Resource Recycling Magazine

Updated: 13 hours 55 min ago

NewsBits from Resource Recycling

Tue, 06/30/2015 - 10:27
NewsBits

June 30, 2015

A recently formed company called WestRock will be the second-largest paper and paperboard firm in North America, behind International Paper. The company is the result of a merger between two industry giants, RockTenn and MeadWestvaco, and it will operate 26 mills in North America with a combined annual capacity of about 12 million tons. Included are paper recycling mills in Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia. In total, WestRock operates more than two dozen paper processing centers and MRFs.

Boston residents are recycling more, saving the city money by reducing disposal fees. But the city's diversion rate, at 23.7 percent, is still below the roughly 34 percent national average. The city pays $74 to dispose of every ton of trash from downtown neighborhoods, while its recycling costs are $5 per ton at most, according to the Boston Herald.

The board of the Consumer Goods Forum, representing 400 retailers and manufacturers, has approved a resolution calling for reductions in food waste. The resolution says the forum's members will reduce food waste in their operations by half by 2025. Nestlé S.A., one of the member companies, praised the latest pledge from the forum.

Major changes in waste management in Vermont are soon approaching, thanks to the state's Universal Recycling Law. Starting July 1, the disposal of recyclable materials in the garbage is illegal. A ban on throwing out yard debris goes into effect July 1, 2016 and food scrap disposal will be banned July 1, 2020. The law, passed in 2012, also requires all municipalities to adopt a pay-as-you-throw rate structure.

Residents of the Vancouver, British Columbia metro area will soon face fines for including clean wood in the trash. Officials will levy a 50 percent surcharge on loads found to contain 10 percent or more clean wood. The disposal ban went into effect Jan. 1, 2015, with a six-month education period. Financial penalties begin July 1. So far, the ban has been effective at boosting recycling of the material, according to Metro Vancouver.

In Indonesia, nearly 25 percent of survey respondents said waste is the country's top environmental concern. The online survey was conducted by Yougov.

Northern Ireland is considering implementing a beverage container deposit program, according to Let's Recycle. The move comes as Scotland, another part of the U.K., considers the same step. Northern Ireland has about 1.8 million people, making it the smallest region of the U.K.

The Glass Packaging Institute (GPI) has issued a statement encouraging Baton Rouge, La. leaders to continue glass recycling. The City has negotiated a new contract with Progressive Waste Solutions jettisoning the material from the program starting Nov. 1. GPI said it and its member companies are exploring options for glass recycling.

For multiple reasons, all glass collected at the curb in Denver is used as landfill cover and none is recycled, but some new businesses in the area hope to change that, according to Westword. Momentum Recycling is building a glass-only MRF with optical sorters, and it hopes to sell clean glass to bottle manufacturers. Another effort, Clear Intentions, is collecting bottles directly from restaurants and bars for recycling.

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Industry and supplier news

Tue, 06/30/2015 - 10:26
Industry and supplier news

June 30, 2015

A campaign, Change the Pallet, aims to encourage businesses to switch from wooden pallets to corrugated cardboard pallets. The Portland, Ore.-based nonprofit group says the pallets are fully recyclable and yield larger storage capacity than traditional wooden ones. For more, click here.

Fox River Fiber has received a no-objection letter from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for using its deinked paper pulp in food packaging. The letter allows the De Pere, Wis.-based company to create food packaging using 100 percent recycled fiber. For more, click here.

South Carolina-based Hilton Head Brewing Co. will use a high-recycled-content aluminum can from Novelis. The brewer will use the Evercan, which contains at least 90 percent recycled content. Introduced in 2014, the can has been used by other breweries. For more, click here.

The board of the scrap metal recycling company Metalico has agreed to sell the company to Total Merchant for $105 million. Under the deal's terms, Metalico will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Total Merchant. Metalico, which is expected to retain its staff, has operations in six states. For more, click here.

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Recycling Partnership grant helps East Lansing switch to carts

Tue, 06/23/2015 - 11:31
Recycling Partnership grant helps East Lansing switch to carts

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

June 23, 2015

The city of East Lansing, Mich. will switch to a cart-based collection system and expand materials accepted at the curb, thanks in part to a $125,000 grant from The Recycling Partnership.

The national nonprofit organization's grant will also help fund outreach to educate the public on the cart program. The city matched the grant with other funds.

The city of nearly 50,000 people, which is home to Michigan State University, will switch from bins to 96-gallon carts. It will also accept more materials at the curb, including cardboard, boxboard and possibly other materials. Cart distribution will begin in October, according to the city.

“The Recycling Partnership grant will be instrumental in successfully rolling out this exciting new cart system to our residents,” Cathy DeShambo, the city's environmental services administrator, stated in a press release. “The cart system comes with many benefits, including added convenience for residents, increased recycling volumes, less landfill material, more efficient collection times, cost savings and increased safety for city employees."

Granger Recycling Center currently processes the city's residential recyclable materials. Last year, the company began accepting glass in the single-stream infrastructure, according to city documents. The City has put the processing contract back out to bid and expects a new contract, in addition to the cart-based collection system, to allow additional materials to be accepted at the curb.

Additionally, last fall, East Lansing entered a partnership with Simple Recycling, a for-profit company collecting textiles, clothing and small household goods at no charge at the curb. In the first three months, the program collected 15 tons of material, according to the city.

The Recycling Partnership grant includes $100,000 for cart procurement and $25,000 for education and outreach, according to the grant guidelines. The group is also providing technical assistance and campaign materials to the city.

East Lansing is the first city to be announced as a winner in The Recycling Partnership's 2015 grant cycle. The Recycling Partnership is currently assisting 69 communities with a total of 1.2 million households and has said it will announce at least three more major city partners later this summer.

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Latest EPA figures highlight effect of evolving ton

Tue, 06/23/2015 - 11:31
Latest EPA figures highlight effect of evolving ton

By Bobby Elliott, Resource Recycling

June 23, 2015

Numbers released late last week by the U.S. EPA suggest the nation's recovery of recyclables is at a standstill, with recycling and composting flat in 2013. Industry experts pointed to the shifting material mix as a primary factor in the stagnant U.S. recycling rate.

According to the EPA's nearly 200-page report, the U.S. generated 254 million tons of municipal solid waste in 2013 and recovered 34.3 percent of it – 0.2 percentage points below 2012's recovery rate of 34.5 percent and 5.8 percentage points higher than the 2000 rate of 28.5 percent.

While some material types experienced increased recovery in 2013, including scrap electronics, recovery rates for paper, plastics and food – segments that combine to account for roughly 54 percent of overall generation – were all within a percentage point of 2012 totals.

The 2013 paper recovery rate, by far the highest among major material categories, was 63.3 percent in 2013, while the plastics recovery rate (9.2 percent) and food recovery rate (5.0 percent) remained in the single-digits.

"Sooner or later, people have to ask themselves what is a realistic recovery rate [to achieve]?" Chaz Miller, director of policy and advocacy at the National Waste and Recycling Association, said in an interview. "I think it's clearly more than 34 percent, but I think a lot of cities and states hurt themselves by setting unrealistic, unachievable goals."

The material mix

One challenge noted by Miller and others in the industry is the so-called evolving ton, the phenomenon of increasingly lightweight, sometimes plastics-based packaging replacing heavier, more easily recyclable paper and glass packaging. In other words, a ton of recyclables today is harder to amass than it was a decade ago.

Keefe Harrison, the executive director of The Recycling Partnership, a group that helps support and assist municipal recycling programs nationwide, said single-stream programs have grown in the U.S. The programs have led to higher recovery rates on a community-by-community basis, but they have not been immune to today's lighter ton.

"What I see when I look at the report is not an indicator of consumer apathy or even declining rates – I see a changing packaging scene," Harrison said. "This speaks to me more about the evolving ton than the impact of single-stream to deliver more material."

Plastics generation, accounting for 13 percent of the waste stream in 2013, has increased 27 percent since 2000 while paper generation has fallen by almost 22 percent. In that same time frame, glass volumes have decreased by about 10 percent.

Looking forward

Bill Moore, an expert on recovered paper markets and president of Moore & Associates, said it's safe to predict annual paper generation to fall further in the next five to 10 years.

According to Moore, annual paper generation could soon reach a bottom of 60 million tons (in 2013, U.S. paper generation was 68.6 million tons). He predicted in the coming years the rate at which the material is recovered will be "flat at worst, but probably has a small growth potential left."

One material that might need to pick up the recovery slack, experts say, is food scraps. Food waste increased by 2 percent in 2013 and now accounts for about 15 percent of the overall waste stream. The food recovery rate, meanwhile, is at 5 percent.

Nora Goldstein, the editor of organics-recovery publication BioCycle, says just 2 percent of U.S. households currently have curbside food scrap collection, but she noted efforts to donate unused food are gaining ground.

"The good news, despite these realities, is that generators of food waste continue to be interested in diversion of this stream from disposal," Goldstein said. "And demand for quality compost is growing rapidly."

On the plastics front, increasing the recovery rate has been a unique challenge, said Steve Alexander, the executive director of the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers.

An American Chemistry Council’s Plastics Division report, “Making Sense of the Mix: Analysis and Implications for the Changing Curbside Recycling Stream," research done by Resource Recycling also found that more plastics in the curbside bin are helping create opportunities for plastics recyclers. Alexander says that the industry is responding.

"Growing the [recovery] rate as the denominator is growing is tough, but it's also a nice problem to have because it means there is a sizeable opportunity in plastics recycling," Alexander said.

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Resource Recycling Conference 2015: Grasping the global industry

Tue, 06/23/2015 - 11:31
Resource Recycling Conference 2015: Grasping the global industry

June 23, 2015

The upcoming Resource Recycling Conference will start with a fascinating look at how the interconnected pieces of materials recovery come together in a keynote address from Adam Minter, award-winning Bloomberg journalist and author of the 2013 book "Junkyard Planet."

Minter comes from a family of Midwest scrap yard owners and now lives in Southeast Asia, where he covers the evolving waste management sphere there and elsewhere across the world. His understanding of the multitude of markets where materials end up puts him in a unique position to offer a holistic view of the industry. His talk will enlighten all recycling pros on current global realities and how specific impacts are felt all the way back to curbside.

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

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International Paper reports decrease in OCC recovery

Tue, 06/23/2015 - 11:30
International Paper reports decrease in OCC recovery

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

June 23, 2015

International Paper is headed away from its goal of recycling more old corrugated containers, according to the company's latest sustainability report.

The paper product manufacturer set a goal of recycling 15 percent more OCC by the year 2020 by "exploring new sources and diverting usable fiber from the landfill." But the company has seen an 8.2 decrease in OCC recovery since 2010, according to its 2014 sustainability report.

In its 2013 sustainability report, the company reported an 18.7 percent decrease in OCC recovery since 2010. The company first established its sustainability goals in 2012.

International Paper is one of North America's largest paper recycling companies, handling more than 6 million tons of recycled corrugated packaging and paper annually. It has a total of 20 recycling plants, 18 of which are located in the U.S. The company closed recovered paper processing facilities in Denver and Memphis, Tenn. earlier this year.

In 2013, the company entered a long-term agreement with Texas-based recycling company Balcones Resources to accept more post-consumer OCC, part of an effort to meet its 2020 goal.

In its latest report, International Paper reported progress in several other areas of its sustainability plan, including reducing the amount of waste from its manufacturing process sent to landfills, according to a press release.

Nationwide, the weight of recovered corrugated cardboard dropped nearly 1 percent in 2013 compared with the year before, to just under 26.6 million tons. The 2013 recovery rate was 88 percent, down from 91 percent the year before, according to the U.S. EPA.


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ISRI: Residents oppose one-bin collections

Tue, 06/23/2015 - 11:30
ISRI: Residents oppose one-bin collections

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

June 23, 2015

The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries says a new poll supports its position opposing one-bin collections for delivery to mixed-waste processing facilities.

The ISRI and Earth911 poll asked online readers the following: Is it worth the convenience to not separate your recyclables from your trash if when sorted after collection, it negatively affects the amount of materials that can be recycled?

The result: 75 percent supported maintaining a separate bin for recycling.

“One-bin collection jeopardizes the quality of recyclables by mixing recyclables with wastes, including liquids, food, and chemicals, thereby lowering, and in many cases altogether destroying the value of the recyclables,” ISRI's president, Robin Wiener, stated in a press release. “The results of this Earth911/ISRI Opinion Poll are promising in that they demonstrate that the majority of people recognize the importance of collecting recyclables separate from waste.”

The poll was conducted on the Earth911 website from April 16 through May 20 and was answered by 1,700 people, according to the ISRI press release.

Advocates of mixed-waste processing facilities, often called "dirty MRFs," say the approach can usher in high recovery rates because the high-tech facilities can recover materials consumers would have otherwise thrown in the trash.

Figures from the U.S. EPA show the country had 52 mixed-waste processing facilities handling a combined 58,700 tons of material per day in 2013. More than 90 percent of the processing capacity was in the West.

ISRI said the poll further bolsters its July 2014 policy, which reads, in part: "Since the quality of the recyclables as specification grade commodities is essential, ISRI opposes the commingling of recyclables with solid waste or mixed waste processing in a one-bin system."

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Wide world of recycling

Tue, 06/23/2015 - 11:29
Wide world of recycling

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

June 23, 2015

A London-area authority will stop collecting organics in front of every house and will instead implement communal food scrap drop-off sites, and the African country of Malawi is set to ban plastic bags.

A London waste management authority will no longer collect organics at the curb — not the curb in front of each house, that is. The Islington council will instead collect food scraps from communal drop-off sites placed at the curb throughout neighborhoods, according to Let's Recycle. Officials acknowledged the cost-cutting move would likely harm the recycling rate.

These days, when people have a question, they often turn to a Google search. Now, Google has compiled information related to searches around the world to show a glimpse into what different countries are asking related to recycling, energy, global warming and more. For example, the app showed Parisians have commonly asked, "Where to recycle Brita filters in Paris."

The country of Malawi will ban thin plastics bags by the end of this month. A ban had been delayed — but not halted — after the plastics manufacturing industry filed a lawsuit. Malawi is a landlocked country of more than 16 million people in southeastern Africa.

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Grant watch

Tue, 06/23/2015 - 11:29
Grant watch

June 23, 2015

More than $2 million was awarded to organizations throughout Nebraska to support tire collection and recycling efforts, according to the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality. Nearly $650,000 of that sum went to support collections, and the remainder went to partially reimbursing organizations for their costs in purchasing products made from recycled tires, including rubber mulch and synthetic turf. The Waste Reduction and Recycling Grants are funded by a $1 fee on new tire sales.

North Ridgeville, Ohio received one of the largest recycling grants provided by the county solid waste management district because of its high recycling rate. The City received a $50,600 recycling grant. The city of roughly 32,000 residents recycled 2,586 tons of material in 2014.

A New Jersey town has received a $10,000 grant to help pay for construction of a new recycling center. Matawan was one of the first towns to receive money from the county's Recycling Stimulus Initiative grants program. The nearby town of Keyport received a $6,000 grant from the program.

A university in Georgia received 30 new recycling bins through a Keep America Beautiful and Coca-Cola Foundation grant program. Valdosta State University was one of 37 colleges and universities to receive grants this year. The bins look like giant Coke bottles.

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NewsBits from Resource Recycling

Tue, 06/23/2015 - 11:28
NewsBits

June 23, 2015

Oregon school districts must phase out the use of expanded polystyrene in their cafeterias, unless they participate in an EPS recycling program, according to a new law. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown on June 16 signed HB 2762, which calls for school districts to stop using food-service foam as of July 1, 2021. The law allows for extensions for districts that show financial hardship complying with the law.

A look at the state of recycling in The Washington Post says a trend toward carts and single-stream collections is partly responsible for the industry's current woes. While overseas markets have dwindled and lower oil prices and product lightweighting have stung, the industry is weakened by increases in contamination, the article states.

The parks system in Austin, Texas has 2,000 garbage cans and just 17 recycling bins. Now city officials are talking about changing that, by launching an effort to expand recycling opportunities in the city's open spaces.

Pratt Industries has opened paper recycling facilities in Gary, Ind. and Wichita, Kan., the company announced. Both facilities will provide feedstock for a mill in Valparaiso, Indiana that is expected to come on-line this fall. The recycling facilities will be able to process more than 120,000 tons of material annually – most of that will be recovered paper, but the facilities will handle some metal and plastics as well.

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U.S. recycling rate remains just above 34 percent

Wed, 06/17/2015 - 14:05
U.S. recycling rate remains just above 34 percent

By Bobby Elliott and Dan Leif, Resource Recycling

June 17, 2015

A just-released report from the U.S. EPA indicates the 2013 national recycling rate was 34.3 percent, barely budging from 2012's rate of 34.5 percent.

According to the annual report, which can be viewed here, the U.S. generated 254.11 million tons of municipal solid waste in 2013 and recovered 87.18 million tons for recycling and composting.

MSW generation in 2013 rose by 1.22 percent compared with 2012's generation of 251.04 million tons. Per capita MSW generation also rose a hair in 2013, coming in at 4.40 pounds per person per day after reaching 4.38 pounds per person per day in 2012.

The paper and paperboard recycling rate in 2013 was 63.3 percent, down from the 2012 rate of 64.6 percent. The glass recycling rate also fell slightly, coming in at 27.3 percent in 2013 after reaching 27.7 percent in 2012. The plastics recycling rate, at 8.8 percent in 2012, rose to 9.2 percent during the most recently reported year.

The tone of the EPA report made clear the agency's fresh emphasis on sustainable materials management (SMM), an environmental-assessment approach to materials usage that takes into account a number of factors beyond basic disposal and recovery rates. The report on 2013 figures is titled "Advancing Sustainable Materials Management." Last year's report was called "Municipal Solid Waste Generation, Recycling, and Disposal in the United States."

"As the new name for our annual report suggests, EPA is thinking beyond waste," the report's executive summary reads. "SMM refers to the use and reuse of materials in the most productive and sustainable way across their entire life cycle."

Resource Recycling will provide an in-depth analysis on the numbers in next week's electronic newsletter.

 

Walmart's Kaplan joins Closed Loop Fund

Tue, 06/16/2015 - 10:15
Walmart's Kaplan joins Closed Loop Fund

By Bobby Elliott, Resource Recycling

June 16, 2015

Sustainability executive Rob Kaplan has left Walmart for the Closed Loop Fund, an organization the retail giant helped birth.

The move, announced last week by Kaplan, will make him managing director of the New York-based Closed Loop Fund. The Fund, which Walmart has helped launch and support, is aiming to offer zero-interest loans to support recycling efforts by communities and private companies.

Kaplan was director of product sustainability at Walmart. In a statement to Resource Recycling, he stressed the potential to drive recycling progress in the U.S. through his new employer.

"The Closed Loop Fund is at the forefront of driving business and societal value through the circular economy, impact investing, and environmental sustainability – all significant trends," said Kaplan. "If we are going to solve the challenges facing our society and future generations, we need to deliver innovation across all of them. I'm thrilled to be part of the team to help build this platform for change and can't wait to get started."

Backed by funding from Walmart and eight other large consumer product and packaging companies, the Fund was created in April 2014. It has been described as a push by the companies to increase supply of recycled content and combat "stagnant" recycling rates. The group says on its website it is aiming "to invest $100 million over the next five years" to jumpstart recycling systems across the U.S.

The Fund expects to announce the first of its projects this summer, CEO Ron Gonen stated at this month's Waste Expo conference.

During a four-year tenure at Walmart that eventually landed him as the company's sustainability director, Kaplan became a well-known industry member and recycling advocate. He spoke often of the company's goals to push recycled content usage and the broader value of recycling nationwide.

"We've turned our waste streams into profit centers," Kaplan said at Resource Recycling Conference 2014, "and cities can do that too."

Under Kaplan's watch, the company most recently launched a sustainable products section of its website, allowing shoppers to choose from a selection of "green" products, some of which contain recycled content.

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Aluminum can recycling rate reaches 56.7 percent

Tue, 06/16/2015 - 10:15
Aluminum can recycling rate reaches 56.7 percent

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

June 16, 2015

The recycling rate for aluminum cans reached its highest level in 17 years, although an estimated $800 million worth of the metal is still landfilled each year.

That's according to a report by The Aluminum Association and the Can Manufacturers Institute examining 2014 performance indicators for aluminum beverage container recycling.

The consumer recycling rate reached 56.7 percent in 2014, compared to the 54.9 percent rate in 2013. It was the highest rate since 1997.

An estimated 59.3 billion cans were recycled. At the same time, roughly 37.6 billion cans were landfilled, according to the report.

"These landfilled cans, which could otherwise have been recycled and made into new cans, have a significant negative impact on the environment through wasted energy and on the economy through lost jobs," the report states.

At the same time, the cans have an average higher percentage of recycled content than they did in the past. In 2014, a survey of association members showed an average recycled content of 70 percent. Of that, 43 percentage points are post-consumer scrap and 27 percentage points are post-industrial scrap, according to the report.

The Aluminum Association conducts a survey of recycled content every four or five years. Figures for 2007 showed average recycled content of 68 percent. The association surveyed five main producers of can sheet: Alcoa, Logan, Novelis, Tri-Arrows and Wise. Novelis, in particular, has made news with its high-recycled-content beverage container, Evercan, which boasts at least 90 percent recycled content.

At the same time, aluminum stats continue to be affected by product lightweighting. More containers must be collected to yield the same weight of scrap recovered in years past. In 2014, the average can weighed 12.99 grams, a 38 percent weight reduction from 1971, when the Aluminum Association began reporting average weights.

The Aluminum Association's consumer recycling rate compares domestic can recycling to cans shipped in the U.S. Its industry recycling rate, which includes imported scrap and exported cans, was calculated at 66.5 percent in 2014.

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Resource Recycling Conference 2015: A networking hotbed

Tue, 06/16/2015 - 10:14
Resource Recycling Conference 2015: A networking hotbed

June 16, 2015

"This was the best networking conference I've ever attended." That was the feedback offered from one industry executive at the close of last year's Resource Recycling Conference, and the upcoming edition will offer the same opportunities for key connections.

The 2015 Resource Recycling Conference, taking place in Indianapolis in September, will be attracting top industry decision-makers for a full slate of education sessions as well as a number of co-located events, including the National Recycling Coalition's annual members meeting and workshops being produced by The Recycling Partnership. The array of programming geared to leading recycling executives and officials simply cannot be found at any other North American recycling gathering.

If you want your municipality or firm to be part of the conversations shaping the future of materials diversion and sustainability, mark your calendar now for Resource Recycling Conference 2015.

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

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And the Emmy goes to … bottle recycling?

Tue, 06/16/2015 - 10:14
And the Emmy goes to … bottle recycling?

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

June 16, 2015

A six-and-a-half-minute report walking viewers through plastic beverage container recycling has been nominated for a Los Angeles-area Emmy Award.

The feature is called "Bottle-to-Bottle: The Future of Recycling?" It walks viewers through how CarbonLITE Industries' Riverside, Calif. facility recycles PET beverage containers into food-grade pellets used to make new containers.

Leon Farahnik, co-founder and chairman of CarbonLITE, provided the tour of the $60 million facility, which processes more than 2 billion containers each year. Most containers come from deposit redemption centers.

Susan Collins, executive director of the Container Recycling Institute, also makes an appearance in the report, arguing that bottle bills improve the recovery of containers.

"The states that have the programs that cover the whole state … within a couple of years, they see recycling rates in the 80 percent range," Collins said.

The piece was created by SoCal Connected, a program on KCET.

The Television Academy announced on June 4 a total of 156 nominations in 46 categories for the 67th Los Angeles Area Emmy Awards. KCET snagged a total of 12 nominations.

The winners will be announced on July 25.

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Wide world of recycling

Tue, 06/16/2015 - 10:13
Wide world of recycling

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

June 16, 2015

Waste management companies in the U.K. want local government to share in the financial risk of recycling, and a PET recycling plant in South Africa is the first in Africa producing recovered material for use in Coca-Cola containers.

Peru's relatively new national recycling program is being touted as a model for other South American countries to follow. The program's goal is to collect materials from 5 percent of homes in 250 districts in major cities. Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Bolivia are eyeing the program.

The U.K.'s waste management companies say they want local governments to assume more of the risk of low commodity values, according to letsrecycle.com. Historically, many contracts have had the companies pay the authorities to offset their collection costs and then companies would sell the commodities on the open market. But with the current low materials values, businesses are taking a hit when they try to sell the materials.

The European Commission is seeking public comment to inform its next legislative efforts to bolster waste reduction, reuse and recycling. The period to provide comment on for a new circular economy package ends Aug. 20. The commission aims to unveil its revamped circular economy package in late 2015.

A PET recycling facility in South Africa has opened, making the country the first in Africa to use recycled PET in Coca-Cola beverage containers. According to Recycling International, the $6 million facility will aim to produce more than 15,000 tons of recovered material a year to make new containers.

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NewsBits from Resource Recycling

Tue, 06/16/2015 - 10:12
NewsBits

June 16, 2015

Executives at Pratt Industries say the company remains on schedule to open its 450,000-ton-per-year recycled paperboard mill in Valparaiso, Ind. this October. The mill is adjacent to a company-owned box plant, which is the largest such facility in North America.

Chicago's inspector general has released a report pointing to widespread disposal of construction and demolition debris (C&D) at unpermitted disposal sites. First reported by the Chicago-Sun Times, the report notes the dumping practices "may extend to hazardous waste" and recommends improving city monitoring of C&D disposal practices.

A deep-pocketed Quebec nonprofit organization has decided to invest $40 million in upgrading the Canadian province's glass recycling plants. The group, Éco Entreprises Québec, says the funds will go toward improving sortation systems to increase recovery of glass containers and bottles.

As part of a contract with hauler Progressive Waste Solutions, the city of Baton Rouge, La. will no longer allow residents to include glass in their recycling bins and carts. The change is the latest in a string of instances of cities opting to remove glass from curbside programs.

Faced with lower-than-expected participation rates in Detroit's subscription-based curbside recycling program, a city organization has launched a program to help lower-income residents sign up. The group, Green Living Science, is gathering funds to cover the costs associated with starting service – $25 per household – and is hoping the effort will result in greater participation citywide.

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Industry and supplier news

Tue, 06/16/2015 - 10:11
Industry and supplier news

June 16, 2015

AMUT has partnered with Italy's University of Pisa to work on researching plastic materials processing. The aim is to develop and test new polymers that are produced from renewable sources and recycled materials. For more, click here.

On-board truck scale maker Creative Microsystems has launched a LoadMan website that's optimized for mobile phones and includes an online store for parts and accessories as well as other features. For more, click here.

Fibertech has opened a 45,000-square-foot expansion of its Elberfeld, Ind. location. The company makes industrial containers and carts for materials storage. It also recycles a variety of industrial plastic products into new products. For more, click here.

Industrial Magnetics has announced plans to build a 16,000-square-foot addition to the Boyne City, Mich. company's headquarters. The company makes magnetic products for separating and moving metal materials. For more, click here.

SUEZ Environnement North America has opened a corporate office in Paramus, N.J. Among other services, the company collects and processes 55,000 tons of recyclable materials each year. For more, click here.

XeroWaste Solutions is now an accredited reseller of GMT CLEAR waste management software, which aims to help increase efficiencies for recycling and other waste-management functions. XeroWaste Solutions is based in Vancouver, British Columbia. For more, click here.

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Hauler CEOs discuss 'broken' curbside recycling model

Tue, 06/09/2015 - 11:42
Hauler CEOs discuss 'broken' curbside recycling model

By Bobby Elliott, Resource Recycling

June 9, 2015

Leaders at four of the country's largest waste management companies told attendees of last week's Waste Expo conference America's curbside recycling system is in need of a dramatic overhaul.

While lending tentative optimism toward the waste industry as a whole, participants of the "Heavy Hitters" panel stressed curbside recycling is no longer the cash cow it used to be.

"It's the single-stream, high-volume residential stream that's completely broken," David Steiner, CEO of Waste Management, commented. "We all screwed it up."

The issue was a major focus of the hour-long session held at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The executives said low recycling fees and prevalent revenue-sharing with communities fails to account for today's increasing processing costs associated with single-stream programs and falling recycled commodity pricing.

"This is a crisis," Steiner said. "Never have we had prices as down as they are today."

Processing costs, meanwhile, are going up.

According to Ron Mittelstaedt, the CEO of Waste Connections, processing costs today average $80 to $100 per ton for his company despite the fact that households typically only see a $2 recycling fee per month. Disposal, meanwhile, costs Waste Connections between $30 and $40 per ton and residents pay about $25 a month for the service.

All four leaders agreed collection and processing costs should be covered before sharing surplus revenues with communities.

"If you're collecting, you've got to charge for collection," Joseph Quarin, CEO of Progressive Waste Solutions noted. "If you're processing, you've got to charge for processing."

"We're bearing too much risk in our balance sheet," Richard Burke, Advanced Disposal's CEO, added.

Annual financial filings for all four of the publicly traded companies show recycling revenues account for between 2 and 10 percent of overall revenues. Together, the companies represented at the Waste Expo panel generate nearly half of the $65 billion annual revenues of the waste management industry, panel moderator Michael Hoffman, managing director of Stifel Financial, noted.

Despite the widespread support for the re-working of municipal contracts to make them more hauler-friendly, Waste Connections leader Mittelstaedt cautioned such changes might be difficult to implement.

"It's a little naive for us to think we can completely change the system," Mittelstaedt said.

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EPR law for paint advances in New York

Tue, 06/09/2015 - 11:41
EPR law for paint advances in New York

By Jared Paben, Resource Recycling

June 9, 2015

New York may soon join the list of states with extended producer responsibility laws for paint.

A bill advancing through the New York legislature, S04926 in the Senate and A6199 in the Assembly, would place a fee on architectural paint to finance its collection, reuse, recycling and disposal.

Eight states and the District of Columbia already have EPR laws for paint. New York would be the second largest state, behind California, to implement such policy.

"We are pleased that the bill passed out of the committee and we are hopeful that, with the continued support of local government, the New York Product Stewardship Council, Natural Resources Defense Council and other interested stakeholders, the Senate will pass the bill," Marie Clarke, government affairs counsel for the American Coatings Association (ACA), told Resource Recycling.

The ACA created the nonprofit organization PaintCare to represent manufacturers in carrying out programs in states with paint EPR laws. If approved in New York, PaintCare intends to submit a stewardship plan on behalf of manufacturers.

"From the perspective of the New York Product Stewardship Council, we were very pleased to see the support of the ACA for statewide paint product stewardship. That's key, from our perspective," said Andrew Radin, board chairman of the council.

The Senate bill, sponsored by Republican Sen. Thomas O'Mara and co-sponsored by four Democrats, is worded similar to other states' paint EPR laws. It would require that consumers pay a fee when they purchase new paint, and that fee would fund the EPR program.

According to PaintCare, the fees so far have been the same for each state with a program: 35 cents, 75 cents or $1.60 per container, depending on the size. The fee amount in New York would be approved by state government after receiving an independent auditor's recommendation.

The ACA supports the bill because it "provides a sustainable financing system that covers the entire cost of the program and ensures a level playing field for the manufacturers and retailers of paint products," Clarke said. It also lets retailers choose whether to serve as take-back locations, and it provides for robust education and outreach to consumers, she said.

The law would require collections sites within a 15-mile radius of each city or Census-designated place in the state, with an additional site for each 30,000 people in those areas. That would require more than 280 collection sites for New York City.

If signed into law, the EPR program would begin March 1, 2016.

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