Plastics Recycling Update Magazine

Updated: 1 day 10 hours ago

WM exec delves into plastics-laden contamination concerns

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 13:31
WM exec delves into plastics-laden contamination concerns

By Dan Leif, Plastics Recycling Update

Nov. 20, 2014

Don't fear the evolving waste stream – but be judicious about what new packaging you allow in your recycling program. That was the message from a Waste Management leader speaking on an EPA webinar last week.

Susan Robinson, federal public affairs director for publicly traded WM, offered a number of insights about how the country's largest waste and recycling firm is trying to adapt to the "evolving ton" coming into material recovery facilities as paper use reduces and the plastics packaging space moves forward at light speed.

However, the takeaway from her 30-minute talk, which was part of the EPA's Sustainable Materials Management webinar series, was that the recycling industry should focus more on clean material and less on constantly increasing tonnages.

"Let's not divert material for diversion's sake alone," she said. "An overall environmental benefit should be the end goal."

While many industry players have in recent years begun to worry about the rise of flexible film packaging (of which some types are called pouches), Robinson was accepting of the trend, even though those pouches are not easily recyclable because they are constructed using layers of different types of resins and materials.

Robinson, for instance, cited figures (from a flexible plastic packaging group) that showed packaging soup in a flexible film package instead of a steel can would decrease packaging weight from 312.4 grams to 28.4 grams. The figures indicated carbon emissions associated with the film packaging were roughly one-tenth of those of the steel can option – much of those carbon savings are a result of the fact that pouches simply use less material to begin with.

Recycling advocates, Robinson noted, should not be standing in the way of such developments.

"Not everything is recycled in a true circular economy," she said. "Have we put on blinders where recycling is the only thing we care about? Are we so focused on hitting end-of-life recycling numbers that we forget about the first R – reduce?"

Those questions, however, raise another: If more hard-to-recycle packaging is replacing staple MRF materials like metal and paper, how will the industry continue to move forward?

Robinson suggested a broader push to make sure the high-value items that do enter the stream avoid contamination along the way.

She said Waste Management's 49 single-stream MRFs in the U.S. currently see an average of 16 percent contamination on in-bound loads, an increase of 3 percentage points over the company's "historic" rates.

She added every ton of contaminants costs the company $140 in disposal fees and lost revenue. Due to contamination increases, WM's recycling processing expenditures grew 20 percent over the last two years, Robinson said.

Her first suggestion to improve the situation: Keep plastic bags out of recycling carts, and advocate systems to have them returned to retail locations instead.

"We clean screens six to eight times a day to cut plastic bags out of sorting equipment," she said. "From our perspective, not much good comes from film plastic coming to our MRFs. But there are robust markets for that material if it's clean and dry."

Robinson also said she was encouraged by broader initiatives WM and industry partners are undertaking to better communicate to residents which items should be placed curbside.

She said WM is working to push ahead its "Recycle Often, Recycle Right" campaign that aims to deliver three basic messages to consumers: Recycle all empty bottles, cans and paper; keep foods and liquids out; and recycle plastic bags at retail locations.

The awareness effort includes unbranded flyers and brochures the company is sharing with "anyone who wants them."

"Those who have survived the last couple of years in recycling are now a lot better at what we do," Robinson said. "We know the stream better and have gotten better at communicating with public. … I'm actually more optimistic than I've been. We're communicating with one voice, which is really key for recycling in the future."

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Plastics Recycling 2015: Extra events boost value

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 13:28
Plastics Recycling 2015: Extra events boost value

By Editorial Staff, Plastics Recycling Update

Nov. 20, 2014

The upcoming Plastics Recycling 2015 conference will be held alongside a number of key industry meetings and education opportunities that will make the trip to Dallas even more worth your while.

The following business-boosting events are scheduled to take place: Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR) membership and committee meetings; the Global Plastics Environmental Conference (GPEC); SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association's Tech Summit; and the Paper Stock Industries (PSI) chapter conferences. These gatherings complement the bustling trade show, expertly curated sessions and extensive networking opportunity available at Plastics Recycling 2015.

Plastics Recycling 2015 is taking place Feb. 23-25 at the Hyatt Regency in Dallas, Texas. More than 1775 attendees from 30 countries were on hand at the 2014 edition, and a similar turnout is expected in Dallas. Head to plasticsrecycling.com for all the information on attending, exhibiting and sponsoring.


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Plastics-to-oil player fined by Oregon regulators

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 13:25
Plastics-to-oil player fined by Oregon regulators

By Bobby Elliott, Plastics Recycling Update

Nov. 20, 2014

Plastics-to-oil firm Agilyx has been fined close to $50,000 by Oregon environmental officials for alleged hazardous waste violations at its research facility.  The company has appealed those penalties.

In a notice of violation (NOV) sent to the company on Oct. 21, Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) details a list of violations found during a 2013 inspection of Agilyx’s Tigard, Oregon research operation. The company has appealed the DEQ’s $49,702 penalty.

According to the DEQ, which inspected the 7904 Hunziker St. site last year on Oct. 14 and 15, Agilyx was cited for improper storage and labeling of hazardous waste, "failure to maintain an up-to-date contingency plan and failure to properly train employees for managing hazardous waste." Similar violations were identified during an inspection of the facility in 2011, the notice points out.

The company’s vice president of business development, Jon Angin, sent a two-paragraph response to Plastics Recycling Update, arguing that the NOV was related to issues raised and corrected in 2013. "None of the issues raised by DEQ involved environmental health impacts or created risk to the public," Angin states. "DEQ acknowledged that the issues have been addressed."

The NOV itself suggests containers holding hazardous waste water were not labeled according to regulations and, in select instances, were not properly stored and sealed. In addition, Agilyx did not keep records showing workers in charge of handling hazardous waste had been trained to do so, nor was there an updated contact list in the event of an emergency, per the report.

As a company specializing in the developing plastics-to-oil field, Agilyx has been able to garner significant funding to drive its research and operations, including support from billionaire Richard Branson. The company's offices are located in Beaverton, Oregon, just four miles from the Tigard research hub.

Agilyx’s only other facility, located in Portland, was recently closed after partner and investor Waste Management decided to wait until more advanced technology was released.

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PetroChem Wire: Recycled PET prices slip slightly

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 13:23
PetroChem Wire: Recycled PET prices slip slightly

Nov. 20, 2014

Various grades of recycled PET showed price weakness in mid-November related to the downward trend in the prime PET market.

Clear rPET high-grade regrind was reported sold around 58 to 59 cents per pound in the second week of November, down about 1.5 cents per pound from the beginning of the month. Recycled PET pellet pricing also weakened slightly.

Prime prices continue to slide due to a general oversupply in the U.S. market. Generic prime PET was offered last week at 61 cents per pound FOB Los Angeles/Long Beach. Domestic prime bottle grade PET held at 69 to 69.5 cents per pound, delivered railcar to the Midwest.

For a free trial to the Repro/Regrind Resin Report or to see sample issues of all PCW reports visit the PetroChem Wire website at www.petrochemwire.com. You can also contact Cindy Bryan at cindy@petrochemwire.com or (713) 385-1407.


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Patent watch

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 13:18
Patent watch

Nov. 20, 2014

A method of recycling scrap plastic film is the subject of Patent No. 8,845,840, awarded to Mitsubishi Polyester Film, Inc. from Greer, South Carolina.

Larry and Mark Koening, from Pickerington, Ohio, were given Patent No. 8,851,409 for a process for compacting EPS foam plastics.

Tokyo's Ricoh Company, Ltd. was given Patent Application No. 20140275397 for a method and apparatus of blending and compounding different types of reclaimed plastic resins.

Patent Application No. 20140275414, given to the Adeka Corporation, headquartered in Tokyo, concerns a method for recycling different types of scrap plastics.

MBA Polymers, Inc., from Nottingham, Great Britain, was awarded Patent Application No. 20140231557 for a delineation of the processes and requirements of recovering plastic materials from durable goods.

Patent Application No. 20140232043 was given to Escanaffles, Belgium-based Futerro S.A. for describing composition of polymers derived from scrap plastic materials.

Aachen, Germany-based Fecken-Kirfel GMBH & Co. KG was awarded Patent Application No. 20140251108 for a scrap plastic shredding device.

A method of processing scrap plastics is the subject of Patent Application No. 20140252142, given to Montrose, West Virginia's David Rice.

Michael J. Smith, from Northville, Michigan, was awarded Patent Application No. 20140272258 for a method of making recycled polystyrene sheet.

Patent Application No. 20140272262 was given to Spartanburg, South Carolina-based Milliken & Company for a single-polymer recycled floorcovering.

For more information on these or any patents, please consult the U.S. Patent Office database online.

Copies of patents can be ordered by number for $3 each from the Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA, 22313-1450.

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NewsBits

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 13:03
NewsBits

Nov. 20, 2014

A pair of plastics recycling-oriented firm nabbed funding through a California state grant program, details of which were released this week. Command Packaging, which manufactures reusable plastic carry-out bags, will receive $3 million to upgrade equipment at its facility in Vernon to produce bags with higher recycled content. The funding will also help the firm expand capacity at its Salinas-area Encore Recycling facility, which diverts agricultural film plastic. Peninsula Plastics Recycling, Inc., meanwhile, will receive $1 million for equipment that will enable it to recover approximately 45 percent of its current recycling process byproduct and recycle it into landscaping material.

In other California news, the state's PET recycling rate from January to June 2014 topped out at 72 percent while the overall container recycling rate reached 84 percent, new state figures show. For a detailed breakdown of recent figures by container type, click here.

According to a survey released last week by the American Chemistry Council's Plastics Make it Possible campaign, 8 percent of Americans say they recycle all of their recyclables. The survey also found that roughly half of Americans recycle 75 percent of their recyclables. "While nearly all Americans have access to recycling today, this survey shows that better communication and easier access to relevant information should help improve participation rates," said Steve Russell, vice president of plastics for the American Chemistry Council.

Plastics-conversion startup GreenMantra has raised a reported $17 million in funding to help further its efforts to convert plastics into wax, fuel and lubricants. Specifically, the Ontario-based firm has set its sights on increasing production and building an additional wax facility in Quebec to meet customer demand. GreenMantra was a finalist in the 2013 Recycling Innovators Forum, produced by the publisher of Plastics Recycling Update.

 

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Plastic bag battles persist on both coasts

Wed, 11/12/2014 - 11:28
Plastic bag battles persist on both coasts

By Editorial Staff, Plastics Recycling Update

Nov. 12, 2014

A coalition has come together to fight an attempt to overturn California's recently signed plastic bag law, while debate is brewing on the streets of New York City over a tax on checkout bags.

On a Nov. 6 conference call with members of the press, Mark Murray announced the California vs. Big Plastic coalition. Murray, who will lead the coalition and serves as the executive director of Californians Against Waste, was joined on the call by environmental advocates, two elected officials and an independent grocer group.

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed the nation's first statewide plastic bag ban into law on Sept. 30. Since then, companies and groups with stakes in the plastic bag business have mobilized to try to bring forth a ballot initiative that would allow voters to overturn the legislation.

"We have put together a coalition to defend the law," Murray told listeners. "And we believe we have the resources and the message that will prevail to protect California's plastic bag ban." The coalition was formally announced in a press release later that day.

According to Murray, three out-of-state plastic bag companies have already invested $3 million in a push to gain roughly 500,000 signatures by Dec. 30. If those signatures are validated, California's bag ban would be suspended until November 2016, when the public would decide on the fate of the measure.

William Carteaux, president of SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association, said in a statement SPI was fully committed to the referendum attempt and would continue to support the bag ban's main opposition group, the American Progressive Bag Alliance (APBA). "SPI supports the APBA in opposing SB 270 and seeking a referendum," Carteaux stated. "We do not believe that in passing SB 270 California lawmakers acted in the public interest, and we trust that the public will repeal it at the ballot box."

APBA is also working in New York City, where the group has partnered with a handful of community organizations to oppose a citywide tax on plastic bags.

“Recent misguided legislation proposed in the City Council would impose a ten-cent regressive tax on 100 percent recyclable grocery bags, a move that would harm the most vulnerable New Yorkers – low-income families and senior citizens,” states an APBA press release sent out Nov. 10.

In fighting the California ban, plastic bag supporters also used the argument that such legislation would harm low-income residents.

Working alongside The Black Leadership Action Coalition, the Bodega Association and The Safety Net Project of the Urban Justice Center, APBA will focus its efforts on promoting plastic bag recycling at six New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) developments. The effort “will fuse education and art” to better inform public housing residents about recycling options for plastic bags.

The legislation opposed by APBA and its partners would apply a 10-cent fee on plastic bags offered at grocery stores and bodegas. The legislation does exempt residents on food stamps from the fee, although it is unclear how many of the approximately 400,000 residents living in New York City public housing currently receive food stamps. A representative at NYCHA told Plastics Recycling Update the department does not track the percentage of public housing residents on food stamps.

The legislation was introduced in March of this year and has been referred to the Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste Management.

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Plastics Recycling 2015: Exploring key issues

Wed, 11/12/2014 - 11:25
Plastics Recycling 2015: Exploring key issues

By Editorial Staff, Plastics Recycling Update

Nov. 12, 2014

The largest North American gathering of plastics recycling professionals is quickly approaching, and attendees will once again have a stellar lineup of educational sessions awaiting them.

Plastics Recycling 2015 will feature an in-depth panel discussion with some of the top executives at leading processing and reclaiming firms. Additionally, experts in the emerging plastics-to-oil space will be taking the stage to discuss recent breakthroughs and challenges when it comes to that processing option. More sessions will be confirmed in the coming weeks.

Plastics Recycling 2015 is taking place Feb. 23-25 at the Hyatt Regency in Dallas, Texas. Head to plasticsrecycling.com for all the information on attending, exhibiting and sponsoring.

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Scrap plastic exports up 26 percent

Wed, 11/12/2014 - 11:21
Scrap plastic exports up 26 percent

By Editorial Staff, Plastics Recycling Update

Nov. 12, 2014

Figures from the first eight months of this year show the continued growth of scrap plastics exports from 2013 to 2014.

August, the most recent month for which data is available, saw a vigorous 12.5 percent increase from July 2014 export levels, with 444.72 million pounds of scrap plastics exported in August 2014.

When matched against August 2013 levels, the volume of plastic scrap exports was up by a robust 25.9 percent. That figure represents an even greater year-over-year (YOY) improvement than last month's numbers, which showed 19.5 percent YOY growth.

The weighted price of recovered plastic exports in August, at 20.47 cents per pound, was also up from its July 2014 standing, by 4.3 percent. When compared with its year-over-year (YOY) level, however, the price was slightly down, by 2.3 percent.

Year-to-date (YTD) figures for scrap plastics showed strong gains as well. With 3.17 billion pounds exported through August, the volume of recovered plastics sent outside of U.S. borders was up 16.5 percent from its YTD 2013 figure. At 19.77 cents per pound, however, the average price for the first eight months of 2014 was down by 3.3 percent from its 2013 YTD standing.

Much of the volume growth in the export of recovered plastics has been attributed to the fact that this year's numbers are being compared with 2013, the year in which China instituted its Green Fence customs inspection policy. That action aimed to force importers in the country to accept only higher quality loads of material.

According to a recent story in Plastics News, China's import numbers are aligning with U.S. export data. A Chinese official reported that the Asian giant's scrap plastic import volume was up 19 percent during the first three quarters of 2014 compared with the first three quarters of 2013.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection representative also said China's scrap plastic import industry has lost 100 companies since the Green Fence went into effect.

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PetroChem Wire: Recycled PP price drops

Wed, 11/12/2014 - 11:19
PetroChem Wire: Recycled PP price drops

Nov. 12, 2014

Recycled polypropylene prices declined in early November, pressured by plentiful availability in the Great Lakes region.

HoPP mixed colors flake sold at 38 to 42 cents per pound delivered to Ontario, Canada in the first week of November, down 4 to 6 cents per pound from late-October levels. CoPP black post-consumer pellets slipped 2 cents per pound to 57 to 59 cents per pound FOB Eastern U.S. and Midwest.

In the prime PP market from Oct. 20 until Nov. 10, U.S. domestic spot injection grade HoPP fell 4 cents per pound to 85.5 cents per pound.

For a free trial to the Repro/Regrind Resin Report or to see sample issues of all PCW reports visit the PetroChem Wire website at www.petrochemwire.com. You can also contact Cindy Bryan at cindy@petrochemwire.com or (713) 385-1407.

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NewsBits

Wed, 11/12/2014 - 11:10
NewsBits

Nov. 12, 2014

A European recycling research firm reports that the continuing low value for PET has resulted in several reclaimers cutting back in bale purchases, or even temporarily closing. EUWID researchers say that the current low price for PET virgin resin means that PET reclaimers cannot sell their clean flake or pellets at a price that covers the costs of operation. Resin buyers are unwilling to pay more for recycled resin than for virgin plastic and thus have cut orders for post-consumer resin. EUWID says some German reclaimers have seen their sales drop by two-thirds and at least one reclaimer has taken a three-week closure.

The athletics department at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill has announced a partnership with recycled plastic fiber company, Unifi, which makes the Repreve line. Unifi and the university will host a series of recycling awareness events, including a men's basketball game Dec. 3 at which 22,000 lime green Repreve-based shirts will be distributed to fans.

In celebration of America Recycles Day (Nov. 15), the American Chemistry Council's Plastics Make it Possible campaign will be hitting the road in an RV to promote plastics recycling. Visiting numerous cities, including Baltimore, New York City and Washington, D.C., the RV will offer a full slate of games, advice and information on recycling plastics.

Australian plastics recycling firm Replas has opened a new mixed plastics recycling operation in Queensland. Situated in the northeast part of the nation, the Queensland site will take in flexible and rigid mixed plastics and make them into a host of new products. According to a company press release, "Replas is using this opportunity to gauge whether a small remote plant could be profitable, then using the results to possibly offer their proven technology all over the world to tackle the huge problem of what to do with mixed plastic films."

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Industry group says foodservice packaging not a contamination concern

Wed, 11/05/2014 - 11:26
Industry group says foodservice packaging not a contamination concern

By Dan Leif, Plastics Recycling Update

Nov. 5, 2014

A second study from manufacturers of food packaging aims to drive home the point that the products from those companies are not too contaminated for curbside recycling.

The recently conducted effort from the Foodservice Packaging Institute follows the first segment of the report, which was released at the end of last year.

The latest research looked at a sampling of 2,600 pounds of residential recyclables collected in southern Delaware. Researchers separated the material into two categories – foodservice packaging and other packaging in contact with food – and then went through the loads on an item-by-item basis. Products were given one of three ratings: high food residue contamination, medium or low.

The two categories proved to have roughly the same proportion of low- and high-level contaminated products, according to FPI's report. The foodservice packaging had a slightly higher proportion of medium-level contamination.

FPI's earlier study, which looked at samples collected in Boston, found roughly similar contamination levels across the board when looking at foodservice packaging and other materials that came into contact with food residue. Together, FPI stated, the two studies indicate tubs, lids and other material categories in the foodservice realm should be regularly included in residential recycling streams.

"One of the most common reasons that municipal programs do not accept foodservice packaging is the concern about increased levels of food contamination in recyclables," Lynn M. Dyer, president of FPI, said in a press release. "The encouraging results of the Delaware study provide us a different representative sample of food residue on foodservice packaging. They assist in corroborating our findings of foodservice packaging residue as a perceived barrier in recycling programs rather than a real obstacle."

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Waste Management, Republic release Q3 figures

Wed, 11/05/2014 - 11:23
Waste Management, Republic release Q3 figures

By Editorial Staff, Plastics Recycling Update

Nov. 5, 2014

Third-quarter financials for Waste Management and Republic Services are in, and recycled commodity pricing in 2014 continues to be a major factor for both firms.

During the quarter Waste Management (WM) netted $362 million in commodity sales, down $5 million from last year's third-quarter performance, and the company attributed the fall to "decreases in the prices of the recycling commodities we sold." Year-to-date commodities sales were likewise down, coming in at $1.076 billion, $32 million below 2013.

The company's well-documented restructuring has thus far resulted in 650 employees leaving the company's recycling and corporate wings, including former WM recycling chief William Ceasar. Overall, revenues for WM reached $3.60 billion during the third quarter compared with the $3.62 billion the company generated in the same quarter last year.

Republic Service's third-quarter performance, meanwhile, saw sales of recycled commodities increase, slightly.

Republic's recycled commodity sales for the quarter totaled $97.8 million, compared with $93.3 last year. On the year, Republic's recycled commodity sales are similarly up, this year coming in at $296.6 million, compared with the $271.6 million the company brought in during the January-September period in 2013.

Republic's quarterly report also notes the "volatility" of commodity prices. Total revenues at Republic during the third quarter came in at $2.26 billion, up from last year's $2.17 billion.

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Massachusetts voters shoot down expanded bottle bill

Wed, 11/05/2014 - 11:18
Massachusetts voters shoot down expanded bottle bill

By Editorial Staff, Plastics Recycling Update

Nov. 5, 2014

An update to Massachusetts' longstanding bottle bill failed to gain voter approval Tuesday.

The update, which almost three-quarters of voters ended up voting against, called for the addition of water bottles and containers holding many other non-carbonated beverages into the state's bottle deposit program. Since going into law in 1983, the state's bottle bill has only covered carbonated beverages and an update has been discussed – and debated – for much of the past decade.

“We’re clearly disappointed, and it’s obvious we didn’t make a strong enough case for the bottle bill,” Janet Domenitz, executive director of the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group, told the Boston Globe following the latest defeat. “We’re going to regroup now and consider what we need to do to get Massachusetts to recycle 80 percent or higher of its containers.”

The referendum item engendered a passionate fight between environmentalists and the deep-pocketed beverage industry. A poll run by the Boston Globe back in August showed 62 percent of voters voicing early support for the update. The support, however, was largely upended by a multi-million dollar media campaign from the "No On Question 2" group.

Environmentalists called foul over ads they said were blatantly misleading voters, while opponents of the update never looked back. Tuesday's voting on the update was called early in the election evening.

A total of 10 U.S. states have bottle deposit programs in place.

According to the website of the Container Recycling Institute, the last time a new state bottle bill was enacted was 2002, when Hawaii moved ahead on deposit legislation.

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PetroChem Wire: Recycled PS price steady, wide spec lower

Wed, 11/05/2014 - 11:16
PetroChem Wire: Recycled PS price steady, wide spec lower

Nov. 5, 2014

Prices for GPPS white repro held in late October at 55 to 56 cents per pound FOB U.S. East Coast.

HIPS white repro held at 76 to 78 cents per pound FOB Eastern U.S. HIPS white regrind stood at 59 to 60 cents per pound, delivered Midwest on steady demand from plants in Michigan.

In the wide-spec generic prime market, prices were lower at the end of October. Wide spec generic prime GPPS sold in the mid-80s cents per pound range delivered in railcar to most U.S. locations, down about 4 cents per pound from the beginning of October. HIPS wide-spec fell by a similar amount. In the prime PS market, HIPS fell a penny in the last week of October to $1.04 per pound.

For a free trial to the Repro/Regrind Resin Report or to see sample issues of all PCW reports visit the PetroChem Wire website at www.petrochemwire.com. You can also contact Cindy Bryan at cindy@petrochemwire.com or (713) 385-1407.

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Patent watch

Wed, 11/05/2014 - 11:14
Patent watch

Nov. 5, 2014

Patent No. 8,833,246, given to Paper and Plastic Partnership, LLC, from Salt Lake City, Utah, concerns a method for baling and processing scrap film and OCC.

A group of researchers from Drau, Austria led by Manuel Lindner were given Patent No. 8,844,115 for a method of producing a shredding device.

The Cal Poly Corporation, based in San Luis Obispo, California, was awarded Patent Application No. 20140278142 for a method of determining recycled thermoplastic content.

Mumbai, India-headquartered Essel Propack Ltd. was given Patent Application No. 20140220280 for a method of recycling various kinds of post-industrial scrap plastic materials.

A method of making reinforced composite scrap plastic materials is the subject of Patent Application No. 20140221510, awarded to Adesso Advanced Materials Wuxi Co., Ltd., from Jiangsu, China.

Revolutionary Plastics LLC, based in Las Vegas, was given Patent Application No. 20140228498 for a method of making thermoplastic compounds with different materials, including processed fly ash.

For more information on these or any patents, please consult the U.S. Patent Office database online.

Copies of patents can be ordered by number for $3 each from the Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA, 22313-1450.

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NewsBits

Wed, 11/05/2014 - 11:10
NewsBits

Nov. 5, 2014

Albuquerque's revamped recycling program is seeing big improvements and plastics appear to be playing a key role. Residents in New Mexico's largest city can now recycle all plastics – with the exception of grocery bags – and thus far, overall recycling is up 70 percent.

A design school in Colombia has come up with a plan to build houses out of plastic bottles. By filling and surrounding stacked bottles with soil, hay and adobe, designers aim to construct strong and resilient walls and roofing while diverting waste materials.

California officials recently arrested five individuals in the Sacramento area for allegedly acting to defraud the state's beverage container deposit system. Two of the suspects owned a recycling center in the state.

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Coca-Cola Recycling closing shop

Thu, 10/30/2014 - 13:38
Coca-Cola Recycling closing shop

By Jerry Powell and Editorial Staff, Plastics Recycling Update

Oct. 31, 2014

The beverage container recycling arm of The Coca-Cola Company – Coca-Cola Recycling – is "winding down," the company this week confirmed.

When asked for comment, Sheree Robinson, communications manager for Coca-Cola North America, said "yes, we are winding down Coca-Cola Recycling, LLC" and offered the following statement:

The Coca-Cola Company’s current goal is to lead the industry in packaging sustainability including PlantBottle, reducing our packaging footprint and increasing recovery, and using recyclable materials. In the U.S., we will continue to work more directly with our value chain to increase the use of recycled materials. As the industry is evolving, we no longer need to directly engage in the buying and selling of recyclable materials. We are excited about the opportunities this will create and remain committed to broad-based sustainability initiatives in North America.

Coca-Cola remains committed to using recyclable materials in our packaging and advancing recycling. We are restructuring how we procure recyclable materials and will focus on developing our sources of supply. Coca-Cola will continue to work with our suppliers, customers and the industry to increase recycled content in our packaging.

 

Coca-Cola Recycling was active nationwide in the recovery and marketing of aluminum and PET beverage containers. On the aluminum side, the firm purchased used beverage cans (UBCs) for conversion into can sheet. Some of the firm’s UBC buyers were formerly employed by Anheuser-Busch in a similar arrangement designed to help control can sheet prices. Several UBC suppliers to Coca-Cola Recycling expect this side of the operation to continue for a short period due to existing supply and melting agreements.

While the firm's moves around UBCs were lauded by some, some other aspects of Coca-Cola Recycling, particularly those surrounding PET, have been criticized. For example, the firm made what turned out to be an ill-advised investment in a PET reclamation plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Not only was the plant’s technology untested, according to some industry players, the firm had an ambitious goal by wanting to produce food-grade recycled resin solely from curbside-collected PET bottles. A competitor in the Southeast said recently at a meeting of the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers that "Coke’s refusal to use some deposit-grade containers doomed the plant."

In addition to seeking curbside-collected containers, Coca-Cola Recycling also targeted out-of-home cans and bottles. Until the recent decision to end the program, the company's Reimagine Beverage Containers recycling centers employed reverse-vending machines to provide vouchers to consumers using the machines. Nonetheless, after four years, the system was only able to capture about 25,000 containers per day and, recently the company stated that "the pilot program is ending and we are closing the centers while we perform a detailed analysis of the results and determine our course of action moving forward."

The company also noted its ongoing support of the Recycling Bin Grant Program, through which it partners with Keep America Beautiful, and the company said it "has placed more than 238,000 recycle bins in communities and customer locations across North America since 2008."

Robinson further pointed out that the company joined the Walmart-led Closed Loop Fund "to help provide more Americans with access to recycling infrastructure, while decreasing the materials deposited in landfills."

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PetroChem Wire: Recycled HDPE pellets pushed down

Thu, 10/30/2014 - 13:33
PetroChem Wire: Recycled HDPE pellets pushed down

Oct. 31, 2014

Falling natural (dairy) scrap bales prices are pressuring natural pellet prices lower in late October.

HDPE homopolymer natural pellets sold recently for 80 to 83 cents per pound FOB southern U.S. That range was around 4 cents per pound lower than the range at the beginning of October.

Meanwhile, prices for HDPE natural bales have fallen to the lowest level since mid-April due to increased availability. Business for natural bottles from curbside was done at 47 cents per pound FOB southern U.S. last week, with slightly lower offers being heard later.

For a free trial to the Repro/Regrind Resin Report or to see sample issues of all PCW reports visit the PetroChem Wire website at www.petrochemwire.com. You can also contact Cindy Bryan at cindy@petrochemwire.com or (713) 385-1407.

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Massachusetts bottle bill battle nears finish line

Thu, 10/30/2014 - 13:31
Massachusetts bottle bill battle nears finish line

By Editorial Staff, Plastics Recycling Update

Oct. 31, 2014

With some pundits criticizing "demonstrably false" ads opposing the expansion of Massachusetts' beverage container deposit program to include water bottles, supporters of the bigger bottle bill are staging rallies to help pass the voter referendum.

Question 2 on the ballots that Massachusetts voters will see next Tuesday concerns the expansion of the Bay State's beverage container deposit redemption program to include all non-carbonated, non-alcoholic beverage containers, save for those containing dairy, infant formula or medications.

The possibility of a nickel deposit on water bottles and sports drinks – among others – seemingly wouldn't be front-page news in consumer media, but opponents to the measure have used what some are calling unfair or flat-out misleading advertisements.

"It's beyond me why a campaign with smart advisers and mountains of money would peddle a message so demonstrably false," wrote Boston Globe columnist Thomas Farragher, noting that bottle bill opponents were claiming 90 percent access to curbside recycling for Massachusetts residents when, according to Farragher, a more accurate figure would be closer to 65 percent.

A Tufts professor also came under fire recently for endorsing an anti-bottle bill study that stated an expanded container redemption program would cost residents almost $100 million annually – and being paid $7,000 to do so. "[The professor] should have realized that he was reviewing something that is simply propaganda,” Massachusetts Sierra Club's Phil Sego told the Globe. “And $7,000 bought an approval of bottling industry information – I’d like to say misinformation, actually.”

With election day coming up on Tuesday, Nov. 4, supporters of Question 2 are holding rallies around the state using a 25-foot inflatable bottle to help get the word out and opponents to the expansion are taking to social media to fight it.


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