Resource Recycling Magazine

Updated: 14 hours 59 min ago

Resource Recycling Conference 2014: The intersection of purchasing and recycling

Tue, 06/24/2014 - 15:29
Resource Recycling Conference 2014: The intersection of purchasing and recycling

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

June 25, 2014

How can the nation's recycling infrastructure better align itself with the ongoing push among government and businesses to buy and use environmentally friendly products? Resource Recycling Conference 2014 will delve into the issue.

The Northeast Recycling Council (NERC) has developed a tool to provide purchasers with the information they need to increase their environmentally preferable purchasing (EPP). Based on a national survey, and in collaboration with experts from around the country, NERC has established EPP specs on three ubiquitous yet challenging products: multi-purpose paper, toner cartridges and office supplies.

At the Resource Recycling Conference, a NERC leader will highlight the EPP specs as well as tactics for promotion and purchaser education, leaving attendees better informed about purchasing with recycling in mind.

Resource Recycling Conference 2014 is taking place at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside Sept. 16-17. Head to rrconference.com for more information on attending, sponsoring and exhibiting.

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Indianapolis says yes to garbage-sorting MRF

Tue, 06/24/2014 - 15:28
Indianapolis says yes to garbage-sorting MRF

By Bobby Elliott, Resource Recycling

June 25, 2014

The city of Indianapolis has given the green light to a processing center that will aim to sort recyclables from everyday trash. A high-volume, automated scavenger operation, if you will.

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard announced the decision last week, and it comes alongside a 10-year extension to the city's waste contract with Covanta.

While the premise of a mixed-waste (or "dirty") MRF has angered some recycling advocates in the region, Marc Lotter, communications director for Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, says the processing approach is proven and a sign of things to come throughout North America.

"This is working in Europe, and Indy is looking forward to becoming a model for success in North America," Lotter said.

Past attempts and proposals to drive recycling in Indianapolis, Lotter says, were either too costly or simply not effective enough. The new facility, which will be funded and run by waste-to-energy (WTE) firm Covanta, will come at no cost to residents.

"Covanta is proposing to invest $45 million into the local economy, create 70 construction jobs and 60 permanent jobs, and increase the amount of material recycled by the city by up to 500 percent," Lotter said.

Approximately 10 percent of Indianapolis residents are currently signed up for curbside recycling through a subscription program.

The basic idea of the approach is to radically simplify residents' responsibilities by sorting recyclables from trash at the facility instead of asking consumers to do it at home. While contamination is often seen as a downside to the approach, Covanta's director of media and external communications, James Regan, says the facility will produce high-quality, easily marketable recyclables.

"We're making a $45 million investment, so we've done a fair amount of due diligence and met with many potential recycling partners, who have all confirmed a market for these materials," Regan said. "We're very confident this facility will perform well and minimize contamination."

Individuals on the commodities side of the recycling business, however, continue to express worries about the quality level of materials that come out of garbage-sorting MRFs.

Fran McPoland, Washington representative for the Paper Recycling Coalition, said the paper companies in that group require extremely clean material to create new products such as cereal boxes. She and others struggle to see how any system that pulls material out of the residential trash stream could yield commodities that will fill their needs.

"Fundamentally we don't believe you can contaminate fiber with organics and come out with fiber that can be used to turn back into fiber products," McPoland said.

Covanta will build its 100,000-square-foot facility next door to its existing WTE plant, which has been operating since 1988. Regan says the two plants will work in tandem, with the new facility sending any non-recoverable material and waste to the WTE operation.

"The waste from the city of Indianapolis will be first delivered to the recycling center where it will be laid out, the bags will be broken and then it will go through a series of mechanical steps," Regan explained. "After we pull out as many recyclables as possible, the remaining waste will be directly conveyed to the WTE facility and turned into steam."

He said the facility will have the ability to recover all plastics and that Covanta is "currently looking into the economics and technology" to pull glass from the waste stream as well. According to Regan, glass can cause challenges for the boiler housed at the WTE facility, so there is an incentive for Covanta to separate it out beforehand. Regan said he would "categorically deny" earlier reports that inferred the facility would be making no efforts to separate glass.

Covanta hopes to open the plant in 16 to 18 months. A similar plant recently opened in Montgomery, Alabama and several cities, including Cleveland and Houston, are weighing the merits of the tactic.

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New Mexico leans on zombies to drive recycling

Tue, 06/24/2014 - 15:26
New Mexico leans on zombies to drive recycling

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

June 25, 2014

New Mexico's recycling advocates think they have found a way to connect to young adults: tie zombies into a recycling campaign.

Complete with a website aptly titled dontbeazombie.org and a multi-pronged media assault, the "Recycle to Restore" campaign, led by the New Mexico Recycling Coalition (NMRC), chides young adults to wake up to the importance of recycling – or risk becoming an irresponsible member of the walking dead.

"Zombies don’t care about the community or the environment or creating jobs, but recyclers do," Sarah Pierpont, NMRC’s deputy director, states in a press release. "It’s an easy choice, be a mindless zombie or choose to recycle and restore."

The program will include television, radio and print advertisements. Its website provides a bevy of recycling tips and keys to help New Mexicans avoid becoming zombies when it comes disposal practices.

Believe it or not, Georgia led a similar campaign. The City of Athens spent roughly $30,000 in Keep America Beautiful grants to launch "a fun and timely marketing campaign," using the zombie theme to drive curbside recycling participation.

As one of the least densely populated states in the country, New Mexico has faced considerable challenges in building recycling infrastructure and participation. The state recycled 15.7 percent of its municipal solid waste in 2012, down from a record high 21 percent in 2011.

Those obstacles aside, NMRC, under the guidance of English Bird, recently became the first state-level recycling association to be certified by the National Standards Certification Board for excellence in the resource management training space.

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Programs in Action

Tue, 06/24/2014 - 15:25
Programs in Action

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

June 25, 2014

A Washington county celebrates 25 years of curbside collection, and several communities make moves to expand recycling services.

Whatcom County, Washington is gearing up to celebrate 25 years of curbside recycling. Started back on July 3, 1989 by a group of community volunteers, the program is still going strong and brought in a robust array of recyclables last year, collecting 1,313.5 tons of cardboard, 4,229.5 tons of mixed paper, 339.5 tons of newspaper and 5,101.7 tons of plastic, glass, and aluminum and tin cans.

The town of Brookhaven and Suffolk County, New York have entered into an "Intermunicipal Agreement" to begin a single stream pilot program. Brookhaven's own single stream recycling program has increased recycling by almost 25 percent since going into effect in January.

Starting July 1, Weston, Connecticut will also begin a single-stream recycling program. The new program will allow residents to recycle materials commonly collected at curbside, including plastics Nos. 1 to 7.

Easton, Massachusetts has moved to increase collection frequency for recyclables and bulky items in a new five-year contract between the town and Waste Management. As of October 1, the publicly traded recycling giant will start weekly collection runs and offer bulky item pick-ups four times per year.

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NewsBits

Tue, 06/24/2014 - 15:23
NewsBits

June 25, 2014

Florida has passed legislation to protect garbage and recycling workers on the road. The new legislation, signed into law last week by Gov. Rick Scott, requires drivers to change lanes when approaching a garbage or recycling truck or, when such a move is unsafe, to slow down to 20 miles per hour below the speed limit. The law was supported by the National Waste & Recycling Association as a suitable way to cut down on the leading cause of death among sanitation and recycling workers.

San Francisco is on the verge of closing its seventh recycling center in the last 18 months. A planned June 30 closing of a Safeway recycling center has riled many recycling advocates in the area who argue that the alternatives — offering reverse-vending machines or paying $100 per day in fines — are insufficient and adversely affect lower and middle class populations.

By 2020, your Colgate tube of toothpaste will be fully recyclable, according to Colgate-Palmolive. The conglomerate is aiming to substantially boost the recyclability of its packaging.

Carpet and floor-covering giant Shaw Industries announced it is building a $17 million carpet recycling center in Georgia. The facility, which will be located in Ringgold, joins the company's existing recycling center in Augusta.

Jamaica has set a 2016 goal of recycling 35 percent of plastic bottles entering the waste stream each year. The initiative has reportedly already gained the support of various product manufacturers and beverage distributors, including Lasco, Wisynco, Pepsi and Tru-Juice.

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Alabama MRF grabs attention

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:42
Alabama MRF grabs attention

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

June 19, 2014

Municipal leaders from across the country are curious about how the future will unfold for a trash-sorting materials recovery facility in Montgomery, Alabama.

In an article in the Montgomery Advertiser this week, that Alabama city's mayor, Todd Strange, says decision-makers from other cities have come to take a look at Montgomery's recently opened $35 million facility, which sorts recyclables from municipal trash.

"We've had mayors from other areas come in to see how it is being done, and there are more mayors coming in September," Strange is quoted as saying.

The idea of other mayors showing interest in a mixed waste facility -- a concept sometimes referred to as a dirty MRF -- will certainly be noted by recycling advocates. In recent months, discussions of the possibility of similar facilities opening in cities including Houston, Indianapolis and Cleveland have brought responses from state recycling coalition leaders, representatives from commodity companies and other industry members,

In regards to the recently reported Indianapolis proposal, for instance, the Indiana Recycling Coalition and manufacturers including Alcoa and Monarch Beverage joined together to pen a letter urging Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard to consider other options. "We believe it would set recycling back in Indianapolis and central Indiana for decades to come," the letter stated.

Opponents of mixed material processing question the quality of the materials yielded by such operations. They also point out some commodities, such as glass, are sometimes not captured at all in the dirty MRF setting.

In Montgomery, Mayor Strange says technology in the facility can lead to high-level sortation.

"It's gratifying to see something like this happen," he told the Advertiser, "but the major beneficiaries will be our residents and our environment."

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Resource Recycling Conference 2014: The Recycling Partnership

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:41
Resource Recycling Conference 2014: The Recycling Partnership

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

June 19, 2014

This fall’s Resource Recycling Conference will bring attendees the latest on groundbreaking initiatives that are working to advance municipal recovery rates.

One leader in that space is the Recycling Partnership, the outcome of a recently completed 120-day stakeholder effort led by the Southeast Recycling Development Council. Officially launching on July 1, the Partnership has broad-reaching goals and is led by Keefe Harrison, the well-known executive director of the Curbside Value Partnership.

At Resource Recycling Conference 2014, Harrison will offer a presentation explaining how the Partnership aims to leverage private dollars to unlock public investments around recycling improvement. By creating a systems solution to a systems problem and ensuring the implementation of best management practices along the recovery supply chain, the Partnership seeks to foster long-lasting boosts to recovery rates. The Partnership may be starting in the Southeast but already has its eye on national expansion.

Resource Recycling Conference 2014 is taking place at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside Sept. 15-17. Head to rrconference.com for more information on attending, sponsoring and exhibiting.

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California recycling rate stays flat

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:39
California recycling rate stays flat

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

June 19, 2014

Despite generating more waste in 2013, Californians kept disposal and recycling rates on par with 2012 levels.

The 2013 figures, released Wednesday by California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle), show Californians recycled about 50 percent of their waste in 2013, roughly the same as in 2012. With a 2020 goal of recycling 75 percent of waste, the state has seven years to increase recycling by 25 percentage points.

The lack of movement in the recycling rate comes as per capita disposal was "holding steady" at 4.4 pounds of solid waste per day. While 2012's disposal rate was slightly lower – at 4.3 pounds per head per day – economic upticks in 2013 led to "more material being produced, bought and consumed."

"A stronger economy brings a tougher challenge to our efforts to reduce waste, and California’s response has been commendable," Caroll Mortensen, CalRecycle director, said in the press release. "There’s every reason to believe we can maintain a balance between our economy and environment."

The slight footnote to the disposal data, as the CalRecycle release also points out, is that it includes the commercial sector and therefore does not reflect a true per-person disposal rate.

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Grant watch

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:35
Grant watch

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

June 19, 2014

California offers $1.7 million for tire recycling and Kentucky delivers 49 recycling funding packages worth a combined $2.5 million. Read on to learn the details of those dollars.

CalRecycle is taking on tire recycling throughout the Golden State by offering $1.7 million in grants to municipalities and local waste agencies facing an influx of illegally dumped tires. A total of 23 recipients of funding have been announced, and all the funding will go toward collection, transportation and recycling of the "valuable recyclable feedstock," according to California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery.

Kentucky has given out $2.5 million in 2014-2015 "Kentucky Pride Recycling Grant Awards." Individual grants varied from $3,500 to almost $200,000 and went to 49 local recipients in Kentucky. A related household hazardous waste grant program was also announced, funneling nearly $500,000 to 23 recipients. Grant funding for both programs derives from a $1.75 fee paid to the state for every ton of municipal solid waste headed to landfills.

In Georgia, meanwhile, grant funds have been put to use. More than new recycling bins have been dispersed in eight city parks in the city of Roswell. The additional bins were funded by the public park-specific grant program spearheaded by Keep America Beautiful and the Dr. Pepper-Snapple Group.

California's newly approved state budget for 2014-2015 includes a handful of recycling and composting grants. In addition to restructuring the state's beverage container program, the state will offer $5 million in funding to support recycled product manufacturing, one of several moves lauded by environmental group Californians Against Waste.


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U.K. recycling notebook

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:33
U.K. recycling notebook

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

June 19, 2014

God save the Queen — and the packaging materials. It's Recycling Week across the pond, and to mark the occasion, we cover a number of U.K. headlines.

In conjunction with the U.K.'s Recycle Week 2014, rigid plastics company RPC Group and plastics group Recoup are hosting a live twitter Q-and-A on the recyclability of plastics. The goal of the digital powwow is to combat the prevalent consumer belief that plastics aren't truly recyclable and end up in landfills – it's something the plastic industry is particularly keen on addressing as the U.K. nears imposing 2017 recycling goals.

Almost $1.4 million has become available to fund waste prevention and reuse activities and projects in England. The Innovation in Waste Prevention Fund will make available a series of one-time grants to propel the fund's cause on a local level and will be run by waste reduction advocacy group WRAP. The program was funded and created by the U.K.'s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Despite a string of attempts to boost recycling awareness in the U.K., Coca-Cola Enterprises says more needs to be done to educate the public about the merits of recycling and the recycling process. "There is a bit of mistrust and some misconceptions about what happens to materials once [they leave] your recycling bin," the beverage giant's director of corporate responsibility and sustainability, Joe Francis, said during a recent presentation in London. "There is a huge opportunity to really tell that story in a much more powerful way."

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Programs in action

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:31
Programs in action

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

June 19, 2014

We travel from Maine to Ohio to Hawaii in our look at the latest updates to municipal recycling programs.

Single-stream recycling collection continues to grow. Bangor, Maine is converting from a multi-sort collection and processing system to single-stream service, following the lead of nearby Orono, where recycling volumes rose 54 percent after changing to the more convenient all-in-one-container system. Casella Resource Solutions will collect and process the materials.

In Lakewood, Ohio, city officials have decided to offer single-stream collection service citywide by the end of next year. Presently one-third of eligible households can set out all their recyclables commingled. Lakewood presently pays $44 per ton for waste disposal. In comparison, the city receives as much as $23 per ton for its recovered materials.

Glass container recycling in Honolulu, Hawaii is expected to decline steeply due to recent governmental action. The City had earlier provided financial support to local container redemption centers to also handle non-deposit glass containers. By lowering the subsidy, some observers expect waste-to-energy plant volumes to grow by about 5,000 tons per year because the handling of non-deposit containers is no longer economically feasible. Local redemption centers now refuse to handle the bottles and the city has had to rescind an ordinance requiring local bars and restaurants to set aside containers for recycling. However, local importers of wine and other glass-enclosed products will still pay the state 1.5 cents for each bottle to fund local-government recycling efforts. Some industry experts say the state needs to approve new legislation to up this fee in order to pay for the actual costs of glass container recovery.


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NewsBits

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:29
NewsBits

June 19, 2014

More attention worldwide is focusing on the development of large sorting facilities for glass containers. A 275,000-ton per year sorting plant has opened in Antwerp, Belgium to produce cullet in four grades (flint, amber, green and russet). The High5 facility is a partnership of Suez Environnement, the giant waste management firm, and Sibelco, the minerals supplier.

A number of bars and restaurants in Columbus, Ohio are participating in a glass recycling pilot program funded by a $37,000 Ohio EPA grant. The program, which could expand in the near future, asks participating businesses to sort and set aside empty bottles. The containers are picked up by waste and recycling firm Rumpke and eventually resold for use in the manufacture of new bottles and fiberglass insulation.

The Canadian province of Manitoba has beefed up its waste management plan, TomorrowNow, by focusing on diverting more beef and other food scraps. In addition to a handful of additional priorities, the province-wide plan will now offer $1 million in funding to eligible municipal and commercial composting facilities aiming to develop services and operations. The province would like to reach a per-person organics diversion rate of about 200 pounds by 2020.

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 noted it had emerged victorious in the case, noting it had "won on 158 of 159 charges."

Concert organizers at the 2014 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival last week aimed to get attendees as excited about composting as they were about Kanye West's performance. Data has yet to come in, but hopes were high: Organizers wanted to topple last year's mark of collecting 120 tons of organics and compostable products that were then sent to a neighboring farm.

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Future uncertain for Indianapolis recycling

Tue, 06/10/2014 - 12:22
Future uncertain for Indianapolis recycling

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

June 11, 2014

Indianapolis may be the next American city to usher in a garbage-sorting MRF, though a number of recycling companies and groups are hoping to push the municipality in a different diversion direction.

The Indianapolis Business Journal reported earlier this week New Jersey-based Covanta has submitted a proposal for the construction of a facility that would accept household waste and then sort out recyclable material (such facilities are often referred to as dirty MRFs).  Residents would be instructed to place all material – trash and recyclables – in a single curbside receptacle.

It would be the first such operation in the U.S. developed by Covanta, a company that currently runs a waste incineration plant in Indianapolis.  However, it would continue what some see as recent nationwide momentum for the "dirty" MRF concept.  Montgomery, Alabama earlier this year unveiled a facility that sorts recyclables from curbside-collected municipal solid waste.  Houston and Cleveland leaders have been debating the merits of the strategy for some time.

The idea of such a strategy gaining traction, however, raises serious alarms for many in the recycling industry.  Detractors argue dirty MRFs yield far less usable material than facilities that take in only recyclables from curbside programs. Opponents to mixed waste facilities also say some materials may not get recovered at all at the operations, and the Indiana Business Journal story in fact indicated the proposed Covanta facility would not sort out glass from the waste stream.

Beth Schmitt, global manager of sustainability and recycling at aluminum manufacturer Alcoa, told Resource Recycling dirty MRFs may not provide Alcoa with clean recycled material.

"While Alcoa applauds all efforts to recycle, we have concerns that a single-stream dirty mixed waste processing facility could cause the aluminum cans to become contaminated by solid waste and hinder the ability to turn them into new cans," she said.  "Aluminum is a valuable component of the circular economy.  Because it does not rust, decay, or lose its quality, it can be recycled repeatedly without loss of properties.  But, in order to truly maximize that value we need to separate materials for recycling."

The Indiana Recycling Coalition (IRC) this April submitted a letter to the office of Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, echoing Schmitt's concerns and requesting a six-month delay on any consideration of Covanta's proposal.

"We believe it would set recycling back in Indianapolis and central Indiana for decades to come, despite providing limited improved recycling rates in the near term," Carey Hamilton, the group's executive director, states in the letter.  "We are confident, based on those of us representing the commodity markets, that the Covanta proposal will provide lower quality and lower quantity material compared to a true curbside recycling program."

In a separate letter sent to Mayor Ballard and obtained by Resource Recycling, Ron Gonen, the CEO of the Closed Loop Fund, proposes the city use a zero-interest loan to invest in and develop curbside recycling.  "Please accept this letter as confirmation that the Closed Loop Fund is interested in providing a zero-interest loan to Indianapolis to support the deployment of a curbside recycling program," the letter reads.

The state of Indiana has set a recycling rate goal of 50 percent and Indianapolis, as the state's largest city, will likely be viewed as a key momentum-builder toward reaching the goal.

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Resource Recycling Conference 2014: Registration now open

Tue, 06/10/2014 - 12:16
Resource Recycling Conference 2014: Registration now open

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

June 11, 2014

We cordially invite you to the recycling industry's top gathering of high-level decision-makers. Register today for Resource Recycling 2014, set for September in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Resource Recycling 2014 offers unique networking opportunities, valuable education sessions, a bustling trade show and a number of ancillary meetings hosted by industry associations. Leaders from major recycling stakeholders rely on the annual gathering to push their organizations forward, so make sure your firm or group is well represented.

Resource Recycling 2014 offers unique networking opportunities, valuable education sessions, a bustling trade show and a number of ancillary meetings hosted by industry associations. Leaders from major recycling stakeholders rely on the annual gathering to push their organizations forward, so make sure your firm or group is well represented.

To return to the Resource Recycling newsletter, click here

 

Will Closed Loop Fund appeal be limited by loans?

Tue, 06/10/2014 - 12:14
Will Closed Loop Fund appeal be limited by loans?

By Dan Leif, Resource Recycling

June 11, 2014

The $100 million Closed Loop Fund made ripples throughout the recycling industry when it was announced by a team of corporate giants this spring. What remains to be seen, however, is how attractive the effort's loan structure will be to actual municipalities.

The Closed Loop Fund, which is backed by Walmart, Coca-Cola and a handful of other multinational enterprises, was launched in April and has billed itself as a major corporate response to stagnant American recycling rates. "The goal is to divert valuable raw materials from landfill by helping to provide 100 percent of U.S. consumers access to recycling where and when they need it," the Closed Loop Fund states in an informational brochure it created for stakeholders.

The engine for achieving this? Zero interest loans that will be available to communities so that they can have funding available for bin-to-cart transitions, resident outreach initiatives, facility construction and other projects. In the past when recycling coordinators needed funding outside allocated budgets for those kind of efforts, they turned to municipal bonds as well as grants from state or federal government or nonprofit groups that had corporate backing.

The Closed Loop Fund and its loan strategy offers a very different approach. But some municipal representatives say that being on the hook for repayment simply is not an option for their communities.

"If the elected officials here were going to take on debt, it wouldn't be for recycling," James Jackson, director of public works for Richmond, Virginia, told Resource Recycling.

He noted that his city is in fact looking for a way to move more residents from recycling bins to carts but that Richmond leaders are only willing to make debt commitments to fund the highest priority projects. "We have assessed our needs for road maintenance and have identified well over $230 million worth of road improvement needs just to get us at a place where 80 percent of our roads are at rating of good or better," Jackson said. "That makes it difficult for us to say we want to participate in a zero interest loan program for recycling."

However, other leaders say the zero interest play could work for some communities — especially if the loans come in concert with grants or other financial mechanisms.

Some industry members have indicated a loan would be attractive in stuations where there were already plans to spend a large sum to transition from bins to carts over several years. A loan could allow a community to step away from that staggered structure and make the transition in a single leap.

Scott Mouw, state recycling director at North Carolina Division of Environmental Assistance and Outreach, laid out a slightly different scenario he could see happening in many city council meetings in the coming years: "If the recycling staff walks in and says, 'We need $3 million for carts and this group of industry players is willing to give us a $400,000 grant toward that end and for the rest of it we can get a zero percent loan,' that would be a much easier thing for the City Council to say yes to."

In an interview with Resource Recycling, Closed Loop Fund CEO Ron Gonen said such situations are exactly what his group is seeking. "That's our sweet spot," he said. "We don't want to be the sole source of capital for a city."

He added the Closed Loop Fund, which has not actively started seeking municipal partners yet, views itself as a player that will provide loans of between $1 million and $20 million to fund major initiatives. Ideally, he said, smaller organizations will work to provide grants and other funding alongside the loans. And he said the Closed Loop Fund itself has plans for a grant arm, though the sums flowing out of that part of the initiative will be far smaller than the primary loans.

"Solving the recycling issue requires a lot of pieces coming together," Gonen said.

In communication materials the Closed Loop Fund has issued thus far, it has argued that convincing municipal leaders to embrace loans won't be a difficult sell once those leaders calculate the financial gains loan-based improvements will spark. In its brochure, the Fund notes several examples of how a community could leverage its loans and shows the overall revenue gains those example-cities would see as recycling diversion goes up and landfill tip fees go down.

The Fund's logic dictates that as municipalities start reducing their trash costs and increasing commodity revenue, they'll see loans not as a hindrance but as a long-term investment opportunity.

However, individuals who have experience helping communities devise strategies to lift recycling infrastructure say the cost-savings argument only goes so far when it comes to how cities think about loan payback.

"In our experience communities are going to look at their budgets more holistically," Mouw said. "They're going to look at their loan portfolio and find ways to pay loans they have. But they are unlikely to tie the payback to a specific kind of savings or revenue source. All the money tends to go to the same pool."

But Gonen said the early interest among municipalities indicates there are plenty that feel confident a loan play will work for them. "If there aren't any cities in America that are interested in $100 million in zero interest loans to invest in their recycling programs, that's OK," he said. "However, I can tell you there's way more demand than that just in terms of the calls and emails we've gotten from folks. It's very attractive to cities to be able to borrow at zero interest and have the repayment tied to diversion savings and commodity revenue."

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Cleveland gets educational lift

Tue, 06/10/2014 - 12:12
Cleveland gets educational lift

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

June 11, 2014

As part of its ongoing efforts to enhance educational efforts nationwide, a curbside recycling advocacy group is taking its work to Cleveland.

The City of Cleveland will be teaming up with the Curbside Value Partnership (CVP) to "develop and measure a strategic, education campaign designed to increase recycling at the curb," a press release from CVP states. CVP recently announced a similar public-private partnership with the city of San Diego and will collect and analyze data from both projects using its Emerge Knowledge Re-TRAC Connect data management tool.

Cleveland, which already has single-stream recycling in place, is in the midst of switching to an automated recycling program replete with new, large carts. CVP hopes to help ease the transition through its educational assistance.

"Cleveland is clearly dedicated to improving its residential recycling program," Keefe Harrison, CVP's executive director, said in the release. "Making sure residents are aware and empowered to recycle is the crucial next step."

The campaign is expected to be "comprehensive" in scope and "include marketing, advertising, grassroots, community-level outreach and an enhanced Web and social media presence," the release states.

CVP is also in the midst of rolling out its recently announced Recycling Partnership program. Initially spearheaded by the Southeast Recycling Development Council, the partnership is now under CVP's lead and will focus on developing public-private recycling partnerships in municipalities.

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NewsBits

Tue, 06/10/2014 - 12:08
NewsBits

June 11, 2014

Despite continued state-level interest in diverting food scraps, anaerobic digesters are in short supply. A Wall Street Journal article takes a look at the challenges various states and communities are facing in meeting ordinances and developing the infrastructure needed to sustain long-term food diversion programs.

Is there anything Girl Scouts can't do? This year's winner of the third annual Great Can RoundUp Scout Council Challenge, Girls Scouts of Kansas Heartland, collected an impressive 32,199 pounds of aluminum cans between Jan. 15 and April 30. Winning more than $16,000 as a result, the funds will go toward scout activities and programming in 2014 and beyond.

After an investigation last year found public schools in the city of Pittsburgh were sending sorted recyclables, including cardboard, bottles and cans, to area landfills, a follow-up investigation by CBS affiliate KDKA concludes that school recycling is now "spotty at best." Schools have made in-roads by providing recycling receptacles and collection services to all schools, but the report finds that recycling remains optional despite a local push for mandatory recycling.

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