Resource Recycling Magazine

Updated: 15 hours 35 min ago

Education, innovation mark start to Resource Recycling Conference 2014

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 11:54
Education, innovation mark start to Resource Recycling Conference 2014

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Sept. 16, 2014

The fifth annual Resource Recycling Conference has kicked off in the Big Easy.

Located at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside, this year's conference in bringing together nearly 500 recycling professionals and leaders from 39 states, five Canadian provinces and seven countries.

During events on Monday, $20,000 awards from the second annual Recycling Innovators Forum went to the Healthcare Plastics Recycling Council and Ruby Lake Glass LLC for their potentially game-changing recycling ideas. A slew of ancillary meetings and industry trainings also took place.

On Tuesday, conference action begins at 8:30 a.m. Central Time with a plenary session featuring sustainability guru and author William McDonough and Rob Kaplan, Walmart's sustainability leader. The co-keynotes will discuss how to push forward powerful recycling and sustainability initiatives on a national or global scale.

Another session Tuesday morning will focus on current recycling markets for paper, plastic and aluminum. Afternoon sessions are set to cover the changing plastics recycling landscape, community outreach and just-below-the-surface trends that are having a real and measurable impact on the industry.

Look out for a follow-up tomorrow morning on the day's events and headlines.

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Indianapolis sued over trash-sorting MRF

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 11:49
Indianapolis sued over trash-sorting MRF

By Bobby Elliott, Resource Recycling

Sept. 16, 2014

The City of Indianapolis has been hit with a lawsuit for reworking a city contract and giving the go-ahead to a controversial MRF without seeking alternatives beforehand.

The lawsuit, filed Sept. 5 by paper companies Graphic Packaging International Inc. and Rock-Tenn Converting Co., as well as a private citizen, charges that the Indianapolis Board of Public Works made its decision "without following the proper procedures designed to assure that the contract most beneficial to the public is entered into and that an open and public process is utilized."

In addition, the lawsuit asserts that the deal "will degrade the recycling stream, harming both the public and the plaintiff companies that rely on recycled waste, and actually creates a disincentive for the City to promote clean recycling."

This summer the City altered its current contract with waste-to-energy (WTE) firm Covanta and allowed the company to build a $45 million mixed waste processing center next door to its WTE plant. Recycling advocates and environmentalists at the time largely opposed the MRF, and they called on Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard to consider other recycling options.

Plaintiffs are urging the Marion County Superior Court to require the City to open up the floor for more proposals.

While the Indiana Recycling Coalition (IRC) is being careful not to "speak for the plaintiffs," a statement from the group supports the notion of having the Ballard administration reconsider its decision.

"The IRC is relieved to learn that the courts are being asked to require the City of Indianapolis to go through a public process (as the plaintiffs believe is required by Indiana Code) for this significant long term City contract," Carey Hamilton, the group's executive director, said in a statement. "The IRC believes a competitive process would result in a waste disposal and recycling contract that would be much better for taxpayers, for recycling and for job creation."

IRC has long held that Indianapolis is doing its citizens a disfavor by opting for the Covanta facility and contract renewal.

The City and Covanta, meanwhile, appear to be going ahead with plans as ironed out in their new contract. The City expressed confidence in a statement sent to Resource Recycling.

"We are perfectly within our legal right to amend our contract with Covanta," City of Indianapolis spokesperson Stephanie Wilson said. "The City’s Office of Corporation Counsel will file a legal brief with the court, and that will provide more information."

James Regan, Covanta's spokesperson, confirmed the company is "in the permitting process" to build the new MRF.

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Report: EPR efforts in Canada hampered by lack of specific goals

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 11:47
Report: EPR efforts in Canada hampered by lack of specific goals

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Sept. 16, 2014

For the third year in a row, an EPR advocacy group out of Canada has written a province-by-province assessment on product stewardship efforts.

And while the latest report from EPR Canada notes "industry funded and operated recycling programs are growing in numbers," the group sees a problem with way laws are being crafted: At present, much of the legislation is leaving out material-specific targets.

"Specific recovery targets for individual material types such as printers in electronics recycling or aseptic containers, e.g., drinking boxes, in packaging would lead to industry sharpening their recycling policies and plans and striving harder to keep more secondary resources out of our landfills," Duncan Bury, EPR Canada's founder, said in a release.

Without those product-specific targets, producers can't be held to their commitments, the group argues.

"The consequence is that some industry sectors are not being held to recovery standards and perhaps are not as driven to recover their products and packaging for recycling as they would be if they had to comply with a specific material category recovery target," Bury stated.

The province-by-province rundown offers an extensive chronicle of 2013 efforts and, at least on paper, provinces appeared to all engage in discussions surrounding introducing, expanding and implementing EPR programs for a wide range of materials, from PPP to mercury-containing products.

Next fall EPR Canada will release yet another report, which will include letter grades for each province. The group says it held off on registering grades this time around in recognition "that the development of EPR policies and programs takes time."

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Wide world of recycling

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 11:43
Wide world of recycling

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Sept. 16, 2014

Our global rundown offers details on a $30 million PET recycling operation in South Africa, efforts in Nepal to drive recycling among mountaineers and research that could help chart the movement of marine debris.

South African paper and plastic packaging giant Mpact recently announced it is putting more than $30 million behind a PET processing operation in its home country. The facility will handle more than 29,000 tons of material annually.

The BBC recently reported on efforts from officials in Nepal to encourage recycling among mountaineers who head toward Himalayan peaks. It's estimated that 50 tons of waste material currently sits on the slopes of Mount Everest.

Researchers at the University of New South Wales in Australia have created an algorithm that can help identify where marine debris generated in different nations ultimately ends up in the world's oceans. The mathematical model takes into account the intricacies of ocean currents and other factors.

The website for the Guardian offers details on Britain's first house made completely from reused materials such as video cassettes, blue jeans, toothbrushes and carpet.

U.K. consumers will be exposed to more messaging encouraging the recycling of plastic thanks to a just-launched initiative called Pledge 4 Plastics. The effort is supported by the U.K. government as well as packaging giants such as Coca-Cola and Unilever, and it aims to help the nation stay on line with government-established plastics recycling targets over the next several years.

That campaign comes in the wake of initial findings from a U.K. government study that found the nation is doing better than expected on working toward its plastics recycling goals. The U.K. has a plastic packaging recycling rate target of 57 percent by 2017.


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Resource Recycling Conference 2015: Save the date

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 11:37
Resource Recycling Conference 2015: Save the date

Sept. 16, 2014

Next year's premier gathering of North American recycling industry decision-makers is slated for Sept. 28-30, 2015 in Indianapolis.

Mark your calendars now to ensure you don't miss out on the high-level discussions, networking opportunities and educational sessions that are available only at the Resource Recycling Conference. The 2015 edition will be the sixth year of the annual conference.

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

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NewsBits

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 11:19
NewsBits

Sept. 16, 2014

Beverage producers certainly do not want Massachusetts to expand its container deposit law. The Washington-based American Beverage Association has pumped $5 million into opposing the November ballot measure. This represents more than 90 percent of the funds garnered to beat the initiative. In comparison, proponents of adding containers to the system have raised $265,000, with the state chapter of the Sierra Club being the largest contributor at $144,000.

The data crunching site FiveThirtyEight recently published a compelling investigation of San Francisco's often cited 80 percent recycling rate. In the story, writer Carl Bialik points out that in 2013 the city actually sent more trash to landfill than it did in 2012, and he explains why achieving true zero waste may be beyond the capability of any modern municipality.

Seattle is considering instituting a system to levy fines on residents who do not properly divert material. Residents would be subject to a $1 charge each time they fail to separate compostable material, while businesses and multifamily buildings would have to pay $50 per offense after two warnings.

The National Waste & Recycling Association reports industry employment hit another all-time high in August. During that month, 382,500 individuals were employed in waste and recycling positions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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St. Paul eyes 2015 RFP before expanding program

Tue, 09/09/2014 - 13:01
St. Paul eyes 2015 RFP before expanding program

By Bobby Elliott, Resource Recycling

Sept. 10, 2014

The City of St. Paul, Minnesota has postponed plans to upgrade its residential recycling program until it reviews bids for a new recycling contract next year.

The City, which has been serviced by Minneapolis-based Eureka Recycling since 2001, had planned to replace bins with carts in 2015, but the cost of the move, which would also require a switch from curbside to alleyway pickup, has led the mayor's office to hold off on those plans for now.

"We need to make sure we get the program that we want at a competitive price," Annie Hunt, environmental advisor to St. Paul's mayor, told Resource Recycling.

According to Hunt, the City has been approached by Eureka on several different occasions to negotiate a contract extension before the 2015 RFP. With Eureka's contract set to expire at the end of 2016, the company is hoping to receive some kind of extension guaranteeing the longtime partnership will continue.

"One of the things the city had said that it wanted to do — and it's a significant change to the program — was to move collections from curbside collection to alley collection," said Eureka's co-president, Tim Brownell. "For Eureka to be able to make that switch we would need to purchase a new fleet of trucks … and the challenge is to try to affordably be able to do that when we have less than two years remaining on our contract."

By securing a three-year extension through 2019, Eureka would be able to purchase a new fleet of trucks while the city would purchase the carts on its own, Brownell said.

Reports have varied widely on the kind of offers Eureka has submitted, however, and Hunt said the City has been advised by its legal advisor to see the RFP through before making any commitments.

Eureka's last offer, Hunt added, called for an annual 5 percent hike in residential recycling fees after initial offers suggested a far higher increase.

Brownell, meanwhile, contends that as long as the company is awarded a three-year contract extension through 2019, residents won't see their annual fee increase at all.

"We could do it for no service increase at all if we were to extend the terms of the contract," Brownell said.

Hunt said the residential recycling fee comes out to an average of $52 per single-family household annually, while Brownell offered a lower number: $43 annually.

Eureka went forward with switching to single-stream service this year, but it is still collecting material curbside in bins. The firm also has begun accepting more plastics, including containers with Nos. 4, 5 and 7 resin codes.

Once the city makes the switch to carts — a move both Hunt and Brownell noted would likely increase collection and recycling in the city — a food scrap collection program would likely be next on the agenda to improve St. Paul's diversion efforts.

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Resource Recycling Conference 2014: Just a week away

Tue, 09/09/2014 - 12:58
Resource Recycling Conference 2014: Just a week away

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Sept. 10, 2014

If you haven't signed up for the best meeting of the minds in recycling, the time to act is now. The Resource Recycling Conference kicks off next Monday, Sept. 15.

This year's conference is taking place in New Orleans and offers attendees a jambalaya of networking opportunities and educational events. The second annual Recycling Innovators Forum, the trade show hall, the sessions covering the biggest industry trends — it's all part of the conference experience.

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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Rhode Island takes on contaminated loads

Tue, 09/09/2014 - 12:54
Rhode Island takes on contaminated loads

By Dan Leif, Resource Recycling

Sept. 10, 2014

The group that operates the only MRF in Rhode Island says it has seen significant increases in contamination over the last year, and it's starting to more frequently fine municipalities that send heavily tainted loads.

Starting last week, the quasi-public state organization Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation (RIRRC) began regularly enforcing a code in its municipal contracts that makes contaminated loads subject to a $250 fee.

RIRRC's director of recycling services, Sarah Kite, said three loads totaling roughly 22 tons brought in on Sept. 6 from the city of Cranston were rejected and hit with fines. In the past, RIRRC would issue only two or three contamination fines for an entire year.

"We're seeing a lot of food scraps," said Kite, "and also leaf and yard debris, construction and demolition debris, broken furniture, cables, ropes, textiles and more. The contaminated loads are just garbage."

Kite said the rise in contamination has come alongside the transition to single-stream collection in many of the state's larger municipalities. Currently, 14 towns and cities in Rhode Island offer automated single-stream pick-up of recyclables.

Kite said all was moving ahead smoothly until Providence, the state's capital and largest city with 225,000 people, switched to roll carts in 2013.

"Providence has the most to gain and the most to contribute, but what we're seeing unfortunately is they are causing the most problems," Kite said. "Looking back, I think the program needed to be implemented in phases. You start with different areas of the city and that way you can really target your educational efforts. The door-to-door was needed in a city as diverse as Providence."

Kite said RIRRC sent out notices to municipalities in early July alerting them to the fact the enforcement action would start up this month. She said the timing was tough because Labor Day weekend tends to be a time of heavy waste generation and thus improper use of recycling bins. But she thinks when towns and cities see the load rejection charges on their September bills, they will be quick to deepen communication with residents.

"Public works directors are saying, 'I need a stick,'" said Kite. "Hopefully, this will help them prove their point they need more ongoing education."

The RIRRC's MRF processes 130,000 tons of material per year. When a load dumped onto the tipping floor is deemed overly contaminated, it gets moved to the group's landfill, which is located nearby. Still, that step causes headaches for officials trying to keep pace with the materials stream.

"We're the only MRF in the state," Kite said. "We need to be operating 50 tons an hour and can't shut down."

Contamination also appears to be a concern in nearby New York City. A recent story cited 2014 data showing recycling violations up 47 percent six months through the year.

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Recyclebank celebrates a decade

Tue, 09/09/2014 - 12:50
Recyclebank celebrates a decade

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Sept. 10, 2014

Recycling rewards company Recyclebank has hit its 10-year anniversary.

Founded in 2004 by Ron Gonen, now the CEO of the Closed Loop Fund, Recyclebank has worked with roughly 300 communities to collect upwards of 5.8 billion pounds of material for recycling.

"Recyclebank was developed to change the way we think about sustainability and recycling. We believe that personal actions can and do make a big difference, that people prefer the carrot over the stick when it comes sustainability," said Javier Flaim, Recyclebank's CEO, in a press release. "Our 10-year anniversary is not just a celebration for Recyclebank, but a celebration for those communities, brands and partners who have worked tirelessly to truly make an impact on local recycling rates and, ultimately, pave the way for a greener future."

The company, which started as a program to provide incentives for communities and individuals to increase collection of recyclables through advanced tracking and data technology, has expanded over the years. Just recently, the company launched its own online store, OneTwine.com, where residents can purchase sustainability-minded goods.

According to the latest data from Recyclebank, 2013 saw partnerships across the country lead to 1.5 billion pounds of material getting collected and recycled. That haul accounts for just over 25 percent of the company's all-time collection totals.

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2014 Recycling Innovators Forum: See the finalists make their pitches

Tue, 09/09/2014 - 12:48
2014 Recycling Innovators Forum: See the finalists make their pitches

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Sept. 10, 2014

The organizers of the 2014 Recycling Innovators Forum have identified the eight proposals that are moving on to the final presentation stage as they compete for a combined $40,000 in cash prizes and valuable industry exposure.

Complete information on each of the concepts and the individuals behind them can be found here. The competition is divided into two categories — Enterprise/Institution for entries that came from a larger company and group and Garage Innovator for proposals from small startups and teams — and four finalists were selected on each side. The second annual competition received more than 60 proposals.

The final presentation round will take place the afternoon of Monday, Sept. 15 at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside during the first day of the Resource Recycling Conference. The event is free and open to the public and will be followed by a reception where all Innovators Forum presenters will be on hand to answer questions and develop industry contacts.

To learn more and register for the Forum for free, click here.

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NewsBits

Tue, 09/09/2014 - 12:40
NewsBits

Sept. 10, 2014

Green Sky Industries of New Jersey last week informed its more than 100 employees it is abruptly closing both of its processing facilities in the state due to "declining business conditions." A holder of more than 75 municipal contracts, Green Sky was said to be hampered by Green Fence-related markets for recycled commodities overseas.

Targeting "young people with empty cans and empty wallets" at music festivals in Sweden, McDonald's has begun accepting emptied containers in exchange for food. Armed with black recycling bags, consumers can now trade in 10 cans for either a hamburger or cheeseburger at select McDonalds restaurants in Sweden. Want a Big Mac? That'll cost you 40 cans.

Approximately 43 billion packages manufactured by Tetra Pak were recycled worldwide in 2013, the packaging and food service company has announced. Tetra Pak, which employs more than 23,000 people and supplies to more than 170 countries, recently released its 2014 Sustainability Updateand the document is available online.

Recycling fines are up 47 percent in New York City, the New York Post has reported. Those fines, which totaled 56,000 citywide during the first half of 2014, are likely connected to the city's April 2013 inclusion of rigid plastics in its recycling program – any rigid plastic found in trash bags is considered a punishable a violation of the city's recycling law.

Vermont's Universal Recycling Law may target increased recycling and composting in the state, but at least one municipality is considering doing away with its longtime curbside recycling program because of it. The town of Middlebury, Vermont, which has had curbside recycling since 1990, is weighing a handful of options that will either expand the service – meeting the requirements of the law – or let curbside be handled entirely by the private sector.

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Bill Caesar leaves Waste Management

Thu, 09/04/2014 - 10:27
Bill Caesar leaves Waste Management

By Bobby Elliott and Dan Leif, Resource Recycling

Sept. 4, 2014

Waste Management's top recycling executive is parting ways with the firm after a tenure that saw early financial gains and late hurdles.

Bill Caesar, president of WM Recycle America and WM Organic Growth, is leaving the company this month, a Waste Management representative told Resource Recycling. The move is tied to a corporate reorganization publicly traded Waste Management is currently undertaking.

"As part of our broader effort to align our corporate functions with the strategic priorities of the company and to better support the needs of the business, we’re doing a bit of restructuring of the teams that support the recycling business, a business that continues to be a very important part of our overall portfolio," said Toni Beck, WM corporate spokesperson. "Given this, Bill Caesar has decided to leave the company mid-September. As leader of both the company’s recycling business and its portfolio of investments in new technology and services businesses, Bill’s disciplined and focused leadership has paid tremendous dividends and we wish him much success as he moves on to new opportunities."

Caesar joined Waste Management in 2010 as the company's chief strategy officer and, at the time, recycling revenues were soaring. Reflecting in large part the volatility of recycling markets in recent years, the company's performance in the sector was erratic during Caesar's time with the company.

According to the company's annual financials, revenues from the recycling business in 2010 totaled $1.17 billion, signifying a major jump from 2009's $741 million in revenues. In 2011, revenues were even higher, reaching $1.58 billion.

Caesar took over as WM Recycle America president in January of 2012. That year, after four consecutive years of gains, revenues fell to $1.36 billion. In 2013, with Caesar still at the helm, revenues improved, coming in at $1.48 billion but failing to reach 2011's record highs.

Throughout Caesar's time with the company, Waste Management increased its number of mostly single-stream materials recovery facilities (MRFs) throughout the country, a trend underscored by the January 2013 acquisition of Greenstar Recycling and that firm's dozen MRFs.

In November of 2013 Caesar gave an extensive interview with Resource Recycling, noting the recycling side of Waste Management was taking notable financial hits because of China's Green Fence restrictions on scrap imports.

The company has not named a replacement for Caesar, and it has not announced any further recycling wing-specific cuts as part of the reorganization.

Caesar was a key force behind making Waste Management a founding sponsor of the annual Recycling Innovators Forum, which rewards "inventors and innovative organizations with game-changing ideas on how to advance recycling." [Ed: Resource Recycling's parent company, Resource Recycling, Inc. is also a founding sponsor.]

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