Resource Recycling Magazine

Updated: 4 hours 57 min ago

Will Hawaii's Big Island usher in a mixed-waste MRF?

Tue, 03/17/2015 - 07:29
Will Hawaii's Big Island usher in a mixed-waste MRF?

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

March 17, 2015

The company behind a $50 million mixed-waste materials recovery facility proposed in Hawaii claims it will divert 70 percent of materials to recycling, composting and waste-to-energy.

BioEnergy Hawaii LLC is proposing to build the facility near Kailua-Kona, on the west side of the Big Island.

The proposed facility would accept municipal solid waste and divert the majority of it from the West Hawaii Sanitary Landfill, extending the life of the landfill, according to a press release. The landfill is owned by the county and operated by Waste Management. Project backers say it aligns with the county mayor's goal of extending the life of the landfill.

The project still faces significant hurdles: An environmental review hasn't been conducted and a lease for land hasn't been finalized. The mayor of Hawaii County, Billy Kenoi, told West Hawaii Today that the project faces a number of federal and state regulatory challenges as well as county permitting and land-use procedures.

The facility would be financed with private equity, but it has the support of a $100 million special purpose revenue bond issued by state government, according to BioEnergy Hawaii.

BioEnergy Hawaii's parent company is Pacific Waste, Inc., a local waste hauler.

“We have lived and worked on the Big Island for almost 20 years, and as members of the community we all share a responsibility to care for the land,” Kosti Shirvanian, Pacific Waste president, stated in a press release. “This project will transform our waste into a resource and make a positive contribution to our community and our environment.”

The facility will separate recyclable materials for resale on the commodity market, according to the company. Organic materials will be treated through an anaerobic digestion process to produce compost and biogas. Other materials, such as mixed papers, textiles, low-value plastics and woods, will be processed into an engineered fuel, which can be burned to produce energy.

The company also plans to encourage local haulers to upgrade their trucks to using the locally sourced bio-compressed natural gas, reducing the island's dependence on imported fossil fuels.

“Given our Island's limited land area and freshwater resources, recycling and waste diversion are a priority, as it is in much of the industrialized world,” a BioEnergy Hawaii representative stated in the press release.

Construction is currently scheduled to begin in summer 2016.

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Patent watch

Tue, 03/17/2015 - 07:26
Patent watch

March 17, 2015

Bridgestone Corp. of Tokyo has developed a novel method for recycling tires and given Patent No. 8,905,100.

Patent No. 8,905,338, describing a construction and demolition debris crushing and sorting device, was awarded to Tyrone, Great Britain's Terex GB Ltd.

Cranbury, New Jersey-headquartered Innophos, Inc. developed an asphalt recycling optimization process and was given Patent No. 8,906,152.

Tokyo's Nippon Paper Industries Co., Ltd. was given Patent No. 8,926,793 for a method of creating pulp from recovered fiber materials using smaller, less energy-intensive equipment.

Ricoh Company, Ltd., also of Tokyo, was awarded Patent No. 8,929,780 for a method of recycling toner-containing printer and copier cartridges.

Frank W. Delfer from Incline Village, Nevada was given Patent No. 8,930,280 for a take-back system of collecting materials for recycling via an in-home postage meter.

Fort Lupton, Colorado's Golden Aluminum, Inc. developed a method of recycling used beverage container aluminum material and was awarded Patent Application No. 20140363332.

A method of recycling scrap materials using electronically tagged plastic bags is the subject of Patent Application No. 20140365381 was awarded to a team of researchers led by David Borowski, based out of Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Patent Application No. 20140367292, which concerns a smart lid for recycling and trash bins, was given to New Buffalo, Michigan-based National Cart Marketing, LLC.

Tokyo-based Seiko Epson Corp. was awarded Patent Application No. 20140374047 for a paper recycling method and device.

Recycled Asphalt Shingle Technology, based in Brentwood, New Hampshire, was awarded Patent Application No. 20140373749 for a method of recycling asphalt shingles.

An apparatus for crushing glass to aid in its recycling is the subject of Patent Application No. 20150001324, given to Mariestad, Sweden-based Nordic Recycle Group AB.

San Francisco-based Compology, Inc. has developed a new waste and recycling management system, where a sensor notes what is in one's trash can and routes recovery vehicles based on the can's wastes' composition and was given Patent Application No. 20140379588.

St. Paul, Minnesota's Andrew J. Archer was awarded Patent Application No. for a screen separation device that rotates on a single drive shaft.

Patent Application No. 20150033961, which describes a compaction device for recyclable containers, was given to Paderborn, Germany's Wincor Nixdorf International GmbH.

Oakland, California's Ecologic Brands, Inc. has developed a kind of container made of recycled fiber pulp containing a thin-film liquid-containing vessel, and was awarded Patent Application No. 20150034588.

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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Wide world of recycling

Tue, 03/17/2015 - 07:22
Wide world of recycling

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

March 17, 2015

A major city in China is starting to offer subsidies to recycling operations so they will move to collect more low-value recyclable material.

The government in the Chinese city of Guangzhou has begun paying subsidies to recycling enterprises so they will have an incentive to take in and process lower value materials. The effort is part of the a strategy to raise the recycling rate by 10 percent in the 13 million inhabitant city in the southern part of the country.

Political leaders in Wales have hinted at introducing policies to increase coordination and data systems within the nation's recycling collection efforts. Wales has already given itself a 70 percent recycling rate target for 2025.

Leaders in the Australian state of VIctoria, which includes the city of Melbourne, have indicated they are moving toward instituting a landfill ban on used electronics. The nation already has legislation in place that requires electronics manufacturers to help fund a country-wide e-scrap recycling system, though the details of that program are currently under review.

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NewsBits

Tue, 03/17/2015 - 07:20
NewsBits

March 17, 2015

State and federal investigators have found “substantial wage and hour violations” at beverage container recycling facilities in Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley area, according to a press release. CalRecycle and the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division have inked an agreement to work together to crack down on illegal labor practices within the industry.

A bill in the Pennsylvania General Assembly would again allow municipalities to charge “reasonable and necessary fees” to fund their recycling programs. House Bill 755 would reverse a court decision that stated municipalities can't charge the fees because state law doesn't expressly say they can.

In a letter published in the Indianapolis Star over the weekend, the leader of the Indiana Recycling Coalition (IRC) offered some updates on the battle over a plan to build a mixed-waste MRF for the city's refuse. Carey Hamilton of the IRC writes that during a recent court hearing on the issue, a city representative noted the plan is centered on the disposal of solid waste. Hamilton says this a reversal from the city's earlier comments that framed the Covanta facility as a method to boost recycling. She also says the MRF is not yet a done deal.

In lighter news out of Indy, a woman who has been dubbed “The Can Lady” is raising money for city schools and teaching children about recycling at the same time. RTV6 News featured Mary Stumpp in a recent report.

No radical changes are necessary to improving plastics recycling; instead, what the sector needs is greater participation rates in existing programs. That's the view of Harry Floyd, program coordinator of Virginia's Clean Fairfax Council. In a blog post on The Hill political news site, he called for sensible action to improve the amount of plastics that get recycled.

The U.S. has had an on-again, off-again love affair with recycling, which has been shaped by technology, markets and public relations. So writes John Timmer, science editor at Ars Technica.

The operator of a San Jose, California-area landfill, recycling and composting center is forming a coalition to address odor-issues in the area, a representative said. Republic Services of Santa Clara County also says its landfill, which it is looking to enlarge, is not to blame for many of the area’s odor issues.

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Industry and supplier news

Tue, 03/17/2015 - 07:11
Industry and supplier news

March 17, 2015

Howell, Michigan-based battery recycling company Battery Solutions has hired Alexander Nitsche as its chief financial officer. He previously served as CFO at Schuler Inc., a metal-forming equipment company. For more, click here.

QRS Recycling of New Albany, Indiana will move a single-stream recycling processing operation across the Ohio River to Louisville, Kentucky. The company will retain a metals recycling operation in New Albany. For more, click here.

MaryEllen Etienne, executive director of the Reuse Alliance, is leaving her post with the organization to fill the CEO role at the Reuse Institute.


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Ad campaign encourages recycling of bathroom products

Mon, 03/09/2015 - 22:47
Ad campaign encourages recycling of bathroom products

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

March 10, 2015

More than half of respondents to a recent survey said they aren’t sure which bathroom items can be recycled. In addition, the survey found only about 10 percent of American households put recycling receptacles in the bathroom.

Keep America Beautiful (KAB) and the Ad Council want to change that.

The two nonprofit organizations have teamed up with Unilever to launch a public information effort aimed at educating adults about which bathroom items can be recycled. Using public service announcements and digital outreach, they’ll target the nearly half of adult Americans who aren’t recycling items including shampoo bottles, toilet paper rolls or toothpaste boxes.

A new survey shows that 45 percent of Americans have recycling cans in their kitchens, compared to 10 percent who have them in their bathrooms, according to a press release. More than half of respondents also said they have a lack of knowledge about which items can be recycled in the bathroom, and nearly half said they don’t think about recycling in the bathroom.

“As a society, we’ve come a long way in increasing recycling in the kitchen, but now it’s critical that we carry that progress into the bathroom,” KAB President and CEO Jennifer Jehn stated in a press release.

The effort is a new phase in the “I Want To Be Recycled” communications campaign, originally launched in 2013. The campaign website, which includes information on recycling and an online MRF game, can be found here. The efforts target adults who are sporadic recyclers with access to curbside pickup, according to a project fact sheet.

The online survey, conducted by ORC International, was conducted Feb. 12-15, 2015, among a demographically representative U.S. sample of 1,032 adults, according to a press release.

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Ohio eyes more recycling data

Mon, 03/09/2015 - 22:43
Ohio eyes more recycling data

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

March 10, 2015

Ohio is making a push to gather more recycling data from commercial and industrial sectors.

In partnership with the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, Ohio Council of Retail Merchants and the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association, Ohio EPA has launched a statewide initiative targeting businesses to provide more detailed recycling data to their local solid waste districts. In years past, getting data from commercial and industrial sectors in particular has been "challenging" for Ohio's 52 solid waste districts, the agency says.

By partnering with business groups in the state, Ohio EPA is hopeful it will receive more data from commercial and industrial sources.

"On the local level, we really want to develop the relationship between the solid waste management districts and the businesses within those districts," Ohio EPA spokesperson Dina Pierce told Resource Recycling. "There are things that the local districts can offer, especially services, and this hopefully gets them to get to know each other a little better."

According to Pierce, the state met its residential and commercial recycling rate goal of 25 percent in 2013 but fell short of the industrial recycling rate goal of 66 percent.

More detailed data for 2014 will give the state "a truer understanding of how we're doing," while also providing more data on the most commonly recycled materials in Ohio, Pierce said.

To help districts reach businesses and industries this time around, Ohio EPA has launched a page on its website to streamline the data reporting process. According to a press release, the survey takes 15 minutes to complete.

The survey is another example of states attempting to arrive at more complete recycling data. Georgia is in the midst of a similar campaign, while Texas, a state known for how little is known about its recycling activity, has established its first-ever recycling rate.

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Recycling industry can expect more shipping troubles

Mon, 03/09/2015 - 22:39
Recycling industry can expect more shipping troubles

By Jerry Powell, Resource Recycling

March 10, 2015

Due to several factors, the cost of moving recyclable material by truck is expected to rise – and securing a trucker may become harder.

Demand for long-haul trucking is being aided by the low cost of diesel fuel. In times of more typical fuel prices, if you wanted to move a container to or from a pier, intermodal shipping (employing both trains and trucks) is cheaper after about 500 miles. Now, with sharply lower fuel costs, truckers can move freight cost efficiently up to 750 miles from the pier. This comes at a time when we have more freight to move. For instance, intermodal freight volumes rose five percent last year while truck tonnage increased three percent. Some analysts expect truck tonnage in 2015 to rise faster than intermodal trade.

Even though demand for trucking is rising, we do not have enough drivers to move this freight. The American Trucking Associations says we need 35,000 more drivers to meet demand. This labor shortage has several causes. Current truckers are old (age of 55 on average) and retirement levels are high. Too, when the economy improves, eligible workers choose jobs that keep them at home and look askance at employment, such as trucking, that takes them away from their families.

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Resource Recycling Conference 2015: Updates from major initiatives

Mon, 03/09/2015 - 22:31
Resource Recycling Conference 2015: Updates from major initiatives

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

March 10, 2016

In the last year, the industry has seen two major corporate-backed efforts form to help municipalities push their recycling programs forward. At the 2015 Resource Recycling Conference, attendees will get an up-close look at how those public-private partnerships are progressing.

Ron Gonen of the Closed Loop Fund and Keefe Harrison from the Recycling Partnership will both take to the stage in Indianapolis to explain the initial steps their respective projects have made. These sessions will help articulate the ways corporate dollars are affecting America's national diversion landscape and will give recycling professionals an inside look at how key funding decisions are being made.

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


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WRAP releases contamination guide

Mon, 03/09/2015 - 22:26
WRAP releases contamination guide

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

March 10, 2015

Waste prevention advocacy group WRAP has released a how-to guide on reducing contamination for U.K. municipalities.

WRAP's advice centers on two basic goals for recycling program managers: Figure out the degree to which contamination is plaguing loads, and take action to stem the tide of material that can't be processed at MRFs.

According to the group's new guide, if contamination is an issue, recycling managers first should direct "clear, positive" information to residents. That includes providing an easy-to-read list of what can and can't go into the bin depending on the capabilities of partner MRFs. It also requires program leaders to tailor their messages to their target audience.

If contamination continues, WRAP's guide suggests individual household communication, in the form of stickers or notices, to help reinforce the importance of only putting in the bin what can be recycled. The group also says meeting with households individually and leaving contaminant-heavy bins uncollected can help improve the quality of material headed for MRFs.

And, as a "final course of action," WRAP says eliminating the bin remains an option if residents are particularly contamination-prone.

"You may choose to remove or replace the usual recycling containers provided to the householder," the guide reads.

According to the group, MRFs throughout the U.K. reported contamination rates as high as 27 percent during 2012 and 2013. The average contamination rate held at about 6.4 percent, but the group says "anecdotal evidence suggests the true figure for contamination could be much higher."

A recent WRAP survey found half of respondents claimed to recycle items that either can't be recycled or are hard-to-recycle.

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Wide world of recycling

Mon, 03/09/2015 - 22:20
Wide world of recycling

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

March 10, 2015

The U.K. edition of our global news rundown finds politicians and recycling firms jockeying for position as the 2015 general elections near.

As Liberal Democrats in the U.K. campaign for the 2015 general election in May, recycling has begun surfacing as a key issue in the party's Zero Waste Bill. If elected, Liberal Democrats, under Nick Clegg, have pledged to push forward the bill and include in it a 2030 goal of reaching a 70 percent recycling rate.

Several recycling firms, meanwhile, have called attention to the recent closure of the Aylesford Newsprint paper mill as a sign that lofty goals for the future may not be attainable. In addition to Viridor, SITA UK and Biffa expressing concern about the closure and commodity prices, Veolia's technical director Richard Kirkman told letsrecycle.com, "We have to move away from blindly chasing recycling percentages and instead focus on a more sustainable model based on commercial realities as well as quality and demand for recyclates."

To add a little humor to the hour, JWS Waste has released a music video featuring dancing employees and a waste-centric version of Meghan Trainor's pop hit, "All About that Bass." You can watch JSW's reprisal, "All About that Waste," here and delight in the infectious-if-lacking dance moves.

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NewsBits

Mon, 03/09/2015 - 22:18
NewsBits

March 10, 2015

A court in Indianapolis today will hear a complaint questioning the legality of the City's renewed contract with Covanta. According to the plaintiffs in the case, two paper companies and an Indianapolis resident, the City was required to open up a public bidding process before approving any such contract. Under the extension, estimated to be valued at more than $100 million and running through 2028, Covanta will process all of the city's trash and recyclables as well as build a controversial, $45 million mixed waste processing facility.

Harford County, Maryland has announced new recycling requirements. The county, located just north of Baltimore, will now mandate recycling at most apartment buildings and outdoor events in accordance with an ordinance passed last week by County Council members. The ordinance was reportedly changed at the last minute to no longer require detailed recycling reporting obligations tied to the new requirements.

California's Department of Toxic Substances Control has filed a complaint against Gallo Glass for allegedly using hazardous waste in the company's wine bottles The complaint, which can be viewed here, alleges that Gallo "illegally introduced dust containing lead, arsenic, cadmium and selenium into the manufacture of its wine bottles," which it then sold.

St. Louis' Public Radio has taken a look at the city's single stream recycling program and concluded that material separated by residents is "mostly recycled." Visiting Republic Service's Hazlewood MRF, reporter Véronique LaCapra notes the facility, which receives and processes St. Louis' single stream material, has an 8 to 10 percent contamination rate, with the largest challenges deriving from material capable of jamming the machinery, moisture and shredded paper.

The New Orleans Saints have partnered with Progressive Waste Solutions to launch a school-based recycling competition. Running from March 6 through May 1, K-12 schools in the Crescent City will compete for three mini training camps hosted by Saints. Winners, of course, will be selected by how material they recycle between now and May 1.

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Industry and supplier news

Mon, 03/09/2015 - 22:08
Industry and supplier news

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

March 10, 2016

Bigbelly, which makes solar-powered waste and recycling stations for public spaces, announced that it’s finding success deploying units on college campuses. Among the newest higher-ed additions to Bigbelly’s client list are University of Georgia, University of South Carolina and Virginia Tech. For more, click here.

Flexicon, a major manufacturer of bulk-handling equipment, marked its 40th anniversary with the completion of a 91,000-square-foot addition to its U.S. headquarters. The addition in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania will increase the size of the following departments: steel forming, welding, grinding/polishing, blasting/painting, electrical controls and assembly. Administrative office space will also be augmented. For more, click here.

The New York City Department of Sanitation has launched a website with information about recycling in the Big Apple. The new website, which combines to two separate sites, is also optimized for mobile phone access. For more, click here.

Georgia-based Red Brick Brewing Co. will now offer its beer in aluminum cans made with a high percentage of recycled aluminum content. The company will use cans made from Novelis’s evercan, the world’s first certified high-recycled-content aluminum can sheet, according to a press release. For more, click here.

11th Hour Project provided a grant that will usher in the creation of a professional certification for operators of composting facilities. The $75,000 grant provided to the U.S. Composting Council’s Research and Education Foundation will allow it to create a CPC, or Certified Professional Composters, credential. For more, click here.

VONCO Waste Management has implemented a source-separated organics recycling program in the town of Becker, Minnesota, as the state works to increase organics diversion. Trucks carry organics to the landfill, where a new composting facility has been built on the same property.

Connecticut-based Winters Bros. Waste Systems has acquired an additional 20,000 customers by purchasing some of the operations and facilities of Progressive Waste Solutions Ltd. The company bought Progressive Waste Solutions’ hauling operations, recycling units and transfer station operations located on Long Island, New York. For more, click here.

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Biggest haulers fear recycled commodity prices in 2015

Mon, 03/02/2015 - 23:47
Biggest haulers fear recycled commodity prices in 2015

By Bobby Elliott, Resource Recycling

March 3, 2015

While publicly traded waste and recycling companies had generally positive years in 2014, annual financial reports show falling commodity prices are expected to cause trouble in 2015.

Casella Waste Systems

Casella Waste Systems, which reported on the last eight months of 2014, grabbed revenues of $368.37 million. Casella's recycling business accounted for 9.2 percent of the sum, generating $33.74 million and rising from 2013's $29.31 million.

John Casella, chairman and CEO of the company, stressed recycled commodity prices were an ongoing concern.

"Since late 2014 and into early 2015, recycling commodity prices have continued to decline, with the average commodity revenue per ton down roughly 25 percent since October 2014," Casella reported. "We believe that these declines in recycling commodity prices are not short-lived, but rather reflect changing international markets for recycled commodity products, including lower demand from the Chinese markets due to slower economic growth and growth in the Chinese domestic markets."

To account for those challenges, Casella has increased tipping fees and collection costs in 2015.

The company's stock fell 30 percent in 2014, ending the year at $4.04 after closing 2013 at $5.80 per share.

Progressive Waste Solutions

Progressive Waste Solutions announced overall revenues in 2014 totaled just over $2 billion and were slightly down from 2013 revenues. For the year, Progressive notched $63.65 million in recycling revenues, up from $59.86 million in 2013 and accounting for 3.2 percent of overall revenues.

On 2015, the company's CEO and president, Joseph Quarin, noted "the current softness in recycled commodity prices" could have an impact on earnings for the year.

During 2014, Progressive's stock price rose 21.5 percent to $30.08 per share.

Republic Services

Republic Services generated $8.79 billion in revenues in 2014. That's up from 2013 totals of $8.42 billion, the company said.

Sales of recycled commodities, meanwhile, totaled $390.80 million, 4.4 percent of total revenues. In 2013, recycled commodity sales were slightly lower, coming in at $374.60 million. The company only reports on sales of recycled commodities, choosing not to break down specifics on recycling operations as a whole.

The company expects 2015 revenues to climb 2.5 to 3.5 percent, despite anticipated setbacks in the recycled commodity arena.

Republic's stock increased in value by 21.24 percent in 2014, coming in at $40.25 per share on Dec. 31, 2014.

Waste Connections

Waste Connections reported $2.08 billion in revenues for the year. Up from 2013's $1.93 billion, 2014 revenues were aided by $56.11 million in recycling revenues, making up 2.7 percent of total revenues.

Looking ahead, Waste Connections also sees recycled commodity prices as a potential issue, stating: "Fluctuations in prices for recycled commodities that we sell and rebates we offer to customers may cause our revenues and operating results to decline." The company is targeting revenues in 2015 of $2.15 billion.

Waste Connection's stock price for the year was essentially flat, increasing by less than one percentage point and finishing 2014 at $43.99 per share.

Waste Management

With nearly $14 billion in revenues for the year, Waste Management announced about $1.37 billion in revenues, or about 10 percent of the total, came from its recycling business. Recycling revenues in 2013 totaled $1.45 billion.

Recycled commodity prices were signaled as a major driver for holding recycling revenues back.

"Recycling operations improvements are not expected to keep pace with recent recycling commodity price declines," the company stated.

In 2014, WM's stock jumped 14.38 percent, reaching $51.32.

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Plastics recycling industry beats sleet in Dallas

Mon, 03/02/2015 - 23:40
Plastics recycling industry beats sleet in Dallas

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

March 3, 2015

The Plastics Recycling Conference in Texas this year marked the 10th iteration of the event and drew strong attendance.

Taking place last week at the Hyatt Regency Dallas, Plastics Recycling 2015 brought in more than 1500 attendees from 40 countries. Winter Storm Quantum, which ushered in rare snowfall to the region and icy conditions at airports, caused travel delays for many attendees but networking and education heated up quickly.

Festivities kicked off Monday, Feb. 22 with the Recycling Tech Summit from SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association and the Society of Plastics Engineers Plastics Environmental Division's "Plastics Recycling in 2015" forum. The day was capped by an opening reception, hosted by the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI).

Tuesday and Wednesday brought a varied lineup of presentations and panel discussions on a range of trends and topics currently affecting plastics recovery. A dialogue between leading trade association executives, a deep look at the evolution of New York City's plastic recycling efforts and an analysis of the complex relationship between recycling and corporate sustainability served as some of the highlights.

The conference's trade show, which opened a day earlier than in years past, drew nearly 200 exhibitors.

Patric Pike, regional sales manager for optical sorting machine manufacturer Satake USA, said he liked the way Plastics Recycling 2015 was tied in with events from industry trade associations, bringing together customers from every corner of the industry.

"We see tons of existing customers we’d [otherwise] have to drive and spend a lot of time to see,” Pike said.

This year, company representatives were able to talk with existing and potential customers about a smaller optical sorter for plastic flake, regrind and pellets.

“It’s a great place for releasing a new product,” Pike said.

While the conference officially wrapped up mid-week with a heated discussion on the role of mixed-waste MRFs in the plastics recycling space, many attendees stayed on for Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers' membership meetings and ISRI's Paper Stock Industries Specifications Summit.

The 11th Plastics Recycling Conference, which is a sister conference to the Resource Recycling Conference, will be taking place in New Orleans next year. It's slated for Feb. 1-3, 2016 at the Hyatt Regency. Check in at plasticsrecycling.com for all the latest on next year's gathering. Sponsor and exhibitor opportunities will be available starting in spring 2015.

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Texas recycling rate is 18.9 percent, according to data effort

Mon, 03/02/2015 - 23:35
Texas recycling rate is 18.9 percent, according to data effort

By Bobby Elliott, Resource Recycling

March 3, 2015

A data collecting initiative in Texas has arrived at an elusive figure: the Lone Star State's recycling rate.

According to newly published results from the Texas Recycling Data Initiative (TRDI), the state recycled 18.9 percent of its municipal solid waste (MSW) stream in 2013. Though the figure lags the national recycling rate (roughly 34 percent), organizers say the initial data collection effort creates the opportunity to assess how that number can grow in the coming years.

"The material in our recycling bins is the next big resource boom for Texas," said Maia Corbitt, executive director of the State of Texas Alliance for Recycling (STAR), one of the co-leaders of the effort.

TRDI, under the guidance of STAR and the Lone Star Chapter of the Solid Waste Association of North America (TxSWANA), sought out statewide recycling data from processors and end users of materials. The participation of those stakeholders was voluntary.

Attention was paid to ensure double-counting of data didn't inflate the numbers and the "rigorous and conservative" recycling rate was calculated without crediting reuse, source reduction or waste-to-energy activity, according to project organizers.

According to the report, 6.1 million tons of MSW – material from residential, commercial and institutional sources – were recycled during the year, leaving 26.4 million tons headed to landfill. TRDI broke down figures for the following materials:

Glass: 137,222 tons recycled

Paper: 1,444,632 tons recycled

Plastic: 169,216 tons recycled

Food and beverage materials: 19,768 tons recycled

E-scrap: 47,271 tons recycled

Curbside programs throughout the state contributed some 555,000 tons of material toward recycling, with average annual household waste generation coming in at 503 pounds.

Large and local MRFs across the state reported a 13 percent contamination rate from curbside programs.

Not counted in the rate itself was non-MSW recycling activity. According to TRDI, nearly 7.8 million tons of non-MSW material were recycled in 2013, including 6 million tons of ferrous and non-ferrous metals.

On the workforce side, just under 12,700 Texans are employed by the industry either through direct, indirect or induced means, according to the report.

The Georgia Recycling Coalition chronicled its own data-mining project in a feature-length article appearing in March 2015 issue Resource Recycling magazine.

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Report examines changing recycling stream

Mon, 03/02/2015 - 23:31
Report examines changing recycling stream

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

March 3, 2015

The materials that end up in the curbside recycling bin have changed over the last several decades and that will have far-ranging effects on the recycling industry as a whole, according to a recently released report.

The American Chemistry Council’s Plastics Division sponsored the report, “Making Sense of the Mix: Analysis and Implications for the Changing Curbside Recycling Stream,” which describes the changes in the materials that are collected via residential curbside collection programs around the country. [Editor's note: The parent company of this publication, Resource Recycling, Inc., directed and was paid for the research developing this report along with Green Spectrum Consulting, LLC.]

The report details the changes the curbside material stream has undergone, including: less printed paper as newspaper readership flags; more corrugated cardboard as online shopping grows rapidly; and more plastics of all types as curbside programs try to keep up with changing packaging materials in the marketplace.

Two developments of the past 15 years – single-stream collection of recyclable materials and the attendant switch from smaller-capacity bins to larger rollcarts – have led to an increased variety of recyclable materials, particularly plastics, found in the recycling stream. Some developments, such as the addition of mixed non-bottle rigid plastics to recycling collection programs, have increased reclamation capacity.

“Plastics makers recognize the critical role that recyclers play in the value chain and in sustainable living,” Steve Russell, vice president of plastics for the American Chemistry Council, said in a press release announcing the report. “The evolving waste stream can create both challenges and opportunities for recyclers and we want to help them succeed.”

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Tentative port deal reached on West Coast

Mon, 03/02/2015 - 23:28
Tentative port deal reached on West Coast

By Bobby Elliott, Resource Recycling

March 3, 2015

West Coast port workers have agreed to a new multi-year contract, ending more than nine months of contentious negotiations. Recycling firms, however, may continue to feel the impact of the backlog of containers waiting for export.

While terms of the agreement have not been announced, the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) announced on Feb. 20 a "tentative" five-year deal had been struck with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU). U.S. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez stepped in earlier this month to push the two parties toward a resolution.

The groups had been negotiating since May 2014.

ILWU members will have to approve the new contract terms before the deal becomes official. In response to the deal, the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) warned the labor stalemate might have "long-term consequences" for the recycling industry.

"Already facing a drop in prices, recyclers witnessed a decline in exports which left many forced to cut their workforce and set aside investments needed to grow their business," ISRI's president, Robin Wiener, said in a release. "There may still be long-term consequences we face such as lost overseas markets."

According to ISRI, exports from West Coast ports in 2014 were down 12 percent compared with 2013 levels, with the value of scrap exports worsening as the year went on.

"It's been hell," said Patty Moore, who runs the Plastic Recycling Corporation of California. She said buyers of material that would be bound for export began showing reservations six to seven weeks ago as previously purchased material sat on the docks.

Over the last three weeks, the situation worsened. "Buyers just kind of gave up," Moore said, noting that the port dispute ultimately hurt the paper industry more than plastics because more recovered paper is sent overseas.

As negotiations continued, PMA accused ILWU of staging slowdowns at West Coast ports. ILWU denied those allegations.

In commenting on the resolution, Labor Secretary Perez suggested the U.S. economy as a whole will be able to recover from the port dispute.

"In the grand scheme, I'm confident that we can recover quickly," Perez said.

PRCC's Moore said that if the new agreement does in fact hold and material begins to move, it could take up to two months to clear the backlog of containers.

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Walmart announces "Sustainability Leaders" shop

Mon, 03/02/2015 - 23:25
Walmart announces "Sustainability Leaders" shop

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

March 3, 2015

Walmart's website now features a shop dedicated to products sold by companies pegged as "sustainability leaders."

The Sustainability Leaders area of the site provides online shoppers with a category-by-category list of products from companies that "are leading the way in sustainability," according to Neil Ashe, president and CEO of Walmart Global eCommerce.

Company sustainability, a Walmart press release states, is measured through Walmart's Sustainability Index, which was developed in 2009 with the Sustainability Consortium. Unilever, General Mills, HP, Procter & Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive and Replenish are among the companies bearing Walmart's "sustainability badge."

While Walmart has its own aspirational goal of reaching zero waste globally and the Index does consider recycling, the recyclability of products and/or packaging is not mentioned in the announcement.

According to Walmart, products carrying the sustainability badge are "ranked highest among [their] peers within its category." The retailer also states, "In categories where there are many leading manufacturers, products made by any manufacturer that scores over 80 percent, will also qualify for a badge."

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Sustainable materials management grabs focus in May

Mon, 03/02/2015 - 23:23
Sustainable materials management grabs focus in May

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

March 3, 2015

The National Sustainable Materials Management Summit will explore issues surrounding waste reduction, reuse, recycling, composting, design for recycling and more.

The National Recycling Coalition (NRC) will hold the first-ever summit on May 12-13, 2015 at the University of Maryland, College Park, near Washington, D.C.

“Its ultimate goal will be to help develop a National SMM Action Plan to assist in the acceleration of SMM as a method of choice for managing discarded materials,” according to the NRC. “NRC will facilitate a dialogue among participants to reach deeper connections for actions and activities in the future.”

SMM is a systemic approach to using and reusing materials more productively over their entire life cycle, according to the U.S. EPA. SMM goals include using less materials, reducing environmental impacts and avoiding the depletion of natural resources.

NRC is putting on the summit in partnership with the Syracuse Center for Sustainable Community Solutions.


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