Plastics Recycling Update Magazine

Updated: 1 day 18 hours ago

ACC extends awards deadline

Tue, 10/21/2014 - 10:44
ACC extends awards deadline

By Editorial Staff, Plastics Recycling Update

Oct. 21, 2014

The Plastics Division of the American Chemistry Council has extended the nomination deadline for its Innovations in Plastics Recycling Awards program.

The initiative aims to honor technologies, products and breakthroughs that advance the use of post-consumer plastic material. Get more details here.

 

ACC study finds plastics-to-oil potential

Tue, 10/14/2014 - 22:08
ACC study finds plastics-to-oil potential

By Editorial Staff, Plastics Recycling Update

Oct. 15, 2014

A new study suggests the plastics-to-oil industry is primed for growth and could divert an additional 6.5 million tons of non-recycled plastics each year.

In "Economic Impact of Plastics-to-Oil Facilities in the U.S.," the American Chemistry Council (ACC) reports the U.S. "could support" between 350 and 600 new plastics-to-oil (PTO) facilities. Constructing those sites would cost $6.6 billion in private investment, but would lead to as many as 38,900 jobs and as much as 6.5 million tons of materials diversion annually.

ACC also says those 350 to 600 facilities could generate nearly $9 billion in economic output.

"Plastics-to-oil technologies have the potential to create thousands of jobs for skilled workers, contribute billions of dollars to the U.S. economy, cut our carbon emissions, and dramatically reduce the landfilling of a valuable energy source," said Jon Angin, vice president of business development at Agilyx Corporation and chairman of ACC’s Plastics-to-Oil Technologies Alliance, in a press release.

Noting recycling and reuse are "the preferred methods of plastics recovery," the new report posits PTO technology "complements plastics recycling." By diverting 20 percent of the 32.5 million tons of plastics landfilled in the U.S. in 2011, the report notes, PTO technology would lead to a sizable increase in diversion rates without cutting into rising plastics recycling rates.

The PTO process, which has become a much scrutinized and thought-over approach for the industry, essentially heats material down to a gas, which then is liquefied and turned into oil. A relatively new approach, PTO is being looked at by various firms throughout the country.

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APR meeting offers recycling assessment of new packaging

Tue, 10/14/2014 - 22:06
APR meeting offers recycling assessment of new packaging

By Jerry Powell, Plastics Recycling Update

Oct. 15, 2014

More than 170 recycling leaders met last week in Southern California to address current and future issues affecting the recycling of plastics packaging. One of the highlights was hearing how a number of plastic packaging innovations may interact with the recycling stream.

The meeting, which was sponsored by the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR) and had the largest attendance of any gathering in the group’s history, offered updates on a much-lauded APR program in which plastics packaging designers come before the organization to assess a new product’s recyclability before the package is introduced into the marketplace. A handful of new packaging concepts received attention in San Diego.

Jim Kulp of Plastipak focused on direct-printed labels for HDPE. The technology (direct-object printing) entails UV-cured polymer with a high melting point (600 degrees Fahrenheit). The labeling is for a co-polymer HDPE bottle, with the printing likely to be used on the shoulder of the bottle. Research undertaken by Plastics Forming Enterprises (PFE), a major testing laboratory, shows that labeled containers meet all the critical guidance steps of APR.

A new shrink- sleeve label was described by Pascal Champion from Sleever, the global label producer with a large label plant in Canada. The 40-year-old French firm, which sells labels to many beverage and food packagers, has developed a low-density PET label, and the company hopes it can be separated out in PET bottle recycling. PFE tested bottles with printed and unprinted labels by putting them through washing and oven testing. In the end, researchers found the label passed APR’s guidance steps.

Array extrusion blow molding resins, meanwhile, were portrayed by Greg McMillan of DAK Americas, which produces PET and PTA and makes fiber. In addition, DAK is co-owner with Shaw Industries of Clear Path Recycling, the PET reclaimer. DAK wants to produce a resin to be used in making clear PET large-handled containers that are recyclable. To determine the feasibility of this, Array resin bottles were ground up, washed and elutriated to produce clean flake for testing. The PFE research looked at several recycling issues, with the new resin passing general APR technical muster, although additional research is required.

Rob Flores of Berry Plastics outlined a recent innovation — Versalite, a new product in the PP stream. Versalite is an insulated, microcellular, reverse-printed PP packaging material for use in hot cups. The potential market approaches 200 million pounds per year. But is it recyclable? To answer this question, Berry Plastics, which is one of the largest PP users in the world, worked with a number of parties — including PTI (the second major testing laboratory), KW Plastics, Waste Management and Sims — to determine if the package could be recovered at MRFs by optical or manual means and then successfully processed by a PP reclaimer and used by a PP consumer.

The association recognized two firms for their participation in APR’s critical guidance program. UPM Raflatac was cited for its development of a shrink sleeve label for use on PET bottles that does not hinder the recycling of the container. Indorma was given recognition for a new PET resin.

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No movement for HDPE bottle recycling rate

Tue, 10/14/2014 - 22:01
No movement for HDPE bottle recycling rate

By Dan Leif, Plastics Recycling Update

Oct. 15, 2014

A study released today by the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR) and the American Chemistry Council (ACC) shows the 2013 recycling rate for HDPE bottles was 31.6 percent, identical to the 2012 rate.

The figure was identified in the "National Post-Consumer Plastics Bottle Recycling Report," which is produced annually by the two industry groups.

Last week the national PET bottle recycling rate was announced, and that figure grew by 0.4 percentage points in 2013 to reach 31.2 percent. According to the ACC and APR, PET and HDPE bottles account for roughly 96 percent of the U.S. plastic bottle recycling rate. With HDPE flat and PET up a hair, it is not surprising that the groups found the overall plastic bottle recycling rate grew by 0.4 percentage points in 2013, to 30.9 percent.

Looking at the PET and HDPE figures together, a number of trends can be ascertained.

First, exports of plastic bottles have been down sharply compared with previous years. Exports of HDPE dropped last year 19 percent compared with 2012, to 163 million pounds. On the PET front, exports were at their lowest level in 10 years.

The overall volume of plastic bottles collected as well as the overall volume available both rose in 2013. The nation is using and collecting more of these containers than ever before. Collection of plastic bottles grew by 120 million pounds in 2013, up 4.3 percent, to 2.906 billion pounds.

However, while overall resin consumption is rising, per capita resin use has yet to return to its peak, which came in 2007. Because of continuing effects of the economic recession and trends toward lightweighting among product manufacturers, per capita resin figures have grown slowly in recent years. Per capita resin use grew by 2.3 percent last year, "a welcome increase after five years of little or no growth," according to the report.

On the reclaimer front, HDPE capacity utilization rose to 72 percent in 2013, up from 68 percent the year prior. The PET report issued last week indicated reclaimers' plant utilization rate for all PET feedstock was also approximately 72 percent, an increase of 9 percentage points from 2012.

Finally, the average of reported yield values of HDPE bales to clean HDPE pellets in 2013 was 81.4 percent, up slightly from 81.3 percent in 2012. The PET report stated national yield rates for that material ranged from 75 percent for deposit bottles to 69 percent for curbside material and 77 percent for California CRV.

According the report issued today, "The yield situation is different for recycling HDPE and PET bottles. For PET bottles, the labels are not recovered as PET while for HDPE bottles labels may be recovered as HDPE. Contamination in bales of HDPE bottles and PET bottles presented an ongoing challenge to reclaimers."

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Shipping group suggests rate hikes for exports to Asia

Tue, 10/14/2014 - 21:54
Shipping group suggests rate hikes for exports to Asia

By Dan Leif, Plastics Recycling Update

Oct. 15, 2014

A group of major container shipping companies recently recommended rate increases for shipping recyclables — including plastics — and other low-margin materials to Asia.

The move from firms in the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement (TSA) Westbound group was announced Oct. 8, and it comes in response to price trends that carriers say were not sustainable.

"Many base cargo rates in the westbound transpacific market are approaching levels that do not justify carriage, especially when you take into account offsetting destination costs such as equipment cleaning and repair and local delivery," Brian Conrad, TSA-Westbound executive administrator, said in a press release announcing the recommended rate increases.

TSA-Westbound is advising minimum rates of $300 per 40-foot container (FEU) from Los Angeles/Long Beach, and $750 per FEU for all-water U.S. East and Gulf Coast shipments. The new rates go into effect Nov. 1 and are recommended by the group for shipments of recovered paper, hay, and metal and plastic scrap to China base ports.

TSA-Westbound's announcement noted more increases are expected in December "and beyond," and they come roughly a year after TSA-Westbound announced a similar rate increase recommendation.

According to a TSA spokesperson, the group has never before recommended minimum price levels.

For a number of years, companies exporting scrap materials to Asia have been able to secure cheap shipping on vessels that had brought goods from China and other Asian nations to the U.S. and were searching for cargo to haul on their return voyages. Shipping companies say soft demand and rising costs in recent years have forced them to set new minimum rates. In essence, they are saying it is more cost effective to send back empty containers to Asia than it is to haul low-margin materials at current rates.

TSA-Westbound is made up of the following firms: APL, Ltd.; China Shipping Container Lines; CMA-CGM; COSCO Container Lines, Ltd.; Evergreen Line; Hanjin Shipping Co., Ltd.; Hapag Lloyd AG; Hyundai Merchant Marine Co., Ltd.; Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Ltd. (K Line); Maersk Line; Mediterranean Shipping Co.; Nippon Yusen Kaisha (N.Y.K. Line); Orient Overseas Container Line, Ltd.; Yangming Marine Transport Corp.; and Zim Integrated Shipping Services.

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Technical and market trends grab focus in San Diego

Tue, 10/14/2014 - 21:45
Technical and market trends grab focus in San Diego

By Jerry Powell, Plastics Recycling Update

Oct. 15, 2014

Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers members last week were presented details on several recent issues affecting plastics packaging recovery. In addition, the association launched a new program aimed at olefins and detailed work on rigid plastics.

Dave Bellon from QRS discussed PRFs (plastics recovery facilities) which can handle what he called “end of the line plastics,” or the polymer residues generated in local materials recovery facilities (MRFs). QRS is a firm that has engaged in recycling for 40 years and changed its focus in the past five years to address key processing issues. The firm has jumped in a big way into the sorting of plastic containers Nos. 3-7 by operating large PRFs in Atlanta; Baltimore; Louisville, Kentucky; and St. Louis. Bellon recommends positively sorting contaminants (mostly fiber) to generate a negatively sorted mixed plastic bale, with QRS even accepting bales with black plastics. “We like black,” he concluded.

Producers of container sorting systems are adjusting to current market conditions, says Karel Wendl of PELLENC. The 12-year-old French company is one of the leading producers of resin sorting units and notes the company has developed units to address new sorting requirements, such as distinguishing between PE and PP, sorting and diverting black plastics, distinguishing and separating PET bottles and PET trays, and separating PET-G or PVC sleeved bottles from other PET containers.

APR has expanded its member-driven technical work to now include an olefin technical committee, with the group’s work to be based in part on the association’s decades-long committee work on PET recycling issues. Some 50 members attended the first olefins technical committee meeting in San Diego. A formal group of about 10 to 14 will be established, with this committee and its task groups looking at three important steps, these being:

  • Compiling APR’s previous documentation and research supporting olefins recycling and list the gaps found, such as the potential that new test methods are needed for PE and PP.
  • Addressing PE and PP resin separation concerns.
  • Focusing on olefin package design and its impact on recycling collection and processing. An example would be a PET-G label on a HDPE container and the resulting potential for misidentification by optical sorting systems.

Rigid plastics packaging also received attention last week. Some 36 APR member companies are involved in an APR effort to boost the recovery of non-bottle rigid plastics packaging, such as crates and buckets. Much of the focus at the subcommittee level is on PP rigids, as well as PET thermoforms. The committee has bale sorts underway at three rigid plastic processors, with combined data due in February. This entails separating the packaging in bales into a dozen categories. The work follows on a similar sorting study four years ago and is funded in part by the American Chemistry Council. Another important task is to promote rigid plastic recovery among grocery chains nationwide by urging them bale and sell rigids.

And APR itself continues to move forward. With 150 member companies, APR has seen sizable growth in recent years, with its annual budget now exceeding $1 million. The group has established a tax-exempt charitable foundation to better help expand plastics recycling in North America.

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NewsBits

Tue, 10/14/2014 - 21:32
NewsBits

Oct. 15, 2014

This week the Foodservice Packaging Institute launched the Foam Recycling Coalition to help drive more recycling of post-consumer expanded polystyrene (EPS). The group's first action was backing a study that identified 140 companies that process or consume post-consumer EPS. Next, the initiative will aim to build a program to help MRFs better handle the material.

After a string of late-summer fatalities at U.S. recycling facilities, the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) has declared Oct. 15 Safety Stand-Down Day and is encouraging firms and employees to dedicate time on that date to focus on safety education. "Since early August, we have suffered at least 11 fatalities and multiple critical injuries at facilities owned by, or associated with, ISRI members and at some non-ISRI member owned facilities," the group said in a press release. "This is a disturbing trend that must be stopped."

An effort to put a bottle bill referendum on the ballot in Ohio was recently allowed to move forward by the state's attorney general. The proposed constitutional amendment, which now must pass the Ohio Ballot Board, would require the state legislature to pass deposit legislation.

 

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PET bottle recycling rate holds steady in 2013

Wed, 10/08/2014 - 10:29
PET bottle recycling rate holds steady in 2013

By Dan Leif, Plastics Recycling Update

Oct. 8, 2014

A just-released report shows the U.S. PET bottle recycling rate was 31.2 percent last year, a slight rise from 2012's 30.8 percent mark.

The recycling rate was determined by a pair of industry groups and announced in a report made public today.

In 2013, 1.798 billion pounds of PET bottle material was collected for recycling, an 80 million pound increase from the previous year. Representatives from the groups behind the study — the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR) and the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR) — note those collection increases were a product of upticks in material from states with bottle deposit legislation, as well as continued growth in single-stream and commercial recycling programs, which brought more PET into materials recovery facilities (MRFs) nationwide.

The study also notes that due to reduced demand for mixed plastic bales brought about by China's Green Fence policy (which hit its peak in 2013), "MRFs may have been incentivized to move materials from mixed resin bales to PET bales."

The trend toward lighter and smaller bottles among beverage makers is again noted as a factor holding back recycling rate growth in the PET arena. The report also indicates some states with developed curbside recycling programs reported declines in total weight collected.

China's Green Fence also seems to have made an impact on the tonnages of PET bottle material exported from the U.S. Roughly 469 million pounds of collected material, or 26 percent, was exported in 2013. That's the lowest volume since 2004 and the lowest by percentage of total collection since 2000.

U.S. reclaimers, however, increased consumption of U.S. bottles by 17 percent, compared with 2012.

"Despite very real challenges for PET recyclers due to limited supply and decreasing bale yields, this report shows a maturing, entrepreneurial industry that continues to innovate and find new material sources and process efficiencies," said Scott Saunders, APR chairman and general manager at KW Plastics Recycling Division. "Notably, domestic recyclers are contributing more than 790 million pounds of material back into U.S. production of new PET packaging; this is a significant demonstration of domestic closed loop manufacturing."

Over the past decade, U.S. PET bottle recycling rates have climbed each year. The 0.4 percentage point climb between 2012 and 2013 is the second-smallest increase the industry has seen in that time frame. The only time it was smaller was between 2010 and 2011, when the rate went from 29.1 percent to 29.3 percent, according to figures supplied in the most recent report.

Between 2011 and 2012 the rate increased from 29.3 percent to 30.8 percent.

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Closed Loop Fund to move fast on initial projects

Tue, 10/07/2014 - 22:12
Closed Loop Fund to move fast on initial projects

By Dan Leif, Plastics Recycling Update

Oct. 8, 2014

The leader of the $100 million Closed Loop Fund says the initiative's submission period will officially open next week, and by the end of this month, administrators will begin reviewing proposals.

Ron Gonen, CEO of the Closed Loop Fund, spoke Monday on a webinar organized by the Pennsylvania Recycling Markets Center. He said his group's website, ClosedLoopFund.com, will go live on Oct. 15 and at that point parties interested in submitting proposals to nab funding will be able to do so.

He added that Fund decision-makers will be meeting Oct. 29 to discuss the first crop of proposals and to start determining which will receive financing from the group. Fund representatives will then be meeting on a quarterly basis to review and greenlight more submissions.

"We're looking to be aggressive and put carts out on the street and help MRFs advance recycling," Gonen said.

The Closed Loop Fund, which was announced in April, is backed by Walmart, Procter & Gamble and several other giants in the consumer packaged goods realm. On Monday, Gonen also confirmed Colgate-Palmolive recently joined the list of backers, and he said he expects more corporate entities to be joining soon.

Those companies say they have struggled to consistently source enough recovered material to meet their recycled content goals.

Using contributions totaling more than $100 million from those corporate partners, the Closed Loop Fund will over the next five years be making zero interest loans available to municipalities looking to finance projects that can significantly bolster diversion rates and bring more material into the market. Gonen has mentioned a number of example initiatives that would fit the Fund's parameters, such as transitions from bins to carts, construction of new MRFs and anaerobic digestion development.

On Monday, Gonen said he envisions most loans to be in the $500,000 to $5 million range, and he said the loans are open to municipalities and business entities throughout North America as well as the Caribbean.

While municipalities will be eligible for zero interest loans, any loans from the Fund to business groups would be subject to interest rates. Gonen noted those interest rates would be "below market."

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PetroChem Wire: Tight recycled LDPE supply reflects strong exports

Tue, 10/07/2014 - 22:09
PetroChem Wire: Tight recycled LDPE supply reflects strong exports

Oct. 8, 2014

U.S. recycled LDPE film pellet prices have risen in recent weeks due in part to healthy demand from Asian export markets and the resultant tighter supply.

LDPE film grade repro in mixed colors rose 1-2 cents per pound to 46-50 cents per pound FOB Eastern U.S. LDPE injection regrind (flake) business was done at 46 cents per pound FOB Eastern U.S. for natural and 43 cents per pound for mixed color.

The U.S. Gulf market for prime LDPE, film grade, domestic resale (DER) was steady at 92 cents per pound in late September and early December.

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 foes accused of fudging facts

Tue, 10/07/2014 - 22:07
Massachusetts bottle bill foes accused of fudging facts

By Editorial Staff, Plastics Recycling Update

Oct. 8, 2014

Opponents of bottle bill expansion in Massachusetts are under fire for possibly grossly overstating the percentage of state residents who have access to curbside recycling.

In TV ads trying to convince voters to shoot down the expansion, the beverage-industry-backed "No On Question 2" group says 90 percent of Massachusetts residents have curbside access. The group argues such high access levels makes expanding the deposit legislation to bottled water and other drinks unnecessary.

After environmental groups and other supporters of the bottle bill initiative voiced concerns over the validity of the 90 percent number, the group began attributing the statistic to the Massachusetts Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

But in a lengthy story this week by the Boston-based State House News Service, the statistic was questioned by officials from the state's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), which is part of the Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and maintains waste-related figures.

"I like to have the right data out there in these kinds of discussions and that doesn't seem to be the right data," DEP Commissioner David Cash told the News Service. Another DEP spokesperson quoted in the story said his department's numbers show 64 percent of residents have curbside access.

So far opponents of the bottle bill have raised nearly $8 million for their fight against the ballot proposal. Supporters of bottle bill expansion in the Bay State, meanwhile, have raised just over $500,000.

That financial disparity and the resulting messaging coming to voters seems to be making a difference in the arena of public opinion. An August Boston Globe poll found 62 percent of respondents supported the bottle bill expansion. A poll held at the end of September, however, found a majority of respondents said they would vote against expansion.

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Wide world of plastics recycling

Tue, 10/07/2014 - 21:52
Wide world of plastics recycling

By Editorial Staff, Plastics Recycling Update

Oct. 8, 2014

An Australian firm has launched with the goal of turning reclaimed plastic film into a variety of products, and a startup in Mexico is using recycled HDPE in decking material.

A recently launched Australian company, Plastic Forests, is aiming to reduce the amount of plastic film that ends up landfilled or incinerated by processing the material and turning into products such as electric cable casings and garden edging. The firm began as an effort from Sydney-based Global Renewables.

The U.K. county of Surrey is trying to make a clear connection between recycling and economics in a push to get more residents to divert their plastic bottles. The campaign materials state that if each one of Surrey's 983,000 adults recycled one more plastic bottle each week, the county would save 200,000 pounds (roughly $322,000) annually in waste disposal costs.

Two college students in Mexico have launched a company that manufactures decking materials from recycled plastic. The firm, called Madenova, will start with a focus on consuming HDPE.

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Patent watch

Tue, 10/07/2014 - 21:50
Patent watch

Oct. 8, 2014

A group of researchers led by Frank J. Levy, from Quogue, New York, was given Patent No. 8,794,552, which describes an apparatus and process for separating carpet fibers.

A method of manufacturing recycled crosslinked vinyl-alcohol polymer coated films is the subject of Patent No. 8,795,811, awarded to Toray Plastics (America), Inc. from North Kingstown, Rhode Island.

Patent Applications No. 20140209716 and 20140209725 were awarded to the Wisconsin Film & Bag, Inc. from Shawano for post-consumer scrap film recycling systems and processes.

Asker, Norway's Tomra Systems ASA was given Patent Application No. 20140210967 for a system and method of reading features on recyclable containers for reverse vending machines.

A multi-function device for separating and washing scrap plastics is the subject of Patent Application No. 20140213159, given to Yubin Feng from Guangzhou City, China.

Patent Application No. 20140213740 was given to Omaha, Nebraska's Columbia Insurance Company for a method of recycling PET plastic materials.

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

Tue, 10/07/2014 - 21:45
NewsBits

Oct. 8, 2014

Officials in Medina County, Ohio are set to continue using a system in which recyclables are separated from trash at a dedicated facility. The county, which is located south of Cleveland and has a population of roughly 172,000, has utilized the "dirty MRF" concept for over a decade, and officials recently announced they are considering bids from two firms that would continue the arrangement for at least seven years. One of the bidders, Vexor Technology, says it will invest $11.5 million to renovate the county's processing facility.

In its latest sustainability report, Coca-Cola stated it has used more than 25 billion PlantBottles in 40 countries since the packaging concept was launched five years ago. The PlantBottle is a PET container that can be recycled in traditional PET streams, but part of the plastic in the bottles is derived from sugars instead of petroleum.

A Denver-based company called Higher Standard Packaging has launched a line of 100 percent recycled HDPE containers for, you guessed it, marijuana. Nearly 300,000 pounds of legalized pot is expected to be sold in Colorado this year alone, and Higher Standard says it has successfully developed the first FDA-approved, recycled packaging for the drug.

The former president of recycling at Waste Management has joined become CEO of WCA Waste Corporation, the Texas-based firm has announced. After leaving Waste Management last month, Bill Caesar will take control of WCA and focus "on executing a successful long-term growth strategy and building WCA into a leading non-hazardous waste services company," according to a press release. Before entering the waste management industry in 2010, Caesar had worked for 13 years as a principal at consulting firm McKinsey & Company.

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APR shrink sleeve study released

Thu, 10/02/2014 - 14:42
APR shrink sleeve study released

By Editorial Staff, Plastics Recycling Update

Oct. 3, 2014

A working group has identified a series of recycling-friendly design tips for manufacturers of full-wrap shrink sleeve labels.

Importantly, the suggestions, put forward by the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR) Shrink Label Working Group in a new report, won't ask label makers to ditch the full-wrap concept altogether. Instead, the working group says it has arrived at some design adjustments that will help PET bottle reclaimers identify and sort the labeled bottles.

"Recyclers were seeing more and more containers with full-wrap shrink sleeve labels contaminating their material," said John Standish, technical director of APR, in a press release. "We formed a group to clearly identify steps that would allow brand owners to take advantage of these labels without creating a negative impact on the quality of the rPET stream."

Those steps, outlined and fleshed out in the report, include:

  • Employ sleeve labels that will float in water and separate from PET flakes in a sink/float material separation step.
  • Employ printed labels where the label inks do not stain PET flakes in the wash/rinse step.
  • Use APR’s Critical Guidance Document for Shrink Labels for PET Bottles as a comprehensive laboratory test program to assess the impact of a label on recycling PET Bottles.
  • Where possible, use a sleeve label that leaves at least 20 percent of the PET bottle surface area exposed. This will allow the most accurate auto-sortation by the broadest range of color sorters installed at processing facilities.

By following the four steps listed above, APR says, bottle reclaimers won't face the sizable challenges Standish highlighted in an in-depth article in the August 2014 issue of Plastics Recycling Update.

APR cautions the industry it will take some time to fully implement the group's recommendations. "We cannot expect a widespread change in label technologies for at least two to three years' time," APR writes in the report, noting that existing labels are simply cheaper to produce at the moment and that brand owners have to honor their current contracts before making label changes.

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Plastics Recycling 2015: An entire industry under one roof

Thu, 10/02/2014 - 14:38
Plastics Recycling 2015: An entire industry under one roof

By Editorial Staff, Plastics Recycling Update

Oct. 3, 2014

North America's largest gathering of plastics recycling professionals is set for next February in Dallas, Texas.

Plastics Recycling 2015 is your opportunity to network with clients, prospective partners, colleagues, vendors and industry leaders all in one location. The 2014 edition, held in Orlando, attracted more than 1,775 attendees from over 30 countries. Meeting everyone in one venue will save you precious time and travel expenses.

Plastics Recycling 2015 is taking place Feb. 23-25 at the Hyatt Regency in Dallas, Texas. Head to plasticsrecycling.com for complete information on attending the conference as well as exclusive exhibiting and sponsorship opportunities.

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California bag ban signed as opponents eye referendum

Thu, 10/02/2014 - 14:32
California bag ban signed as opponents eye referendum

By Bobby Elliott, Plastics Recycling Update

Oct. 3, 2014

California's plastic bag ban has been signed into law, but opponents have pledged to fight on.

The nation's first state-level ban on single-use checkout bags was signed into law on Sept. 30 by California Gov. Jerry Brown, who afterward praised the measure as a sign of things to come.

"This bill is a step in the right direction – it reduces the torrent of plastic polluting our beaches, parks and even the vast ocean itself," Brown said in a press release. "We’re the first to ban these bags, and we won’t be the last."

That announcement, however, was countered by a fierce proclamation from the ban's primary opponent, the SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association-funded American Progressive Bag Alliance (APBA). After lobbying aggressively but unsuccessfully in the weeks and months leading up to the bill's passage through the California legislature, APBA has now set its sights on a referendum.

"We have taken the necessary steps to gather signatures and qualify a referendum to repeal SB 270 on the November 2016 ballot," an APBA statement reads. "Since state lawmakers failed their constituents by approving this terrible bill, we will take the question directly to the public and have great faith they will repeal it at the ballot box."

APBA has been a vocal critic of bag ban ordinances throughout the country, attacking the overall effort as misguided. The group characterized California's law as "a backroom deal between the grocers and union bosses to scam California consumers out of billions of dollars without providing any public benefit."

The website of California Secretary of State Debra Brown confirms that a referendum is indeed possible on the measure, although APBA will have to move quickly.

"A proponent has only 90 days from the date of the enactment of a bill … to request and receive a title and summary from the Attorney General … print petitions, gather the required number of valid signatures, and file the petitions with the county elections officials," the explanation reads.

APBA will have to gain a little more than 500,000 valid signatures to get the issue in front of voters.

In addition to banning single-use plastic bags, the California law requires a minimum 10 cent charge on paper, compostable and reusable bags.

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Massachusetts bottle bill debate shines light on recycling access

Thu, 10/02/2014 - 14:21
Massachusetts bottle bill debate shines light on recycling access

By Bobby Elliott, Plastics Recycling Update

Oct. 3, 2014

With a little more than a month before voters in Massachusetts decide on whether to expand their state's bottle bill, interest groups on both sides of the issue are turning up the heat and offering two distinct vantage points on the convenience of plastic recycling in the state.

Thus far, opponents of the expansion, which would add a nickel deposit on water and many other non-carbonated plastic beverage containers, have spent a reported $7.8 million to paint the move as unnecessary and costly in a pair of TV ads and a wider media campaign. Proponents, meanwhile, have contributed roughly $525,000 into the "Update the Bottle Bill Coalition" and attacked deep-pocketed, "big soda" companies for misleading the general public leading up to the Nov. 4 ballot vote.

"The purpose of these ads is to trick voters and scare them into voting no," Janet Domenitz, executive director of the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group, said in statement. "I expect the next thing their ads will say is that the cow jumped over the moon."

One specific issue the two groups have butted heads on is the percentage of residents with access to curbside recycling. In the TV ads, the anti-expansion camp argues that access has reached 90 percent. Update supporters have countered that claim by suggesting that less than half of Massachusetts' cities and towns ‒ 47.5 percent ‒ have access to "easy, walk-outside-your-door curbside recycling."

Both groups claim that access directly correlates with recycling rates. If the access is high, the thinking goes, a bottle bill expansion wouldn't be necessary, but if the access is low, that expansion could get more containers in the recycling stream by putting a nickel bounty on them.

So which side is right? According to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), which openly supports the deposit addition, "nearly all Massachusetts cities and towns offer their residents the opportunity to recycle." But just 25 percent of water and non-carbonated beverage bottles are getting recycled through those opportunities, MassDEP figures show.

The groups on both sides of the bottle bill debate are expected to continue to ramp up their efforts to reach Massachusetts voters in the next month.

The ads produced thus far from the "No on Question 2" campaign can be viewed here. The official pro-expansion response, conversely, can be viewed here.

For the past decade, Massachusetts has wrestled with the idea of expanding the state's beverage deposit system. A Boston Globe poll in August found strong support for the ballot measure, which is also supported by Gov. Deval Patrick.

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PetroChem Wire: HIPS white regrind prices rise on strong demand

Thu, 10/02/2014 - 14:18
PetroChem Wire: HIPS white regrind prices rise on strong demand

Oct. 3, 2014

Prices for recycled HIPS white flake increased in late September to 59 to 60 cents per pound FOB Eastern U.S. as strong demand outstripped supply.

Prices were firm throughout the month, and are up nearly 15 percent from the beginning of 2014 as less HIPS regrind is being offered on the open market. HIPS white repro prices were steady in late September at 76 to 78 cents per pound FOB U.S. East Coast.

Off-spec generic prime HIPS was offered in late September at 97 to 98 cents per pound, domestic resale delivered to U.S. locations, with normal spec generic HIPS holding in the second half September at $1.09 per pound on the U.S. Gulf.

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

Thu, 10/02/2014 - 13:38
NewsBits

Oct. 3, 2014

Residents of Ruidoso, New Mexico will soon be able to sort and recycle PET and HDPE plastic containers thanks to a revamped recycling policy expected to go into effect later this month. While plastics No. 3-7 will not be accepting for recycling, the value of scrap plastic – now at $315 per 1,500 pound bale in southern New Mexico – has convinced the community to give plastics recycling a chance.

Recycling-savvy residents in Charleston, South Carolina will be eligible to win free $50 gift certifications from Harris Teeter for the next six months. The initiative, which is part of Coca-Cola's "Recycling & Win" program, is aimed at recognizing "households which are recycling properly" ‒ in other words, recycling as much as possible and only those items Charleston's curbside program accepts. Residents are in luck when it comes to plastics, as all plastic containers Nos. 1-7 are accepted for recycling in the city.

A firm called Florida Agricultural Plastics has begun operating at a 65,000-square-foot facility in Avon Park, Florida. The company says its first wash line has an annual capacity of washing 30 million pounds of used agricultural film.

A new report out of California suggests that most MRFs are holding off on recycling cartons. The report, released by Californians Against Waste, suggests that just 13 percent of California MRFs separate cartons, which contain at least 20 percent polyethylene, for recycling. For more in-depth coverage on the report and the carton manufacturing industry's response, click here

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