June 20, 2014
Choosing to use a plastic or paper bag in Portland, Maine will soon mean choosing to hand over a nickel too. Beginning next April, residents will have to pay to use single-use paper or plastic bags offered at grocery stores, convenience stores and farmers' markets and foam cups and containers will be a thing of the past as well, following ordinances passed Monday by Portland City Council members.
Arkansas-based RE-CY Plastics is eyeing a potential relocation to Memphis, Tennessee. The company, which was founded in 2011 and supplies recycled plastics to the automotive and furniture industry, could receive a hearty tax break if it does decide to re-locate and, if all goes as planned, almost double its processing capacity to 35 million pounds per year.
Waste and recycling firm Recology has been ordered to pay $1.3 million to ratepayers in the San Francisco area. That's the result of a fraud suit brought against the company by a former employee. In a statement, the firm argued it had emerged victorious in the case, noting it had "won on 158 of the 159 charges."
Rural areas throughout the country continue to lack recycling access and a new Wall Street Journal article on the vexing issue hammers home the point. Various challenges remain in expanding curbside collection, including transportation costs, the relative affordability of landfilling recyclables in many rural areas and a lack of processing centers. Taking Charleston, West Virginia as one example, less than 1 percent of its recyclable plastic was recycled in 2011, compared with a national PET recycling rate of about 30 percent.
The world's largest plastic bag maker, Hilex Poly, has gone out and bought one of the world's largest paper bag maker, Duro Bag Manufacturing. The deal, which is expected to close by the end of the quarter, gives Hilex control of the two dominant – at least for now – point-of-sale bag options in the U.S. and beyond.