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West Coast port dispute slows movement of bales

Resource Recycling Magazine - Mon, 02/09/2015 - 22:35
West coast port dispute slows movement of bales

By Bobby Elliott, Resource Recycling

Feb. 10, 2015

Contract negotiations between West Coast dock workers and their employers have appeared to hit a boiling point, leaving recycled material in need of export stuck in ports – and potentially bound for landfills.

Since May 2014, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) have been attempting to reach a long-term contract. Those negotiations continued into late October, and at that point ILWU "began to stage devastating slowdowns up and down the coast," PMA alleges. The dispute has caused major delays in overseas cargo shipments, including those carrying recycled materials.

Scott Horne, vice president of government affairs at the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), told Resource Recycling the dispute is hurting recycling-related business that are already battling a tough economic climate.

"With falling commodity prices, recyclers are already having a tough enough time," Horne said. "The ports slowdown is now an additional obstacle to markets that do exist. Scrap is the top export by volume out of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, and roughly $9.4 billion in scrap passes out of West Coast ports every year. A complete shutdown would have a crippling effect on the industry and cost American jobs."

Meanwhile, the West Coast Refuse and Recycling Coalition, representing California, Oregon and Washington recycling businesses and waste haulers, sent out a letter to members Jan. 30 urging action and noting the potential negative impacts of a prolonged dispute.

"The continued slowdown at West Coast port terminals is having serious implications upon our industry’s ability to fulfill our contractual obligations designed to achieve maximum recycling and waste diversion goals for the municipalities we serve," the coalition wrote. "Without immediate relief, we may soon be forced to begin redirecting this material to extended storage and disposal, undermining the very goal of our material management operations."

In addition, San Francisco's KTVU News recently reported waste and recycling company Recology is quickly amassing stocks of cardboard and paper awaiting export to Asian paper mills. The California Refuse Recycling Council has also sent a letter to California Gov. Jerry Brown, urging action on the dispute.

Far West Recycling president Keith Ristau told Resource Recycling the Oregon-based company was sitting on 7,200 tons of material "all due to the slowdown."

In the latest development on negotiations, PMA suspended vessel operations over the weekend, stating in a press release that "PMA member companies finally have concluded that they will no longer continue to pay workers premium pay for diminished productivity." Ports were reopened Monday but no agreement between the two sides has been reached.

PMA announced Feb. 4 a new contract offer to ILWU "goes as far as we believe we can go." According to an accompanying video message from PMA president Jim McKenna, the offer raises the annual average salary of full-time ILWU workers to more than $160,000 (from $147,000) and raises the maximum pension to nearly $89,000 (from $80,000). The five-year offer also continues to provide health insurance at no cost to ILWU employees.

“I hope the ILWU leadership will give very serious consideration to this contract offer, which I believe respects their members and gives us a clear path to conclude these talks," McKenna said during a conference call with reporters last week. "We owe it to workers and businesses across the nation to resolve our differences and get our ports moving again.”

ILWU president Robert McEllrath, meanwhile, issued a strongly worded retort to McKenna's characterization that the port could be headed for collapse, and he called on workers to "stay at the negotiating table and work through a few remaining issues," McEllrath said. "We are very close to reaching an agreement."

Craig Merrilees, ILWU's communications director, told Resource Recycling on Friday that "only a few outstanding issues remain" and stated the two parties "are very, very close" to an agreement.

While Merrilees would not divulge specific issues in need of resolution before an agreement can be met, he said they can be "easily resolved." He added, "We just need to get it done."

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Bin grants up for grabs

Resource Recycling Magazine - Mon, 02/09/2015 - 22:29
Bin grants up for grabs

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Feb. 10, 2015

Coca-Cola and Keep America Beautiful are back with the 2015 edition of their annual recycling bin grant program.

With applications now accepted through Feb. 27, the Coca-Cola/Keep America Beautiful Recycling Bin Grant Program is aiming to fund the addition of more than 3,500 bins on college campuses and in public spaces.

"Together with Keep America Beautiful, we are working to increase local recycling rates and to encourage environmental sustainability in communities across the country," Lori George Billingsley, vice president, community relations, Coca-Cola North America, said in a press release.

According to Coca-Cola and KAB, the additional bins could "result in an estimated 1 million pounds of recyclable materials collected during their first year in use."

Founded in 2007, the bins program has provided 542 organizations with more 39,000 recycling bins across the U.S.


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New York leader notes zero waste ambitions

Resource Recycling Magazine - Mon, 02/09/2015 - 22:27
New York leader notes zero waste ambitions

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Feb. 10, 2015

New York City’s sanitation commissioner, Kathryn Garcia, would like to eventually halt sending any of the city’s waste to landfills.

Garcia, who was hired as commissioner of the city's Department of Sanitation in March 2014 by Mayor Bill de Blasio, told Capital New York that she would like to see no materials going to landfill and she looks forward to rolling out programs to achieve that.

She stopped short of articulating any specific new efforts, however.

“My goal is zero waste to landfills,” she told Capital New York. “We look forward to rolling out new programs to achieve this.”

With a current diversion rate of around 15 percent, New York City trails many cities when it comes to recycling. It also lags behind the national recycling rate of 34.5 percent.

New York's former mayor, Michael Bloomberg, helped usher in an era of renewed focus on materials recovery in America's largest city.

In 2013, he announced the addition of all rigid plastics, regardless of resin code, to the city’s curbside recycling program. Later that year, he announced a “Recycle Everything” campaign aimed at boosting the diversion rate and said he’d like to see the rate double to 30 percent by 2017. Also, in conjunction with an ad campaign, Bloomberg announced an expansion of the city’s organics recycling program.

This year, under de Blasio, the City finalized a ban on foam food service packaging on the grounds that it couldn't be recycled. The city is also contemplating a tax on plastic bags to cut down on usage.

“None of this will happen overnight,” Garcia said. “We want to see the curve moving upwards. We know that there’s a lot of work to do.”

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NewsBits

Resource Recycling Magazine - Mon, 02/09/2015 - 22:18
NewsBits

Feb. 10, 2015

President Barack Obama's proposed 2016 budget calls for a nearly 6 percent increase in funding to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. While questions remain over how much of the president's budget will remain after the Republican-controlled House and Senate get to work on a revised version, the current proposal provides $8.6 billion to the U.S. EPA, a 5.8 percent increase over 2015 funding.

International Paper is in the process of closing recovered paper processing centers in Denver and Memphis. The firm, which handles six million tons of recyclable fiber annually, will continue to operate 18 other paper recycling centers. Approximately two dozen employees will be affected by the plant closures.

Novelis has announced plans to put another $48 million toward an automotive scrap aluminum recycling facility in Oswego, New York. According to Novelis, the new investment brings the company's total investment in the Oswego operation to more than $400 million. The latest investment will cover upgrades at the facility in addition to a new 81,000-square-foot processing site to supply the automotive industry with recycled aluminum parts and material.

Employees at a local recycling plant in Mesa, Arizona unearthed several rounds of explosives in a heap of scrap metal. A bomb squad descended upon the facility, which is owned by publicly traded Commercial Metals Company, and determined just one of the rounds was live. It is unclear who dropped off the explosives at the facility.

New Orleans is bringing glass back. After a decade of sending glass bottles to landfills, the Crescent City is in the process of adding glass back into its curbside recycling program. The transition will take place over an extended period of time and begin in the French Quarter and Central Business District before expanding outward.

The application deadline for the U.S. Composting Council's Sustainable Student Scholarship Award is fast approaching. Applications are due on Feb. 15 and are open to any high school senior "with a keen interest in the compost industry." Click here for more.

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EPA looks to CRT glass landscape

E-Scrap News Magazine - Thu, 02/05/2015 - 20:32
EPA looks to CRT glass landscape

By Bobby Elliott, E-Scrap News

Feb. 5, 2015

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has sent out a series of documents on the state of CRT glass processing and possible industry-wide solutions going forward.

The documents, sent to attendees of recent EPA meetings on CRT issues, are aimed at reporting on industry input and "continuing the dialogue" surrounding management of leaded glass, the agency stated in an email.

One of the EPA documents, a diagram covering the CRT landscape, breaks down the various challenges facing the industry. The diagram is based on discussions that took place during a two-day stakeholder meeting hosted by the agency in Arlington, Virginia last September. It is also the most thorough breakdown to date of the recycling and reuse opportunities for CRT glass.

The diagram examines eight potential processes that aim to handle leaded CRT glass. Several of the ideas mentioned – including use of CRT glass in ceramics and concrete products, a retrievable storage scenario, and recovery via copper smelters and chemical extraction – are relatively new entrants into the ongoing industry CRT conversation.

In a separate document that recaps the summit in Arlington, EPA stresses both new and emerging options need to be carefully vetted before use.

"For both new and existing technology it is critical for the electronics community to make strides to improve knowledge of material content and toxicity, enforce existing worker health and safety regulations, and follow best practices to reduce human and environmental exposure to potentially toxic materials," the document reads.

A third document released by EPA last week details the U.S. EPA Meeting on Cathode Ray Tubes, held at the end of the E-Scrap 2014 conference in Orlando, Florida. At that meeting, members of the industry convened with the EPA to review the Arlington meeting and further hash out concerns.

“Enforcement looks like a toothless tiger,” Simon Greer, owner of emerging glass processor Nulife Glass, said at the time. “Make noise about it, please. It will discourage others.”

In its report on the meeting, EPA was careful to note any potential actions would be part of an industry-wide effort, not simply a regulatory one.

"EPA said they hoped to begin working with the electronics recycling community on a strategy that would coordinate multiple actions by the community and help address the current problems with recycling CRTs," the document states.

Barnes Johnson, an EPA deputy director, reiterated that desire in the email sent out to industry members last week.

"EPA cannot address the challenges we face around electronics management alone," Johnson said. "We all have a role and together we can make significant progress."

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Plastics Recycling 2015: All about e-plastics

E-Scrap News Magazine - Thu, 02/05/2015 - 20:28
Plastics Recycling 2015: All about e-plastics

By Editorial Staff, E-Scrap News

Feb. 5, 2015

North America's largest plastics recycling conference will offer some useful knowledge to e-scrap players as well.

Plastics Recycling 2015 will provide an exclusive first look at research on the plastics recovered from scrap electronics. This data-compiling project investigates where e-plastic discards are being generated and where they’re going once they are processed.

A critical analysis of e-plastics consumption, recovery and recycling will be offered, and it will be accompanied by strategies that firms can employ to overcome e-plastic profitability challenges.

Plastics Recycling 2015 is taking place Feb. 23-25 at the Hyatt Regency in Dallas, Texas. Head to plasticsrecycling.com for all the information on attending, exhibiting and sponsoring.

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State programs' approach to CRTs unlikely to shift

E-Scrap News Magazine - Thu, 02/05/2015 - 20:24
State programs' approach to CRTs unlikely to shift

By Jared Paben, E-Scrap News

Feb. 5, 2015

During a recent webinar, an expert in e-scrap legislation delved into some trends surrounding state programs and the ways they are dealing with the CRT stream.

Jason Linnell, executive director of the National Center for Electronics Recycling (NCER), a nonprofit organization that assists many state e-scrap programs, noted that of the 25 states that require device manufacturers to pay for the recycling of old electronics, only a handful have ruled CRTs sent to landfills can count toward the manufacturers' recycling targets.

And unless something dramatic happens in the market – for example, a large consuming plant closes – those states aren’t likely to change their minds, Linnell said during the Greeneye Partners EHS Roundtable webinar.

“For the time being, the way the market options are as they stand today, I think the states are probably going to stay with what they have,” Linnell told E-Scrap News in a follow-up interview.

In the U.S., 25 states have some type of electronics recycling program on the books, covering roughly two-thirds of the country’s population. Of those 25 states, 19 responded to an NCER survey asking about their requirements for handling CRT glass, Linnell told webinar participants.

While a total of 14 said they permitted some form of CRT glass landfilling, just three states – Connecticut, Illinois and Vermont – said they would, under certain circumstances, count the practice of turning treated CRT funnel glass into alternative daily cover (ADC) as recycling. Until July 2014, Wisconsin had also counted ADC as recycling under its state program, but it has since changed its stance.

The CRT-to-ADC method has been championed by Illinois-based Kuusakoski US as a solution to the challenging CRT glass market, but has faced an uphill battle in combating the perception that the approach is disposal, not recycling.

Linnell added that some original equipment manufacturers have also opposed the approach due to concerns about the public perception of Kuusakoski's method.

In addition to the landfill discussion, the webinar touched on several other issues.

Connecticut officials established a per-pound rate that e-scrap recycling companies can bill to manufacturers required to pay for recycling. During the webinar, Linnell was asked whether other states are looking at that model, which aims to ensure recyclers are paid enough to carry out processing.

Linnell said he doesn’t envision that approach being replicated elsewhere and told listeners that no other states have seriously considered the approach since 2009. Reluctance, Linnell suggested, has derived from the feeling that state officials might not be able to truly gauge current pricing realities.

The last states to pass laws establishing recycling programs did so nearly five years ago, and, since then, no new statewide laws have been passed. The only two laws enacted were an ordinance in Washington, D.C. passed last year that goes into effect in 2017 and, in 2012, Colorado passed a landfill ban for electronics, but the legislation does not mandate a recycling collection network.

At one point, industry folks were saying that, by 2015, the entire U.S. would be covered by electronics recycling laws, Linnell said on the webinar.  “As we can see, that wasn’t ever really realistic,” he said.

He doesn’t see the number increasing this year either. And, in the short- to medium-term, he doesn’t see Congress passing a national law.  “At the federal level, there hasn’t been a whole lot of activity,” he said.

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Hugo Neu relocates processing site to NJ

E-Scrap News Magazine - Thu, 02/05/2015 - 20:19
Hugo Neu relocates processing site to NJ

By Jared Paben, E-Scrap News

Feb. 5, 2015

To meet growing demand, e-scrap recycling company Hugo Neu Recycling will close its facility in Mount Vernon, New York and open a larger, more advanced one in New Jersey, the company says.

"It certainly will meet the demands of our growing business,” Alan Ratner, the company's president, told E-Scrap News.

Hugo Neu Recycling provides various services for organizations. While Ratner said Hugo Neu's primary business is in collecting and recycling e-scrap, the company also provides data destruction and refurbishment services.

Hugo Neu Recycling’s new facility in the northern New Jersey town of Kearny is estimated to be roughly 40 percent larger than the one being closed, and it will incorporate newer technologies, according to Ratner. The company was awarded a 10-year, $4.5 million Grow New Jersey loan from the state's Economic Development Authority to help finance the relocation.

While the company plans to close its current recycling facility in Mount Vernon, it will retain a separate shredding and downstream recycling facility there. According to Ratner, the company doesn’t know yet whether it will see a net job gain or loss, but all of the employees at the facility slated for closure have been invited to transfer to the new one. Mt. Vernon is about an hour's drive from Kearny.

“Our hopes are that our workforce joins us,” he said.

Hugo Neu Recycling plans to have the Kearny facility operating by the end of April.


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Certification scorecard

E-Scrap News Magazine - Thu, 02/05/2015 - 20:16
Certification scorecard

Feb. 5, 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.

Securis of Chantilly, Virginia achieved certification to the R2:2013, ISO 14001 and OSHAS 18001 standards.

American Data Security, Inc. of Oak Park, Michigan; Eco Shred of Lafayette, Indiana; Gilmore Services of Pensacola, Florida; Puliz Records Management of Reno, Nevada; Rapid Shred L.L.C. of Grandville, Michigan; Safeguard Shredding of Alexandria, Virginia; Secure On-Site Shredding of Palm Harbor, Florida; Shred Defense, Inc. of Richmond, California; and Time Shred Services of Freeport, New York have either achieved or renewed their NAID Certifications for Physical Destruction of Hard Drives.

Also, Lewis Clark Recyclers, Inc. of Lewiston, Idaho; Opportunity Distributing, Inc of Hopkins, Minnesota; and Reclamere, Inc. of Tyron, Pennsylvania have either achieved or renewed their NAID Certifications for Computer Hard Drive Sanitization Operations and Physical Destruction of Hard Drives.

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


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NewsBits

E-Scrap News Magazine - Thu, 02/05/2015 - 20:15
NewsBits

Feb. 5, 2015

Despite rumors to the contrary, Missouri-based Doe Run continues to process CRT glass. According to Lou Magdits, the company's director of Raw Materials, Doe Run "consumes CRT glass on a regular basis," and he fully expects the company to do so going forward. "In the past few months we have been adjusting our inventory, which has led to less glass coming into our doors," Magdits told E-Scrap News.

Kentucky has awarded its state e-scrap contract to Global Environmental Services (GES). According to the agreement , executive branches of the state government will be required to send all e-scrap to GES for processing while "all city and county governments and community recycling programs" can use the company as well. The contract also states that GES will only charge for CRT TVs (10 cents per pound) while taking all other e-scrap in bulk for free, including CRT monitors.

An e-scrap recycling event in Syracuse, New York was so successful that police had to shut down a freeway off-ramp because of traffic jams. The collection event at the Syracuse Department of Public Works’ garage yielded eight tractor-trailers full of e-scrap, for an estimated 100 tons. That was four times what was collected last year, before a statewide law went into effect banning the the disposal of electronics at the curb or in the trash.

Electronic Recyclers International (ERI) is taking part in the Person in Port program, a joint initiative launched by The United Nations University, U.S. EPA and the Basel Convention Coordination Centre for Africa. The aim of the program is to track the flow of e-scrap into Nigeria, a major hub of used electronics imports, to identify the condition, quantity and fate of electronics shipped there. ERI has provided educational assistance to bring program leaders up to speed on responsible handling and recycling of end-of-life electronics.

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Industry and supplier news

E-Scrap News Magazine - Thu, 02/05/2015 - 20:11
Industry and supplier news

By Editorial Staff, E-Scrap News

Feb. 5, 2015

The Basel Action Network has made available to Android devices its e-Stewards Global Impact Calculator app. The app quantifies for consumers the degree to which using e-Stewards-certified recycling firms can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, prevent toxic metals from being exported or dumped and divert valuable materials from landfill. It is free to download on Google Play and the Apple App Store.

LG Electronics has been named by two research organizations as one of the world’s most sustainable corporations. Corporate Knights awarded LG the top honor in its industry on the 2015 Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporation list. RobecoSAM, meanwhile, honored LG with its top prize in the leisure and consumer electronics category in the 2015 Sustainability Yearbook. For more, click here.

Lenovo and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality have been added to the R2 Leaders program, administered by Sustainable Electronics Recycling International (SERI). Organizations that join the R2 Leaders program pledge to manage their electronics responsibly, consider R2 certification when choosing a recycling company and demonstrate leadership in the field of electronics recycling through projects and policies. For more, click here.

EcoATM has hired the retired chief of the Palm Bay Police Department in Florida as a new member of its law enforcement relations team. The company hired Doug Muldoon to work with the company’s law enforcement partners in the southern U.S. EcoATM makes automated self-service kiosks that buy back old phones, tablets and MP3 players. For more, click here.

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Colleges kick off annual RecycleMania competition

Plastics Recycling Update Magazine - Wed, 02/04/2015 - 23:58
Colleges kick off annual RecycleMania competition

By Jared Paben, Plastics Recycling Update

Feb. 5, 2015

A competition that led college campuses to divert 2,400 tons of plastic bottles, cans and other recyclable materials last year has launched its 2015 program.

Nearly 400 colleges and universities across the country have signed up to participate in this year’s RecycleMania, which began on Feb. 2.

The annual collegiate competition now in its 15th year will play out over the next two months, as schools report their recycling rates on a weekly basis. They’ll compete in various categories, including per-capita recycling weights, total weights recycled and composted and diversion rates. The competition will also target specific materials, including plastic containers, paper, cardboard, bottles and cans, food service organics and e-scrap.

In 2014, campuses diverted 2,400 tons in the competition’s bottles and cans category, which includes Nos. 1-7 plastics as well as aluminum, glass and steel containers. Kalamazoo College in Michigan recycled about 15 pounds of bottles and cans per capita, winning the national competition in that category.

This year 392 schools will participate, marking a continuation of a four-year slide in participation, although participation is still well above what it was a decade ago, when 46 schools participated. In 2011, as many as 630 campuses were participating, according to the RecycleMania website.

The decrease can be pegged to a couple of reasons, said Alec Cooley, RecycleMania program manager.

“Some schools have passed on that the program has been a value but, in a sense, they’ve graduated from it,” said Cooley, who also helps lead recycling efforts at Keep America Beautiful, the group that administers RecycleMania. Additionally, many schools have morphed their recycling programs into broader sustainability departments, requiring recycling to compete for attention each year with other priorities, including energy conservation, he said.

New this year is a “3R Actions Challenge” category. When students post digital messages and photos to document their waste reduction or recycling actions, they’ll earn points to determine their school’s standing in the category.

“We’ve been … looking for new ways to engage students directly,” Cooley said. “This is dipping our toes into the water, getting a feel for how we can better leverage digital platforms to engage students.”

Last year’s national winner for the highest overall diversion rate was Antioch University Seattle, which posted a 93 percent diversion rate.

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Plastics Recycling 2015: The view from the top

Plastics Recycling Update Magazine - Wed, 02/04/2015 - 23:53
Plastics Recycling 2015: The view from the top

By Editorial Staff, Plastics Recycling Update

Feb. 5, 2015

Attendees of the upcoming Plastics Recycling 2015 conference will have a great chance to stay ahead of the competition by getting first-hand perspectives from the top brass of four leading plastics recycling trade associations.

Plastics Recycling 2015 will showcase a facilitated dialogue between Steve Alexander (Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers), Bill Carteaux (SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association), Steve Russell (American Chemistry Council) and Robin Wiener (Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries). Don’t miss the unique opportunity to see these experts tackle questions on topics such as North America's evolving waste stream, dynamic resin markets, the current business environment for plastics recycling and the ways sustainability goals are affecting plastics recycling.

Plastics Recycling 2015 is taking place Feb. 23-25 at the Hyatt Regency in Dallas, Texas. More than 1775 attendees from 30 countries were on hand at the 2014 edition, and a similar turnout is expected in Dallas. Head to plasticsrecycling.com for all the information on attending, exhibiting and sponsoring.


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Report: Food industry struggles in plastics recycling

Plastics Recycling Update Magazine - Wed, 02/04/2015 - 23:48
Report: Food industry struggles in plastics recycling

By Bobby Elliott, Plastics Recycling Update

Feb. 5, 2015

A report analyzing the sustainability initiatives of the food and beverage industry points to glaring holes in the sector's plastics recycling efforts.

Looking into the reuse- and recycling-related efforts of more than 40 fast food, beverage, grocery and consumer goods companies, As You Sow and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) write in a new report that more needs to be done.

"We found that most companies have not sufficiently prioritized packaging, source reduction, recyclability, compostability, recycled content and recycling policies," the two note in the report's executive summary.

During a conference call with reporters following the release of the report, As You Sow's vice president, Conrad MacKerron, argued that plastics are not helping the situation.

"A major finding is that plastics is eating the lunch of many of the other packaging materials. It's growing in a huge way and there are many good sides to that," MacKerron said. "The bad side is that often the end-of-life piece is ignored and as plastic moves to become a preeminent form of packaging we're not keeping up with the pillar of recyclability."

Keith Christman, managing director of plastics markets for the American Chemistry Council, said in an interview plastics recycling has grown in recent years and will continue to do so going forward.

"Plastics recycling in the U.S. has increased year-over-year since 1990, and America’s plastics makers are working to increase the rate of growth," Christman said. "While there still are challenges to recycling some plastics, we are confident that evolving technologies, growing consumer awareness and innovations in product design will keep the needle moving in the right direction."

As part of the report, surveys were sent out to 10 national fast food restaurants, 11 beverage companies and 20 grocery and consumer goods stores. The surveys targeted source reduction, recycled content, recyclability and recycling efforts as the four key markers of a leading program. No company earned the rank of "best practices" and just six fell under the "better practices" label.

While the report does note the enhanced recyclability of PET and PE packaging in the fast food sector and the growing use of recycled plastic content in the beverage industry, it comes down hard on flexible film packaging.

"A major concern to groups promoting packaging recycling and a circular materials economy is the growing use of flexible composite plastic packaging such as multi-laminate pouches, used for grocery goods including many types of food, laundry detergent, and children’s beverages; and of flexible films used to package snack foods like potato chips, cookies and candy bars," the report reads.

According to As You Sow and NRDC, post-consumer flexible film packaging is non-recyclable and represents "the second-largest packaging segment" in the U.S., making up 18 percent of the packaging market in 2012. The most used packaging material is cardboard.

MacKerron said during the call that Procter & Gamble and Unilever are working on a process to successfully recycle flexible film packages, "but it's probably two or three years away."

The report also takes aim at foam. Fast food restaurant Chick-fil-A continues to use foam freely, as does Burger King and KFC, while McDonald's has scaled back its usage and Dunkin' Brands has announced plans to transition to an alternative packaging material in the near future.

The groups say foam causes both human health and environmental hazards. They also say it's "technically recyclable" but "vast amounts need to be collected and compressed, or 'densified,' before being shipped to a recycler."

As far as solutions go, the report argues companies need to move away from flexible film and foam unless they can prove it can be readily recycled nationwide. And while both groups are strong supporters of extended producer responsibility (EPR), a strategy in which product and packaging makers are held responsible for financing end-of-life solutions for the materials in question, MacKerron told reporters serious alternatives are welcome.

"We're not wed to EPR; we're saying just choose something that moves the needle," MacKerron said. "If you don't like EPR, give us a plan B, but give us a plan B that really shows us you've done your homework and really thought about [...] how we put all these pieces of the puzzle together to raise the recycling rate nationally."

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Bag ban and tax roundup

Plastics Recycling Update Magazine - Wed, 02/04/2015 - 23:42
Bag ban and tax roundup

By Editorial Staff, Plastics Recycling Update

Feb. 5, 2015

We tour the nation to film you in on the details of the latest state and municipal plastic bag legislation efforts.

The battle over California's recently passed statewide ban on single-use plastic bags is heating up, with accusations that referendum signature gatherers deceived voters. In addition, an effort in the state legislature is underway to repeal part or all of the law.

In other plastic bag news out of California, the City of Huntington Beach has taken a step toward becoming the first local government in Orange County to pass and then repeal its local bag ban.

The Virginia Senate has passed a bill that would allow local governments to ban plastic bags, but the bill faces an uphill battle in the more conservative House of Delegates. The bill was introduced by a Senate Republican who said he took up the cause to reduce litter on the state's coastline.

The community of Hastings-on-Hudson has become the first jurisdiction in the New York City region to ban both single-use plastic bags and expanded polystyrene containers. The ban on plastic bags went into effect Jan. 1.

With a new legislature and new leadership in its Environment Committee, Connecticut may have enough votes to pass a ban on plastic bags this year. Currently, only one municipality in the state, Westport, has a ban in place.

A Rhode Island lawmaker has introduced a bill that would ban plastic bags throughout the state, although previous efforts failed during the past two legislative sessions. The town of Barrington in 2012 became the first municipality in the state to ban bags.

The plastic bag ban in Santa Fe, New Mexico isn’t working, according to this commentary, yet local leaders are considering doubling down on the policy by implementing a 10-cent fee on paper bags. Surveys show that customers, instead of switching to reusable bags, are by and large simply using the stores’ paper bags.

Citing a defense of property rights and liberty, the governor-elect of Texas wants to put an end to local governments’ various bans, including those on plastic bags. Greg Abbott also cited an end to fracking and tree cutting bans, saying “unchecked over-regulation by cities will turn the Texas miracle into the California nightmare.”

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PetroChem Wire: Recycled PS price rebounds

Plastics Recycling Update Magazine - Wed, 02/04/2015 - 23:34
PetroChem Wire: Recycled PS price rebounds

Feb. 5, 2015

After falling in early January, recycled polystyrene prices showed signs of rebounding on brisk buying at the end of January.

For the week ended Jan. 30, HIPS white flake material was sold at 54 cents per pound delivered Midwest and HIPS mixed-colors flake material sold at 49 cents per pound delivered Midwest. Both those prices represented an increase of 2.5 cents per pound from the previous week.

GPPS regrind prices were up a similar amount for the week. But both recycled GPPS and HIPS ended the month at least 7 cents per pound lower than their price levels at the outset of January.

Prime PS prices also dropped during the month. HIPS, which sold for around 96 cents per pound at the beginning of the month, fell to 87.5 cents per pound by Jan. 30. During the same period, GPPS fell about 6.5 cents per pound to 80 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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Patent watch

Plastics Recycling Update Magazine - Wed, 02/04/2015 - 23:31
Patent watch

Feb. 5, 2015

Patent No. 8,883,867 was awarded to Austin, Texas-based Green Source Holdings LLC for a method of recycling plastics, notably thermoplastics, via solvent.

The Iowa State University Research Foundation, based in Ames, was given Patent No. 8,895,778 for a method of recycling polylactic acid (PLA) resins in an "energy-efficient manner."

A method of producing olefins from scrap plastics via pyrolysis with a catalyst composition is the subject of Patent No. 8,895,790, awarded to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia-based SABIC.

Also based in Riyadh, the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology was given Patent No. 8,900,492 for a method of recycling unseparated plastics.

A novel roll-cart for the collection of recyclable materials is subject of Patent No. 8,919,791 given to Los Angeles-based Rehrig Pacific Company.

Another patent from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia is a method of blending scrap plastics into a composite concrete, awarded Patent No. 8,921,463 to King Saud University.

Wilmington, Delaware-based Empire Technology Development LLC was awarded two patents -- Patent Nos. 8,920,932 and 8,932,502 -- for methods of recycling carbon fibers and thermoplastics, respectively.

JWR, Inc., based in Johnson Creek, Wisconsin, was given Patent No. D717,849 for a new kind of baler of recyclable materials.

Tampere, Finland's UPM Raflatac Oy was awarded Patent Application No. 20140311001 for a pressure-sensitive label that is effectively able to be washed off of plastic materials during the recycling process.

Erema, based in Ansfelden, Austria, has developed an apparatus for processing scrap plastic materials and given Patent Application No. 20140312151.

Patent Application No. 20140312526 was awarded to Gyeongsangbuk-do, South Korea's KOLONGLOTECH, Inc. for a method of recycling artificial turf.

Dhahrand, Saudi Arabia's King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals developed a pipe coating made from recycled crumb rubber and was given Patent Application No. 20140316031.

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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Wide world of plastics recycling

Plastics Recycling Update Magazine - Wed, 02/04/2015 - 23:28
Wide world of plastics recycling

By Editorial Staff, Plastics Recycling Update

Feb. 5, 2015

Beverage container deposits sit at the center of some unique criticism of Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu. In our global look, we'll explain more about that collision of PET and politics.

If you think U.S. elections are characterized by personal jabs, check this out: Opponents of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are accusing his wife of keeping the container deposits from drinks purchased on the taxpayers’ dime at his official residence (their lawyers said they paid the money back and it was used as petty cash by household staff). Netanyahu is embroiled in a tight re-election race and has characterized the accusations as a blatant attempt to distract voters from more important issues.

The U.K. increased the amount of carpet diverted from the waste stream last year, and the diversion rate exceeded a trade association’s goal. The diversion rate reached 28 percent last year, beating Carpet Recycling UK’s goal of diverting 25 percent by 2015. Nearly 125,000 tons of carpet were reused, recycled or recovered for energy last year, up 5.3 percent over the year before.

City leaders in Oxford, England have watered down proposed legislation that would have effectively banned street food vendors from providing expanded polystyrene packaging. The previous licensing rule stated that materials provided must be both recyclable and compostable, but it’s now proposed to say either recyclable or compostable, and members of a city licensing committee generally agreed that EPS can be recycled.

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NewsBits

Plastics Recycling Update Magazine - Wed, 02/04/2015 - 23:18
NewsBits

Feb. 5, 2015

Research on the global plastics industry by the Worldwatch Institute suggests 299 million tons of plastic were produced in 2013, generating $600 billion in revenues. Of that total, the report claims, as much as 43 percent was landfilled. The study also raises concerns about the environmental effects of burning plastics for energy.

The use of smart plastics instead of glass in buildings. Smart clothes that can detect your vital signs. Cups that can tell you the nutritional content of drinks. These were some ideas incorporated in a video by three students from the Savannah College of Art and Design envisioning the future of plastics. SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association and the Future of Plastics Foundation awarded the video’s makers first prize in the 2014 SPI Student Video Contest. They’ll get an all-expense-paid trip to NPE2015: The International Plastics Showcase in Orlando, Florida. The event is being held March 23-27.

New York Times food writer Mark Bittman applauds bans on expanded polystyrene food containers and plastic bags around the country. Regarding foam, he writes New York City’s recent decision to ban the material may be its death knell.

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Organics collection on the way in Minneapolis

Resource Recycling Magazine - Tue, 02/03/2015 - 19:09
Organics collection on the way in Minneapolis

By Bobby Elliott, Resource Recycling

Feb. 4, 2015

By the spring of 2016, Minneapolis residents will have the option to divert organics if they so choose.

Officials in Minneapolis have begun the year-long rollout of optional organics collection for residents throughout the city. The first phase of the program will be completed by August, when 25 percent of the population is expected to have access to the service. Officials say by spring of 2016, the entire population will have access.

And, according to Minneapolis' recycling coordinator, Kellie Kish, the first week of the program already saw 2,200 new participants sign up for organics collection. Kish says by spring of 2017, a full year after 100 percent access is secured, the City will aim for big participation goals.

"We hope to increase the participation rate to above 40 percent within the program's first year," Kish told Resource Recycling.

A pilot organics collection program started in August 2008 managed to attract "a little over 40 percent" of eligible residents by 2013, Kish added.

Once signed up, Minneapolis residents will receive 30-gallon carts. They are being asked to put all organics, and some compostable plastics and paper-based products, in compostable plastic bags before tossing them into the new carts. Material will be sent to to "one of four commercial composting facilities in the Twin Cities metro region," Kish said.

Minnesota's composting industry has grown from a $30 million annual business in 2008 to a $38 million in 2013, a new report shows.

The rollout of Minneapolis' citywide program will cost a reported $8 million.

To help pay for it, the roughly 105,000 residents served by the city's current trash and recycling program have seen their monthly waste management fees rise from $17.60 to $21.60, whether they plan to sign up for organics collection or not, Kish said. Of the $4 increase, $3.35 is attached to the organics program launch.

Minneapolis has a 75 percent recycling rate goal for 2030, and Kish noted organics provide a window of opportunity for the City.

"With organics being the material with the highest potential to collect and divert from the waste stream, moving toward a citywide organics collection program has been a logical step," Kish said.

Residents will be able to compost all organics as well as non-recyclable paper products, including pizza boxes, napkins and tissue paper. Plastics that are certified as compostable by the The Biodegradable Products Institute and the U.S. Composting Council will also be accepted in compost carts.

Paper packaging lined with plastic will not be accepted through the program.

Minneapolis' single-stream recycling program has increased recycling activity by 25 percent since being fully introduced in April 2013.

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