Plastics Recycling Update Magazine

Updated: 10 hours 34 min ago

Earth Day serves as plastics recycling platform

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 14:29
Earth Day serves as plastics recycling platform

By Editorial Staff, Plastics Recycling Update

April 17, 2014

Plenty of recycling companies and organizations are using April 22 as a center point for advocacy campaigns. Here are a few that touch on plastics.

Continuing a tradition first begun in 1991, Berry Plastics will be taking local elementary school students on Earth Day tours of company facilities "where the children see the process of turning new and recycled plastic into a usable product." The tours are also supported by yearly visits starting in February to local schools by Berry employees.

Noting that "Earth Day long ago outgrew its April 22 place in the calendar year," CalRecycle, the governmental body in charge of waste and recycling for the state of California, has put together a vast array of events taking place throughout the month and into May. Check out the list here.

Keep America Beautiful and the Ad Council are using Earth Day to launch the Spanish-language version of their "I Want to Be Recycled" advocacy campaign. The effort uses infographics to show the journey taken by five different consumer items, including a plastic shampoo bottle, as they move from recycling bin to new product.

PBS will premiere "A Fierce Green Fire" on April 22 at 9 p.m. Eastern. The documentary tracks modern environmentalism, which the film depicts as "one of the largest movements of the 20th century and one of the keys to the 21st." Directed by Oscar-nominee Mark Kitchell, the documentary explores a variety of topics, including waste reduction and conservation.

Trex, a company that manufactures decking from reclaimed plastic and wood, is using Earth Day as a platform to remind consumers that many types of household plastic film can be recycled.

Grocery chain Wegmans will be offering shoppers free reusable bags when they turn in their single-use plastic bags at stores on April 26, between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Eastern. Last year the effort led to 177,000 pounds of plastic bags turned in, a mark Wegmans intends to break this year.

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PetroChem Wire: Recycled CoPP prices rise in April

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 14:28
PetroChem Wire: Recycled CoPP prices rise in April

April 17, 2014

Tight flake and bale supply is contributing to higher recycled CoPP prices this month.

Business for black pellet has been done at 60 to 62 cents per pound FOB East Coast, up about 2 cents per pound from March. Black CoPP flake material is also several cents stronger in April, with the market reported at 50 to 51 cents per pound FOB the East Coast. The tight supply of recycled CoPP is also tied to competition from export markets.

In the U.S. prime PP market, HoPP held in the first half of April at 83 cents per pound, while CoPP was up about 0.5 cents per pound to 84 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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Can Michigan significantly increase plastics recycling?

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 14:26
Can Michigan significantly increase plastics recycling?

By Bobby Elliott, Plastics Recycling Update

April 17, 2014

Despite having one of the lowest state recycling rates in the country, Michigan is attempting to reinvent itself as a trendsetter when it comes to recovering plastics and other materials.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder unveiled an ambitious plan this week to double the current municipal solid waste recycling rate by 2017 through a series of recycling-focused initiatives.

"States with healthy recycling programs have found that, in addition to reducing pressure on landfills and helping the environment, recycling creates jobs and opens markets for recovered materials," Snyder stated. "We’ve been throwing away money for decades. Addressing this issue is simply the right thing to do, and I am pleased to announce we are committed to making Michigan a recycling leader."

Michigan's Department of Environmental Quality estimates the state recycles just 14.5 percent of its municipal solid waste each year — and that's with both a bottle bill and an e-scrap law on the books. According to the state, approximately $435 million worth of recyclable materials gets landfilled each year.

DEQ director Dan Wyant said the governor's recent action will go a long way. "When you have the highest elected official in your state calling for the expansion of recycling that gets people to focus on it," Wyant told Resource Recycling. "We're not anywhere near where we need to be with respect to recycling … and it's the right thing to do now."

The state's recycling initiative will focus on building in-state markets for recycled commodities, enhancing data collection practices and increasing curbside access.

Attention will also be paid to greater educational efforts, counteracting a still-prevalent attitude among some residents that recycling "doesn't really matter," Kerrin O'Brien of the Michigan Recycling Coalition told Resource Recycling. O'Brien was named to a new nine-member Michigan Recycling Council, which will help represent the various interests within the industry.

According to O'Brien, the new plan, which recommends $1 million in additional recycling funding in 2015 and another $500,000 in DEQ pollution prevention grants, will help educate stakeholders and lawmakers alike on where recycling infrastructure needs to improve in order to blossom. "We want to get to a 50 percent recycling rate," O'Brien said.

Just 25 of 83 counties within the state provide "convenient access" to residents, leaving about 70 percent of counties without sufficient recycling access, according to the DEQ website. Under the governor's new plan, all 83 counties will provide "convenient access" by 2017.

However, while Wyant and O'Brien stressed $1.5 million in funding should be sufficient to get things going, Paul Gardner of product stewardship nonprofit group Recycling Reinvented cautioned the state will have to be creative with its allotted finances. "That's not going to go very far," Gardner said, adding private and public funds will need to materialize in order to meet the new goals.

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College recycling push diverts nearly 90 million pounds

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 14:26
College recycling push diverts nearly 90 million pounds

By Editorial Staff, Plastics Recycling Update

April 17, 2014

Antioch University Seattle emerged as the Grand Champion of this year's RecycleMania, an on-campus recycling tournament held in February and March.

The event, which is managed by Keep America Beautiful, led to 89.1 million pounds of material being separated for recycling or composting, according to a press release sent out this week.

More than 460 schools from across the U.S. and Canada participated, and Antioch grabbed the Grand Champion prize for diverting approximately 93 percent of the overall waste it generated. The second-best recycling rate, roughly 81 percent, was achieved by University of Missouri, Kansas City.

The 14th annual event tracked schools' progress in a number of categories including recycling rate; overall recycling by weight; and per capita recovery for paper, cardboard, cans and bottles, and food waste.

Rutgers University in New Jersey won the "gorilla" category by collecting the most material overall — more than 1.3 million pounds.

Full results can be viewed here.

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NewsBits from Plastics Recycling Update

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 14:24
NewsBits

April 17, 2014

Over at The Guardian, a representative from household electronics maker Philips details how the company was able to manufacture a new single-cup coffee brewer that is made of 13 percent post-consumer resin.

U.K. grocery chain Sainsbury's has launched an Easter-aimed recycling initiative at 50 of its locations. The collection points allow consumers to drop off plastic eggs and other holiday staples that may not normally be accepted curbside.

PepsiCo announced it is expanding an initiative to bring public-space recycling bins to Tulsa, Oklahoma. The move will bring 120 receptacles to 30 retail partners in the city.

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Plastic film recovery rate barely budges

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 15:01
Plastic film recovery rate barely budges

By Dan Leif, Plastics Recycling Update

April 10, 2014

The most recent statistics on North American post-consumer plastic bag and film recycling show a slight uptick in overall recovery but a significant drop in demand for the material among domestic consumers.

The study, which was put together by Moore Recycling Associates on behalf of the American Chemistry Council, examines bag and film recovery for 2012. During that year, roughly 1.02 billion pounds of the material were collected, which represents a 1 percent increase over 2011.

The numbers point to a potential plateau that may be taking place when it comes to the recovery of bags and film in the U.S. and Canada. The most recent 1 percent increase follows another slight growth period — from 2010 to 2011 — when recovered volume grew by just under 4 percent. From 2009 to 2010, in contrast, the volume grew by more than 13.5 percent.

The 2012 Moore study noted collection of commercial clear film (clear, clean polyethylene film including stretch wrap and poly bags) dropped in 2012. This fact played a significant role in stunted growth numbers because the commercial clear category makes up 46 percent of all recycled film. No other category accounts for more than 18 percent.

According to the study, around 18,000 retail drop-off locations in the United States are collecting consumer film packaging and bags. The report suggested bolstering the retail drop-off infrastructure, "which is the most efficient method, given that large stores already backhaul their film."

"This report shows that even though film recycling had not grown as we had hoped last year, there is a lot of opportunity to make a difference with our programs," Shari Jackson, director of ACC's Flexible Film Recycling Group, said in a press release.

The report also produced notable findings about where plastic film has been heading after recovery. Buyers in the U.S. and Canada had since 2008 steadily increased the total volume they purchased, while export volumes had been falling for several years. That trend shifted dramatically in 2012: The volume of material headed to domestic processors dropped by 16 percent, and export volumes skyrocketed, up 41 percent.

The study states one reason for the phenomenon was likely a movement among North American reclaimers toward "just-in-time" inventory processes in which they used materials they had amassed during previous years but chose not to continue keeping so much supply stock on hand going forward.

"Other reasons for decreased purchasing by domestic companies include lower demand from their end products and challenges in processing," the report states, pointing out composite lumber manufacturers used significantly less material than in earlier years.

Because it charts only 2012, the study did not show the effects of China's Green Fence. The industry will have to wait until next year to see exact numbers on how the customs operation affected the movement and demand of plastic film, which has long been a staple of the lower quality bales Green Fence inspectors have worked to discourage.

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Apply now to grab funding for your recycling innovation

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 15:01
Apply now to grab funding for your recycling innovation

By Editorial Staff, Plastics Recycling Update

April 10, 2014

There are only a few weeks left to submit your game-changing ideas to the Recycling Innovators Forum. And competing in the event couldn't be easier — simply submit a three-to-four page proposal by April 30.

If you have a creative solution that will help move the recycling industry forward, don't miss out on this chance to take your innovation to the next level. The Recycling Innovators Forum is a venue for individuals and groups to present their bright ideas. Co-located with the annual Resource Recycling Conference, the Forum is designed to shine a spotlight on new recycling concepts and connect inventors to the companies, institutions and organizations that can help turn ideas into reality.

A $20,000 prize will be awarded to each of the two top-ranking innovations, and finalists will have the invaluable opportunity to market their ideas to industry leaders. Whether you're a small-scale "garage innovator" in the beginning stages of development or work in a team at an established industry organization, this is a prime opportunity to gain exposure and funds to make a real impact in recycling.

Head to the Recycling Innovators Forum website to get complete details.

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Compostable plastics booted from Portland's commercial organics program

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 14:59
Compostable plastics booted from Portland's commercial organics program

By Bobby Elliott and Dan Leif, Plastics Recycling Update

April 10, 2014

A year from now businesses in the Portland, Oregon region will no longer be able to include compostable foodservice items alongside food scraps in commercial organics collection.

Metro, the regional government covering Oregon communities in the Portland metropolitan area, says a commercial organics program intended to make "something of value" from salvaged food scraps has been overwhelmed by non-food compostable items as well as prohibited material.

"We allowed a lot of stuff other than food in our organic stream and we're getting a lot more than we bargained for," Paul Ehinger, Metro's director of solid waste operations, told Plastics Recycling Update. "We were getting all kinds of plastics, compostable and otherwise, and it's extraordinarily difficult on the floor of a transfer station to figure which are and which are not compostable. … We were getting so much other stuff it became difficult to see even what the problem stuff in the loads [were]."

Originally, Metro's commercial organics contractor, Recology, was sending commercial food scraps, cardboard and compostable items to the firm's Nature's Needs facility in North Plains, just west of Portland.

The arrangement was short-lived, however, due to "significant odor problems" at the site. As a result, all of the material started going to JC Biomethane, an anaerobic digester in Junction City, Oregon, which is about 100 miles south of the metropolitan area.

JC Biomethane has recently complained about processing problems, leading Metro to scale back what's allowed in the commercial organics effort.

Notices were sent out on March 28 to approximately 1,000 businesses throughout the region that could be affected by the change. Citing overwhelming collection volumes of non-food items, such as cardboard and compostable cutlery, napkins and plates, the regional government argued focusing on just food scraps will ensure the program's longevity.

Starting in November, businesses will no longer be allowed to include cardboard with material destined for the anaerobic digester, and by March of 2015 the new regulations will go into full effect. BPI-certified bags and liners will still be allowed.

The change will not affect the city's residential organics program.

Buzz Chandler, the president of Stalk Market, a Portland-based company that is a major supplier of compostable foodservice items to markets across North America, said the move is a step backward for Portland. "To simply just give up like this, it seems like the wrong way to do it, especially when other cities are having success."

He noted officials in Seattle have been considering legislation that would ban non-compostable foodservice items at restaurants that offer take-out, a step that would encourage more compostable products to enter the commercial organics stream in that city.

Stalk Market has a supplier contract with the Moda Center sports and events arena, which has been separating organic materials produced through concession food sales. It's unclear what steps Moda Center and other commercial establishments will need to take to keep similar programs running.

Ehinger says Portland businesses won't abandon ship on the idea of using alternatives to plastic and paper, but he acknowledges that it won't be easy. "For some businesses it will be a harder transition," Ehinger said.

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Will British Columbia's EPR effort kill plastics recycling firms?

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 14:56
Will British Columbia's EPR effort kill plastics recycling firms?

By Editorial Staff, Plastics Recycling Update

April 10, 2014

Leaders at a plastics recycling company in British Columbia say the province's switch to an extended producer responsibility system is creating a downstream "monopoly" that may force their firm and others out of business.

British Columbia next month will usher in its Multi-Material British Columbia (MMBC) program for residential collection of recyclable packaging and printed paper. In preparation of the rollout, MMBC administrators last month selected Green By Nature, a consortium of several large recycling companies, to handle the processing of material entering the system.

That decision, which came at the end of a bidding process, was a major win for Merlin Plastics, one of the members of Green By Nature.

But representatives from Fraser Plastics, which operates in Maple Ridge, B.C., this week told a local news source the MMBC action will be cutting the primary feedstock supply to firms that are not part of the Green By Nature network.

"That essentially creates a monopoly," a spokeswoman for Fraser Plastics told Maple Ridge News. "We are currently in survival mode and asking the government to rethink MMBC as we may not survive, or may not survive for very long."

The company says if it closes, 30 workers will lose their jobs.

In response, MMBC representatives said plastics firms will still be able to garner material from industrial and commercial sources, which are not part of the upcoming program. They also said recycling companies will be able to bid for plastics coming out of the numerous municipalities that have elected not to participate in MMBC.

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Wide world of plastics recycling

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 14:55
Wide world of plastics recycling

By Editorial Staff, Plastics Recycling Update

April 10, 2014

A major plastics recycling firm in the U.K. is paying up after failing to meet regulators' contamination demands.

ECO Plastics has agreed to donate roughly $16,700 to a charitable organization as punishment for allegedly attempting to export a shipment of materials the U.K.'s Environment Agency deemed too contaminated. An ECO representative criticized the regulators' system of assessing contamination, noting it is too "ambiguous" and that exporters don't know what is demanded of them.

Meanwhile, British grocery chain Tesco is set to start packaging eggs in containers made from recycled PET. The retailer says the new cartons, which replace cardboard products, will lead to fewer broken shells.

Finally, plastics reclaimers in New Zealand have been particularly frustrated by China's Green Fence customs initiative. Because there is essentially no domestic manufacturing demand for the material, Kiwi firms have had to stop taking in single-use plastics bags and other items that can lead to lower-quality bales.

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NewsBits from Plastics Recycling Update

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 14:54
NewsBits

April 10, 2014

Cascades, Inc., a packaging company out of Quebec, has introduced a line of polystyrene food trays made from 25 percent recycled material. The product is designed for packaging poultry and other meat products.

A recycling pilot program focused on polypropylene sterilization wrap at a hospital in Providence, Rhode Island has shown encouraging results. In 2013, workers at The Miriam Hospital diverted more than 5,000 pounds of wrap from the waste stream, up from 2,500 pounds in 2012.

Sweden-based certification body TCO Development has launched an effort to verify electronic products in which at least 85 percent of the plastic used comes from post-consumer recycled materials. TCO says Lenovo is the first brand to have products certified to the e-plastics standard.

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QRS set to open major plastics facility in Maryland

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 10:42
QRS set to open major plastics facility in Maryland

By Bobby Elliott, Plastics Recycling Update

April 4, 2014

QRS Recycling and Canusa Hershman Recycling are teaming up to build and run a sizable plastics recovery facility (PRF) in Maryland.

In an exclusive interview with Plastics Recycling Update, QRS CEO Greg Janson said planning for the 128,000-square foot facility in the Sparrows Point area of Baltimore County is underway, with installations beginning in July and plans to get the plant fully operational by December. Approximately 40 jobs will be created as a result of the new operation, which joins existing QRS PRFs in Atlanta and New Albany, Indiana.

Once material is delivered to the Baltimore County facility, QRS will sort plastics Nos. 1-7 by resin type and sell the material domestically. Strategies to execute deeper sorts and move bales within the U.S. have been seen as key to growing plastics recovery operations since China instituted Operation Green Fence last year. "Our goal is to make [Green Fence] irrelevant," Janson said.

The facility's throughput is expected to hit 4,500 tons per month and approach 55,000 tons per year.

Originally a company focused on cardboard and paper commodities in the Midwest, QRS began operating a single-stream materials recovery facility in Nashville during the 1990s. As single-stream collection spread throughout the region, Janson said the company "embraced" the change and quickly realized not all the plastic containers in the stream were handled as efficiently as possible.

At the time, QRS "saw plastics as a distraction," Janson said. But that quickly changed as the company continued to expand and receive more and more single-stream material, prompting QRS to put in a centralized container line at its New Albany headquarters to take baled containers from QRS single-stream MRFs in St. Louis, Louisville and Nashville. Eventually Janson and his team decided to open up a stand-alone PRF in Atlanta in 2012, about a year before China's Green Fence went up.

"We came to embrace the fact that the industry produces a residual stream of plastics that needs a domestic solution," Janson said. "A MRF can't be everything for every commodity so we decided to focus on the containers that a MRF does not recover."

The Baltimore County facility will be a joint venture between QRS and Connecticut-based Canusa Hershman, with each company having an equity position. Canusa Hershman has an "exclusive supply relationship" to provide MRF-generated containers from the region to the new plant. Janson said the company pays suppliers "according to the material characteristics of their product."

By buying a residual container stream from MRFs within a 400-mile radius of the facility, QRS will be able to amass enough tonnage – according to Janson – to make the business profitable once the plastics are sorted and resold by resin. "We have targeted all resin types for recovery and our intention is to sell them all to domestic partners," Janson said. Specifically, PET is used to make new PET bottles while recycled polyethylene goes into the industrial pipe industry and the majority of polypropylene goes back into containers, Janson stated.

Looking ahead, Janson said the Southwest could be a prime location for another QRS plastics facility, with Dallas "being the next place we'd cast our eye."

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Plastics recycling awareness push headed to Carolinas

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 10:41
Plastics recycling awareness push headed to Carolinas

By Jerry Powell, Plastics Recycling Update

April 4, 2014

The Carolinas Plastics Recycling Council (CPRC) this week announced an upcoming marketing campaign with as much as $1 million behind it to encourage residents in North Carolina and South Carolina to recycle plastic bottles.

The outreach effort, which will use "Your Bottle Means Jobs" as its theme, was announced on March 31 at an Asheville, North Carolina metting that attracted roughly 90 industry stakeholders. A CPRC committee is currently seeking approximately $500,000 from member companies for billboard, radio and print promotions in five to eight larger media markets in the Carolinas.

Clear Channel Communications has agreed to match dollar-for-dollar any media expenditures made by the recycling organization.

That notion of finding ways to boost plastic recycling in the region was central to a number of other initiatives discussed during the event. The council, for example, has put together another committee investigating the types of rigid plastic packaging showing up on the shelves of the major grocery chains in the region, and an upcoming one-day workshop will focus on how to promote more recycling of those products.

In addition, a plastics roundtable brought together a group of industry experts to brainstorm ways to increase polymer recovery in the Carolinas. Patrick Board of South Carolina-based Wellman pointed out the fairly low level of plastic bottle collections in the two states. He said Wellman, a large PET reclaimer, gets just 16 percent of its inflow from South Carolina firms and governments.

Among the ideas mentioned by another roundtable member, Mylinda Jacobsen of large HDPE reclaimer Envision Plastics, were the following: increase collections at multi-family dwellings, add sortation improvements at MRFs, and institute plastic disposal bans.

Susan Albritton of Sonoco Recycling noted, "We need to optimize recovery from the current footprint." The "Your Bottle Means Jobs" campaign could help the Carolinas move toward that goal.

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Recycled-plastic product maker moves to $20 million Louisiana facility

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 10:40
Recycled-plastic product maker moves to $20 million Louisiana facility

By Editorial Staff, Plastics Recycling Update

April 4, 2014

IntegriCo Composites, which makes railroad products from recovered plastics, announced it is investing $20 million to build a facility in Louisiana and move its headquarters there.

The company, formerly based in Temple, Texas, announced it is leasing 178,000 square feet of manufacturing space in Webster Parish, a move that was spurred in part by $5 million in financial incentives from Louisiana Economic Development, an organization that promotes business growth in the state. The North Webster Parish Industrial District, which owns the facility site, is also kicking in significant incentives.

The move is expected to bring 300 jobs to Webster Parish.

"Investments like this one by IntegriCo Composites confirm that our state can lead the South and the nation in creating strong manufacturing jobs right here at home," Bobby Jindal, Louisiana's Republican governor, said in a press release.

The location, which the company said will begin renovation in June, puts IntegriCo closer to one of its main partners, Astro Industries, a plastics company that recycles polypropylene and polyethylene and is based in West Monroe, Louisiana.

IntegriCo was founded in 2005 and specializes in the manufacture of composite railroad ties that it markets as durable replacements for wood versions of the product. It also produces industrial mats. In November the company announced it had raised $9 million in venture capital funding.

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PetroChem Wire: PET scrap prices move higher in March

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 10:39
PetroChem Wire: PET scrap prices move higher in March

April 4, 2014

Clear recycled PET pellet prices were up half a cent in early March on steady demand and a bottleneck of truck deliveries due to inclement weather, but prices were stable in the second half of the month.

FDA clear pellet business was done at 77 to 78 cents per pound in late March, and rPET flake prices for clear bottles, high grade, were also steady in late March at 58 to 62 cents per pound FOB East Coast. Meanwhile, PET scrap bale prices were up 1.5 to 2 cents per pound in March due to tight supply, but availability is expected to increase with the warmer weather and higher curbside collection.

Spot prime bottle grade PET was selling at 73.5 to 74.5 cents per pound in March.

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 from Plastics Recycling Update

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 10:35
NewsBits

April 4, 2014

A team led by industry veteran Mick Barry has purchased Lincoln, Nebraska-based Midland Recycling from Palmer Refuse, Inc. for an undisclosed amount. Barry and several of his business partners helped launch Midland, which processes plastics Nos. 1 and 2 as well as other materials, in 1996 and ran the company until 2007 before selling to Greenstar Recycling.

Dallas is the latest major metropolitan area to pass legislation on single-use plastic bags. The municipality's City Council voted 8-6 to approve a bill that forces grocery stores and other retailers to charge 5 cents for every paper or plastic bag they distribute to shoppers.

Environmental groups in Massachusetts are campaigning to bring the question of an expanded bottle bill to voters in the state this fall. The updated legislation would cover water bottles, sports drinks and juice containers.

Nike has introduced uniforms for the 2014 England World Cup Team, and the company says recycled plastic is utilized to create the shirts, shorts and socks. The company is also using recycled material for the U.S. national team's threads.

Plastics to oil company Vaddx Energy recently received a $1.6 million loan from the state of Ohio to help the company develop a facility in Akron.

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Major Midwest plastics recycling firm closes

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 15:49
Major Midwest plastics recycling firm closes

By Editorial Staff, Plastics Recycling Update

One of the country's largest plastics reclaimers has abruptly closed its doors.

Maine Plastics, headquartered in Zion, Illinois, ceased operations "due to the actions taken by our bank," according to an automated email reply from company CEO David Kaplan. The news first broke in a story by Plastics News reporter Frank Esposito.

Ranked as the eighth-largest plastics recycling firm in the U.S. by Plastics News, Maine Plastics once operated nine facilities. Maine Plastics' annual throughput had fallen from 178 million pounds in 2012 to 162 million pounds in 2013. The company website indicates annual processing of more than 140 million pounds.

A request for comment on the closure was not immediately returned.

Kaplan's automated email reply does note at least the possibility of "further developments which would allow the resumption of deliveries."

Maine Plastics was founded in 1983 and handled both post-industrial and post-commercial plastics. Publicly traded Casella Waste Systems recently acquired A Greener Solution, Maine Plastics' environmental management wing. The division designs and implements recycling programs for industrial clients.

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Do you have recycling's next big idea?

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 15:48
Do you have recycling's next big idea?

By Editorial Staff, Plastics Recycling Update

The second annual Recycling Innovators Forum is set to offer funding for ideas that have the potential to transform recycling collection or processing. The application process for the contest is now open.

Sponsored by Alcoa, the American Chemistry Council, Coca-Cola Recycling, Resource Recycling and Waste Management, the 2014 Recycling Innovators Forum is a venue for inventors and innovative organizations to present their game-changing ideas on how to advance the industry. The Forum offers innovators throughout the recycling community the chance to compete for additional funding, marketing opportunities and industry support.

Co-located with the annual Resource Recycling Conference, the Forum is designed to elevate the best and brightest ideas in recycling to the national stage and connect innovators to the companies, institutions and organizations that can help turn great concepts into reality. Original ideas, inventions and processes presented at the Forum are "shovel-ready" and capable of producing a palpable and immediate impact on the recycling industry.

The competition will be held on Sept. 15, the day before the start of the 2014 Resource Recycling Conference in New Orleans, and will award two $20,000 prizes to the top two of the 10 Forum finalists.

For more information about competing in, or attending, this free event, visit recyclinginnovators.com.

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Scrap plastics exports stay flat in January

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 15:47
Scrap plastics exports stay flat in January

By Editorial Staff, Plastics Recycling Update

During the first month of this year, exports of scrap plastics of all resin types were flat compared with both December 2013 and year-over-year (YOY) figures.

Export totals in January, the most recent month for which data is available, saw a small decline of 0.9 percent from December 2013 levels. With 354.98 million pounds of scrap plastics exported in January 2014, the YOY volume of plastic scrap exports was also down slightly, by 3.2 percent.

The weighted price of recovered plastic exports in January, at 19.34 cents per pound, was flat, down by just 0.8 percent from its December 2013 standing. When compared with its year-over-year (YOY) level, the price was also mostly level, up by 1.2 percent.

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MRFs taking on more plastic foodservice packaging

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 15:47
MRFs taking on more plastic foodservice packaging

By Editorial Staff, Plastics Recycling Update

A new survey on foodservice packaging (FSP) accepted at North American materials recovery facilities provides some much needed food for thought.

"We have found that both the industry and consumers often think these products are not recycled, " Lynn Dyer, president of Foodservice Packaging Institute (FPI), said in a press release. "This study not only refutes that assumption but shows promise for increased acceptance."

Of the 62 North American MRFs surveyed, nearly two-thirds accepted at least 10 of the 19 types of FSP. Upwards of 70 percent accept rigid plastics, such as cups and takeout containers, an overview of study results states.

Also of note, the survey findings suggest MRF size and type do not correlate to acceptance rates or levels.

Cups, beverage carriers, containers and a variety of egg cartons were the least accepted items, with less than 50 percent of participants accepting the material for recycling.

The press release notes that while "not intended to substantiate claims of recyclability in compliance with the Federal Trade Commission's 'Green Guides,'" the results indicate a "number of items are in fact reaching thresholds that might allow these products to be labeled 'recyclable.'"

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