate end-of-life concerns for the materials they sell into the market.

No U.S. state currently utilizes a comprehensive EPR system for printed paper and packaging (PPP), though EPR systems exist in numerous states for end-of-life management of products such as electronics, mercury-containing devices and paint.

British Columbia last year made waves by implementing an EPR program for PPP.

Rhode Island's HB 5508 has been referred to the House Finance Committee, and HB 5673 has been sent to the House Environment and Natural Resources Committee.

A representative from the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation (RIRRC), the quasi-public entity that operates the state's only materials recovery facility, told Resource Recycling a wider conversation on producer-funded materials diversion efforts could be beneficial.

"If it's not an issue in Rhode Island, I don't want to make it one," said Sarah Kite, RIRRC's director of recycling services. "That said, paper and packaging is the 800-pound gorilla in the room and it needs a real serious review."

According to Kite, Rhode Island municipalities at the moment remain more concerned with "hard to handle materials" than with packaging.

"What I'm hearing from them is, 'Yes, let's keep looking at it, let's keep talking about it, let's see if there's any more low-hanging fruit, but help me with my tires,'" Kite said.

Under HB 5508, producers would be given 12 months to devise a collective or individual plan to collect and recycle post-consumer packaging used in the state. By 2020, producers would need to reach 80 percent recycling rates "for each type of packaging" and could not rely on waste-to-energy or incineration to get there. The bill is tied to efforts to reduce the amount of packaging that ends up in oceans.

HB 5673, meanwhile, would require numerous stakeholders – including the state's Department of Environmental Management (DEM), RIRRC, municipalities and manufacturers – to report on and recommend changes to the management of the state's current EPR programs.

The end result would be a "an EPR and product stewardship program management structure" that could be followed for current and future programs, the bill states.

On March 19, the American Forest & Paper Association sent a letter opposing HB 5673 to Arthur Handy, chair of the House Environment and Natural Resources Committee.

"Obligating the manufacturer to assume all costs associated with managing waste from its products or requiring the manufacturer to take back all of its products and packaging introduced into the commerce stream is detrimental," the letter states. "The practicality is also questionable because the current paper recovery rate is already so high that the marginal costs of additional recovery through this system will be cost prohibitive."

According to the most recent figures from the U.S. EPA, the U.S. recycling rate for paper and paperboard is 64.6 percent.

Rhode Island currently has EPR programs in place for e-scrap, paint, mercury thermostats and mercury car switches. In 2016, Rhode Island will start a mattress stewardship program.

DEM's director, Janet Coit, could not be reached for a comment on the bills.

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Ohio county hits mixed-waste processing crossroads

Resource Recycling Magazine - Tue, 04/07/2015 - 07:41
Ohio county hits mixed-waste processing crossroads

By Bobby Elliott, Resource Recycling

April 7, 2015

A suburban Ohio county is being pushed to depart from its long-established mixed-waste processing recycling system, after a report indicated the method was producing a recycling rate below 4 percent.

Since 1993, Medina County has owned a mixed waste processing center that received all MSW from the county's roughly 175,000 residents. The facility, which had been operated by Envision Waste Services, has come under fire after the County released data indicating it only recovered 3.6 percent of material in 2012. The county report containing that data recommended keeping the mixed-waste system until 2030 and complementing it with a drop-off program.

Medina County is located southwest of Cleveland and just west of Akron.

Leaders in the City of Medina, which serves as the county seat, have advocated an immediate rewrite of the 2016-2030 plan, altering it to introduce curbside collection.

"A 3.6 percent recycling rate is not satisfactory to the residents or city officials," John Coyne, Medina City Council president, told Resource Recycling.

According to Coyne, when the facility first started operating in 1993, it was billed as "a new and better way to recycle materials." But he says after more than 20 years of sending material to the site, he and other local leaders are ready for a revamped process. "Our goal is to lower our costs and increase recycling as much as possible, and I think that's everybody's goal," Coyne said.

According to Beth Biggins-Ramer, the county's solid waste district coordinator, the County has stopped using its mixed waste processing center until it can figure out how the facility fits into the region's waste management aspirations.

She added the region's most pressing need currently is not necessarily lifting recycling rates. Instead, the goal is simply meeting the state obligation to ensure recycling access and update the county solid waste plan.

Biggins-Ramer said her department has heard "loud and clear" some residents' desire to move toward a more traditional curbside system. "We are not against that," she said. "Our constraint is working through all the statutory timelines we are mandated to."

For the time being, Medina has introduced a "single-stream drop-off" system countywide, with all other material currently going to landfill. Its 400-plus page solid waste plan for 2016-2030 has to be approved by Medina's communities and reach the Ohio EPA by the fall.

In addition, a working group has been established to look into possible changes to the program, including introducing curbside. If that working group can settle on actionable items, the County will "voluntarily enter into a new and updated plan rewrite," Biggins-Ramer said.

Steve Viny, the CEO of Envision, argued the now-idled mixed waste processing facility has been popular with the community and successful.

"It's been a successful program for over two decades, it's been well embraced by the general public – they love it – and it's also helped the County meet the state of Ohio's recycling access goals," Viny said.

Medina's mixed waste processing center is one of only a handful operating in the U.S. The facilities, also referred to as dirty MRFs, to attempt to recover recyclables from the MSW stream. The approach has been hotly debated by many in the recycling industry.

The fate of Medina's 15-year plan, which will be voted on by the entire County later this year, could come down to the City of Brunswick's position. As the largest city in the County, Brunswick has "veto power," Medina's Coyne said, to decide whether to approve or decline the plan.

Coyne said Brunswick has been "generally aligned" with the city of Medina on the recycling issue. Brunswick officials did not return a request for comment.

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NPR shines light on recycling struggles

Resource Recycling Magazine - Tue, 04/07/2015 - 07:37
NPR shines light on recycling struggles

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

April 7, 2015

A string of public radio reports last week informed the masses of a fact recycling professionals already know all too well: It's become hard to make a buck via recovered materials.

NPR detailed the industry's economic crunch in a "Planet Money" segment called “Trash!” (though the reporter quickly learned that if a material is recyclable and valuable, then it isn’t trash at all).

The report detailed how the falling price of oil has hurt plastics recycling because virgin plastics have become more competitive against their recycled counterparts. The segment also indicated a strong U.S. dollar is reducing demand in China for U.S. recovered paper.

“I don’t think crisis is too strong of a word in the recycling industry throughout the U.S.,” Waste Management CEO David Steiner was quoted as saying in the report.

In another report, NPR took a critical look at single-stream recycling collection, noting that contamination in single-stream recycling can lead to higher residue rates.

“In terms of preserving the quality of materials so that the maximum materials collected can actually be recycled, single-stream is one of the worst options,” Susan Collins, director of the Container Recycling Institute, told NPR.

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Key EPA official to keynote SMM Summit

Resource Recycling Magazine - Tue, 04/07/2015 - 07:35
Key EPA official to keynote SMM Summit

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

April 7, 2015

The National Recycling Coalition (NRC) announced this week U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Assistant Administrator Mathy Stanislaus will provide the keynote address for the upcoming National Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) Summit, to be held May 12 and 13, at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Stanislaus heads EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, leading the agency’s land cleanup, solid waste and emergency response programs. He will anchor the event by defining SMM and providing a foundation for the national policy discussions of the Summit.

NRC also added two webinars, one slated for April 23 and another April 29, to its “Recyclers Guide to Sustainable Materials Management” series to help prepare participants of the SMM Summit for the stakeholder dialogue.

The SMM Summit is led by the NRC in partnership with the Syracuse University Center for Sustainable Community Solutions and University of Maryland Environmental Finance Center, and it is supported by ISRI, Starbucks, the Steel Recycling Institute, Re-TRAC Connect, SCS Engineers, and SMART Recycling of South Carolina LLC. Resource Recycling, Inc. is a promotional partner for the event.

The Summit is taking place May 12-13 at the College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center in College Park, Maryland. Complete information on the summit is available here. Hotel reservations should be made by April 12 to ensure the discounted group rate.

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Grant watch

Resource Recycling Magazine - Tue, 04/07/2015 - 07:33
Grant watch

April 7, 2015

Three colleges in New York State have received grants ranging from $800 to $1,000 each to help with their on-campus reduction, reuse and recycling efforts. The New York State Association for Reduction, Reuse and Recycling awarded grants to the University at Albany for its recycling infrastructure improvement project, Sullivan County Community College for its food waste management awareness campaign and Stony Brook University for its scientific equipment reuse program benefitting a partner institution in Kenya.

California state government has awarded a total of $2.86 million in recycling grants to 18 organizations over the next two years. The largest awards from the Beverage Container Recycling Grant Program totaled $250,000 and the smallest totaled $50,000. The awards implement beverage container recycling programs through education and outreach. They also help awardees purchase and/or install beverage container recycling bins and, in some cases, expand current collection in underserved areas.

A plastics recycling company in Missouri will receive a loan to expand operations, one of $31 million in grants and loans distributed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Bolckow, Missouri-based DMR Plastics will receive a $200,000 loan to expand its business. The funding was distributed by the USDA’s Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program.

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NewsBits

Resource Recycling Magazine - Tue, 04/07/2015 - 07:30
NewsBits

April 7, 2015

The West Coast ports labor dispute that hampered recyclable material exports cost U.S. workers jobs, the president of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries wrote to the secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Robin Wiener also wrote that the prolonged disruptions to U.S. scrap export shipments could cause permanent damage if overseas customers lose confidence in the U.S.’s ability to reliably deliver scrap.

The Wall Street Journal writes about how the fall in oil prices are hurting plastic recycling companies by driving down the prices of virgin plastics. For example, at the start of 2015, virgin PET sold for 83 cents a pound, 15 percent higher than recycled PET. In late March, virgin PET dropped to 67 cents a pound, or 7 percent less than recycled PET.

Recycling advocates in Wisconsin are pushing back against proposed cuts to state funds providing recycling assistance to local governments. The proposed cuts total more than $4 million.

Tom’s of Maine and recycling company TerraCycle have teamed up to launch a toy-recycling program. Through the program, parents can obtain a free Toy Recycling Box with prepaid shipping label. Items including dolls and board game pieces can be mailed to TerraCycle, a company that specializes in recycling difficult-to-process items.

In the public’s mind, Earth Day is now more about recycling specifically than it is about air and water pollution in general, according to a survey commissioned by ecoATM. Forty-seven percent of Americans associate Earth Day with recycling, while only 23 percent associate it with cleaning up local parks or beaches, the survey showed.

Consumers are less likely to recycle paper when it’s crumpled or cut, according to a study. But consumers are more apt to divert paper in any form if labels or signage let them know it is recyclable even when it's crumpled.  

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