Resource Recycling Magazine

Updated: 22 hours 10 min ago

Call2Recycle collects 6,000 tons of batteries, cell phones

Mon, 01/26/2015 - 23:01
Call2Recycle collects 6,000 tons of batteries, cell phones

By Jared Paben, Resource Recycling

Jan. 27, 2015

Nearly 6,000 tons of batteries and cell phones were collected for recycling by Call2Recycle in 2014, marking a new record for the manufacturer-backed group.

The amount collected represented a roughly 3 percent increase over 2013's haul, when 5,800 tons of batteries and cell phones were collected.

Founded in 1994, Call2Recycle is the first and largest consumer battery stewardship program in North America. The industry-funded nonprofit collects and recycles batteries and cell phones at no cost to the consumer.

“Since we measure our success by weight, this latest year of growth is even more impressive given that consumer batteries are getting smaller, lighter and lasting longer than in previous years,” Carl Smith, CEO and president of Call2Recycle, stated in a press release.

Currently, the majority of the weight collected by Call2Recycle comes from businesses, as opposed to individual consumers, according to Jennifer Childress, director of communications for the group.

"In 2015 and beyond, we’re definitely trying to do more of a consumer push so everyday people are much more aware of where they can drop off batteries," Childress said.

That public awareness campaign could include recycling events, newspaper ads, working with retailers to educate their sales staffs and social media, Childress says.

About 90 percent of U.S. and Canadian residents live within 10 miles of a battery drop-off location, according to Call2Recycle.

While the weight of collected batteries continues to increase, data on the recycling rate isn’t available, Childress said.

The collection volumes represent both single-use and rechargeable batteries from Canada and rechargeable batteries only from the U.S. The U.S. does not require recycling of single-use batteries, although Vermont is poised to become the first state to require manufacturers to fund single-use battery recycling when its extended producer responsibility law goes into effect in January 2016.

Since its first collection efforts began in 1996, Call2Recycle has collected 50,000 tons of batteries for recycling.

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Resource Recycling Conference 2015: Delving into mixed-waste MRFs

Mon, 01/26/2015 - 22:53
Resource Recycling Conference 2015: Delving into mixed-waste MRFs

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Jan. 27, 2015

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

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

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

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


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Report: Recycling in UK equals jobs

Mon, 01/26/2015 - 22:48
Report: Recycling in UK equals jobs

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Jan. 27, 2015

A study suggests development of the "circular economy" in the U.K. could create more than 500,000 new jobs by 2030. The European Commission, meanwhile, has announced plans to table and replace the approach.

According to WRAP and Green Alliance, roughly 500,000 jobs would be created from the "expansion of circular economy activities." While somewhat short on the details of what the expansion would look like, the study estimates the U.K. recycling rate, at about 44 percent in 2013, would need to increase to 85 percent by 2030 to hit that jobs-creation mark.

The U.K. would also need to up its "remanufacturing rate," the percentage of used products repaired or remanufactured to enable continued use, to 50 percent. The WRAP and Green Alliance report suggests the current rate is at about 1 percent or less.

The report does account for the jobs, especially within the traditional manufacturing sector, that might be lost as a result of a "greener" economy in the U.K. With those losses counted, the U.K. would still end up with a net gain of 102,000 jobs.

The European Commission (EC) holds member countries, including the U.K., responsible for fostering a circular economy throughout Europe. Under a circulatory economy, emphasis is placed on the reuse, repair and recycling of products as well as their design and environmental impact.

The EC recently announced controversial plans to table and replace the circular economy package with a broader approach.

Under the circular economy, member countries are asked to achieve a recycling and reuse rate of at least 70 percent by 2030 and a packaging recycling rate of 80 percent, among other goals.

Members of the European Parliament have expressed widespread opposition to the EC's decision to set aside the approach and WRAP's CEO, Liz Goodwin, penned a blog post expressing the group's disappointment in the move. The EC has stood by its plans and hopes to produce a number of new proposals toward the end of the year.

By simply continuing on its current path of developing the circular economy, WRAP and Green Alliance anticipate the U.K. waste and recycling sector will add 205,000 jobs to the economy by 2030, or 54,000 once jobs lost are considered. With "no new initiatives," the U.K. would see only 31,000 jobs added, 10,000 after losses, to the sector.

In 2000, approximately 75,000 people were employed throughout the U.K. by the industry. By 2010, that number grew to 130,000 workers and 134,000 in 2013. The average hourly wage of recycling and waste sector employees is nearly $22.


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Organics hopes, hindrances laid out at USCC show

Mon, 01/26/2015 - 22:26
Organics hopes, hindrances laid out at USCC show

By Dan Leif, Resource Recycling

Jan. 27, 2015

Though commercial composting has been developing for decades in North America, the industry seems anything but settled.


Municipalities throughout the U.S. and Canada are pushing forward food scrap diversion programs. Plastics labeled compostable are entering the waste stream in greater numbers as packaging giants look to achieve sustainability goals. And young entrepreneurs with millennial mind-sets are entering the compost arena in greater numbers.

All of those trends were on full display at the 2015 U.S. Composting Council (USCC) conference, held last week in Austin, Texas.

This was the 24th annual USCC show, but many of the discussions had a forward-looking energy one might expect to see in startup business environments. The event’s closing keynote, for example, was delivered by Pashon Murray (pictured in the photo to the left), a passionate community organizer who over the past three years has built a business called Detroit Dirt that utilizes formerly vacant lots to process organic materials from industrial partners.

“I realized this was bigger me than me,” she said of her business-building experience, which has grabbed the attention of many in the Motor City and even landed her a starring role in a Ford car commercial. “I was just chosen to be the voice of the movement.”

“The movement” is trying to find ways to overcome notable hurdles even as more American residents and businesses make organics diversion part of their daily habits.

A number of different speakers addressed the issue of plastic materials entering the organics stream. Consultant Matt Cotton put the struggle this way: "Most municipals programs are inclusive. It’s ‘food and …’. We didn’t start recycling collection going straight to single-stream, but that’s what we’re doing with compost."

Anne Bedarf, who has worked with the Sustainable Packaging Coalition to develop the How2Recycle label for a wide range of products, offered a presentation that laid out the framework for a How2Compost protocol. The compost labels, which are expected to start appearing on packaging this year, will aim to clearly demonstrate to consumers elements of packaging that can be sent to backyard or commercial composting applications. She said the How2Compost initiative is a collaboration with the Biodegradable Products Institute and its well-known BPI certification program.


In addition to the evolving compostable plastics question, the commercial compost sector is currently paying lots of attention to the issue of persistent herbicides. In recent years, agronomists have introduced chemicals designed to control vegetation for years on end. The composting community worries that some of these compounds could stay active even after material goes through a compost process and would then reduce demand from farmers and landscapers.

In his opening address, Rod Taylor, the USCC president, said the organization is currently working to push the EPA to take action on the issue, and he raised the possibility of a federal Clean Soil Act that could force more stringent standards in the herbicide arena. He also noted a great opportunity to promote compost benefits on a global scale: The United Nations has designated 2015 the International Year of Soils, and number of awareness events have been slated by USCC to tie into the action this year.

Still, amid such talk of global growth and implications, much of the discussion at the conference focused on small-scale change and possibility.

One education session, for instance, focused on the future of community composting and featured presentations from three entrepreneurs who have started businesses that collect food scraps from small businesses and opt-in residents (often on bicycle) and then use that material to boost local agriculture. Cheeky branding and youthful environmental enthusiasm reign supreme at these enterprises.

"Everyone talks farm to table," said Chris Russo, the leader of a North Carolina company called Tilthy Rich. "We're talking table to farm."

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Maryland executive order calls for 65 percent recycling rate

Mon, 01/26/2015 - 22:17
Maryland executive order calls for 65 percent recycling rate

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Jan. 27, 2015

Maryland Gov. Mark O'Malley has issued an executive order that includes a mandate to recycle 65 percent of the state's waste by 2020 and to divert at least 60 percent of organics. It also calls for an 80 percent recycling rate by 2040.

Gov. O'Malley framed the move in environmental and economic terms.

"Today’s action is the right thing to do for our environment – and it creates opportunities for the jobs and business activity that we need to ensure the environmental and financial health of our communities," O'Malley said in the Jan. 13 press release. "By limiting sources of waste, and by recycling, reusing, and composting the remaining waste, we are creating a more sustainable world for our children and their children."

In addition to installing a mandated 65 percent recycling rate and a 60 percent organics diversion rate for 2020, the order includes an aspirational 80 percent recycling rate goal for 2040 and an 85 percent diversion rate goal.

Under the Maryland Recycling Act, communities and counties throughout the state were required to recycle at least 15 percent of their waste by 2015. The state's 2012 recycling rate came in at 45.4 percent.

To help promote the initiative, Maryland Department of the Environment will provide a "source reduction checklist to track and encourage waste reduction" while no longer permitting any new solid waste landfills in the state.

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APR looks back on plastics in 2014

Mon, 01/26/2015 - 22:14
APR looks back on plastics in 2014

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Jan. 27, 2015

The Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers has released its 2014 annual report, noting continued work on labels, oxo-degradable packaging and more.

In a letter addressed to APR's members, the group's executive director, Steve Alexander, writes that membership rose "to an all-time high in 2014."

"We operate on a relatively modest budget, but fortunately our efforts as the technical resource to the industry continue to carry tremendous weight," Alexander states.

To that end, the report highlights work in several focus areas, with APR's Full Wrap Shrink Sleeve Working Group leading off the summary. Working alongside "label manufacturers, consumer product companies and other groups," APR's working group managed to forge "at least one full wrap label that will float into the marketplace, a prospect almost unheard of prior to APR addressing the issue," the report points out.

The group will continue to work on leading the design of sleeves that enable floating.

In addition, APR has continued fending off attempts by manufacturers of "oxo-degradable" products on two fronts: among APR members approached by the industry and as part of an ongoing discussion within the ASTM voluntary standards' plastics division. ASTM is currently taking up a proposal to include an "oxo-degradable" label on select products and APR has appealed to its members to rebuff approval of the step.

The update also mentions the newly formed corporate training program APR has begun to offer packaging engineers.

"We foresee tremendous growth potential for this effort in 2015 and beyond," the report states.

For the full breakdown of APR's yearly review, click here.

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Patent watch

Mon, 01/26/2015 - 21:42
Patent watch

Jan. 27, 2015

Bursa, Turkey-based E-Mak Makine Insaat Ticaret Ve Sanayi Anonim Sirketi was awarded Patent No. 8,882,335 for an asphalt recycling system.

Patent No. 8,882,965 was given to Tokyo-based Seiko Epson Corporation for a method of recycling paper.

The recycling of absorbent sanitary products is the subject of Pescara, Italy's FATER s.p.a., awarded Patent No. 8,883,076.

Boreal Compost Enterprises Ltd., of Whitehorse, California, was awarded Patent No. 8,910,797 for a method of effectively separating plastic film from compost.

Patent No. 8,910,892 was given to Taipei, Taiwan's E-Sunscience Co., Ltd. for a device that strips the metal from radial tires.

Tokyo-based JX Nippon Mining & Metals Corporation was given Patent No. 8,911,533 for a method of recovering precious metals from scrap electronics.

Recycling an organic-matrix composite material is the subject of Patent No. 8,916,618, given to Nederlandse Organisatie of Delft, The Netherlands.

Patent No. 8,919,681, which describes a method of recycling asphalt shingles and other roofing materials, was awarded to Barrington, Rhode Island's ASR Holding Company.

Lancaster, Kentucky-based William Taylor was given Patent Application No. 20140251877 for a method of removing contaminants from a stream of scrap aluminum beverage cans.

A screw compactor is the subject of Patent Application No. 20140260101, awarded to San Diego-based CP Manufacturing, Inc.

Andrew Archer, from St. Paul, Minnesota, was given Patent Application No. 20140262977 for a method of separating recyclable materials.

An apparatus for separating paper from mixed recyclable materials is the subject of Patent Application No. 20140263770, given to Post Falls, Idaho-based Summit Equipment, Inc.

Patent Application No. 20140263779 was awarded to Wilmington, Delaware-headquartered Building Materials Investment Corp. for a system and method for continuous processing of recyclable material.

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, 01/26/2015 - 21:28
NewsBits

Jan. 27, 2015

The Recycling Partnership has officially launched. Curbside Value Partnership's new public-private venture has provided the city of Columbia, South Carolina with a $300,000 grant to help roll out its switch from bins to carts. The Partnership, which plans to branch out into a national program [Ed: look for the Feb. issue of Resource Recycling for an article detailing this plan], will also start work in Richmond, Virginia and Florence, Alabama this year.

An article posted on Ars Technica takes readers on a virtual tour of Sims Municipal Recycling's Sunset Park MRF in Brooklyn. The feature examines some of the plant's most advanced sorting equipment and even includes a photograph showing current pricing for a variety of recyclables, including PET (15.5 cents per pound), HDPE (26 cents per pound), cartons ($65 per ton) and aluminum (55 cents per pound). The facility sorts all of the recyclables collected through New York City's curbside recycling program.

Republic Services has started a special service program for disabled residents of Toledo, Ohio. By calling Republic's local facility, residents in need can schedule a visit from a company representative to develop a modified pick-up schedule for trash and recyclables.

While all MRF operators deal with contamination, Rumpke has decided to share its contaminants with the world. The company has compiled a list of some of the stranger items people have tried to recycle, including a prosthetic leg, a lizard, photo albums, lingerie and bowling balls.

City leaders in Tulsa, Oklahoma have proposed letting residents use half-sized recycling carts for curbside collections, with some residents saying the bigger carts are too cumbersome. Hauler NeWSolutions already has 600 of the 48-gallon carts in storage, so a change wouldn’t cost the city.

Football fans at Humboldt State University achieved a higher diversion rate than any other college participating in this football season’s GameDay Recycling Challenge. Through the challenge, participating universities and colleges measure and report the weight of recyclables and trash generated at a home football game last fall. Northern California’s Humboldt State University achieved an 86 percent diversion rate.

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Curbside foam collection a reality in some cities

Mon, 01/19/2015 - 22:52
Curbside foam collection a reality in some cities

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Jan. 20, 2015

New York City's recent decision to ban foam food service products due to curbside recycling obstacles has raised another question: What are other municipalities doing with the material?

According to an online database compiled by foam manufacturer Dart Container, more than 60 communities in California, including Los Angeles and Sacramento, include post-consumer expanded polystyrene (EPS) in their curbside programs. San Antonio also allows the material in curbside bins.

A 2013 study funded by the American Chemistry Council and conducted by Moore Recycling Associates suggested 31 percent of the American population in 2012 had access to foam recycling either curbside or via drop-off locations.

In cementing their decision on EPS, New York City officials said their research showed integrating the material into the curbside infrastructure would be costly and time consuming, and they noted question marks remain when it comes to downstream markets for post-consumer foam.

But Moore Recycling's CEO, Patty Moore, says not all communities are reaching that same conclusion.

"The research we’ve done shows that EPS can, and is, being recycled in curbside programs," Moore said. "California is a leader in collecting this material curbside."

Recycling foam via drop-off locations, meanwhile, is far more widespread in the U.S., Dart's list shows. Municipalities in 17 states have at least one drop-off location for the material.

In addition to New York City, several other large cities have moved to ban post-consumer EPS, including Portland, Oregon, Washington, D.C. and Seattle.

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Scrap plastic exports rebound while ferrous declines again

Mon, 01/19/2015 - 22:45
Scrap plastic exports rebound while ferrous declines again

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Jan. 20, 2015

What's the story with scrap materials exports in a nutshell? Plastics up, paper flat, aluminum down and ferrous way down. Read on for more.

Scrap plastics exports bounced back in October, the most recent month for which data is available, after a month-to-month dip at the outset of the third quarter.

October saw a steep 14.3 percent month-to-month increase from September 2014 export levels, with 461.1 million pounds of scrap plastics exported in October. When matched against October 2013 levels (403.4 million pounds), the volume of plastic scrap exports was up by a robust 16.6 percent.

The weighted price of recovered plastic exports in October, at 19.77 cents per pound, was down from September 2014 levels by 5.2 percent. When compared with its year-over-year (YOY) level, the price was down by 9.5 percent.

Scrap plastics also showed strong gains in year-to-date (YTD) figures. With 4.03 billion pounds exported through October 2014, the volume of recovered plastics sent across U.S. borders was up 16.7 percent from its YTD 2013 figure, which was heavily influenced by China's Operation Green Fence. At 19.88 cents per pound, however, the average price for the first 10 months of 2014 was down by 3.2 percent from its 2013 YTD standing.

As for other exported materials, recovered paper exports continued to see a small improvement through October 2014, with 15.89 million metric tons exported, a 1.4 percent increase from levels through October 2013. At $165 per metric ton, the weighted average price of exported recovered paper through October was relatively flat, down just 0.6 percent when compared with its standing through the first 10 months of 2014.

Ferrous scrap exports continued to show strong declines YOY, with 12.92 million metric tons exported through October 2014, amounting to a sharp 17.6 percent decrease from levels through the first 10 months of 2013. At $408 per metric ton, the weighted average price of exported ferrous scrap fell 0.6 percent from ferrous scrap exports figures through October 2013.

Lastly, the 3.19 billion pounds of aluminum scrap exported through October 2014 equated to a 6.7 percent decrease from the first 10 months of 2013. At 77 cents per pound, the average price of exported aluminum scrap through October 2014 was also down by 4.1 percent YOY.

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Access to food scrap collection grows 8 percent

Mon, 01/19/2015 - 22:42
Access to food scrap collection grows 8 percent

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Jan. 20, 2015

Original research from a national composting magazine suggests nearly 200 municipalities throughout the country are offering residential food scrap collection.

Up more than 8 percent from BioCycle's 2012 count of 183, the 2014 tally of 198 municipalities points to a growing interest in diverting food scraps at a time when America manages to divert less than 5 percent of its food waste.

According to the U.S. EPA's 2012 MSW study, food scraps represent almost 15 percent of America's MSW stream, but just 4.7 percent of it is composted. A total of 1.74 million pounds of food scraps were composted in 2012, while more than 34 million pounds were landfilled.

Finding a way to divert more food scraps, composting advocates say, is key to driving America's stagnating diversion rate.

According to BioCycle, the number of municipalities including food scraps either with yard debris or in separate carts and bins has grown eight fold in the past decade. In 2005, just 24 municipalities offered food scrap diversion programs.

By region, food scrap collection continues to be dominated by cities and communities in the Western U.S. Of the approximately 2.74 million U.S. households with some form of residential service, almost half (1.33 million households) are situated in California. Food scrap collection is also offered to many residents in Washington and Oregon.

Of non-Western states, Texas, New York and Ohio have managed to move the needle in terms of households, combining to serve more than 200,000, the BioCycle numbers show.

BioCycle is billed as the official magazine of the U.S. Composting Council, which is hosting its Compost2015 conference and trade show this week in Austin, Texas

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated residential programs grew 9 percent between 2012 and 2014.  Programs grew 8 percent.

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Recycling interests play small role in campaign funding

Mon, 01/19/2015 - 22:35
Recycling interests play small role in campaign funding

by Jerry Powell, Resource Recycling

Jan. 20, 2015

Recently elected Congressional members raised hundreds of millions of dollars from individuals and political action committees in the lead-up to voting last November. An analysis of campaign spending records indicates, however, that the recycling industry remains a relatively small player in campaign financing.

To take two examples touching the recycling industry, the political action committee managed by the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries contributed $52,500 during this period to more than two dozen federal candidates from both parties and six other campaign committees. The Waste Management employee PAC contributed almost $55,000 to 32 federal candidates and over $37,000 to seven other campaign committees. Compared to the previous election cycle, when ISRI donated over $64,000 to candidates and the WM PAC contributed over $112,000.

As another example, Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) was re-elected and will remain the chairman of a key environment subcommittee where waste management and recycling issues may be debated. He raised $1.97 million for his re-election campaign.  Just 2 percent of these monies came from groups and companies with an interest in recycling, such as the ISRI PAC, Waste Management and the Automotive Recyclers Association.  Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY) is the ranking Democrat on this subcommittee and he raised no funds from recycling interests.

A total of $1.54 billion was spent in 2014 Congressional races. Over $1.7 billion was spent in the previous election cycle.

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Wide world of recycling

Mon, 01/19/2015 - 22:30
Wide world of recycling

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Jan. 20, 2015

Small trash receptacles have equated to big jumps in recycling in Scotland's capital. Grab the details in our global look at the industry.

By reducing the size of garbage cans, officials in Edinburgh, Scotland have increased the recycling rate to 85 percent, according to the Edinburgh Evening News. A pilot project deployed half-size garbage cans at 140,000 households, and plans are in place to expand the effort throughout Scotland's capital city. Households within the test area recycled 7.7 pounds per week, compared to the citywide average of 4.4 pounds.

A researcher working out of a small, collegiate lab in Hong Kong says he's making progress in "cracking" the recycling of mixed plastics. Stephen Chow, a professor at the Hong Kong Institute of Education, has been working on breaking down a variety of mixed plastics in just 10 minutes, two to six times quicker than traditional approaches.

While the European Commission (EC) has announced it will table and replace its Circular Economy program in the near future, a majority of members of the European Parliament have said they oppose the plan. They were, however, unable to reach an accord to formally oppose the step in a Jan. 15 vote, meaning the EC will likely be able to continue as planned.


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NewsBits

Mon, 01/19/2015 - 22:21
NewsBits

Jan. 20, 2015

Tech startup Rubicon has managed to raise $30 million in funding to put toward its recycling software and business model. Using the software platform known as Caesar, the company allows haulers to bid on a wide range of recycling and waste contracts throughout the world, then assists and supports them in diverting as much material as possible at the best possible rate.

The top college or university when it comes to being "green," according to OnlineSchoolsCenter.com: American University in Washington, D.C. The school is followed in the ranking by Dickinson College (Carlisle, Pennsylvania) and University of California, Santa Barbara. OnlineSchoolsCenter.com's list is partly based on institutions’ recycling programs.

Newport, Rhode Island is considering a local law that would require special events have marked recycling bins available. The proposed ordinance would require applicants for a special event license have a plan for the collection of waste and recyclables. All recyclables would be delivered and weighed at a recycling facility. Newport has a recycling rate of 23 percent.

Employment in the waste and recycling industry reached a new high of 383,000 jobs in 2014, according to the National Waste & Recycling Association. Bureau of Labor Statistics figures showed that employment increased by 8,700 over the course of the year. The statistic was for workers in a broad category that includes waste collection and disposal personnel, water treatment workers and recycling industry staff, among others.

A new technology employed at a U.K. recycling plant uses microwaves to separate materials in plastic-aluminum laminates so they can be recycled. A commercial-scale plant in Luton, U.K. is now in operation and can recycle up to 2,204 tons of packaging annually. Plastic-aluminum laminates, commonly a food and drink packaging that’s growing in popularity, are otherwise not recyclable. The plant is partly funded by Nestle and Kraft Foods/Mondelez International.

The government of Alachua County, Florida has taken over operations at its local MRF after SP Recycling of Dublin, Georgia reorganized and decided to get out of the paper recycling business. An outside firm estimated the county could earn an extra $500,000 per year by assuming control of the MRF.

A first-of-its-kind recycling rewards program in Dayton, Ohio has come to an end, four years after it started entering residents who recycled into cash drawings. The city didn’t meet its goal of doubling recycling through the program, but it did increase tonnages by 18 percent.

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NYC: Curbside foam can't be recycled

Mon, 01/12/2015 - 20:53
NYC: Curbside foam can't be recycled

By Bobby Elliott, Resource Recycling

Jan. 13, 2015

In a controversial move, New York City has banned foam foodservice products on the grounds that they cannot be efficiently recycled through a curbside collection system.

"After consultations with corporations, including Dart Container Corporation, nonprofits, vendors and other stakeholders, the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) has determined that expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam cannot be recycled, which led to the ban," the city announced in a Dec. 8 press release. "DSNY has also determined that there currently is no market for post-consumer EPS collected in a curbside metal, glass and plastic recycling program."

While ban opponent Dart Container had secured an Indianapolis-based buyer for the material, DSNY internal documents show the agency was not convinced of the long-term viability of an alternative plan to collect all polystyrene items curbside.

The ban was framed as an environmental victory by the city's mayor Bill de Blasio, who had first proposed to outlaw select foam products in 2007 when he was a member of City Council.

"By removing nearly 30,000 tons of expanded polystyrene waste from our landfills, streets, and waterways, today's announcement is a major step towards our goal of a greener, greater New York City," de Blasio said in a statement.

Starting July 1, establishments throughout New York City will no longer be able to offer or sell foam food service products, such as cups and clamshell takeout trays. Foam packing peanuts will also be banned and compostable plates will be the new norm at the city's public school cafeterias. All other rigid polystyrene products will continue to be landfilled.

The decision was challenged by foam manufacturer Dart, which lobbied hard against the ban and pushed for the addition of all PS to the city's curbside recycling program.

"In the year since the ban was first proposed, foam manufacturers like Dart were given an opportunity to prove that foam foodservice items could be economically and logistically recycled within the city’s five boroughs," a press release reads. "Dart conducted real world tests that unequivocally proved this feasibility."

As the Dart release notes, the foam ban was approved by City Council members in late 2013, but included a compromise that gave Dart and others a year to prove recycling foam curbside could be effective within the city. The DSNY had until Jan. 1 to make a decision on whether to push through the ban or go with Dart's alternative proposal.

The decision to ban, as outlined in a letter to de Blasio from DSNY Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, came down to several reservations administrators had Dart's proposed recycling plan and timeline for recycling curbside PS and EPS.

The city estimates roughly 60,000 tons of polystyrene products enter the waste stream each year, with about half that total constituting EPS.

Under Dart's plan, all PS and EPS would have been collected curbside by DSNY, optically sorted and baled by Sims Municipal Recycling and sold to Plastics Recycling Inc. (PRI) in Indianapolis. Dart agreed to fund the addition of sorters at Sims' Brooklyn MRF and the expansion of PRI's facility. In addition, Dart secured a five-year pact with PRI to guarantee a buyer for New York City's post-consumer PS, including foam foodservice packaging.

But Garcia's letter shows city leaders felt putting such an infrastructure in place would take too much time. DSNY contends the addition of sorters at Sims' facility would take up to two years to complete. "As such, EPS would not be recycled until late 2016 or early 2017," Garcia's letter states.

In addition, PRI's necessary expansion to take on the material is not expected to be completed until "late spring 2015," DSNY says. According to the letter, question marks continue to surround the company's ability to process post-consumer PS and EPS.

Calling the PRI addition "a first of its kind in scale and operation," DSNY concluded the company might not be able to actually find buyers for the material once it is sorted and ready for reuse in new products. Without buyers, the material would have to be landfilled.

And, Garcia warns, if PRI were to decide after five years to ditch the endeavor, DSNY and Sims "would still have to manage the costs and complications of having designated EPS as recyclable."



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NYC: Curbside foam can't be recycled

Mon, 01/12/2015 - 20:53
NYC: Curbside foam can't be recycled

By Bobby Elliott, Resource Recycling

Jan. 13, 2015

In a controversial move, New York City has banned foam foodservice products on the grounds that they cannot be efficiently recycled through a curbside collection system.

"After consultations with corporations, including Dart Container Corporation, nonprofits, vendors and other stakeholders, the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) has determined that expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam cannot be recycled, which led to the ban," the city announced in a Dec. 8 press release. "DSNY has also determined that there currently is no market for post-consumer EPS collected in a curbside metal, glass and plastic recycling program."

It is widely known that post-consumer EPS can be recycled for use in picture frames and a variety of other products, and most communities that offer EPS collection do so through a drop-off format. While ban opponent Dart Container had secured an Indianapolis-based buyer for the New York City material, DSNY internal documents show the agency was not convinced of the long-term viability of an alternative plan to collect all polystyrene items curbside.

The ban was framed as an environmental victory by the city's mayor, Bill de Blasio, who had first proposed to outlaw select foam products in 2007 when he was a member of City Council.

"By removing nearly 30,000 tons of expanded polystyrene waste from our landfills, streets, and waterways, today's announcement is a major step towards our goal of a greener, greater New York City," de Blasio said in a statement.

Starting July 1, establishments throughout New York City will no longer be able to offer or sell foam food service products, such as cups and clamshell takeout trays. Foam packing peanuts will also be banned and compostable plates will be the new norm at the city's public school cafeterias. All other rigid polystyrene products will continue to be landfilled.

The decision was challenged by foam manufacturer Dart, which lobbied hard against the ban and pushed for the addition of all PS to the city's curbside recycling program.

"In the year since the ban was first proposed, foam manufacturers like Dart were given an opportunity to prove that foam foodservice items could be economically and logistically recycled within the city’s five boroughs," a press release reads. "Dart conducted real world tests that unequivocally proved this feasibility."

As the Dart release notes, the foam ban was approved by City Council members in late 2013, but included a compromise that gave Dart and others a year to prove recycling foam curbside could be effective within the city. The DSNY had until Jan. 1 to make a decision on whether to push through the ban or go with Dart's alternative proposal.

The decision to ban foam, as outlined in a letter to de Blasio from DSNY Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, came down to several reservations administrators had Dart's proposed recycling plan and timeline for recycling curbside PS and EPS.

The city estimates roughly 60,000 tons of polystyrene products enter the waste stream each year, with about half that total constituting EPS.

Under Dart's plan, all PS and EPS would have been collected curbside by DSNY, optically sorted and baled by Sims Municipal Recycling and sold to Plastics Recycling Inc. (PRI) in Indianapolis. Dart agreed to fund the addition of sorters at Sims' Brooklyn MRF and the expansion of PRI's facility. In addition, Dart secured a five-year pact with PRI to guarantee a buyer for New York City's post-consumer PS, including foam foodservice packaging.

But Garcia's letter shows city leaders felt putting such an infrastructure in place would take too much time. DSNY contends the addition of sorters at Sims' facility would take up to two years to complete. "As such, EPS would not be recycled until late 2016 or early 2017," Garcia's letter states.

In addition, PRI's necessary expansion to take on the material is not expected to be completed until "late spring 2015," DSNY says. According to the letter, question marks continue to surround the company's ability to process post-consumer PS and EPS.

Calling the PRI addition "a first of its kind in scale and operation," DSNY concluded the company might not be able to actually find buyers for the material once it is sorted and ready for reuse in new products. Without buyers, the material would have to be landfilled.

And, Garcia warns, if PRI were to decide after five years to ditch the endeavor, DSNY and Sims "would still have to manage the costs and complications of having designated EPS as recyclable."


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Resource Recycling Conference 2015: Meeting and learning

Mon, 01/12/2015 - 20:43
Resource Recycling Conference 2015: Meeting and learning

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Jan. 13, 2015

Several pre-conference workshops and events will be available in conjunction with the sixth annual Resource Recycling Conference, allowing attendees to get even more value out of North America's leading municipal recycling gathering.

The extra education opportunities include: GRRN Zero Waste Training, the National Recycling Coalition Annual Membership Meeting and Board Meeting, the third annual Recycling Innovators Forum, Re-Trac Connect Training and more.

Resource Recycling Conference 2015 is taking place Sept. 28-30 at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown in Indianapolis, Indiana. Check rrconference.com for information on attending, exhibiting and sponsoring.

To return to the Resource Recycling newsletter, click here

 

Resource Recycling Conference 2015: Meeting and learning

Mon, 01/12/2015 - 20:43
Resource Recycling Conference 2015: Meeting and learning

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Jan. 13, 2015

Several pre-conference workshops and events will be available in conjunction with the sixth annual Resource Recycling Conference, allowing attendees to get even more value out of North America's leading municipal recycling gathering.

The extra education opportunities include: GRRN Zero Waste Training, the National Recycling Coalition Annual Membership Meeting and Board Meeting, the third annual Recycling Innovators Forum, Re-Trac Connect Training and more.

Resource Recycling Conference 2015 is taking place Sept. 28-30, 2015 at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown in Indianapolis, Indiana. Check rrconference.com for information on attending, exhibiting and sponsoring.


To return to the Resource Recycling newsletter, click here

Oregon notches its highest ever recovery rate

Mon, 01/12/2015 - 20:36
Oregon notches its highest ever recovery rate

By Jared Paben, Resource Recycling

Jan. 13, 2015

Nearly 54 percent of materials discarded by Oregon households and businesses were recovered in 2013, a record high percentage for the state.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality reported that 2,425,220 tons were recovered in 2013, for a 53.9 percent recovery rate. That represents the highest recovery rate since the state began tracking waste generation and materials recovery in 1992.

According to the report, most of the recovery rate increase came through a boost in organic materials recovery, including animal waste/grease, wood, and yard debris and food scraps.

Changes in select categories in 2013, compared with 2012:

  • Non-food organics (including animal waste/grease, wood and yard debris): 909,612 tons recovered in 2013, up 7.3 percent
  • Cardboard: 361,748 tons, up 1.4 percent
  • Papers (including mixed-waste paper, high-grade and newspaper): 299,004 tons, flat
  • Glass (including container and “other”): 106,906 tons, flat
  • Food waste: 50,143 tons, up 5.2 percent
  • Plastics (including composite plastics, “other” and rigid plastic containers): 40,301 tons, down 5.2 percent
  • Non-scrap metal (including aluminum, tin cans, aerosol cans): 32,127 tons, flat
  • Electronics: 21,942 tons, down 15.4 percent
  • Plastic films: 14,583 tons, down 2 percent

Oregon’s recovery rate includes materials recycled, burned for energy recovery and composted. In 2013, 66 percent of the recovered materials were recycled, 20 percent were composted and 14 percent were burned for energy recovery, according to the report.

The 53.9 percent recovery rate also includes 3.8 percentage points of credits that counties and cities can claim for operating state-certified waste prevention, reuse and residential composting programs. Not counting those credits, the statewide recovery rate was 50.1 percent in 2013.

Oregonians also sent less material to the landfill, on a per-capita basis. In 2013, they disposed of 3.4 pounds per person per day, 0.5 percent less than the year before and 29.8 percent less than the pre-recession high in 2006, “likely indicating that Oregonians are still buying and consuming less,” according to the report.

To return to the Resource Recycling newsletter, click here

Oregon notches its highest-ever recovery rate

Mon, 01/12/2015 - 20:36
Oregon notches its highest-ever recovery rate

By Jared Paben, Resource Recycling

Jan. 13, 2015

Nearly 54 percent of materials discarded by Oregon households and businesses were recovered in 2013, a record high percentage for the state.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality reported that 2,425,220 tons were recovered in 2013, for a 53.9 percent recovery rate. That represents the highest recovery rate since the state began tracking waste generation and materials recovery in 1992.

According to the report, most of the recovery rate increase came through a boost in organic materials recovery, including animal waste/grease, wood, and yard debris and food scraps.

Changes in select categories in 2013, compared with 2012:

  • Non-food organics (including animal waste/grease, wood and yard debris): 909,612 tons recovered in 2013, up 7.3 percent
  • Cardboard: 361,748 tons, up 1.4 percent
  • Papers (including mixed-waste paper, high-grade and newspaper): 299,004 tons, flat
  • Glass (including container and “other”): 106,906 tons, flat
  • Food waste: 50,143 tons, up 5.2 percent
  • Plastics (including composite plastics, “other” and rigid plastic containers): 40,301 tons, down 5.2 percent
  • Non-scrap metal (including aluminum, tin cans, aerosol cans): 32,127 tons, flat
  • Electronics: 21,942 tons, down 15.4 percent
  • Plastic films: 14,583 tons, down 2 percent

 

Oregon’s recovery rate includes materials recycled, burned for energy recovery and composted. In 2013, 66 percent of the recovered materials were recycled, 20 percent were composted and 14 percent were burned for energy recovery, according to the report.

The 53.9 percent recovery rate also includes 3.8 percentage points of credits that counties and cities can claim for operating state-certified waste prevention, reuse and residential composting programs. Not counting those credits, the statewide recovery rate was 50.1 percent in 2013.

Oregonians also sent less material to the landfill, on a per-capita basis. In 2013, they disposed of 3.4 pounds per person per day, 0.5 percent less than the year before and 29.8 percent less than the pre-recession high in 2006, “likely indicating that Oregonians are still buying and consuming less,” according to the report.

To return to the Resource Recycling newsletter, click here

 

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