Resource Recycling Magazine

Updated: 1 day 23 hours ago

Indianapolis gives final approval to Covanta MRF

Tue, 08/12/2014 - 19:14
Indianapolis gives final approval to Covanta MRF

By Dan Leif, Resource Recycling

Aug. 13, 2014

Despite fierce opposition, all-in-one-bin recycling and trash collection has overcome its final hurdle in one of the Midwest's largest cities.

The Board of Public Works in Indianapolis last week approved a contract that hands municipal recycling collection to Covanta for 14 years. That firm, which already collects trash in the city, has committed to build a $45 million facility that will sort recyclables from garbage.

Such plants, sometimes called dirty MRFs, have become an industry talking point as more municipalities consider the sorting technology. The process is touted as a method to increase recycling tonnages in areas that have historically seen low participation rates or have limited funding to put behind traditional curbside recycling efforts.

Critics of all-in-one bin collection, however, say dirty MRFs struggle to spawn materials that are of high enough quality for many companies looking to integrate recycled materials into their products. In recent months, the Indiana Recycling Coalition, alongside Alcoa, Pratt Industries and other consumers of recyclable materials, pushed Indianapolis decision-makers to consider other recycling options.

The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries has also recently come out in opposition to all-in-one-bin collection.

The Covanta contract was negotiated by the administration of Indianapolis' mayor, Greg Ballard, and the Board of Public Works approved it by a 4-1 vote. All three members of the board who were appointed by the mayor voted for the measure.

The contract requires the Covanta system to achieve an 18 percent recycling rate, though Covanta has said its facility could lead to the recovery of more than 80 percent of recyclables. There is no penalty to Covanta should the company not reach the 18 percent recycling rate.

"Today’s vote marks a giant leap forward for Indy’s efforts to boost recycling rates," Melody Park, director of the Indianapolis Office of Sustainability, said in a statement obtained by the Indianapolis Business Journal.

Carey Hamilton, executive director of IRC, said the group is "disappointed" with the deal, and she noted the new contract precludes the private sector from working with the city to boost recycling activity. "As we have stated, this plan is a major step backwards for recycling in Indianapolis," Hamilton said in a statement. "Having in recent days received access to the agreement, we now know it is a bad deal for taxpayers as well."

Currently, curbside recycling collection in Indianapolis is available through a subscription plan, which is offered by Republic Services. That program, which has seen participation rates only around 10 percent, will continue alongside implementation of the Covanta system, though if the participation rate of the subscription program increases more than 5 percent per year, the city will be financially penalized under the new contract.

The editorial staff of the Indianapolis Business Journal also criticized the deal for not going before the full city-county council, in particular singling-out some of the more onerous penalties attached to the Covanta contract. "If a better program, or better technology, comes along in the next 14 years," the staff wrote, "the city won’t be able to adopt it without paying Covanta more than $333,000 a month in damages."

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Resource Recycling Conference 2014: Book your hotel room

Tue, 08/12/2014 - 19:08
Resource Recycling Conference 2014: Book your hotel room

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Aug. 13, 2014

The Resource Recycling Conference is proud to have chosen the Hilton New Orleans Riverside as this year's venue. Conference attendees will receive a special room rate of $139 plus taxes for single/double occupancy, and government attendees will receive the current government per diem rate.

However, to get the discount price, reservations must be made by Aug. 25, so act now to ensure the best value for your stay.

Hotel reservations can be made directly with the Hilton New Orleans Riverside online or by calling (504) 561-0500.

Resource Recycling Conference 2014 is taking place at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside Sept. 15-17. Head to rrconference.com for more information on attending, sponsoring and exhibiting.


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MSW recycling bill introduced in Congress

Tue, 08/12/2014 - 19:05
MSW recycling bill introduced in Congress

By Bobby Elliott, Resource Recycling

Aug. 13, 2014

A bill recently introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives aims to up the national recycling rate by requiring manufacturers to use more recycled materials in their products.

Introduced July 30 by Mike Honda, a Democrat representing California's 17th District in Silicon Valley, the Land Based Marine Debris Reduction Act of 2014 would give the U.S. EPA the authority "to require the manufacturer of the product or packaging to use recovered materials of that or another category in the product or packaging." These new regulations would go toward achieving a 50 percent national recycling rate by 2020 and a 65 percent recycling rate by 2030, according to the bill, and lead to reductions in landfilling and littering.

"Making people aware of the problem is the first step," Rep. Honda said in a press release. "The second is letting people know they can be part of the solution. By encouraging industry to use more recycled materials, we safeguard the sustainable use of our precious natural resources."

Chaz Miller, the director of policy and advocacy at the National Waste & Recycling Association, framed Honda's municipal solid waste (MSW) legislation in historical terms. "This is the first MSW recycling bill to be introduced on the Hill in 20 years," Miller said. "It's a statement from Congress to get the U.S. EPA to focus on MSW," Miller said.

He also noted that the recycling rate goals attached to the legislation are "aspirational." Just to get close to a 50 percent recycling rate, Miller stressed, U.S. residents would need to recycle 100 percent of product packaging generated, a fact that demonstrates the high level of organics in the MSW stream.

Robin Wiener, president of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), issued a statement to Resource Recycling regarding the legislation.

"ISRI commends Congressman Honda for his efforts to keep recyclable materials, including product packaging, out of solid waste landfills and waterways," Wiener stated. "Directing these materials to recycling facilities where they can be recycled into secondary raw materials used to make new products is good for the environment and creates jobs. The recycling industry is committed to working with Rep. Honda, his staff and others to strengthen this legislation to better differentiate between recyclables and solid waste and in other areas to help it meet its intended goals."

The bill, which Miller said likely will not be taken up until next year, has been referred to the influential Committee on Energy & Commerce (E&C), a 54-member group made up of 30 Republicans and 24 Democrats. It will likely head to the E&C subcommittee on the Environment and Energy, led by Illinois Republican John Shimkus.

Note: An earlier version of this story inaccurately stated ISRI will actively support Rep. Honda's bill. The organization says it has not taken a position for or against the legislation at this time.

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Charlotte area's recycling volumes aren't increasing

Tue, 08/12/2014 - 19:00
Charlotte area's recycling volumes aren't increasing

By Bobby Elliott, Resource Recycling

Aug. 13, 2014

The most populous county in North Carolina is taking a closer look at driving recycling activity among residents.

Mecklenburg County, home to Charlotte and a population of about 1 million people, has seen recycling rates more or less stagnate in recent years, a new sustainability report from the group Sustain Charlotte suggests. While a couple positive trends have emerged of late — generation of construction and demolition debris and commercial waste is down and collection of yard debris is up — county residents recycled slightly less per person in 2013 than they did in 1999.

"We are … recycling about the same amount at home that we were in 1999," the report states. "In fact, at home we recycled 8 pounds per person more in 1999 than in 2013 with a slight average annual decrease of 0.1 percent over this time."

Shannon Binns, Sustain Charlotte's executive director, said it's tough to pinpoint a reason for the lag, which comes in the wake of much of the county's switch to single-stream collection in 2012. A transition from bins to carts came alongside that move.

"The data we received from the county doesn't really bear out any improvement," Binns said. "Residential recycling per person is fairly flat and we were surprised to see this."

Binns did say the noticeable decline of paper generation could be keeping recycling tonnages down despite actual growth in residential commitment to recycling.

The county's solid waste management director, Jeffrey Smithberger, also suggested widespread lightweighting of product packaging could help explain the flat numbers. "A bale of aluminum cans used to hold 28,000 containers," Smithberger recalled a local materials recovery facility (MRF) operator explaining. "Bales nowadays have 38,000 cans."

While both Binns and Smithberger noted it's tricky to calculate a recycling rate for the county due to a lack of annual data from private haulers, Smithberger suggested the recycling rate for single-family residential households was still in the "high 30s." He said the county MRF has been seeing more material with the single-stream program in place, but he added there is room for expanding multi-family and business recycling programming — neither of which is required in the county.

"We know we can do better," Smithberger said.

Sustain Charlotte, meanwhile, is advocating for pay-as-you-throw was well as a "comprehensive recycling law" that would include multi-family homes, businesses and industrial facilities alongside single-family residences.

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Recent data dampens hope for 50 percent recycling rate in England

Tue, 08/12/2014 - 18:56
Recent data dampens hope for 50 percent recycling rate in England

By Bobby Elliott, Resource Recycling

Aug. 13, 2014

News out of England continues to point to a flat national recycling rate despite decreasing tonnages of waste headed to landfills.

The latest data indicates the household recycling rate remained virtually unchanged in 2013 — after reaching 44.1 percent in 2012, the national household recycling rate in 2013 came in at 44.2 percent.

That trend is making some within the industry increasingly pessimistic about whether England will be able to meet EU-wide recycling targets for 2020. The U.K. and other original EU members are expected to hit a 50 percent recycling rate by that year.

In late May, David Palmer-Jones, the CEO of SITA UK, told Resource Recycling data is not encouraging.

"In the past year, the rate has leveled off and the analysis we have carried out shows that there is a strong possibility that this trend will continue and we won't make the 50 percent recycling target for 2020 that has been set by Europe," Palmer-Jones stated.

The last quarter of 2013 did see some promise, however. Residents recycled 42.7 percent of their waste between October and December of 2013, 1.2 percentage points higher than the recycling rate during the same period in 2012.

In addition, household waste generation, a category that includes e-scrap and scrap metals, was down by almost 2 percent in 2013 — about 24 million tons of waste was generated during the year. Accordingly, landfill and incineration activity fell by more than 5 percent.

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Patent watch

Tue, 08/12/2014 - 18:53
Patent watch

Aug. 13, 2014

Hermann Schwelling, from Salem, Germany, was awarded Patent No. 8,783,173 for a device that compresses empty plastic and aluminum beverage containers.

Patent No. 8,783,443 was given to Helsinki, Finland's Metso Minerals, Inc. for a recyclable materials processing plant.

Brentwood, New Hampshire's Recycled Asphalt Shingle Technology was awarded Patent No. 8,783,590 for an asphalt recycling system.

A method and apparatus for reusing and recycling pre-printed media is the subject of Patent No. 8,783,803, given to Marvell International Ltd. from Hamilton, Bermuda.

Patent No. 8,784,610, concerning a method for making paper from post-industrial packaging material, was awarded to the George A. Whiting Paper Company, from Menasha, Wisconsin.

The Central Park Conservancy, from New York City, was given Patent No. D709,660, which describes a combined receptacle for collecting trash and recycling.

A roller-jaw crushing system and method for processing C&D debris, or other materials is the subject of Patent Application No. 20140203122, awarded to Apopka Recycling, Inc., from Apopka, Florida.

Patent Application No. 20140209514 was given to Sugar Land, Texas' Organic Energy Corporation for a method of mechanized separation of mixed solid waste and recovery of recyclable materials.

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

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


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Resource Recycling Conference 2014: MRFs of today and tomorrow

Tue, 08/12/2014 - 18:49
Resource Recycling Conference 2014: MRFs of today and tomorrow

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Aug. 13, 2014

Consultant Eileen Berenyi is the author of an industry-standard MRF directory, and at this September's Resource Recycling Conference, she will update attendees on the state of that pivotal step in the recycling stream, offering a holistic look at what kind of MRFs are being built today and what they'll look like in the future.

Berenyi's presentation is just one of dozens of high-level talks being delivered at Resource Recycling Conference 2014, the premier gathering of recycling leaders and game changers. If you and your staff want to help shape the future of materials recovery, be sure to attend.

Resource Recycling Conference 2014 is taking place at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside Sept. 15-17. Head to rrconference.com for more information on attending, sponsoring and exhibiting.

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NewsBits

Tue, 08/12/2014 - 18:42
NewsBits

Aug. 13, 2014

International Paper, one of the world’s largest consumer of recovered fiber, has purchased Omaha Paper Stock in Nebraska. IP plans to move its existing Omaha-area operations into the 55,000-square-foot plant that is situated on a 7-acre site. IP operates several dozen similar packing plants as well as a recycled containerboard mill 300 miles from Omaha in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

"Human Resources," a reality show focused on the employees at recycling solutions company TerraCycle, made its premiere last week on the Pivot cable network. To coincide with the launch, TerraCycle founder Tom Szaky wrote an online post for the New York Times detailing the company's unique approach to PR and growth.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a new No. 2 in command. Lisa Feldt is now the agency's deputy director, replacing Bob Perciasepe, who is becoming director of nongovernmental organization Center for Climate and Energy Solutions.

An public-space recycling push in Wales has led to the collection of roughly 550 tons of material since late 2012. The government-funded effort has brought more than 1500 bins to 156 sites across the country.

Employment numbers in the waste management industry have reached a record high, according to the National Waste & Recycling Association (NW&RA). July 2014 statistics from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics show 382,500 industry employees, a 0.3 percent rise from June 2014. "The BLS data reflect a general improvement in current economic conditions as well as seasonal factors impacting the industry," Sharon H. Kneiss, president and CEO of the NW&RA, said in a press release that highlighted the numbers.

 

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Pepsi launches $5 million public space recycling project

Tue, 08/05/2014 - 11:52
Pepsi launches $5 million public space recycling project

By Bobby Elliott, Resource Recycling

Aug. 5, 2014

Pepsi says the U.S. container recycling rate will see significant gains thanks to a new partnership the beverage giant has forged with a national conservation group.

Alongside The Nature Conservancy, PepsiCo will lead "Recycle by Nature," a five-year project that will outfit gas stations and stores throughout the country with recycling bins. According to a PepsiCo press release, one of the principal goals of the program is to bring the national container recycling rate to 50 percent by 2018.

"Most consumers want to recycle when they're away from home — there just aren't enough convenient places to do it," said Al Carey, CEO of PepsiCo Americas Beverages, in the release. "This is a huge opportunity that has been largely unaddressed until now. The easier we can make it to recycle, the more likely people are to recycle."

Susan Collins of the Container Recycling Institute (CRI) said raising the current container recovery rate of about 40 percent to 50 percent would take recycling an additional 24 billion containers annually. According to a recent CRI report, the national container recycling rate barely budged from 39 percent in 2000 to 39.6 percent in 2010. In 2010, approximately 153 billion containers were either landfilled, littered or incinerated.

A recent poll conducted by Pepsi found that more than 80 percent of citizens would recycle containers away from their homes if public space recycling bins were more prevalent.

The PepsiCo release also states that "Recycle by Nature" is part of the Closed Loop Fund, a new zero-interest loan program funded by corporations and directed toward communities and organizations aiming to boost recycling and recycling infrastructure. Tim Carey, senior director of sustainability at Pepsi, told Resource Recycling "Recycle by Nature" is indeed part of its investment in the Closed Loop Fund, but, as a "special project," it will be independently financed by the company to the tune of about $5 million.

That total, Carey explained, will not need to be paid back by spaces and communities benefiting from more recycling bins.

"We appreciate Pepsi's investment in the Closed Loop Fund which will go toward the development of recycling infrastructure across the U.S.," the Fund's CEO Ron Gonen told Resource Recycling. "And we applaud Pepsi's individual investment in this project focused on recycling in public places."

Pepsi and the Nature Conservancy will launch "Recycle by Nature" through an expansion of an ongoing project in Tulsa, Oklahoma — there, the duo will aim to increase the amount of public space recycling bins tenfold before branching out to the rest of the country. Carey explained that it will be a logical continuation of a similar project with identical recycling rate goals launched by PepsiCo in 2010. Two years into the program, Pepsi reported nearly 100 million containers had been recycled at company-sponsored reverse vending machines and traditional recycling receptacles.

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Resource Recycling Conference 2014: Driving innovation on a large scale

Tue, 08/05/2014 - 11:49
Resource Recycling Conference 2014: Driving innovation on a large scale

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Aug. 5, 2014

The upcoming Resource Recycling Conference will open with two must-see keynote presentations by leading figures in the recycling and sustainability realms: Walmart sustainability chief Rob Kaplan and author and designer Bill McDonough.

Walmart's Kaplan is driving global-scale change at the retail giant through key recycling and sustainability initiatives, including the $100 million Closed Loop Fund. McDonough, meanwhile, is best known for the book Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, a seminal text on the sustainability movement. A moderated Q&A between these sustainability heavyweights will follow their presentations.

This plenary session is a powerful representation of the high-level discussion and education opportunities attendees can expect to find at Resource Recycling Conference 2014, which is taking place at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside Sept. 15-17. Head to rrconference.com for more information on attending, sponsoring and exhibiting.

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ISRI says it opposes one-bin collection

Tue, 08/05/2014 - 11:46
ISRI says it opposes one-bin collection

By Bobby Elliott, Resource Recycling

Aug. 5, 2014

The country's largest recycling trade organization has taken a quiet but definite stance against programs that ask residents to commingle trash and recyclables for post-collection sortation.

The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) issued a two-paragraph position statement on July 23 regarding the collection and recycling method.

"ISRI supports the collection and sortation of recyclable materials in a manner that optimizes the value and utilization of the material as specification grade commodities to be used as a feedstock to manufacture new products," the statement reads. "Since the quality of the recyclables as specification grade commodities is essential, ISRI opposes the commingling of recyclables with solid waste or mixed waste processing in a one-bin system where all solid waste and recyclables are placed together with no separation prior to recycling."

Approved by ISRI's Board of Directors on July 23, the official position comes at a time when various cities are considering the merits of the "one bin" approach. An Aug. 6 vote will decide the fate of a proposed $45 million mixed-material facility by Covanta in Indianapolis — the company and city have argued the operation will be able to effectively recover marketable recyclables from the trash.

Further, the city of Houston is the midst of choosing from a variety of likeminded proposals, while Cleveland is also said to be considering the change.

Many recycled commodity experts argue the relatively new method jeopardizes the quality of recycled materials due to high rates of solid waste-driven contamination.

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Are phone books failing to answer call on recycling?

Tue, 08/05/2014 - 11:44
Are phone books failing to answer call on recycling?

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Aug. 5, 2014

The Product Stewardship Institute (PSI) has released a report card that indicates the nation's biggest publishers of paper phone directories are not doing enough to support waste diversion.

PSI, a group that aims to increase the role of product manufacturers in materials recovery, assessed six phone-book companies on their overall sustainability efforts and issued grades in four areas, including "support for recycling."

Of the six companies, none scored higher than a B in the recycling realm and and four got marks of C or worse. In its report, PSI says it has begun trying to assess and publicize phone-book sustainability shortcomings because the sector creates high volumes of material that must be handled by local waste streams. According to PSI, in 2009 only 37 percent of phone directories were recycled, and that year the products accounted for 410,000 of material sent to landfills and waste-to-energy sites.

"Telephone directory publishers have a responsibility to both educate consumers about phone book recycling and undertake activities that support recycling while reducing the financial burden on local governments," PSI states in the report. "Examples of this include running recycling campaigns, conducting neighborhood sweeps to collect unwanted directories, and maintaining consumer-accessible drop-off locations."

The Berry Company, which is based in Ohio and offers phone directories in many Midwest markets, received the highest recycling grade of the firms judged by PSI. The company earned a B for its efforts to set up collection events and let communities know about those opportunities. PSI said the score would have been higher if more collections were established.

The worst-performing companies, according to PSI, were Hibu/Yellowbook and Dex Media. Both earned the grade of D for not taking "any action to reduce the burden that collecting and recycling its products has on taxpayer-funded recycling programs."

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Fate of Indy dirty MRF to be decided this week

Tue, 08/05/2014 - 11:38
Fate of Indy dirty MRF to be decided this week

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Aug. 5, 2014

The Board of Public Works in Indianapolis will reportedly be voting on Wednesday to determine whether a deal for a controversial garbage-sorting materials recovery facility will go forward.

The Indianapolis Business Journal reported the vote date earlier this week. Approval from the Board of Public Works is the final step needed to validate a contract between Indianapolis and Covanta that would send waste collected in the city to a yet-to-be-built $45 million facility aimed at separating recyclable materials from garbage.

Local recycling advocates and some companies that rely on recycled material have in recent months voiced strong opposition to the deal, which was negotiated by the office of Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard. Appointees by the mayor make up a majority of Board of Public Works members.

Ballard's office has defended the Covanta partnership as a low-cost method to improve diversion in an area that has seen low recycling rates. Opponents say the deal has not gone through a thorough public vetting process, and they note the contract, which runs through 2028, would lock the city into an unproven recycling system.

The Business Journal article notes that under the terms of the contract the city would be forced to pay Covanta $333,000 a month if it opted to pursue a different municipal recycling program.

Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the vote date was reported by the Indianapolis Star. It was reported by the  Indianapolis Business Journal.

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NewsBits

Tue, 08/05/2014 - 11:35
NewsBits

Aug. 5, 2014

Smiles currently abound among many aluminum can collectors and processors. Just when can volumes are surging due to summer’s hot weather, the value of baled cans, at more than 80 cents per pound, is at the highest level in two years.

The Miami Marlins baseball team was recently honored for its recycling efforts by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The team operates a waste diversion system for plastics, paper, glass and other packaging materials generated during home games, and the setup has led to a recycling rate above 54 percent.

In other stadium-recycling news, the NFL's Detroit Lions teamed up with recycled-content fabric brand Repreve on an initiative called #TurnItGreen, which encourages fans to avoid landfilling plastic bottles. As part of the effort, the Lions will be expanding the number of recycling receptacles at Ford Field, the team's 65.000-seat stadium in downtown Detroit.

Shipments of recovered paper to China in the first half of this year continued the downward trend of the past three years. Imports by Chinese mills at 15.5 million tons were 5.4 percent lower than the year-earlier level.

Materials diversion shared the spotlight with Eminem, Outkast and other music giants at last weekend's Lollapalooza festival in Chicago. Recycled Paper Greetings helped bring a Rock & Recycle program to concert attendees, offering prizes, signage and "pop-up parties" to boost proper recycling practices.

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High costs continue to follow NYC disposal, recycling services

Tue, 07/29/2014 - 11:16
High costs continue to follow NYC disposal, recycling services

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

July 30, 2014

The city that never sleeps also never stops racking up disposal and recycling costs.

According to the latest data from the Department of Sanitation (DSNY), a little more than $1.6 billion was spent in 2013 on recycling and disposal activities.

The city spent $1.28 billion collecting and disposing of trash — 3.26 million tons of material was disposed of, at a cost of $392 per ton. The remaining $354 million went toward recycling of mostly packaging and printed paper (PPP) as well as bulk metal and plastic items — the city recycled about 540,000 tons of designated materials, at an expense of $656 per ton.

DSNY reported that, while tonnages for metal, glass and plastics were up in 2013, paper was down, thus the curbside and containerized recycling diversion rate was slightly down. Just 15.1 percent of that material was diverted during the year — about 3 percentage points short of the 18 percent goal noted by DSNY in the report and virtually identical to 2012's rate.

Note:  This story has been edited and updated to present more accurate data related to the collection and disposal of materials in New York City.

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Resource Recycling Conference 2014: Delving into commodities markets

Tue, 07/29/2014 - 11:12
Resource Recycling Conference 2014: Delving into commodities markets

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

July 30, 2014

The annual Resource Recycling Conference markets panel offers an in-depth analysis of critical pricing data and forecasts for recycled materials.

The expert discussion this year will focus on paper, plastics and glass. Shawn State of Pratt Recycling will explore the quality of incoming fiber supply, convergence of No. 8 news and residential mix paper bale grades and operational issues in cost-effectively separating commodities in MRFs.

Envision Plastics' Tamsin Ettefagh, meanwhile, will offer a critical look at the latest market trends for key plastic resins. And Rich Abramowitz of Strategic Materials, Inc. will call upon his 35 years of experience in the recycling world to reflect on the past, present and future of glass markets.

Resource Recycling Conference 2014 is taking place at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside Sept. 15-17. Head to rrconference.com for more information on attending, sponsoring and exhibiting.


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Anaerobic digestors coming to Massachusetts, Rhode Island

Tue, 07/29/2014 - 11:10
Anaerobic digestors coming to Massachusetts, Rhode Island

By Bobby Elliott, Resource Recycling

July 30, 2014

Amid widespread interest in diverting organics from the U.S. waste stream, three new anaerobic digestors are being planned in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Canadian firm Himark BioGas will lead the development and planning of three new facilities — two in Massachusetts and one in Rhode Island — through a partnership with NEO Energy. Massachusetts recently passed a food waste ban that has left the state searching to develop sufficient organics processing infrastructure — either through traditional composting or anaerobic digestion — and Rhode Island is weighing its own food conversion law.

Himark's CEO Evan Chrapko told Resource Recycling those developments opened the door for its first U.S. venture.

"It makes things a lot more straightforward for our financiers when the political or regulatory risk is clarified and comes down so firmly in favor of cleaning up the mess," Chrapko said. "There's a lot of untreated waste in both Canada and the U.S. and taking advantage of that — treating it as a resource instead of a waste — is what you see going on."

The Massachusetts sites will be built in Fall River and Millbury and the Rhode Island site will be located in North Kingston. Construction, Chrapko said, is expected to commence next year with each site processing mostly commercially-sourced material by 2016.

The topic of diverting organics from landfills has emerged in various state legislatures of late as key to developing a "green" economy and waste management ethos. In 2012 alone, the U.S. landfilled almost 35 million tons of food, federal EPA data shows.

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Group takes on Houston "dirty MRF" proposal

Tue, 07/29/2014 - 11:07
Group takes on Houston "dirty MRF" proposal

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

July 30, 2014

A Texas-based environmental group is taking aim at a plan in Houston to build a facility that will sort through trash for recyclable materials.

The Texas Campaign for the Environment, a noted and often vociferous voice for environmental activism in the state and beyond, has issued a report on Houston's latest waste management proposal. According to the group, it will do two things: "pose threats to public health and the environment" and "undermine effective waste reduction and recycling efforts."

To back up the claims, the group investigates the history behind mixed-waste processing facilities — or "dirty MRFs" — in the U.S. and charges that similar efforts have resulted in low recovery rates and an overreliance on incineration methods.

The crux of the processing complication, and a genuine one for the industry, comes down to contamination concerns. While the advent of single-stream recycling collection triggered contamination questions — with all recyclables going in one bin or cart, separating them at MRFs was initially a headache — the "One Bin for All" approach, as it's been dubbed in Houston, may make those single-stream challenges seem slight in comparison, Texas Campaign for the Environment asserts.

By allowing residents to include organic waste alongside recyclables, the group says recoverable materials, especially paper, will be adversely affected by moisture and residue — even if they're sorted successfully, materials that would otherwise be prime candidates for reuse in recycled products could be overly contaminated and thus not an appealing option for reclaimers.

The latest out of Houston, however, is that the city is moving ahead with its plans to pick from a series of proposals submitted in the past couple of months to build such a facility. Proponents of the plan, including Houston mayor Annise Parker, say technologies have improved over the years and immediate diversion gains will be reaped.

A similar debate is waging on in Indianapolis, where the city is in the final stages of approving a widely contested plan to build a $45 million facility funded entirely by private dollars. Officials there say it will work and point to another recently opened plant in Alabama as evidence that things have changed and the approach is one of the not-so-distant future.

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Wide world of recycling

Tue, 07/29/2014 - 11:04
Wide world of recycling

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

July 30, 2014

The host of the 2020 Olympic Games wants to test the boundaries of sustainability by building a stadium on a mountain of trash. Read all about it in our globe-trotting rundown.

Denmark-based beer maker Carlsberg — the "European Budweiser," according to some — is launching a new "upcycling" venture to capture and recycle more of its packaging. The endeavor will see Carlsberg collaborating with suppliers to achieve better diversion results for a host of materials, including plastic shrink wrap and PET-containing kegs.

A one-time dump for Tokyo's trash has been identified as an ideal venue for the 2020 Olympics. As host of the 2020 games, Tokyo will build and revamp a network of sporting arenas and spaces to accommodate the crowds and festivities — the dump, which already has benefitted from a major tree-planting initiative, has been pegged as the site of a new $1 billion stadium. Officials there say about 13.5 million tons of trash has safely decomposed at "Umi-No-Mori," with methane successfully captured and transported to a nearby power plant.

With new 2030 goals of recycling 70 percent of waste throughout the EU on the horizon, the U.K. is already discussing ways to provide incentives to enterprises helping the region meet that lofty mark. A panel of lawmakers making up the "cross-party" House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee has recently voiced support for tax breaks for recycled products companies and firms that support reuse and recovery initiatives.

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Patent watch

Tue, 07/29/2014 - 11:02
Patent watch

July 30, 2014

A method of cryogenically cooling and crushing scrap tires for recycling is the subject of Patent No. 8,777,135, given to Ecotech Recycling, Ltd., based in Tel-Aviv, Israel.

Caper Naum Vista Olive Oil Market Ltd., from Katzrin, Illinois, was awarded Patent No. 8,778,863, which describes a method for manufacturing soap from organic residues.

A team of researchers from the Universita di Padova, Italy developed a method for making a glass-ceramic composite from various types of scrap glass, including CRT glass and was awarded Patent Application No. 20140191448.

Researchers from Hsinchu, Taiwan's Industrial Technology Research Institute have developed a method of recycling metals using "extracellular proteins excreted by a specific thermophilic bacteria strain," the subject of Patent Application No. 20140193316.

Edw. C. Levy Co., from Detroit, Michigan, was given Patent Application No. 20140199145 for a method of collecting and processing recyclable materials.

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

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


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