Contract approved: The Houston City Council approved a two-year contract with Waste Management (WM) preserving curbside recycling in America’s fourth-largest city but removing glass from the program. The council on March 23 approved the agreement, which will cost the city up to $2.9 million per year to continue tipping single-stream materials at two WM MRFs. Before the vote, the Glass Packaging Institute urged city leaders to reject a contract removing glass from the program.
MRF highlighted: The New York Times takes a look at what has been dubbed “the Silicon Valley of recycling”: San Francisco. The article covers visits by foreign dignitaries to Recology’s MRF, highlighting its work to help San Francisco reach its U.S.-leading recycling and composting rates.
EPR for paper: Newspapers in the mountainous eastern reaches of British Columbia are continuing to refuse to join an extended producer responsibility (EPR) group for printed paper and packaging. One newspaper industry executive said Multi-Material B.C. (MMBC) wants newspapers in the area to pay $200 per ton to help subsidize recycling, an amount that would likely mean the closure of multiple papers, according to the Nelson Star. In some other EPR systems, newspapers contribute free promotion in their pages in lieu of payment.
Carton Recycling: Recycling rates for cartons in Canada reached 52 percent in 2015. The Carton Council of Canada reports the recycling rate has steadily increased from 48.2 percent five years ago, with Ontario, in particular, seeing positive results.
Glass conundrum: Decatur, Ga. is wrestling with how to handle glass, currently collected in its single-stream program. A MRF operator announced it will no longer accept commingled glass, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the City could landfill glass, use drop-off locations or collect it separately at the curb.
Single-stream switch: Fayetteville, Ark. is experimenting with a possible transition to single-stream recycling collection and, so far, both recycling volumes and contamination have increased, the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports.
Bio-derived plastics: Tetra Pak expects to see continued growth in Europe in usage of a carton that harnesses bio-derived HDPE and LDPE plastics. Beveragedaily.com reports the Tetra Rex cartons, which combine fiber with plastic derived from sugar cane waste in Brazil, has seen early adoption in Nordic countries.
Recycling improvements: U.S. post offices in San Francisco have dramatically improved their recycling efforts, after a 2014 audit showed they were doing a dismal job of diverting materials, according to the San Francisco Examiner. Two years ago an internal audit found 65 percent of materials going into post office trash were recyclable.
Bead sorting: A nonprofit group in New Orleans is hiring adults with disabilities to help sort donated Mardi Gras beads so they can be packaged and resold during the next carnival, according to WDSU.com. The ARC of Greater New Orleans’ employees sorted about 175,000 pounds of beads last year.