Resource Recycling Magazine

Updated: 13 hours 46 min ago

AF&PA says paper recovery down in 2013, on track for 2020

Tue, 07/22/2014 - 15:13
AF&PA says paper recovery down in 2013, on track for 2020

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

July 23, 2014

The latest paper recovery data for 2013 suggests activity was down for the second straight year, but paper recycling is on pace to reach 2020 goals.

According to the 2014 American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) Sustainability Report, the U.S. paper recovery rate in 2013 fell to 63.5 percent. The 2012 paper recovery rate was higher — 65.1 percent — but still lower than 2011's record high rate of 66.4 percent, AF&PA's website shows.

The AF&PA report takes a slightly more broad perspective on the latest 2013 data, pointing to the rate being above 60 percent for five consecutive years and on track to reach 70 percent by 2020. In addition, the forest products group says paper recovery far outshines recycling rates seen for other packaging materials: The paper recovery rate, despite its latest fall, more than doubles the current glass recovery rate and triples the aluminum recovery rate. It's also much higher than the plastics recovery rate, which stood at 8.8 percent in 2012, according to the U.S. EPA.

While the latest statistics do not present paper generation numbers, in years past paper has held a shrinking share of the municipal solid waste stream due, in large part, to the shift to digital media.

That decline is expected to continue in the years ahead, especially as the publishing and information industries continue to digitize, leaving less of the highly recoverable material out there to recycle.

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Resource Recycling Conference 2014: The good, the bad and the ugly of EPR

Tue, 07/22/2014 - 15:08
Resource Recycling Conference 2014: The good, the bad and the ugly of EPR

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

July 23, 2014

Extended producer responsibility for packaging, a concept in which packaging producers pay for the recycling of relevant materials after they're discarded by consumers, has recently gained traction in the offices of some lawmakers and corporate decision-makers.

At this September's Resource Recycling Conference, a moderated panel discussion will help provide a balanced, honest and thought-provoking look at the EPR landscape. The session will include Paul Gardner of Recycling Reinvented, Chaz Miller of the National Waste & Recycling Association and Meghan Stasz of the Grocery Manufacturers Association. The perspectives of these expert panelists will offer attendees a full spectrum of viewpoints on the contentious issue.

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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Advocates continue push to halt Indianapolis MRF

Tue, 07/22/2014 - 15:04
Advocates continue push to halt Indianapolis MRF

By Dan Leif, Resource Recycling

July 23, 2014

Though the Indianapolis mayor's office has indicated a deal is done to bring a mixed-waste MRF to the city, opponents of the plan say the facility can still be stopped and that support for their cause is growing.

The office of the city's mayor, Greg Ballard, announced last month it had reached a deal with Covanta to construct a $45 million center to sort recyclables from municipal solid waste. Such facilities are sometimes called "dirty MRFs" and they allow for collection systems in which residents throw trash and recyclables in one curbside receptacle.

However, the Indiana Recycling Coalition (IRC) and a member of the Indianapolis city council say there's still time to stop the plan, which they argue was finalized without a full public vetting process and without considering other options for boosting recycling activity in the city of 820,000.

"The messaging on the Covanta deal from the mayor's office is, 'Don't worry we've got this done,'" said John Barth, an at-large member of the Indianapolis-Marion County City-County Council. "That's not a good sustainable approach for the future of the city, to just go ahead and say, 'Throw everything away.'"

Barth, who chairs the council's community affairs committee, put the recycling issue on the agenda for the committee's July 22 meeting, offering residents and industry members an opportunity to voice concerns and discuss alternative proposals. Neither the committee nor city council has the authority to block the Covanta deal, but the hope is to generate enough outcry to grab the attention of the city's board of public works, the entity that must approve the project by vote if it is to move forward.

"What I'm hoping to do is create a forum where the public can really understand what we're doing here is making a generational decision without having significant public input," Barth said.

The public works board, which includes a number of members who were appointed by the mayor, has not scheduled a vote on the issue, but it was slated to hold a meeting this week in which individuals on both sides of the debate would have an opportunity to voice their positions.

Consequently, the IRC has initiated a campaign to encourage residents and industry to reach out to the board with concerns. "The board of public works is allowing public testimony, which is not something they normally do," said Carey Hamilton, IRC's executive director. "It's a sign that people are being heard."

The Indianapolis mayor's office has argued the mixed-waste MRF is the best approach for a city that has experimented with different curbside offerings in the past but failed to see significant participation. Currently, Indianapolis residents can subscribe for curbside recyclables collection through individual haulers. "The Covanta proposal requires no funding from the government, no increased rates for taxpayers, and no government mandates being issued on the actions of the general public," said Marc Lotter, a spokesperson from the mayor's office.

Barth said the mayor's office is over-simplifying a complex problem. He said that if the city truly wants to revamp its recycling infrastructure it will need to figure out a multifaceted plan to integrate curbside into a system that currently involves many haulers with different contract terms.

"The mayor has an affinity for one-size-fits-all solutions," said Barth, "but in a complex city of nearly 1 million people, one-size-fits-all is not always the right decision."

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Scrap plastics exports show more gains

Tue, 07/22/2014 - 15:00
Scrap plastics exports show more gains

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

July 23, 2014

Exports of recovered plastics for May 2014 rose in comparison to previous monthly results. Steel, meanwhile, continued to decline sharply and paper remained flat.

May scrap plastics exports saw a rise of 7.0 percent from April 2014 export levels, with 425.11 million pounds exported in May 2014, the most recent month for which data is available. When matched against May 2013 levels — when China's Operation Green Fence was just past its April peak — the volume of plastic scrap exports was also up, by 27.2 percent.

The weighted price of recovered plastic exports in May, at 19.78 cents per pound, was down by 2.8 percent from its April 2014 standing of 20.36 cents per pound. When compared with its year-over-year (YOY) level, the price was down by 6.6 percent.

Through May, at 1.92 billion pounds, the volume of recovered plastics exported was up 12.7 percent from its 2013 year-to-date (YTD) figure. At 19.73 cents per pound, however, the average price through May was down 3.2 percent from its 2013 YTD standing.

As for other exported materials, recovered paper exports saw small declines for the first five months of 2014, with 8.10 million metric tons exported, a 0.2 percent increase from May 2013 levels. At $165 per metric ton, the weighted average price of exported recovered paper in May was also a bit flat, up just 0.3 percent when compared with its May 2013 level.

Regarding ferrous scrap, however, the story continued to be one of strong declines, with the 6.32 million metric tons exported through May 2014 amounting to a sharp 25.8 percent YOY decrease. At $402 per metric ton, the weighted average price of exported ferrous scrap was also down — 4.1 percent from May 2013 levels.

Lastly, the 1.50 billion pounds of aluminum scrap exported through May 2014 equated to a 9.8 percent decrease from the first five months of 2013. At 77 cents per pound, the average price of exported aluminum scrap through May 2014 was down 3.6 percent YOY.

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Former NM governor and scrap metal processor signs federal consent agreement

Tue, 07/22/2014 - 14:55
Former NM governor and scrap metal processor signs federal consent agreement

By Jerry Powell, Resource Recycling

July 23, 2014

Natural Blue Resources is a publicly traded scrap metal firm, but probably not for much longer. It seems the firm’s top executives, including a former governor, have been charged with security fraud.

According to Bloomberg News, Toney Anaya, who served as New Mexico’s governor from 1983 to 1987, was CEO of the company for about 18 months. He recently settled fraud charges with the federal Security and Exchange Commission (SEC). It seems Anaya was remiss in not telling investors in the Santa Fe, New Mexico firm that two other company executives had previously been convicted of security fraud.

The SEC has suspended trading in the firm. Company executives claimed the firm was prime for growth and that its Woburn, Massachusetts metal recycling operation had recently secured 14 important contracts. In reality, the operation had garnered no business and Natural Blue Resources had no income.

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Ontario's PPP producers report on 2013 recycling efforts

Tue, 07/22/2014 - 14:51
Ontario's PPP producers report on 2013 recycling efforts

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

July 23, 2014

Packaging producers in Ontario spent almost $100 million in 2013 to help fund municipal recycling programs in the province.

Stewardship Ontario, the group representing Ontario's producers of printed paper and packaging (PPP), released initial 2013 figures earlier this month.

All told, producers — or "stewards" — of PPP spent almost $100 million to help divert just under 1 million tons of material during the year. The province's PPP recycling rate fell from 64 percent in 2012 to 62.8 percent in 2013.

An extended producer responsibility program for Ontario was approved in 2003 and holds producers and various related entities responsible for partially funding the collection and recycling of PPP.

According to Stewardship Ontario, producers pay for "about half of the cost" of running municipal curbside recycling programs for PPP. Municipalities are required to pay for the rest of the costs themselves.

In a graphic-heavy rundown of key 2013 milestones and data, the program says just 42 percent of Ontarians choose to recycle expanded polystyrene containers while just 37 percent reported recycling single-use plastic bags. A strong majority of residents, 70 percent, said they believe manufacturers should fund the collection program.

The province also runs a fully producer funded "orange box" recycling program for hazardous or "special" wastes. Producers of those wastes paid out roughly $40 million to collect nearly 24,000 tons of material in 2013.


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Patent watch

Tue, 07/22/2014 - 14:44
Patent watch

July 23, 2014

Patent No. D707,905 was given to IPL, Inc. from St. Damien, California for a recycling container and lid.

Patent No. 8,763,941, which describes a plastic beverage container shredder in a bottle-shaped housing, was awarded to Lawrence V. Beck, Jr. from Downingtown, Pennsylvania.

St. Helier, Great Britain's Elastomer Technologies Ltd. has devised a method for recycling natural and synthetic rubbers, and was awarded Patent Application No. 20140175332.

An automated collection and scale system for the collection of recyclables is the subject of Patent Application No. 20140182951, given to the Curotto-Can LLC, based in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Responsible Packaging Institute LLC from Green Lake, Wisconsin, was awarded Patent Application No. 20140188752 for a system of grading and labeling packaging that demonstrates whether "responsible practices are being incorporated into product packaging," including recyclability.

Patent Application No. 20140191068 was given to Li-Feng Cheng from Taipei City, Taiwan for a system of shredding and processing scrap tires.

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

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

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NewsBits

Tue, 07/22/2014 - 14:38
NewsBits

July 23, 2014

Austell, Georgia-based recycled paperboard company Caraustar has acquired a recycling facility in Nashville, Tennessee. While few details have emerged on the deal, Caraustar, which makes 100 percent recycled paperboard and converted paperboard products, will use the former facility of SP Recycling Southeast to expand its geographical footprint, a press release reads.

With the help of TerraCycle, New Orleans has launched a cigarette recycling program to help cut down on litter citywide. The program is the first of its kind to cover an entire city and 50 cigarette recycling receptacles have been strategically placed throughout the Big Easy.

Vancouver, British Columbia is in the early stages of trialing workplace recycling at all city offices. Just three weeks old, the program asks workers to dump all recyclables into one blue bin. A designated city employee sorts through the bin once full to separate materials into five categories: refundable containers, mixed containers, mixed paper, food scraps and landfill.

Vermont has released an interactive tool dubbed the Materials Management Map. The map provides businesses and residents with a detailed list of recycling, reuse and composting options throughout the state and is geared toward businesses attempting to contract composting services as part of Vermont's recycling law, the first phase of which went into effect July 1.

Beer company and bottler SABMiller is aiming to increase the returnability of its bottles, especially in the European market. According to a new sustainability report, 49 percent of the company's bottles are able to be returned and refilled and SABMiller would like to boost that percentage as it nears 2020 carbon footprint reduction goals.

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North Carolina convenes MRF Summit

Mon, 07/14/2014 - 18:51
North Carolina convenes MRF Summit

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

July 15, 2014

State recycling officials in North Carolina recently brought together representatives from major recycling stakeholders in an effort to build solutions to some of the materials processing sector's most vexing issues.

Troubles with glass, incoming material quality, working with public sector programs and data collection and sharing were among the most prominent topics at the state's first-ever MRF Summit.

The meeting, held July 8 in High Point, North Carolina, included representatives from Pratt Industries, ReCommunity, Republic Services, Sonoco Recycling and Waste Management as well as smaller independent materials recovery facility operators and staff from the National Waste and Recycling Association.

"Strong and healthy MRFs are absolutely critical to the future of recycling in North Carolina and beyond," said Scott Mouw, North Carolina's recycling program director. "We’ve got to find ways to feed them more material, while reducing the negatives in their business model, including incoming contamination and residue rates. Glass is one of the most serious issues."

Mouw added that going forward the state will be seeking information from the MRFs to track incoming and outgoing breakdown ratios of materials. These profiles will be aggregated and shared back to the MRFs and will be used by the state to analyze increasingly reported commingled tonnages from local government programs.

On the glass front, Mouw said, MRF leaders will need to engage in a broader dialog with the glass industry and possibly explore ways for glass and recycling companies to co-invest in cleaning technologies at MRFs.

The state also hopes the North Carolina Summit helps foster more national-level discussion and possibly more formal organization of the MRF industry. “We have felt for a long time that MRFs need to consider forming a national trade association that would give them a common voice on packaging, supply and other issues,“ Mouw said.

North Carolina estimates that the MRF industry serving the state is running at about 60 percent of its design capacity, allowing ample room for growth in material supply. North Carolina has spent more than $6.2 million in recycling grants since 2009 to build public and private recycling collection programs that feed facilities in the state.


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Resource Recycling Conference 2014: Driving innovation on a large scale

Mon, 07/14/2014 - 18:48
Resource Recycling Conference 2014: Driving innovation on a large scale

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

July 15, 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.

These two thought-leaders represent 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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Cutting through fog of San Francisco's recycling stats

Mon, 07/14/2014 - 18:44
Cutting through the fog of San Francisco's recycling stats

By Bobby Elliott, Resource Recycling

July 15, 2014

San Francisco's oft-touted 80 percent recycling rate has come under scrutiny yet again.

In a story on Bloomberg View, journalist Adam Minter writes that while "creative and perfectly legal," the way the city calculates its recycling rate results in a bloated figure.

According to Minter, the city counts as recycling the waste that is turned into landfill alternative daily cover (ADC), including construction and demolition debris — bringing ADC tonnages into recycling rate calculations is a fairly uncommon practice among municipalities in the rest of the U.S. If the city counted diversion in a more traditional fashion, Minter argues, its recycling rate would be a far cry from that sterling 80 percent figure.

"San Francisco’s diversion rate would be roughly 60 percent if it used conventional methods of calculation," Minter writes, citing research by Samantha MacBride, a professor and former New York City deputy director for recycling. A 60 percent recycling rate would still put San Francisco in line with municipal diversion leaders like Seattle, a point noted by both Minter and MacBride, but it would also mean San Francisco would no longer be able to call itself America's unequivocal recycling leader.

The MacBride research investigates what San Francisco counts beyond typical paper, packaging and organics. More than half of San Francisco's diverted tonnages (52 percent), MacBride found, were made up of "other" materials, a category consisting primarily of "rock, dirt, sand and crushed concrete," treated "for beneficial use."

Guillermo Rodriguez, program manager at the San Francisco Department of Environment, explained to Resource Recycling the city follows statewide diversion counting practices in coming up with its 80 percent diversion rate.

"We all follow the state's diversion calculator," Rodriguez said. "San Francisco, as well as many other jurisdictions in the state, are active in supporting legislation that would change the state's allowance of calculating ADC as diverted. … We acknowledge that it doesn't make sense to count it as diverted."

The city, it should be noted, uses an earlier version of the state's model for arriving at a diversion rate, instead of following an update issued in 2007.

On the topic of ADC, Rodriguez said that if the city discontinued counting material used as ADC toward its diversion rate, the statistical impact would be miniscule — the City by the Bay's recycling rate, he said, would only go down by "about 1.5 percentage points" at most.

According to Rodriguez, the city only turns 30,000 tons of material into ADC. MacBride's research suggests more than 1 million tons of "other" material went for beneficial use, which includes — but is not limited to — ADC applications.

"Verifying her analysis would be time consuming, complicated and involve not necessarily accurate allocations," Rodriguez stated.

The issue of coming up with a reliable and consistent way for municipalities and states to calculate recycling rates has long been a contentious topic and legislators have developed many methods to try to capture a wide range of diversion and sustainability efforts in a single figure.

Florida, for example, recently announced its 2013 recycling rate reached 49 percent thanks in part to a program that equates energy savings with recycling tonnages. Had the state not received percentage point boosts from renewable energy credits, the recycling rate would have been 38 percent.

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Houston mulls mixed waste processing options

Mon, 07/14/2014 - 18:41
Houston mulls mixed waste processing options

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

July 15, 2014

It's now up to officials in Houston to decide who will lead the city's proposed "one bin for all" recycling program.

The city recently closed a request for proposals period and received five bids from firms looking to take the helm of the program, which will allow residents in America's fourth-most-populous city to put recyclables, trash and organics in a single curbside cart.

Once collected, material will be separated at a yet-to-be-built materials recovery facility, or "dirty MRF", and at least 75 percent of the collected refuse will need to be recycled, composted or converted into energy.

City officials say they will review the proposals and submit recommendations by the end of this year.

Proponents of the plan argue the approach will finally jump-start diversion in Houston, which has a 6 percent recycling rate through its current curbside collection program. "We have reached another key milestone in this process and are eager to move forward as this advanced recycling and waste diversion technology has the potential to improve health and quality of life not only in Houston, but around the world," Annise Parker, Houston's mayor, said in a press release last week.

Opponents, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, charge that dirty MRFs have never been able to recover sufficient or cleanly material.

"From the perspective of materials management, from the perspective of recovering recyclables in an optimal way for purposes of marketing, this is not the best way to go," Allen Hershkowitz, director of the solid waste program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, told the Texas Tribune.

The argument over whether to employ mixed-waste-sorting MRFs has recently taken place in other large municipalities as well. Last month, Indianapolis' mayor, Greg Ballard, opted to accept a proposal for a hotly debated $35 million facility from waste-to-energy firm Covanta. Montgomery, Alabama, also recently opened a similar mixed-waste sorting operation.


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ACC-backed report backs expansion of WTE

Mon, 07/14/2014 - 18:38
ACC-backed report pushes expansion of WTE

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

July 15, 2014

A study from a team of Ivy League researchers suggests the U.S. may be wise to increase its use of waste-to-energy practices, especially when it comes to hard-to-recycle plastics.

The study, released by Columbia University's Earth Engineering Center and funded by the American Chemistry Council (ACC), takes a look at adjusted 2011 municipal solid waste (MSW) data from the U.S. EPA to estimate how much material is being landfilled and how much of it could go toward waste-to-energy (WTE) operations.

According to researchers, almost 247 million tons of MSW was landfilled in 2011, while 29.5 million tons was converted into energy.

The study suggests a large amount of plastics, especially films, is proving hard "to be economically recycled." Those plastics, researchers point out, could help fuel greater use of WTE operations across the U.S.

The 2011 figures indicate almost 83 percent of all discarded plastics – 32.5 million tons – went to landfill. WTE was the most popular diversion method, with a shade under 10 percent of plastics – 3.9 million tons – converted into energy. If all non-recycled plastics went to WTE operations, various environmental benefits would be wrought, the study says.

However, the research also finds capacity remains an issue in the WTE realm, with just Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota and New Hampshire "close to attaining sustainable waste management by combining high rates of recycling with high WTE."

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Grant watch

Mon, 07/14/2014 - 18:35
Grant watch

July 15, 2014

The City of Austin received $1 million in federal funding to put toward the development of a recycling-oriented industrial park at the site of a former landfill. The city hopes the park will house a number of companies that consume reclaimed material for use in new products.

Nebraska's Department of Environmental Quality recently issued nearly $4.3 million in recycling and waste reduction grant funding to dozens of municipalities across the state. One of the largest of those grants was $212,500 awarded to the City of Lincoln for a self-propelled compost turner.

In Pennsylvania, Exeter Township received nearly $80,000 through the state's recycling performance grant program, and the Berks County Solid Waste Authority nabbed three hazardous waste-related grants worth more than $31,000.


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Patent watch

Mon, 07/14/2014 - 18:33
Patent watch

July 15, 2014

Scott, Louisiana's John Osborn was given Patent No. 8,758,597 for a method of recycling recovered asphalt.

A method for manufacturing paper or board with recycled fiber is the subject of Patent No. 8,758,566, awarded to Nordkalk Oy AB from Pargas, Finland.

James Ashmus of Kenosha, Wisconsin was awarded Patent Application No. 20140150231 for a method of recycling conveyor belts into flexible emergency ladders.

Patent Application No. 20140159276, concerning a recovered fiber-polymer composite, was awarded to Dearborn, Michigan's Ford Motor Company.

Newton, Massachusetts' Big Belly Solar, Inc., describes a system and method for controlling electrically powered recycling and trash compactors in Patent Application No. 20140172174.

A process for filtering and recycling bleached pulp from recovered paper is the subject of Patent Application No. 20140174679, given to International Paper Co., headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee.

Encell Composites LLC, from Naples, Florida, was awarded Patent Application No. 20140175185, which describes a method for making thermoset composite materials from recycled rubber.

Patent Application No. 20140175198 was given to Pasadena, California's Avery Dennison Corporation for a method of recycling materials that have a label and/or adhesive attached.

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

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

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NewsBits

Mon, 07/14/2014 - 18:26
NewsBits

July 15, 2014

A survey from sustainability consultancy The Shelton Group found nearly one-third of respondents said they would be more likely to attend a sporting event or concert if they knew concession waste would be recycled. In addition, 22 percent of the roughly 2,000 respondents said they would likely buy more concessions if recycling and composting procedures were in place.

Environmentalist group Texas Campaign Environment is planning another effort to try to force battery maker Rayovac to make firm commitments to battery recycling in the U.S.

The National Waste & Recycling Association has created its first safe-driver certification program. The certification was created with industry and insurance representatives and offers an exam that will be open to drivers at different points throughout the year.

A food-scrap collection pilot program is being extended to more multi-family buildings in Los Angeles. The effort is being led by hauler Athens Services and nonprofit group Global Green.

The past year has seen use of anaerobic digesters nearly double in the U.K., according to analysis from the Waste & Recycling Action Progamme.

Publicly traded Progressive Waste Solutions has become the first recycling services firm to sign on with StewardChoice, an organization that's aiming to bring recycling services to British Columbia's multi-family dwellings and other locations not covered by Multi Material BC (MMBC). MMBC is the primary extended producer responsibility system in the province.


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EU leaders float 70 percent recycling rate goal

Mon, 07/07/2014 - 17:23
EU leaders float 70 percent recycling rate goal

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

July 8, 2014

The European Union may be set to raise the bar when it comes to its already ambitious recycling targets.

Government representatives last week proposed raising the recycling rate goal for all member countries to 70 percent by 2030 — with a special 80 percent recycling rate goal for packaging. Leaders have also mentioned a landfill ban on recyclables materials by 2025.

At present, EU member countries are aiming to each recycle 50 percent of waste annually by 2020. The closest any country has come to that mark is Germany, with a 47 percent recycling rate in 2012. At the other end of the spectrum, Romania reported landfilling 99 percent of its municipal solid waste in 2012.

Collectively, EU member countries recycled 27 percent of overall waste in 2012, recent statistics show.

In addition, about 15 percent of EU member country waste is composted. The rest is either incinerated (24 percent) or landfilled (34 percent).

Some stakeholders in the U.K. recently suggested current recycling goals won't be met, despite industry efforts. SITA UK CEO David Palmer-Jones told Resource Recycling in late May that green fatigue had begun to set in throughout the U.K., making 2020 goals largely out of reach.

"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.

Before any new goals are cemented, the European Parliament and governments throughout the EU will have to approve the new standards.

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Resource Recycling Conference 2014: The Closed Loop Fund

Mon, 07/07/2014 - 17:20
Resource Recycling Conference 2014: The Closed Loop Fund

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

July 8, 2014

Backed by Walmart and other corporate heavyweights, the groundbreaking Closed Loop Fund aims to invest $100 million in recycling infrastructure projects and spur private and public funding for transforming the recycling system in the United States.

Recyclebank founder Ron Gonen is leaving his role as New York City's recycling czar to serve as co-founder and CEO of the Fund, and he's coming to the Resource Recycling Conference to talk about the Fund's big plans. Gonen will elaborate on how the Fund will drive recycling to the next level through innovative financing models, explain why infrastructure and scale are necessary to make projects economically feasible, and explore in-depth the link between demand, markets, recycled content and consumer behavior.

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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Massachusetts bottle bill "battle lines" drawn

Mon, 07/07/2014 - 17:17
Massachusetts bottle bill "battle lines" drawn

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

July 8, 2014

As expected, Massachusetts residents are going to have the final word on whether to expand the state's 33-year old bottle bill, and that may mean a public row between environmentalists and the beverage industry.

A legislative subcommittee had until June 30 to reach a compromise that would appease both proponents and opponents of a bottle bill expansion. Supporters of the expansion wanted the bill to include non-carbonated beverages including water and juices, while opponents wanted the bottle bill scrapped altogether. Neither side budged.

"I’m disappointed we couldn’t get the sides together, but the battle lines are now drawn," said Rep. Randy Hunt to the Boston Globe, one of the members of the subcommittee.

Supporters of expansion have recently finalized efforts to bring the required number of signatures to state officials in an attempt to bring the issue to voters Nov. 4. Approximately 19,000 signatures were presented to the Secretary of State, William Galvin, on July 2, according to a blog post by the Massachusetts Sierra Club.

"The people of Massachusetts have spoken loud and clear, over a number of years, that they want less litter and more recycling," Janet Domenitz, executive director of MASSPIRG, is quoted as saying in the post. "They want the updated bottle bill. In the World Cup of legislation, our elected officials let this goal go right through their legs. We did our best to work through Beacon Hill, now it’s up to the voters."

For the measure to make it to the Nov. 4 ballot, Galvin's office will have to first verify the signatures to the petition. Once accomplished, groups from both sides of the argument are expected to begin a costly public courting period leading up to the vote.

In 2011, expansion advocates cut short a push to put the issue to Massachusetts voters, choosing to try the legislative path instead of engaging in a battle for public support with bottle bill opponents.

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Philly recycling initiatives yield results

Mon, 07/07/2014 - 17:14
Philly recycling initiatives yield results

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

July 8, 2014

The City of Brotherly Love has over the past five years seen significant progress in its push to send less material to landfills.

The municipality's waste diversion rate, one of 14 targets in Philadelphia's Greenworks initiative, has increased from 53 percent in 2008 to 73 percent in 2012, a new progress report shows. In 2012, the latest year for which complete data is available, the city surpassed a 2015 goal of reaching a 70 percent diversion rate. It's the second straight year the city has achieved that feat.

Philadelphia's overall recycling rate, which includes both residential and commercial sources, reached 50 percent in 2012. At the same time, 23 percent of the city's refuse went to waste-to-energy facilities — those two percentages together create the 73 percent waste diversion figure.

Still, the city's curbside recycling rate for 2012 came in at 21 percent.

When it comes to construction and demolition debris, however, Philadelphia's recycling and reuse rate is 80 percent, according to the progress report.

The city has been active in promoting recycling. In 2010, Philadelphia began accepting plastics Nos. 1-7, and in 2013 more than 60,000 new recycling bins were provided by the Philadelphia Streets Department. In addition, a total of 2,000 desk-side recycling bins have been distributed to local businesses. And the city recently renewed its partnership with the Recyclebank recycling incentive program.

E-scrap has also been a focus of waste management plans, with the city hosting eight collection events per year and providing three permanent drop-off sites. The progress report included 2013 data for e-scrap collection, and it showed volumes in that realm grew by 32 percent last year.

Note: An earlier version of this story compared Phildelphia's curbside recycling rate (21 percent) with the national recycling rate (about 34 percent).  This comparison is not wholly appropriate as the national recycling rate includes composting totals. 

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