News from Recycling Today
Seoul, South Korea-based Ecube Labs Co. Ltd., a smart solar-powered waste and recycling station provider specializing in data-driven smart waste management and recycling solutions, has announced that it has filed a suit against Bigbelly Inc. for patent infringement in connection with an ongoing lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
Ecube alleges in the suit that Bigbelly infringes Ecube’s U.S. patent No. 9,821,955, which covers Ecube’s system of smart waste management. Ecube’s patented technology enables its licensed partners to operate a smart waste and recycling management system using smart solar-powered compactors.
In August 2017, Needham, Massachusetts-based Bigbelly Inc., a manufacturer of waste and recycling systems that feature compacting stations with sensors that offer real-time reporting via its software, filed patent infringement complaints against ECube and EconX. The company had filed a complaint with the U.S. Central District Court in California and the German Court alleging Ecube Labs Co. Ltd. (South Korea), Ecube Labs Co. (U.S.) and EconX Waste Solutions B.V. (Netherlands) infringe on two Bigbelly patents covering energy management technologies for solar powered compactors.
The company said at the time that it requested that the U.S. and German courts issue rulings confirming that certain Ecube and EconX products infringe Bigbelly’s U.S. and European patents.
“Ecube Labs is proud of the technology we have developed. We have leveraged deployments in smart city initiatives around the globe to develop the world’s leading smart waste management system,” says Sean Gwon, CEO of Ecube Labs, in a news release announcing the suit. “The patent we are asserting in this case represents the important technologies in our IP portfolio, which are vital to the autonomous and intelligent functions of a smart solar-powered compactor. We filed this suit to stop Bigbelly’s unauthorized use of our patented technologies.”
Ecube’s November 2017 statement mirrors that of Bigbelly’s in August 2017 when Brian Phillips, CEO of Bigbelly, said, “Bigbelly is proud of the technology we have developed. We have leveraged critical customer installations in regions around the globe to enable us to develop the world’s leading smart waste and recycling system. The patents we are asserting represent important technologies in our IP portfolio and are vital to the basic function of a solar powered compactor. They enable Bigbelly to operate with or without direct sunlight and in any location. These lawsuits seek to stop infringement of our patented technologies.”]]>
QCP is a high standard plastics recycling company based in Sittard-Geleen, Netherlands. The company was founded in 2014. Its Sittard-Geleen facility, near Maastricht, can convert consumer waste into 35,000 tons of polypropylene (PP) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) per year starting in 2018.
This transaction marks the first time that a major plastics and chemicals company partners with a leader in resource management to contribute to circular economy objectives, say the companies.
“As the circular economy increases in prominence and importance, we believe that demand for recycled materials will continue to grow,” LyondellBasell CEO Bob Patel and Suez CEO Jean-Louis Chaussade say in a shared statement announcing the joint venture. “This acquisition combines LyondellBasell’s European market presence and technical capabilities with Suez’s ability to collect and recover waste into new materials. We believe that this new venture will provide a strategic platform for future sustainable growth.”
LyondellBasell will market QCP materials following the completion of the transaction, which is subject to regulatory approval. LyondellBasell and Suez say they are seeking to secure regulatory approval by the end of this year.
LyondellBasell is one of the largest plastics, chemicals and refining companies in the world. The company sells products into approximately 100 countries and is the world’s largest licensor of polyolefin and PP technologies.
With 90,000 employees on five continents, Suez says it is a world leader in smart and sustainable resource management. The group recovers 17 million tons of waste per year and produces 3.9 million tons of secondary raw materials.
QCP manufactures polymers of high quality based on recovered plastics.]]>
Through cooperation with the leaders at local municipalities, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and USACE's Debris Planning and Response Team makes the collection process possible with teams working in nine separate locations. For example, in the city of Ponce more than 48 trucks have been used to haul 3,700 loads of debris.
"We have been actively removing debris from Ponce since Oct. 23," Jasmine Smith, the debris mission manager from the New Orleans District, says. "We have removed more than 76,000 cubic yards via curbside pickup and temporary disposal sites.”
The estimated total debris in Ponce is estimated to be more than 100,000 cubic yards, enough to fill Yankee Stadium more than two feet high.
John Fogarty, debris subject matter expert out of the New Orleans District, says USACE estimates more than 3 million cubic yards of vegetative debris will be generated from Hurricane Maria. Approximately 630,000 cubic yards will be reduced and used for compost, landfill cover, slope protection and more.
"There is an estimated 1.3 million cubic yards of construction and demolition debris such as lumber and household furniture which will yield approximately one million pounds of recyclable metals," Fogarty says.
Additionally, USACE forecasts that close to 9,000 appliances are part of the debris, which may produce about half a million pounds of metals for recycling. According to Fogarty, USACE is also teaming up with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to handle freon removal from refrigerators, freezers and air conditioners and to coordinate the collection and disposal of household hazardous wastes.
Currently, the Debris Planning and Response Team, in cooperation with FEMA and working closely with leaders of 54 municipalities, has removed approximately 284,000 cubic yards of debris.
"We continue to make strides with our community partners and endeavor to remove debris in a safe, efficient and environmentally sound manner," Smith says. "Debris removal continues to be a high priority mission for FEMA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers."
The John Lawrie Group, based in Aberdeen, Scotland in the United Kingdom, has been acquired by members of its management team in partnership with London-based Rubicon Partners and investment firm Grovepoint, also based in London.
In the news release announcing the transaction, Lawrie Group says the move will help as it “gears up for an expansion of its business in the U.K. and United States.” Following the acquisition, all existing staff will remain with the company, according to the firm.
Lawrie Group was founded in 1930 by metal merchant John Lawrie in Aberdeen, and now bills itself as one of Scotland’s largest privately-owned businesses, with bases in Montrose and Evanton, Scotland, and in Houston in the U.S.
Four members of the company’s management team – CEO Vic Sinclair, Financial Director Charlie Parker, Operations Director Dave Weston, and Tubulars Director Iain Laing – have bought out the former majority shareholder in partnership with Rubicon Partners and Grovepoint.
The four executives, who previously had been minority shareholders, credited Bank of Scotland and Santander for providing banking services to support the acquisition.
John Lawrie has three divisions that provide metal recycling and reprocessing, decommissioning and steel tubular services to the oil and gas, construction and utility sectors in the U.K. and to the North American market from its U.S. bases in Houston, New Jersey and Philadelphia.
“The commitment of the senior management team has helped make John Lawrie the industry leader it is today,” says CEO Vic Sinclair. “We enter this exciting new era as a financially strong and ambitious business backed by new investors who will help us drive further organic growth in both the U.K. and U.S. across all three of our divisions. We also intend to pursue new markets, including through acquisitions, in this partnership with Rubicon and Grovepoint.”
Comments Charlie Parker, finance director of the firm, “John Lawrie is a business with a proud past and an exciting future. We have a clear strategy for growth and that’s good news for all our stakeholders.”
The management team says opportunities for growth have been identified across the three divisions, and that a key focus for the Lawrie Group will continue to be the North Sea decommissioning sector, in which an estimated £17 billion ($22.5 billion) will be spent during the next decade.
The company indicates it has “progressively developed its decommissioning expertise over the past two decades [and] has carried out a wide range of projects involving the deconstruction, processing, recycling and disposal of redundant subsea materials.”]]>
With the theme of “Innovation Creates the Future,” LiuGong shared its 60 years’ heritage as well as the future expectations with more than 1,000 attendees from more than 70 countries. Attendees included government officials, industry leaders, LiuGong dealer representatives, LiuGong employees and media.
Established in 1958, LiuGong says it has evolved into an international company with 15 product lines, providing equipment and service globally.
“All the achievements couldn’t have been done without LiuGong’s perseverance and innovation in both technology and management,” says Zeng Guang’an, chairman of LiuGong Group, said in his opening address.
After the launch of its Global R&D center in 2015, LiuGong recently launched its European R&D Center in Warsaw, Poland, in September, which also is supported by the Poland National R&D Center. Together with LiuGong R&D centers in the United States and India, and the industrial Design Center in the U.K., LiuGong provides technical support to its customers worldwide. As a result, LiuGong’s H series wheel loaders and E series excavators, which are both new generation products with unified family appearance, have been well-received around the world, according to the company. At 2016 dealer conference, LiuGong launched the vertical lift wheel loader, which is the first for an articulating frame loader, the company says.
Speaking of the global expansion, LiuGong representatives said the company boosts one of the most extensive sales networks among Chinese CE manufacturers in its 15-years of globalization. LiuGong has nearly 300 dealers across six continents in more than 100 countries, “providing localized and professional service to LiuGong customers and ensuring the parts and service availability,” the company says. To support its worldwide business, LiuGong has set up a global layout comprising of 12 regional subsidiaries, nine parts distribution centers and three overseas manufacturing plants.
“With the increasing proportion of its overseas business, which reached more than 30 percent in 2016, LiuGong is also expanding its overseas assets,” the company says in a news release. “In 2017, LiuGong had its Brazil manufacturing plants started volume production. In September, LiuGong opened new European headquarters in Warsaw and announced the new production capabilities at LiuGong Dressta Machinery, enlarging its pipe-layer operations and manufacturing LiuGong loaders and excavators for supply throughout Europe.”
On the occasion of LiuGong's 60th anniversary and in conjunction the with national initiative of “One Belt and One Road,” LiuGong held a launch ceremony for its 60th Anniversary Global Tour and Fulfillment of “The Belt and Road Initiative” Strategy at this year’s dealer conference. Additionally, LiuGong showcased its 60th anniversary commemorative models and arranged a factory tour at LiuGong’s Changzhou factory, as well as at LiuGong’s modern manufacturing plants for excavators, bulldozers and mining equipment in eastern China.]]>
The association says the updated guidelines detail how life cycle assessments and environmental product declarations are awarded for green building credits in major rating systems, and what architects and designers can do to meet the requirements.
The guidelines, created by the Aluminum Association for the building and construction market, reflect the latest development of environmental declaration requirements in major green building codes and rating systems, including:
- LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) v4;
- Green Globes 2013;
- IgCC 2012;
- CALGreen 2010/2012
The guide is available at the association’s website at www.aluminum.org.
“Our industry is committed to utilizing aluminum’s many benefits to advance sustainability efforts in the building and construction sector,” says Heidi Brock, president and CEO of The Aluminum Association. “The guide’s updates will help stakeholders in every stage of the process make informed decisions regarding environmental declarations as well as what aluminum can bring to the process.”
The guide looks at different stakeholders along the building product manufacturing value chain and how roles and responsibilities vary for each when it comes to meeting credit requirements using LEED v4, the latest version of the U.S. Green Building Council’s rating system, as an illustration.
The Aluminum Association says the updated guidelines provide stakeholders further information crucial to producing meaningful declarations on aluminum building products.
The association released the first set of guidelines, A Guide to Green Building Development, in 2015 at Greenbuild in Washington, which focused on guiding stakeholders to better use aluminum’s material properties and life cycle characteristics to maximize green building credits.
The Aluminum Association represents aluminum production and jobs in the United States, ranging from primary production to value-added products to recycling, as well as suppliers to the industry.]]>
According to an online news report from Ohio-based Gatehouse Media, Stow’s city council has endorsed an income tax sharing grant agreement with RMG to entice it to relocate to a former adhesives manufacturing facility with some 500,000 square feet of plant space.
If the agreement goes through, RMG may invest some $20 million to make the space suitable for some 350 employees engaged in scrap metal and electronics recycling activities. Those employees currently work in one of two RMG sites in Solon and Twinsburg, Ohio. RMG also operates offices and facilities in Toledo, Ohio, as well as in Chicago, Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, New York state and Wisconsin.
A Stow economic development official is quoted by Gatehouse Media as saying RMG anticipates having “450 people working full time in Stow by [its] third year of operation, with an estimated annual payroll of $17 million.”
On its website, RMG describes itself as having been formed in 1981 and consisting of “a family of distinct but related businesses involved in recycling, scrap metal processing (ferrous Metals, nonferrous metals, electronic scrap, plastic scrap), material handling, equipment sales and purchasing and property management.”]]>
“This rebar micro mill project is consistent with our long-term strategy for profitable growth and builds on our position as a low-cost producer,” says John Ferriola, chairman, CEO and president of Nucor. “Strategically positioning this micro mill in the Kansas City area will give us a sustained cost advantage over other domestic steel producers supplying rebar from outside the region.”
Rebar supply to the Kansas City, Upper Midwest and Plains States markets currently travels long distances, giving the micro mill in Sedalia a logistical advantage, according to Nucor. The company also indicates the location will allow it “to take advantage of the abundant scrap supply in the immediate area provided by Nucor's scrap business, The David J. Joseph Company.”
A Nucor executive also has disclosed the steelmaker is seeking a site for a second rebar micro mill. “We are encouraged by the tremendous support received by the state and local community in Missouri, and Nucor has decided to pursue an additional micro mill project,” says Dave Sumoski, executive vice president of merchant and rebar products at Nucor. “Two regions are currently under consideration in the southeastern United States for this additional project.”
Following its approval by the Missouri Development Finance Board, the project was formally announced by Nucor in late November 2017 at an event attended by Missouri Governor Eric Greitens. The rebar micro mill investment is expected to create 255 full-time jobs as well as 450 temporary construction jobs.
“We would like to thank state and local officials who have assisted us with the project, including Governor Greitens, the Missouri Department of Economic Development, the City of Sedalia, Pettis County, and Kansas City Power & Light,” says Sumoski. “Our bar mills have been the foundation of our company, and we believe strategically supplying underserved markets will allow our bar business to continue to generate significant value in the future.”]]>
The transaction figures collected by RMDAS occurred from in the first three weeks of November 2017. The RMDAS North Midwest region includes mills and melt shops in Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and northwest Indiana.
Scrap prices in the North Midwest region typically lag behind those in the RMDAS North Central/East region, which includes Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, the rest of Indiana and the Mid-Atlantic and New England states.
The North Midwest prices are usually comparable with those in the RMDAS South region, however. In May 2017, mills in the two regions paid within $4 per ton on average for all three grades tracked by RMDAS: prompt scrap, shredded scrap and No. 1 heavy melting steel (HMS).
In November, buyers in the South were able to get No. 1 HMS for just $3 per ton more on average compared to their counterparts in the North Midwest. However, Southern mills paid $9 more per ton for prompt scarp and $17 per ton more for shredded scrap.
With pricing and, in all likelihood, scrap flows having fallen in October, Southern mill buyers may have had to up their bids in November to attract scrap from other regions.
Transportation costs also may have played a role. Both rail and barge lines tend to provide additional capacity to agricultural customers during the harvest season, potentially at the expense of southern mills dependent on scrap shipped from the north.
Barge traffic also has experienced weather-related disruptions in the fall of 2017, perhaps causing some scrap to move by more expensive rail or truck options from north to south.
The Washington, D.C.-based Waterways Council Inc. reported in mid-October that a portion of the Ohio River near a Lock & Dam 52 (L&D 52) was closed for “nearly a week due to rising river stages that exceeded the maximum locking stage of 20.7 feet.” Precipitation from Hurricane Nate prompted the rising river level and closure in October, but L&D 52 was closed Sept. 6-14 because of an unscheduled maintenance outage at the 89-year-old lock.
According to the Waterways Council, as of mid-October there were 58 vessels with 658 barges waiting to transit L&D 52. “This backup [was] over roughly a 20-mile stretch of river,” the group reported.]]>
High school seniors bound for college are eligible to apply for the PSI/ISRI Recycling Research Foundation scholarship here. The 2018 PSI Scholarship Fund is open to high school seniors of any member company’s recycling division and will award eight $2,000 scholarships.
The deadline for the scholarship fund applications is March, 31, 2018. Scholarship recipients will be notified in early summer 2018.
For more information and eligibility requirements, visit PSI's website at www.paperstockindustries.org.]]>
The investment will add jobs, expand recycling capabilities and improve melting safety and efficiency - reducing gas and electricity needed in the recycling process, says Spectro Alloys. The project, which will be implemented by mid-2018, includes a new building addition that will house a 21-ton rotary furnace capable of melting a wide range of aluminum scrap. It will incorporate new technology, including a filtration plant that will reduce emissions from the recycling process, according to the company.
“We are now hiring to fill 10-plus new full-time production and maintenance positions as a result of this expansion,” says Spectro Alloys. “Spectro plant employees average over $50,000 in gross wages, with excellent health benefits, 401(k) matching and profit sharing bonuses. The planned expansion has received support from the state of Minnesota’s Job Creation Fund, which provides a grant once investment and job creation goals are met.”
This investment will allow Spectro to recycle a wider range of locally and regionally sourced aluminum products, improving the environmental footprint of recycling in Minnesota even further, the company says.
Spectro Alloys President Luke Palen says, “We are committed to investing in programs and technology that support the domestic aluminum supply chain, build value for our customers and suppliers, and improve our environment. This is phase one of a multiyear investment plan aimed at achieving those goals. Much more to come.”
Aluminum recycled at Spectro Alloys is shipped to regional die casters and foundries and made into new products, including lawn mower engines, ATV components, car parts and other products.]]>
“Our role is to assist both Puerto Rico and the USVI to minimize environmental damage from boats leaking gasoline, fuel or other contaminants,” says EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez. “We are doing this in a way that respects the vessel owner’s rights while still protecting people from spills and hazardous substances that might be onboard the vessels.”
Teams from the Coast Guard and various agencies continue to locate, assess and retrieve sunken, damaged and derelict vessels around Puerto Rico and the USVI, according to the EPA.
EPA’s support role includes recording the vessel’s location and collecting information such as the name of the vessel and identification number, condition, impact to surrounding areas or sensitive or protected habitats (such as mangroves and coral reefs) for future recovery missions and owner notifications. A higher priority is placed on vessels found to be actively leaking fuel or hazardous materials, where containment and absorbent booms are placed to decrease contamination.
Once a damaged vessel is brought to shore or is processed on a staging barge, EPA indicates it is handling various hazardous materials for recycling and disposal, including petroleum products (oil, gas or diesel fuel), batteries and electronic devices. EPA also states it will recycle or dispose of any “household hazardous wastes,” such as cleaners, paints or solvents and appliances from the vessels.
Assessment teams are tagging vessels with a sticker requesting that owners contact the U.S. Coast Guard to either report their vessel’s removal, or to request U.S. Coast Guard assistance in its removal. There is no cost, penalty or fine associated with the removal of the vessels, according to the EPA.
As of mid-November 2017, 340 vessels have been identified as being affected in Puerto Rico and 589 vessels have been identified as being affected in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Those seeking more information about the process can contact the U.S. Coast Guard through its hotline at (786) 521-3900.]]>
“Kevin has already demonstrated significant operational leadership and is a true motivator for his team,” says Jana Davis, Bunting’s chief operating officer. “We are fortunate to have him lead our operations team and believe his skills will be a significant asset in the development of enhanced processes and procedures moving forward. His extensive industrial experience with team management, quality assurance programs and lean principles such as 5S (Japanese lean manufacturing system) and KanBan (a Toyota scheduling system) will result in in improved sales, operations and customer satisfaction for years to come.”
Miller has nearly three decades of experience in manufacturing operations. Most recently, he was director of operations at Ametek Advanced Industries, a supplier of components and systems for the aerospace and defense industries. His manufacturing experience also includes operations and assembly positions at the Boeing Company and Spirit Aerosystems.
“My vision is to follow proven principles in lean manufacturing and quality assurance to make Bunting Magnetics Co. a world-class operation, meeting our customers’ delivery dates and exceeding their expectations, while delivering the highest level of quality,” says Miller.
Founded in 1959, Bunting Magnetics offers a line of metal detection, magnetic separation and material handling equipment as well as printing cylinders for several global markets, including recycling, food packaging and processing, feed and grain, plastics, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, offset printing, metal stamping and automobile manufacturing.]]>
In conjunction, Real Alloy Holding Inc. and its U.S. subsidiaries also filed petitions in late November 2017 for voluntary Chapter 11 reorganization in the same court. Real Alloy’s operations in Germany, the United Kingdom, Norway, Canada and Mexico and a Goodyear, Arizona, joint venture are not included in these filings, says the firm.
Scrap-consuming aluminum production facilities affected are located in several states, including two in Michigan, two in Ohio and one each in Alabama, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Texas, Tennessee, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Canada and Mexico.
Some of those facilities trace back to the former IMCO Recycling and Commonwealth Industries companies, which merged to form Aleris International in 2004. Aleris sold most of those plants in 2015 to Signature Holdings, which rebranded them to Real Alloy. Real Alloy subsequently purchased plants from the former Beck Aluminum Alloys.
A Form 204 filed as part of the Chapter 11 proceedings shows scrap trading companies comprise more than half of the 20 largest creditors of Real Alloy. Topping the list with $1.3 million owed is Dallas-based Commercial Metals Co. Also owed $1 million or more are Coldwater, Michigan-based Honda Trading America Corp. and St. Louis-based Alter Trading Co.
Owed between $325,000 and $850,000 by Real Alloy are: Huron Valley Steel Corp., Trenton, Michigan; NH Kelman Scrap Recycling, Cohoes, New York; Midwest Iron & Metal, Dayton, Ohio; OmniSource Corp., Fort Wayne, Indiana; PSC Metals, Cleveland; SLC Recycling, Warren, Michigan (a division of Detroit-based Ferrous Processing & Trading); Kripke Enterprises, Toledo, Ohio; MetalX LLC, Waterloo, Indiana; and Cincinnati-based David J. Joseph Co.
Many of the scrap trading firms likely possess credit insurance policies that will minimize their losses compared to the full amount listed in the filing. It is unclear how much the scrap companies will recoup as a result of pending decisions to be made by the bankruptcy court.
“During the Chapter 11 process, Real Alloy expects to conduct business as usual in the United States and worldwide and to continue to provide customers, suppliers and other business partners with the high level of service and performance they have come to expect from Real Alloy,” the company states in the news release announcing the filing.
Real Alloy indicates it has entered into an agreement in principle with its existing asset-based facility lender and some of its bondholders for continued use of its $110 million asset-based lending facility and up to $85 million of additional liquidity through debtor-in-possession (“DIP”) financing that will enable the firm to fund ongoing business operations.
Real Alloy’s operations in the United States have been affected by “severely tightened liquidity during the past year, due in part to recently constrained trade credit terms, which hindered Real Alloy’s ability to timely refinance its $305 million 10 percent senior secured notes due January 2019,” the company indicates in its news release.
The company also indicates Terry Hogan will continue as Real Alloy’s president while Michael Hobey has been named president and interim CEO of Real Industry, and he will continue to serve as chief financial officer of Real Industry and now also as CFO of Real Alloy.]]>
DJJ, in a news release making the announcement, indicates SCM “has been a valued customer since 2013.” DJJ says as part of the new agreement, it will use its ability to source raw materials globally and will provide SCM with “administrative efficiencies and logistics expertise.”
The scrap agency agreement will allow SCM to focus on expanding its role as an extruded aluminum rod, bar, angle, pipe, channel and beam producer, according to DJJ.
DJJ also indicates the agreement “represents an important step forward for The David J. Joseph Company, and is a great complement to its existing nonferrous business activities.”
Founded in 2002, SCM bills itself as a producer of extruded aluminum rods, bars, angles, pipes, channels and beams at its Prince George, location. SCM’s manufacturing process is designed to operate 24 hours per day with employee safety as a top priority, according to the firm.
The David J. Joseph Company, founded in 1885, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Charlotte, North Carolina-based Nucor Corporation. DJJ bills itself as one of the largest scrap brokers and processors in the United States, providing scrap brokerage, recycling and transportation services. DJJ operates six regional scrap recycling companies in the United States with a combined 60 processing facilities and 12 domestic and international ferrous and nonferrous scrap brokerage offices.]]>
The European Union has set high landfill diversion target levels for its member states at the same time China is closing the door on mixed scrap shipments. The situation presents challenges for recycling firms and opportunities for sorting technology suppliers, according to presenters at the 2017 Paper & Plastics Recycling Conference Europe event, held in Warsaw in early November.
Andreas Walser of Austria-based Hamburger Recycling said brand owners are feeling the pressure to design packaging that is recyclable and to help ensure it is collected for that purpose. He said Hamburger Recycling is positioned to grow along with that trend, with operations in 14 European nations, including Austria, Germany Hungary, Poland and Turkey.
Private recyclers such as Hamburger Recycling, said Walser, “are in a comfortable position; we have no obligations, but a lot of opportunities.” Many of those opportunities, he said, are in Eastern Europe, where there is “real potential for more collection by providing the right collection systems.”
Walser recommended separate collection as the way to meet European and global demands for “more clean fiber,” and he said the government can play a role by helping to subsidize it.
Sébastien Ricard of France-based Paprec Group provided an overview of France’s and the European Union’s increasingly regulated waste sector, which has encouraged recycling in part by limiting landfilling and incineration. He said Germany had been particularly effective in encouraging recycling by making landfilling costs prohibitively expensive.
Ricard said the government’s role is best suited for incentives and goals, and then should leave it to the private sector and “trust the companies” to meet those goals.
For plastic packaging recycling to meet ambitious EU targets, Hendrik Beel of Germany-based RTT Steinert said increased collection must be matched with upgrading of collected material to high-purity pellets and product manufacturers’ willingness to use those pellets to make new products.
“These three must work together,” stated Beel, adding, “Higher collection rates mean nothing without [accompanying] better product quality.” He predicted that “pushing the MRFs (material recovery facilities) to hjgher throughput rates will come to an end,” and that this genuine attention to quality could “make recycling great again.”
On the technology front, Beel said his company has been deploying HSI (hyperspectral imaging) technology to enable more sorting and recycling of black plastics.
Marcin Lotysz of Bin-E, based in host country Poland, said his firm has developed an office or public space collection bin that can distinguish between paper, plastic and metal items, meaning people can discard items quickly to be recycled.
The device uses an internal camera and mechanically sliding parts to perform the sorting. Lotysz said Bin-E is anticipating introducing its public space bin in 2018 and a home or kitchen device in 2020.
Bill Moore of Atlanta-based Moore & Associates said technology providers have been working on devices to measure moisture and contamination levels in baled scrap paper. The devices are mean to replace what Moore called “occular technology,” or visual inspection.
He said Brussels-based CEPI (the Confederation of European Paper Industries) has “pushed forward a comprehensive approach for a number of years” to make baled paper quality more transparent.
Subsequently, said Moore, microwave and near infrared (NIR) technology has been developed to help buyers take core samples or scan more deeply into bales to measure moisture and ash content. Such technologies are being used by several major European mill companies, including Spain’s SAICA and Ireland-based Smurfit Kappa Group, and by mill buyers in China, said Moore.
In comments after the technology presentations, a delegate from France-based Veolia expressed reservations about how or whether such measuring devices are being properly calibrated, while a delegate from France-based Suez Environnement wondered why different mills are recording different measurements for bales produced at the same Suez facility.
Presenters on a session focused on ocean freight at the 2017 Paper & Plastics Recycling Conference Europe event depicted a sector with ongoing consolidation and volatile rates. The conference was held in Warsaw in early November, at a time when rates from Europe to Asia were sitting in a trough.
China’s economic growth had spurred a massive increase in ocean shipping, according to figures presented by Dan Sandoval of the Recycling Today Media Group. China’s ports have seen a four-fold increase in container shipping traffic from 2000, when they handled 13 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), to the 52 million TEUs handled in 2015.
Shipping line consolidation has been the other major trend, said Sandoval. The five largest lines handled 27 percent of the container traffic in 1996, but in 2017 the five largest lines are expected to handle 64 percent of the total.
John Paul Mackens of Switzerland-based freight forwarding firm Kuehne + Nagel said the Chinese government’s increased scrutiny of imported scrap materials had been “a huge headache” for the freight industry, and that he had to reposition some 50 containers away from China because of the National Sword program there.
The changes in the plastic scrap sector have been sudden and dramatic, said Mackens. In 2016, Europe sent 89 percent of its outbound plastic scrap to Chinese ports. In September 2017, said Mackens, just 46 percent went to Chinese ports, with Malaysia receiving 12.6 percent, Hong Kong receiving 10.7 percent and Vietnam 9.5 percent.
By volume, Mackens said, July and August 2017 showed a huge drop in scrap shipments heading from Europe to China. Carriers, he said, are “now fighting for the shipments left” in that direction.
He predicted a 1 million TEU loss in secondary commodity shipments from Europe to China in 2018. That volume drop, combined with low rates, means “we will definitely lose another carrier” if those conditions continue, Mackens predicted.
Martino Tavolato of Switzerland-based paper recycling firm Vipa Lausanne S.A. portrayed the roller coaster-ride nature of shipping rates in the previous two years, with Northern Europe to China rates having soared from an average of $250 GIGO (gate in/gate out) in July 2016 to $1,200 GIGO in May 2017. “We couldn’t find any logic” in the massive increase, said Tavolato.
By June 2017, however, the effects of China’s National Sword initiative had become apparent as Europe-to-China traffic shriveled. By early November 2017, rates on those routes had dropped back to $500 GIGO. “It shows, in the end, the market is free,” said Tavolato, as supply and demand factors kicked in.
He said, based on China’s new restrictions, some 6 million tons of mixed paper and 7 million tons of plastic scrap that formerly headed to China will have to be processed differently to make it to Chinese ports. Otherwise, said Tavolato, there will be some 1 million TEUs “that need to be replaced,” which he says is equivalent to about “six average-sized container ships per month.” He concluded, “We’re going through some amazing changes.”
The 2017 Paper & Plastics Recycling Conference Europe, organized by the Recycling Today Media Group, was Nov. 7-8 at the Hilton Warsaw Hotel & Convention Centre.]]>
The use of communication grades of paper has been declining In the 21st century, but the growing global demand for packaging has kept the recovered fiber sector buoyant, particular in the case of old corrugated containers (OCC). “OCC demand is where the action is,” stated Bill Moore of Atlanta-based Moore & Associates. “Other grades are about all flat,” Moore said regarding the recent global demand picture.
In 2008, said Moore, packaging grades made up 49 percent of the world’s finished paper production while newsprint output comprised 13 percent of production. In 2016, those numbers had shifted to 60 percent for packaging and just 7 percent for newsprint.
On the recovered fiber demand side, the world’s paper mills consumed 70 million tons of OCC in 2000, but that figure is projected to grow to 170 million tons in 2021.
Geographically, the falloff in communication paper has affected the United States significantly, said Moore. Whereas U.S. paper and board mills churned out 105 million tons of product in 1999, that number shrank to just 72 million tons in 2016.
China’s 21st century role as the world’s workshop has meant its packaging grade output has soared, as has its consumption of OCC. The boom in containerboard production there has caused China’s supply needs to shift, said Moore. In 1993, 46 percent of what Chinese mills imported was OCC and 21 percent was old newspapers (ONP). By 2016, that had shifted to 67 percent OCC and just 7 percent ONP. Whereas in 1993 China was importing a little more than twice as much OCC as ONP, but 2016 it was importing nine time as much OCC as ONP.
David Powlson, who works from the United Kingdom for Finland-based Pöyry Management Consulting, said the world’s percentage of forested land is currently growing, and that virgin pulp is likely to provide increased competition to recovered fiber between now and 2050.
He said tissue production in China is one of the fastest-growing finished paper sectors globally, and it is made almost entirely from virgin fiber-content bleached hardwood kraft pulp made from eucalyptus trees and other trees.
Nonetheless, said Powlson, Pöyry is “expecting, through 2050, equal amounts of recovered paper and virgin fiber growth” in paper production capacity.
Recovered fiber’s limitation, said Powlson, is a ceiling on recovery rates. He said only remote areas of Spain, Italy, Ireland and Eastern Europe can yield more fiber from the European continent. While China’s government is optimistic it can source more of its own recovered fiber, “We don’t believe you can increase the collection rate in China much beyond where you are,” he commented.
In 2016, Chinese mills bought 82 percent of Europe’s exported recovered fiber and 79 percent of North America’s said Powlson. Some 51 percent of what was shipped from North America was OCC while 21 percent was mixed paper. Europe, on the other hand, sent 72 percent in the form of OCC and 19 percent mixed paper.
Jochen Behr of London-based packaging producer DS Smith said his firm’s recycling division has focused on “stringent quality control” in the face of increased quality scrutiny by the Chinese government.
Behr referred to changes in consumer behavior that have resulted in more (packaged) household deliveries as a reason why DS Smith believes that “packaging is a market set for growth.”
He said DS Smith handles some 5 million tons per year of recovered fiber and consumes 3 million tons of that in its own mills. The company is pursuing a model of “box to box recycling in 14 days,” said Behr.
Behr said he anticipates more “cross-sector collaboration” between consumer product companies, packaging producers, retailers, delivery services and government recycling agencies as the home delivery trend gains momentum.
RTS has formed partnerships with indoor cycling fitness chain SoulCycle in Philadelphia and Washington. In addition, RTS will provide waste and recycling technology services to 401 N. Broad St. in Philadelphia, which is the city’s largest office and commercial building under one roof, covering one square block.
RTS says it works with businesses across the country, focusing on sustainability through efficient routing, training and on-demand orders; streamlining the waste removal services for clients, such as Barclays arena, Whole Foods, WeWork, Juice Press and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
RTS is headquartered in New York and provides a proprietary tracking system to provide businesses with data and real-time accountability of waste and recycling removal. The company was founded in 2015 and focuses on environmentally friendly avenues for waste removal and processing. In March 2017, RTS was certified by nonprofit B Lab as a B Corp, which are for-profit companies that meet standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency.
Through a partnership with Trenton, New Jersey-based TerraCycle, a leader in the collection and repurposing of hard-to-recycle postconsumer materials, the One by One Recycling Program has diverted more than 7,000 pounds of waste from landfills.
In addition, for every pound of accepted packaging received through the program, a $1 donation is made to Optometry Giving Sight, the only global fundraising initiative that specifically targets the prevention of blindness and impaired vision by providing eye exams and glasses to those in need.
“We are globally committed to environmental sustainability while also delivering innovations that meet the needs of our physicians and their patients,” says Joseph C. Papa, chairman and CEO, Valeant. “We are proud of the One by One Recycling Program, which has made significant strides in its first year by helping to reduce contact lens waste as well as helping to provide basic vision care to those who are in need.”
Although contact lenses and their packaging are generally composed of recyclable plastic or foil, they often end up being filtered out of most standard material recovery facilities (MRFs) due to their small size. Currently, the end-to-end trail of materials generated from contact lens packaging annually in the United States could circle the Earth three times, says Bausch + Lomb. The One by One Recycling Program provides contact lens wearers the opportunity to properly recycle their used materials and reduce the amount of waste deposited to landfills across the country.
To participate in the program, contact lens wearers can print a free One by One shipping label and ship their used blister packs, top foil and contact lenses via any UPS location or drop off their materials at a participating eye doctor’s office. All participating offices in the United States (more than 2,000 to date) can be found on the program’s website, www.bauschrecycles.com.]]>