Resource Recycling Magazine

Updated: 15 hours 18 sec ago

State programs in focus at E-Scrap 2015

Tue, 07/07/2015 - 10:20
State programs in focus at E-Scrap 2015

July 7, 2015

With tightened commodity markets, question marks around CRT glass processing and a growing docket of data on hand, the leaders of state electronics recycling programs are now trying to determine the best path forward.

At E-Scrap 2015 this September, attendees will get the perspectives of policy experts, processing firms, device manufacturers and state officials. Together, those voices will help to show a complete picture of the current landscape and explain how municipalities can fit into the evolution of government-mandated electronics recycling.

E-Scrap 2015 is taking place Sept. 1-3, 2015 (that's the week before Labor Day) at Omni ChampionsGate in Orlando, Florida. Last year's conference brought together more than 1,300 attendees from 35 countries and similar numbers are expected for the upcoming iteration. Check in at e-scrapconference.com for all the latest information on exhibiting, sponsoring and attending.

To return to the Resource Recycling newsletter, click here

NewsBits from Resource Recycling

Tue, 07/07/2015 - 10:19
NewsBits

July 7, 2015

Distribution of new 95-gallon carts has begun in Richmond, Va. thanks in part to a grant from the Recycling Partnership. The new carts will replace old 24-gallon bins. All households are expected to have the new carts by the end of the year.

Minneapolis-based Eureka Recycling's co-presidents say recycling is about more than a straight return on investment. Tim Brownell and Bryan Ukena, co-presidents of the nonprofit organization, take aim at Waste Management's statements in this Washington Post article creating an industry buzz. Recycling is also about reducing waste, environmental protection, job creation and supporting the local community, they write.

While Adidas doesn't plan to put its prototype shoe made from ocean trash into full production, the company did announce it's going to incorporate recycled plastics into shoes by early next year, according to Esquire. The prototype was made from illegal deep-sea gillnets recovered by a ship that tailed a poaching ship off the west coast of Africa for 110 days.

The Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority approved a loan that will enable a composting company to expand operations. At its July meeting, the authority approved a $400,000, 15-year loan with a 3 percent interest rate to the Bucks County Economic Development Corp., which will use the money to help Shades of Green, Inc. buy and renovate a building in Falls Township, Penn. That expansion will allow the company to accept more material to create mulch.

Using grant funds, the city of Tuscaloosa, Ala. has purchased a glass pulverizer to convert glass into a soft mulch or sand, and it's trying to collect 11,000 pounds of glass so it can use it. The city is asking residents to drop off glass containers sorted by color.

Michigan public radio recently took a look at a corrugated pallet industry-funded group Change the Pallet, which is trying to persuade companies to shift from wood to corrugated pallets. The group highlights the material's light weight and recyclability, but the head of waste reduction at General Motors noted corrugated pallets' drawbacks include their tendency to absorb moisture and inability to handle particularly heavy loads.

Leaders in Santa Fe, N.M. are wrestling over how to handle glass in the city's recycling stream. A City Council committee rejected a proposal from staff to establish drop-off locations around the city, with council members holding out hope the material can be incorporated into a future single-stream program.

PAC NEXT takes a look at printed paper and packaging extended producer responsibility efforts in the U.S., Canada and Europe in the industry-funded nonprofit organization's latest report. In the report, representatives from the California Product Stewardship Council and Upstream share their perspectives on EPR for packaging in the U.S.

New York City is considering mandatory organics diversion requirements for stadiums, larger hotels and food manufacturers and distributors. The requirements would affect the following businesses: stadiums seating more than 15,000 people, hotels with more than 150 rooms, food distributors with more than 25,000 square feet and food distributors with more than 20,000 square feet. Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration says the move would divert about 50,000 tons of material per year.

To return to the Resource Recycling newsletter, click here.

Industry and supplier news

Tue, 07/07/2015 - 10:19
Industry and supplier news

July 7, 2015

Germany equipment maker Better Recycling Technology (BRT) has named Jeffrey Van Galder as the company's North American sales representative. Van Galder is a 17-year industry veteran and has worked with BRT over the years. For more, click here.

The Albuquerque Solid Waste Management Department has launched the Two More Pounds initiative to push for increased residential recycling in New Mexico's largest city. For more, click here.

The optical sorting wing of CP Group, MSS, Inc., has relocated its headquarters in Nashville, Tenn. The new hub is twice the size of the company's previous headquarters. For more, click here.


To return to the Resource Recycling newsletter, click here

Connecticut EPR law challenged in court

Tue, 06/30/2015 - 10:28
Connecticut EPR law challenged in court

By Bobby Elliott, Resource Recycling

June 30, 2015

TV manufacturer Vizio has sued a Connecticut official over an electronics recycling law it says unfairly burdens the company.

In a lawsuit filed on June 17 against the commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, Robert Klee, Vizio alleges the state's e-scrap law "is so deeply flawed and unfair that it threatens Vizio's ability to innovate and competitively price its products for consumers."

Connecticut's e-scrap law, fully implemented in 2011, requires manufacturers of computers, printers, monitors and televisions to pay for the collection and processing of end-of-life devices.

According to Irvine, Calif.-based Vizio, the "foundational problem" facing Connecticut's program is its use of nationwide television sales to determine manufacturer collection and recycling targets each year. That method, Vizio claims in the suit, has required the company to collect as much as 17 percent of all televisions entering Connecticut's e-scrap stream despite a "negligible" sales presence within the Nutmeg State.

The suit states Vizio "does not sell to any distribution centers in Connecticut" and sold just 190 TV sets in the state between 2012 and 2014. Its state-mandated e-scrap efforts, meanwhile, have cost the company over $1.8 million, according to the suit.

In a statement sent to Resource Recycling, Vizio said it expects costs to reach "well over" $2 million by 2016.

"Using the national market share approach as a proxy for the number of discarded televisions in Connecticut does not result in a fair or proportional distribution of recycling costs," the company stated.

The official court docket for the case, which is being heard in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut in New Haven, indicates parties are awaiting Klee's official response to the claims set forth by Vizio. Klee is being represented by two Connecticut assistant attorneys general, Sharon Seligman and Michael Skold.

A spokesperson for the state's Office of the Attorney General told Resource Recycling, "We are currently reviewing the lawsuit in consultation with our client agency, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, and will respond at the appropriate time in court."

Jason Linnell, who directs the National Center for Electronics Recycling, which works with 14 state e-scrap programs, says it's common for a state to calculate a manufacturer's share of collection responsibilities by national sales data.

"If you're looking at it on an individual state basis, maybe the manufacturer has data that says sales were lower than what national sales data would estimate, but they could be in another state where it's higher than what the national sales data would suggest, and they aren't going to complain in that state," Linnell stated. "It evens out in the end and national sales data has been the best available data and the most consistent."

The Vizio suit also complains that the company, which was founded in 2002 as a flat-panel display TV manufacturer, is routinely responsible for recycling CRT televisions that were made before the company entered the market. CRT televisions account for the bulk of the volume of end-of-life TVs entering the U.S. waste stream.

Walter Alcorn, the vice president of environmental affairs and industry sustainability for the Consumer Electronics Association, told Resource Recycling Vizio is "exercising its constitutional rights against the state program that is the least popular state mandate for most consumer electronics manufacturers."

The Vizio suit indicates the company is supportive of "a law requiring television brand-owned sellers to pay for the recycling of televisions," but it adds recycling obligations should be based on the composition of the waste stream itself. This model, known as a return share model and used to determine manufacturer responsibilities for all other e-scrap covered under Connecticut's law, calls for electronics made by a particular manufacturer to be collected and recycled by that manufacturer.

A recent study, the suit suggests, found 23,000 pounds of televisions collected under Connecticut's program contained no Vizio products.

As a result of the program and its associated costs for Vizio, the company says it's been forced to adjust out-of-state prices, a situation that has led to "lost profits, opportunity costs, transactional costs, administrative costs and/or market share loss."

To return to the Resource Recycling newsletter, click here

 

Plastics group indicates optimism for mixed-waste processing

Tue, 06/30/2015 - 10:27
Plastics group indicates optimism for mixed-waste processing

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

June 30, 2015

A recent paper from the Plastics Division of the American Chemistry Council finds there are both pros and cons to the "all in one bin" recycling collection and processing approach.

"There are key tradeoffs that that need to be analyzed as part of assessing mixed-waste processing," the report, commissioned by the American Chemistry Council (ACC), concludes. "The technology promises to deliver more volume of recycled materials but potentially with a lower unit value for some materials because of contamination."

Research for the report was conducted by Gershman, Brickner & Bratton (GBB).

The mixed-waste processing approach, which is opposed by the the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries and The Recycling Partnership, among others, forgoes residential source-separation of recyclables and uses mixed-waste processing facilities to extract recyclables and organics directly from municipal solid waste.

Mixed-waste processing has been in the spotlight recently, with a $45 million facility planned in Indianapolis and talk of a similar venture ongoing in Houston. A mixed-waste processing facility opened in Montgomery, Ala. last year. Such operations are sometimes called dirty MRFs.

"The goal of diverting more materials from the waste stream to higher uses compels us to explore all options," Craig Cookson, director of sustainability and recycling for ACC’s Plastics Division, said in a press release announcing the study's release. "As the waste stream continues to evolve, we must consider new strategies and innovations that could help us to meet these challenges."

The GBB study, which can be read in its entirety here, suggests modern, "highly automated" mixed-waste processing could be capable of unlocking higher overall diversion rates than some single-stream programs. The quality of the recyclables recovered from MSW, however, remains a question.

"Until there is better publicly available data or testimonials from buyers of the materials, it will remain a challenge to evaluate newer [mixed-waste facilities]," the report cautions.

Using a waste characterization study from Fort Worth, Texas as the basis for its conclusions, the study estimates the city could push its diversion rate, currently at 19 percent under a single-stream program, to as high as 46 percent under a mixed-waste processing system that also diverts organics.

According to the characterization study, 28 percent of overall MSW currently makes it into Fort Worth recycling bins. Of that total, 67 percent ends up being recovered at a single-stream MRF, resulting in an estimated 19 percent recovery rate. No organics are recovered.

Under a mixed-waste system, GBB found, theoretically 100 percent of Fort Worth's MSW would reach a modernized mixed-waste processing center. The study suggests a 70 percent recovery rate for organics under that system and an overall diversion rate of 46 percent for the municipality. "It should be noted that these numbers are from an equipment manufacturer with recent experience with these modern [mixed-waste processing] facilities," the report notes.

The study also determined that if the city's current single-stream program were paired with a mixed-waste facility to process trash, the recovery rate could jump to 54 percent.

To return to the Resource Recycling newsletter, click here

 

Municipalities urged to help improve MRF safety

Tue, 06/30/2015 - 10:27
Municipalities urged to help improve MRF safety

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

June 30, 2015

A recent report from a group of nonprofit organizations asks cities to leverage their contract powers and force better conditions for workers at materials recovery facilities.

The study – from GAIA, Partnership for Working Families, MassCOSH and National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, all of which are nongovernmental organizations – notes 17 workers died from accidents at MRFs from 2011 to 2013. The organizations also cite a notable U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics finding: that the rate of nonfatal injury incidents at MRFs was 8.5 per 100 workers in 2012, a number higher than both the rate for all industries (3.5 per 100 workers) and the average rate for waste management and remediation services in general (5.1 per 100 workers).

Some of the groups behind the study advocate for labor unions.

The report states MRFs' reliance on temporary workers may account for part of the injury and fatality issue. "Among employers who use temporary labor, failure to properly train and orient workers who are new to the job, or have been brought on as temporary labor, is a common practice and serious concern," the report states.

Extreme instances of contamination also pose risks to those working the sort lines at facilities, the report indicates. Hypodermic needles, nails, sharp metal, hazardous chemicals and rotting animals are all items many workers must pull off belts after they've been improperly added to the recycling stream.

The report calls on municipalities to take action, offering recommendations including: Evaluate potential processing contractors based on health and safety criteria, prohibit the use of temporary workers, boost communication to residents to ensure cleaner source separation, reject mixed-waste processing proposals, require contractors to provide a written illness and injury prevention program, and create a system for municipal inspection.

"[Recycling] is about recovering resources for future generations and reducing the impacts of our consumption," the report states. "To fully live those values, however, we must consider the human impacts of our waste management system, and invest as much energy in improving recycling worker jobs as we do in raising diversion rates."

To return to the Resource Recycling newsletter, click here

 

Resource Recycling Conference 2015: Book your hotel room now

Tue, 06/30/2015 - 10:27
Resource Recycling Conference 2015: Book your hotel room now

June 30, 2015

The Indianapolis Marriott Downtown, the host hotel for the 2015 Resource Recycling Conference, 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 also ensures lower registration rates for current and future years.

Book your reservations here.

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

To return to the Resource Recycling newsletter, click here

Study: Nearly half of Austin's residential trash is compostable

Tue, 06/30/2015 - 10:27
Study: Nearly half of Austin's residential trash is compostable

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

June 30, 2015

More than 46 percent of the curbside residential garbage in Austin, Texas is compostable material – an estimated 52,920 tons annually.

Yard trimmings alone make up 6.6 percent of the trash stream, or about 7,500 tons, despite the fact the city has a separate yard debris collection program.

The numbers come from a residential-waste characterization study exploring the composition of material collected at the curb in Austin. The study was conducted by consulting firm CB&I Environmental and Infrastructure for the city's waste management arm, Austin Resource Recovery. Crews analyzed various loads of garbage and recyclable materials during the 2014 fiscal year.

"The [study] offers a stark view of the 'waste' discarded into the residential trash carts," Bob Gedert, Austin Resource Recovery director, wrote in a summary. "Of the residential trash sent to the landfill, 44.8 percent is recyclables and 46.3 percent is organics. This study demonstrates that 90 percent of what is sent to the landfill can be diverted toward recycling and organic composting."

The city's goal is a 50 percent diversion rate by December of this year; its current curbside diversion rate is about 40 percent.

The City currently provides weekly yard trimmings collection, and twice-yearly collection of large brush. It's also conducting a curbside food scraps pilot program serving 14,000 households each week.

The report recommended boosting food scraps service.

"Food waste, as the single largest component of the disposed waste stream, represents an opportunity for a substantial increase in diversion if collection service is provided to more households," the report noted.

Gedert said the Austin City Council is currently reviewing a five-year rollout of enhanced curbside organics collection. City staff proposed a schedule rolling out boosted service from 2016 to 2020.

The report also found a significant volume of potentially recyclable materials being thrown in the trash, including paper (22.8 percent of the waste stream), plastics (12.8 percent), metals (4.4 percent) and glass (3.9 percent).

"The results of this study have been discussed with staff, and a new incentive outreach campaign is being designed and will roll ­out in November 2015 on America Recycles Day," Gedert wrote in response.

To return to the Resource Recycling newsletter, click here

 

Haulers confront costs of recycling

Tue, 06/30/2015 - 10:27
Haulers confront costs of recycling

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

June 30, 2015

Following a number of high-profile criticisms of the current recycling landscape, one hauler is making changes to the way it's charging some customers for the service.

To compensate for declining revenue from sales of recyclable materials, Casella Waste Systems announced it was raising tipping and collection fees in 2015.

Now, it says it has begun tacking a sustainability/recycling adjustment fee onto bills of residential customers with month-to-month service and commercial customers with adjustable contracts. A similar charge is also figured into its longer-term municipal contracts.

The development was first reported by Waste360.

The move is a reflection of major haulers' efforts to confront the challenges of low prices for recycled commodities, which are pinching recycling operations. Low recycling fees and widespread revenue-sharing deals with communities don't meet the companies' needs in today's economic environment, hauler executives have said. Some say they want municipalities to bear more of the financial risk of recycling.

Waste Management's CEO, David Steiner, has used the word "crisis" to describe the current conditions.

Others are questioning the industry-wide trend toward single-stream recycling collection, which, they say, reduces recycling values overall because of increased contamination. A recent article in The Washington Post explored issues of contamination and recycling's profitability.

"The quality limitations and processing costs associated with single-stream collection were masked for a time by booming commodity prices and overseas demand for recyclables," Robin Wiener, president of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, said in a statement. "Today, we face a new reality that is forcing many communities to realize what many in the recycling industry have known for decades: a trade-off exists between convenience and quality."

Joe Fusco, vice president of finance at Casella, is a strong defender of single-stream recycling, according to Waste360. Contamination issues stem from a lack of public outreach and education, he says.

To return to the Resource Recycling newsletter, click here

 

NewsBits from Resource Recycling

Tue, 06/30/2015 - 10:27
NewsBits

June 30, 2015

A recently formed company called WestRock will be the second-largest paper and paperboard firm in North America, behind International Paper. The company is the result of a merger between two industry giants, RockTenn and MeadWestvaco, and it will operate 26 mills in North America with a combined annual capacity of about 12 million tons. Included are paper recycling mills in Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia. In total, WestRock operates more than two dozen paper processing centers and MRFs.

Boston residents are recycling more, saving the city money by reducing disposal fees. But the city's diversion rate, at 23.7 percent, is still below the roughly 34 percent national average. The city pays $74 to dispose of every ton of trash from downtown neighborhoods, while its recycling costs are $5 per ton at most, according to the Boston Herald.

The board of the Consumer Goods Forum, representing 400 retailers and manufacturers, has approved a resolution calling for reductions in food waste. The resolution says the forum's members will reduce food waste in their operations by half by 2025. Nestlé S.A., one of the member companies, praised the latest pledge from the forum.

Major changes in waste management in Vermont are soon approaching, thanks to the state's Universal Recycling Law. Starting July 1, the disposal of recyclable materials in the garbage is illegal. A ban on throwing out yard debris goes into effect July 1, 2016 and food scrap disposal will be banned July 1, 2020. The law, passed in 2012, also requires all municipalities to adopt a pay-as-you-throw rate structure.

Residents of the Vancouver, British Columbia metro area will soon face fines for including clean wood in the trash. Officials will levy a 50 percent surcharge on loads found to contain 10 percent or more clean wood. The disposal ban went into effect Jan. 1, 2015, with a six-month education period. Financial penalties begin July 1. So far, the ban has been effective at boosting recycling of the material, according to Metro Vancouver.

In Indonesia, nearly 25 percent of survey respondents said waste is the country's top environmental concern. The online survey was conducted by Yougov.

Northern Ireland is considering implementing a beverage container deposit program, according to Let's Recycle. The move comes as Scotland, another part of the U.K., considers the same step. Northern Ireland has about 1.8 million people, making it the smallest region of the U.K.

The Glass Packaging Institute (GPI) has issued a statement encouraging Baton Rouge, La. leaders to continue glass recycling. The City has negotiated a new contract with Progressive Waste Solutions jettisoning the material from the program starting Nov. 1. GPI said it and its member companies are exploring options for glass recycling.

For multiple reasons, all glass collected at the curb in Denver is used as landfill cover and none is recycled, but some new businesses in the area hope to change that, according to Westword. Momentum Recycling is building a glass-only MRF with optical sorters, and it hopes to sell clean glass to bottle manufacturers. Another effort, Clear Intentions, is collecting bottles directly from restaurants and bars for recycling.

To return to the Resource Recycling newsletter, click here.

 

Industry and supplier news

Tue, 06/30/2015 - 10:26
Industry and supplier news

June 30, 2015

A campaign, Change the Pallet, aims to encourage businesses to switch from wooden pallets to corrugated cardboard pallets. The Portland, Ore.-based nonprofit group says the pallets are fully recyclable and yield larger storage capacity than traditional wooden ones. For more, click here.

Fox River Fiber has received a no-objection letter from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for using its deinked paper pulp in food packaging. The letter allows the De Pere, Wis.-based company to create food packaging using 100 percent recycled fiber. For more, click here.

South Carolina-based Hilton Head Brewing Co. will use a high-recycled-content aluminum can from Novelis. The brewer will use the Evercan, which contains at least 90 percent recycled content. Introduced in 2014, the can has been used by other breweries. For more, click here.

The board of the scrap metal recycling company Metalico has agreed to sell the company to Total Merchant for $105 million. Under the deal's terms, Metalico will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Total Merchant. Metalico, which is expected to retain its staff, has operations in six states. For more, click here.

To return to the Resource Recycling, click here

 

Recycling Partnership grant helps East Lansing switch to carts

Tue, 06/23/2015 - 11:31
Recycling Partnership grant helps East Lansing switch to carts

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

June 23, 2015

The city of East Lansing, Mich. will switch to a cart-based collection system and expand materials accepted at the curb, thanks in part to a $125,000 grant from The Recycling Partnership.

The national nonprofit organization's grant will also help fund outreach to educate the public on the cart program. The city matched the grant with other funds.

The city of nearly 50,000 people, which is home to Michigan State University, will switch from bins to 96-gallon carts. It will also accept more materials at the curb, including cardboard, boxboard and possibly other materials. Cart distribution will begin in October, according to the city.

“The Recycling Partnership grant will be instrumental in successfully rolling out this exciting new cart system to our residents,” Cathy DeShambo, the city's environmental services administrator, stated in a press release. “The cart system comes with many benefits, including added convenience for residents, increased recycling volumes, less landfill material, more efficient collection times, cost savings and increased safety for city employees."

Granger Recycling Center currently processes the city's residential recyclable materials. Last year, the company began accepting glass in the single-stream infrastructure, according to city documents. The City has put the processing contract back out to bid and expects a new contract, in addition to the cart-based collection system, to allow additional materials to be accepted at the curb.

Additionally, last fall, East Lansing entered a partnership with Simple Recycling, a for-profit company collecting textiles, clothing and small household goods at no charge at the curb. In the first three months, the program collected 15 tons of material, according to the city.

The Recycling Partnership grant includes $100,000 for cart procurement and $25,000 for education and outreach, according to the grant guidelines. The group is also providing technical assistance and campaign materials to the city.

East Lansing is the first city to be announced as a winner in The Recycling Partnership's 2015 grant cycle. The Recycling Partnership is currently assisting 69 communities with a total of 1.2 million households and has said it will announce at least three more major city partners later this summer.

To return to the Resource Recycling newsletter, click here

 

Latest EPA figures highlight effect of evolving ton

Tue, 06/23/2015 - 11:31
Latest EPA figures highlight effect of evolving ton

By Bobby Elliott, Resource Recycling

June 23, 2015

Numbers released late last week by the U.S. EPA suggest the nation's recovery of recyclables is at a standstill, with recycling and composting flat in 2013. Industry experts pointed to the shifting material mix as a primary factor in the stagnant U.S. recycling rate.

According to the EPA's nearly 200-page report, the U.S. generated 254 million tons of municipal solid waste in 2013 and recovered 34.3 percent of it – 0.2 percentage points below 2012's recovery rate of 34.5 percent and 5.8 percentage points higher than the 2000 rate of 28.5 percent.

While some material types experienced increased recovery in 2013, including scrap electronics, recovery rates for paper, plastics and food – segments that combine to account for roughly 54 percent of overall generation – were all within a percentage point of 2012 totals.

The 2013 paper recovery rate, by far the highest among major material categories, was 63.3 percent in 2013, while the plastics recovery rate (9.2 percent) and food recovery rate (5.0 percent) remained in the single-digits.

"Sooner or later, people have to ask themselves what is a realistic recovery rate [to achieve]?" Chaz Miller, director of policy and advocacy at the National Waste and Recycling Association, said in an interview. "I think it's clearly more than 34 percent, but I think a lot of cities and states hurt themselves by setting unrealistic, unachievable goals."

The material mix

One challenge noted by Miller and others in the industry is the so-called evolving ton, the phenomenon of increasingly lightweight, sometimes plastics-based packaging replacing heavier, more easily recyclable paper and glass packaging. In other words, a ton of recyclables today is harder to amass than it was a decade ago.

Keefe Harrison, the executive director of The Recycling Partnership, a group that helps support and assist municipal recycling programs nationwide, said single-stream programs have grown in the U.S. The programs have led to higher recovery rates on a community-by-community basis, but they have not been immune to today's lighter ton.

"What I see when I look at the report is not an indicator of consumer apathy or even declining rates – I see a changing packaging scene," Harrison said. "This speaks to me more about the evolving ton than the impact of single-stream to deliver more material."

Plastics generation, accounting for 13 percent of the waste stream in 2013, has increased 27 percent since 2000 while paper generation has fallen by almost 22 percent. In that same time frame, glass volumes have decreased by about 10 percent.

Looking forward

Bill Moore, an expert on recovered paper markets and president of Moore & Associates, said it's safe to predict annual paper generation to fall further in the next five to 10 years.

According to Moore, annual paper generation could soon reach a bottom of 60 million tons (in 2013, U.S. paper generation was 68.6 million tons). He predicted in the coming years the rate at which the material is recovered will be "flat at worst, but probably has a small growth potential left."

One material that might need to pick up the recovery slack, experts say, is food scraps. Food waste increased by 2 percent in 2013 and now accounts for about 15 percent of the overall waste stream. The food recovery rate, meanwhile, is at 5 percent.

Nora Goldstein, the editor of organics-recovery publication BioCycle, says just 2 percent of U.S. households currently have curbside food scrap collection, but she noted efforts to donate unused food are gaining ground.

"The good news, despite these realities, is that generators of food waste continue to be interested in diversion of this stream from disposal," Goldstein said. "And demand for quality compost is growing rapidly."

On the plastics front, increasing the recovery rate has been a unique challenge, said Steve Alexander, the executive director of the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers.

An American Chemistry Council’s Plastics Division report, “Making Sense of the Mix: Analysis and Implications for the Changing Curbside Recycling Stream," research done by Resource Recycling also found that more plastics in the curbside bin are helping create opportunities for plastics recyclers. Alexander says that the industry is responding.

"Growing the [recovery] rate as the denominator is growing is tough, but it's also a nice problem to have because it means there is a sizeable opportunity in plastics recycling," Alexander said.

To return to the Resource Recycling newsletter, click here

 

Resource Recycling Conference 2015: Grasping the global industry

Tue, 06/23/2015 - 11:31
Resource Recycling Conference 2015: Grasping the global industry

June 23, 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 multitude of markets where materials end up puts him in a unique position to offer a holistic view of the industry. His talk will enlighten all recycling pros on current global realities and how specific impacts are felt all the way back to curbside.

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

To return to the Resource Recycling newsletter, click here

 

International Paper reports decrease in OCC recovery

Tue, 06/23/2015 - 11:30
International Paper reports decrease in OCC recovery

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

June 23, 2015

International Paper is headed away from its goal of recycling more old corrugated containers, according to the company's latest sustainability report.

The paper product manufacturer set a goal of recycling 15 percent more OCC by the year 2020 by "exploring new sources and diverting usable fiber from the landfill." But the company has seen an 8.2 decrease in OCC recovery since 2010, according to its 2014 sustainability report.

In its 2013 sustainability report, the company reported an 18.7 percent decrease in OCC recovery since 2010. The company first established its sustainability goals in 2012.

International Paper is one of North America's largest paper recycling companies, handling more than 6 million tons of recycled corrugated packaging and paper annually. It has a total of 20 recycling plants, 18 of which are located in the U.S. The company closed recovered paper processing facilities in Denver and Memphis, Tenn. earlier this year.

In 2013, the company entered a long-term agreement with Texas-based recycling company Balcones Resources to accept more post-consumer OCC, part of an effort to meet its 2020 goal.

In its latest report, International Paper reported progress in several other areas of its sustainability plan, including reducing the amount of waste from its manufacturing process sent to landfills, according to a press release.

Nationwide, the weight of recovered corrugated cardboard dropped nearly 1 percent in 2013 compared with the year before, to just under 26.6 million tons. The 2013 recovery rate was 88 percent, down from 91 percent the year before, according to the U.S. EPA.


To return to the Resource Recycling newsletter, click here

ISRI: Residents oppose one-bin collections

Tue, 06/23/2015 - 11:30
ISRI: Residents oppose one-bin collections

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

June 23, 2015

The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries says a new poll supports its position opposing one-bin collections for delivery to mixed-waste processing facilities.

The ISRI and Earth911 poll asked online readers the following: Is it worth the convenience to not separate your recyclables from your trash if when sorted after collection, it negatively affects the amount of materials that can be recycled?

The result: 75 percent supported maintaining a separate bin for recycling.

“One-bin collection jeopardizes the quality of recyclables by mixing recyclables with wastes, including liquids, food, and chemicals, thereby lowering, and in many cases altogether destroying the value of the recyclables,” ISRI's president, Robin Wiener, stated in a press release. “The results of this Earth911/ISRI Opinion Poll are promising in that they demonstrate that the majority of people recognize the importance of collecting recyclables separate from waste.”

The poll was conducted on the Earth911 website from April 16 through May 20 and was answered by 1,700 people, according to the ISRI press release.

Advocates of mixed-waste processing facilities, often called "dirty MRFs," say the approach can usher in high recovery rates because the high-tech facilities can recover materials consumers would have otherwise thrown in the trash.

Figures from the U.S. EPA show the country had 52 mixed-waste processing facilities handling a combined 58,700 tons of material per day in 2013. More than 90 percent of the processing capacity was in the West.

ISRI said the poll further bolsters its July 2014 policy, which reads, in part: "Since the quality of the recyclables as specification grade commodities is essential, ISRI opposes the commingling of recyclables with solid waste or mixed waste processing in a one-bin system."

To return to the Resource Recycling newsletter, click here

Wide world of recycling

Tue, 06/23/2015 - 11:29
Wide world of recycling

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

June 23, 2015

A London-area authority will stop collecting organics in front of every house and will instead implement communal food scrap drop-off sites, and the African country of Malawi is set to ban plastic bags.

A London waste management authority will no longer collect organics at the curb — not the curb in front of each house, that is. The Islington council will instead collect food scraps from communal drop-off sites placed at the curb throughout neighborhoods, according to Let's Recycle. Officials acknowledged the cost-cutting move would likely harm the recycling rate.

These days, when people have a question, they often turn to a Google search. Now, Google has compiled information related to searches around the world to show a glimpse into what different countries are asking related to recycling, energy, global warming and more. For example, the app showed Parisians have commonly asked, "Where to recycle Brita filters in Paris."

The country of Malawi will ban thin plastics bags by the end of this month. A ban had been delayed — but not halted — after the plastics manufacturing industry filed a lawsuit. Malawi is a landlocked country of more than 16 million people in southeastern Africa.

To return to the Resource Recycling newsletter, click here

Grant watch

Tue, 06/23/2015 - 11:29
Grant watch

June 23, 2015

More than $2 million was awarded to organizations throughout Nebraska to support tire collection and recycling efforts, according to the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality. Nearly $650,000 of that sum went to support collections, and the remainder went to partially reimbursing organizations for their costs in purchasing products made from recycled tires, including rubber mulch and synthetic turf. The Waste Reduction and Recycling Grants are funded by a $1 fee on new tire sales.

North Ridgeville, Ohio received one of the largest recycling grants provided by the county solid waste management district because of its high recycling rate. The City received a $50,600 recycling grant. The city of roughly 32,000 residents recycled 2,586 tons of material in 2014.

A New Jersey town has received a $10,000 grant to help pay for construction of a new recycling center. Matawan was one of the first towns to receive money from the county's Recycling Stimulus Initiative grants program. The nearby town of Keyport received a $6,000 grant from the program.

A university in Georgia received 30 new recycling bins through a Keep America Beautiful and Coca-Cola Foundation grant program. Valdosta State University was one of 37 colleges and universities to receive grants this year. The bins look like giant Coke bottles.

To return to the Resource Recycling newsletter, click here.

NewsBits from Resource Recycling

Tue, 06/23/2015 - 11:28
NewsBits

June 23, 2015

Oregon school districts must phase out the use of expanded polystyrene in their cafeterias, unless they participate in an EPS recycling program, according to a new law. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown on June 16 signed HB 2762, which calls for school districts to stop using food-service foam as of July 1, 2021. The law allows for extensions for districts that show financial hardship complying with the law.

A look at the state of recycling in The Washington Post says a trend toward carts and single-stream collections is partly responsible for the industry's current woes. While overseas markets have dwindled and lower oil prices and product lightweighting have stung, the industry is weakened by increases in contamination, the article states.

The parks system in Austin, Texas has 2,000 garbage cans and just 17 recycling bins. Now city officials are talking about changing that, by launching an effort to expand recycling opportunities in the city's open spaces.

Pratt Industries has opened paper recycling facilities in Gary, Ind. and Wichita, Kan., the company announced. Both facilities will provide feedstock for a mill in Valparaiso, Indiana that is expected to come on-line this fall. The recycling facilities will be able to process more than 120,000 tons of material annually – most of that will be recovered paper, but the facilities will handle some metal and plastics as well.

To return to the Resource Recycling newsletter, click here.

U.S. recycling rate remains just above 34 percent

Wed, 06/17/2015 - 14:05
U.S. recycling rate remains just above 34 percent

By Bobby Elliott and Dan Leif, Resource Recycling

June 17, 2015

A just-released report from the U.S. EPA indicates the 2013 national recycling rate was 34.3 percent, barely budging from 2012's rate of 34.5 percent.

According to the annual report, which can be viewed here, the U.S. generated 254.11 million tons of municipal solid waste in 2013 and recovered 87.18 million tons for recycling and composting.

MSW generation in 2013 rose by 1.22 percent compared with 2012's generation of 251.04 million tons. Per capita MSW generation also rose a hair in 2013, coming in at 4.40 pounds per person per day after reaching 4.38 pounds per person per day in 2012.

The paper and paperboard recycling rate in 2013 was 63.3 percent, down from the 2012 rate of 64.6 percent. The glass recycling rate also fell slightly, coming in at 27.3 percent in 2013 after reaching 27.7 percent in 2012. The plastics recycling rate, at 8.8 percent in 2012, rose to 9.2 percent during the most recently reported year.

The tone of the EPA report made clear the agency's fresh emphasis on sustainable materials management (SMM), an environmental-assessment approach to materials usage that takes into account a number of factors beyond basic disposal and recovery rates. The report on 2013 figures is titled "Advancing Sustainable Materials Management." Last year's report was called "Municipal Solid Waste Generation, Recycling, and Disposal in the United States."

"As the new name for our annual report suggests, EPA is thinking beyond waste," the report's executive summary reads. "SMM refers to the use and reuse of materials in the most productive and sustainable way across their entire life cycle."

Resource Recycling will provide an in-depth analysis on the numbers in next week's electronic newsletter.

 

.

.