Resource Recycling Magazine

Updated: 1 day 11 hours ago

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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Ontario report: Province is landfilling jobs across the border

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 12:41
Ontario report: Province is landfilling jobs across the border

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

June 4, 2014

A study investigating the economic potential of waste diversion in Ontario argues the province should focus on more than just lifting recycling rates — it also needs to stop sending so much material to the U.S.

The report, written by nonprofit research group The Conference Board of Canada on behalf of the Ontario Waste Management Association, extrapolated data from a number of other North American studies to determine that increasing Ontario's overall diversion rate (including residentitial and commercial sources) to 60 percent from its current 23 percent level would lead to an additional 13,000 full-time jobs in the province and increase GDP by $1.5 billion.

The research indicates curbing the export of waste would be a major driver in those economic gains. From 2003 to 2008, the amount of solid waste sent from Ontario to New York landfills increased more than three-fold, according to the report, from 250,000 to 800,000 metric tons. The report also says significant tonnages of recyclables end up being shipped to Michigan for disposal.

"[Policy-makers] should consider the fact that a substantial amount of recyclable materials is exported, rather than processed locally and used to supply domestic manufacturers," the report reads.

The study comes roughly a year after Ontario's environment minister first proposed a revamped policy called the Waste Reduction Act that, among other strategies, opened the door to the expansion of extended producer responsibility (EPR) systems in the province.

The study notes analysis of EPR implementation in other areas shows that those systems can benefit local economies as they increase the tonnages of diverted materials. However, the report also raises a concern about the economics of EPR, arguing that as producers are forced to cover the costs of collection and processing, consumers may end up confronting higher prices when they shop.

"If the resulting increases in prices is substantive," the report states, "it could lead to a reduction in consumption, which could have a negative impact on the economy."

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Resource Recycling Conference 2014: The latest on foodservice packaging recovery

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 12:40
Resource Recycling Conference 2014: The latest on foodservice packaging recovery

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

June 4, 2014

Several years ago, the foodservice packaging industry launched the Paper Recovery Alliance and Plastics Recovery Group to increase the recycling and composting of their products.

What progress has been made? At this year's Resource Recycling Conference, The Foodservice Packaging Institute’s Natha Dempsey will share the group's MRF-to-market approach and discuss projects undertaken to overcome the real and perceived barriers to recover more paper and plastic foodservice packaging. Highlights include the results of various food residue studies and a MRF survey on foodservice packaging acceptance. Dempsey will also detail innovative work being done to bolster end markets for recovered materials.

Be a part of this fascinating discussion and many others at Resource Recycling Conference 2014, 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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Is another EPR program headed to British Columbia?

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 12:38
Is another EPR program headed to British Columbia?

By Bobby Elliott, Resource Recycling

June 4, 2014

British Columbia's hotly debated, producer-led recycling program is only weeks into implementation, but already the seeds of another plan are being planted.

A group called StewardChoice last week announced the specifics of a new program, one which would aim to serve the roughly 100,000 multi-family dwelling units currently not serviced by B.C.'s just-launched extended producer responsibility (EPR) program, Multi-Material B.C. (MMBC).

"Ours would be an option for producers to secure their compliance with recycling regulations," Neil Hastie, development director and spokesperson for StewardChoice Enterprises, Inc., told Resource Recycling. By offering producer-funded services to multi-family homes that are not served by MMBC, Hastie says, the StewardChoice plan will not directly take away from MMBC's roster of participating producers.

"In a way, it will function as a complementary or parallel offering," said Hastie, who is a longtime member of Canada's recycling industry. "We do not ever expect it to be anywhere near the size of the MMBC — this would always be a relatively smaller entry into the packaging and printed paper (PPP) market."

Producers of packaging and printed paper in B.C. are required to fund the collection of at least 75 percent of the material that enters the waste stream each year. MMBC was developed to lead the charge, and it functions as a province-wide organization that represents producers and helps them reach collection goals.

The budding StewardChoice program, which gained inspiration from Germany, where producers have a variety of EPR programs to choose from, could get its start as early as 2015. A draft plan is set to be released later this month, followed by a public consultation period. Eventually, a revised plan will make its way to the Ministry of Environment for official approval as an EPR program for B.C., Hastie said.

A subsidiary of stewardship organization Reclay StewardEdge, StewardChoice estimates 20 percent of the roughly 500,000 multi-family dwelling units are without producer-funded collection.

MMBC's managing director, Allen Langdon, stressed that it was too early to make a judgment on the still-nascent proposal from StewardChoice, but added his group would "welcome lawful competition."

"We look forward to reading … the program plan, once published, and the outcome of the consultations," Langdon told Resource Recycling.

MMBC launched last month after facing opposition from various producer groups, including the newspaper, plastic and grocery industries.

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Programs in action

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 12:37
Programs in action

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

June 4, 2014

In this week’s assessment of local recycling initiatives, single-stream recycling is a major focus.

Several communities will switch to all-recyclables collection in the coming months. Charlottesville, Virginia begins its program in July when it will pick up residential materials every other week, using 95-gallon carts. The program will handle more materials than in the past, including the collection of all plastic bottles.

Naperville, Illinois will also move to cart-based single-stream service in September, with Republic Services doing the collection.

Durham County, North Carolina has seen recycling volumes jump 34 percent when single-stream service is offered. As a result, the county will add 7,000 more homes to the program.

Charleston County, South Carolina, meanwhile, has seen its recycling tonnage climb 63 percent in the past four years, due in great part by the county’s switch to fully mixed, cart-based service. Sonoco Recycling processes the materials, with residents paying a $99 per year solid waste fee for recycling.

Brookhaven, New York says volumes have risen 25 percent since implementing all-recyclables collection.

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Patent watch

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 12:35
Patent watch

June 4, 2014

Patent No. 8,733,682, which describes a shredder of scrap materials, was awarded to Lindner-Recyclingtech GmbH, which is headquartered in Spittal an der Drau, Austria.

A method of tracking recycling rollcarts and bins via RFID technology is the subject of Patent No. 8,738,423, awarded to Armonk, New York's International Business Machines Corporation.

Patent No. 8,735,457 was given to the Columbia Insurance Company, of Omaha, Nebraska, describes different methods and compositions of recycled PET resin.

A method of recycling magnets containing rare earths is the subject of Patent No. 8,734,714 awarded to the U.K.'s University of Birmingham.

TOMRA Systems, headquartered in Asker, Norway, was awarded Patent Application No. 20140147005, which concerns a method and apparatus of preventing fraud in reverse vending machines.

Nottingham, England's Chinook End-Stage Recycling Limited was given Patent Application No. 20140144043 which describes a method of processing solid waste via pyrolysis.

Jerry and Kathy Brownstein, from Issaquah, Washington, were given Patent Application No. 20140137738 which concerns a method of making air filters from post-consumer PET scrap.

A method of processing PET scrap with low impurity levels was given to two researchers from SABIC Innovative Plastics based in Evansville, Indiana and awarded Patent Application No. 20140148514.

Patent Application No. 20140147207 was given to West Jefferson, Ohio-based R. L. Parsons and Son Equipment Company, Inc. for a method of recovering and recycling roadway shoulder material.

For more information on these or any patents, please consult the U.S. Patent Office database online.

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.

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NewsBits

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 12:34
NewsBits

June 4, 2014

Recycling Reinvented, a group that advocates for more extended producer responsibility strategies, has issued a statement that "salutes" the recent move by Walmart and other corporate giants to inject capital into the national recycling infrastructure. But the statement also explains there are some limitations in the strategy. The brand owner plan, called the Closed Loop Fund, is based on zero interest loans given to municipalities, and Closed Loop administrators have pointed out municipalities will be able to pay back those loans through savings that come as diversion increases and landfill fees fall. But Recycling Reinvented says such logic doesn't add up in communities that contract out garbage collection to private firms.

At University of North Carolina, Charlotte football games this upcoming season, fans will get some much-needed recycling advice from a robot (cue herky-jerky dance moves). Developed by a group of engineering students, the RecycleBot stands three-and-a-half feet tall and will instruct fans to either recycle or compost their gameday food service packaging.

Despite the prevalence of metal theft legislation in all 50 states in the U.S., tracking their effectiveness is proving hard to do, according to the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI). ISRI recenlty partnered with the Council of State Governments (CSG) to study the current laws on the books and found that no state is properly compiling the data necessary to fully analyze what impacts are being made.

In the latest iteration of Keep America Beautiful's "I Want to be Recycled" campaign, the national group has released an arcade-style video game that can be played online. "Super Sorter" makes you, the gamer, the head of a busy materials recovery facility as various materials arrive in need of sortation. Get the proper equipment located at strategic spots on the line or else materials will go unrecovered, revenues will drop and it'll quickly be game over.

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UK voices concern over meeting EU recycling targets

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 13:46
UK voices concern over meeting EU recycling targets

By Editorial Staff, Plastics Recycling Update

May 29, 2014

A major player in the U.K. waste management industry says "green fatigue" is setting in among residents and recovery rates are moving in the wrong direction.

David Palmer-Jones, CEO of waste and recycling firm SITA UK, told The Independent that U.K. residents, who now view recycling as a fixture of modern life, are in need of a more convenient recycling system if the country expects to reach EU-mandated recovery goals of 50 percent by 2020.

"Rates of overall recycling, especially in high density urban areas, are undoubtedly higher when councils and their contractors run a mixed collection service," Palmer-Jones said.

In a follow-up statement, Palmer-Jones told Resource Recycling significant progress had been made since 2000, but that recent data suggests 2020 goals won't be reached at the current pace. "In the past year the rate has leveled off and the analysis we have carried out shows that there is a strong possibility that this trend will continue and we won't make the 50 percent recycling target for 2020 that has been set by Europe.

If the U.K. fails to reach the EU-mandated goals, SITA UK would be "subject to fines of 700 Euros per day," Palmer-Jones stated. The U.K. currently recycles about 43 percent of its waste, he said.

Collected on a quarterly basis, the most recent data from household recycling in England suggests the overall recovery rate for the first nine months of 2013 held "stable" at 43.9 percent. Through the first nine months of 2012, England's household recovery rate reached 44.1 percent, which is 0.2 percentage points higher than the 2013 rate.

The 2012 U.S. recovery rate, the most recent one available from the EPA, came in at 34.5 percent, a slight drop from 2011 levels.

A major barrier for increases in collection comes down to paper generation in the U.K. – a similar issue faced by the U.S. at the moment.

Down by 4 percent in the last two years alone, the decreased amount of paper, especially newspaper, entering the U.K.waste stream is leading to lower volumes. Glass collection, with companies switching to plastic bottling, is also down.

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2014 Recycling Innovators Forum: Submit by the end of this week

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 13:41
2014 Recycling Innovators Forum: Submit by the end of this week

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

May 29, 2014

The deadline to enter a proposal for $20,000 in project funding is fast approaching.

The 2014 Recycling Innovators Forum, which awards prizes to actionable ideas that are ready to advance the recycling industry, is accepting applications only until Friday, May 30. If you have a creative solution for processing plastics, engaging with residents or any other area, don't miss out on this chance to take your innovation to the next level.

The second annual Recycling Innovators Forum is sponsored by Alcoa, the American Chemistry Council, Coca-Cola Recycling, Resource Recycling (the parent company of this publication) and Waste Management. The competition will be held on Sept. 15, at the annual Resource Recycling Conference in New Orleans, and will award two $20,000 prizes: one to the top idea submitted by an individual or small group of entrepreneurs, and another to the top proposal from an established company or organization.

For more information about competing in, or attending, this free event, visit recyclinginnovators.com.

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Minnesota tinkers with solid waste law

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 13:36
Minnesota tinkers with solid waste law

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

May 29, 2014

After demurring on beverage container legislation earlier this year, Minnesota lawmakers this week took on recycling after all.

A series of changes to the state's solid waste law are anchored by two significant shifts: a requirement that businesses in and around Minneapolis and St. Paul begin recycling by 2016 and that Twin City metro counties recycle 60 percent of municipal solid waste (MSW) by 2030. Metro counties will also be asked to compost at least 15 percent of compostable items generated each year by 2030, while non-metro counties will have to recycle 35 percent of MSW by that same deadline.

The changes, which are the first in 25 years, were championed by Rep. Frank Hornstein.

Despite having one of the country's highest statewide recycling rates – Minnesota's sits at 46 percent – lawmakers and industry members in the Gopher State have recently begun to evaluate why recovery rates aren't increasing more.

Julie Ketchum, who serves as government affairs director at Waste Management, told the StarTribune the changes were in line with the area's needs. "We want to increase recycling rates and this is a huge opportunity for us to do that," Ketchum stated.

A Waste Management study revealed that more than half of Twin City businesses send discarded material to the landfill instead of to a recycling center.

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Tonight at six: Recycling programs exposed!

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 13:33
Tonight at six: Recycling programs exposed!

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

May 29, 2014

Over the last two weeks, a handful of municipal recycling efforts have felt the sting of investigating TV news crews and local reporters.

In New Mexico, for example, Albuquerque-based news station KRQE recently went undercover to track a Santa Fe collection truck landfilling recyclables and then blasted the city's mayor and environmental services director in a story titled "Santa Fe's Dirty Deed."

In Buffalo, New York, meanwhile, the nonprofit news site Investigative Post this week teamed with NBC affiliate WGRZ for a pair of stories: one highlighting low curbside recycling rates in Buffalo itself and another focused on a swath of the city's suburbs, "where recycling programs are largely an afterthought," according to the report.

Those "live and local" takedowns follow a recent scandal in Washington D.C. in which the Washington Post reported old recycling bins were being sent to landfills, instead of entering the recycling stream as city leaders had promised they would.

Typically, recycling coordinators work in concert with news outlets to get the word out on program updates and success stories. But clearly local media representatives aren't afraid to switch from partner to watchdog if a situation smells unsavory.

"City Hall is ... batting 0 for 4 when it comes to building a successful program," the Investigative Post and WGRZ story on Buffalo notes. "As a result, the city’s curbside recycling rate has leveled off and remains less than half the national average."


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Can Michigan transform commercial waste to tissue?

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 13:20
Can Michigan plan transform commercial waste to tissue?

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

May 29, 2014

Michigan has floated out a nine-figure bond deal to a Wisconsin-based company willing to take on Detroit's commercial waste.

On the heels of a new plan to double the state's current recycling rate of 14.5 percent by 2017, the state has href="http://www.michiganbusiness.org/press-releases/nearly-$350-million-in-new-investments-will-bring--881-job-opportunities-across-state/">offered $125 million in tax-exempt bond financing to a Wisconsin-based recycled products manufacturer to set up shop in Michigan. The possible deal was detailed in a press release from the office of Michigan's governor, Rick Snyder.

With sites planned in Detroit and Cheboygan, the relatively under-the-radar Green Box NA plans to process commercial waste in Detroit before sending it to Cheboygan for final processing.

"The Cheboygan facility’s operation will include production of bath, facial, napkin and towel tissue products, as well as biofuels, fuel pellets and soil enhancements," the press release states.

The project's total cost is expected to reach $200 million and could create up to 331 jobs.

The governor's office did not return a request for comment on the project.

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Grant watch

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 13:13
Grant watch

May 29, 2014

A total of 32 companies in North Carolina have been picked by the N.C. Recycling Business Assistance Center to receive a combined $800,000 in recycling grants. A wide range of companies and projects are supported through the 2014 grants, which require a minimum "cash match of 50 percent of the grant award."

The New Mexico Recycling Coalition has handed out a combined $20,000 in grants to three food waste diversion companies. Soilutions, which collects and processes food scraps, received almost $9,000; Reunity Resources, with a pilot food scrap collection program underway in Santa Fe secured more than $6,000; and Knowaste will put to use about $3,500 for public space food scrap collection funding.

The Ohio EPA has awarded $600,000 to two tire recycling initiatives that could add nearly 30 new jobs and result in annual collections of 57,000 scrap tires. The state agency will give $350,000 toward the expansion of a scrap tire processing facility run by Liberty Tire Service, and the remaining $250,000 will go to a company hoping to use recycled tire rubber in the production of new products.

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NewsBits

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 13:05
NewsBits

May 29, 2014

The era of extended producer responsibility for curbside materials has officially begun in the Vancouver metro area of British Columbia, but glass is not in the picture. Under the new producer-funded and run collection system, residents are being encouraged to take glass to a depot instead of leaving it at the curb -- program administrators say glass is too prone to break to include alongside other recyclables.

As if Exide's shuttered battery recycling facility in Vernon, California needed any more bad news, the federal EPA has informed the company that lead emissions have recently exceeded regulatory limits on 30 separate occasions. The violations could lead to a number of penalties, including a hefty $37,500 fine per day for each violation. The news follows a string of other emissions violations at the plant.

Representatives in Pennsylvania are gearing up to introduce a bill that would permit municipalities to charge a fee for trash and recycling pick-up services. A recent court ruling in the state argued such fees are invalid, citing regulations in the state's Solid Waste Management Act.

Despite reports to the contrary, Charleston, West Virginia will be switching over to single-stream recycling this June, according to City Manager David Molgaard. Cardboard, Molgaard says, is the only exception as the city awaits equipment that should be able to handle an influx of cardboard alongside other recyclables by September.


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