Resource Recycling Magazine

Updated: 1 day 15 hours ago

Oregon notches its highest-ever recovery rate

Mon, 01/12/2015 - 20:36
Oregon notches its highest-ever recovery rate

By Jared Paben, Resource Recycling

Jan. 13, 2015

Nearly 54 percent of materials discarded by Oregon households and businesses were recovered in 2013, a record high percentage for the state.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality reported that 2,425,220 tons were recovered in 2013, for a 53.9 percent recovery rate. That represents the highest recovery rate since the state began tracking waste generation and materials recovery in 1992.

According to the report, most of the recovery rate increase came through a boost in organic materials recovery, including animal waste/grease, wood, and yard debris and food scraps.

Changes in select categories in 2013, compared with 2012:

  • Non-food organics (including animal waste/grease, wood and yard debris): 909,612 tons recovered in 2013, up 7.3 percent
  • Cardboard: 361,748 tons, up 1.4 percent
  • Papers (including mixed-waste paper, high-grade and newspaper): 299,004 tons, flat
  • Glass (including container and “other”): 106,906 tons, flat
  • Food waste: 50,143 tons, up 5.2 percent
  • Plastics (including composite plastics, “other” and rigid plastic containers): 40,301 tons, down 5.2 percent
  • Non-scrap metal (including aluminum, tin cans, aerosol cans): 32,127 tons, flat
  • Electronics: 21,942 tons, down 15.4 percent
  • Plastic films: 14,583 tons, down 2 percent

 

Oregon’s recovery rate includes materials recycled, burned for energy recovery and composted. In 2013, 66 percent of the recovered materials were recycled, 20 percent were composted and 14 percent were burned for energy recovery, according to the report.

The 53.9 percent recovery rate also includes 3.8 percentage points of credits that counties and cities can claim for operating state-certified waste prevention, reuse and residential composting programs. Not counting those credits, the statewide recovery rate was 50.1 percent in 2013.

Oregonians also sent less material to the landfill, on a per-capita basis. In 2013, they disposed of 3.4 pounds per person per day, 0.5 percent less than the year before and 29.8 percent less than the pre-recession high in 2006, “likely indicating that Oregonians are still buying and consuming less,” according to the report.

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NRC to "accelerate" talk around sustainable materials management

Mon, 01/12/2015 - 20:30
NRC to "accelerate" talk around sustainable materials management

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Jan. 13, 2015

The National Recycling Coalition has announced the inaugural Sustainable Materials Management Summit.

Slated to take place May 12-13 at University of Maryland, College Park, the Summit will aim to foster a broader national dialogue on the topic, said NRC's board president, Mark Lichtenstein.

"Ultimately we want to accelerate sustainable materials management (SMM) as a method of choice for avoiding the generation of discarded material," Lichtenstein said in an announcement. "At this Summit, a focus will be on the sustainable management of materials that have been discarded."

Approximately 200 industry members will convene in Maryland for the event. By the end of the meeting, NRC hopes to have the beginnings of a "SMM National Plan" to further coordinate materials management throughout the waste industry, incorporating local, state and federal governments alongside trade and nonprofit groups and businesses.

The U.S. EPA defines SMM as "a systemic approach to using and reusing materials more productively over their entire life cycles." That approach includes the design of materials and products as well as enhancing the durability, lifespan and recyclability of goods.

"It's all about redesigning to eliminate products and packaging that currently are a problem to use productively," said NRC board member Gary Liss. "A key for the future is highlighting how important it is to focus on some of the upstream activities beyond recycling that will support recyclers getting their job done better, eliminating the difficult-to-recycle products by redesigning those out of the stream and helping to develop new markets and innovative uses for materials, products and packaging that hasn't been done heretofore."


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NRC to "accelerate" talk around sustainable materials management

Mon, 01/12/2015 - 20:30
NRC to "accelerate" talk around sustainable materials management

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Jan. 13, 2015

The National Recycling Coalition has announced the inaugural Sustainable Materials Management Summit.

Slated to take place May 12-13 at University of Maryland, College Park, the Summit will aim to foster a broader national dialogue on the topic, NRC's board president and CEO Mark Lichtenstein says.

"Ultimately we want to accelerate sustainable materials management (SMM) as a method of choice for avoiding the generation of discarded material," Lichtenstein said in the announcement. "At this Summit, a focus will be on the sustainable management of materials that have been discarded."

Approximately 200 industry members will convene in Maryland for the event. At its close, NRC hopes to have the beginnings of a "SMM National Plan" to further coordinate materials management throughout the waste industry, incorporating local, state and federal governments alongside trade and nonprofit groups and businesses.

The U.S. EPA defines SMM as "a systemic approach to using and reusing materials more productively over their entire life cycles." That approach includes the design of materials and products as well as enhancing the durability, lifespan and recyclability of goods.

"It's all about redesigning to eliminate products and packaging that currently are a problem to use productively," said NRC board member Gary Liss. "A key for the future is highlighting how important it is to focus on some of the upstream activities beyond recycling that will support recyclers getting their job done better, eliminating the difficult-to-recycle products by redesigning those out of the stream and helping to develop new markets and innovative uses for materials, products and packaging that hasn't been done heretofore."

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Grant watch

Mon, 01/12/2015 - 20:22
Grant watch

Jan. 13, 2015

Programs throughout Nebraska will receive more than $2 million in grants aimed at recycling efforts, clean-ups and public education efforts, according to the state Department of Environmental Quality. The state awarded 57 grants to various organizations for 2015. Among the largest grants was a $121,000 grant to Lincoln-based WasteCap Nebraska to facilitate business recycling, zero-waste activities, webinars, waste audits and other administrative costs. The Litter Reduction and Recycling Grant Program has been providing funding in the Cornhusker State since 1979.

The state of Delaware is now accepting applications for recycling grants and low-interest loans. The Universal Recycling Grants and Low Interest Loan Program is designed to help pay for recyclables collection programs, with an emphasis on startup costs for residential single-stream collection efforts. It’s also designed to help fund initiatives to recycle materials that would otherwise be landfilled, with an emphasis on school recycling programs. The application deadline is March 3.

Keep America Beautiful has announced a national grants program aimed at recycling discarded cigarette butts. The 2015 Cigarette Litter Prevention Program will offer 50 grants that total $275,000.

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Grant watch

Mon, 01/12/2015 - 20:22
Grant watch

Jan. 13, 2015

Programs throughout Nebraska will receive more than $2 million in grants aimed at recycling efforts, clean-ups and public education efforts, according to the state Department of Environmental Quality. The state awarded 57 grants to various organizations for 2015. Among the largest grants was a $121,000 grant to Lincoln-based WasteCap Nebraska to facilitate business recycling, zero-waste activities, webinars, waste audits and other administrative costs. The Litter Reduction and Recycling Grant Program has been providing funding in the Cornhusker State since 1979.

The state of Delaware is now accepting applications for recycling grants and low-interest loans. The Universal Recycling Grants and Low Interest Loan Program is designed to help pay for recyclables collection programs, with an emphasis on startup costs for residential single-stream collection efforts. It’s also designed to help fund initiatives to recycle materials that would otherwise be landfilled, with an emphasis on school recycling programs. The application deadline is March.

Keep America Beautiful has announced a national grants program aimed at recycling discarded cigarette butts. The 2015 Cigarette Litter Prevention Program will offer 50 grants that total $275,000. Nearly all cigarette filters contain plastic, which creates large amounts of waste as butts accumulate, according to Government Executive.

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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Plastics Recycling 2015: The view from the top

Mon, 01/12/2015 - 20:16
Plastics Recycling 2015: The view from the top

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Jan. 13, 2015

Attendees of the upcoming Plastics Recycling 2015 conference will have a great chance to stay ahead of the competition by getting first-hand perspectives from the top brass of four leading plastics recycling trade associations.

Plastics Recycling 2015 will showcase a facilitated dialogue between Steve Alexander (Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers), Bill Carteaux (SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association), Steve Russell (American Chemistry Council) and Robin Wiener (Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries). Don’t miss these experts tackle questions on topics such as North America's evolving waste stream, dynamic resin markets, the current business environment for plastics recycling and the ways sustainability goals are affecting plastics recycling.

Plastics Recycling 2015 is taking place Feb. 23-25 at the Hyatt Regency in Dallas, Texas. More than 1775 attendees from 30 countries were on hand at the 2014 edition, and a similar turnout is expected in Dallas. Head to plasticsrecycling.com for all the information on attending, exhibiting and sponsoring.


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Plastics Recycling 2015: The view from the top

Mon, 01/12/2015 - 20:16
Plastics Recycling 2015: The view from the top

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Jan. 13, 2015

Attendees of the upcoming Plastics Recycling 2015 conference will have a great chance to stay ahead of the competition by getting first-hand perspectives from the top brass of four leading plastics recycling trade associations.

Plastics Recycling 2015 will showcase a facilitated dialogue between Steve Alexander (Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers), Bill Carteaux (SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association), Steve Russell (American Chemistry Council) and Robin Wiener (Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries). Don’t miss these experts tackle questions on topics such as North America's evolving waste stream, dynamic resin markets, the current business environment for plastics recycling and the ways sustainability goals are affecting plastics recycling.

Plastics Recycling 2015 is taking place Feb. 23-25 at the Hyatt Regency in Dallas, Texas. More than 1,775 attendees from 30 countries were on hand at the 2014 edition, and a similar turnout is expected in Dallas. Head to plasticsrecycling.com for all the information on attending, exhibiting and sponsoring.

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NewsBits

Mon, 01/12/2015 - 20:09
NewsBits

Jan. 13, 2015

Connecticut consumers will pay a $9 recycling fee for each new and renovated mattress and box spring they purchase, and that money will subsidize the costs of collecting and recycling the items. That’s under a new Mattress Stewardship Plan that’s been approved by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. The plan was developed by the nonprofit group Mattress Recycling Council, which was created by the mattress industry.

Increased recycling of rare earth minerals is one of various threats to China’s monopoly on the elements, which are used in everything from smartphones to fishing reels. Other factors quickly reshaping the rare earth sector include the opening of new mines as well as the use of alternative materials and smuggling operations, according to a story by Adam Minter of Bloombergview.com.

As the national recycling rate has plateaued, a renewed interest in waste-to-energy facilities has taken hold, according to this article in The New York Times. For example, a new facility in West Palm Beach, Florida will be the first new commercial waste-to-energy plant in the U.S. in 20 years. Facilities are also under consideration in Massachusetts, Nevada, Virginia, Wisconsin and elsewhere.

Iowa City will begin accepting cartons and aseptic packaging at its curbside recycling bins, according to Iowa City's Press-Citizen. The city's program is also set to begin accepting aluminum items.

The city of Indianapolis is drawing the ire of recycling advocates this year by burning old Christmas trees to create energy, instead of grinding them up for mulch in city parks, as it has done previously. In 2012, the most recent year for which numbers are available, residents dropped off 16,000 tree at city parks for recycling, according to an article in The Indianapolis Star.

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NewsBits

Mon, 01/12/2015 - 20:09
NewsBits

Jan. 13, 2015

Connecticut consumers will pay a $9 recycling fee for each new and renovated mattress and box spring they purchase, and that money will subsidize the costs of collecting and recycling the items. That’s under a new Mattress Stewardship Plan that’s been approved by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. The plan was developed by the nonprofit group Mattress Recycling Council, which was created by the mattress industry.

Increased recycling of rare earth minerals is one of various threats to China’s monopoly on the elements, which are used in everything from smartphones to fishing reels. Other factors quickly reshaping the rare earth sector include the opening of new mines as well as the use of alternative materials and smuggling operations, according to a story by Adam Minter of Bloombergview.com.

Iowa City will begin accepting cartons and aseptic packaging at its curbside recycling bins, according to Iowa City's Press-Citizen. The city's program is also set to begin accepting aluminum items.

The City of Indianapolis is drawing the ire of recycling advocates this year by burning old Christmas trees to create energy, instead of grinding them up for mulch in city parks, as it has done previously. In 2012, the most recent year for which numbers are available, residents dropped off 16,000 trees at city parks for organics recovery, according to an article in The Indianapolis Star.

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Compostable or not? Model law aims to clean up language

Tue, 01/06/2015 - 12:28
Compostable or not? Model law aims to clean up language

By Jared Paben, Resource Recycling

Jan. 6, 2015

Composting experts have developed verbiage for possible legislation that states could use to limit claims made on product packaging.

The model law would make it illegal to sell plastic packaging or products labeled as "compostable" without evidence to prove it, and advocates hope states around the country will adopt the legal language, which was modeled off California legislation, to prevent deceptive product labeling.

The model law was approved by the nonprofit group U.S. Composting Council last November and was drafted by a volunteer committee working within the group.

"There are items on the marketplace that are labeled as compostable or biodegradable or other variations on that and do not pass a certified inspection," said Cary Oshins, director of education at the U.S. Composting Council. "We need to be able to go after folks who are making false claims in a more streamlined manner."

As currently constructed, the law would apply to food and beverage packaging, plastic films and various other consumer plastic products, including paperboard. It would only allow plastics to be labeled "compostable," "marine degradable" or "home compostable" if they meet specific standards for those forms of degradability. Specifically, the labels “compostable” and “marine compostable” would need to meet ASTM standard specifications for those concepts, and the claim “home compostable” would need to receive Vincotte “OK Compost HOME” certification. The model law would ban the terms "biodegradable," “degradable” and “decomposable,” except when applied to agricultural mulch films.

In addition, the model law establishes a complaint-driven enforcement system that composters could use to target manufacturers and suppliers of mislabeled plastics.

“They’re the ones who are ultimately left with the problem that the non-compostable plastics presents,” Oshins said.

The model law would also establish requirements for how the products are labeled. In the case of bags, it establishes requirements for bag colors and the size and color of text, so they are easily identifiable. Oshins anticipates compost advocates may see pushback on those requirements.

“The manufacturers really don’t like being told what color, what size fonts, those kinds of details,” Oshins said.

The U.S. Composting Council will rely on state associations and its state chapters to press state lawmakers to introduce the legislation.

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Resource Recycling Conference 2015: Save the date

Tue, 01/06/2015 - 12:25
Resource Recycling Conference 2015: Save the date

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Jan. 6, 2015

The premier gathering of top recycling executives and program coordinators is set for this September in Indianapolis. Start planning now to ensure you are in on the material diversion dialogues that matter.

The Resource Recycling Conference will include sessions on the topics of concern to recycling professionals right now – dirty MRFs, the Chinese commodities market, the Closed Loop Fund and the Recycling Partnership, and much more.

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 on attending, sponsoring and exhibiting.

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Washington state recycling rate plateaus

Tue, 01/06/2015 - 12:22
Washington state recycling rate plateaus

By Jared Paben, Resource Recycling

Jan. 6, 2015

Washington's recycling rate fell slightly in 2013, marking the fourth consecutive year of flat annual figures for the Evergreen State.

The state recycling rate fell to 48.9 percent in 2013, down from 50.1 percent in 2012, according to a new report from the Washington Department of Ecology. That number is still well above the national average of 34.5 percent, but Washington's rate has hovered around 50 percent for the past four years.

"If you look at the last few years, it seems like we’ve kind of reached a plateau," Dan Weston, recycling data analyst at the Department of Ecology, told Resource Recycling. "It seems like maybe we’ve gotten all the easy stuff. We’ve got all that down. We [all] know how to recycle aluminum cans at this point."

On the whole, 4.3 million tons of materials were recycled in Washington during the year, while about 4.5 million tons of waste were sent to landfill. Residents recycled 3.4 pounds of material per day per person.

By material, aluminum can recycling saw one of the biggest increases of 2013, growing by 14.7 percent to 15,636 tons. Recycling of high grade papers, mixed papers and newspapers also saw an increase, up 7.1. percent and reaching 483,864 tons, the new data shows. In addition, carton recycling increased by 20.7 percent and totaled 7,407 tons.

Plastics recycling was essentially flat, coming in at 77,494 tons, representing just a 0.1 percent increase from 2012. PET recycling increased by 13.3 percent and totaled 21,333 tons.

Decreases in activity were found in a handful of product categories, including cardboard, which fell 7.1 percent, and container glass, which fell 21.1 percent.

Glass recycling firm eCullet closed its facility in Seattle in 2013, and state officials didn’t receive a report from the company for material recycled before the closure, noted Weston, who thinks the glass started going out of state for recycling.

The state’s diversion rate, which takes into account materials traditionally collected outside the curbside stream and includes energy recovery alongside recycling, dropped for the second year in a row, to 51.2 percent.

For a complete rundown of recycling and diversion data compiled by the state, click here.

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NERC specs aid buying earth-friendly office supplies

Tue, 01/06/2015 - 12:20
NERC specs aid buying earth-friendly office supplies

By Jared Paben, Resource Recycling

Jan. 6, 2015

New specifications for office supplies aim to help overworked, short-staffed government offices purchase environmentally preferable products.

The Northeast Recycling Council (NERC) recently released model specifications that public purchasers can reference or copy when crafting bid solicitations and vendor contracts. They include specs for 20-pound copy and multipurpose paper, monochrome toner cartridges and other office supplies.

The specs were developed for product categories that purchasers consider most difficult to buy "green," according to a NERC press release, and they’re based on current marketplace options. In addition to recommendations for product attributes — using post-consumer recycled materials, avoiding anti-microbial coatings, supplying high-yield toner cartridges, among others — the specs recommend requirements for vendors. Those include minimizing packaging, consolidating deliveries and prohibiting delivery truck idling, among others.

Teams of environmentally preferable purchasing professionals, public purchasers and products experts developed the specifications. The Roy A. Hunt Foundation provided funding for the project.

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NewsBits

Tue, 01/06/2015 - 12:17
NewsBits

Jan. 6, 2015

Nike has received a patent for a golf ball that can be easily separated into its skin and innards, so that the undamaged interior can be recycled or reused, according to Bloomberg.com. The patent also includes a method of separating the skin and core by using a chemical reaction to create a gas that enables the skin to be removed.

Maryland officials released a plan calling for a reducing, reusing and recycling nearly all the waste produced in the state by 2040, according to The Baltimore Sun. The plan’s goal is to divert 85 percent of material from disposal or energy recovery, and it aims to recycle 80 percent of the diverted material. But the state has a long way to go before it’s close to those targets, the article stated.

Savannah, Georgia will place public space recycling bins on city sidewalks this year, according to the Savannah Morning News. In mid-January, city officials will start a three-month pilot project by placing temporary bins on city streets. They’ll look to add permanent ones later.

Enforcement will begin in July on a law covering parts of British Columbia that prohibits throwing food waste into the garbage. The prohibition affects both commercial and residential generators, but small businesses may not have gotten the word yet, because government outreach resources have focused on larger businesses, according to a commentary in Metro.

The New York Times recently covered recycling personal electronics in a responsible way, providing information on how consumers can search for a certified e-scrap recycler. The article provides links to the e-Stewards and R2 certification programs, as well as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Electronics Challenge program.

Residents of Richmond, Virginia will receive 95-gallon carts to replace their old 18-gallon recycling bins, and the new carts will now be picked up in alleys, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. This column answers readers’ questions about the new recycling program. The new carts have RFID chips that will allow officials to provide perks to households based on how often they recycle.

The Hawaii Department of Health is doing a poor job of administering a glass fee meant to offset costs of glass recycling, according to a report from the state auditor. Meanwhile, state law lacks guidance for what the program, called the advance disposal fee, is supposed to accomplish. A related report from the auditor found that there’s no single alternative option that would remove all or most of the non-deposit glass from the waste stream.

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