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Updated: 1 hour 48 min ago

Cox Enterprises adds eight facilities to zero-waste-to-landfill status

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 13:31
Atlanta-based Cox Enterprises has announced that eight corporate Cox locations have achieved zero-waste-to-landfill status. The announcement was timed to coincide with America Recycles Day, Nov. 15.

These eight locations join the seven Cox locations that achieved the zero-waste-to-landfill status in 2016. To date, the 15 locations have maintained a 90 percent, or better, diversion of waste from landfill.

Cox Conserves, the company’s national sustainability program, is celebrating its 10th anniversary of focusing on waste management and carbon and water conservation. The program engages each of the company’s major divisions: Cox Communications, Cox Automotive and Cox Media Group.

As a part of the Cox Conserves initiative, the company adopted a goal of achieving zero waste to landfill by 2024. The Cox Conserves recycling and waste diversion team has worked with individual locations to streamline operations, increase diversion and reduce overall waste to reach zero waste to landfill and to reduce the company’s environmental impact.

“Through Cox Conserves, each of our divisions uses innovation, creativity and resourcefulness to address the significant waste challenge that is facing our world today,” says Cox Enterprises’ Vice President of Sustainability Keith Mask. “We’re proud of our accomplishments to date, and we look forward to achieving more milestones in the years ahead.” 

Cox Enterprises’ 2017 zero-waste-to-landfill locations include:

  • Cox Automotive’s NextGear in Carmel, Indiana;
  • Cox Automotive’s vAuto in Longmont, Colorado;
  • Cox Communications in Chesapeake, Virginia;
  • Cox Communications in Cranston, Rhode Island;
  • Cox Communications in Port Allen, Louisiana;
  • Cox Communications in Tolleson, Arizona;
  • Cox Communications in Wichita, Kansas; and
  • Cox Media Group’s Statesman Media in Austin, Texas.

Cox says it has been recognized by multiple organizations for its waste management projects, including an Environmental Leader Project of the Year Award for its Golden Isles Conservation Center. Across the nation, Cox employees participate in cleanups to remove waste from waterways.

By engaging employees and finding ways to recycle, reuse and repurpose materials, to date, Cox Enterprises says it has diverted more than 100,000 tons of material from landfills.

Cox Enterprises is a leading communications, media and automotive services company. With revenues exceeding $20 billion and approximately 60,000 employees, the company’s major operating subsidiaries include Cox Communications (cable television distribution, high-speed Internet access, telephone, home security and automation, commercial telecommunications and advertising solutions); Cox Automotive (automotive-related auctions, financial services, media and software solutions); and Cox Media Group (television and radio stations, digital media, newspapers and advertising sales rep firms).

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Novelis Advanz 6HF - e/s200 aluminum alloy now available in North America

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 12:42
Atlanta-based Novelis says its Advanz 6HF - e/s200 aluminum heat-treatable alloy is now available in North America following its application in Europe, providing automakers greater design flexibility because of its formability, strength performance and weight savings for outer and inner applications.

The high-formable 6xxx-series alloy enables new opportunities to use aluminum for body sides, door inners, decklid outers and inners and other closure panels, the company says. The alloy also can be used in designs and applications that require bending without the risk of cracking. In addition, Advanz 6HF - e/s200 creates a weight savings of nearly one-third over steel in inner door applications.

"As a global leader in automotive alloy innovation, we are excited to offer solutions to meet the growing design and manufacturing needs of North American auto manufacturers," says Ganesh Panneer, vice president and general manager of automotive at Novelis. "As automakers pursue more complex designs and increase the amount of in-vehicle content, the strength and advanced formability of Advanz 6HF - e/s200 unlocks new engineering potential while offering critical weight reduction compared to steel. The expansion of this alloy into the North American market demonstrates our ability to draw on our automotive expertise and provide proven solutions across the globe." 

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Nucor to build merchant bar quality mill in Illinois

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 07:55
Nucor Corp., headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, has announced that it will build a full-range merchant bar quality (MBQ) mill at its existing bar steel mill in Bourbonnais, Illinois.

The MBQ mill will have an annual capacity of 500,000 tons and is expected to cost $180 million. The project will take approximately two years to complete.

“This new MBQ mill is right in line with our long-term strategy for profitable growth,” says John Ferriola, chairman, CEO and president of Nucor. “It takes advantage of our position as a low-cost producer to displace tons currently being supplied by competitors outside the region. It also builds on our market leadership position by further enhancing our product offerings of merchant bar, light shapes and structural angle and channel in markets in the central U.S.”

Ferriola continues, “Combined with our other full-range bar mills, we are now strategically located to supply all markets with high-quality bar products and exceptional service.”

The Midwest region is one of the largest markets for MBQ products, and Nucor says it is situated to take advantage of existing operating and commercial capabilities to meet this regional demand. This project will allow Nucor to use the company’s existing bar mill, Nucor Steel Kankakee Inc., by improving its melt capacity and infrastructure that is already in place. It also will take advantage of an abundant scrap supply in the region, as well as the company’s commercial footprint in the central United States. Nucor Steel Kankakee will continue to be a supplier of quality reinforcing bar products.

“We are very excited to bring new investment and jobs to the Kankakee community and the state of Illinois,” says Johnny Jacobs, vice president and general manager of Nucor Steel Kankakee. “We would like to thank Gov. Rauner, state and local officials, our teammates and the entire community for their support of this project. Nucor’s bar mills have been a cornerstone of our company and, as this project demonstrates, they are an important part of Nucor’s future.”

Nucor and its affiliates are manufacturers of steel products, with operating facilities primarily in the U.S. and Canada. Products include: carbon and alloy steel—in bars, beams, sheet and plate; hollow structural section tubing; electrical conduit; steel piling; steel joists and joist girders; steel deck; fabricated concrete reinforcing steel; cold finished steel; steel fasteners; metal building systems; steel grating; and wire and wire mesh.  Nucor, through Cincinnati-based The David J. Joseph Co., also brokers ferrous and nonferrous metals, pig iron and HBI/DRI (hot-briquetted iron/direct-reduced iron); supplies ferro-alloys; and processes ferrous and nonferrous scrap. 

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Study finds nearly 100 percent recycling rate for lead batteries

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 07:28
Battery Council International (BCI), Chicago, and Essential Energy Everyday have released a study showing lead batteries have a recycling rate of 99.3 percent, making them the No. 1 recycled consumer product in the U.S.

The groups say the near-perfect rate of recycling is attributed to industry investment in a closed loop collection and recycling system that keeps 1.7 million tons of batteries out of landfills annually.

The National Recycling Rate Study, released in conjunction with America Recycles Day Nov. 15, demonstrates the sustainability of lead batteries and their role in environmentally friendly energy storage for automotive and industrial applications, say the organizations.

Mark Thorsby, executive vice president of BCI, says, “Our goal for the lead battery manufacturing process is to collect and recycle and reuse lead batteries and their components. In essence to create a ‘closed loop industry’ that significantly reduces the demand on global resources.”

Thorsby continues, “On average, a new lead battery is comprised of more than 80 percent recycled lead battery material. Every part of the battery, from lead and plastic to sulfuric acid, is recyclable and reusable in manufacturing new batteries. This reduces the need for new lead mining, reduces waste and helps keep lead out of landfills.” 

In 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported that the rate of lead battery recovery was almost 99 percent, the highest recycling rate among other more well-known recycled products, such as newspapers (63 percent), aluminum cans (55.1 percent), tires (40.5 percent), glass containers (32.5 percent) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles (32.2 percent), the groups note.

“Our country needs energy delivered in an environmentally friendly, safe and affordable manner and the recycling rate our industry has achieved is evidence of our commitment to that goal,” Thorsby adds, “We are proud of this record and the fact that lead batteries provide essential energy storage to power millions of cars, buses, airplanes, trains and logistic networks as well as back-up recovery systems that protect life, investments and data in emergency situations.” 

BCI and Essential Energy Everyday say lead batteries’ applications reduce carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles through start-stop battery technology, help power hybrid and electric vehicles and enable smart grid technology that improves the reliability of wind and solar farms.

The closed loop process that ensures lead batteries’ high rate of recycling is recognized by the World Economic Forum and MIT’s Center for Transportation and Logistics as the world’s most successful example of a circular economy—featuring the design, production, transportation, recycling and recovery of vehicle batteries.

The National Recycling Rate Study was produced by SmithBucklin Statistics Group, Chicago, and was commissioned by BCI. The methodology for calculating the recycling rate considers new battery shipments, battery exports, imports of products containing a battery and imports of scrap lead and used batteries.

To view a video of the lead battery recycling process, click here.

Essential Energy Everyday exists to increase awareness of the importance of lead batteries in people’s daily lives. It is supported by the two global trade associations that represent the lead battery and lead industries: BCI and the International Lead Association, London.

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Arconic, Airbus sign multiyear cooperative research agreement

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 06:25
Arconic, headquartered in Pittsburgh, has announced a multiyear cooperative research agreement with Airbus, headquartered in Toulouse, France, to advance metal 3D printing for aircraft manufacturing. Together, the companies will develop customized processes and parameters to produce and qualify large, structural 3D printed components, such as pylon spars and rib structures, up to approximately 1 meter (3 feet) in length. The companies say they deal combines Arconic’s expertise in metal additive manufacturing and metallurgy with Airbus’ design and qualification capabilities, building on its experience with regulatory agencies for certification.

“This agreement combines the expertise of two of the world’s top aerospace additive manufacturing companies to push the boundaries of 3D printing for aircraft production,” says Eric Roegner, executive vice president and group president, Arconic Engineered Products and Solutions and Arconic Defense. “Additive manufacturing promises a world where lighter, more complex aerospace parts are produced cheaper and faster. We’re joining forces to make that potential a reality in a bigger way than ever before.”

Under this agreement announced at the Formnext additive and advanced manufacturing conference in Frankfurt, Germany, Arconic will use electron beam high deposition rate technology to 3D print parts. This technology is ideally suited to produce larger aerospace components because it prints them up to one hundred times faster than technologies used for smaller, more intricate parts, the company says.

In addition, Arconic says it will demonstrate the benefits of its proprietary Ampliforge process, which combines traditional and additive manufacturing. The Ampliforge process treats a near complete 3D printed part using an advanced manufacturing process, such as forging, which enhances the properties of 3D printed parts, increasing toughness, fatigue and strength versus parts made solely by additive manufacturing, and reduces material input and production lead times.

Arconic says it will will draw on additive and advanced manufacturing capabilities at its facilities in Cleveland and at the Arconic Technology Center outside Pittsburgh.

Last September, Airbus announced that it had incorporated a smaller 3D printed titanium bracket on a series production Airbus commercial aircraft, the A350 XWB. This achievement is paving the way for Airbus to design 3D printed parts in the future that are even more complex and lighter weight, the companies say. Arconic is producing these titanium brackets using laser powder bed technologies at its additive manufacturing facility in Austin, Texas.

Arconic announced three agreements with Airbus last year. Under those deals, Arconic agreed to 3D print titanium and nickel airframe components, such as fuselage and engine pylon components, made using laser and electron beam powder bed processes. 

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Bee'ah starts up mixed-waste MRF

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 09:58
Sharjah, United Arab Emirates-based environmental management company Bee’ah has begun processing municipal solid waste (MSW) at the company’s recently renovated material recovery facility (MRF). The MRF features a 75-metric-ton-per-hour (tph) system with the latest in recovery technology from Eugene, Oregon-based Bulk Handling Systems (BHS) and its subsidiaries Nihot and National Recovery Technologies (NRT).

The facility is the largest in the Middle East, processing more than 500,000 metric tons of MSW annually; BHS also says the comprehensive system retrofit has made it the most advanced in the region, reaffirming Bee’ah’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of environmental innovation.

“In years past, our trommel-based system was creating uneven size fractions and contamination through mixing,” says Daker El-Rabaya, Bee’ah’s managing director of waste processing and treatment. “We were unable to effectively separate organic material from dry commodities and were very dependent on manual sorting.”

He adds, “The system BHS delivered is more efficient, increases our capacity and is automatically creating material fractions that were previously unattainable. Screen and air technology effectively remove organics and inert materials early in the process to present segregated fiber and container line fractions. We are optically targeting both containers and film to produce marketable products from a challenging material stream. The technology has introduced Bee’ah to a new level of performance; we are very pleased with the results.”

The plant’s old trommel screens were replaced with two BHS Tri-Disc screens, which have greatly improved screening efficiency, reduced power consumption and allowed for better use of space, the supplier says. The new system has increased throughput, recovery of organic material and the recovery of other commodities, including plastic containers. Plastic film recovery has doubled with the installation of the FiberPure system, a combination of NRT optical and Nihot air technology, BHS says.

“Bee’ah is an innovative company, proactively adapting to new technology,” BHS CEO Steve Miller says. “The company’s commitment to recovery and processing excellence is a benchmark for others to follow. The system was already among the largest in the world, and is now among the most advanced. Bee’ah is a true leader in its space, and while we were excited when chosen as the system provider, we are more excited today to see the MRF performing at a high level. We look forward to ensuring success for years to come.” 

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NERC announces Environmental Sustainability Leadership Awards winners

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 09:46
The Brattleboro, Vermont-based Northeast Recycling Council (NERC) has announced winners of its inaugural Environmental Sustainability Leadership Awards at its 30th Anniversary Celebration Nov. 13 in Amherst, Massachusetts.

NERC says the award recipients’ work is consistent with the organization’s mission to promote sustainable materials management by “supporting traditional and innovative solid waste best practices, focusing on waste prevention, toxics reduction, reuse, recycling and organics recovery.”

“The quality of the nominees and the importance of the work they have accomplished is remarkable,” says NERC Board President Robert Isner, who also serves as the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s director for the Waste Engineering and Enforcement Division.

Several awards were presented under the Environmental Sustainability Leadership Awards.

The Involvement in NERC Award recognizes a person who has made a substantial contribution to furthering NERC’s mission. George MacDonald of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection earned this award.

Having served for 22 years, MacDonald was one of the longest-serving NERC board members.

NERC Vice President Rick Watson of the Delaware Solid Waste Authority says, “During his tenure, George demonstrated a true commitment to the organization. He was an inspiration to NERC staff and many others around the region, not only for his dedication to NERC, but also as a leader in advancing materials management.” 

The Greatest Impact from Collaboration with NERC Award recognizes an organization or individual that has helped drive measurable change as a result of partnering with NERC. Resource Recycling Magazine was honored with this award. 

Lynn Rubinstein, NERC executive director, says, “Resource Recycling Magazine and its topic-specific publications have provided significant support to NERC by regularly helping to promote our events, webinars and project outcomes. Thanks to this support, NERC’s initiatives have garnered national recognition and engagement, and improved collaborative opportunities for the organization and its members.”

In the category of NERC Environmental Sustainability Leadership, NERC recognized three award winners. Each achieved significant environmental results through waste diversion efforts in the Northeast, says the organization.

In the private sector, Cox Enterprises was recognized for its national Zero Waste to Landfill program.

“Cox locations in the NERC member states have implemented comprehensive waste diversion programs, led public engagement campaigns, and participated actively in environmental cleanups. The result is that their facilities have achieved an average 50 percent waste diversion rate,” says NERC Vice President Kaley Laleker, who also is with the Maryland Department of the Environment.

In the category of Young Professional, Alex Williams of Blue Earth Compost, Hartford, Connecticut, took the top honor.

Isner says, “Blue Earth is a food scrap collection company based in Hartford, Connecticut. Alex and his family have grown this business from a small collection program of 20 homes to close to 150 homes and 35 businesses. Alex has done every job in the business from accounting to food scrap collection, and with the growth of the business has been able to create three jobs for his community.”

In the Public Sector category, Molly Ettenborough, recycling and sustainability manager for Newburyport, Massachusetts, earned the award. Ettenborough was recognized for her leadership on zero waste initiatives, the Newburyport Organics Pilot and the Recycle IQ program.

In addition to the Environmental Sustainability Leadership Award winners, NERC recognized the following organizations and individuals for their work:

  • Chittenden Solid Waste District in Vermont for leadership in food waste reduction strategies and programming;
  • Casella Recycling for its recycling sustainability program and efforts to make glass recycling viable;
  • Organix Solutions for its efforts to promote curbside collection of organics; and
  • Alisha Raby Cefalo, city of Lynn, Massachusetts, for her leadership in implementing the Recycling IQ program in the city of Lynn.

NERC also acknowledged the work and contributions of:

  • Samsung;
  • The Carton Council;
  • Ray Dube, Sustainability Manager, Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Northern New England;
  • Keurig Green Mountain;
  • Stephen Greene, Lowell Folk Festival, Massachusetts;
  • NRRA School CLUB, New Hampshire; and
  • Dominick Cingari, Grade A Shop Rite, Connecticut.

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

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Unifi recycles 10 billion bottles

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 09:35
In honor of America Recycles Day Nov. 15, Unifi Inc., Greensboro, North Carolina, has announced it has recycled more than 10 billion plastic bottles and has a target to recycle 20 billion bottles by 2020 and 30 billion bottles by 2022.

The company manufactures Repreve, with fibers made from recycled materials, including plastic bottles.

To recognize customers who have partnered for this achievement, Unifi has launched the Repreve Champions of Sustainability Awards. The awards will acknowledge companies that are committed to manufacturing sustainable products with Repreve performance fibers.

“Reaching 10 billion bottles is an impressive milestone, and by committing to recycle an additional 20 billion by 2022, we will continue to expand our portfolio of Repreve-based performance products,” says Kevin Hall, CEO of Unifi. “With nearly 70 percent of plastic bottles in the United States going to landfills, America Recycles Day is a perfect time to remind people to recycle more and buy sustainable products. Repreve provides a solution for plastic bottles as long as they make it to a recycling bin.”

To put this achievement into perspective, Unifi says to consider this:

  • 10 billion bottles can fill the Empire State Building 7.2 times;
  • 10 billion bottles placed end to end can circle the earth more than 50 times; and
  • The recycled bottles used to create Repreve fiber, filament and chip instead of virgin equivalent can save enough energy to power 95,000 homes for one year.

Unifi says it saw an opportunity to incorporate recycled plastic bottles into Repreve, providing a “sustainable solution to brands and retailers.”

Hall adds, “Unifi could not have reached the 10 billion bottle milestone without the commitment from our customers to provide earth-friendly products, and the Repreve Champions of Sustainability Awards give us the opportunity to thank our partners who helped make it possible. A vast difference can be made if more companies recognize the impact they have on our planet and take steps to reduce it. The Repreve Champions of Sustainability Awards are meant to honor and inspire companies to source responsibly and take sustainability strategies to the next level.”

The 2017 winners of the Repreve Champions of Sustainability Awards will be announced at the 2018 Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in Denver, Jan. 25-28. 

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ISRI, Keep America Beautiful host State of Recycling Forum

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 08:25
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of America Recycles Day, Keep America Beautiful, Stamford, Connecticut, and the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), Washington, are hosting the 2017 State of Recycling Forum in Washington, which is presented in partnership with Keurig Green Mountain. The topic for this year’s forum is Plastics: Improving Quality. Driving Demand.

Now in its third year, the State of Recycling Forum is hosted annually by Keep America Beautiful and ISRI to provide an overview of the current opportunities and challenges facing recycling in the United States, as well as addressing critical topics that impact and can be influenced by industry stakeholders, government and individuals. The forum is held in conjunction with America Recycles Day, a national initiative of Keep America Beautiful dedicated to raising awareness and advancing recycling in the U.S.

ISRI says a number of objectives have been outlined for this year’s forum, which can be seen via livestream at www.isri.org/sor#.WgxailWnGUn:

  • raising awareness and a deeper understanding of recycling, specifically challenges for plastics recycling, progress being made as well as opportunities and solutions for improving the quality of plastics recovered and market demand for those materials;
  • identifying priority actions for stakeholder collaboration to advance plastic recycling; and
  • raising awareness among the broader recycling stakeholder community through an online forum.

The forum will be simulcast live from 11:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. EST through ISRI's website:

  • 11:30 a.m., Welcoming Remarks;
  • Noon – 1 p.m., Current State of Plastics Recycling;
  • 1:15 – 2:15 p.m., Innovations within Plastics Recycling; and
  • 2:15 – 3:15 p.m., Engaging Consumers in Recycling and Buying Recycled Content. 

A full agenda is available here

“Much is being done to capture more recyclable plastics,” says Brenda Pulley, senior vice president, recycling, Keep America Beautiful. “In celebrating the 20th anniversary of America Recycles Day, it’s a moment in time for us to look closely at the current state of the recycling infrastructure, as well as innovations being made to process and develop new markets for recycled materials, especially plastics. Keep America Beautiful is pleased to host this important forum examining the state of the industry with the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, in partnership with Keurig Green Mountain.”

“We have made great strides in expanding the recycling stream through innovation, education and determination since the first America Recycles Day 20 years ago,” says Robin Wiener, president of ISRI. “Today, we face new challenges and opportunities, particularly when it comes to plastics recycling. From developing new markets to technology to process new material, there is much being done. We are proud to partner with Keep America Beautiful and other organizations to advance recycling and encourage the public to take an active role.”

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American Chemistry Council recognizes Amcor, APR and P&G

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 07:53
The Plastics Division of the American Chemistry Council (ACC), Washington, has announced that Amcor, the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) and Procter & Gamble (P&G) have been selected to receive Innovation in Plastics Recycling Awards in 2017.

The awards recognize companies, nonprofits and government bodies that successfully bring new technologies, products and initiatives to communities and the marketplace that demonstrate significant innovations in plastics recycling. ACC announced the awards Nov. 15 in celebration of America Recycles Day.

The ACC says it is recognizing the 2017 winners for supporting end markets for recycled plastics. Since China’s National Sword took effect, more recycled material is staying in the United States, and there is an opportunity to grow domestic end markets for recycled plastics, the association says.

“This year’s award recipients are doing critical work to help support and grow domestic end markets for recycled plastics,” says Craig Cookson, senior director of recycling and energy recovery for ACC. “The honorees are leaders in innovation, helping to ensure that valuable recycled plastics are being kept out of landfills and used in new products.”

Amcor, with corporate offices in Zurich, created a monomaterial plastic pouch that contains 20 percent postconsumer recycled (PCR) plastic. In addition, Amcor notes that the pouch itself can be recycled along with other monomaterial plastic bags and product overwraps at drop-off locations across the U.S. The pouch features the How2Recycle Label, which educates consumers about how to recycle various packaging materials. Method is the latest company to use Amcor’s pouch.

APR, based in Washington, launched its Recycling Demand Champions Campaign to encourage the use of recycled plastics in durable products. Demand Champions voluntarily commit to purchase “Work in Progress” items, such as crates, totes and pallets, that contain postconsumer recycled resin produced from mixed residential plastics. Since the campaign’s launch in fall 2017, more than 10 companies have taken the Recycling Demand Champion Pledge.

Cincinnati-based P&G worked with PureCycle Technologies to develop a recycling technology that produces high-quality recycled polypropylene (PP), increasing the variety of end-market applications for the material. P&G plans to use the recycled PP in more of its packaging and says the recycled plastic will be available for other companies to purchase through PureCycle. (Read a Recycling Today article on the technology here.) 

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PPRCE 2017: Plastic faces scrutiny

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 07:47
Non-governmental organizations around the world are sending a message that the best way to control plastic litter is to cut back on the use of plastic packaging. That growing sentiment could ultimately mean there is less material available to plastic recyclers, according to presenters at the 2017 Paper & Plastics Recycling Conference Europe event, held in Warsaw in early November.

Mike Baxter of United Kingdom-based RPC bpi Group urged attendees from around the world to begin paying more attention to the media’s coverage of plastic’s role in the environment. He characterized such coverage in the U.K. as largely alarmist in tone.

More than 90 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have created an alliance housed at www.breakfreefromplastic.org that aims to hold corporate boards of directors responsible for using plastic packaging that creates litter on land or in the world’s oceans, he said.

Baxter said trade associations throughout Europe have been “making regular visits” to national and EU legislators, “but we can’t leave it only to the trade associations.” CEOs and other executives must get involved, he said, “We’re in the firing line” he said of all participants in the plastics industry.

Baxter’s call to action included a reminder to plastics recyclers that the material’s lightweight properties save fuel or energy in almost all of its applications, often making it “the best environmental option,” a message he said needs to be made to policymakers.

While also noting that critics, including some corporate CEOs, have been bashing plastic, Edward Kosior of London-based Nextek said his firm has been involved in several projects intended to increase Europe’s and the world’s plastic recycling rate.

Kosior said many of plastic’s recyclability projects stem from product design that incorporates not only multiple materials (such as tiny metal springs or paper labels) but also multiple layers of plastic that can be nearly impossible to separate.

He said Nextek has been involved in one major project involving multination consumer brand Procter & Gamble, which he described as “a new type of [plastic] recycling that hasn’t been tried before.” The PureCycle project in Ohio in the United States has been designed to increase the recycling of polypropylene (PP) packaging. The process uses a solvent to accomplish recycling “at the molecular level.”

Adrian Haworth of United Kingdom-based Recycling Technologies says his firm is offering a new option in the form of being able to take highly mixed and even contaminated plastic scrap and converting it into Plaxx, a low-sulfur oil product.

The pyrolysis process that creates Plaxx takes in “shredded mixed plastics” as its feedstock, although Haworth said highly recyclable PET (polyethylene terephthalate) is unwanted, as is PVC (polyvinyl chloride).

Thus, he said, much of the plastic scrap that is considered the “negative sort” at a materials recovery facility (MRF) “can now have a value chain [and] becomes an extra stream out of the MRF.”

Recycling Technologies has been operating a small plant in Swindon, U.K., but it plans to have a larger plant running in Scotland by the end of 2018. That unit will be located “at the back end of a MRF,” said Haworth, “to be fed the dry, shredded plastic.”

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.

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ISRI celebrates America Recycles Day by recounting recycling’s economic, environmental benefits

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 07:03
The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), Washington, celebrates America Recycles Day by applauding individuals who make an effort to recycle daily and by encouraging everyone to learn more about recycling and the industry.

America Recycles Day, a national initiative of Keep America Beautiful, takes place every Nov. 15 to promote and celebrate recycling in the U.S.

“Each year America Recycles Day offers us a reminder of the critical role recycling plays in the earth’s sustainability, including its impact on the environment, energy savings and the economy,” says ISRI President Robin Wiener. “We encourage every person to use this day as a reminder of the importance of recycling and the need to make a concerted effort to properly recycle in their daily lives. Each individual can make a significant difference by knowing what can and cannot be recycled in their community and encouraging local officials to make policies that promote better recycling a top priority.”

ISRI says recycling is the first link in the manufacturing supply chain. In 2016 the U.S. recycling industry transformed more than 130 million metric tons of scrap metal, paper, plastic, glass, textiles, rubber and electronics into specification-grade commodities for use in new products.

While 70 percent of the recycled commodities processed last year in the United States were consumed domestically, the global scrap market also provides an outlet for our nation’s excess scrap supply, ISRI says. U.S. export sales of recycled scrap significantly benefit the U.S. trade balance. In 2016, the United States exported more than 37 million metric tons of scrap commodities valued at $16.5 billion. The association says that since 2000, net exports of U.S. scrap have made a positive contribution to our balance of trade amounting to more than $210 billion.

The U.S. scrap recycling industry directly and indirectly employed more than 534,000 Americans with while generating nearly $117 billion in economic activity in 2016, ISRI notes. The industry paid $13.2 billion in direct federal, state and local taxes.

Recycling conserves limited natural resources and reduces greenhouse gas emissions by significantly saving the amount of energy needed to manufacture the products that we buy, build and use every day, the association says. The energy saved by recycling may then be used for other purposes, such as heating our homes and powering our automobiles.

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PPRCE 2017: Catching up quickly

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 07:02
The lifting of the Iron Curtain more than 25 years ago has introduced strong and steady economic growth to Poland and other nearby nations, according to two presenters at the 2017 Paper & Plastics Recycling Conference Europe event, held in Warsaw in early November.

Szymon Dziak-Czekan, who leads the Polski Recycling Association, says Poland has had to build from essentially a zero percent recycling rate “just a few years” ago to work its way to its current 20 to 30 percent range. He said European Union targets that request 50 percent and higher rates within a few years “are really ambitious” for Poland.

He characterized Poland as doing “very well” in its recycling of plastic production scrap, but said household materials are “flooding the market” for existing recycling capacity, and “more and more plastic film is going to incineration” rather than being sorted and recycled.

Recycling education is one weak spot in Poland, said Dziak-Czekan, who commented, “People don’t know much about recycling. It’s about mentality and the attitude; it’s going to take some time.”

Dziak-Czekan said Poland was “the only country [in the EU] that did not go into recession since 2008” and that it was welcoming investors with a young work force with “a good work ethic; they learn a lot.” He urged attendees, “Remember Poland in your investment plans.”

Marcin Kwiatkowski, who works for Ireland-based Smurfit Kappa Group (SKG), said recovered fiber collection in Poland had increased greatly in the past 10 years, to the point where recovered fiber supply there now exceeds demand.

He said recovered fiber quality has been improving compared to an earlier, problematic era. He said recyclers and government officials in Poland began following a separate collection system first implemented in the Czech Republic, and since then “the quality went up” in places where that system has been put into place.

Kwiatkowski said the economic forecasts for Poland are favorable, including “continued growth for paper and board” production.

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.

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Game raises awareness about recycling contamination

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 06:37
In celebration of the 20th annual America Recycles Day, Recycling Perks, the recycling incentive and strategic outreach company based in Norfolk, Virginia, involved adults and children in Norfolk, as well as in several Florida and Virginia cities the company serves, in a game to test their knowledge of recycling contaminants.

America Recycles Day was created in 1997 to encourage Americans to commit to recycling. Recycling Perks, which has been providing recycling education and incentives to many cities since 2010, says this day is another opportunity to speak with residents about the importance of recycling.

Recycling Perks has two goals: to get more people to recycle and to involve communities in making their cities greener. The company’s latest national campaign, the America Recycles Day Anti-Contamination Game, addresses both goals, Recycling Perks says, by involving the community and encouraging more people to recycle by helping them to be more confident in their recycling abilities.

Many residents gathered in Recycling Perks’ service areas and were asked a trick question about the recyclability of plastic bags. While plastic bags can be recycled at local grocery stores, they cannot be recycled in most curbside recycling programs. This confusion was a perfect example of why Recycling Perks focuses on continued recycling education in the community, the company says.

Recycling Perks says the campaign was successful in bolstering the confidence of the residents who participated, and the video, available at https://youtu.be/S2z_y24fgSs, will help educate more people.

Recycling Perks is an incentive and outreach program that uses targeted data analysis to create meaningful reports and maps that empower cities to recycle better. Cities who contact the company before Dec. 1, 2017, could win free data mapping. 

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Scrapo establishes online trading network for recycled plastics

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 15:40
A Silicon Valley startup says it has taken on the challenge of opening up the plastic scrap trading industry. Scrapo Inc. seeks to make it easier for buyers and sellers to discover, negotiate and close deals from around the world.

Sellers can list materials in seconds and receive instant bids from interested buyers, the company says, while buyers can browse through available offers and make a bid. The Scrapo mobile app allows users to use the network from their phones.

To facilitate trade in the platform, Scrapo says it has integrated real-time communication tools so traders don’t need to check emails or make phone calls.

“The idea is to promote free market philosophy through use of technology,” says Rashad Abbasov, co-founder and CEO of Scrapo. “If you as a trader, big or small, have access to hundreds of offers instead of a few, you obviously would end up making a much better deal for yourself.”

One of the factors that can undermine market efficiency and create barriers to trade is the lack of trust between buyers and sellers, according to Scrapo. Buyers in some cases don’t know suppliers, nor can they be sure of the quality of the material they should expect to receive unless they visit and inspect materials at the sellers’ sites. This is of greater concern for international buyers.

Similarly, from a seller’s perspective, guaranteed on-time payment is a concern, the company says. Some marketplaces verify traders’ identities when they register on their platforms. However, Scrapo says this is not enough. “Guaranteeing quality and payment is equally important to facilitate a smooth and secure deal,” the company says.

Abbasov says, “We understand that trust is the biggest concern surrounding this industry. That’s why we have come up with an innovative solution—an on-demand service called ScrapoSure—to ensure trust and security.” He says with the Scraposure service, the company’s team personally visits the sellers’ sites, verifies their identities, inspects the materials, supervises the loading process and assists with the logistics. “We have also integrated an escrow payment system in the platform so that if all goes well with the deal, the seller receives the payment as soon as the material is shipped,” Abbasov says. “We want to make recyclables trading as easy and secure as buying a book on Amazon.”

More information is available at www.scrapo.co, and the company’s app can be downloaded from the App Store or from Google Play.

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Study reveals economic impacts of recycling in Texas

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 09:46
Recyclers in Texas collected and diverted 9.2 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) in 2015, a haul worth an estimated $702 million, according to a comprehensive study of MSW recycling conducted for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).

TCEQ recently released its Study on the Economic Impacts of Recycling, a 118-page document completed in summer 2017 by Burns & McDonnell, Kansas City, Missouri. The study examines current recycling methods, marketing campaigns, ongoing programs and other efforts statewide, compiling information about job creation and potential economic opportunities.

The Study on the Economic Impacts of Recycling includes detailed recycling data collected from municipalities, private operators and others who divert from landfill paper, plastics, metal, glass, organics, construction debris and other materials.

Scott Pasternak, who conducted the study for TCEQ, will review results and conclusions during a free webinar from 10-11:30 a.m. (Central) on America Recycles Day Nov. 15. To register for the webinar, click here.

“Our vision for this study was for it to serve as a resource to help communities and businesses across Texas better understand the economic impacts of recycling in Texas,” says Pasternak, a project manager for Burns & McDonnell in Austin. “The study strongly connects how recycling efforts in Texas are generating economic opportunities across the state, now and into the future.”

Among economic benefits generated for the state by municipal solid waste recycling in 2015, according to the study:

  • More than 17,000 person years of direct, indirect and induced employment.
  • An overall impact on the Texas economy exceeding $3.3 billion.

Texas Rep. Ed Thompson, R-Pearland, says he is pleased with the study’s results. He wrote the bill that became law in 2015, ordering the study.

“I’m pleased with the results of this study showing the economic importance of recycling,” Thompson says. “The study shows that not only is recycling beneficial for the environment by saving space in landfills, but it also plays a positive role in the Texas economy. I’m proud that this study is able to bring more attention to these issues and educate people on the constructive impacts of recycling.”

During Nov. 15’s webinar, Pasternak plans to discuss these and other topics:

  • Overall economic impact of the recycling industry in Texas.
  • Methods to increase recycling in Texas, such as the development of new markets for recycled materials and new businesses that may result from increased recycling.
  • Funding methods to increase recycling.
  • Job creation from recycling, as well as potential job creation that will result from increased recycling.
  • Infrastructure needs and opportunities for rural and underserved areas.

Burns & McDonnell is a family of companies made up of more than 5,700 engineers, architects, construction professionals, scientists, consultants and entrepreneurs with offices across the country and throughout the world. 

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SWANA supports America Recycles Day

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 09:12
The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA), Silver Spring, Maryland, has announced its support of America Recycles Day Nov. 15, a national initiative of Keep America Beautiful, Stamford, Connecticut.

America Recycles Day annually promotes and celebrates recycling culture in the United States. SWANA and its members are committed supporters and advocates of the training, campaigns, events and program improvements offered by Keep America Beautiful that help move the recycling industry forward, says the association.

“SWANA is proud to collaborate with associations like Keep America Beautiful that share our mission of improving the management of solid waste,” says Jeff Murray, SWANA’s international president. “I hope that we can all take some time during this important day to consider how each of us can improve our recycling mindset in our office, schools and homes every day of the year.”

In 2017, SWANA says America Recycles Day comes at a time when the association recognizes the increased importance and need for recycling education. With the Chinese ban on material imports and other related restrictions looming over U.S. recycling programs, SWANA says it important to fund strong and effective recycling education programs that remind companies and homeowners to place only “the right stuff” in their recycling bins.

“Recent events make clear that it is critical for American recycling facilities to generate high-quality material; that’s true not only in order to export to China, but also to provide quality feedstock to North American companies,” says David Biderman, SWANA’s executive director and CEO. “Everyone from the waste generator to the collector to the MRF (material recovery facility) operator plays an important role in improving material quality. We also need to consider increasing municipal education and communications relating to recycling, to help guide American consumers on how to recycle properly.”

SWANA urges the industry and public to promote Keep America Beautiful’s “Be Recycled” message and to recognize the importance of educated recycling habits on America Recycles Day, and every day.

SWANA is an organization of more than 9,000 public and private sector professionals committed to advancing from solid waste management to resource management through their shared emphasis on education, advocacy and research. For more than 50 years, SWANA has been the leading association in the solid waste management field.

 

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China’s customs agency may reconsider some plastic scrap restrictions

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 08:02
Steve Wong, executive vice president of the China Plastic Scrap Association (CSPA) and chairman of Hong Kong-based Fukutomi Company Limited, has sent two e-mails to members spelling out new enforcement efforts in China directed toward companies that import scrap materials.

Wong notes that several forms of plastic scrap are scheduled to be banned by end of 2018, although he is increasingly hearing that “China would not close the door entirely, as ‘reasonableness’ is the spirit of the rule.” He continues, “It is perceived that there is a possible leeway of certain forms of plastic scrap, such as washed flakes, allowed for import in 2018, if it can be justified by a ‘recognized standard’ as feedstock for finished goods production without prior processing,” writes Wong.

At the CSPA’s conference in early November 2017, Wong writes he had the chance to talk to the director of China’s General Administration of Customs (GAC), including about whether China in 2018 may yet accept some imported items such as washed flakes.

Writes Wong, “While he is supportive [and[ says that it is reasonable for the GAC to consider [it] based on a set of recognized standards: a standard recognizing that the washed flakes can be classified as industrial or secondary materials [that] can be used directly as feedstock for production of finished goods without prior processing.”

Wong continues, “To justify that raw materials for finished goods production need not necessarily be in the form of pellets, it is desirable that once the plastic scrap can meet such standards, it can be classified as industrial in nature regardless the origin of it, and [it can] be categorized with a unique HS (harmonized system) code tantamount to pellet, and be allowed for importing.”  

Wong also cites a news release from China’s GAC dated Nov. 11, 2017, that spells out “a crackdown action” carried out by the agency in six cities, including Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Shantou, with the support of the police force.

The joint actions reportedly seized 39 suspects on charges related to “smuggling plastic waste and slags” amounting to 33,000 tons. The agency also seized what it considered to be relevant documentary evidence.

The use of third-party permits was part of the investigation, and the plastic scrap is then sold to what Wong calls “unqualified small factories and workshops for processing.” 

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ISRI reports that China is poised to issue final scrap import guidelines

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 06:28
Image: Dreamstime

The government relations department of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), Washington, issued an email Nov. 13, 2017, noting that the Chinese government is expected to release final scrap import guidelines in two to four weeks.

The email states: “Industry contacts believe the Chinese government will finalize the contaminants thresholds in its Environmental Protection Control standards for scrap (GB 16487) at 1 percent for ferrous and nonferrous metals, 1 percent for paper and 0.5 percent for plastics. This information has been reported in the media, but it cannot be confirmed until the Chinese government issues the final regulation.”

ISRI says it learned of the development while attending the China Nonferrous Metals Association conference in Ningbo, China, in early November.  

The association says the timeline for compliance is unknown at this point, adding, “Until then, ISRI members and Chinese customers report that materials are entering China under the current rules.”

ISRI is reporting that Chinese industry associations think the new thresholds are a “victory” for the industry because they are preferable to the 0.3 percent threshold for “carried waste” that China originally published in August.

ISRI says questions China’s scrap import guidelines can be directed to Adina Renee Adler, ISRI senior director of international relations, at aadler@isri.org

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Keep America Beautiful, Zephyrhills increase recycling access across Florida

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 05:53
In advance of America Recycles Day, Stamford, Connecticut-based Keep America Beautiful and Zephyrhills, a Nestle Waters brand of natural spring water, are recognizing four Florida communities that have increased their on-the-go recycling rates with the help of a grant from Zephyrhills. The grant funded 220 recycling bins (100 event recycling and 120 permanent bins) to increase access to recycling on beaches and at other public recreation locations along Florida’s waterways. Together, Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful, Keep Indian River Beautiful, Keep Wakulla County Beautiful and the city of Crystal River, Florida, have enabled their communities to recycle nearly 320,000 bottles and cans in the past six months. That equates to roughly 440 recyclables per permanent recycling bin per month, Keep America Beautiful says.

In April 2017, Keep America Beautiful and Zephyrhills teamed up to distribute these recycling bins to help keep plastic out of the waterways and landfills and to reduce litter in key Florida recreation areas. This past summer, Zephyrhills expanded the grant to these four communities by gifting picnic tables and bike racks made from 100 percent recycled plastic.

Florida’s current recycling rate is 54 percent and the state says it aims to reach 75 percent by 2020. Increased access to recycling on-the-go will help the state reach this recycling goal, Keep America Beautiful says.

“We are committed to helping improve recycling rates throughout Florida, and we are grateful to and proud of these Keep America Beautiful affiliate organizations for playing such a critical role in making on-the-go recycling available to everyone,” says Luis Martinez, Zephyrhills east regional sales manager, who also serves on the board of directors for Keep Florida Beautiful. “We hope that the recycled plastic picnic tables and bike racks will help residents and visitors enjoy the recreation areas while serving as a reminder that waste can become a valuable resource—if it is recycled properly.”

In addition to recycling bins, Keep America Beautiful provided best practice guidance to grant recipients about setting up effective away-from-home recycling programs. In turn, grant recipients tracked the quantity and composition of the recyclables and waste collected to learn how to continue to improve their recycling programs.

“As we celebrate America Recycles Day, Keep America Beautiful applauds the residents and visitors of these four communities for recycling while on the go,” says Brenda Pulley, senior vice president, recycling, Keep America Beautiful. “As a result, these materials will have a new life as they are used to create new products. The recycled plastic benches and bike racks these communities have received are testaments that recycling makes a difference.”

“Because of the tremendous impact visitors have on our economy, Keep Wakulla County Beautiful was profoundly grateful to have been the recipient of the Zephyrhills bin grant,” says Jo Ann Palmer, executive director, Keep Wakulla County Beautiful. “We want all those who come here to help protect our fragile environment, and our entire community has benefited from the permanent placement of the easy-to-see, easy-to-access and convenient-to-use bins. We have successfully placed a bin at every public entryway into our beautiful Gulf of Mexico waters, local lakes and river boat ramps. This availability has made a positive impact on reducing litter and the use of trash cans by providing an on-the-go way for visitors and locals to properly dispose of recyclable items.”

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