Resource Recycling Magazine

Updated: 4 hours 5 min ago

Data sought for household recyclables study

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 19:51
Data sought for household recyclables study

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Nov. 18, 2014

State officials in North Carolina seek information from all aspects of the recycling industry to help accurately gauge how many pounds of recyclables a household generates per year. Can you help?

If you think your city or county has relevant statistics on household recyclables, please click here and answer North Carolina's call for data.


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How industry marked America Recycles Day

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 09:47
How industry marked America Recycles Day

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Nov. 18, 2014

Unless you've been living under a landfill, you know the yearly advocacy event America Recycles Day took place this past weekend. We hopped on Twitter to take a look at the ways industry firms and organizations celebrated the occasion.

The hashtag #americarecyclesday spread like wildfire on and around Nov. 15, gracing the Twitter accounts of the U.S. EPA and President Barack Obama as well as those of electronics makers, major car manufacturers and, of course, recycling firms and groups.

Here's a sampling of the chatter:

 

Read the Presidential Proclamation for America Recycles Day: http://t.co/22exoRmWjk @whitehouse #AmericaRecyclesDay

— US EPA Research (@EPAresearch) November 15, 2014

 

 

It's #AmericaRecyclesDay! Does the national recycling rate surprise you? Ask a friend to take the pledge today. pic.twitter.com/5zzDABqjeP

— KeepAmericaBeautiful (@kabtweet) November 15, 2014

 

 

Hard at work disassembling tech @GoodwillIntl for #AmericaRecyclesDay! Go team @dell! pic.twitter.com/yND4JYetDs

— Dell Legacy of Good (@Dell4Good) November 15, 2014

 

 

This #Ford Truck Plant recycles 20 million pounds of cardboard, paper, plastic & wood. Happy #AmericaRecyclesDay! pic.twitter.com/Y0gN4JRDT1

— Ford Drive Green (@FordDriveGreen) November 15, 2014

 

 

MIT recycles! This is one of our "green machines" ♻ http://t.co/aRd7HsvlvN #AmericaRecyclesDay pic.twitter.com/q4Hd063hOO

— MIT (@MIT) November 15, 2014

 

 

Pictures of kids from #AmericaRecyclesDay http://t.co/evQukJ1voA #RORR pic.twitter.com/pm4Id9pjJk

— Waste Management (@WasteManagement) November 17, 2014

 

 

Thank You all for helping out with a very successful #AmericaRecyclesDay on Saturday here is Ted Black@BuffaloSabres pic.twitter.com/2qwZJJdbcl

— Erie County DEP (@ErieCoDEP) November 17, 2014

 

With the holidays coming, challenge yourself to #recycle all the plastic bags &product wraps u get on ur grocery trips. #AmericaRecyclesDay

— Recycle Plastic (@Recycle_Plastic) November 13, 2014

 

Happy #AmericaRecyclesDay Minneapolis! One-sort recycling makes it easy even when winter hits. http://t.co/BaQoU5JuQk

— Betsy Hodges (@MayorHodges) November 15, 2014

 

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Resource Recycling Conference 2015: A networking hotbed

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 09:43
Resource Recycling Conference 2015: A networking hotbed

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Nov. 18, 2014

"This was the best networking conference I've ever attended." That was the feedback offered from one industry executive at the close of this year's Resource Recycling Conference, and the upcoming edition will offer the same opportunities for key connections.

Resource Recycling Conference 2015, scheduled for next September, will be attracting top industry decision-makers to Indianapolis for a full slate of education sessions as well as a number of co-located events, including the National Recycling Coalition's annual members meeting and Re-TRAC Connect workshops. The array of programming geared to leading recycling executives and officials simply cannot be found at any other North American recycling gathering.

If you want your municipality or firm to be part of the conversations shaping the future of materials diversion and sustainability, mark your calendar now for Resource Recycling Conference 2015.

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

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WM exec delves into contamination concerns

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 09:40
WM exec delves into contamination concerns

By Dan Leif, Resource Recycling

Nov. 18, 2014

Don't fear the evolving waste stream.  But be judicious about what new packaging you allow in your recycling program.  That was the message from a Waste Management leader speaking on an EPA webinar last week.

Susan Robinson, federal public affairs director for publicly traded WM, offered a number of insights about how the country's largest waste and recycling firm is trying to adapt to the "evolving ton" coming into materials recovery facilities as paper use declines and the plastics packaging space moves forward at light speed.

However, the takeaway from her 30-minute talk, which was part of the EPA's Sustainable Materials Management webinar series, was that the recycling industry should focus more on clean material and less on constantly increasing tonnages.

"Let's not divert material for diversion's sake alone," she said.  "An overall environmental benefit should be the end goal."

While many industry players have in recent years begun to worry about the rise of flexible film packaging (think pouches, among other types), Robinson was accepting of the trend, even though these materials are not easily recyclable because they are constructed using layers of different types of resin and other materials.

Robinson, for instance, cited figures from a flexible plastic packaging group that showed packaging soup in a flexible film package instead of a steel can would decrease packaging weight from 312.4 grams to 28.4 grams.  The figures indicate carbon emissions associated with the film packaging were roughly one-tenth of those of the steel can option – much of those carbon savings are a result of the fact that pouches simply use less material to begin with.

Recycling advocates, Robinson noted, should not be standing in the way of such developments.

"Not everything is recycled in a true circular economy," she said.  "Have we put on blinders where recycling is the only thing we care about?  Are we so focused on hitting end-of-life recycling numbers that we forget about the first R – reduce?"

Those questions raise another: If more hard-to-recycle packaging is replacing staple MRF materials like metal and paper, how will the industry continue to move forward?

Robinson suggested a broader push to make sure the high-value items that do enter the stream avoid contamination along the way.

She said Waste Management's 49 single-stream MRFs in the U.S. currently see an average of 16 percent contamination on in-bound loads, an increase of 3 percentage points over the company's "historic" rates.

She added every ton of contaminants costs the company $140 in disposal fees and lost revenue. Due to contamination increases, WM's recycling processing expenditures grew 20 percent over the last two years, Robinson said.

Her first suggestion to improve the situation: Keep plastic bags out of recycling carts, and promote systems in which bags are returned to retail locations instead.

"We clean screens six to eight times a day to cut plastic bags out of sorting equipment," she said.  "From our perspective not much good comes from film plastic coming to our MRFs.  But there are robust markets for that material if it's clean and dry."

Robinson also said she was encouraged by broader initiatives WM and industry partners are undertaking to better communicate to residents which items should be placed curbside.

She said WM is working to push ahead its "Recycle Often. Recycle Right" campaign that aims to deliver three basic messages to consumers: Recycle all empty bottles, cans and paper; keep foods and liquids out; and recycle plastic bags at retail locations.

The awareness effort includes unbranded flyers and brochures the company is sharing with "anyone who wants them."

"Those who have survived the last couple of years in recycling are now a lot better at what we do," Robinson said.  "We know the stream better and have gotten better at communicating with public. … I'm actually more optimistic than I've been.  We're communicating with one voice, which is really key for recycling in the future."

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Recycling by the numbers

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 09:36
Recycling by the numbers

By Bobby Elliott, Resource Recycling

Nov. 18, 2014

Every now and then, numbers tell it all – or at least a lot. This week we look at some recently released figures at the center of industry milestones, announcements and trends.

8: According to a survey released last week by the American Chemistry Council's Plastics Make it Possible campaign, 8 percent of Americans say they recycle all of their recyclables. The survey also found that roughly half of Americans recycle 75 percent of their recyclables. "While nearly all Americans have access to recycling today, this survey shows that better communication and easier access to relevant information should help improve participation rates," said Steve Russell, vice president of plastics for the American Chemistry Council.

21: Philadelphia has increased its recycling rate to 21 percent. Recycling 128,000 tons of material during the 2014 fiscal year, Philadelphians have nearly tripled their diversion output since 2008. They've also been rewarded for their good work through the city's partnership with Recyclebank, which tracks the efforts of 195,000 households in the City of Brotherly Love and gives out discounts at local retailers and restaurants.

33: Results from a Harris public opinion poll conducted on behalf of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) suggest just 33 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 "always" recycle. For comparison's sake, 48 percent of the 35 and older crowd say the same. "Clearly, more needs to be done both to encourage recycling and better comprehend why younger generations aren’t seeing the energy, environmental and economic benefits that recycling provides," ISRI's president, Robin Wiener, stated in a press release.

90: By the end of 2017, aluminum titan Novelis will aim to produce all of its beverage can sheet using 90 percent recycled content. The company's Evercan offering represents a step up from the current global industry standard of using 50 percent recycled content, representatives of publicly traded Novelis said.

8,500,000: Republic Services' third quarter financials show the company netted $8.5 million in sales of recyclables. That total is slightly below the $8.9 million the company reaped during the same quarter last year. On the year thus far, the recycling business has generated $26.0 million, which is also off from last year's January-September totals of $26.9 million. Republic's quarterly report cites the "volatility" of recycled commodity pricing as a significant trend in 2014.

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Informal electronics recycling sector grabs attention in Singapore

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 09:31
Informal electronics recycling sector grabs attention in Singapore

By Jerry Powell and Bobby Elliott, Resource Recycling

Nov. 18, 2014

More than 200 attendees from more than 30 countries convened earlier this month in Singapore to consider Asian e-scrap trends and issues.

And amid the presentations and panel discussions tackled at the Electronics Recycling Asia Conference, one recurring topic was Asia’s informal e-scrap sector.

Jim Puckett, executive director of the Basel Action Network (BAN) and one of three opening speakers at the event, referred to Asia’s informal processing sphere as a “scourge,” a “cancer” and in “crisis.” He suggested “the current laws are good, but the enforcement is the problem.”

In another panel, Patrick Wiedemann from the Reverse Logistics Group (RLG) also asserted enforcement need to be ramped up, but he stressed the importance of transforming the sector instead of simply eradicating it altogether.

“We should integrate the informal sector into a modern recycling system and not build a competitive system,” Wiedemann said from the stage. Wiedemann said RLG has launched a handful of pilot projects in China to work alongside local collectors and offer consistent, standardized pricing for material.

Vans Chemistry’s Venkatesha Murthy estimated “85 percent or more” of e-scrap processing taking place in Asia comes from the informal sector. He, too, suggested finding ways to move that sector forward.

Improvements to large-scale collection infrastructures in Asia also emerged as a theme during the two-day conference.

Ronnie Tay, CEO of Singapore’s National Environment Agency (NEA), said “Singapore is seeking to have a cost-effective electronics recycling system and we want to support a strong recycling industry.”

Residents and businesses in Singapore generated 66,000 tons of obsolete electronics last year, Tay said.  The governmental department has helped launch a recovery system involving StarHub, DHL Logistics and TES-AMM, a local e-scrap processor.  Singapore has launched its own certification system – SS587 – to ensure firms are following strict guidelines in processing electronics.

Another speaker, Jinhui Li, noted there are now 106 local processors in China certified to one of the existing health and safety platforms. Li, a professor at Tsinghua University, has worked extensively on advising China’s government on e-scrap regulations.

Looking ahead, Puckett suggested BAN’s e-Stewards certification could also come to Asia with some notable shifts toward infrastructure, worker rights and the enforcement of international trade agreements to help stop “leakage” of non-Asian electronics.

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NewsBits

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 09:26
NewsBits

Nov. 18, 2014

California's January-June 2014 can recycling rate topped out at 100 percent while the overall container recycling rate reached 84 percent, new state figures show. For a detailed breakdown of recent figures by container type, click here.

The first year of Connecticut's paint take-back program led to the recycling of more than 240,000 gallons of paint. Managed by manufacturer-backed PaintCare, Connecticut's program charges residents buying new paint a recycling fee, which is then funnelled into a fund to cover the cost of collecting and recovering old paint.

With landfilling of clothes reaching all-time highs in the Empire State, the New York State Association of Reduction, Reuse and Recycling has ">set up a textile recycling campaign.  Clothes the Loop NY will promote the importance and ease of reusing and recycling textiles through special collection events and permanent drop-off sites. New Yorkers are said to landfill 1.4 billion pounds of clothes each year.

Ever wonder what the future of recycling systems will hold? Well, the Next Generation ZenRobotics Recycler may be a good place to start. The "robotic waste sorting system" can perform up to 4,000 "picks" per hour, according to the Helsinki-based company, separating items by material and all-but-eliminating the need of hand sorting. And while it may be a thing of the future, it's available for purchase today.

Residents of Florida's Palm Beach County managed to recycle 87,000 tons of material during the 2013-2014 fiscal year. That recycling activity, new statistics show, translated $842,000 in revenues back to the individual municipalities within the County through a unique revenue sharing program installed in 2010. Since its founding, the program has generated more than $7 million for Palm Beach County municipalities.

The City of Detroit is gradually unrolling its long-awaited curbside recycling program. The program, which is being co-run by Advanced Disposal and Rizzo Environmental, has thus far started servicing around 24,000 residents.

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"Top 10 in the Bin" list highlights surefire recyclables

Mon, 11/10/2014 - 23:49
"Top 10 in the Bin" list highlights surefire recyclables

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Nov. 11, 2014

A list of the most commonly accepted and recycled items has been released just in time for 2014’s America Recycles Day.

Available for free, the Top 10 in the Bin list was created by Keep America Beautiful (KAB), the National Waste & Recycling Association (NW&RA), the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) and the U.S. EPA. Its aim, according to NW&RA president Sharon Kneiss, is to drive recycling responsibly – in other words, with as little contamination as possible.

“Recycling and recycling technology have come a very long way in the past decade,” Kneiss states in a post announcing the list. “However, it is still important to avoid contaminating the stream with items that don’t belong there."

To Kneiss’ point, the top 10 list points out that plastics bags and wraps, electronics and textiles are all recyclable, but “not in the curbside bin.” The items that can be recycled curbside, according to the list, fall in the traditional printed paper and packaging realm, including cardboard, paper, cans, jars, jugs and bottles.

The quartet behind the list says it will work together going forward to spearhead more visually resonant and consumer-oriented materials.

“A picture is worth a thousand words,” John Skinner, executive director and CEO of SWANA, adds in the release. “We hope this flyer and our future efforts speak volumes about what to recycle.”

America Recycles Day (ARD) is set to take place on and around Nov. 15, as it has in years past. Each year, numerous gatherings and events are held in celebration of ARD and the recycling industry as a whole.

Correction:  An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated America Recycles Day was created by KAB.  As a reader pointed out, America Recycles Day was in fact created by the State of Texas Alliance for Recycling, the National Recycling Coalition, and its Buy Recycled Business Alliance.

 

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Resource Recycling Conference 2015: Delving into mixed-waste MRFs

Mon, 11/10/2014 - 23:47
Resource Recycling Conference 2015: Delving into mixed-waste MRFs

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Nov. 11, 2014

Plan to be in Indianapolis next September when top recycling leaders from around the country turn their focus to one of the industry's most divisive subjects: mixed-waste processing facilities, often known as "dirty" MRFs.

Several major U.S. municipalities have recently given the green light to major MRF projects that will aim to separate recyclables from organics and other materials in the residential waste stream. At the 2015 Resource Recycling Conference, multiple sessions will delve into the issue, offering attendees a comprehensive and objective look at the equipment, cost structures and policy goals surrounding the adoption of the mixed-waste processing approach.

Do you have concerns about the quality of material yielded by such systems? Do you think an all-in-one-bin approach is the key to curbside growth? No matter your position, the discussions in Indianapolis are not to be missed.

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


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Auditor: CA container redemption program in danger

Mon, 11/10/2014 - 23:43
Auditor: CA container redemption program in danger

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Nov. 11, 2014

A state auditor has concluded “immediate action” is needed to save California’s container redemption program after four consecutive years of multi-million dollar losses.

In the much-anticipated report to California’s elected officials, auditor Elaine Howle unveils just how troubling the program’s financial woes have been in recent years.

“In each of the last four years, from fiscal years 2010–11 through 2013–14, the beverage program has been operating under an annual deficit in which the revenue generated has been insufficient to cover expenditures,” Howle writes. “The collective gap between expenditures and revenues exceeded $100 million in three of those four fiscal years.”

Those challenges, she writes, indicate “immediate action is needed to ensure the continued viability of the program,” which last year state officials recognized was on a path to insolvency.

On a financial level, Howle suggests the state look into eliminating nearly $100 million in subsidies and support to the beverage industry while reformulating deposit collection procedures to ensure “the beverage program receives all the revenues due to it.”

Caroll Mortensen, CalRecycle's executive director, writes in an accompanying response to Ms. Howle's findings that the agency knows "there is more to do."

"CalRecycle generally agrees with the recommendations and will strive to implement them over time," Mortensen writes.

Aside from those suggestions, the audit notes the added challenge of curbing widespread fraud. For years, California’s program has wrestled with out-of-state containers being redeemed for California program funds, leading, at least in part, to an artificially high recycling rate and a program paying redemption fees for bottles and cans that never had a deposit fee in the first place.

While a task force has been assembled to combat fraud – and help ensure the program does not become insolvent in the near future – Howle says crucial data is still unknown on how much fraud costs the program each year, which limits the effort in its ability to pinpoint the appropriate amount of resources to invest in the fight.

Mortensen largely sides with Howle on this point as well, both outlining and recommitting to the agency's efforts to cut down on fraud.

A total of 10 U.S. states have container redemption programs in place. Enacted in 1986 and implemented the following year, California's program is also one of the most comprehensive programs in place. Nearly all carbonated, non-carbonated and alcoholic options are covered.

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Group forms to defend California bag ban

Mon, 11/10/2014 - 23:40
Group forms to defend California bag ban

By Bobby Elliott, Resource Recycling

Nov. 11, 2014

A coalition has come together to fight an attempt to overturn California's recently signed plastic bag law.

On a Nov. 6 conference call with members of the press, Mark Murray announced the California vs. Big Plastic coalition. Murray, who will lead the coalition and serves as the executive director of Californians Against Waste, was joined on the call by environmental advocates, two elected officials and an independent grocer group.

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed the nation's first statewide plastic bag ban into law on Sept. 30. Since then, companies and groups with stakes in the plastic bag business have mobilized to try to bring forth a ballot initiative that would allow voters to overturn the legislation.

"We have put together a coalition to defend the law," Murray told listeners. "And we believe we have the resources and the message that will prevail to protect California's plastic bag ban."

The coalition was formally announced in a press release later that day.

According to Murray, three out-of-state plastic bag companies have already invested $3 million in a push to gain roughly 500,000 signatures by Dec. 30. If those signatures are validated, California's bag ban would be suspended until November 2016, when the public would decide on the fate of the measure.

William Carteaux, president of SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association, said in a statement SPI was fully committed to the referendum attempt and would continue to support the bag ban's main opposition group, the American Progressive Bag Alliance (APBA).  "SPI supports the APBA in opposing SB 270 and seeking a referendum," Carteaux stated.  "We do not believe that in passing SB 270 California lawmakers acted in the public interest, and we trust that the public will repeal it at the ballot box."

Noting the coalition "can't stop paid signature gatherers" from collecting support, Murray said the group has turned its attention toward implementing the statewide measure.

Assemblyman Rob Bonta, a Democrat in Oakland, asserted California is ready for the statewide ban.

"SB 270 is something that reflects what is already being implemented throughout the state in local jurisdictions," Bonta said. "It's a policy that's ready now to be scaled statewide ... and it's a policy that works."

A recent poll in the Los Angeles Times shows 60 percent of the public supports the ban, with support even higher for residents who live in an area with a bag ban already in place. 

In the event bag ban opponents are able to garner enough signatures to get the item on the November 2016 ballot, Murray said the group would in the meantime continue to court new jurisdictions without ordinances to adopt a ban and appeal to grocers to phase out their own usage of bags.

Kevin McCarty, who serves as Sacramento City Councilman Assemblyman-elect, said his city would be one such place pushing forward with their own ban.

"If this referendum qualifies, we'll be right back at it qualifying our own local law," McCarty pledged.

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Scrap plastic exports up, ferrous down through August

Mon, 11/10/2014 - 23:36
Scrap plastic exports up, ferrous down through August

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Nov. 11, 2014

With most scrap materials exports flat or down year-over-year, the story continues to be the robust rebound of various types of scrap plastics exported for the first eight months of 2014 over year-previous levels.

August saw a vigorous 12.5 percent increase from July 2014 export levels, with 444.72 million pounds of scrap plastics exported in August 2014. When matched against August 2013 levels, the volume of plastic scrap exports was up by an even-more robust 25.9 percent.

The weighted price of recovered plastic exports in August, at 20.47 cents per pound, was also up from its July 2014 standing by 4.3 percent. When compared with its year-over-year (YOY) level, however, the price was slightly down by 2.3 percent.

Year-to-date (YTD) figures for scrap plastics showed strong gains, as well, with 3.17 billion pounds exported through August, the volume of recovered plastics sent outside of U.S. borders was up 16.5 percent from its YTD 2013 figure. At 19.77 cents per pound, however, the average price for the first eight months of 2014 was down by 3.3 percent from its 2013 YTD standing.

As for other exported materials, recovered paper exports continued to see small improvement for the first eight months of 2014, with 12.84 million metric tons exported, a slight 1.6 percent increase from levels through August 2013. At $165 per metric ton, the weighted average price of exported recovered paper through June was also a flat, up just 0.1 percent when compared with its standing through the first eight months of 2014.

Ferrous scrap exports continued to see strong declines YOY, with 10.42 million metric tons exported through August 2014 amounting to a sharp 18.7 percent decrease from levels from the first eight months of 2013. At $406 per metric ton, the weighted average price of exported ferrous scrap was also down – 1.7 percent from ferrous scrap exports figures through August 2013.

Lastly, the 2.50 billion pounds of aluminum scrap exported through August 2014 equated to a 7.8 percent decrease from the first eight months of 2013. At 77 cents per pound, the average price of exported aluminum scrap through August 2014 was also down by 4.2 percent YOY.

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Patent watch

Mon, 11/10/2014 - 23:33
Patent watch

Nov. 11, 2014

Patent No. 8,833,246, given to Paper and Plastic Partnership, LLC, from Salt Lake City, Utah, concerns a method for baling and processing scrap film and OCC.

A design for a residential recycling bin is the subject of Patent No. 8,833,593, given to Toronto's Orbis Canada Limited.

Roswell, Georgia's Imerys Talc America, Inc. was awarded Patent No. 8,840,761 for a method of removing contaminants in production of paper from scrap fiber materials.

New York City's Central Park Conservancy, Inc. was awarded Patent No. D712,110 for a public-space recycling and trash receptacle.

A group of researchers from Drau, Austria led by Manuel Lindner were given Patent No. 8,844,115 for a method of producing a shredding device.

Patent No. 8,844,741 was given to Rubbermaid Commercial Products LLC from Winchester, Virginia, for a modular system of recycling and trash receptacles.

Elmwood Park, New Jersey's RecycleTech Corporation was awarded Patent No. 8,851,265 for a reverse vending machine.

Patent Application No. 20140299516, which describes a method of sorting shredded scrap metals, including copper wire, was awarded to Atlanta's Thomas A. Valerio.

Deltronic Labs, Inc., from Chalfont, Pennsylvania, was given Patent Application No. 20140305766, which describes an apparatus for detecting and storing returned beverage container for a kind of reverse vending machine.

The processing of scrap materials including cellulosic materials, such as discarded cigarette butts, is the subject of Patent Application No. 20140287144 given to two researchers based in Dublin, Ohio, Blake Burich and Charles L. Putnam. The team was also awarded Patent Application No. 20140251545 for a method of recycling scrap carpet.

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 recycling

Mon, 11/10/2014 - 23:31
Wide world of recycling

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Nov. 11, 2014

The low value of PET is making it tough on European reclaimers and London looks to a waste prevention group for a little recycling boost help. Head over to our globe trotting news rundown for more.

A European recycling research firm reports that the continuing low value for PET has resulted in several reclaimers cutting back in bale purchases, or even temporarily closing. EUWID researchers say that the current low price for PET virgin resin means that PET reclaimers cannot sell their clean flake or pellets at a price that covers the costs of operation. Resin buyers are unwilling to pay more for recycled resin than for virgin plastic and thus have cut orders for post-consumer resin. EUWID says some German reclaimers have seen their sales drop by two-thirds and at least one reclaimer has taken a three-week closure.

Starting next spring, a materials recovery facility (MRF) code system will be in full swing in Scotland. Discussed since 2012, the new system will require MRFs handling more than 1,100 tons per year to provide detailed quarterly reports on input and output streams to the Scottish government. While few details have emerged on the arrangement, Zero Waste Scotland is providing seed funding to put toward tracking and equipment upgrades necessary to be in compliance with the new system.

The City of London is teaming up with the U.K.-based Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) to drive recycling rates citywide. WRAP will formally assist the city in reaching a 2020 goal of a 50 percent recycling rate through a wide set of resident-oriented initiatives.

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NewsBits

Mon, 11/10/2014 - 23:27
NewsBits

Nov. 11, 2014

Officials in Memphis, Tennessee are looking into installing a pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) program to help drive recycling and save costs. While far from a done deal, the proposal would charge residents for each bag of trash they send to local landfills, creating an incentive to divert as much material as possible while cutting down on the city's internal costs of landfilling.

Aluminum giant Novelis has released second quarter earnings results, with recycling operations playing a vital role in driving the company's "solid earnings." "Our solid earnings are a result of the execution of our long-term strategy to capture growth through added capacity and to lower costs through increased use of recycled materials," said Phil Martens, Novelis' president and COO said in a release. For more detailed figures on Noveli's Q2 performance, click here.

Environmental officials in Maine are eyeing a handful of changes to state solid waste rules, including making its current waste hierarchy an approval standard. That change would hold firms accountable to follow the state's hierarchy, which is as follows (and in order): reduction; reuse; recycling; composting; waste processing that reduces volume; and land disposal.

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A snapshot of EPR growth in Canada

Mon, 11/03/2014 - 23:03
A snapshot of EPR growth in Canada

By Dan Leif, Resource Recycling

Nov. 4, 2014

According to a government-issued report, the number of product categories covered by extended producer responsibility systems in Canada has nearly tripled over the past five years.

The industry update comes from an EPR progress report issued by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME), which in 2009 authorized a Canada-wide "Action Plan for EPR." Extended producer responsibility is a concept through which product makers are held accountable for funding and managing recycling and other end-of-life concerns for the goods they produce.

Over the past two decades, Canadian provinces were among the first government entities in North America to pass EPR legislation for products such as electronics and paint. Earlier this year, British Columbia made waves by rolling out an EPR framework for printed paper and packaging.

According to the recent CCME report, 94 product categories are (or will soon be) covered by EPR programs or requirements in Canada. In 2009, when the Action Plan for EPR was established, that number was 33.

The report indicates that the action plan's timeline puts a priority on covering a list of Phase 1 product categories by 2015. Among those categories: packaging, printed materials, mercury-containing lamps and other mercury-containing products. The plan's Phase 2 aims to develop EPR programs for a wider array of products by 2017. That list includes construction and demolition materials, furniture, textiles, carpet and appliances.

The progress report also lists a number of challenges that have inhibited EPR development in some product categories and locales in Canada. Harmonizing similarly aimed programs across a number of jurisdictions is one major issue EPR organizers are confronting, according to the report. Eco-fees, which add a recycling charge to the cost of some products and are visible to consumers at the time of purchase, have also been a roadblock in some areas.

"CCME looks forward to continued success of EPR programs, and harmonization of EPR approaches by jurisdictions, and in making Canada a world leader in waste diversion," the report concludes.

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Waste Management, Republic release Q3 figures

Mon, 11/03/2014 - 23:01
Waste Management, Republic release Q3 figures

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Nov. 4, 2014

Third-quarter financials for Waste Management and Republic Services are in, and recycled commodity pricing in 2014 continues to be a major factor for both firms.

During the quarter Waste Management (WM) netted $362 million in commodity sales, down $5 million from last year's Q3 performance, and the company attributed the fall to "decreases in the prices of the recycling commodities we sold." Year-to-date commodities sales were likewise down, entering at $1.076 billion, $32 million below 2013.

The company's well-documented restructuring has thus far resulted in 650 employees leaving the company's recycling and corporate wings, including former WM recycling executive William Ceasar.  Overall, revenues for WM reached $3.60 billion during Q3 compared to the $3.62 billion the company generated last year.

Republic Service's Q3 performance, meanwhile, saw sales of recycled commodities increase, slightly.

Republic's recycled commodity sales for the quarter equaled $97.8 million compared with $93.3 last year. On the year, Republic's recycled commodity sales are similarly up, this year coming in at $296.6 million compared to the $271.6 million the company brought in during the January-September period in 2013.

Republic's quarterly report also notes the "volatility" of commodity prices.  Total revenues from Q3 came in at $2.26 billion, up from last year's $2.17 billion.

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Texas study tackles recycling data gap

Mon, 11/03/2014 - 22:58
Texas study tackles recycling data gap

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Nov. 4, 2014

A new study aims to estimate the recycling rate of the Lone Star State and a host of other key figures.

Launched on Oct. 15, the Texas Recycling Data Initiative (TRDI) is looking to collect and analyze key recycling data points from across the state, including the overall recycling rate, a breakdown of recycling activity by material and the number of jobs tied to the industry.

The statistics will be made available to state legislators in January, according to a press release, and organizers say it could be a major moment for the industry as a whole.

"For Texas, this is truly a game-changing effort because there is currently no comprehensive or statewide information collected on the amount of material recycled in the state," said Maia Corbitt, executive director at the State of Texas Alliance for Recycling (STAR), one of the key groups leading the survey. "This means that when it comes to market expansion, infrastructure development and public policy issues, both businesses and government entities are flying blind, and that's not good for Texas or its economy."

While some Texas cities issue their own recycling rates on a yearly basis, the overall state recycling rate has not been calculated. Once that number is known, STAR and others believe doors could open for growth, especially if the link between recycling and the economy is shown to be promising.

A study in Indiana, another state historically scant on recycling data, found that 10,000 jobs could be created if the state managed to divert just a quarter of the waste it currently sends to landfill. That report helped encourage the state to commit to a 50 percent recycling rate and an overhaul of its data collection practices.

The Texas study itself will "focus on data from processors and end users of recyclables," the release states. It will also provide an estimate of recycling of non-municipal program materials, too, such as electronics and household hazardous waste.

The TRDI was also the subject of a feature-length article in Resource Recycling, click here to read more.

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Wide world of recycling

Mon, 11/03/2014 - 22:55
Wide world of recycling

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Nov. 4, 2014

The world's largest beverage companies have shown limited interest in a Novelis product that offers more recycled content than previous aluminum can models. Get more details in our global roundup.

A reporter for the U.K.-based Guardian recently took a trip to Germany to see the recently unveiled $260 recycling operation of aluminum maker Novelis. Along the way, the reporter aims to figure out why interest for Novelis' evercan offering (featuring 90 percent recycled content) has been nonexistent among the world's largest beverage makers. The takeaway? Pricing and supplier relationships are acting as significant roadblocks.

Following a global trend to ban plastic checkout bags, France has introduced legislation that would impose a country-wide bag ban by 2016. If approved by the country's Senate, the action would go down as one of the most significant bans yet and could encourage other countries to consider similar legislation. California recently became the first U.S. state to ban the grocery store staple.

South Korea, faced with a rapidly increasing tide of its own e-scrap, has begun to mobilize and enhance its efforts to keep electronics out of landfills. With just about one-fifth of electronics getting properly recycled nationwide in South Korea, municipalities and major cities, such as Seoul, are beginning to offer collection and recycling services to help divert devices.


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NewsBits

Mon, 11/03/2014 - 22:52
NewsBits

Nov. 4, 2014

Republic Services is set this week to begin construction on a 110,000-square-foot materials recovery facility in the Las Vegas area. According to reports, the MRF will double the local county's recycling processing capacity.

A citizen's group in Quebec City recently began asking area residents to leave empty wine and spirit bottles in front of government-run liquor outlets (known as SAQ stores) instead of in recycling receptacles. The campaign is part of a push to get wine and booze bottles covered by deposit legislation.

The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries last week noted that 7,500 law enforcement bodies currently use its ScrapTheftAlert.com website, which enables police and security personnel to post alerts about stolen materials to metals dealers and others operating in the vicinity of a theft. Six states have laws in place requiring use of the system.

California officials recently arrested five individuals in the Sacramento area for allegedly acting to defraud the state's beverage container deposit system. Two of the suspects owned a recycling center in the state.

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