Resource Recycling Magazine

Updated: 1 day 17 hours ago

Aluminum can recycling rate flat in 2013

Wed, 10/01/2014 - 11:59
Aluminum can recycling rate flat in 2013

By Bobby Elliott, Resource Recycling

Oct. 1, 2014

The aluminum can recycling rate barely budged in 2013, with recycling volumes and new can shipments down and domestic can recycling continuing to hold back growth.

According to the Aluminum Association, Can Manufacturers Institute and Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, the can recycling rate in 2013 was 66.7 percent – the 2012 rate, by comparison, came in at 67.0 percent, while 2011's rate was 65.1.

"Aluminum cans are recycled more readily and more frequently than any other beverage packaging type ‒ period," Heidi Brock, president and CEO of the Aluminum Association, said in a press release.

More detailed figures provided by the Aluminum Association show that 1.721 million pounds of aluminum cans were recycled during the year, a 2.9 percent decrease from 2012. Shipments, however, were also down, by 2.4 percent, coming in at 2.581 million pounds.

While the aluminum recycling rate has grown over the years, the Aluminum Association credits much of that growth to the significant UBC tonnages the U.S. imports for recycling.

"While the rate of industry can recycling has risen significantly over the past decade, much of the growth in recent years has come from the addition of imported used cans entering the U.S. recycling stream," the announcement reads. "Because of aluminum's high inherent value and the closed loop recycling process of can-making, U.S. recyclers often import used cans from Canada, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and other countries."

Had the Aluminum Association counted only its domestic can recycling rate, as the Container Recycling Institute has pushed for, it is likely to have been somewhere between 53 and 55 percent in 2013, relatively unchanged compared to years past.

It should also be noted that lightweighting has also made it more difficult for the aluminum and recycling industries to significantly increase can recycling by weight. The latest data shows that 34.95 cans currently amount to a pound of aluminums; 33.7 cans did so in 2003.


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Resource Recycling Conference 2015: Save the Date

Wed, 10/01/2014 - 11:57
Resource Recycling Conference 2015: Save the Date

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Oct. 1, 2014

Sure, we're a year out, but it's never too early to mark your calendar to ensure you are a part of the premier gathering of North American municipal recycling decision-makers. The next Resource Recycling Conference is slated for Sept. 28-30, 2015 at the Marriott Downtown in Indianapolis. The recently wrapped-up 2014 conference featured the top minds in sustainable materials management as well as a slate of educational sessions that helped attendees better understand the most pressing recycling issues and how they're set to evolve.

Keep an eye on rrconference.com for information about attending, exhibiting and sponsoring the best recycling conference in America.

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Is carton recycling failing in California?

Wed, 10/01/2014 - 11:54
Is carton recycling failing in California?

By Bobby Elliott, Resource Recycling

Oct. 1, 2014

According to a California environmental organization, many cartons collected in the Golden State are ending up in landfills and should instead be integrated into a deposit system.

In a new report, Californians Against Waste (CAW) cites research indicating that MRFs rarely separate gable top and aseptic cartons for recycling due to low volumes.

While as much as 80 percent of curbside programs include cartons, just 13 percent of the 98 MRFs surveyed for the report stated they segregate cartons for "stand-alone recycling." An additional 47 percent said some cartons are diverted (in the mixed waste paper stream) while 37 percent report simply landfilling the packaging.

CAW uses these numbers to suggest that adding cartons to the state's bottle bill would increase the recycling rate for the material type from a "negligible," sub-3 percent clip to 33 percent in just three years. In the process, the CAW report asserts that the $2 million carton manufacturer group Carton Council of North America has spent on advancing recycling in the state has thus far failed to make a sizable impact.

The Carton Council's vice president of recycling projects, Jason Pelz, sent a 2-page response to Resource Recycling addressing those assertions and the work manufacturers have done so far.

"Getting all MRFs to sort cartons takes time," Pelz writes. "We’ve made tremendous progress since we began five years ago, and the fact that cartons are now being looked at like other beverage containers regularly recycled validates that."

Pelz also asserts that Council statistics show "that actually 15 to 17 percent of the MRFs in California sort cartons. And those are large MRFs that serve 30 percent of households in California with access to carton recycling today."

That said, Pelz, who also serves as vice president of environment at packaging company Tetra Pak, acknowledges the group is "mindful of the volume situation" and has continued to push for non-bottle-bill solutions, including an effort to allow cartons to be accepted alongside other paper items under the newly created Paper Stock Industries Grade #52 designation.

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Rayovac opts to support battery legislation

Wed, 10/01/2014 - 11:50
Rayovac opts to support battery legislation

By Bobby Elliott, Resource Recycling

Oct. 1, 2014

Just as battery legislation debate is charging up, a battery maker long accused of dodging its duties to support single-use battery recycling appears to be opening up to the concept.

In a post on its website, Rayovac, one of the largest manufacturers of both rechargeable and single-use batteries in the U.S., has come out in support of an all-encompassing model bill hammered out earlier this summer.

"Spectrum Brands and its U.S. Rayovac Battery Division … pledge our support for industry and legislative efforts for the first-ever model all battery recycling bill unveiled in June 2014," the statement reads.

That statement, according to the Texas Campaign for the Environment (TCE), was posted after the group descended upon the Madison, Wisconsin headquarters of Rayovac's parent company, Spectrum Brands, urging the manufacturer to step up its recycling commitments.

"After the pressure, they became very public about their position," Andrew Dobbs, programs director for TCE in Central Texas, told Resource Recycling. "Now we are working to press the entire industry to improve the proposed legislation by setting more ambitious targets for collection and ensuring that batteries are recovered for the highest and best uses, not downcycling."

The news comes as officials in Connecticut are beginning to develop legislation that would require battery makers to fund the recycling of batteries in the state. While no new bill has been unveiled, it is likely some form of legislation will surface in 2015.

Connecticut was the site of a major dialogue between numerous stakeholders, including the Corporation for Battery Recycling, a pro-legislation group formed by Duracell, Energizer and Panasonic. Rayovac had been an early participant in the group before opting out shortly after the Corporation's formation in 2011.

Outside of its newly published position on legislation, the Rayovac website does make it clear that household batteries are not considered hazardous waste by the U.S. EPA.

"Household batteries … are not hazardous waste. They are qualified as non-hazardous after having undergone government required testing." the post reads.


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NRC elects a new board

Wed, 10/01/2014 - 11:47
NRC elects a new board

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Oct. 1, 2014

The National Recycling Coalition has voted 10 board members into the fold.

Elections for the board were held during the 2014 Resource Recycling Conference in New Orleans. The new and re-elected members, listed below, will each serve 3-year terms:

 

  • Gary Bilbro, president, NewGreen Consulting LLC
  • Jack DeBell, development director, University of Colorado Recycling
  • John Frederick, executive director, Intermunicipal Relations Committee
  • David Juri Freeman, recycling program manager, city and county of Denver
  • Marjorie Griek, executive director, Colorado Association for Recycling
  • Doug Hill, president, EcoVision Environmental
  • Gary Liss, zero-waste consultant, Gary Liss & Associates
  • Antonio Rios, president, Puerto Rico Recycling Coalition
  • Will Sagar, executive director, Southeast Recycling Development Center
  • Michael Van Brunt, director of sustainability, Covanta

 

The recently voted-in individuals join the following active members:

 

  • Susan Collins, president, Container Recycling Institute
  • Jeffrey Cooper, AECC Group
  • Maggie Clark, zero waste planning and adjunct professor, Maggie Clarke Environmental
  • Mark Lichtenstein, executive director, Center for Sustainable Community Solutions, Syracuse University
  • Stephen London, marketing director, ReCommunity
  • Fran McPoland, government relations, Paper Recycling Coalition & 100 Percent Recycled Paper Alliance
  • Michelle Minstrell, project manager, Waste Management Sustainability Services
  • Maite Quinn, business development and marketing manager
  • Julie Rhodes, Julie Rhodes Consulting
  • Lisa Skumatz, principal, Skumatz Economic Research Associates & Econservation Institute
  • Robin Wiener, president, Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries

 

Ex-officio members include Michele Nestor, president of Nestor Resources, Inc., Cliff Case of Carter, Ledyard & Milburn, LLC and Murray Fox with i-ROC.

It was a busy week for NRC. Numerous awards were given out as well as NRC's longstanding Murray J. Fox Scholarships, which went to three students from nearby Tulane University.

The group also worked to hammer out a definition of recycling with the help of sustainability thought-leader William McDonough.

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Programs in action

Wed, 10/01/2014 - 11:38
Programs in action

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Oct. 1, 2014

We hit Florida, Minnesota and Chicago in our look at recent developments in municipal recycling and composting.

Officials in St. Petersburg, Florida are set to approve a $6.5 million loan to finance the introduction of citywide single-stream recycling. While the expansion won't require residents to actually recycle, they will be charged about $3 each month for the added service. Just about 10 percent of city residents currently sign up for recycling services.

Residents in St. Paul, Minnesota have so far been taking advantage of their single-stream recycling services. First introduced in April, single-stream has led to a 16 percent increase in collection volumes even though the city is putting off plans to switch from bins to carts until at least next year.

A pilot composting program in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park appears to be flourishing. The 725 households served by the voluntary food scraps program are sending about 2,300 pounds of material each week to Waste Management's Romeoville facility. The service, which is the first of its kind in Illinois, costs residents $14 per month.

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NewsBits

Wed, 10/01/2014 - 11:36
NewsBits

Oct. 1, 2014

Haulers servicing Metro Vancouver were fined nearly half of a million dollars last year. The violations, which were concentrated among some of the leading firms in the area, including Waste Management, stemmed from too many recyclables ending up in the trash, according to waste auditors. Metro Vancouver views it as the haulers' responsibility to educate residents on what should and shouldn't go in the trash.

California's landmark plastic bag ban legislation has been signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown. Brown's seal of approval means the bag ban will go into effect in July of 2015 and will eventually ban all single-use checkout bags from grocery and convenience stores throughout the state. "We’re the first to ban these bags, and we won’t be the last," Brown said at the signing.

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.

Scotland has fallen short of its own admittedly hard-to-reach 2013 recycling goals. Scotland's 32 local authorities collectively reached a 42 percent recycling and composting rate during the year, one percentage point above 2012's final number but well short of a countrywide 50 percent goal.

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