Resource Recycling Magazine

Updated: 1 day 59 min ago

More than 2,200 tons recycled during Recycle-Bowl competition

Mon, 02/16/2015 - 23:33
More than 2,200 tons recycled during Recycle-Bowl competition

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Feb. 17, 2015

Competing against 1,400 schools in 49 states and the District of Columbia, one school rose above the rest in this year’s Recycle-Bowl competition: Phoenix's Magnet Traditional School.

The Arizona school serving students K-8 diverted 48 pounds of materials per person during the competition, taking the national championship in the School Division.

Recycle-Bowl, a program of Keep America Beautiful, allows K-12 students nationwide to compete in various recycling competition divisions, including the Schools Division (schools recovering their own materials), the Community Division (schools that also accept materials from the community) and the District Division (district-wide competition).

Keep America Beautiful last week announced the winners of the 2014 event.

In all, during the four-week tracking period last October and November, schools diverted more than 2,200 tons of material, according to Keep America Beautiful. The fourth annual competition was conducted during the lead-up to America Recycles Day on Nov. 15, 2014.

“Through a fun and friendly competition, Recycle-Bowl shines a spotlight on school recycling and instills environmental values in our younger generations,” Jennifer Jehn, president and CEO of Keep America Beautiful, stated in a press release.

As its prize, Magnet Traditional School will receive a plastic park bench made with recycled content, courtesy of Trex.

Other national category winners for 2014 were:

  • Community Division: Hillcrest Elementary School (Dublin, Ga.)
  • District Division: Albany Unified School District (Albany, Calif.)
  • Waste Reduction Champion: Guy Lee Elementary (Springfield, Ore.)
  • Food Scrap Collection Champion: Albany Children’s Center (Albany, Calif.)
  • Most Improved School: Central High School (Phoenix, Ariz.)

The competition was made possible in part by support from the Consumer Aerosol Products Council, Trex and Busch Systems.

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Wide world of recycling

Mon, 02/16/2015 - 23:29
Wide world of recycling

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Feb. 17, 2015

Innovators in the United Arab Emirates will soon be rolling out a recycling bin that lets residents know how environmentally positive their diversion efforts are. See what else is covered in this week's global news rundown.

A recycling bin developed in the United Arab Emirates will provide consumers with immediate feedback on the environmental contribution they just made by recycling a specific material. The new receptacle was developed by the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology and a local company.

A warm spring likely helped boost England’s household recycling rate to 48.5 percent in spring 2014, the highest quarterly rate ever. Some of the increase was attributed to an increase in the composting of organics, which may have been caused by warmer temperatures.

The Environment Agency in the U.K. will consider adding requirements for recycling operations looking to obtain environmental permits, after the agency was criticized for its handling of a now-defunct recycling company. Proposed changes include a new requirement for a fire prevention plan for sites that store combustible materials.


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College & University Recycling Coalition announces 2015 webinar series

Mon, 02/16/2015 - 23:26
College & University Recycling Coalition announces 2015 webinar series

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Feb. 17, 2015

The College & University Recycling Coalition has announced the 2015 lineup for a webinar series that drew 1,300 participants in 2014.

The 2015 schedule touches on a wide range of topics, including education strategies and organics composting and planning. The free webinars are meant to serve campus-based recycling professionals.

The 2015 lineup breaks down as follows:

  • Feb. 26: Getting Credit for Recycling and Materials Management
  • April 9: Is Your Education Outreach Changing Behavior?
  • June 11: Can That Be Composted? Should It Be?
  • Aug. 13: Learning from Failure
  • Oct. 8: Planning for Success
  • Dec. 10: Quantifying Waste Reduction Efforts

The webinars are all scheduled for 1:00 p.m. EST. The free webinars have been added to the Resource Recycling online calendar, available here.

For more information, or to register for the webinars, click here.

Alcoa Foundation sponsors the series, which is now in its fifth year.

CURC is a nonprofit organization with nearly 900 members, who focus on campus-based recycling and sustainability.

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NewsBits

Mon, 02/16/2015 - 23:22
NewsBits

Feb. 17, 2015

As a crisis of shipping slowdowns and stoppages drags on at West Coast ports, President Obama has ordered his labor secretary to California to attempt to restart negotiations between organized labor and a network of terminal operators. The dispute has stalled exports of various recyclable materials, forcing some companies to look at long-term storage or disposal of the materials.

Scott Walker, Wisconsin governor and presidential hopeful, is proposing to cut the state's recycling budget in half. In a controversial budget proposal released earlier this month, Walker suggests providing $15 million to local recycling programs over a two-year span. Wisconsin municipalities had received $32 million in recycling funding as part of the last funding cycle.

Despite strong data indicating that landfilling is on the rise in Michigan, the state is moving ahead with a goal of doubling its current 15 percent recycling rate. In a recent interview , Gov. Rick Snyder reiterated his support for a 10-month old plan to improve access statewide and develop markets for recycled materials. "If we can recycle more, it's good for economic growth and potentially creating jobs," Snyder said.

Safelite AutoGlass recycled more than 1.3 million windshields in 2014, preventing more than 23,000 tons of waste from going to landfill, according to a press release. Windshields aren’t commonly recycled because a layer of polyvinyl butyral plastic separates two sheets of glass, and the materials are difficult to separate. But Safelite partners with Shark Glass Recycling North America, which uses a crushing method to separate the materials.

Research funded by the Corrugated Packaging Alliance and conducted by the University of California-Davis and toxicology experts Haley & Aldrich suggests corrugated shipping containers commonly used to ship food items are sanitary. Recycling them after first usage, research suggests, keeps them from breaking down and becoming more susceptible to bacteria over time.

Cumberland County, New Jersey managed to collect more than 10,000 tons of recyclables in 2014. Composed of 14 municipalities, Cumberland is crediting the 30 percent increase in recycling to a switch to single-stream collection of recyclables.

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Industry & Supplier News

Mon, 02/16/2015 - 23:19
Industry & Supplier News

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Feb. 17, 2015

The first completely American made anaerobic digester has opened in the small town of Pixley, in California’s Central Valley, according to a press release from digester builder Regenis. The digester processes organic material from dairy farms and uses the resulting energy to power an ethanol factory, which, in turn, produces clean biofuels. Find more information here.

UNTHA, a shredder manufacturer, is offering a behind-the-scenes look at its operations with a new six-minute video. The Austria-based company made the video available on its website, here.

California leaders have created a new Select Committee on Waste Reduction and Recycling in 21st Century California, which will look for additional opportunities to expand and improve waste reduction and recycling programs. Assemblyman Rich Gordon, D-Menlo Park, has been appointed chairman of the committee. Read more here.

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CVP looks back on 2014

Mon, 02/09/2015 - 22:48
CVP looks back on 2014

By Bobby Elliott, Resource Recycling

Feb. 10, 2015

The Curbside Value Partnership has released its 2014 annual report, reflecting on a busy year in the organization's history.

In addition to continuing its work with communities aiming to boost recovery and participation rates, CVP in 2014 launched The Recycling Partnership, a public-private recycling venture with national ambitions, and a 14-member Technical Council to "help CVP build better tools, stronger approaches and calculate much-needed data."

Both developments, according to CVP's executive director, Keefe Harrison, are markers of change for a group that started out in 2003 focused solely on container recycling.

"Today we’re working to build not just stronger city solutions, but solutions that strengthen the industry as a whole," Harrison writes in the report.

Launched in May 2014, the CVP's Recycling Partnership has brought in 10 industry funders to help communities finance making a switch from bins to carts. The project, which was developed and passed on to CVP by the Southeast Recycling Development Council, locked in deals with three cities in 2014: Columbia, South Carolina; Richmond, Virginia; and Florence, Alabama.

Other municipalities interested in teaming with the Recycling Partnership have until April 15 to submit proposals.

CVP says it also hopes to do smaller scale work with at least a dozen additional communities in 2015, and later this month it will release a Web-based guide for communities interested in making the bins-to-carts move.

CVP's growth into a more prominent national recycling group is also underlined by its financial blossoming, the report shows. In 2014, CVP more than doubled its budget and cast of funding partners.

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Resource Recycling Conference 2015: All the hottest topics

Mon, 02/09/2015 - 22:38
Resource Recycling Conference 2015: All the hottest topics

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Feb. 10, 2015

The premier gathering of top recycling executives and program coordinators is set for September in Indianapolis. Start planning now to ensure you are in on the material diversion dialogues that matter.

The Resource Recycling Conference will include sessions on the most relevant topics to recycling professionals right now – dirty MRFs, the fluctuating commodities market, resident outreach tools and much, much more.

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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West Coast port dispute slows movement of bales

Mon, 02/09/2015 - 22:35
West coast port dispute slows movement of bales

By Bobby Elliott, Resource Recycling

Feb. 10, 2015

Contract negotiations between West Coast dock workers and their employers have appeared to hit a boiling point, leaving recycled material in need of export stuck in ports – and potentially bound for landfills.

Since May 2014, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) have been attempting to reach a long-term contract. Those negotiations continued into late October, and at that point ILWU "began to stage devastating slowdowns up and down the coast," PMA alleges. The dispute has caused major delays in overseas cargo shipments, including those carrying recycled materials.

Scott Horne, vice president of government affairs at the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), told Resource Recycling the dispute is hurting recycling-related business that are already battling a tough economic climate.

"With falling commodity prices, recyclers are already having a tough enough time," Horne said. "The ports slowdown is now an additional obstacle to markets that do exist. Scrap is the top export by volume out of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, and roughly $9.4 billion in scrap passes out of West Coast ports every year. A complete shutdown would have a crippling effect on the industry and cost American jobs."

Meanwhile, the West Coast Refuse and Recycling Coalition, representing California, Oregon and Washington recycling businesses and waste haulers, sent out a letter to members Jan. 30 urging action and noting the potential negative impacts of a prolonged dispute.

"The continued slowdown at West Coast port terminals is having serious implications upon our industry’s ability to fulfill our contractual obligations designed to achieve maximum recycling and waste diversion goals for the municipalities we serve," the coalition wrote. "Without immediate relief, we may soon be forced to begin redirecting this material to extended storage and disposal, undermining the very goal of our material management operations."

In addition, San Francisco's KTVU News recently reported waste and recycling company Recology is quickly amassing stocks of cardboard and paper awaiting export to Asian paper mills. The California Refuse Recycling Council has also sent a letter to California Gov. Jerry Brown, urging action on the dispute.

Far West Recycling president Keith Ristau told Resource Recycling the Oregon-based company was sitting on 7,200 tons of material "all due to the slowdown."

In the latest development on negotiations, PMA suspended vessel operations over the weekend, stating in a press release that "PMA member companies finally have concluded that they will no longer continue to pay workers premium pay for diminished productivity." Ports were reopened Monday but no agreement between the two sides has been reached.

PMA announced Feb. 4 a new contract offer to ILWU "goes as far as we believe we can go." According to an accompanying video message from PMA president Jim McKenna, the offer raises the annual average salary of full-time ILWU workers to more than $160,000 (from $147,000) and raises the maximum pension to nearly $89,000 (from $80,000). The five-year offer also continues to provide health insurance at no cost to ILWU employees.

“I hope the ILWU leadership will give very serious consideration to this contract offer, which I believe respects their members and gives us a clear path to conclude these talks," McKenna said during a conference call with reporters last week. "We owe it to workers and businesses across the nation to resolve our differences and get our ports moving again.”

ILWU president Robert McEllrath, meanwhile, issued a strongly worded retort to McKenna's characterization that the port could be headed for collapse, and he called on workers to "stay at the negotiating table and work through a few remaining issues," McEllrath said. "We are very close to reaching an agreement."

Craig Merrilees, ILWU's communications director, told Resource Recycling on Friday that "only a few outstanding issues remain" and stated the two parties "are very, very close" to an agreement.

While Merrilees would not divulge specific issues in need of resolution before an agreement can be met, he said they can be "easily resolved." He added, "We just need to get it done."

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Bin grants up for grabs

Mon, 02/09/2015 - 22:29
Bin grants up for grabs

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Feb. 10, 2015

Coca-Cola and Keep America Beautiful are back with the 2015 edition of their annual recycling bin grant program.

With applications now accepted through Feb. 27, the Coca-Cola/Keep America Beautiful Recycling Bin Grant Program is aiming to fund the addition of more than 3,500 bins on college campuses and in public spaces.

"Together with Keep America Beautiful, we are working to increase local recycling rates and to encourage environmental sustainability in communities across the country," Lori George Billingsley, vice president, community relations, Coca-Cola North America, said in a press release.

According to Coca-Cola and KAB, the additional bins could "result in an estimated 1 million pounds of recyclable materials collected during their first year in use."

Founded in 2007, the bins program has provided 542 organizations with more 39,000 recycling bins across the U.S.


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New York leader notes zero waste ambitions

Mon, 02/09/2015 - 22:27
New York leader notes zero waste ambitions

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Feb. 10, 2015

New York City’s sanitation commissioner, Kathryn Garcia, would like to eventually halt sending any of the city’s waste to landfills.

Garcia, who was hired as commissioner of the city's Department of Sanitation in March 2014 by Mayor Bill de Blasio, told Capital New York that she would like to see no materials going to landfill and she looks forward to rolling out programs to achieve that.

She stopped short of articulating any specific new efforts, however.

“My goal is zero waste to landfills,” she told Capital New York. “We look forward to rolling out new programs to achieve this.”

With a current diversion rate of around 15 percent, New York City trails many cities when it comes to recycling. It also lags behind the national recycling rate of 34.5 percent.

New York's former mayor, Michael Bloomberg, helped usher in an era of renewed focus on materials recovery in America's largest city.

In 2013, he announced the addition of all rigid plastics, regardless of resin code, to the city’s curbside recycling program. Later that year, he announced a “Recycle Everything” campaign aimed at boosting the diversion rate and said he’d like to see the rate double to 30 percent by 2017. Also, in conjunction with an ad campaign, Bloomberg announced an expansion of the city’s organics recycling program.

This year, under de Blasio, the City finalized a ban on foam food service packaging on the grounds that it couldn't be recycled. The city is also contemplating a tax on plastic bags to cut down on usage.

“None of this will happen overnight,” Garcia said. “We want to see the curve moving upwards. We know that there’s a lot of work to do.”

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NewsBits

Mon, 02/09/2015 - 22:18
NewsBits

Feb. 10, 2015

President Barack Obama's proposed 2016 budget calls for a nearly 6 percent increase in funding to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. While questions remain over how much of the president's budget will remain after the Republican-controlled House and Senate get to work on a revised version, the current proposal provides $8.6 billion to the U.S. EPA, a 5.8 percent increase over 2015 funding.

International Paper is in the process of closing recovered paper processing centers in Denver and Memphis. The firm, which handles six million tons of recyclable fiber annually, will continue to operate 18 other paper recycling centers. Approximately two dozen employees will be affected by the plant closures.

Novelis has announced plans to put another $48 million toward an automotive scrap aluminum recycling facility in Oswego, New York. According to Novelis, the new investment brings the company's total investment in the Oswego operation to more than $400 million. The latest investment will cover upgrades at the facility in addition to a new 81,000-square-foot processing site to supply the automotive industry with recycled aluminum parts and material.

Employees at a local recycling plant in Mesa, Arizona unearthed several rounds of explosives in a heap of scrap metal. A bomb squad descended upon the facility, which is owned by publicly traded Commercial Metals Company, and determined just one of the rounds was live. It is unclear who dropped off the explosives at the facility.

New Orleans is bringing glass back. After a decade of sending glass bottles to landfills, the Crescent City is in the process of adding glass back into its curbside recycling program. The transition will take place over an extended period of time and begin in the French Quarter and Central Business District before expanding outward.

The application deadline for the U.S. Composting Council's Sustainable Student Scholarship Award is fast approaching. Applications are due on Feb. 15 and are open to any high school senior "with a keen interest in the compost industry." Click here for more.

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Organics collection on the way in Minneapolis

Tue, 02/03/2015 - 19:09
Organics collection on the way in Minneapolis

By Bobby Elliott, Resource Recycling

Feb. 4, 2015

By the spring of 2016, Minneapolis residents will have the option to divert organics if they so choose.

Officials in Minneapolis have begun the year-long rollout of optional organics collection for residents throughout the city. The first phase of the program will be completed by August, when 25 percent of the population is expected to have access to the service. Officials say by spring of 2016, the entire population will have access.

And, according to Minneapolis' recycling coordinator, Kellie Kish, the first week of the program already saw 2,200 new participants sign up for organics collection. Kish says by spring of 2017, a full year after 100 percent access is secured, the City will aim for big participation goals.

"We hope to increase the participation rate to above 40 percent within the program's first year," Kish told Resource Recycling.

A pilot organics collection program started in August 2008 managed to attract "a little over 40 percent" of eligible residents by 2013, Kish added.

Once signed up, Minneapolis residents will receive 30-gallon carts. They are being asked to put all organics, and some compostable plastics and paper-based products, in compostable plastic bags before tossing them into the new carts. Material will be sent to to "one of four commercial composting facilities in the Twin Cities metro region," Kish said.

Minnesota's composting industry has grown from a $30 million annual business in 2008 to a $38 million in 2013, a new report shows.

The rollout of Minneapolis' citywide program will cost a reported $8 million.

To help pay for it, the roughly 105,000 residents served by the city's current trash and recycling program have seen their monthly waste management fees rise from $17.60 to $21.60, whether they plan to sign up for organics collection or not, Kish said. Of the $4 increase, $3.35 is attached to the organics program launch.

Minneapolis has a 75 percent recycling rate goal for 2030, and Kish noted organics provide a window of opportunity for the City.

"With organics being the material with the highest potential to collect and divert from the waste stream, moving toward a citywide organics collection program has been a logical step," Kish said.

Residents will be able to compost all organics as well as non-recyclable paper products, including pizza boxes, napkins and tissue paper. Plastics that are certified as compostable by the The Biodegradable Products Institute and the U.S. Composting Council will also be accepted in compost carts.

Paper packaging lined with plastic will not be accepted through the program.

Minneapolis' single-stream recycling program has increased recycling activity by 25 percent since being fully introduced in April 2013.

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Report: Food, beverage industry drops ball when it comes to recycling

Tue, 02/03/2015 - 18:57
Report: Food, beverage industry drops ball when it comes to recycling

By Bobby Elliott, Resource Recycling

Feb. 4, 2015

A report analyzing the sustainability initiatives of the food and beverage industry points to glaring holes in the sector's recycling efforts.

Looking into the reuse and recycling-related efforts of more than 40 fast food, beverage and grocery and consumer goods companies, As You Sow and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) write in a new report gaining national buzz that more needs to be done.

"We found that most companies have not sufficiently prioritized packaging, source reduction, recyclability, compostability, recycled content and recycling policies," the two note in the report's executive summary.

Lynn Dyer, the president of the Foodservice Packaging Institute, largely sided with that sentiment in a statement sent to Resource Recycling.

"While we may not agree with everything in the report, we do acknowledge that there is more work to be done to ensure that all foodservice packaging is accepted, processed and recycled or composted into valuable new products," Dyer wrote.

As part of the study, surveys were sent out to 10 national fast food restaurants, 11 beverage companies and 20 consumer goods and grocery stores and followed up by independent research, including site visits, done by the two groups. The surveys targeted source reduction, recycled content, recyclability and recycling efforts as the four key markers of a leading program. Just under 40 percent of survey recipients completed the survey.

No company earned the rank of "best practices" and just six notched "the better practices" nod. The report can be read in full here.

Fast food

Among fast food restaurants, Starbucks and McDonalds were the only two companies to earn the "better practices" designation, while the rest of the pack, which included Dunkin' Brands, Subway and Burger King, either "needs improvement" or is simply "poor," the report suggests.

The report found paper, PET and PE packaging used by most quick service restaurants to be recyclable, but argued little front-of-store recycling occurs. Beyond Starbucks, which is attempting to roll out front-of-store recycling at all of its stores, and Pret A Manger, which instituted the practice at all 60 of its U.S. stores, "none of the top quick service restaurants examined in this report are systematically collecting post-consumer packaging in recycling and/or composting bins on-site," the report states.

With the exception 33 percent recycled paper burger boxes from McDonald's and Starbucks' 10 percent recycled content paper cup, few companies are using recycled content packaging. Companies have also been slow to offer reusable plates or cups for customers choosing to dine-in and continue to use black trays, which have posed sorting challenges at materials recovery facilities (MRFs) nationwide.

Beverage companies

A total of four companies out of 11 on the beverage side, New Belgium Brewing, Coca-Cola, Nestle Waters and Pepsi, were credited for having "better practices" in the report. Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Anheuser Busch and Red Bull, among others, were included in the "needs improvement" and "poor" groups.

While beverage companies are making use of readily recyclable plastic and aluminum packaging and even committing to use some recycled content in their offerings, the report warns that the emergence of flexible film packaging, popularized by Capri Sun, has jeopardized progress toward recycling containers.

"The biggest threat to increasing the recyclability in the beverage sector is the growing use of flexible packaging," the report states. "Using non-recyclable packaging when recyclable alternatives are available wastes enormous amounts of resources, in contrast to aluminum and PET, which can be recycled many times over."

The report also points out, and lauds, Nestle's move in 2011 to embrace extended producer responsibility (EPR) laws as a means to increase packaging recycling nationwide. No other company polled by As You Sow and NRDC for the report expressed complete support for EPR while several, including Dunkin' Brands, Pepsi and Coca-Cola, provided "neutral" responses.

"It appears that more progress in the short term will be made by pressing for best practices to increase curbside recycling regionally or in selected communities," the report concludes.

Consumer goods, grocery sector

The list of 20 consumer goods and grocery sector companies contacted by As You Sow and NRDC were not ranked according to the "best practices, better practices, needs improvement and poor" rubrik. Instead, the report takes a general look at the sector, noting "many companies are not ready to substantially discuss packaging sustainability."

The biggest criticism of brand names and grocery stores offered by the report comes down to recycling. According to As You Sow and NRDC, companies "substantially lag behind their beverage peers in policy development, responsibility for post-consumer packaging and demonstrable commitments to increase recycling of packaging."

In addition, the growing use of flexible film packaging by many brands is leading to virtually all of the packaging to be landfilled, the report states.

Positive advances were noted in the packaging reduction arena, as well as the reuse space. With 2020 being the most popular deadline for sustainability goals these days, Unilever has set a goal of reducing packaging weight by a third, Procter & Gamble is aiming to achieve a 20 percent reduction and Clorox is aiming for a 10 percent drop in overall packaging use. Several grocery stores were also noted for their efforts to offer reusable bags in recent years, in large part driven by legislation banning or taxing plastic checkout bags.

Solutions

In a conference call with members of the media following the release of the report, As You Sow's vice president Conrad MacKerron expressed both optimism and criticism toward food companies in the report.

With packaging taking up roughly 30 percent of the U.S. municipal solid waste stream, MacKerron said the window of opportunity exists for brands to take on the challenge.

"If we can fix this problem, that goes a long way to reducing our reliance on virgin materials," MacKerron said. "We believe brand leadership is actually sorely lacking."

While both As You Sow and NRDC have been noted supporters of EPR in the past, MacKerron suggested it is not the only way forward for companies seeking to make an impact.

"We're not wed to EPR, we're saying just choose something that moves the needle," MacKerron said. "If you don't like EPR, give us a plan B, but give us a plan B that really shows us you've done your homework and really thought about [...] how we put all these pieces of the puzzle together to raise the recycling rate nationally."

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Colleges gear up for RecycleMania competition

Tue, 02/03/2015 - 18:54
Colleges gear up for RecycleMania competition

By Jared Paben, Resource Recycling

Feb. 4, 2015

Nearly 400 colleges and universities across the U.S. will complete in this year’s RecycleMania, a competition between schools to see who can recycle the most.

The annual competition, now in its 15th year, will play out over the next two months, as schools report their recycling rates on a weekly basis. They’ll compete in various categories, including per-capita recycling weights, total weights recycled and composted, and diversion rates. The categories also include competitions geared toward specific materials, including paper, cardboard, bottles and cans, food service organics and scrap electronics.

In 2014, a total of 461 schools participated in the challenge and recycled and composted 85.6 million pounds of material, according to RecycleMania's website.

This year 392 schools will participate, marking a continuation of a four-year slide in participation, although participation is still well above what it was a decade ago, when 46 schools participated. In 2011, as many as 630 campuses were participating, according to the RecycleMania website.

The decrease can be attributed to several factors, according to RecycleMania Program Manager Alec Cooley.

“Some schools have passed on that the program has been a value but, in a sense, they’ve graduated from it,” he told Resource Recycling. Additionally, many schools have morphed their recycling programs into broader sustainability departments, requiring recycling to compete for attention each year with other priorities, including energy conservation, he said.

New this year is a “3R Actions Challenge” category. When students post digital messages and photos to document their waste reduction or recycling actions, they’ll earn points to determine their school’s standing in the category.

“We’ve been looking for ways to engage students directly,” Cooley said “This is dipping our toes into the water, getting a feel for how we can better leverage digital platforms to engage students.”

Last year’s national winner for the highest diversion rate was Antioch University Seattle, with a 93 percent diversion rate.

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Legislation tracker

Tue, 02/03/2015 - 18:52
Legislation tracker

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Feb. 4, 2015

Winter temperatures around the country haven’t prevented state legislatures from heating up as they consider recycling-related bills. Read about proposed laws in two states in this week’s edition of our legislation rundown.

A bill in Indiana would allow for most food scraps to be recycled into feed for swine. House Bill 1170, which passed House of Representatives unanimously, would also require a state chemist to test the feed to ensure it’s safe for the animals. Also in Indiana, the legislature will vote on an amendment to HB 1350 that’s designed to streamline and prioritize the state’s recycling grants program, according to the Indiana Recycling Coalition, which backs the change.

Two bills in Massachusetts aim to increase recycling in the Bay State. Senate Docket 1090 would require greater access to recycling in public spaces where trash service exists, and House Docket 2913 would establish a statewide generator responsibility to obtain access to recycling services and increase the state’s enforcement and regulatory abilities. Nonprofit group MassRecycle provided language used in both bills.

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Wide world of recycling

Tue, 02/03/2015 - 18:49
Wide world of recycling

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Feb. 4, 2015

The latest numbers on recovered paper purchased in China lead off our global news roundup.

Even with an upward surge in the last two months of the year, Chinese recycled paper and paperboard mills purchased 5.9 percent less recovered paper last year from foreign suppliers, including those in North America. Total imports were 30.3 million tons in 2014. Purchases of old corrugated containers fell 6.1 percent to 17.1 million tons in 2014, says China Customs as reported by RISI (subscription required). Newspaper bale receipts dropped a whopping 14.6 percent to 6.1 million tons while imports of mixed paper in 2014 rose 7.1 percent to 6.3 million tons.

The UK Green Investment Bank will put the equivalent of more than $75 million into a new fund targeting smaller-scale recycling and waste projects across the country. The announcement of the new Recycling and Waste LP (RAW) fund was made at the site of a waste wood-to-energy plant that’s currently under construction.

The recycling rate for materials collected by local authorities in England sits at about 42.8 percent, according to new tables provided by the resource and recycling minister.

Research on the global plastics industry by the Worldwatch Institute suggests 299 million tons of plastic were produced in 2013, generating $600 billion in revenues. Of that total, the report claims 22-43 percent was landfilled, while the remaining 57-78 percent went toward recycling and waste-to-energy.

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NewsBits

Tue, 02/03/2015 - 18:42
NewsBits

Feb. 4, 2015

California state government has issued eight new hazardous waste laws violations against Exide Technologies, which operates a lead-acid recycling facility in the Los Angeles area. The state Department of Toxic Substances Control issued the violations for various reasons, including that the company was treating contaminated sludge in tanks it wasn’t authorized to operate and it failed to sufficiently protect against spills in an area where battery acid is stored, according to a press release. The Vernon, California facility that has been shuttered for nearly a year because it couldn’t meet new air quality regulations, according to the government release.

The southern New Jersey town of Bridgeton will purchase larger recycling carts for each residents and make the switch to single-stream recycling collection. Enforcement personnel will also begin issuing warnings to people who put trash in the recycling bins or vice versa.

The city of Tuscaloosa, Alabama will seek more than $340,000 in state grant funds to purchase recycling containers, vehicles and outreach materials. The containers would be placed at county drop-off locations, schools and throughout downtown. For six years in a row, Tuscaloosa has received grants through the Alabama Department of Environmental Management recycling grant program.

Residents of Chicago using a new website have reported that nearly 200 apartment buildings are violating a city law requiring landlords to provide recycling services. The new website, My Building Doesn’t Recycle!, allows residents to post and publicly share information about their building’s recycling services – or lack thereof.

A jail recycling program in one Oregon county has led to decreased waste and more recycling, saving the taxpayers thousands of dollars. At the Marion County jail, efforts to divert recyclable materials from the waste stream have decreased the tonnages going to landfill by nearly 70 percent. Resource Recycling previous reported on efforts by prisons to boost recycling.

If you think U.S. elections are characterized by cheap, personal jabs, check this out: Opponents of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are accusing his wife of keeping the bottle deposits from drinks purchased on the taxpayers’ dime at his official residence. Their lawyers said they paid the money back and it was used as petty cash by household staff. Security issues often take center stage in Israeli elections, but with polls showing a neck-and-neck race between Netanyahu’s Likud Party and a center opposition alliance, and with Netanyahu’s perceived strength in security issues, both sides are turning to personality attacks to swing the vote in their favor.

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