Resource Recycling Magazine

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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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Recycled paperboard giant created through purchase

Mon, 07/07/2014 - 17:11
Recycled paperboard giant created through purchase

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

July 8, 2014

Caraustar Industries has agreed to buy The Newark Group, thus creating a recycled paperboard firm with 13 mills and 21 recovered paper sorting and packing plants in the U.S.

The combined company will have the capacity to make about 950,000 tons per year of recycled paperboard products. In addition, the new firm will be a major player in the recovered paper trading sector. Caraustar is owned by H.I.G. Capital.

According to RISI, the combined firm will be the second largest producer of uncoated recycled paperboard, just behind Sonoco with a combined market share of 68 percent. Caraustar and The Newark Group each handle about 2 million tons per year of recovered fiber at company-owned packing plants and brokerage offices.

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RISI predicts more declines in recovered paper exports to China

Mon, 07/07/2014 - 17:09
RISI predicts more declines in recovered paper exports to China

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

July 8, 2014

A widely recognized expert in Chinese paper recycling trends has concluded that shipments of recovered fiber to that country will gradually decline over the next five years.

Imports by Chinese mills fell about 1.1 million tons last year. Now Hannah Zhao, a senior economist at RISI, concludes that slowing economic growth in China, weakening demand for Chinese paper and paperboard, new governmental regulations and tight recovered paper supplies in Europe, Japan and North America will cause continued sluggishness in the Chinese paper recycling market. This is the principal finding of a new RISI study (subscription required).

An additional reason for predicting that recyclable paper imports by Chinese buyers will fall is that paper collections continue to rise in that vast country. Zhao notes that rising Chinese demand and improved pricing “have stimulated China’s recovered paper collection efforts.” She estimates that Chinese collectors presently bale about 50 million tons per year of recovered paper.


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Wide world of recycling

Mon, 07/07/2014 - 17:05
Wide world of recycling

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

July 8, 2014

A disposable coffee cup that's easily recyclable with other paper materials? A product designer in the U.K. has developed a prototype and hopes to see it rolled out on a widespread scale this year. We detail that story in our global look at the recycling industry.

The "world's first fully recyclable paper cup" is set to hit stores in the U.K. by the end of the year. Up until now, most paper cups used for coffee and other beverages have been made with a plastic laminate that has been notoriously tough to remove during fiber pulping processing — meaning more than 27,000 tons of paper cups head to U.K. landfills each year. The new cup solves that issue by including a thin film liner that can be easily removed, according to its engineer, Martin Myerscough.

Nigeria is set to open what's being called the first fluorescent lamp recycling center in West Africa. A partnership between Go Green Nigeria, Light Up Nigeria and Technical Consumer Products, an American lighting company, the bulb recycling will collect and recycle fluorescent bulbs throughout Nigeria.

A new survey by the European Commission points to growing support among Europeans for pay-as-you-throw recycling programs. More than 40 percent of survey respondents said they are in favor of the tactic, which charges residents based on the volume of material placed at the curb. Feedback from more than 26,000 respondents was used to draw survey conclusions.

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NewsBits

Mon, 07/07/2014 - 17:03
NewsBits

July 8, 2014

Fort Collins, Colorado reported 64.6 percent of commercial and residential waste was either recycled or composted in 2013. That's a record diversion rate for the city, and officials say it is a result of a municipal program aimed at diverting more waste generated during industrial projects as well as a recent ban on putting cardboard in the trash.

In part to put more of a focus on aluminum recycling efforts, Novelis has sold its foil products business to Reynolds Consumer Products for $33.75 million.

Tampa, Florida-based Accurate Paper Recycling was recently acquired by Atlas Paper Mills, a Miami-based manufacturer of tissue products. Accurate provides recycling services to commercial printers, manufacturing facilities, office buildings and record retention centers.

ReCommunity Recycling has closed a deal that brings the firm its fifth processing operation in New Jersey. North Carolina-based ReCommunity acquired the assets of JFD Associates and assumes control of a facility in Farmingdale, New Jersey.

As it continues a shift in focus from recycled newsprint to recycled cardboard at its mills, paper producer SP Fiber Technologies announced a procurement partnership with GP Harmon (subscription required).

StewardChoice has released a draft plan for a new producer-funded stewardship program for printed paper and packaging in British Columbia. The plan, which is going through a public consultation period before making its way to the province's Ministry of Environment, will start out by providing recycling services to multi-family units currently not serviced by British Columbia's current program, Multi-Material BC.

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Connecticut could set pace on battery stewardship

Mon, 06/30/2014 - 23:48
Connecticut could set pace on battery stewardship

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

July 1, 2014

Recycling advocates and battery makers have reached a significant accord in Connecticut.

During a recent meeting led by Connecticut environmental officials and the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI), "a consortium of battery trade groups" unveiled a bill to cover the end-of-life treatment of both rechargeable and single-use batteries, PSI announced in a press release. The bill will be introduced in Connecticut.

PSI's founder and CEO, Scott Cassel, told Resource Recycling in May a major focus of the summit would be to arrive at a bill that covered both battery types, and in so doing, product stewardship advocates hoped to develop a legislative framework that could be duplicated in states throughout the country.

"The proposed trade organization model is a big step forward toward developing a model bill that will meet the needs of a wide stakeholder group," Cassel said in the press release.

Battery makers are now "at the center of negotiations with state lawmakers from around the country," according to the press release.

The country's first extended producer responsibility battery bill was passed this year in Vermont. It covers the recycling of single-use batteries.

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Resource Recycling Conference 2014: Registration now open

Mon, 06/30/2014 - 23:44

Resource Recycling Conference 2014: Registration now open

July 1, 2014

We cordially invite you to the recycling industry's top gathering of high-level decision-makers. Register today for Resource Recycling Conference 2014, set for September in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The Resource Recycling Conference offers unique networking opportunities, valuable education sessions, a bustling trade show and a number of ancillary meetings hosted by industry associations. Leaders from major recycling stakeholders rely on the annual gathering to push their organizations forward, so make sure your firm or group is well represented.

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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Recycling Partnership aims to bust collection bottlenecks

Mon, 06/30/2014 - 23:40
Recycling Partnership aims to bust collection bottlenecks

By Bobby Elliott, Resource Recycling

July 1, 2014

Today marks the start of a major initiative to bring more recycling carts to U.S curbsides.

The public-private project, called Recycling Partnership and run by the Curbside Value Partnership (CVP), will kick off with roots in the Southeast and ambition to spread throughout the country.

Conceived of and developed by the Southeast Recycling Development Council (SERDC), the Recycling Partnership will provide seed funding to communities looking to expand recycling — especially through a switch from bins to carts.

"The mode of collection becomes the bottleneck," said Karen Bandhauer, CVP project director. "If you have an 18-gallon bin, then no matter how much a citizen wants to participate and divert, they're limited by that bin." By switching to the larger carts, well-run programs, Bandhauer said, could look to pull in up to 450 pounds of material per household annually.

At first, the Recycling Partnership will enter into three or four Southeast cities. A July 7 meeting with program sponsors will officially decide which municipalities will come on as initial partners, and administrators hope to start work on the ground this summer.

By providing initial funding to communities, the program will aim to unlock and encourage additional grant monies to emerge on both the local and state levels. That public funding would go toward various "program upgrades all along the collection and processing chain," Bandhauer said, with private dollars primarily financing the switch to carts.

In addition to the bin-to-cart approach, private money will go toward fostering educational and technological advances in the communities. The Recycling Partnership will also help urge local leaders to see the financial and environmental gains to be found in recycling.

In May, CVP announced it would be taking the reins of the partnership from SERDC with a goal of initially raising at least $1.2 million from a wide range of recycling stakeholders. A group of nine partners have come together to support the cause and have "blasted past" that mark, CVP's executive director Keefe Harrison told Resource Recycling.

The nine Recycling Partnership sponsors are: Alcoa Foundation, the American Chemistry Council, the American Forest & Paper Association, the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers, Ball, the Carton Council, Coca-Cola, SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association and Sonoco.

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Ferrous exports still down as plastics stay up

Mon, 06/30/2014 - 23:25
Ferrous exports still down as plastics stay up

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

July 1, 2014

The most recent export figures show a 25 percent year-over-year decline for ferrous scrap — that news and more in our monthly look at scrap export pricing and volumes.

On the plastics front, April saw a rise of 0.1 percent from March 2014 export levels, with 397.43 million pounds of scrap plastics exported in April 2014. When matched against April 2013 levels of 296.15 million pounds — the point when China's Operation Green Fence was arguably at its strongest — the volume of plastic scrap exports was up significantly, by 34.2 percent.

The weighted price of recovered plastic exports in April, at 20.36 cents per pound, was up by 3.5 percent from its March 2014 standing of 19.68. When compared with its year-over-year (YOY) level, the price was flat, up by just 0.4 percent.

Through April, at 1.50 billion pounds, the volume of recovered plastics exported was up 9.1 percent from its 2013 year-to-date (YTD) figure. At 19.71 cents per pound, however, the average price through March was down 2.4 percent from its 2013 YTD standing.

As for other exported materials, recovered paper exports saw small declines for the first four months of 2014, with 6.45 million metric tons exported, a 0.9 percent decrease from April 2013 levels. At $165 per metric ton, the weighted average price of exported recovered paper in April was also flat, up just 0.5 percent when compared with its April 2013 level.

Regarding ferrous scrap, the story continued to be one of strong declines, with the 4.77 million metric tons exported through April 2014 amounting to a sharp 25.1 percent YOY decrease. At $401 per metric ton, the weighted average price of exported ferrous scrap was also down 5.5 percent from April 2013 levels.

Lastly, the 1.18 billion pounds of aluminum scrap exported in April 2014 equated to a 10.0 percent decrease from the first four months of 2013. At 77 cents per pound, the average price of exported aluminum scrap through April 2014 was down just 3.1 percent YOY.

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European paper recycling rate remains near 72 percent

Mon, 06/30/2014 - 23:22
European paper recycling rate remains near 72 percent

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

July 1, 2014

The latest paper recycling numbers out of Europe suggest there are both obstacles and opportunities awaiting the industry there.

According to the European Recovered Paper Council, Europe's paper recycling rate was 71.7 percent in 2013, with collection and recycling tonnages remaining "stable." Increasing that number further, however, won't be easy: Paper consumption is expected to continue to fall, meaning there will be less of the material out there to access.

"The European paper recycling rate is starting to level out and keeping it at a high rate is becoming progressively more challenging," the council stated in a press release.

The 71.7 percent number is the exact same as what was reported for 2012. According to the latest data, approximately 21 percent of paper consumed on a yearly basis cannot currently be recycled.

Still, paper recycling leaders say there is room for the sector to grow and evolve, especially as environmental awareness continues to gain importance among consumers and government leaders. "The paper recycling sector is ready and able to add more green jobs, skills and innovations to the European circular economy," the council's release states.

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