Resource Recycling Magazine

Updated: 4 hours 9 min ago

Stay at the center of Resource Recycling Conference 2015

Tue, 07/28/2015 - 08:31
Stay at the center of Resource Recycling Conference 2015

July 28, 2015

The Resource Recycling Conference is proud to have chosen the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown as this year's conference venue and host hotel. The Indianapolis Marriott offers premier accommodations in the heart of Indiana's capital.

To get the most out of your conference experience we recommend you stay at the host hotel, where hundreds of recycling professionals will be an open door away. Your room reservation at the conference host hotel ensures lower registration rates for current and future years.

Book your reservations here.

Resource Recycling Conference 2015 is scheduled for Sept. 28-30, 2015 at the Marriott Downtown in Indianapolis. Head to rrconference.com for all the latest on attending, exhibiting and sponsoring.

To return to the Resource Recycling newsletter, click here.

San Francisco sued over disposal contract

Tue, 07/28/2015 - 08:29
San Francisco sued over disposal contract

By Bobby Elliott, Resource Recycling

July 28, 2015

A subsidiary of Waste Management has sued the city of San Francisco over a long-term and lucrative disposal contract awarded to competitor Recology last week. The city and Recology say the contract simply went to the lowest bidder.

Filed July 21 by Waste Management of Alameda County (WMAC) in the Supreme Court of California for the County of San Francisco, the lawsuit claims San Francisco's Department of the Environment (DOE) "circumvented the competitive procurement rules" to award a multi-year disposal contract worth upwards of $100 million to Recology.

While a number of accusations are leveled at DOE and Recology in the lawsuit, WMAC claims the contract, which was officially approved July 22, was designed to avoid a vote from the city's Board of Supervisors and public scrutiny. The Board has to approve of any contract lasting 10 years or more and worth at least $10 million annually.

The contract, which can be viewed here, will hand over disposal duties to Recology starting in January. Recology already collects and transports the city's municipal solid waste but had been sending it to a WMAC landfill about 50 miles east of San Francisco since 1987.

Eric Patashner, Recology's vice president and senior director of strategic affairs, said in an interview with Resource Recycling WMAC offered a bid to continue disposing of city waste but was outbid by Recology.

"Right now, San Francisco pays roughly $21 per ton for disposal at Waste Management's Altamont Landfill," Patashner stated. "Waste Management bid it up to $66.79 per ton and our bid was around $30 per ton. I don't know what's preferential about a city deciding not to take a 300 percent increase on their disposal contract."

Patashner added Recology's Hay Road landfill, which is roughly 60 miles northeast of the city, has capacity to receive San Francisco's waste "well beyond" the terms of the new contract and expects annual disposal volumes to decrease during the course of the contract, especially as the city continues to "ratchet down" disposal. He estimated the contract will generate annual revenues between $10-12 million for Recology.

In a statement, DOE spokesperson Guillermo Rodriguez said the city's RFP process, which began in 2009, was "fair, open, competitive and public."

"Waste Management’s bid would have cost San Francisco residents and businesses over $100 million more over the life of the contract," Rodridguez stated.

The contract DOE eventually reached with Recology notes the company's bid, first entered alongside Waste Management's back in 2009, "included proposed disposal rates that were substantially less than those of Waste Management, potentially resulting in considerable savings for the City's ratepayers."

It also states the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the RFP process and selection of Recology in February 2014 as part of an earlier framework for the deal.

While DOE first gave the contract over to Recology in 2009, WMAC and others opposed the deal on the grounds that it included "bundled services" and consequently pushed the city to have it overturned. WMAC sued the city in 2011 but the case was thrown out.

Now, with the contract signed and official, WMAC is seeking to nullify the pact and take back disposal responsibilities at its Altamont Landfill either through direct negotiations with the city or a brand new bidding process.

"WMAC’s lawsuit asserts that the City continues to flout the competitive bidding rules in order to sole source the contract to Recology, and now must be compelled to follow the rules and negotiate a contract with bidder WMAC, which has provided San Francisco waste disposal at its Altamont Landfill in Alameda County since 1987, or if it refuses to take that course of action it must go back out to bid and conduct a fair, transparent and open process," a press release from WMAC reads.

WMAC had not returned a call for further comment as of press time.

To return to the Resource Recycling newsletter, click here.

 

"I Want To Be Recycled" video contest winners announced

Tue, 07/28/2015 - 08:29
"I Want To Be Recycled" video contest winners announced

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

July 28, 2015

A contest launched as part of Keep America Beautiful's ongoing outreach campaign, "I Want To Be Recycled," sought videos from consumers to show trash given another life through recycling.

The contest is part of the campaign's latest phase launched in March, which targets recyclable items that are commonly found in bathrooms. And the winner of the "I Want To Be Recycled" video contest targets that very subject.

The first place overall winner of the is a clip called "Potty Talk" and involves bathroom objects discussing how important recycling is.


Second prize went to "Urban Myths" which debunks (with the help of a Ouiji board) incorrect, yet commonly held, ideas about what can go in curbside recycling bins.


Keep America Beautiful and The Ad Council jointly announced the winners of the video contest, which aims to encourage increased recycling. The videos will be shared through the groups' communications channels, and the winners will share in a cash prize pool of $25,000.

According to the group, the campaign, originally launched in 2013, has "generated nearly $90 million in donated media to date," and leads consumers to the campaign website, IWantToBeRecycled.org, which includes information on recycling and an online MRF game.

To return to the Resource Recycling newsletter, click here.

Patent watch

Tue, 07/28/2015 - 08:28
Patent watch

July 28, 2015

Patent No. 9,050,719, given to Helsinki's ZenRobotics, concerns a method of sorting recyclable materials using robotics.

A method of recycling golf balls is the subject of Patent No. 9,050,739, given to Nike, Inc., headquartered in Beaverton, Ore.

CP Manufacturing, Inc., headquartered in San Diego, was awarded Patent No. 9,056,334 which describes a disc for a disc-screen separation unit.

Patent No. 9,061,443 was awarded to Neutraubling, Germany-based KRONES AG for a plastics sortation method and device.

A separation process for removing plastics from mixed materials is the subject of Patent No. 9,067,214, awarded to Evansville, Ind.-based Berry Plastics Corporation.

Patent No. 9,074,092, which describes a method of producing polyester using recycled PET materials, was awarded to the Eastman Chemical Company, based in Kingsport, Tenn.

For more information on these or any patents, please consult the U.S. Patent Office database at http://patft.uspto.gov/.

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.

To return to the Resource Recycling newsletter, click here.

Europe in focus

Tue, 07/28/2015 - 08:28
Europe in focus

July 28, 2015

A German recycling company is seeing growth in contracts in developing economies. That leads this week's look at recycling industry developments in Europe, courtesy of our content partner, Recycling International.

The Eggersmann Group of Germany, a recycling and waste management engineering expert, expects its business to grow more than 5 percent this year thanks partly to major new contracts in Israel, Bulgaria and Poland.

Only 45 percent of material by weight in Europe's municipal solid waste is currently covered by producer responsibility system, a new study commissioned by Zero Waste Europe has indicated. Given that this is far short of the EU’s 70 percent objective, researchers argue the system should be "redesigned" to achieve a circular economy. The study analyzed 33 million EU inhabitants.

Norway’s Protan Group has invested 1.2 million euros ($1.3 million) in Pallmann technology to upgrade its recycling facility and improve the treatment of PVC production leftovers. The German size-reduction specialist has provided "a tailor-made three-in-one recycling installation" for grinding, agglomerating and pulverizing material. Following 18 months of mechanical fine-tuning, Protan will be better able to incorporate 6 percent recycled feedstock in its production process.

To return to the Resource Recycling newsletter, click here.

NRC seeks award nominations

Tue, 07/28/2015 - 08:25
NRC seeks award nominations

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

July 28, 2015

Do you know somebody who has shown particular leadership in the recycling industry? Or a noteworthy organization making an big impact?

The National Recycling Coalition is now accepting nominations for its 2015 awards, which will be presented at the Resource Recycling Conference, Sept. 28-30, 2015, in Indianapolis.

Nominations are due August 21, 2015 at 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

Nominations will be accepted in the following categories:

  • NRC’s Lifetime Achievement Award — Recognizing an outstanding individual with a lifetime of leadership and dedication to the field of recycling.
  • Bill Heenan Emerging Leader Award — Recognizing an outstanding individual aged 35 or under who has emerged as a leader in the field.
  • Outstanding Recycling Organization — Awarded to a State Recycling Organization with outstanding growth, programs, leadership, or which has made a substantial impact on the field.
  • Outstanding Business Leadership — Awarded to a for-profit company showing leadership, innovation, and success as a corporate model in recycling and diversion.
  • Outstanding Non-Profit Business Leadership — Awarded to a not-for-profit company showing leadership, innovation, and success as a corporate model in recycling and diversion.
  • Outstanding Community or Government Program — Awarded to a public (community / governmental) program showing innovation, progress, or success as a model for other public programs.
  • Outstanding Higher Education Program — Awarded to a college / university with an exceptional program in recycling or in connecting higher education and the industry in the areas of degrees, tech transfer, career services, etc.

Click here for the awards nomination form, as well as contact information for questions. To submit a nomination, you will need contact information for yourself and the nominee, a 150-word summary and 250 words or less on each of the following topics:

  • Coverage/longevity
  • Innovation/meeting needs
  • Effect on recycling/hierarchy
  • Program economics
  • Leadership/cutting edge
  • Additional information (if needed)

Letters of reference are also required. Nominations for higher education awards require information on degree programs and career services, applied research/tech transfer and connections with recycling industries.

To return to the Resource Recycling newsletter, click here.

Acclaimed author to keynote Resource Recycling Conference 2015

Tue, 07/28/2015 - 08:24
Acclaimed author to keynote Resource Recycling Conference 2015

July 28, 2015

The upcoming Resource Recycling Conference will start with a fascinating look at how the interconnected pieces of materials recovery come together in a keynote address from Adam Minter, award-winning Bloomberg journalist and author of the 2013 book "Junkyard Planet."

Minter comes from a family of Midwest scrap yard owners and now lives in Southeast Asia, where he covers the evolving waste management sphere there and elsewhere across the world. His understanding of the specific conditions surrounding recycling in the U.S., as well as in the multitude of markets where materials end up, put him in a unique position to offer a truly objective and holistic view of the industry. His talk will aim to enlighten all recycling pros on current global realities and how specific impacts are felt all the way back to the curbside.

Resource Recycling Conference 2015 is scheduled for Sept. 28-30, 2015 at the Downtown Marriott in Indianapolis. Head to rrconference.com for all the latest on attending, exhibiting and sponsoring.

To return to the Resource Recycling newsletter, click here.

 

NewsBits from Resource Recycling

Tue, 07/28/2015 - 08:22
NewsBits

July 28, 2015

Comic and host of HBO's Last Week Tonight John Oliver made waves last week in a nearly 18 minute bit on the problem of food waste in the U.S. "This is not a story about the food we eat. It's a story about the food we don't eat," begins the funny and timely monologue. Watch it here.

The U.K. agency overseeing recycling policy could be facing significant budget cuts of up to 40 percent, according to letsrecycle.com. U.K. Chancellor George Osborne has asked the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to model what potential cuts of 25 percent to 40 percent per year would look like over the next four years.

Recycling less and burning more may be better for the environment. So argue some in an article in Honolulu Magazine, which looked at recycling and waste-to-energy in the state. With no recycling facilities on the islands, all materials have to be shipped elsewhere to be recycled. Some materials, particularly fibers, should be burned for energy instead of exported, "local experts" argued.

The Basel Action Network (BAN) is calling on the executive secretary of the Basel Convention to force Canada to comply with its convention obligations. Jim Puckett, executive director of BAN, writes that Canada has not complied with the international treaty in allowing shipments of garbage to remain in the Philippines despite being tied to a Canadian exporter.

An article in The Washington Post making the case that a switch to single-stream recycling has hurt the industry continues to get industry leaders talking. Keefe Harrison, executive director of The Recycling Partnership, writes in a letter to the editor that the article wrongly places blame on the blue cart. Recycling is a valued public service that supports environmental protections and economic development, but it's not a profit center for cities and counties, she writes.

Levi Strauss and Co. is expanding its clothing take-back program to all of its stores, the company announced. In exchange for bringing in any brand used clothing or shoes, the company provides a discount coupon toward the purchase of a new item. The clothing company partners with I:Collect, which sorts the collected material.

To return to the Resource Recycling newsletter, click here.

Industry and supplier news

Tue, 07/28/2015 - 08:21
Industry and supplier news

July 28, 2015

C&D World 2016 will be held in San Jose, Calif., organizers behind the annual event have announced. For more, click here.

Plastics recycling firm Global Polymers is now certified to the ISO 9001:2008 certification. For more, click here.

German beverage filling and packaging company Krones has named Michael Andersen as its finance chief. For more, click here.

To return to the Resource Recycling newsletter, click here.

Seattle food scrap law challenged

Mon, 07/20/2015 - 17:05
Seattle organics law challenged

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

July 21, 2015

Seattle's mandated composting program may have a legal battle on its hands after a lawsuit emerged last week challenging the constitutionality of its enforcement practices.

In a complaint filed July 16, the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) takes aim at a 2014 city ordinance banning the disposal of food scraps and yard debris and giving garbage collectors the authority to fine city residents whose garbage cans contain at least 10 percent organics. The PLF, representing eight individuals, claims Washington state's constitution "prohibits government searches of garbage cans without first obtaining a warrant."

"The City's garbage inspection law violates privacy rights on a massive scale," the suit reads.

The ordinance, which was passed unanimously by City Council members in 2014 and signed into law the next day, went into effect Jan. 1. Fines, which are expected to total $1 per violation, have been delayed until at least 2016 due to the early success of the ban.

According to PLF, which is a noted privacy rights group in the region, approximately 9,000 warning notices were handed out to Seattle residents between January and April.

In a joint statement released Monday, the city attorney's office and Seattle Public Utilities stated the ordinance "fully complies with the law, including the enhanced privacy protections afforded by the Washington constitution."

"There is no intention of opening trash bags," the statement reads in part. "Containers are only tagged if the contamination is clearly visible. The guidelines state: if you can’t see, don’t report it and don’t tag it."

To return to the Resource Recycling newsletter, click here.

 

Stay at the center of Resource Recycling Conference 2015

Mon, 07/20/2015 - 17:05
Stay at the center of Resource Recycling Conference 2015

July 21, 2015

The Resource Recycling Conference is proud to have chosen the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown as this year's conference venue and host hotel. The Indianapolis Marriott offers premier accommodations in the heart of Indiana's capital.

To get the most out of your conference experience we recommend you stay at the host hotel, where hundreds of recycling professionals will be an open door away. Your room reservation at the conference host hotel ensures lower registration rates for current and future years.

Book your reservations here.

Resource Recycling Conference 2015 is scheduled for Sept. 28-30, 2015 at the Downtown Marriott in Indianapolis. Head to rrconference.com for all the latest on attending, exhibiting and sponsoring.

To return to the Resource Recycling newsletter, click here.

 

CalRecycle makes change at the top

Mon, 07/20/2015 - 17:05
CalRecycle makes change at the top

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

July 21, 2015

California has named Scott Smithline the director of the state's Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery.

Smithline, formerly the assistant director for policy development at the department (also known as CalRecycle), was appointed to the role by California Gov. Jerry Brown on July 16. Before joining the state in 2011, Smithline worked for 12 years at nonprofit group Californians Against Waste.

His appointment comes as the state is attempting to increase its recycling rate to 75 percent by 2020, a goal set forth by Assembly Bill 341, which passed in 2011.

The state's current recycling rate is 50 percent, but has remained stagnant over the past couple of years.

"Gov. Brown has established for California the most progressive environmental goals in the nation, and the strides that have already been taken have laid a strong foundation to achieve them," Smithline said in a statement sent to Resource Recycling. "That said, there is a lot of work to be done to build a better recycling infrastructure and develop more resilient in-state markets for recycled materials. We have to think about what changes need to be made to the current model in order to get where we want to be five or 10 years down the road."

Smithline's predecessor, Caroll Mortensen, served as director of CalRecycle since 2011. She is now senior environmental specialist within the Legislative and External Affairs Office at CalRecycle, the agency's spokesperson Mark Oldfield confirmed.

Mark Murray, the executive director of Californians Against Waste, was supportive of the appointment. "Scott possesses a truly unparalleled level of policy expertise, stakeholder awareness, and passion for recycling and environmental issues," Murray said in a statement.

To return to the Resource Recycling newsletter, click here.

 

Phoenix takes action with recovery rate goal approaching

Mon, 07/20/2015 - 17:04
Phoenix takes action with recovery rate goal approaching

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

July 21, 2015

Phoenix is mulling over dozens of recycling ideas to incorporate at its planned Resource Innovation Campus. In the meantime, city government will partner with groups to recycle carpeting, mattresses and food scraps.

The city of 1.4 million people aims to divert 40 percent of its municipal solid waste stream from landfill by 2020. It currently diverts 16 percent of its residential stream from landfill, according to the city's Public Works Department.

Phoenix this spring issued a request for proposals for recovering a number of non-packaging materials: single-use batteries, mattresses, carpet and carpet foam, furniture, latex paint, palm fronds and residential food scraps.

After receiving a total of eight proposals, city staff recommended pursuing deals with the following groups, according to Public Works: Planet Recycling (to recycle carpeting and carpet foams), Goodwill of Central Arizona (mattresses) and Recycled City LLC (residential food scraps).

Staff will negotiate contracts with the organizations with the intention of returning in the fall to seek Council approval.

Meanwhile, the City last spring began working to bring projects and companies to its planned Resource Innovation Campus, to be located near an existing city-operated transfer station and ReCommunity-operated MRF. The City put out a call to innovators and is currently sifting through proposals.

Phoenix plans to dedicate at least 50 acres at the campus to innovators and manufacturers with market-ready technologies and manufacturing processes. It also plans to create a business incubator for startup technologies and processes as well as a composting facility.

The efforts are part of the Reimagine Phoenix initiative to reduce waste.

To return to the Resource Recycling newsletter, click here.

 

Wide world of recycling

Mon, 07/20/2015 - 17:03
Wide world of recycling

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

July 21, 2015

A recycling plant opens in Jerusalem and the latest numbers out of England point to an overall increase in waste generation in major cities.

A sprawling recycling plant in Jerusalem has opened its doors to handle a reported 400,000 tons of material annually. According to an article in the Jerusalem Post, the facility has been in construction since 2011 and will save the city nearly $4.7 million each year in avoided landfill fees.

An article on letsrecycle.com reports urban centers throughout England are seeing waste generation increase. In North London, Liverpool and Manchester, the latest figures indicate more waste being generated by residents despite a push to increase waste reduction and recycling.

The European Parliament's call for a beefed-up circular economy has received the support of the European Bioplastics trade group. In a press release issued July 14, the group commends the effort and notes the strategy creates potential for plastic packaging manufacturers to increasingly resort to, you guessed, bio-plastics.

To return to the Resource Recycling newsletter, click here.

 

Resource Recycling Conference 2015: Push your career forward

Mon, 07/20/2015 - 17:03
Resource Recycling Conference 2015: Push your career forward

July 21, 2015

The sixth-annual Resource Recycling Conference offers attendees plenty of opportunities to increase their standing in the fast-evolving materials recovery industry.

The Recycling Conference is now approved for eight Continuing Education Units (CEU) from SWANA. Attendees working toward that certification can pick up a CEU report form at the registration desk at the conference.

In addition, attendees will have unique opportunities to network with some of the top decision-makers in all areas of recycling. Professionals are drawn to the conference's slate of well-curated education sessions as well as co-located events including the National Recycling Coalition's annual members meeting, The Recycling Partnership workshops and the Recycling Innovators Forum.

The array of programming geared to leading recycling executives and officials simply cannot be found at any other North American recycling gathering.

Resource Recycling Conference 2015 is scheduled for Sept. 28-30, 2015 at the Downtown Marriott in Indianapolis. Head to rrconference.com for all the latest on attending, exhibiting and sponsoring.

To return to the Resource Recycling newsletter, click here.

NewsBits from Resource Recycling

Mon, 07/20/2015 - 17:02
NewsBits

July 21, 2015

Since opening 25 years ago, the Springfield Materials Recycling Facility in Springfield, Mass. has processed 1 million tons of material and saved communities in western Massachusetts approximately $62 million in landfill fees. That's according to an article in The Republican newspaper recapping the facility's quarter-of-a-century-long run in the region.

A report from KVOA in Tucson, Ariz. suggests 20 percent of the material that finds its way into curbside recycling bins is not, in fact, recyclable. Among the contaminants: diapers to construction and demolition debris into their blue bins.

A feather-ruffling story appearing in the Washington Post last month on the state of the recycling industry has been taken to task by the magazine Mother Jones.  In an article written by journalist Luke Whelan, four "big recycling myths" perpetuated by the original piece are considered and challenged.

Taking note of the importance of public space recycling, the National Park Service and the National Parks Conservation Association have announced three national parks – Yosemite, Grand Teton and Denali – will attempt to achieve zero waste status. Car manufacturer Subaru will lend technical assistance to the project.

A contract between Waste Management and Oakland, Calif. saw composting service rates for businesses jump dramatically, and those monthly costs are now more than garbage rates, according to the East Bay Express. After an outcry that the rates were disincentivizing participation in the program, the City is now considering an ordinance that would limit organics collection rates to no more than 90 percent of the garbage rates.

You can't throw recyclable materials in the trash in Vermont, but, if you do, the garbage police aren't coming after you either. The Burlington Free Press reports that while a mandatory recycling law has taken effect, resource-strapped governments and laws hindering the ability of government officials to search trash cans means little enforcement will be occurring at the curb.

More than 1,000 business owners have signed a petition calling on New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to reverse the administration's decision to ban expanded polystyrene food-service products, according to the Restaurant Action Alliance. In its latest press release, the Restaurant Action Alliance, a group led by Dart Container Corp., says the decision hurts small businesses. The group earlier this month noted the city won't issue fines until 2016 and offers an exemption process for small businesses that can prove alternative materials will be too costly.

To return to the Resource Recycling newsletter, click here.

 

Industry and supplier news

Mon, 07/20/2015 - 17:02
Industry and supplier news

July 21, 2015

The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries has launched isriadvocacy.org, a venue for the group's members to voice their concerns and views to members of Congress. For more, click here.

The National Materials Marketplace is officially up and running thanks to support from more than 20 companies, including Eastman Chemical, Nike, Novelis and Dow Chemical. For more, click here.

Global Experience Specialists (GES) has achieved level two certification under APEX/ASTM Environmentally Sustainable Event Standards, an international sustainability standard for the meeting and event industry. GES is the general service contractor for trade show logistics at conferences produced by Resource Recycling, Inc., including the Resource Recycling Conference. For more, click here.

To return to the Resource Recycling newsletter, click here.

Procter & Gamble joins The Recycling Partnership

Mon, 07/13/2015 - 16:19
Procter & Gamble joins The Recycling Partnership

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

July 14, 2015

Procter & Gamble Co. is putting its consumer-products heft behind The Recycling Partnership.


The company last week joined the industry-funded nonprofit organization focused on boosting curbside recycling. 

"At P&G, we are working toward a vision that one day no waste will go to landfill. Helping expand and enable recycling efforts is key to helping us reaching that vision," Steve Sikra, P&G's research and development manager, stated in a press release. "The Recycling Partnership’s work is helping build solutions and create value that we hope will increase at-home recycling."

Increasing curbside recycling volumes will provide more post-consumer material that P&G can use in packaging.

By 2020, the company plans to double its use of recycled resins in P&G plastic packaging, compared with a 2010 baseline. It also set a goal of ensuring 90 percent of packaging is recyclable or programs are in place to create the ability to recycle it.

The company also set a 2020 goal of having all paper packaging contain either recycled content or third-party-certified virgin content. In 2014, the combined number was 96 percent, according to the company's sustainability report. P&G's paper packaging portfolio used 77 percent recycled content.

P&G also recently joined the American Chemistry Council's Flexible Film Recycling Group. In 2014, P&G became a founding member of the Closed Loop Fund, an industry-funded effort providing zero-interest loans to local government to boost recycling efforts.

To return to the Resource Recycling newsletter, click here

 

Study examines flow of packaging at MRFs

Mon, 07/13/2015 - 16:19
Study examines flow of packaging at MRFs

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

July 14, 2015

Just because a wide array of packaging makes it into a curbside cart or bin doesn't mean it'll make it into a bale. Up-to-date sortation equipment, as well as recycling-friendly product design and consumer best practices, can help improve the chances, a study finds.


The MRF Material Flow Study, conducted by Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Resource Recycling Systems (RRS), suggests materials recovery facilities (MRFs) today lose anywhere from 3 to 12 percent of incoming plastic packaging to the paper stream. Some products increasingly accepted in curbside programs are particularly hard to detect and sort, the study points out, with the average "loss rate" at 29 percent for plastic clamshells and 18 percent for cartons.

"For the MRFs that receive the material, it is not always easy to keep sorting technologies and techniques on pace with this expanding mix," the report states.

The study was funded by the American Chemistry Council, the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers, the Carton Council, the Foodservice Packaging Institute and the National Association for PET Container Resources. It was prepared with the help of Reclay StewardEdge and Moore Recycling Associates.

To complete the study, a variety of food-service packaging products, including containers, cartons and cups, were "seeded" into the incoming streams of five U.S. MRFs. The MRFs, four single-stream facilities and one dual-stream facility ranging in throughput from 10 to 35 tons per hour, were assessed based on how well existing systems managed to effectively separate plastic from paper products.

The MRFs that managed to separate materials most effectively were those that had a sufficient number of well-maintained disc screens. While two of the five MRFs lost 12 percent of plastics to the paper stream, the study points out one MRF achieved just a 3 percent loss rate and did so due to an "adequate number of screens for the incoming volume and material type." In addition, a "significant improvement" was achieved by the two MRFs with the highest loss rates once existing screens were maintenanced.

Optical sortation systems were also noted as a key factor to aiding separation and recovery of commingled recyclables.

On the design and consumer level, the study finds that the form of recyclables entering MRFs has "a strong influence on the loss of packaging to the paper stream." The packaging types with the lowest loss rates – plastic bottles, cups and containers – were round, while lightweight and crushable products, such as clamshells and cartons, more often ended up the wrong stream. By flattening plastic items, consumers can inadvertently cause a MRF to sort the material into the paper stream, the study concluded.

"The study found that three-dimensional objects (packages in their original form) versus two-dimensional (flattened/crushed objects) have a higher likelihood of making it through the system to the appropriate container lines and bales," RRS CEO Jim Frey said in a press release. "This is not only a helpful finding but an actionable one which illustrates that even everyday actions in the home can help boost recovery."

By product, plastic bottles had the lowest loss rate, at 5 percent, followed by plastic cups, at 10 percent, and plastic containers, at 12 percent.

To return to the Resource Recycling newsletter, click here

 

Book your hotel room for the Resource Recycling Conference

Mon, 07/13/2015 - 16:19
Book your hotel room for the Resource Recycling Conference

July 14, 2015

The 2015 Resource Recycling Conference is proud to have chosen the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown as this year's conference venue and host hotel. The Indianapolis Marriott offers premier accommodations in the heart of Indiana's capital.

To get the most out of your conference experience we recommend you stay at the host hotel, where hundreds of recycling professionals will be an open door away. Your room reservation at the conference host hotel ensures lower registration rates for current and future years.

Book your reservations here.

Resource Recycling Conference 2015 is scheduled for Sept. 28-30, 2015 at the Downtown Marriott in Indianapolis. Head to rrconference.com for all the latest on attending, exhibiting and sponsoring.

To return to the Resource Recycling newsletter, click here.

.

.