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Updated: 1 hour 23 min ago

Tomra celebrates recycling loyalty program’s one-year anniversary

Thu, 09/14/2017 - 12:10
Tomra, a Shelton, Connecticut-based manufacturer of reverse vending machines (RVMs) for collecting and recycling cans and bottles, has announced it is celebrating the one-year anniversary of its recycling loyalty program Tomra Makes Change.

Through Tomra Makes Change, the company says it has seen a significant increase in container redemption — members have recycled more than 30,000,000 containers through RVMs since its inception in September 2016.

More than 40,000 recyclers have joined Tomra Makes Change, further demonstrating that incentives work to motivate recycling behavior, says the company. In addition to redeemed rewards, a considerable number of charitable donations also have been made.

“We are thrilled with the number of people that have joined Tomra Makes Change. This reaffirms that consumers are engaged in redeeming when they understand the benefits to the environment, and when the process adds value to their lives,” says Ernie Argenio, senior vice president of sales and marketing, Tomra North America. “Redeeming containers through RVMs ensures that they stay in the material loop and can be recycled into new bottles, reducing our reliance on natural resources and reducing litter in our streets, oceans and landfills.”

The company developed Tomra Makes Change to further improve and reward consumer participation in deposit return programs through its new generation of RVMs. The Tomra Makes Change program was designed to get people more engaged in redeeming and recycling, the company says. To date, Tomra has 498 RVMs connected to the Tomra Makes Change program in the U.S, which are dispersed in more than 72 stores.

Program members receive one point for each container returned through a participating Tomra RVM. These points can be redeemed for rewards or donated to various charitable organizations. To be a part of the program, RVM users can create an account online at TomraMakesChange.com or through the Tomra ReAct mobile app.

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LiuGong chairman named to board of Beijing university

Thu, 09/14/2017 - 11:48
China-based LiuGong has announced its Chairman Zeng Guang’an has been named a board member of Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU).

The school is one of the major Chinese universities in cultivating high-level talent for foreign languages and intercultural communications. BFSU held a ceremony in the morning of September 11, 2017, where talent cultivation as well as the cooperative study on international and regional affairs were discussed. The company says this appointment further emphasizes LiuGong’s commitment to global expansion and high-level talent recruitment.

Chairman Zeng also was asked to speak to the 2017 incoming BFSU freshmen during their welcome ceremony. Peng Long, dean of BFSU, welcomed Chairman Zeng and wished a bright future for both LiuGong and BFSU.

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Ripple Glass partners with Bridging the Gap, seeks volunteers

Thu, 09/14/2017 - 10:03
Ripple Glass, Kansas City, Missouri, has announced it is working with Bridging the Gap and is seeking volunteers to walk neighborhoods and hang fliers on residents’ doors that detail Ripple’s glass recycling program expansion.

Ripple Glass says it has recycled more than 1 billion bottles and jars since 2009 and has more than 100 bin locations in the Kansas City metropolitan region for glass collection. The company also has glass collection bins in in Lawrence, Kansas; Branson, Missouri; and Omaha, Nebraska.

In partnering with Bridging the Gap, a Kansas City-based organization that provides environmental education and volunteer action through more than 1,500 volunteers annually, Ripple Glass says its goal is to spread the word about its expanding glass recycling program. Ripple Glass recently added its purple collection bins at IKEA in Merriam, Kansas; Unity of Kansas City North, Kansas City; and Cosentino’s Price Chopper, Kansas City.

The company is seeking what it calls “Amglassador Volunteers” — volunteers to spread the word about its new glass recycling bin locations.

Ripple Glass explains, “Why BTG (Bridging the Gap)? Well, back in the 2000s BTG received a grant from the EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) to help Owens Corning, Boulevard Brewing Co. and the Kansas City Star be ‘more green.’ At the time, BTG Programs Director Stacia Stelk planted the seed that Boulevard’s discarded glass bottles could become feedstock for Owens Corning insulation. Jump forward to 2009: Stacia was hired as Ripple Glass’ executive director to fulfill her vision of creating one of the nation’s largest byproduct synergy efforts and to launch glass recycling in Kansas City.”

Ripple says its and Bridging the Gap’s roots are “closely weaved together, which seems poignant since our headquarters are on the same floor of the Historic Hobbs Building in the West Bottoms. This close proximity planted another seed in Stacia’s mind: Why not capitalize on Bridging the Gap’s community building expertise and form a partnership to educate residents about glass recycling?”

Bridging the Gap is seeking volunteers aged 18 years old and up to canvass neighborhoods in pairs of two and hang door fliers about Ripple’s new bins located at IKEA, Unity of Kansas City North and Cosentino’s Price Chopper. Volunteers will receive perks for helping, including a free Ripple/Bridging the Gap T-shirt, an invitation to a private party at Boulevard Brewing in October and an “Amglassador Volunteer” pint glass.

For more information, visit www.bridgingthegap.org/ripple-glass-partnership or www.rippleglass.com/amglassadors

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Keep America Beautiful and EREF partner to reduce school-based food waste

Thu, 09/14/2017 - 10:02
Keep America Beautiful, a national community improvement nonprofit organization based in Stamford, Connecticut, and the Environmental Research & Education Foundation (EREF), a nonprofit organization with the mission is to advance scientific research and education for sustainable solid waste management practices based in Raleigh, North Carolina, have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that outlines an agreement to join efforts on quantifying food waste in K-12 schools. In addition, the MOU outlines the organizations’ aim to provide tools and resources that help reduce school-based food waste.

Keep America Beautiful and EREF say they will work together on areas of mutual interest to collect and analyze information about the amount of food waste generated at these institutions; foster education and awareness about how food waste is generated and can be minimized by K-12 schools nationally; and develop and share best practices and other resources to reduce food waste generation and to divert  materials from landfills. This partnership supports EREF’s School Cafeteria Discards Assessment Project (SCrAP), a program that quantifies food waste and other related waste generated in K-12 school cafeterias nationally.

“At Keep America Beautiful, we strive to educate and empower future generations of community and environmental stewards,” says Brenda Pulley, senior vice president of recycling, Keep America Beautiful. “Working together with EREF, we will gain a better understanding of the quantity and quality of food waste streams at schools and how to tackle reducing food waste.”

As part of this collaboration, EREF will help raise awareness of Keep America Beautiful’s RecycleBowl program, the national in-school recycling competition for K-12 schools, with specific focus on the food waste category of the competition. Schools can register now for the fall RecycleBowl competition, which begins on Oct. 16. In turn, Keep America Beautiful will support EREF’s recruitment of eligible K-12 schools for its SCrAP program as well as provide other available waste data for inclusion in appropriate reports.

“Education is a core component of EREF’s mission, and an understanding of waste generation in schools can provide valuable insight into how waste practices and education can be improved,” says Bryan Staley, CEO and president of EREF. “We hope the program will enlighten schools regarding not only food waste, but all discarded materials, including recycling. Partnering with Keep America Beautiful will allow EREF to engage schools with a strong interest in more efficiently managing their waste.”
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Aquafil invests $10M in US carpet recycling facility

Thu, 09/14/2017 - 09:32
Trento, Italy-based Aquafil, a leading manufacturer of Nylon 6, will open its first U.S. carpet recycling facility in Phoenix. Aquafil Carpet Recycling (ACR) No. 1 will recycle Nylon 6 from carpets back into raw material, further enhancing its Econyl Regeneration System, which the company says is the only technology in the world capable of regenerating Nylon 6 from carpets and other end-of-life products, including fishing nets.

Made from 100 percent recycled nylon, Aquafil’s Econyl yarn is used to produce a wide range of textile products, such as sportswear, swimwear and carpets. In 2007, Aquafil established the Energy & Recycling business unit to boost the sustainable activities of the Aquafil Group. Thanks to its research and development activities, the Econyl Regeneration System was created.

Once operational in 2018, ACR No. 1 will have the capacity to collect and process 35 million pounds of carpet per year.

“We’re not comfortable with the status quo—in this case that less than 5 percent of carpet waste is recycled,” says Aquafil CEO Giulio Bonazzi. “We know Nylon 6 waste can be powerful with the proper technology, and we’re honored to call Phoenix home to that power with ACR No. 1.”

Carpet recycling has historically been a challenge because of the many different materials used and with designs that do not allow for easy separation. Through the ECONYL Regeneration System, Aquafil avoids the use of petroleum, reduces carbon emissions and gives material an infinite number of lives without sacrificing quality, the company says.

ACR No. 1 is expected to create 50 new jobs and will repurpose material that is otherwise destined for landfill, getting Aquafil closer to its goal of producing ECONYL yarn from 100 percent postconsumer material.

“We want to recycle as much carpet as possible by establishing a number of these facilities throughout the U.S.,” says Bonazzi. “This activity will be closely connected to our fishing nets recycling efforts, which diverts millions of pounds of waste from our oceans.”

Econyl yarn is in high demand with carpet and textile manufacturers, as well as with apparel brands, Aquafil says. To date, Aquafil has partnered with more than 160 brands, including Adidas, Volcom and Stella McCartney, along with carpet manufacturers, such as Interface, Milliken, Mannington and Tarkett Group.

The Aquafil Group has a presence in eight countries on three continents, employing more than 2,700 staff at 14 plants in Italy, Germany, Scotland, Slovenia, Croatia, the U.S., Thailand and China.

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Restaurant Action Alliance of NYC files lawsuit against de Blasio Administration

Thu, 09/14/2017 - 09:20
Restaurant Action Alliance of New York City (RAANYC), which is an organization composed of minority restaurant owners, managers and workers, and a coalition of restaurant owners joined foam manufacturers, recyclers and food service industry leaders to announce the filing of a lawsuit against the de Blasio Administration that seeks to block the city’s second attempt to ban polystyrene foam. The city claims that polystyrene foam is not recyclable, but the coalition say postconsumer foam is being recycled across the globe.

The complaint says the city cherrypicked critical information to suit its narrative in crafting the latest Department of Sanitation Determination (DSNY) issued May 12 and flouted a previous directive from the New York State Supreme Court.

“Once again, Mayor de Blasio and his Sanitation Commissioner have ignored the facts confirmed by environmental scientists, food service manufacturers, recycling industry participants and independent experts that prove expanded polystyrene foam is recyclable– facts already found by a New York court but ignored by city officials,” says Randy Mastro, the lead attorney for the coalition’s lawsuit. “The de Blasio Administration should comply with the court’s directive, drop its latest misguided attempt to ban soft foam and implement the comprehensive recycling program proposed and financially supported by industry participants. Indeed, a comprehensive program recycling all polystyrene will be more environmentally effective and economically feasible than a limited soft foam ban alone, saving the city millions of dollars in landfill costs and protecting the many smaller restaurant businesses that depend upon cost effective soft foam food service items to survive.”

Mastro says the coalition is prepared to defend vigorously its suit against the city.

The lawsuit, which was filed in State Supreme Court, urges the city to forego its plans to ban foam in early November and instead establish a postconsumer recycling program.

In September 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that foam is recyclable and halted the de Blasio Administration’s previous attempt to ban foam products. The court also directed the city to reissue a determination consistent with its findings.

According to a study by the independent Berkeley Research Group, Emeryville, California, the cost of foam alternatives for businesses and consumers is more than $51 million annually.

“Foam containers are essential to the operations of Caribbean, Asian and other ethnic restaurants. In fact, for many of us, 40 to 60 percent of our business model relies on takeout orders. If the city moves forward with this ban, it will surely increase our costs of doing business at a time when many small restaurant owners are fighting for survival. We urge the mayor to reconsider his foam ban,” says Akisha Freeman, president of the RAANYC.

Freeman says that the RAANYC supports Intro 1480, legislation in the city council that would establish a curbside program to recycle polystyrene foam across the city.

“Once again, New York City is ignoring the facts that prove polystyrene foam can be recycled—a denial that is costing the city a significant economic windfall through a combination of recycling revenue and landfill avoidance,” Alan Shaw, president of Plastics Recycling Inc., Indianapolis, says. “We urge Mayor de Blasio to consider the facts of foam recycling.” 

A proposed ban would adversely impact New York City’s finances by $11.2 million annually in added procurement costs for plastic foam substitutes while continuing the city’s costs to landfill foam, the alliance says. The proposed ban covers a more than 20 percent of polystyrene waste, which means nearly 80 percent will continue to be shipped and landfilled.

Moving to a 100 percent recycling program would save millions of dollars in avoided landfill costs and generate millions of dollars in revenue annually, the alliance says. In addition, a curbside polystyrene foam recycling program would help achieve the mayor’s OneNYC goals for zero waste and greenhouse gas reduction.]]>

Appliance Recycling Centers of America acquires GeoTraq

Thu, 09/14/2017 - 09:02
Appliance Recycling Centers of America (ARCA), a utility appliance recycling program provider based in Hopkins, Minnesota, announced it has acquired GeoTraq, a manufacturer of cellular tracking modules designed specifically for the internet of things (IoT) market based in Seattle.

The GeoTraq Cellular Module is designed to allow wireless device integrators to design and manufacture long range IoT products for the commercial, industrial and consumer markets. The GeoTraq acquisition allows ARCA the ability to deploy IoT devices throughout the world to locate, monitor and track the movement of inventory and other assets.

“As we have previously announced, we believe that expanding our offerings beyond our current business model will be highly valuable for shareholders, and therefore, we will continue to seek such opportunities to enhance our product and service offerings,” says Tony Isaac, CEO of ARCA. "The addition of the GeoTraq technology increases our offerings as we enter the IoT market. We believe this acquisition will benefit our overall efficiency and provide GeoTraq access to a large base of new customers."

"Since the founding of GeoTraq, our mission has been to provide an alternative to the wireless technologies currently used in IoT such as Bluetooth, LoRa, ZigBee, LPWAN and NB-IOT,” says Gregg Sullivan, CEO and president of GeoTraq. “We are excited to join the ARCA team and to further enhance shareholder value through our unique and exciting product offering.”
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Wenck opens Denver office

Thu, 09/14/2017 - 09:00
Minneapolis-headquartered Wenck, an environmental, engineering, construction and response services firm, has announced that it has opened a new office in Denver’s Greenwood Village and is planning to add several new employees this year.

Wenck provides consulting services in water resources, environmental, permitting and compliance, green infrastructure, health and safety, site development, construction, emergency response and solid waste.

“We have had a number of new people join the team recently,” says Rod Ambrosie, CEO of the company. “Our new office allows us to better serve our clients in the West and enables us to partner with public and private organizations to develop innovative project solutions that save time, money and resources."

Wenck already has a significant presence in the Fort Collins-area of Colorado since the company acquired Lidstone and Associates in 2015. Lidstone was founded in 1986, and Wenck has leveraged the company’s long-standing clients to fuel new growth in Colorado. With the Denver office, Wenck now has 13 office locations in five states.

Wenck, founded in 1985, employs more than 300 engineers, scientists, construction and response professionals in 13 locations. 

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Closed Loop Foundation releases ‘Recycling of Plastic Film Packaging’ study

Thu, 09/14/2017 - 07:50
The Closed Loop Foundation, which is the independent 501(c)(3) affiliate of Closed Loop Partners, has released a study that it says offers insights on how investors can advance film and flexible packaging recycling. The study, “Recycling of Plastic Film Packaging,” was conducted with support from SC Johnson, Racine, Wisconsin.

Rob Kaplan of Closed Loop Foundation says, “Investors and supply chain leaders are looking for opportunities to catalyze recycling of flexible packaging, but there is a lack of real investable opportunities at the stage of commercialization. We identified a critical need to support the industry and investors by creating a roadmap for investing in flexible packaging.”

The study characterizes the categories of flexible packaging and offers insights on challenges and trends to determine how investors can best affect this sector. Flexible packaging includes materials such as snack bags and pouches, which are growing in the market.

“Even though more film and flexible packaging are produced than plastic bottles, recycling of those products far lags that of bottles—it is important that we capitalize on emerging technologies and develop markets for this under-recovered stream of materials,” says Tim Buwalda, senior consultant at Orlando, Florida-based RSE USA, strategic partner and author of the study. 

According to the study, investors’ key opportunity involves investing in end market development to increase the value of these materials. 

“IntegriCo Composites, an investment of the Closed Loop Fund, is a great example of a United States-based manufacturer that is building the market by sourcing more multilaminate flexible packaging and LDPE (low-density polyethylene) films into the feedstock of its railroad ties,” Kaplan says. 

Additionally, emerging investment opportunities exist in the sorting and processing of flexible packaging, but philanthropic or research funding remains critical to test the most effective solutions and motivate the industry to consider how to incorporate flexible packaging into a thriving recycling system, the Closed Loop Foundation says. 

While retail collection remains a viable way to collect clean polyethylene film bags and wraps for recycling, it will struggle to reach scale, according to the study. Plus, recycling opportunities are needed for other flexible packaging materials. The study recognizes the crucial work of groups like Materials Recovery for the Future (MRFF), Dow Energy Bag and material recovery facility (MRF) equipment manufacturers that are testing ways to collect this material through the curbside residential recycling programs to ensure greater quantities of plastic film get recycled. “That is why this study was important—to identify where the investment community could make the most significant impact while avoiding duplication of efforts,” the Closed Loop Foundation says.

“Research such as this shines the light on the current industry and the struggle with getting more flexible film to the curb,” says Kelly M. Semrau, senior vice president of global corporate affairs, communication and sustainability, for SC Johnson. “SC Johnson is committed to finding a solution that brings Ziploc brand bags and other flexible films into the curbside recycling stream. While we know this is a long-term endeavor, there is a way to accomplish this goal.”

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Freight demand returns to Houston, further increasing truck rates

Thu, 09/14/2017 - 06:17
IHS Markit’s Houston office has been releasing periodic updates on the impact of Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey on the crude oil, refining and chemical sectors in the Gulf Coast area. The company also has been looking at logistics issues that have resulted from the storm.

According to the company’s summary dated Sept. 13, 2017, major Gulf coast ports have all reopened, though, on an individual basis, Coast Guard mandated restrictions may still be enforced.

IHS Markit reports that the three major Class I railroads in the area—Union Pacific Railroad, BNSF Railway and Kansas City Southern Railway—effectively have restored service on their networks, but delays remain. By Sept. 9, Union Pacific Railroad had reduced the number of miles out of service from 1,750 at the peak of disruption to 50 miles. KCS and BNSF said their Houston area subdivisions were all operational. However, service delays are expected in light of a backlog of freight and reduced train speed limits because of repair work.

Freight demand is returning to Houston as immediate emergency relief gives way to longer-term rebuilding needs, IHS Markit says, which is placing additional pressure on already rising truck rates.

Tightness in the transportation sector impact is being felt nationwide, the firm says. For the week ending Sept. 2, the U.S. average dry van spot market rate posted by DAT Solutions, a load board operator, rose 12 cents to $1.90 per mile. In Dallas, outbound spot truck rates rose 26 cents per mile. On the Dallas-to-Houston lane, however, spot rates increased by $1.60 per mile, IHS Markit notes.

Trucks need fuel to operate, and IHS Markit estimates that 13 of the 20 affected refineries along the Gulf Coast are at or near normal operating rates. Five of the other 7 are actively in the process of restarting or ramping up runs.

“The amount of capacity offline is still significant,” the firm says, adding that it estimates that around 1.7 million barrels per day (b/d) of distillation capacity, or 9 percent of U.S. total, is offline as of Sept. 12. This is down from around 4.8 million b/d (27 percent of U.S. total) at the peak of the flooding, IHS Markit adds.

Because of the amount of refining capacity that remains offline (and perhaps Hurricane Irma-related market jitters), gasoline prices have been slow to decline, the firm says. It has now been nearly two weeks since the peak of Gulf Coast flooding and the NYMEX RBOB (reformulated blendstock for oxygenate blending) spot price remains about 20 percent above its pre-Harvey levels.

IHS says gasoline prices may decline sharply in the coming week as arriving European product cargoes and Hurricane Irma affect demand.

The largest declines are likely to come in the states that saw the greatest late August/early September spikes in pricing, IHS Markit says. East of the Mississippi, markets could see prices decline 5 to 10 cents per gallon per week. The declines could begin in earnest with the first day of autumn, according to the firm.

Florida terminals are being resupplied currently, IHS Markit notes. Marathon’s facilities appear to be open throughout the state, and that company has the most extensive network of logistics in Florida.

A persistently wide Brent-West Texas Intermediate (WTI) price spread indicates that U.S. crude oil markets need more time to return to normal in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, IHS Markit says. The price differential, about $3 per barrel before the storm, is now more than $6, a sign that U.S. crude oil supplies are increasing surplus relative to the international market.

That surplus has emerged as a portion of Gulf Coast refining capacity remains offline (although most facilities are recovering). At the same time, port and pipeline closures earlier this month has caused a disruption in U.S. crude oil exports.

Looking at natural gas liquids, IHS Markit says the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) published the first weekly propane/propylene inventory post-Hurricane Harvey, which indicate that supplies built by 6.3 million barrels over the week ended Sept. 1.

In the chemicals sector, 10 percent of total U.S. ethylene production is offline currently, and total U.S. ethylene consumption capacity has declined in a similar range, with three or four crackers still idled and at different stages of the startup process. The new ethylene units that were slated to come online over the next six months are expected to be delayed by a minimum of 30 days, IHS Markit reports.

The amount of confirmed propylene production assets offline dropped to 13 percent of chemical grade propylene (CGP) and polymer grade propylene (PGP), with refinery grade (RGP) supply offline also lower at 7 percent. However, IHS Markit reports, nearly 60 percent of assets are either in restarting activities or reduced. RGP production is also returning with refineries in restarting activities and ramping up.

Consumers of propylene and its derivatives have observed a stronger rate of recovery and now seem to be limited by propylene supply. IHS says the propylene market remains difficult to predict given that producers and consumers are down; however, price pressure will be sharply upward from prestorm levels based on stronger derivative capability against limited supply and higher propane costs.

IHS Markit estimates suggest that approximately 24 percent of U.S. polyethylene production capacity remains offline, while another 30 percent of U.S. capacity is operating at reduced rates.

Regarding polypropylene, IHS Markit estimates that 98 percent of North American nameplate capacity is now online. Rail cars are shipping out of the Gulf Coast, but supply issues continue in specific cases where applications require specified grades. “The market is heavily focused on supply over price this month, with a wide range of price premiums for September product,” IHS notes.  

For a complete report from IHS Markit, which is headquartered in London, visit http://bit.ly/2eUZilB

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Zhongwang Holdings makes aluminum industry purchase in Germany

Thu, 09/14/2017 - 02:48
China Zhongwang Holdings Ltd. has announced acquiring a controlling stake in Unna, Germany-based Aluminiumwerk Unna AG (ALUnna), a producer of extruded aluminum tubes.

Zhongwang, which describes itself as the world’s second-largest aluminum extruder, says it will acquire a 99 percent equity interest in ALUnna. The acquisition is being made through Zhongwang’s wholly-owned German subsidiary, Zhongwang Aluminium Deutschland GmbH, according to the company.

On its website, ALUnna refers to itself as a manufacturer of “a comprehensive range of specialist aluminum alloy products” at a facility near Dortmund, Germany, that it describes as “fully integrated and includes a cast house, extrusion plant, heat treatment ovens and tube drawing and cutting equipment.”

“The acquisition marks a milestone in our international expansion and a major step in complementing the company’s business,” says Lu Changqing, president and executive director of China Zhongwang. “The transaction would also substantially enhance China Zhongwang’s production capability in seamless extruded aluminum tubes for further optimizing our product mix. Furthermore, with ALUnna’s product quality credentials and experience in customer development, the acquisition will expedite the Group’s business expansion into, among others, [the] aviation and automobile industries, therefore enhancing the group’s overall competitiveness.”

Says Thomas Wiese, CEO of ALUnna, “Being the world’s second largest aluminum extruder, China Zhongwang will provide us additional resources to expand our operations and propel long-term growth, to reinforce our international reputation and recognition and to strengthen our position as a world-leading supplier. ALUnna together with China Zhongwang have the goal of continuing to generate lasting values for customers, partners, employees and shareholders worldwide.”

China Zhongwang says it has been “strategically unfolding its global foothold” and that It has set up sales offices in Germany and Japan to support its overseas business. ALUnna has an existing sales office in Aurora, Colorado.

Another Zhongwang-affiliated company, Zhongwang USA, is still attempting to finalize its acquisition of Cleveland-based aluminum producer Aleris Inc. The transaction, which was announced in August 2016, may have met with some political opposition in the U.S. Zhongwang USA is reportedly owned by Liu Zhongtian, the chairman of China Zhongwang Holdings, but it is not part of the same company.

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SteelMint Scrap Conference: Inflection point

Wed, 09/13/2017 - 20:10
The long-booming auto and construction markets in China have ramped up ferrous scrap volumes, just as that nation also has been shutting down scrap-fed induction furnaces. What this means for the rest of the world’s ferrous scrap market is not yet clear, according to presenters and delegates at SteelMint’s 2017 Steel Scrap & Raw Materials Conference Asia.

Steven Vercammen, who is based in Belgium for global consulting firm McKinsey & Company, provided a recap of a report he has co-authored on the topic of China’s emerging ferrous scrap generation.

According to Vercammen, China’s economic planners are aware of the growing volumes of ferrous scrap being generated in their nation, and that China currently uses far less scrap-fed electric arc furnace (EAF) technology compared to the world’s other large economies.

An increasing number of vehicles, appliances and buildings are reaching the end of their life cycles in China, said Vercommen. This means that while one-third of the 180 million metric tons of ferrous scrap generated in China in 2015 could be characterized as obsolete scrap, that percentage may soar to as much as 80 percent by 2030.

In volume terms that mean’s China’s generation of ferrous scrap could grow to 285 million metric tons per year by 2025. As of 2017, China appears to be consuming only about 140 million metric tons of ferrous scrap per year. “It is important to understand the imbalance,” said Vercommen.

However, he added, steelmakers are already making adjustments to use more scrap in their basic oxygen furnaces (BOFs), exploring and investing in technologies that can allow BOFs to use as much as 50 percent scrap as charge, compared to their traditional 10 percent range.

Both Vercommen and fellow presenter Paul Butterworth of London-based CRU Analysis say Chinese steelmakers also are likely to invest in EAF technology, perhaps on a case-by-case basis as BOF furnaces are retired when they need to be relined.

Such investments will be necessary in light of three other factors: 1) China’s recent clampdown on scrap-fed induction furnace steelmakers; 2) China’s 40 percent duty levied on ferrous scrap exports; and 3) the implementation of a nationwide carbon trading and credit system that ultimately will favor scrap-fed production over integrated steelmaking.

Butterworth says Chinese steel production reached “an inflection point” in 2014, when Chinese steelmakers no longer “had to pay a premium for imported scrap.” The availability of suitable supplies of domestic scrap has not only changed how Chinese mills feed their furnaces, but also has had a favorable impact on the profitability of steel firms there, he stated.

Butterworth said global ferrous scrap pricing has for several years been influenced by the “swing capacity” at a handful of mills in Europe that can choose in any given month to either increase or decrease their reliance on scrap.

Such “swing capacity” technology is now gaining favor in China, he added, and the importance of it was demonstrated this year when China’s government shuttered induction furnaces. BOF operators in China, said Butterworth “quickly started ramping up” their use of scrap, first in regions where induction furnaces had been idled, and then in other provinces.

This has been good news overall for the global steel industry, said Butterworth. “The profitability of China’s steel sector means it is less likely to export crude steel—that’s going to benefit steelmakers everywhere,” he remarked. Butterworth said in the first half of 2017 China has exported only half the volume of crude steel it exported in the first half of 2016.

While Vercommen and Butterworth see China taking steps to consume its own ferrous scrap, delegates and other presenters at the conference remarked on the growing presence of Chinese ferrous scrap exporters. A delegate from Pakistan said Chinese ferrous scrap traders are not only calling on steelmakers in that nation, but also establishing sales offices in Pakistani cities. And two other presenters commented on the growing trend of ferrous scrap moving south from China to Vietnam, sometimes via the port of Hong Kong.

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

 

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SteelMint Scrap Conference: Emerging energetically

Wed, 09/13/2017 - 19:08
GDP and steel consumption growth in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Vietnam has primed the pump for steelmaking investments in all three nations, according to speakers at SteelMint’s 2017 Steel Scrap & Raw Materials Conference Asia.

Hussain Agha, executive director of Pakistan-based Agha Steel Industries, referred to Pakistan as a “rising star” in the global economy, and he said steel and ferrous scrap will be a crucial part of that nation’s current and anticipated GDP growth. Agha Steel, he noted, is undertaking an initial public offering (IPO) to help it expand its own electric arc furnace (EAF) steelmaking capacity.

Agha said Pakistan will continue to require imported ferrous scrap as its economy grows and its steel consumption and production grows along with it. While the nation imported 900,000 metric tons of ferrous scrap in 2013, that figure increased to 2.4 million metric tons in 2017 and may hit 3.8 million metric tons in 2017.

The United Kingdom was the single largest contributor to the 2016 figure, sending more than 700,000 metric tons of ferrous scrap to Pakistan that year. It was followed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) at nearly 630,000 metric tons, South Africa at nearly 300,000 metric tons and the United States at slightly less than 200,000 metric tons.

Pakistan has no basic oxygen furnaces, (BOFs) said Agha, so it melts close to “100 percent scrap” to feed its EAF and induction furnace facilities. He said his own company is in the midst of installing a 45-metric-ton EAF line supplied by Italy-based Danieli and also is working with Austria-based Primetals Technologies https://www.primetals.com/en/Pages/Home.aspx to boost its production.

Flanking India on its eastern border is Bangladesh, where Imtiaz Chowdhury says BSRM Group is among the steelmakers taking part in sustained economic growth similar to Pakistan’s. Chowdhury cited a recent magazine article that referred to Bangladesh having undergone an “economic miracle in the past 20 years,” but “the world has taken so little notice.”

The growth will continue, predicted Chowdhury, with the nation setting up more special economic zones to attract foreign direct investment. For the world’s ferrous scrap suppliers, this has meant Bangladesh has moved from importing 680,000 metric tons of scrap in 2012 to nearly 2.3 million metric tons in 2016.

Based on current and anticipated steelmaking investments, Chowdhury said that figure could grow to more than 10 million metric tons of imported ferrous scrap needed in 2022, provided the nation’s port facilities can handle that much scrap.

In Southeast Asia, Vietnam’s steel consumption and production is growing at a rate similar to what is happening in the Indian subcontinent. One difference, according to Philip Hoffman of United States-based Hoffman Iron and Steel, is that steelmakers in Vietnam are investing in both BOF and EAF technology.

Nonetheless, said Hoffman, Vietnam is currently importing some 5 million metric tons of ferrous scrap each year, and that figure is poised to rise. The growth has been rapid, with Vietnam’s import figure rising from 3.5 million metric tons in 2013 to an anticipated 5.5 million metric tons in 2018.

Steelmaking projects in the pipeline mean that, even with much of the new capacity being BOF technology, Vietnam could need as much as 10 million metric tons of scrap per year by the next decade.

Where Vietnam’s scrap is coming from is a little bit murky, said Hoffman, with Japan and Australia listed as major contributors, but with the transshipment port of Hong Kong as a leading source of ferrous scrap. A growing contributor appears to be China, he said, from where both containerized and small bulk cargo loads can be easily shipped.

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

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Exclusive: Q&A with new NWRA President and CEO Darrell Smith

Wed, 09/13/2017 - 14:40
The National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA), Arlington, Virginia, has a change in leadership. Dr. Darrell Smith, was appointed as the association’s president and CEO in August. His background in the mining and chemical industry combined with his safety and environmental background and advocacy and lobbying experience have prepared him in his new role.

His appointment comes as the waste and recycling industry continues to rank as one of the nation’s most dangerous occupations. In a recent interview with Waste Today, Smith shares how he plans to take that knowledge and experience with safety and collaboration in other industries and apply those lessons to the waste and recycling industry to help make it a safer occupation.

 

Waste Today (WT): Please tell me a little bit about your background and what let you to this point?

Darrell Smith (DS): I worked in various industries for 15 years, primarily as a safety and environmental person but held a multitude of other roles as well prior to coming to Washington, D.C. And when my career started here, I was hired by the chemical industry for my technical background in safety and environment. I began being exposed to that advocacy and lobbying world and really found like I enjoyed it quite a bit. I felt like I was able to make a difference, and I have gone from there. I have been employed by the mining and petroleum industries in D.C., and now I am in the waste industry and I am very excited. 

 

WT: How do you think your experience has prepared you in your role as president and CEO of the NWRA?

DS: One interesting thing about me is I came to D.C. from a nontraditional route. Most government affairs professionals start with their first job on Capitol Hill maybe with an internship or paid position, but I think my industry background gives me a unique perspective that a lot of lobbyists don’t have. And I am now well versed as well in the workings of public policymaking. I do enjoy understanding my industry members and I have always been an industry advocate. I think I have a special view into the world they live in and the troubles they face, and I think that almost gives me an advantage sometimes.

 

WT: What will be your primary focus as president and CEO initially?

DS: I am in listening and learning mode right now. This is such a great industry full of wonderful people. Every time I have a question, there’s someone ready to spend as long as I need educating me. I’ve got a world of experience available to me just a phone call away. I just have been touched by how nice and how helpful everyone has been to me. I am just trying to absorb as much as I can. Nothing has been overly complicated, but there have just been a lot of topics and a lot of issues to learn. Secondly, I am developing a strategy and structure here at the association.

 

WT: What are your goals for the association in your first year?

DS: First, and foremost I want to have a happy and productive staff and workplace here at the NWRA. My role as the head association executive here puts that squarely in my lap, and I take that very seriously. I want to help people develop. I want to help them be happy, and I want them to be productive. Happy people who trust their leadership are more productive and that is my management philosophy.

I want to organize the association and increase efficiencies so that we are responding to our members and that we are putting out products that benefit the membership. Next, I want to develop an effective and efficient advocacy program both at the local and national level. Not just government advocacy, but communications advocacy and public relations advocacy as well. I want NWRA to be the recognized voice of the industry. We already do have a major voice in the waste industry, and I want that only to increase and I want us to be the spokesperson for the industry.

Next, I want to form some valuable partnerships and bring synergy to our efforts. There are a lot of state groups and similar trade associations and potential partnerships we have with government and community groups, etc. I think with a small-staffed association as we are, synergy with other groups is very important and I am making a long list of people I am going to reach out to.

And then finally, I have a very long list of improvements. We’ve already started working on some of them from things like our website to communications planning to hiring some key staff positions. That is where I am right now.

 

WT: How will you build on the work that has been done in the area of safety?

DS: I am coming from the mining industry and we had a rule in the mining industry that every talk should really start with safety, and I am going to try to start implementing that here at NWRA and try to do that within the industry.

The mining industry is very good with safety, of course, because it is a very dangerous occupation. We had several basic principals in the mining industry and one of them [relative to safety] was basically, “Have no secrets.”

If a huge company with lots of resources came up with a new technology that could save lives, they tended to share that and make it available to the smaller companies as well. Safety is not a competitive industry. Having a safe work force makes us all look better, and safety is foremost on my mind. I have something that I am very excited about this Friday (Aug. 25), I am going on my first ride-along with some waste handlers. With one of our largest companies and I am scheduling several other ride-alongs as well.

When I was in industry the most rewarding part of being a safety guy—and you can’t do safety from your desk—was to walk out on the shop floor and just spend time with the workers. You can learn more in ten minutes with a worker than you can learn from spending a whole year paying for a consultant, doing an analysis and thinking on our own.

The guy or the woman doing the job can tell you exactly how to do it safely and exactly what the problems are. I am not just going on one ride-along to make myself look like I am involved in the industry, I am going to make it a routine thing where I get out in the field and figure out why our employees are being injured as we are.

We are the fifth most dangerous occupation—waste handlers are—and that’s got to end. So I am going to be out in the field using my safety expertise to figure out what is going on and lending a hand where I can. [Information sharing] is one of the things that has saved the mining industry. There are parts of the mining industry that are safer to work in than the retail industry and we are going to do the same thing here.

 

WT: How important is it to collaborate with other industry groups such as the Institute of Scrap Recycing Industries Inc. (ISRI) and the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) on issues affecting the industry?

DS: At this point I have met with the leadership of the other two major groups in the industry. They have been very receptive and helpful to me. I think trade associations in a similar space should work together. In the mining industry, we had probably five or six trade associations at the national level, not to mention dozens as the state level, and it was nothing short of a love fest is the only way I can describe it.

We worked together like we were working for the same employer, and I want that to be the case here. I was on the phone this morning with one of my colleagues at one of the other trade groups and we had a great conversation and decided something we were going to work together on. I want those relationships to be genuine, and I certainly have a genuine intent to work closely with others, whether it be at the state level or the national level.

Relative to state associations we want to be supportive, and nobody knows their state like people in the state. I am not looking to step on anybody’s toes. I just want to get out there and see what we can do together. There’s nothing better than a piece of paper sent to a legislator with multiple logos on it. If you can have a couple of trade associations working for the same industry on a single piece of paper, it’s wonderful. If you can add labor to that, it’s even better. If you can add an activist group to it, it’s awesome. Working like that gets things done, and that’s my approach in general to government relations is looking for consensus and win, win, win opportunities for everyone.

 

WT: How is NWRA responding to recent developments in China, who has said it will broaden its ban of imported scrap materials?

DS: The first policy issue I heard about upon taking the job. It is something that is very concerning anytime one actor can have a up to 40 percent effect on a market and an industry, it is extremely concerning. Even though I am concerned I am cautiously optimistic. I’ve attended, along with some industry colleagues and at our other trade associations, a meeting of the U.S. trade rep’s office and we had a good long discussion with them and they are on our side and they are trying to deal with the issue and we are filing comments on the matter as are industry colleagues and we will go from there. We are taking it seriously and we will do what we can.

 

WT: Why would you advocate becoming a member? What are the benefits?

DS: This is the fourth trade association I’ve worked for and membership has been a big part of all of them. There are two primary reasons to be a member of any trade association. One is to gain benefit for your organization and two is to support your industry. I always like to begin any conversation about membership with the real reason for an association and that is to support the industry, talk with one voice and to increase our footprint and power to get things done.

I think that it is important to look at what the benefit is for your organization, but I think the real purpose of the association gets lost in all of that. That being said, we certainly have a lot of benefits for individual members and let me go through a few of those. As the leading voice of the industry we demonstrate that we are stronger when we are united using the power of our number and the talents of our members, what we are able to accomplish from an advocacy and consumer education perspective is limitless.

Members benefit from our legislative wins and from our consumer behaviors we help to adjust through our educational campaigns and we are looking at all kinds of things to increase our advocacy among the company. Next, especially for our small and medium-sized companies that do not have safety leaders and compliance professionals, communication experts and technical experts on staff, they can benefit from the synergy available to them through the association relationship.

We have lots of events that provide effective networking opportunities in the industry. The opportunity that our members have to meet and collaborate is invaluable. Associations provide antitrust protections and venues for doing this that just wouldn’t be available otherwise. We also have a very important group of members that we call endorsed providers. They provide our members with unmatched savings.

For example a typical NWRA member can save thousands of dollars purchasing tires from Goodyear and their employees achieve a significant savings when purchasing vehicles from Auto Nation. Those are just two of a number of examples we can provide of how our members save money and in many times recoup their dues so their dues aren’t even an issue, they are making money by being a member with us. And we are looking for lots more opportunities like that.

One thing I plan to do is spend a lot of time working on the value proposition for members. If you can prove that it is cost effective and even profitable to be a member that is a good membership formula. Finally, we provide thought leadership in the industry. We drive conversations on issues that are important for our members and we bring leaders together to work on solutions and address needs.

 

WT: Is there anything else you would like to mention?

DS: Waste handlers are being killed and it is just not acceptable. It is the fifth most dangerous occupation. They are being killed at a higher rate than policemen and firemen. If you were to ask the public to name the most dangerous occupations I suspect no one would even think of our humble waste handlers.

I am so excited about my ride along and future ride-alongs. I want to find out for myself what the dangers are so that I can use my years and years of safety experience to lend a hand. We are going to make progress in this area, and that’s one thing that I am most excited about.

Distracted driving puts our workers at risk. Sixteen states have passed Slow Down to Get Around legislation, but we have a lot more to get done. It would even be good to get states driver’s license exams to incorporate—just like they do with school buses and construction zones —the importance of slowing down for garbage trucks.

A strong waste industry is important, but it’s just not worth losing a single life for. We as an industry and the public at large need to fix this problem.

 

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FCC responds to hurricanes Irma and Harvey

Wed, 09/13/2017 - 09:43
FCC tanker trailer in Houston
Madrid-based FCC Environmental Services, has responded to Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma by clearing floodwaters and aiding small businesses in Houston, as well as taking part in the cleanup operation in Polk County, Florida.

The global waste management and recycling company says it deployed its tanker trailers fleet in collaboration with the city of Houston in the remediation of the flood waters. FCC reports its fleet is working 24/7 to assist the city of Houston in evacuating the waters on Houston streets sewer system. At the city request, FCC doubled the fleet size to accommodate the city of Houston needs, which is allowing the flood waters to recede from the city. 

With the company’s North American headquarters located in Houston, FCC also confirmed its participation and commitment to the Houston Rising Recovery Fund for small businesses and MWBE businesses. It is estimated that 40 percent of small businesses were directly damaged by Harvey and job losses may rise as businesses struggle to resume their operations.

“Once we heard of the issues that will affect Houston in the recovery process we decided that the Houston Rising Small Business Fund has an important role in stabilizing our local economy,” says FCC Environmental Services CEO, Inigo Sanz.

As Hurricane Irma swept through Polk County it soon became clear that a large-scale trash collection operation would be needed to clear the tons of debris. Although FCC’s waste collection contract with the local authority was not scheduled to begin until Oct. 2, 2017, county officials requested their assistance to begin storm preparation on Sept. 7 before Irma made her landfall.

Understanding the challenge, FCC responded by deploying its fleet within 24 hours to complete the removal of debris prior to Irma’s landfall for the safety of Polk residents. The action ensured garbage, bulk items, recycling and yard waste was not left exposed to Hurricane Irma’s forecasted strong winds which swept through Polk County.

The news that FCC agreed to provide services prior to their start date, was welcomed by Polk County officials. “We knew that if Irma was going to live up to the forecasted wind strength, the residence of Polk County would have many other things to concern themselves, trash collection should not be one of those concerns. We stepped up to do our part as members of this beautiful community, says Inigo Sanz, “It is part of our corporate culture to be good citizens.”

It was reported that the Board of County Commissioners were appreciative of FCC’s goodwill of stepping up to help serve Polk County citizens before they were contractually obligated to do so, the company says. FCC is also continuing the collections after the hurricane and says it is committed to assure Polk County residents that it will work diligently to help during the aftermath of the storm.

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GreenMantra Technologies, Sun Chemical partner to develop new polymers from PS scrap

Wed, 09/13/2017 - 09:16
GreenMantra Technologies, a Brantford, Ontario, producer of waxes and specialty chemicals from recycled plastic feedstocks, has announced it has partnered with Sun Chemical, a producer of printing inks based in Parsippany, New Jersey, to jointly develop polymers from recycled polystyrene (PS) scrap for use in ink formulations.

The agreement combines GreenMantra’s new patent pending process for converting scrap PS into useful polymers with Sun Chemical’s expertise in inks formulation. The goal is to develop sustainable styrenic polymers as a replacement for fossil fuel-based materials in certain ink applications.

“Our team of scientists has had great success in the lab applying our technology and process to achieve depolarization of waste polystyrene, both rigid and foam, into styrenic polymers suitable for inks and other applications,” says Domenic Di Mondo, GreenMantra’s senior director of research and business development. “We are looking forward to working with Sun Chemical’s experts to further refine these materials for commercial use.”

As part of the joint development project, GreenMantra will construct a pilot plant at its manufacturing complex in Brantford, Ontario, with an annual capacity of 1,000 metric tons. This will provide a supply of converted material for trialing in inks and other end-use applications and for initial commercial sales.

In early September, Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) announced it was providing $2.2 million in funding toward construction of the pilot plant.

“This partnership with Sun Chemical is an exciting development for GreenMantra and enhances our continuing efforts to develop commercially viable and valuable products from plastic waste,” says Kousay Said, GreenMantra president and CEO. “Our new polystyrene technology, combined with Sun Chemical’s expertise and experience in the inks industry, will help us develop new, environmentally suitable products while beneficially reusing waste material.”

Russell Schwartz, chief technology officer of Sun Chemical, adds, “This work is part of Sun Chemical’s ongoing efforts to develop new ink products that couple beneficial environmental profiles with improved performance. We believe these new polymers may provide enhanced physical properties in select ink applications, while diverting polystyrene from the waste stream.”

PS plastic in solid and foam form is commonly used in consumer products, food and product packaging and many other applications. It is one of the world’s fastest growing solid wastes, yet has one of the lowest recycling rates of all plastics with an estimated 95 percent either disposed of in landfills or incinerated, according to GreenMantra.

GreenMantra Technologies uses a proprietary thermocatalytic system and a patented process to convert and “upcycle” scrap plastics, including hard-to-recycle materials such as grocery bags and film, into high-value waxes and other specialty chemicals. These materials have a broad range of applications in the coatings, plastics processing, adhesives, roofing and paving industries.

Sun Chemical, a member of the DIC Group, is a leading producer of printing inks, coatings and supplies, pigments, polymers, liquid compounds, solid compounds, and application materials. Together with DIC, Sun Chemical has annual sales of more than $7.5 billion and more than 20,000 employees supporting customers around the world.

Sun Chemical Corp. is a subsidiary of Sun Chemical Group Coöperatief U.A., the Netherlands.

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FCC Group names new CEO

Tue, 09/12/2017 - 12:54
Madrid-based FCC Group has announced Carlos M. Jarque has stepped down as CEO and the board of directors has unanimously decided to name Pablo Colio as his replacement.

Jarque says that he has achieved his goals and that, for personal reasons, he wishes to return to Mexico to be closer to his family.

Jarque adds, “Notwithstanding the challenges that remain, under the leadership of Mr. Carlos Slim and with the support of the company’s board, executives and staff, FCC is now experiencing a new and positive cycle, as reported to the last shareholders’ meeting on 28 June 2017, which offers me the opportunity to return to Mexico and rejoin America Móvil.”

Jarque thanked the board of directors and all FCC employees for their support during his period as CEO. He expressed his gratitude for the support and trust of Carlos Slim, Esther Koplowitz and Esther Alcocer in achieving the goals set for the company upon his appointment as CEO. He wished every success to FCC and its new CEO Colio. Jarque will remain as a member of the board of directors of FCC. The board of directors granted discharge to Jarque and thanked him for his services.

Colio graduated from the Madrid School of Architecture in 1994. He has been working at FCC for nearly 23 years. His roles include general manager of FCC Construction since January 2017; from May 2016 to December 2016, he was manager of FCC Construction International and general manager of FCC Industrial; between September 2012 and April 2016, he served as general manager of FCC Industrial; and he was formerly head of the building department in Iberia Servicios y Obras.

Colio will combine the new position of CEO with his previous role as general manager of FCC Construction.

Colio says he “would like to thank all members of the board of directors and shareholders for their trust in me. It is a great honor to assume this responsibility that I accept with enthusiasm and excitement, dreaming of a great future for FCC Group.”

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Lakeshore Recycling Systems adds aerobic digester

Tue, 09/12/2017 - 08:24
Lakeshore Recycling Systems (LRS), a recycling and waste management firm located in the Chicago area, has announced it is the first privately held company in the United States to introduce the use of an aerobic digester to process collected organic waste into a fertilizer byproduct.

Launched in collaboration with Morton Grove, Illinois-based EcoloCap Solutions, a pioneer in organic waste recycling, the digester will divert organic waste, i.e., food scraps, from landfills, lowering the risk of water pollution and the emission of methane gas and odor into the environment, says the company.

LRS will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 2 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 13, at its California Avenue material recovery facility, 3152 South California Ave. in Chicago. The event will feature a step-by-step demonstration of the digester as it converts 15 tons of continuous fruits and vegetables into a high-grade compost and organic fertilizer, and will include remarks from LRS and EcoloCap senior executives.

When deposited in landfills, LRS says organic waste runs the risk of contaminating water, and emits odorous hydrogen sulfide gas and methane gas (a greenhouse gas). LRS’ organic recycling operations will convert organic waste into a high-grade compost and organic fertilizer that is ready to ship to local companies for mixing and distribution. The process delivers an end product that is reduced in weight and volume by 70 percent, according to the company. The technology is ideal for urban environments as it can operate on a smaller footprint, needs little labor/overhead and its process and output are odorless.

“Our technology helps companies in all industries reduce their waste costs and become more sustainable for the long term,” says EcoloCap CEO James Kwak. “We are thrilled to join forces with LRS and look forward to seeing our technology divert organic waste from landfills, reducing its size and form, and finding new uses for it in the environmental and industrial ecosystem.”

“LRS is once again setting the standard in waste and recycling innovation, from the implementation of RFID-enabled bins last year to ensure ironclad service accuracy to our substantial investments to accelerate recycling output in Chicago, we are reinventing the way waste is diverted from landfills throughout the Midwest,” says LRS CEO Alan T. Handley. “As it pertains to organic waste, our collaboration with EcoloCap is a direct challenge to the status quo and rampant empathy that permeates the larger waste industry. LRS will continue to invest in extremely innovative and commercial viable technologies that are both profitable as well as advance the circular economy.”

Serving Chicagoland for nearly 20 years, LRWS is the largest private waste company in Illinois, specializing in recycling and waste diversion programs, roll-off container services and waste removal to Chicagoland businesses and residential homeowners. LRS owns and operates seven MRFs, a fleet of natural gas-powered trucks and is run by more than 720 full-time employees.

LRS was profiled in the October 2016 issue of Recycling Today. To view the profile, click here.

EcoloCap Solutions says it pioneered the recycling of the organic waste market. An environment-oriented company that develops and manufactures high-speed biofermentation machines with the goal of remediating waste, EcoloCaps says its mission is to continue to innovate through continuous efforts, accumulated technology and various field experience. ECOS/Bio-ART machines are helping to lead the healthy soil environment and energy production business by changing the way the world handles waste. By using high-performance organic fertilizer production, EcoloCap introduces a high-grade fertilizer to the market.

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2017 ISRI Commodities Roundtable Forum: Navigating global trade

Mon, 09/11/2017 - 14:40
Pictured above: Martin Dixon of Drewry.

The evolution of China’s economy and its effect on metals consumption and the factors influencing ocean shipping were among the topics of discussion during the Global Economic Roundtable during the 2017 Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) Commodities Roundtable Forum in Chicago in early September.

Martin Dixon, head of research products for London-based shipping consultancy Drewry, said trade and gross domestic product (GDP) growth have been converging in recent years as global trade slows. “Trade used to grow at two to 2.5 times GDP,” he said.

Dixon said the deceleration in global trade has been driven by factors that include nearshoring and regionalization, product miniaturization, geopolitical risk, the growth in 3D and 4D printing and the growth of virtual goods.

He added that most container shipping lines are in financial distress, which is prompting consolidation among industry players. The most notable victim of this distress was Hanjin, which filed for bankruptcy in 2016. Dixon said Hanjin’s bankruptcy filing was “surprising,” as the company was previously seen as being “too big to fail.”

As a result of recent consolidation efforts, he said the top six shipping groups are poised to control 50 percent of the market.

Fleet growth has been outpacing cargo demand, Dixon said, which has pushed down pricing. This fleet growth arose from shipping lines’ efforts to take advantage of the economies of scale associated with big ships. However, he said these economies are quickly eroded at the ports. Moderate fleet growth is forecasted through 2020, he said. That overcapacity will exist for some time, Dixon said, even though scrapping of ships and cargo containers has increased and ship orders have decreased.

Damien Ma, a fellow with the Paulson Institute, talked about the impact of China’s economic transition on global trade. Founded in 2011 by Henry M. Paulson Jr., the 74th secretary of the treasury and former chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs, the Paulson Institute is based in Chicago and has offices in Washington, San Francisco and Beijing.

Ma said China’s status as an export powerhouse spiked in 2000 when China joined the World Trade Organization, while the country’s economic growth peaked in 2007. He said China is now focused on the quality of its growth rather than on the quantity. The country’s growth through 2020 is projected to average 6.5 percent, Ma added.

Previously, China’s growth was predicated on deploying a great amount of capital, which he said was not that efficient.

The country accounts for 50 percent of the world’s steel production and more than half of its aluminum production. The single province of Hebei produced the same amount of steel as the entire European Union in 2015, Ma noted.

He said that coal is the only natural resource China has in abundance and that it has powered a lot of heavy industry in the country. However, it appears that China’s coal consumption peaked in 2013, with the recent decline being driven by government policy, Ma added.

There is a deliberate effort to slow down the country’s economy and transition it to a service economy, he said, which is less inefficient.

The 2017 ISRI Commodities Roundtable Forum was Sept. 6-8 at the Marriott Chicago Downtown Magnificent Mile.

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Toter introduces mobile automated cart lifter

Mon, 09/11/2017 - 12:59
Charlotte, North Carolina-based Toter, a leading manufacturer of carts and containers for the collection of waste and recycling and a brand of Wastequip, has launched the 3069-MT-2000, a fully mobile automated waste cart lifter.

Designed to fit through a standard 32-inch door frame, Toter says the cart lifter is “lightweight, easy to maneuver and featuring four sturdy total lock 6-inch swivel casters for added stability.”

“The new lifter will make janitorial operations easier and safer,” says Toter.

The company says the MT-2000 was purpose-built with the needs of facility professionals in mind and suitable for use in a wide range of facilities, from schools and hospitals to offices and hotels. Weighing 550 pounds and offering a load rating of 350 pounds, the lifter is compatible for use with an ANSI standard 32-, 48- or 96- gallon caster or two-wheel carts, according to the company.

With a dump height of 46.5 inches, the MT-2000 automates the dumping process in each room, increasing the productivity and efficiency of cleaning crews, Toter says. The lifter also addresses industry concerns over workplace-related injuries and liability.

“Studies have shown that the jan/san industry has one of the highest rates of repetitive stress and back injuries of any profession. These injuries result in not only pain and suffering for workers but increased workers’ compensation claims, lost time and higher out-of-pocket costs for employers. By allowing workers to eliminate heavy lifting and repetitive loading movements in any room they enter, the cleaning process is made faster and safer,” Toter explains

The MT-2000 is powered by a 12-volt-power battery and comes with an onboard 110-volt 20A quick-charge battery charger. Featuring a 6-foot corded pendant with push button controls, the MT-2000 is built-to-order to meet clients’ specific needs, including the addition of safety cages, palm control buttons, safety light curtains or sirens, as required.

“Combining safety, portability, efficiency and affordability, the new MT-2000 represents the future of the industry,” says Jeniffer Coates, Toter’s director of product development and warranty. “Toter has the unique ability to customize a lifter to fit any application or safety requirement, and, because of the positive impact they have on the bottom line, they are a great investment for any facility.”

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