Resource Recycling Magazine

Updated: 1 day 14 hours ago

PET bottle recycling rate holds steady in 2013

Mon, 10/13/2014 - 23:36
PET bottle recycling rate holds steady in 2013

By Dan Leif, Resource Recycling

Oct. 14, 2014

A recent report shows the U.S. PET bottle recycling rate was 31.2 percent last year, a slight rise from 2012's 30.8 percent mark.

The recycling rate was determined by a pair of industry groups and announced in a report made public last week.

In 2013, 1.798 billion pounds of PET bottle material was collected for recycling, an 80 million pound increase from the previous year. Representatives from the groups behind the study – the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR) and the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR) – note those collection increases were a product of upticks in material from states with bottle deposit legislation, as well as continued growth in single-stream and commercial recycling programs, which brought more PET into materials recovery facilities (MRFs) nationwide.

The total volume of bottles available for recycling in the U.S. also rose from 2012 to 2013, increasing by 178 million pounds to 5.764 billion pounds.

The study also notes that due to reduced demand for mixed plastic bales brought about by China's Green Fence policy (which hit its peak in 2013), "MRFs may have been incentivized to move materials from mixed resin bales to PET bales."

The trend toward lighter and smaller bottles among beverage makers is again noted as a factor holding back recycling rate growth in the PET arena. The report also indicates some states with developed curbside recycling programs reported declines in total weight collected.

China's Green Fence also seems to have made an impact on the tonnages of PET bottle material exported from the U.S. Roughly 469 million pounds of collected material, or 26 percent, was exported in 2013. That's the lowest volume since 2004 and the lowest by percentage of total collection since 2000.

U.S. reclaimers, however, increased consumption of U.S. bottles by 17 percent, compared with 2012.

"Despite very real challenges for PET recyclers due to limited supply and decreasing bale yields, this report shows a maturing, entrepreneurial industry that continues to innovate and find new material sources and process efficiencies," said Scott Saunders, APR chairman and general manager at KW Plastics Recycling Division. "Notably, domestic recyclers are contributing more than 790 million pounds of material back into U.S. production of new PET packaging; this is a significant demonstration of domestic closed loop manufacturing."

Over the past decade, U.S. PET bottle recycling rates have climbed each year. The 0.4 percentage point climb between 2012 and 2013 is the second-smallest increase the industry has seen in that time frame. The only time it was smaller was between 2010 and 2011, when the rate went from 29.1 percent to 29.3 percent, according to figures supplied in the most recent report.

Between 2011 and 2012 the rate increased from 29.3 percent to 30.8 percent.

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Los Angeles gets $50 million trash-sorting MRF

Mon, 10/13/2014 - 23:32
Los Angeles gets $50 million trash-sorting MRF

By Bobby Elliott, Resource Recycling

Oct. 14, 2014

A multi-million dollar mega MRF opened this week in the Sun Valley area of Los Angeles, and it will aim to divert recyclables in the commercial and multifamily waste stream.

The MRF, run by Athens Services and expected to process 1,500 tons of material per day, cost a reported $50 million to plan, permit and build. It will process commingled waste and recyclables – functioning as a mixed waste processing facility, or "dirty" MRF – from commercial businesses, apartments and condominium complexes in and around the Sun Valley area.

The company website states that the facility is 80,000 square feet and "a first of its kind in Los Angeles." The equipment was designed manufactured and installed by Bulk Handling Systems and also features Nihot air and NRT optical technologies. More than 100 workers have been hired to work at the facility and wages will range from $12 to $20 per hour.

The city's website notes "some areas within the County of Los Angeles utilize commingled collection," allowing residents to forgo source separation.

The Sun Valley neighborhood, which is part of Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley, is roughly 10 square miles in size and has a population of just over 80,000.

Athens has run another mixed waste processing operation at its City of Industry, California MRF since 1996 and is in the final stages of bringing a similar facility to Irwindale, California.

Various cities, including Houston and Indianapolis, have recently been looking into the approach as a way to boost recovery efforts within their municipal solid waste streams. Montgomery, Alabama opened a MSW-sorting MRF this year.

Many industry critics claim these facilities don't produce a clean-enough recyclable material stream from the trash and organics and have called for continued source-separation of recyclables.

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Shipping group suggests hike rates for exports to Asia

Mon, 10/13/2014 - 23:29
Shipping group suggests hike rates for exports to Asia

By Dan Leif, Resource Recycling

Oct. 14, 2014

A group of major container shipping companies recently announced plans to increase the recommended rates for shipping recyclables and other low-margin materials to Asia.

The move from firms in the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement (TSA) Westbound group was announced Oct. 8, and it comes in response to price trends that carriers say were not sustainable.

“Many base cargo rates in the westbound transpacific market are approaching levels that do not justify carriage, especially when you take into account offsetting destination costs such as equipment cleaning and repair and local delivery,” Brian Conrad, TSA-Westbound executive administrator, said in a press release announcing the recommended rate increases.

TSA-Westbound is advising minimum rates of $300 per 40-foot container (FEU) from Los Angeles/Long Beach, and $750 per FEU for all-water U.S. East and Gulf Coast shipments. The new rates go into effect Nov. 1 and are recommended by the group for shipments of recovered paper, hay, and metal and plastic scrap to China base ports.

TSA-Westbound's announcement noted more increases are expected in December "and beyond," and they come roughly a year after TSA-Westbound announced a similar rate increase recommendation.

For a number of years, companies exporting scrap materials to Asia have been able to secure cheap shipping on vessels that had brought goods from China and other Asian nations to the U.S. and were searching for cargo to haul on their return voyages. Shipping companies say soft demand and rising costs in recent years have forced them to set new minimum rates.

TSA-Westbound is made up of the following firms: APL, Ltd.; China Shipping Container Lines; CMA-CGM; COSCO Container Lines, Ltd.; Evergreen Line; Hanjin Shipping Co., Ltd.; Hapag Lloyd AG; Hyundai Merchant Marine Co., Ltd.; Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Ltd. (K Line); Maersk Line; Mediterranean Shipping Co.; Nippon Yusen Kaisha (N.Y.K. Line); Orient Overseas Container Line, Ltd.; Yangming Marine Transport Corp.; and Zim Integrated Shipping Services.

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Glass buyer eCullet done in New Jersey

Mon, 10/13/2014 - 23:27
Glass buyer eCullet done in New Jersey

By Bobby Elliott, Resource Recycling

Oct. 14, 2014

One of America's largest glass processors has closed its Northeast outpost.

The Camden, New Jersey facility of California-based eCullet has not been operating "for some time," a recent court document states. Sued by its Camden landlord for leaving behind "vast quantities of trash" at the location, eCullet says it is now "negotiating with a potential buyer for the equipment at the Camden Property and other properties" to finance the cleanup.

It is unclear whether any of the company's other properties – with two in California and additional hubs in St. Paul, Minnesota and Portland, Oregon – have closed or will close in the near future.  The company's lawyer, Jason Halper, and president and CEO, Craig London, did not return requests for comment.

Melinda Beer with CalRecycle told Resource Recycling, "I don’t have anything to report," with regard to the two California sites of eCullet.

The firm has been a proponent of "glass-to-glass," or "bottle-to-bottle," recycling and was able to secure as much as $38 million in investments back in 2011. Historically, recycling old bottles into new ones has been time-intensive, complicated and costly, but eCullet has sought to push forward color sortation technology.

If the Camden equipment sale goes through, the company plans to put roughly $700,000 toward removing 20,000 tons of material it has amassed at its Camden site. In the court document, Halper stated removal charges are expected to cost $35 per ton.

The landlord lawsuit filed against eCullet was remanded to a lower New Jersey court earlier this month.

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NewsBits

Mon, 10/13/2014 - 23:24
NewsBits

Oct. 14, 2014

The City of Boulder, Colorado and nonprofit recycling group Eco-Cycle have launched a unique effort to get businesses in the municipality to boost their materials diversion efforts. Residents have been given recycling cards that they can hand off to the businesses they frequent – the cards offer praise for the establishment's recycling activity or encourage them to do more. City statistics show businesses in Boulder currently divert 28 percent of their waste, a figure that is far below the residential recycling and compost rate of 60 percent.

In an effort to highlight the extensive use of disposable coffee cups, the Canadian group Binners' Project recently offered 5 cents for each one of the products turned in during a one-day rally in Vancouver. The effort collected 55,000 cups, which were brought to a local recycling facility.

After a string of late-summer fatalities at U.S. recycling facilities, the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) has declared Oct. 15 Safety Stand-Down Day and is encouraging firms and employees to dedicate time on that date to focus on safety education. "Since early August, we have suffered at least 11 fatalities and multiple critical injuries at facilities owned by, or associated with, ISRI members and at some non-ISRI member owned facilities," the group said in a press release. "This is a disturbing trend that must be stopped."

A large residential and research development planned at Cambridge University in the U.K. is slated to feature an underground holding system for recyclables. The plan calls for 450 subterranean bins that will serve roughly 3,000 homes, and the receptacles will be outfitted with sensors that allow haulers to track material levels at each site.

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Massachusetts (ready or not) rolls out organics ban

Mon, 10/06/2014 - 23:09
Massachusetts (ready or not) rolls out organics ban

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Oct. 7, 2014

The Boston Globe Magazine recently ran an in-depth look at how state agencies and commercial food scrap generators are scrambling to develop the necessary infrastructure to support a statewide organics landfill ban that went into effect this month.

The story highlights the on-the-ground struggles that can come with implementing a massive organics shift.

First, the facts. The Massachusetts organics landfill ban that went into effect Oct. 1 applies to businesses and institutions that generate at least 1 ton of food scrap material per week. Approximately 1700 such entities exist in the state. According to the Globe landfill tipping fees in the Bay State run between $75 and $90 per ton, and fees for organics processing are roughly 20 percent lower.

Capacity has emerged as one of the key organics issues yet to be solved. The current annual capacity of licensed composting and anaerobic digestion facilities in the state is only about half of what the ban is expected to divert. Regulations around opening new processing locations (and fears about their profitability) have kept new development slow, but "Massachusetts has recently announced several programs to kick-start the business, including offering grants and low-interest loans, as well as access to land at two state prisons," the article states.

The state also hoped to begin implementing a biogas program at a site operated by the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority. The initiative's potential is described as "blockbuster" by one official, but its pilot phase has been stymied by a nearby community that has refused to allow tanker trucks holding the diverted material to regularly roll through its streets. Officials are now aiming to push ahead a barge-based transportation effort.

The Globe makes clear the long-term benefits of the now-enacted ban can be huge. But food scrap generators, administrators and processors are still in the midst of finding ways to make the process work in a cost-effective manner. "This year," the story explains, "the race has been on to sort it all out."


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E-Scrap Academy 2014: Expand into electronics recycling

Mon, 10/06/2014 - 23:07
E-Scrap Academy 2014: Expand into electronics recycling

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Oct. 7, 2014

Jumping into the electronics recycling business can be daunting, but e-scrap newbies now have a crash course to help them make the right moves from day one. At the inaugural E-Scrap Academy, beginners will learn how to maximize profit margins in the e-scrap space as well as get all the basics on material markets and operating best practices.

The creators of the annual E-Scrap Conference have launched E-Scrap Academy to help usher in the next wave of industry professionals. Established experts will show attendees the most important facets and tools of the business, opening the door to informed business decisions and quick growth.

E-Scrap Academy 2014 will be held Oct. 23, 2014 at the Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, Florida. Head to www.e-scrapacademy.com for more information on this unique event.

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Closed Loop Fund to move fast on initial projects

Mon, 10/06/2014 - 22:58
UPDATED: Closed Loop Fund to move fast on initial projects

By Dan Leif, Resource Recycling

Oct. 7, 2014

The leader of the $100 million Closed Loop Fund says the initiative's submission period will officially open next week, and by the end of this month, administrators will begin reviewing proposals.

Ron Gonen, CEO of the Closed Loop Fund, spoke Monday on a webinar organized by the Pennsylvania Recycling Markets Center. He said his group's website, ClosedLoopFund.com, will go live on Oct. 15 and at that point parties interested in submitting proposals to nab funding will be able to do so.

He added that Fund decision-makers will be meeting Oct. 29 to discuss the first crop of proposals and to start determining which will receive financing from the group.  Fund representatives will then be meeting on a quarterly basis to review and greenlight more submissions.

"We're looking to be aggressive and put carts out on the street and help MRFs advance recycling," Gonen said.

The Closed Loop Fund, which was announced in April, is backed by Walmart, Procter & Gamble and several other giants in the consumer packaged goods realm.  On Monday, Gonen also confirmed Colgate-Palmolive recently joined the list of backers, and he said he expects more corporate entities to be joining soon.

Those companies say they have struggled to consistently source enough recovered material to meet their recycled content goals.

Using contributions totaling more than $100 million from those corporate partners, the Closed Loop Fund will over the next five years be making zero interest loans available to municipalities looking to finance projects that can significantly bolster diversion rates and bring more material into the market. Gonen has mentioned a number of example initiatives that would fit the Fund's parameters, such as transitions from bins to carts, construction of new MRFs and anaerobic digestion development.

On Monday, Gonen said he envisions most loans to be in the $500,000 to $5 million range, and he said the loans are open to municipalities and business entities throughout North America as well as the Caribbean.

While municipalities will be eligible for zero interest loans, any loans from the Fund to business groups would be subject to interest rates. Gonen noted those interest rates would be "below market."

Note: An earlier version of this story stated Closed Loop Fund administrators would this month be choosing initial projects to finance. Closed Loop Fund has since clarified that it will be reviewing submissions at the Oct. 29 meeting but will not necessarily be making final funding decisions at that point.

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Resolute Forest Products sells recovered paper assets

Mon, 10/06/2014 - 22:55
Resolute Forest Products sells recovered paper assets

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Oct. 7, 2014

A major international consumer of recyclable paper has sold its fiber collection and processing assets.

Resolute Forest Products has sold its paper recycling arm – known as AbiBow Recycling – to EWJ International, an affiliate of Jordan Trading, the longtime player in the recovered fiber business.

The transaction includes 16 processing centers. However, paper packing plants in Boston and Thorold, Ontario were not included in the deal, and Resolute is expected to separately sell these operations.

According to a RISI story (subscription required), Jordan sold the business to processors immediately after buying. The company "is not in the collection and processing business and didn't want to compete with our suppliers," a Jordan official said.

The agreement calls for EWJ to supply fiber to Resolute mills in Georgia, Ontario and South Korea.

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Wide world of recycling

Mon, 10/06/2014 - 22:53
Wide world of recycling

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Oct. 7, 2014

Comparing recycling rates across the U.K. just got a whole lot easier, and Novelis opens a massive recycling center in Germany.

U.K. waste management firm SITA has released an interactive map detailing county-by-county recycling rates in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Most recycling rates in the region fall between 30 and 60 percent, with just a few counties below or above that range. SITA has also released specific maps for London and some other cities.

Aluminum maker Novelis has officially unveiled its $258 million recycling center in Nachterstedt, Germany. Novelis says the new facility will process up to 440,000 tons – or 400,000 metric tons – each year. Novelis CEO and president Phil Martins has stated the move represents a shift "from a traditional linear approach to an increasingly closed-loop model."

Despite steady recycling rate increases in recent years, the Welsh city of Cardiff saw its recycling rate fall by 2 percentage points in 2013, new figues show. Going from 52 percent in 2012 to 50 percent during 2013, Cardiff will need to increase recycling going forward to avoid stiff fines of as much as $33 million and meet a government-mandated 75 percent recycling rate target.


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Bottle bill debate shines light on recycling access

Mon, 10/06/2014 - 22:51
Bottle bill debate shines light on recycling access

By Bobby Elliott, Resource Recycling

Oct. 7, 2014

With roughly a month to go before voters in Massachusetts decide on whether to expand their state's bottle bill, interest groups on both sides of the debate are turning up the heat and offering two distinct vantage points on the convenience of recycling in the state.

Thus far, opponents of the push to add a nickel deposit on water and many other non-carbonated plastic beverage containers have spent a reported $7.8 million to paint the move as unnecessary and costly in a pair of TV ads and wider media campaign. Proponents, meanwhile, have contributed roughly $525,000 into the "Update the Bottle Bill Coalition" and attacked deep-pocketed, "big soda" companies for allegedly misleading the general public leading up to the Nov. 4 vote.

"The purpose of these ads is to trick voters and scare them into voting no," Janet Domenitz, executive director of the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group, said in statement. "I expect the next thing their ads will say is that the cow jumped over the moon."

One specific issue the two groups have ">butted heads on is the percentage of residents with access to curbside recycling. In the TV ads, the anti-expansion camp argues that access has reached 90 percent. Update supporters have countered that claim by suggesting that less than half of Massachusetts' cities and towns ‒ 47.5 percent ‒ have access to "easy, walk-outside-your-door curbside recycling."

Both groups claim that access directly correlates with recycling rates. If the access is high, the thinking goes, a bottle bill expansion wouldn't be necessary, but if the access is low, that expansion could get more containers in the recycling stream by putting a nickel bounty on them.

So which side is right? According to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), which openly supports the deposit addition, "nearly all Massachusetts cities and towns offer their residents the opportunity to recycle." But just 25 percent of water and non-carbonated beverage bottles are getting recycled through those opportunities, MassDEP figures show.

The groups on both sides of the bottle bill debate are expected to continue to ramp up their efforts to reach Massachusetts voters in the next month.

The ads produced thus far from the "No on Question 2" campaign can be viewed here. The official pro-expansion response, conversely, can be viewed here.

For the past decade, Massachusetts has wrestled with the idea of expanding the state's beverage deposit system. A Boston Globe poll in August found strong support for the ballot measure, which is also supported by Gov. Deval Patrick, while the latest poll found a healthy majority of voters ‒ 58 percent ‒ stating they would like to keep the bottle bill as is.

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ReuseConex 2014: A global community comes together

Mon, 10/06/2014 - 22:47
ReuseConex 2014: A global community comes together

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Oct. 7, 2014

The fast-approaching ReuseConex conference in Austin, Texas offers materials management professionals the unique opportunity to meet and learn from a wide array of individuals pushing the reuse market forward.

Speakers, exhibitors and attendees include city planners, economic development leaders, reuse entrepreneurs, green builders, creative reusers, reusables manufacturers, sustainability consultants, venture capitalists and environmental educators. Recycling coordinators for corporations, institutions and government agencies will also be on hand.

ReuseConex2014 is taking place Oct. 23-25 in Austin, Texas at the Holiday Inn Austin Midtown and is hosted by Reuse Alliance and the City of Austin. For more information, head to www.reuseconex.org.

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NewsBits

Mon, 10/06/2014 - 22:37
NewsBits

Oct. 7, 2014

A Denver-based company called Higher Standard Packaging has launched a line of 100 percent recycled HDPE containers for, you guessed it, marijuana. Nearly 300,000 pounds of legalized pot is expected to be sold in Colorado this year alone, and Higher Standard says it has successfully developed the first FDA-approved, recycled packaging for the drug.

Prompted by states beginning to consider extended producer responsibility (EPR) programs, the Aluminum Association has shared its thoughts on the approach in a post entitled "Extended Producer Responsibility: Common Sense Policy for Common Sense Solutions." While making clear that "the aluminum industry does not have a formal position on EPR," the post does provide a list of things to take into account before making producers of packaging responsible for the collection and recycling of their products. The domestic recycling rate for aluminum cans has largely stayed flat in recent years – at around 54 percent.

Ad sales at the seven trade publications serving waste and recycling can be a good indication of general market conditions in those sectors, and an analysis by Resource Recycling of the first three quarters of 2014 shows continued sluggishness. Ad sales at the seven periodicals dropped 4 percent in the first three quarters of this year. That said, well over half of the falloff can be attributed to the large slump in sales at just one periodical – Waste360, which had ad placements down by 24 percent. This follows a 30 percent drop at the publication in 2013. Four periodicals saw a rise in ad sales, but sales growth was minimal among these magazines. While Resource Recycling had the largest growth, it was a mere 3 percent.

The former president of recycling at Waste Management has become CEO of WCA Waste Corporation, the Texas-based firm announced. After leaving Waste Management last month, Bill Caesar will take control of WCA and focus "on executing a successful long-term growth strategy and building WCA into a leading non-hazardous waste services company," according to a press release. Before entering the waste management industry in 2010, Caesar had worked for 13 years as a principal at consulting firm McKinsey & Company.

Officials in Napa Valley, California have indicated their pursuit of greater diversion totals will also lead to higher program costs. Currently in negotiations for a new waste and recycling contract to take effect in 2017 and last for 12 to 14 years, the City expects the overall cost to exceed $250 million and increase the municipal diversion rate from roughly 65 percent to its 2020 goal of 75 percent.

The incentives-based recycling tech company Recyclebank has recently marked its 10 year anniversary and CEO Javier Flaim has reflected on the past decade in an article on Greenbiz.com. You can read it here.

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Aluminum can recycling rate flat in 2013

Wed, 10/01/2014 - 11:59
Aluminum can recycling rate flat in 2013

By Bobby Elliott, Resource Recycling

Oct. 1, 2014

The aluminum can recycling rate barely budged in 2013, with recycling volumes and new can shipments down and domestic can recycling continuing to hold back growth.

According to the Aluminum Association, Can Manufacturers Institute and Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, the can recycling rate in 2013 was 66.7 percent – the 2012 rate, by comparison, came in at 67.0 percent, while 2011's rate was 65.1.

"Aluminum cans are recycled more readily and more frequently than any other beverage packaging type ‒ period," Heidi Brock, president and CEO of the Aluminum Association, said in a press release.

More detailed figures provided by the Aluminum Association show that 1.721 million pounds of aluminum cans were recycled during the year, a 2.9 percent decrease from 2012. Shipments, however, were also down, by 2.4 percent, coming in at 2.581 million pounds.

While the aluminum recycling rate has grown over the years, the Aluminum Association credits much of that growth to the significant UBC tonnages the U.S. imports for recycling.

"While the rate of industry can recycling has risen significantly over the past decade, much of the growth in recent years has come from the addition of imported used cans entering the U.S. recycling stream," the announcement reads. "Because of aluminum's high inherent value and the closed loop recycling process of can-making, U.S. recyclers often import used cans from Canada, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and other countries."

Had the Aluminum Association counted only its domestic can recycling rate, as the Container Recycling Institute has pushed for, it is likely to have been somewhere between 53 and 55 percent in 2013, relatively unchanged compared to years past.

It should also be noted that lightweighting has also made it more difficult for the aluminum and recycling industries to significantly increase can recycling by weight. The latest data shows that 34.95 cans currently amount to a pound of aluminums; 33.7 cans did so in 2003.


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Resource Recycling Conference 2015: Save the Date

Wed, 10/01/2014 - 11:57
Resource Recycling Conference 2015: Save the Date

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Oct. 1, 2014

Sure, we're a year out, but it's never too early to mark your calendar to ensure you are a part of the premier gathering of North American municipal recycling decision-makers. The next Resource Recycling Conference is slated for Sept. 28-30, 2015 at the Marriott Downtown in Indianapolis. The recently wrapped-up 2014 conference featured the top minds in sustainable materials management as well as a slate of educational sessions that helped attendees better understand the most pressing recycling issues and how they're set to evolve.

Keep an eye on rrconference.com for information about attending, exhibiting and sponsoring the best recycling conference in America.

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Is carton recycling failing in California?

Wed, 10/01/2014 - 11:54
Is carton recycling failing in California?

By Bobby Elliott, Resource Recycling

Oct. 1, 2014

According to a California environmental organization, many cartons collected in the Golden State are ending up in landfills and should instead be integrated into a deposit system.

In a new report, Californians Against Waste (CAW) cites research indicating that MRFs rarely separate gable top and aseptic cartons for recycling due to low volumes.

While as much as 80 percent of curbside programs include cartons, just 13 percent of the 98 MRFs surveyed for the report stated they segregate cartons for "stand-alone recycling." An additional 47 percent said some cartons are diverted (in the mixed waste paper stream) while 37 percent report simply landfilling the packaging.

CAW uses these numbers to suggest that adding cartons to the state's bottle bill would increase the recycling rate for the material type from a "negligible," sub-3 percent clip to 33 percent in just three years. In the process, the CAW report asserts that the $2 million carton manufacturer group Carton Council of North America has spent on advancing recycling in the state has thus far failed to make a sizable impact.

The Carton Council's vice president of recycling projects, Jason Pelz, sent a 2-page response to Resource Recycling addressing those assertions and the work manufacturers have done so far.

"Getting all MRFs to sort cartons takes time," Pelz writes. "We’ve made tremendous progress since we began five years ago, and the fact that cartons are now being looked at like other beverage containers regularly recycled validates that."

Pelz also asserts that Council statistics show "that actually 15 to 17 percent of the MRFs in California sort cartons. And those are large MRFs that serve 30 percent of households in California with access to carton recycling today."

That said, Pelz, who also serves as vice president of environment at packaging company Tetra Pak, acknowledges the group is "mindful of the volume situation" and has continued to push for non-bottle-bill solutions, including an effort to allow cartons to be accepted alongside other paper items under the newly created Paper Stock Industries Grade #52 designation.

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Rayovac opts to support battery legislation

Wed, 10/01/2014 - 11:50
Rayovac opts to support battery legislation

By Bobby Elliott, Resource Recycling

Oct. 1, 2014

Just as battery legislation debate is charging up, a battery maker long accused of dodging its duties to support single-use battery recycling appears to be opening up to the concept.

In a post on its website, Rayovac, one of the largest manufacturers of both rechargeable and single-use batteries in the U.S., has come out in support of an all-encompassing model bill hammered out earlier this summer.

"Spectrum Brands and its U.S. Rayovac Battery Division … pledge our support for industry and legislative efforts for the first-ever model all battery recycling bill unveiled in June 2014," the statement reads.

That statement, according to the Texas Campaign for the Environment (TCE), was posted after the group descended upon the Madison, Wisconsin headquarters of Rayovac's parent company, Spectrum Brands, urging the manufacturer to step up its recycling commitments.

"After the pressure, they became very public about their position," Andrew Dobbs, programs director for TCE in Central Texas, told Resource Recycling. "Now we are working to press the entire industry to improve the proposed legislation by setting more ambitious targets for collection and ensuring that batteries are recovered for the highest and best uses, not downcycling."

The news comes as officials in Connecticut are beginning to develop legislation that would require battery makers to fund the recycling of batteries in the state. While no new bill has been unveiled, it is likely some form of legislation will surface in 2015.

Connecticut was the site of a major dialogue between numerous stakeholders, including the Corporation for Battery Recycling, a pro-legislation group formed by Duracell, Energizer and Panasonic. Rayovac had been an early participant in the group before opting out shortly after the Corporation's formation in 2011.

Outside of its newly published position on legislation, the Rayovac website does make it clear that household batteries are not considered hazardous waste by the U.S. EPA.

"Household batteries … are not hazardous waste. They are qualified as non-hazardous after having undergone government required testing." the post reads.


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NRC elects a new board

Wed, 10/01/2014 - 11:47
NRC elects a new board

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Oct. 1, 2014

The National Recycling Coalition has voted 10 board members into the fold.

Elections for the board were held during the 2014 Resource Recycling Conference in New Orleans. The new and re-elected members, listed below, will each serve 3-year terms:

 

  • Gary Bilbro, president, NewGreen Consulting LLC
  • Jack DeBell, development director, University of Colorado Recycling
  • John Frederick, executive director, Intermunicipal Relations Committee
  • David Juri Freeman, recycling program manager, city and county of Denver
  • Marjorie Griek, executive director, Colorado Association for Recycling
  • Doug Hill, president, EcoVision Environmental
  • Gary Liss, zero-waste consultant, Gary Liss & Associates
  • Antonio Rios, president, Puerto Rico Recycling Coalition
  • Will Sagar, executive director, Southeast Recycling Development Center
  • Michael Van Brunt, director of sustainability, Covanta

 

The recently voted-in individuals join the following active members:

 

  • Susan Collins, president, Container Recycling Institute
  • Jeffrey Cooper, AECC Group
  • Maggie Clark, zero waste planning and adjunct professor, Maggie Clarke Environmental
  • Mark Lichtenstein, executive director, Center for Sustainable Community Solutions, Syracuse University
  • Stephen London, marketing director, ReCommunity
  • Fran McPoland, government relations, Paper Recycling Coalition & 100 Percent Recycled Paper Alliance
  • Michelle Minstrell, project manager, Waste Management Sustainability Services
  • Maite Quinn, business development and marketing manager
  • Julie Rhodes, Julie Rhodes Consulting
  • Lisa Skumatz, principal, Skumatz Economic Research Associates & Econservation Institute
  • Robin Wiener, president, Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries

 

Ex-officio members include Michele Nestor, president of Nestor Resources, Inc., Cliff Case of Carter, Ledyard & Milburn, LLC and Murray Fox with i-ROC.

It was a busy week for NRC. Numerous awards were given out as well as NRC's longstanding Murray J. Fox Scholarships, which went to three students from nearby Tulane University.

The group also worked to hammer out a definition of recycling with the help of sustainability thought-leader William McDonough.

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Programs in action

Wed, 10/01/2014 - 11:38
Programs in action

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Oct. 1, 2014

We hit Florida, Minnesota and Chicago in our look at recent developments in municipal recycling and composting.

Officials in St. Petersburg, Florida are set to approve a $6.5 million loan to finance the introduction of citywide single-stream recycling. While the expansion won't require residents to actually recycle, they will be charged about $3 each month for the added service. Just about 10 percent of city residents currently sign up for recycling services.

Residents in St. Paul, Minnesota have so far been taking advantage of their single-stream recycling services. First introduced in April, single-stream has led to a 16 percent increase in collection volumes even though the city is putting off plans to switch from bins to carts until at least next year.

A pilot composting program in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park appears to be flourishing. The 725 households served by the voluntary food scraps program are sending about 2,300 pounds of material each week to Waste Management's Romeoville facility. The service, which is the first of its kind in Illinois, costs residents $14 per month.

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NewsBits

Wed, 10/01/2014 - 11:36
NewsBits

Oct. 1, 2014

Haulers servicing Metro Vancouver were fined nearly half of a million dollars last year. The violations, which were concentrated among some of the leading firms in the area, including Waste Management, stemmed from too many recyclables ending up in the trash, according to waste auditors. Metro Vancouver views it as the haulers' responsibility to educate residents on what should and shouldn't go in the trash.

California's landmark plastic bag ban legislation has been signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown. Brown's seal of approval means the bag ban will go into effect in July of 2015 and will eventually ban all single-use checkout bags from grocery and convenience stores throughout the state. "We’re the first to ban these bags, and we won’t be the last," Brown said at the signing.

Recycling-savvy residents in Charleston, South Carolina will be eligible to win free $50 gift certifications from Harris Teeter for the next six months. The initiative, which is part of Coca-Cola's "Recycling & Win" program, is aimed at recognizing "households which are recycling properly" ‒ in other words, recycling as much as possible and only those items Charleston's curbside program accepts.

Scotland has fallen short of its own admittedly hard-to-reach 2013 recycling goals. Scotland's 32 local authorities collectively reached a 42 percent recycling and composting rate during the year, one percentage point above 2012's final number but well short of a countrywide 50 percent goal.

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