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Updated: 1 hour 9 min ago

International Paper will convert Alabama line to packaging grades

Sun, 09/24/2017 - 23:54
Memphis, Tennessee-based International Paper (IP) has announced plans to invest approximately $300 million to convert its No. 15 paper machine at the Riverdale Mill in Selma, Alabama, from producing uncoated freesheet to instead make whitetop linerboard and containerboard. The conversion is targeted for completion by mid-year 2019 and will add 450,000 tons of annual capacity, with flexibility to shift between containerboard products, says IP.

“Our customers expect us to support their growth, and this machine conversion will meet their needs,” says Tim Nicholls, IP's senior vice president, Industrial Packaging the Americas. “Our Industrial Packaging business continues to focus on our customers in strategic channels, including our box business, domestic and export containerboard and specialty grades.”

Nicholls says IP’s Industrial Packaging mill system allows the business to optimize product mix, increase service and reduce costs. “Our system runs most effectively when there is flexibility, and this conversion will also help us define a more streamlined and balanced system overall.”

Because of the machine conversion, the company will reduce its annual uncoated freesheet capacity by 235,000 tons. The remaining machine at the Riverdale Mill will continue to produce uncoated paper products for the communication paper markets.

“International Paper’s uncoated freesheet business remains a strategic part of the company, and we are well positioned to support current and future customer demand,” says Mike Amick, Jr., IP’s senior vice president, Paper the Americas & India. “This investment proactively repositions Riverdale No. 15 to serve our growing packaging business, while enabling us to optimize our North American Papers business.”

On its website, IP refers to itself as “the largest user of recycled fiber in the United States, with 90 percent of our mills using some level of recovered fiber in the products they manufacture and three mills making products with 100 percent recovered fiber.”

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Ohio-based equipment rental company opens third location

Fri, 09/22/2017 - 07:41
Vandalia Rental, an equipment rental company that offers lifts, skid steers, material handling equipment and earth mover rentals based in Vandalia, Ohio, has announced that it will officially open its Sharonville, Ohio, location for business on Oct. 2.

The third-generation family owned and operated business was founded in 1961. The rental company will now service the Cincinnati/northern Kentucky area with this latest expansion to Sharonville.

“As our customer base continues to rise we will continue to supply the demand by growing together,” says Kurt Barney, the current owner and grandson of the founder.   

This expansion in Sharonville will be the third rental facility for the company. Vandalia Rental started in the town of Vandalia and in June 2016, the company opened a second rental equipment center in Franklin, Ohio.
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Carpet recycling measure gains ground in California

Fri, 09/22/2017 - 02:01
The California legislature in mid-September 2017 has passed a bill that its backers say will require manufacturers to increase recycling and address environmental concerns posed by the production and disposal of carpet. A coalition of local governments, environmental, public health, carpet industry and union organizations support the legislation, and is now urging California Gov. Jerry Brown to sign it into law.

“AB (Assembly Bill) 1158 represents a major victory for California and the nation,” says Heidi Sanborn, executive director of the National Action Stewardship Council, a supporter of the bill. “By mandating the carpet industry increase the amount of carpet [it recycles] and ensuring consumers aren’t unknowingly funding carpet disposal, we can increase green jobs, improve public health and protect the environment.”

Carpets are comprised of 99 percent plastic, say the bill’s supporters. In 2016 in California more than 128,000 tons of carpets were disposed of in landfills and some 10,000 tons of carpeting was burned in incinerators, just in California, says the groups.

In 2010 California began requiring carpet manufacturers to implement a stewardship program to increase the recycling of carpet (AB 2398). Since passage, the carpet industry has failed to achieve meaningful progress, say backers of AB 1158.

“The program has collected over $45 million in consumer fees to date, yet has barely increased recycling,” says Miriam Gordon with the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives. “AB 1158 will put an end to consumers paying an assessment in good faith that their discarded carpet will be recycled, when it fact it’s not.”

AB 1158 would mandate the industry increase the carpet recycling to 24 percent by 2020. “AB 1158 enacts a series of common sense reforms to the state’s struggling carpet recycling program, and, most importantly, it will finally deliver the real recycling that California consumers have been paying for since 2011,” says Nick Lapis with Californians Against Waste.

Carpet companies including Interface and Tarkett say they have proven that the market has an increasing demand for safer, environmentally friendly, sustainable products. “As one of the carpet industries’ recycling pioneers, Tandus Centiva is in support of this bill,” says Len Ferro, president of Tandus Centiva, a Tarkett company. “The proposed legislation aligns with our parent company Tarkett’s sustainability principles, which include taking back product for recycling through our ReStart program.”

Says Matt Miller, president of Interface Americas, “Interface supports this bill because it is an important step forward toward a stronger carpet stewardship program in California. Recycling carpet at end of life is especially difficult in this era of low petroleum prices, making it economically challenging. As a result, a robust stewardship plan is that much more important today.” 

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Gershow Recycling makes charity donation

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 21:43
Medford, New York-based Gershow Recycling sponsored and donated $2,000 to help defray the costs of hosting the ninth annual Play for Peace/Jugando Por La Paz Soccer Tournament, which was held in August 2017 at the Patchogue-Medford Youth Soccer Complex in Medford.

The goals of Play For Peace are to bring together diverse nationalities within the community for a full day of World Cup-style soccer and to use sports as a way for people from different ethnic backgrounds to find common ground, according to a news release from Gershow Recycling. The annual tournament is organized by the office of Suffolk County (New York) Legislator Robert Calarco.

The tournament was first organized in 2009 through the office of then-Legislator Jack Eddington in conjunction with the Patchogue-Medford Youth Soccer League as a response to an incident in 2008, when Ecuadorean immigrant Marcelo Lucero was beaten to death. In 2011, when Legislator Calarco was elected, he carried on the tradition of presenting the tournament. Joselo Lucero, Marcelo’s brother, spoke to the crowd about the importance of having an event such as this to bring the community together.

Approximately 500 spectators came to the free event. Fourteen teams — seven men’s teams and seven women’s teams — participated in the tournament. In the men’s division, Patchogue-Medford Youth Soccer League was the winning team, while Suffolk Federal Credit Union won the women’s division. The Best Sportsmanship Awards went to Suffolk County Police Benevolent Association in the men’s division and The Calarco Team in the women’s division.

“Gershow Recycling is pleased again to support this year’s ‘Play for Peace,’” says Kevin Gershowitz, president of the company. “We salute former Legislator Eddington for establishing this event and Legislator Calarco for continuing it, as an effort to bring members of our diverse communities together and build understanding through sports.”

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ISRI urges restraint on auto salvage regulations

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 20:30
The Washington, D.C.-based Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) has adopted what it calls a new position on vehicle seller licensing and a new policy position on the National Vehicle Mercury Switch Recovery Program (NVMSRP).

The ISRI board of directors has ratified a new policy on the “appropriate regulation, registration, permitting or licensing of sellers of vehicles for scrap or parts only.”

According to ISRI, while scrap metal processors often purchase vehicles in a mechanically crushed or flattened condition, many also are purchased in whole form. Whole vehicle sellers who are in the business of removing parts or scrap metal from these cars for re-selling the parts are typically already regulated as dismantlers or scrap metal processors.

ISRI’s new policy states it “supports [the] reporting of whole vehicles sold for scrap or for parts in accordance with state and federal laws, and opposes overreaching or duplicative regulations, registrations, permitting or licensing requirements placed on the sellers of whole vehicles that are sold only for scrap or for parts, if the vehicles are sold to properly licensed, registered, or permitted (as regulated or required by state law) scrap metal processors or automotive dismantlers.”

Regarding mercury switches, NVMSRP was created by a 2006 memorandum of understanding (MOU) that will expire at the end of 2017. The MOU currently provides that auto manufacturers fund the End of Life Vehicle Solutions Corporation (ELVS), which supplies recyclers with buckets to collect mercury switches and covers the cost of shipping the buckets and recycling the mercury, as well as providing indemnification for participants once the switches are packaged and shipped.

ISRI’s newly adopted position states it “supports a continuation of NVMSRP through the end of 2021, conditioned upon the following sections of the 2006 MOU remaining essentially unchanged:

  • the transportation, acceptance, recycling and liability language regarding the End of Life Vehicle Solutions Corporation (ELVS) under Section V.1.C, subsections 3 through 6; and
  • language regarding the responsibilities of ISRI and participating vehicle crushers, scrap processing facilities, brokers and vehicle dismantlers, as well as their interactions with other parties.”
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LA County selects BHS for new MRF

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 09:23
The Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County (LACSD) has selected Bulk Handling Systems (BHS), Eugene, Oregon, to design, manufacture and install a new materials recovery system (MRF) at its Puente Hills Materials Recovery Facility (PHMRF). The system will process both commercial and residential streams – including dry commercial waste, commercial Municipal Solid Waste (MSW), multifamily MSW, and single-stream recyclables – and increase the districts’ processing capacity to 600 tons per day (TPD), according to BHS.

The system is designed to provide the flexibility to process various input streams while maximizing recovery and end-product quality. The high-tech equipment includes a Max-AI Autonomous QC (AQC) in a quality control role on the polyethylene terephthalate (PET) that is recovered by the system’s NRT SpydIR-T optical sorter.

Max-AI is an artificial intelligence developed with deep learning neural network technology, and is able to recognize materials similar to the way a person does, according to BHS. Max targets non-PET items, including non-California Refund Value (CRV) PET, which the AQC’s robotic sorter removes at levels that consistently outperform manual sorting, BHS adds. The demand to increase the quality of fiber will be addressed through optical sorting technology, including a NRT FiberPure optical sorter that recovers clean mixed paper. Another FiberPure optical sorter recovers the smaller and increasingly prevalent cardboard in the system.

The latest AI, robotic and fiber optical technologies add to BHS’ mixed waste recovery capabilities, a patented process that has been implemented throughout the world including at several operational facilities in California. The process includes BHS metering and bag opening technologies, Tri-Disc screens, Nihot air density classification and NRT In-Flight Sorting optical technology. The PHMRF design includes the built-in flexibility to run several material types on the same line, from dry single-stream recyclables to organics-rich MSW at high rates of throughput, recovery and uptime, according to BHS.

“The BHS system will cost-effectively improve our recycling efforts, which will help our member cities meet recycling requirements,” says Habib Kharrat, Supervising Engineer for the LACSD. “We wanted a system to increase recovery from both mixed-waste and single streams by capturing a high percentage of the available recyclables using state-of-the-art technology.”

The PHMRF is permitted to accept a maximum of 4,400 TPD and a maximum of 24,000 tons per week of waste. It is permitted to receive, process and transfer waste and recyclable materials 24 hours per day, Monday through Saturday. It currently receives waste from 4 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and operates 24 hours per day, Monday through Saturday.

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Illinois EPA seeks recycling data from Illinois counties

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 06:43
Photo: Dreamstime

Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Director Alec Messina has announced the agency has released a statewide survey to county recycling coordinators to identify the types of items recycled or collected and what type of collections are available throughout the state. The information will be used to develop an online statewide locator tool for residents to identify recycling options in their area. Surveys must be completed and returned to the Illinois EPA by Oct. 19, 2017.

County recycling coordinators may participate in the Waste Recycling Survey by completing a hard copy or an electronic form that may also be submitted online. Participants are asked to identify whether any of the following items are recycled or independently collected in their counties: aluminum, batteries, carpet, comingled recyclables, compostable materials, construction and demolition debris, electronics, food scraps, glass, household hazardous waste, landscape waste, metals, paint, paper, plastics, tires and white goods. Respondents also should provide information on the type of collections available (curbside, drop-off or one-day collection events) and any fees associated with participating in those collections.

The Illinois EPA says it intends to use the survey as a reference to develop a statewide recycling and collection availability tool to publish on the agency’s website. In addition, Illinois EPA says it anticipates using the responses to identify areas of the state that are not adequately served by relevant collection locations.

By completing the survey, participants will ensure that information related to their county/counties is taken into account when the Illinois EPA develops its collection availability tool and identifies underserved areas of the state. If a county recycling coordinator has not received a survey from Illinois EPA, the electronic form can be accessed at www.epa.illinois.gov/Assets/iepa/forms/land/waste-management/waste-recycling-survey.pdf.

The agency says it anticipates publicizing the results in conjunction with the development and completion of the online collection availability tool, which is expected to be published in early 2018.

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Sims Metal Management celebrates 100 years in business

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 06:20
Metals and electronics recycling company Sims Metal Management Ltd. (SMM), with headquarters in Sydney and New York, is celebrating 100 years in the recycling business in 2017. Albert Sims founded the company in 1917 with a single small yard in Sydney. Since that time, SMM has evolved into a global business, recycling more than 250 million metric tons of metal and generating revenue of more than $100 billion, the company says.

Sims initially collected material by bicycle before graduating to horse and cart, which then gave way to motor vehicles and mechanized equipment, the company explains. By the late 1930s, the company known as Albert G. Sims Ltd. had metals recycling operations across Australia.

By 1948 Albert G. Sims had been listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.

The seeds of Sims’ current global trading operations were planted as early as the 1950s, the company says. In 1956, the company chartered the MV “Swan Hill,” exporting the first cargo of steel scrap to Japan. By the end of the 1960s, Sims’ overseas ferrous scrap markets had expanded to include Thailand, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Taiwan, the Philippines and Bangladesh.

By the late 1980s, Sims entered the U.S. market with the acquisition of LMC Corp., San Francisco. Its expansion in the U.S. included the Richmond Steel Recycling joint venture in 1996, the merger with Hugo Neu in 2005, the formation of the Sims Adams Recycling joint venture in 2007 and the merger with Metal Management in 2008, the company notes.

In the United Kingdom, SMM established itself in 1995 with the formation of Sims Bird Ltd., which was followed by the acquisition of McIntyre Metals in 1996, Philips Services in 2000 and Dunn Bros. in 2011, according to the company.

The full international scope of the business was realized with the creation of Sims Recycling Solutions (SRS) in 2004. Through numerous key acquisitions and investments spanning countries that included the U.K., the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Germany, the U.S., India, Austria, Dubai and South Africa, the company says, SRS achieved true global scale.

“I am proud to be a part of an organization with such a long and successful history,” says Alistair Field, SMM group CEO and managing director. “The world has changed a lot since Albert Sims started his small business in 1917. We’ve experienced two world wars and carried on through great advances in technology, great social transformations and the globalization of the international economy. Through each turn, the company has adapted and thrived.”

He continues, “It speaks volumes to the resilience and commitment of our people that not only are we still here, but we have prospered with each new change. Our focus on optimization and continuous improvement, with internal investments in our operations, functions and people, will continue to ensure we maintain our solid path for years to come.”

Today, SMM is a world-leading publicly listed metals and electronics recycler and an emerging player in the municipal recycling and renewable energy industry. The company employs 4,500 people across 200 facilities in more than 20 countries.  

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China’s pullback leading to fiber price plunges

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 01:21
Recyclers in late September 2017 are reporting having difficulty finding any buyers for mixed paper grades, and prices for all grades are showing signs of plummeting as the month passes.

In mid-September, scrap paper sellers in Hong Kong began reporting prices as being slashed in half, as well as having difficulty making any sales to mills in the People’s Republic of China. For several days in mid-September, member companies in one Hong Kong recycling organization stopped collecting fiber—allowing it to pile up in shops and warehouses—as a way to get the government’s attention to the matter.

By the middle of the week of September 18-22, it was becoming clear to traders in other parts of the world that the September market was going to be a difficult one. A trader based in the Netherlands tells Recycling Today, “Prices are dropping over here and none of the Chinese buyers is in the market.”

Sources in the United States are offering similar portrayals of the market, with one recycler in the southeastern United States saying prices for mixed paper are nearing zero.

Causes of the price drop are focusing on China, with rumors swirling that major Chinese mill buyers are staying on the sidelines until the scrap import license situation for the rest of 2017 and into 2018 becomes clearer.

Throughout 2017, the government of the People’s Republic of China has conducted inspections and announced policy directives targeted toward restricting the amount of and types of scrap materials that are shipped into China. (Shipments from Hong Kong, considered a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China, are not exempt from those restrictions.)

The inspections hit hard at the plastics and low-grade metals recycling segments, but did not spare paper recyclers. Among the hundreds of companies inspected and cited in July 2017 were Hangzhou Jinminyuan Paper Co., Ltd., Shandong Stora Enso Huatai Paper Co. Ltd. and Shandong Huatai Paper Co. Ltd. The Hangzhou company was faulted for a sewer-related problem while the two companies in Shandong Province were cited by China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) for “hazardous waste”-related violations.

The president of a Hong Kong-based recycling association told a reporter from the South China Morning Post in mid-September, “If this issue is not solved by the end of October, the whole industry will come to a stop regardless. This will be several times more serious.”

As it stands, the series of inspections and import license suspensions has meant recyclers and paper mills alike in China whose business models revolve around using recovered fiber are facing an uncertain future.

In the rest of the world, buoyant recovered fiber demand and pricing boosted by China’s major presence in the market is likewise a victim. This is especially true for mixed paper grades, which throughout the past two decades have found a home almost exclusively in China.

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WestRock to build corrugating plant in Brazil

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 22:06
Norcross, Georgia-based WestRock Company www.westrock.com has announced plans to build a new corrugated box plant in the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo. The company says the facility will help meet growing demand from WestRock’s customers in South America, and it will be supplied with paper from WestRock’s virgin fiber containerboard mill in Três Barras, Brazil.

“WestRock’s corrugated packaging business in Brazil continues to perform well, with strong relationships with customers in attractive growth markets,” says Steve Voorhees, CEO of WestRock. “Our new corrugated packaging plant will enable our exceptional team in Brazil to serve these customers even better in the future, with a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility that will provide new capabilities and efficiencies for our customers, and to further integrate the containerboard that we manufacture in Brazil.”

The new facility will be located in Porto Feliz, Brazil, and will serve industry segments and markets in Sao Paulo and in other areas in Brazil’s southeast region. Construction is expected to begin in late 2018 and be completed in mid-2019.

When completed, the Porto Feliz plant will replace the company’s existing Brazilian corrugated operations in Valinhos, Brazil. The plant will be integrated with the forestry and paper production operations of the Três Barras (Santa Catarina) mill and will increase the consumption of the mill's virgin fiber HyPerform corrugated paper, says WestRock.

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Consumer Goods Forum adopts call to action on food labels

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 09:29
The board of directors for Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), an industry network with the goal of globally adopting practices and standards that serves the consumer goods industry based in Issy-les-Moulineaux, France, unanimously adopted the call to action to simplify date labels, including companies like Tesco, Kellogg, Walmart, Campbell Soup, Bimbo, Pick n Pay, Nestlé, Carrefour and Unilever.

The announcement was made at a Champions 12.3 event at The Rockefeller Foundation during climate week and the 72nd United Nations General Assembly. At the event, Champions 12.3 also launched sustainable development goals (SDG) Target 12.3 on Food Loss and Waste: 2017 Progress Report, which takes stock of global progress to date toward halving food waste and reducing food loss by 2030.

The report finds that countries and companies are setting reduction targets aligned with SDG Target 12.3. Today, 28 percent of the world's population live in a country or region with a target to reduce food loss and waste, and nearly 60 percent of the world's 50 largest food companies have set reduction targets.

The call to action says retailers and food producers should take three important steps to simplify date labels and reduce food waste by 2020:

  • only one label at a time;
  • choice of two labels: one expiration date for perishable items ("use by") and one food quality indicator for nonperishable items ("best if used by"); and
  • consumer education to better understand what date labels mean.

In addition to the labels on products, the call to action recommends companies partner with nonprofit organizations and government agencies to educate consumers about how to interpret date labels. Education efforts could include in store displays, web materials and public service announcements.

A growing number of the 50 largest food companies now have active food loss and waste reduction programs. However, the report finds an insufficient number of governments and companies are measuring and reporting food loss and waste, a key step to identifying hotspots and knowing whether strategies are having impact.

An estimated 1.3 billion tons of food worldwide is lost or wasted each year. The average U.K. household with children spends £700 (around $950) per year on food that's thrown away. In the U.S., that figure is $1,500.

"Now more than ever is the time for business to play a leading role in tackling food waste. This is an issue that can only truly be tackled by collaboration across the value chain. Through our global membership, the CGF is committed to playing a leadership role. We believe simplified and consistent date labelling will help us get one step closer to meeting our resolution to halve food waste by 2025 while also helping reduce confusion for consumers," says Peter Freedman, managing director of the CGF.

Read SDG Target 12.3 on Food Loss and Waste: 2017 Progress Report here: https://champions123.org/2017-progress-report.

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ISRI seeks input for REMADE Institute efforts

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 09:13
The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), Washington, has announced it is seeking input from industry professionals on current technical and economic recycling challenges in connection with the REMADE Institute.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) introduced the Reducing Embodied-energy and Decreasing Emissions (REMADE) Institute in January 2017. It is led by the Sustainable Manufacturing Innovation Alliance, which is part of the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT).

ISRI has been involved in REMADE and its development for nearly four years. The association is a REMADE Affiliate Member.

REMADE is focused on driving down the cost of technologies essential to the reusing, recycling and remanufacturing of materials such as metals, fibers, polymers and used electronics. The institute has the following five-year goals:

  • 5 to 10 percent improvement in manufacturing material efficiency;
  • 50 percent increase in remanufacturing applications;
  • 30 percent increase in efficiency of remanufacturing operations;
  • 30 percent increase in recycling efficiencies; and
  • A targeted 50 percent increase in sales for the U.S. manufacturing industry to $21.5 billion and the creation of a next-generation recycling and manufacturing workforce.

This week, REMADE is holding its Technology Roadmap Workshop near RIT.

As part of this technology roadmapping, REMADE has requested industry feedback regarding the technical and economic barriers that the industry faces every day. Companies do not need to be members of REMADE to participate in the surveys. To this end, REMADE prepared the following four separate anonymous surveys:

Survey participation involves these steps:

  • Respond – Answer two questions to identify and describe the biggest barrier you face.
  • Rate – Review a minimum of five responses from other participants and rate the extent to which your company faces the same.
  • Explore – Continue to review and rate comments from other participants.

Once completed with the survey, ISRI says participants will be sent a unique link, which gives users an opportunity to visit the survey later and offer additional feedback. Participants also can view responses that other companies have identified and anonymously share their experiences with others respondents.

ISRI says, “Your input will be extremely helpful and important for REMADE’s technology roadmapping. The collected information will help shape the direction of REMADE’s five-year program. These surveys will be open through the end of September. ISRI appreciates your taking the time to provide input.”

For questions about these surveys or REMADE, contact David Wagger, ISRI’s chief scientist/director of environmental management, at 202-662-8533.

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Maryland Environmental Service wins SWANA safety award

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 08:48
Maryland Environmental Service (MES), a state agency with the goal of protecting and enhancing Maryland’s environment based in Millersville, was given a 2017 safety award for biggest safety improvement in the sustainable materials management division from the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA), Silver Springs, Maryland. MES received the award for its operation of the Prince George’s County material recovery facility (MRF) in Capitol Heights. 

“Employee safety is the top priority for us at MES,” says Roy McGrath, MES director and CEO. “Our partners rely on us to ensure facilities meet all safety compliance regulations. Congratulations to our team members at the Prince George’s County material recovery facility on this well-deserved recognition.”

After beginning operations at the county-owned facility in November 2015, MES spent a month repairing the existing equipment and conducting building and equipment improvements to bring the facility into safety compliance and operational viability. Currently, the plant processes more than 275 tons of single stream recycling per day, up from approximately 170 tons during the first few months of MES operations. 

In addition to 17 MES team members, 25 recycling sorters from a local minority business enterprise vendor, CMT Services Inc. of Hyattsville, work at the facility. This contract returns more than $1.5 million dollars in salaries per year to the local community.

An awards ceremony will take place during the International Solid Waste Association World Congress/Wastecon 2017 conference on Sept. 27 in Baltimore.
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GreenMantra Technologies ranks on 2017 Startup 50 list

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 08:23
GreenMantra Technologies, a company that produces polymers from waste plastics based in Brantford, Ontario, has been named to the 2017 Startup 50 list of top new growth companies by business publication Canadian Business and its affiliate, McLean's Magazine.

The Startup 50 list ranks young companies on two-year revenue growth. GreenMantra Technologies is ranked number 20 on this year's list.

Founded in 2010, GreenMantra converts waste plastics such as film, bottle caps and food containers into synthetic polymers and other specialty chemicals. These materials are manufactured to provide specific performance and processing benefits in various applications in the coatings, plastics processing, adhesives, roofing and paving industries.

"This recognition of our rapid growth by Canadian Business highlights the increasing acceptance of sustainable technologies that can drive value while benefiting the environment and society," says Martin Hudson, vice president of finance for GreenMantra. "Our unique technology is enabling us to capture the hidden value in waste plastics, diverting material from the landfill and ‘upcycling’ it to create useful products for longer life applications. In this manner, we are helping to create a circular economy for plastics where they are beneficially reused rather than discarded."]]>

Thyssenkrupp, Tata Steel to merge European steel operations

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 07:09
Thyssenkrupp AG and Tata Steel have signed a memorandum of understanding to form a joint venture to combine their European steel activities. Both companies will have an equal stake in the new company. The companies’ goal is to create a leading European flat steel player to be positioned as a quality and technology leader. The new entity is projected to have pro forma sales of about €15 billion ($18 billion), shipments of about 21 million tons annually and a workforce of about 48,000 across 34 locations, according to a news release issued by Thyssenkrupp.

The joint venture, Thyssenkrupp Tata Steel, will be managed through a holding company based in the Netherlands. It will have a two-tier management structure comprising a management board and a supervisory board, Thyssenkrupp says. Both boards are to have equal representation from Thyssenkrupp and Tata. The codetermination structures in Germany, the Netherlands and Great Britain will be retained.

Heinrich Hiesinger, CEO of Thyssenkrupp AG, headquartered in Essen, Germany, says, “Under the planned joint venture, we are giving the European steel activities of Thyssenkrupp and Tata a lasting future. We are tackling the structural challenges of the European steel industry and creating a strong No. 2.”

He adds, “In Tata, we have found a partner with a very good strategic and cultural fit. Not only do we share a clear performance orientation, but also the same understanding of entrepreneurial responsibility toward workforce and society.”

Natarajan Chandrasekaran, chairman of Tata Steel, headquartered in Mumbai, says, “The Tata Group and Thyssenkrupp have a strong heritage in the global steel industry and share similar culture and values. This partnership is a momentous occasion for both partners, who will focus on building a strong European steel enterprise. The strategic logic of the proposed joint venture in Europe is based on very strong fundamentals, and I am confident that Thyssenkrupp Tata Steel will have a great future.”

Thyssenkrupp will contribute its Steel Europe business to the planned joint venture. There also are plans for the joint venture to include Thyssenkrupp MillServices & Systems GmbH, a steel mill services provider that is part of the Materials Services business. Tata would add all of its flat steel activities in Europe.

Thyssenkrupp says due diligence will be conducted in the months ahead. In the process, the negotiating parties will give each other access to confidential business documents to the extent permissible between competitors. Based on this and on discussions with the supervisory board, the company says it expects to sign the contract with Tata in early 2018. The effective start of the joint venture could be in late 2018 following antitrust approval by the relevant authorities, according to Thyssenkrupp AG and Tata Steel.

Once the deal has closed, Thyssenkrupp says it and Tata plan to focus on establishing the joint venture and leveraging synergies from integrating sales, administration, research and development, joint optimization of procurement, logistics and service centers, as well as improved capacity utilization in downstream processing. After the ramp-up phase, the joint venture partners expect annual synergies of €400 million to €600 million ($480 million to $72 million).

Additionally, the production network will be reviewed starting in 2020 with the aim of integrating and optimizing the production strategy for the joint venture. “It is not yet possible to quantify the additional synergies from this integration in detail,” Thyssenkrupp says. “The scope for optimization also depends on numerous external factors, such as the outcome of the Brexit negotiations and the implications that follow. Other external parameters include the development of the regulatory environment in areas such as emission trading and international trade policy.”

Thyssenkrupp and Tata Steel say they expect that leveraging the cost synergies across the entire entity will require a reduction in workforce over the years ahead by up to 2,000 jobs in administration and potentially up to 2,000 jobs in production. This burden is expected to be shared roughly evenly between the two parties.

“We will not be putting any measures into effect in the joint venture that we would not have had to adopt on our own,” Hiesinger says. “On the contrary: By combining our steel activities, the burdens for each partner are lower than they would have been on a stand-alone basis.”

The steel industry has faced massive challenges in Europe for many years, Thyssenkrupp says, noting structural overcapacity in supply and constantly high import pressure, in particular. Various stages in the value chain are operating well below capacity. “Consequently, all producers are under pressure to fill capacity and forced to pass on restructuring gains to the market time and again,” the company says. “The result is a downward spiral and a need for restructuring about every three to four years, with major steel assets coming under threat of closure in the medium term.”

Thyssenkrupp says it is combining its European steel activities with Tata’s for five reasons:

  • Economies of scale are a key success factor in a market caught up in ongoing consolidation. Combining the No. 2 and No. 3 steelmakers in Europe results in a powerful new No. 2 for quality flat steel with a competitive market position and promising growth prospects.
  • The businesses are a complementary fit. Thyssenkrupp is stronger in the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) sector, while Tata’s strength lies with industrial customers. The main operating locations in Duisburg, IJmuiden and Port Talbot have good logistics links and serve customers in different, economically powerful regions. That makes for significantly broader overall coverage of customer sectors throughout Europe.
  • The steelworks of Thyssenkrupp and Tata rank among the most efficient facilities in Europe. Thanks to effective cost management, both producers operate at a profit.
  • Both partners aspire to quality and technology leadership in the European steel industry and continually develop innovative products and solutions for customers. High-tech steels are frequently the basis of industrial value chains in Europe and a key competitive differentiator.
  • The two partners each have a highly capable and dedicated workforce. The companies also embrace change to secure their future. And both companies have the backing of strong shareholders through a trust structure that perpetuates the ideas and values of the original owners.

The planned joint venture marks another key milestone for Thyssenkrupp. In its evolution into a strong industrial group, the company says it has two priorities: reducing dependency on the highly volatile steel business and enabling optimum development of all business areas.

Hiesinger adds, “We have always targeted the best solution for Thyssenkrupp. A joint venture with Tata is the only option that addresses the structural overcapacities in the European steel market, that creates substantial added value through synergies and at the same time is in line with our corporate culture. This also marks a clear commitment to our roots, as the joint venture enables Thyssenkrupp to retain its involvement in steel.”

More information on the joint venture can be found at www.thyssenkrupp.com/en/way-forward-for-steel/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=zukunftfuerstahl

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Emerging Asia is focus of Warsaw conference session

Tue, 09/19/2017 - 22:09
With China’s future as a plastic and paper scrap importer up in the air, other destinations in Asia could take on added importance in 2018. These emerging economies will be the focus of a session at the 2017 Paper & Plastics Recycling Conference Europe. The conference is being hosted at the Hilton Warsaw Hotel November 7-8.

At the session titled “Gateways and Barriers: The Export Situation II,” which takes place November 7 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., presenters will offer updates on the paper and plastic scrap trading opportunities existing and emerging in the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) region and the Indian subcontinent.

Presenters include Hrishikesh Vora of Mumbai-based Victory Creations (a company profiled by Recycling Today in late 2016); Shailesh Gothal of Belgium-based Gemini Corporation; and Michael McManus, who works from Canada for Indonesia-based Asia Pulp & Paper.

Throughout 2017, regulatory and policy changes taking place in China have caused papermakers and manufacturers of plastic goods in China—as well as recyclers shipping to them from throughout the world—to have questions about the future of the scrap trade there. (That will be the topic of the Conference’s opening session, “Gateways and Barriers: The Export Situation I.”)

As a reaction to those enforcement actions and drafted policy directives in China, manufacturers and recycling processors alike have been exploring their options to shift operations to ASEAN nations such as Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia, or to the Indian subcontinent.

One such recent investment involved a project by United States-based Unifi Inc. to partner with China- and Vietnam-based companies to bring production of recycled-content plastic fibers to Vietnam. When the alliance was announced in January 2017, Unifi’s president Tom Caudle remarked, “Vietnam has been a region of focus for brands and retailers over the past few years. The growth in the region cannot be ignored, with exports of approximately $27 billion of apparel and textiles in 2015, and expectations to grow to $30 billion in 2016. Within the past 18 months, we’ve grown distribution of Repreve to include Turkey, Taiwan, Sri Lanka and now Vietnam.”

Additional information on 2017 Paper & Plastics Recycling Conference Europe, including how to register, can be found on this Web page.

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TOMRA introduces AutoSort Laser

Tue, 09/19/2017 - 21:13
Wedel, Germany-based TOMRA Sorting Recycling has introduced the Autosort Laser, which it says can help enable the separation of glass, ceramics, stones, metals and plastics from household and commercial waste.

The new device’s capabilities “allow material recovery facilities (MRFs) to further fractionalize waste and reduce overall weight for landfill, thereby significantly reducing landfill costs,” says TOMRA. Autosort Laser also can help create additional revenue streams via the recovery of salable products, says the firm.

The new product’s laser sorting technology is based on TOMRA’s near-infrared (NIR) and ultra-flexible Autosort series, which has been widely accepted by the recycling industry, with more than 4,000 installed units. TOMRA’s Autosort Laser offers what it calls “a powerful sensor combination capable of detecting more material properties at the same point simultaneously, and therefore sorts material fractions more efficiently.” Unlike competing technology, says TOMRA, Autosort Laser excels at separating thin, thick or opaque glass from municipal solid waste (MSW).

One of the first companies to use the Autosort Laser is Remondis GmbH in Germany. “We are very proud of having the first Autosort Laser installed in our plant in Erftstadt,” says Harry Amann, Remondis site manager at the facility. “High cost savings and great output quality simplified our plant process. Needless to say, we expect a quick ROI [return on investment] on this project.”

TOMRA says Autosort Laser has an independent background system designed to ensure sorting stability and to make it possible to separate thin, thick or opaque glass from transparent polymers, which are used increasingly in items such as syringes, lighters, baby bottles and cosmetic product containers. TOMRA says its new sorting machine has “a unique mechanical design, which is built for the highest safety standards and ease of maintenance.”

The TOMRA group has used laser technology in its range of food sorting systems since 1997, and has now adapted and further developed the technology for the unique needs of the recycling industry. “I’m very pleased to see the first successful installations and the launch of Autosort Laser in our product portfolio,” says Peter Mentenich, senior product manager at TOMRA Sorting Recycling. “It ensures greater profitability for our customers and helps to significantly reduce the amount of material ending up in landfills. A good example again that sustainability and business are not mutually exclusive – both can be achieved with innovative waste management and recycling technology.”

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SteelMint Scrap Conference: ASEAN anticipation

Tue, 09/19/2017 - 20:17
Urbanization and economic growth are likely to keep steel consumption and steel production rising in Southeast Asia, according to speakers at SteelMint’s 2017 Steel Scrap & Raw Materials Conference Asia. Presenters from several ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries provided overviews.

Nghiem Xuan Da, the chairman of Vietnam Steel Corporation, says new capacity installed in that nation allowed Vietnam’s steel billet production to leap by 118 percent in 2016. The nation’s steelmakers produced 7.8 million metric tons of steel in 2016 and used some 4 million metric tons of imported ferrous scrap as furnace charge.

Of that 7.8 million metric tons of steel produced, Da said 4.7 million metric tons (60.2 percent) was made via the electric arc furnace (EAF) method; 2.3 million metric tons (29.5 percent) was in basic oxygen furnaces (BOFs); and 0.8 million metric tons (10.3 percent) was produced in foundries and induction furnaces.

Da said the nation’s production and consumption of steel has continued growing in 2017, with Vietnam on track for 10 million metric tons of crude steel output for the year (28.2 percent growth). He said about 60 percent of the ferrous scrap needed to make that steel will be imported, with Japan sending nearly half of the total (48 percent). Hong Kong is listed as the next largest contributor, at 19 percent, with some of that scrap likely originating in China or other nations, before it is transloaded in Hong Kong.

Forecasts based on urbanization and economic growth have Vietnam’s steel output continuing to rise, said Da. He said mill projects in the pipeline alone could help Vietnam reach 20 million metric tons of output in 2020, in which case the nation will need some 8 million metric tons of imported ferrous scrap.

Thailand’s current steel industry growth is not as dynamic, said Rajiv Mangal, president and CEO of Tata Steel Thailand PLC, however the nation’s steel sector does not include any integrated mill complexes, meaning its hunger for scrap is constant.

Thailand consumes about 18 to 19 million metric tons of steel annually, said Mangal, and it is among the top three importers of finished steel globally. That is one of several factors in place that could help prompt further investment in steelmaking in Thailand, he said.

Mangal said Thailand’s five-year plan includes a sizable infrastructure project called the Eastern Economic Corridor—a planned $43 billion project that includes a new airport, expanded port facilities, new and upgraded highways, and a high-speed rail line. The nation also is the 12th largest producer of assembled automobiles in the world.

Mangal characterized Thailand as having a “limited scrap supply” of its own, meaning it is likely to remain a significant net importer of ferrous scrap in the world market for the foreseeable future.

Though not part of the ASEAN trade region, India also is growing as a steelmaker, said Mohit Pawnday of Mumbai-based Sarda Metals & Alloys Ltd. India’s per person steel consumption is low, at 63 kilograms (139 pounds) per person, but growing, said Pawnday. “We should [also] see major steel production growth in India,” he remarked.

The ferroalloys niche represents one opportunity, said Pawnday, with low energy prices driving the expansion of manganese output in Malaysia and Indonesia. Plants in India that produce ferrochrome have allowed that nation to become the world’s third largest exporter of that alloy, said Pawnday. In his view, India can remain competitive in this sector because power costs are falling and there remains access to cheap labor as well as to “skilled technical manpower.”

Subhendu Bose, the managing director of Singapore-based Duferco Asia, said that despite recent investments in capacity, the ASEAN region overall still has “far less [output] compared to consumption,” creating an opportunity for steel exporters in China, India and other nations.

Bose said steel pricing has been strong in 2017 for a number of reasons, including: capacity cuts in China; efforts in the first half of 2017 to shrink finished steel inventories; a shortage of graphite electrodes that has put a ceiling on Asian EAF production; and limited scrap flows in ASEAN nations, creating another lid on EAF production in the region.

By spring of 2018, predicted Bose, Chines steel production will likely “ease back up,” and the shortage of electrodes for EAF furnaces will probably be resolved. “We should enjoy this as long as it lasts,” Bose said of the high steel prices.

SteelMint’s 2017 Steel Scrap & Raw Materials Conference Asia was Sept. 11-12 at the Avani Riverside Hotel in Bangkok.

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Northeast Recycling Council elects new leadership team

Tue, 09/19/2017 - 12:08
The board of directors for the Brattleboro, Vermont-based Northeast Recycling Council (NERC) has elected its fiscal year 2017 leadership team.

New board of director representatives from Connecticut, Maryland and Delaware were selected for “their demonstrated commitment to the organization and to environmental sustainability throughout the 11-state region,” says NERC. The 11 state members are: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Robert Isner, director of the Waste Engineering and Enforcement Division (WEED) at the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), has been re-elected as president; Kaley Laleker, deputy director of Land Management Administration at the Maryland Department of the Environment, has been elected as vice president; and Rick Watson, CEO of the Delaware Solid Waste Authority, has been elected as treasurer. Isner and Watson have served as NERC officers in past years, and this is the first time Laleker will be part of the board.

Isner has been with the Connecticut DEEP for more than 24 years, spending the past 18 years as the solid waste and hazardous waste program manager. His responsibilities as director of WEED include management of enforcement, permitting and compliance assistance activities for the recycling, pesticide, solid waste and hazardous waste programs.

Prior to joining Connecticut DEEP, Isner worked for more than eight years as a municipal land use planner for two municipalities in Connecticut. He holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Connecticut and a Master of Science from Central Connecticut State University. In addition to NERC’s board, he also serves on the board of directors for the Connecticut Chapter of the Air & Waste Management Association and the Connecticut Recyclers Coalition.

As the deputy director of Land Management Administration, Laleker’s responsibilities oversee solid waste, resource management, oil control, lead poisoning prevention, mining and land restoration programs. She formerly worked in the resource management program, primarily on composting and other recycling issues, as well as in the director’s office on regulations, legislation and other issues affecting the Land Management Administration’s work. She has a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law and has been with the department for five years.

Watson leads the Delaware Solid Waste Authority, which is responsible for managing all municipal solid waste, recycling, household hazardous waste, electronic waste and other special waste programs for the state. He joined the Delaware Solid Waste Authority in 1981 as a project engineer for Delaware’s first double-lined sanitary landfill. He has overseen design, construction and operation of solid waste projects, including landfills, transfer stations, landfill gas control systems and various recycling projects.

Watson has a Bachelor of Science degree in civil and environmental engineering from Clarkson University and a Master of Science degree in civil engineering from the University of Delaware. He has been a professional engineer in Delaware since 1983 and received a Board Certified Environmental Engineer (BCEE) certification in 1996 from the American Academy of Environmental Engineers & Scientists. He has served as vice president and president of NERC in the recent past.

The organization also announced that longtime NERC board member George MacDonald, from Maine, has stepped down and Megan Pryor has been appointed in his stead.

Pryor is an environmental specialist with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, where she oversees and administers the paint, mercury thermostat and mercury lamp product stewardship programs. She provides outreach, education and technical assistance, working with municipalities and businesses to meet specific situational needs in waste reduction and recycling efforts.

Pryor is currently pursuing a Certificate of Graduate Study in Sustainable Development at the Muskie School of Public Service. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Southern Maine with a Bachelor of Arts in environmental planning and policy.

In other association news, NERC has re-appointed board members Chaz Miller and Walter J. “Chip” Foley to one-year terms on the NERC board. This will be their third year of serving on the board.

Foley, a graduate of Penn State, started his career with the Federal Election Commission in 1976. His start in public policy began when he served more than seven years on the staff of Pennsylvania Governor Dick Thornburgh’s Washington office working on agriculture, military, insurance and environmental issues.

In 1988, Foley became the first director of the Coalition of Northeastern Governors’ Source Reduction Council. That position led to his recruitment by the steel industry to open a Washington office for the Steel Can Recycling Institute (eventually becoming the Steel Recycling Institute). He continued in that position as vice president, promoting the recyclability and recycled content of steel to decision-makers. In addition, he held the position of director of public policy for the American Iron and Steel Institute’s Steel Market Development Institute. He was an advisory member of NERC, past chair of the industry sector of the National Lieutenant Governors Association (NLGA) and vice president for public policy on the board for the National Council for Public-Private Partnerships.

Foley retired from the steel industry in May, 2014. He continues to be a contributor to the on-going work of the Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse and NERC. He also is a member of the Titanic Historical Society.

Miller worked for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) solid waste office, focusing on recycling and waste-related work. After a stint at the Glass Packaging Institute, in 1991 he worked for the former National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA), what is now the National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA). He has worked on a variety of issues facing recycling waste management, including market development, state recycling legislation, extended producer responsibility, flow control, interstate and international waste shipments, truck safety, transfer station siting and organics management. He has testified at state and Congressional hearings. Miller has been a keynoter and speaker at recycling and solid waste conferences in the United States, Canada, Japan and China. He writes “The Circular File,” an award-winning column for Waste 360.

NERC is a multistate nonprofit organization that that conducts research, projects, training and outreach on issues associated with source reduction, reuse, recycling, composting and environmentally preferable purchasing (EPP).

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NWRA announces new Sun Belt regional director

Tue, 09/19/2017 - 09:32
The National Waste and Recycling Association (NWRA), Arlington, Virginia, has announced it has hired Kirsti Nelson as its Sun Belt regional director. Nelson will manage the association’s state chapters in the southern half of the U.S., spanning from North Carolina to Arizona. Her position will entail serving as the liaison between member companies that are active in each state chapter, chapter retained lobbyists and legislators. She will be based in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Nelson worked for 12 years in sales and marketing roles for a waste collection equipment supplier. During her tenure there, she served on numerous councils and committees for the association. For several years she was involved in the Women’s Council, serving as its president for two years. In 2010, she was a founding member of the Future Industry Leaders Alliance (FILA), a council for member employees who 45 years of age or younger. In 2013, she was awarded by her peers in the industry the Wastec member of the year, an award sponsored by the association.

“We are looking forward to having someone from within the industry serve our members,” Darrell Smith, NWRA CEO, says. “Kirsti’s perspective will help the association further identify value we can offer and assist us in growing membership. Her insight to the business side will help her relate to chapter members’ advocacy efforts.”

“I am humbled and excited to be involved in such a great organization,” says Nelson, “Each state has its own waste-related regulations and needs a local voice. This position is important to the industry as a whole, but more importantly, to the chapter members who I will be serving.”

Nelson assumed the position in September 2017.
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