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Suez UK starts up recycling systems in Aberdeen, Scotland

News from Recycling Today - Wed, 10/25/2017 - 08:43
Suez’s Recycling & Recovery UK division recently began operating two new systems at the Altens East Industrial Estate south of Aberdeen, Scotland. The turnkey single-stream and refuse-derived fuel (RDF) systems were provided by Bulk Handling Systems (BHS), Eugene, Oregon. They are rated to process 20 metric tons per hour (tph) and 30tph, respectively. Purchased and operated by Suez on behalf of the Aberdeen City Council, the material recovery facility (MRF) will process 140,000 metric tons of material per year and will increase the city’s diversion rate by nearly 20 percent, saving an estimated £5 million ($6.6 million) in annual landfill taxes, according to a news release from BHS.

The systems feature recycling technology from BHS, Nihot and National Recovery Technologies (NRT). The supplier says the facility is designed for high performance, featuring five BHS Tri-Disc screens, six NRT optical sorters and a Nihot Single Drum Separator. 

BHS says Suez invested in specialized technology to ensure its end products are highly marketable knowing that product quality is absolutely critical in today’s volatile commodity markets. For example, a BHS Debris Roll Screen breaks the incoming glass and removes the 50-millimeter fraction, which is processed through a Nihot Single Drum Separator to remove light contamination. The remaining glass-rich material passes through an NRT ColorPlus optical sorter to remove the remaining nonglass contamination, including paper and small pieces of ceramic, stone and porcelain, to leave a clean glass product. Paper purification is accomplished with NRT optical sorters, where the recently updated ColorPlus-R removes cardboard from the news stream and a SpydIR-R recovers flattened plastic from the mixed fiber stream. Designed to comply with the Scottish Government’s Code of Practice on Sampling and Reporting at Materials Recovery Facilities, the systems feature numerous belt scales to weigh inbound and outbound materials and automated labeling of outbound bales, BHS says.

“The quality of our commodities is more important now than it’s ever been,” says Tim Hughes, Suez project development manager. “The abundance of technology in our systems ensures that we’re able to meet or exceed our customers’ specifications. BHS has been a great partner from design onwards, as these systems surpass all of our throughput, recovery, purity and uptime expectations. The city of Aberdeen is in a great position to landfill significantly less while contributing to the circular economy and should be proud of its Council for making its vision a reality,” he adds.

“This MRF includes an abundance of new technology that is producing products that have exceptional quality,” BHS CEO Steve Miller says. “Employing NRT optical sorting on glass, news and mixed paper really sets the Aberdeen plant up for long-term success with regard to product quality. The recyclables leaving this facility are of the highest purity found anywhere in the industry, which is a testament to Suez’s commitment to excellence. We expect this MRF to be a top performer for Suez for years to come.”

In 2000, the Aberdeen City Council awarded Suez a 25-year contract to manage recycling, composting, treatment and disposal of the household waste for its residents, which now number more than 228,000 people. The £27 million ($35.7 million) project was developed to meet the goals set out in the Aberdeen City Waste Strategy and is in line with Scotland’s Zero Waste Plan, the latter of which includes a 70 percent recycling target by 2025.

BHS designs, engineers, manufactures and installs sorting systems and components for the solid waste, recycling, waste-to-energy and construction and demolition industries. Its wholly owned subsidiaries include Nihot (Amsterdam), NRT (Nashville, Tennessee) and Zero Waste Energy (Lafayette, California). BHS is also the originator of Max-AI technology, a form of artificial intelligence that is designed to identify materials, make intelligent decisions and direct equipment, such as robotic sorters. 

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Charging up electronics recycling sustainably

News from Recycling Today - Wed, 10/25/2017 - 07:53

Many scrap recycling companies handle electrical or electronic components, directly or indirectly, including those that process computer and electronic equipment and household and industrial goods or those that process manufacturing scrap.

Recycled components can contain a range of metals with significant intrinsic value, but these may represent only a fraction of the components. Gold and other high-value metals often are surrounded by plastics or other materials, making sustainable recovery challenging.

Scrap yards in the U.S. today have little incentive to consider the ultimate fate of their products, but the dynamics of the recycling market already are changing that with advances in environmentally sound recycling of e-scrap and greater involvement of global manufacturers in sustainability. 

The e-scrap opportunity

E-scrap recyclers perform a valuable function in reducing the ratio of plastics and other materials in the precious metals (PM) stream when they disassemble old computers and other nonworking equipment, removing drivers and power supplies from chassis and separating integrated circuits (ICs) and other components from circuit boards, for example. This can greatly improve the efficiency of thermal recycling operations.

As the U.S. moves to more hybrid and electric vehicles, automakers and suppliers, already interested in sustainability, could further stimulate the greening of end-of-product-life recycling. On conventional vehicles, spent catalytic converters, which depend on precious metal catalysts, already are targeted heavily for recycling, as are lithium-ion batteries and circuitry on electric vehicles.

E-scrap is a major opportunity, and components with a higher ratio of high-value metals produce the highest returns. High-density circuit boards always are worth more than simpler circuits. According to a report by Market Research Engine, Deerfield Beach, Florida, the value of e-scrap generated globally is projected to grow at about 23 percent per year, reaching more than $76 billion by 2022.

Manufacturers of mobile devices already offer direct recycling-exchange programs for customers, and manufacturers of other, especially smaller, consumer or household products could follow suit. Still, most e-scrap starts out mixed with other materials, so e-scrap value depends, in large part, on disassembly labor, material separation and downstream efficiency.

Upstream, many manufacturers already recycle scrap from production processes, especially residual materials containing valuable metals. High volumes of concentrated e-scrap containing PMs also are generated whenever aftermarket components, such as circuit boards or military replacement parts, exceed their rated shelf life and must undergo certified destruction. They also are generated in mass recalls of electronic products. Samsung, for example, heralded its responsible recycling policies in March after recalling 1.9 million Galaxy Note 7 phones last year.  

The extent to which manufacturers of industrial and consumer goods take a hand in developing downstream recycling channels for high-value metals remains to be seen. But globally, e-scrap generation has been growing by more than 40 million tons per year for some time, according to a report from Market Research Engine, and the advent of more environmentally responsible methods that maximize recovery of PMs can help change the equation. It also can create new opportunities for e-scrap disassembly operations and those that want to focus on more energy-efficient, “greener” recycling.

Getting the best return

E-scrap is a dynamic stream of material and is best managed when recyclers and reclaimers work closely together to establish the most accurate, cost-efficient and safe methods to recover the valuable materials contained.

Generally, there are two main factors e-scrap recyclers will want to consider: economic, and environmental, health and safety (EHS).

On the economic front, this will largely depend on the volume, types and grades the recycler handles as well as available resources to manage the material. Firstly, segregation by grade is helpful as it provides for better tracking of yields produced by reclaimers. It also allows recyclers to supply the appropriate grade of material best suited to the processing capabilities of a reclaimer. Yet, while most industry professionals agree that 100 percent reclaim preparation (automated or manual separation) provides the most accurate results, the trade-off is that it is more costly. So where is the tipping point?

For most materials, the guideline is that e-scrap products with a gross combined value of precious metals and copper of at least $8 to $10 per pound are ideally suited for full reclaim processing. Materials with lower commodity value will be more cost-efficiently managed by a shredding and sampling or outright sale. Additionally, any extraneous material that can be removed upfront will produce two reclaim benefits: removal of heavy parts, such as steel shielding, aluminum heatsinks, transformers, etc., as well as wire and bulk plastics and packaging will reduce overall reclaim costs, and some of these can be recycled and traded as separate commodities.

Regarding EHS, this is always a central focus for reclaimers. Protection of employees, the environment, as well as process equipment is extremely important, and especially challenging in highly regulated, heavy- industrial environments that incorporate foundry, thermal reduction, chemical and mechanical processes. Reclaimers generally will ask many questions about the e-scraps’ constituent materials and may request samples to evaluate further before even accepting. Deleterious elements, such as beryllium, cadmium, mercury and others, are problematic for both employee and environmental exposures.

The reclaimer also will be evaluating how the processing of the material will impact EHS. For example, batteries and other sealed devices will pose a risk of explosion and toxic release in a thermal or shredding process. Those types of devices need to be removed and recycled or disposed responsibly. The more information the recycler can provide and address upfront, the less likely there will be added costs from surcharges, hazardous waste disposal or potential rejection and return of a shipment.

What’s at stake

Local availability of advanced thermal reduction services reduces the cost of recovering PMs while also helping to safeguard the environment. In contrast, shipping volumes of e-scrap halfway around the world for recycling is energy intensive, and the process can be laden with uncertainty. In developing countries and remote regions, e-scrap recyclers may operate with primitive methods and little government oversight. Without singling out any manufacturers, CBS News chronicled the practice of open burning of e-scrap in China on “60 Minutes,” available at www.cbsnews.com/news/following-the-trail-of-toxic-e-waste. Small-time operators cook printed circuit (PC) boards over open fires outdoors, and chemicals from extraction baths pollute the ground and water supply.

Uncontrolled combustion of e-scrap potentially can vaporize large quantities of semivolatile toxic compounds and produce halogenated organic pollutants, including dioxins and furans.

A laboratory study conducted by the University of Cincinnati and co-authored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) detailed byproducts produced in the open burning of e-scrap. The PC board samples in the study, titled “Characterizing emissions from open burning of electronic waste using TG-GC-MS system,” started to decompose at 684 degrees Fahrenheit (362 degrees Celsius) and 775 F (413 C), respectively, and combustion produced a mixture of aromatic and aromatic amine organic compounds of C6-C16. Combustion of PMMA (polymethyl methacrylate, also known as acrylic or acrylic glass) cellphone casings and other plastic e-scrap were examined separately.

Although most plastics begin to melt at relatively low temperatures, combustion produces low-levels of acids, which should be captured and neutralized. In addition, thorough combustion is required to reduce or eliminate byproducts, such as benzene compounds. Yet at the same time, combustion processes must be controlled to avoid the high-temperature formation of toxic byproducts.

Most thermal recycling operations have been in place for years and rely on tray furnaces, and some may use afterburners as secondary treatment of combustion byproducts before discharge to the atmosphere. Operators often are reluctant to upgrade to cleaner or more efficient furnaces, which are subject to newer, more stringent environmental regulations.

More responsible recycling

Gannon & Scott, however, continues to develop environmentally responsible thermal reduction processes. Throughout the past 98 years, the company has designed and built or upgraded more than a half dozen high-capacity thermal reduction units that operate with advanced process and pollution controls.

© Gannon & Scott The new thermal reduction unit at Gannon & Scott’s Rhode Island facility features advanced environmental controls and can recover high-value metals even from lower-grade scrap materials. We recently commissioned a three-stage thermal reduction unit at our Cranston, Rhode Island, facility. The TRu3Tec thermal reduction system is designed to operate at relatively low temperatures (about 1,400 to 1,500 F) to dramatically reduce the formation of hazardous byproducts. Plus, it features environmental and process controls to further reduce waste emissions. It is an enhancement of a similar system designed by Gannon & Scott for our metals recovery facility in Phoenix.

Pollution controls for the system include quenching, cyclonic separation, wet scrubbing of exhaust gases and dust collection. Both plants also are zero-discharge facilities for processing wastewater sludge and plating solutions.

For mixed products, such as circuit boards, that arrive at our facilities, any carbon-bearing organic compounds, plastics and combustibles, such as filters, will be destroyed in the thermal reduction process. Virtually no air emissions are produced because the system captures and treats combustion byproducts. Water-based scrubber solutions condition primary combustion byproducts so we do not discharge any harmful dioxins or furans to the atmosphere. We neutralize acids as a secondary part of the process. Our process evaporates water and treats residues internally so no hazardous waste is generated.

Most PM recovery operations talk about zero waste as goal. We are about as close to that goal as possible. All the scrap metal that comes from burnt circuit boards is sent to metal recyclers.

Even packaging materials and pallets are recycled. Almost the only waste that leaves our plant is from our cafeteria and a small amount of office waste.

Currently, about 70 to 80 percent of the residuals processed at our facilities come from manufacturers, primarily from electronics, automotive/aerospace, jewelry, minting and metal plating operations. The bulk of the remainder comes from end-of-life product recyclers, particularly e-scrap recyclers, and we expect this segment to grow with the economy and as the recycling industry expands and matures. The system also is used for certified destruction of obsolete electronic components. Sensitive materials subject to International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) guidelines also are accepted for destruction.

We even generate electricity at our new Rhode Island facility, which features a 406-kilowatt DC, 40,000-square-foot solar array. Our goal is to deliver certifiable, tangible value for our customers, and intangible value with our environmentally responsible approach.

This is increasingly important to Fortune 500 companies and multinational corporations, and others with active sustainability policies. Our process not only greatly minimizes wastes and emissions, but we also are able to economically recover value even from material containing only a few percent of residual PMs.

Volume is key to value, especially at lower PM percentages. We regularly maximize recovery of residual PM value from wipes, gloves, spent jars of conductive pastes; cathodes and ion exchange resins used in plating operations; and even floor sweepings from manufacturers. Even difficult-to-handle silicone rubber with PMs can be processed. We help suppliers recover value from fabric waste impregnated with low levels of silver, cloth that would otherwise go to a landfill. In this case, we turn what would be a hazardous waste into a valuable return for the customer.

Such opportunities abound, and we believe new ones will emerge in the end-of-life e-recycling space. Enterprising recyclers can play an important role in identifying these opportunities and in creating win-win-win value for themselves, their customers and the environment.

 

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Herbold says its HVT series centrifugal dryers save money

News from Recycling Today - Wed, 10/25/2017 - 07:02
HVT series centrifugal dryers from Herbold USA, Smithfield, Rhode Island, provide energy saving drying of regrind, especially hollow bodies, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles, polyolefins and other plastics, the company says.

Herbold says the HVT features a vertical rotor shaft, which ensures longer dwell time in the drying chamber and offers the added advantage of significant space savings versus horizontal systems. The refinement of the HVT’s internal geometry, including the rotor and housing, minimizes the occurrence of fines and allows for greater yield, according to the company.

HVT dryers operate on the principle of centrifugal drying. Material is accelerated against a screened stator surface and simultaneously transported from bottom to top by rotor paddles. Feeding is via a horizontal drainage screw, which eliminates most of the surface moisture before material enters the dryer, Herbold says.

Energy savings are achieved by a reduction in motor size. A typical one- or two-stage drying system for PET flakes with a 150-horsepower motor would yield a throughput of 2.5 to 3 tons per hour, Herbold said. An HVT system can equal that performance with a 75-horsepower drive motor.

The HVT’s housing features large doors to provide easy access to components, which is designed to simplify routine maintenance. Rotor paddles and screens can be changed quickly and easily, and the unit’s housing is equipped with strategically located replaceable wear plates.

The machines are available in standard or stainless steel configurations.

Herbold Meckesheim USA, a subsidiary of Herbold Meckesheim Germany, designs, manufactures and installs size-reduction equipment and wash-line systems for the plastics industry, specializing in the recycling of industrial and postconsumer plastics. 

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Veolia expands electronics, lamp processing capabilities

News from Recycling Today - Wed, 10/25/2017 - 06:08
The French company Veolia is expanding its electronics and lamp recycling capabilities in Canada with a new, 5,000-square-foot recycling facility in Pickering, Ontario, within the Greater Toronto area. While the plant’s primary purpose is to provide lamp-recycling services for customers across Ontario and other Canadian provinces, it also can handle other electronics and mercury-bearing material.

Veolia currently provides industrial cleaning and hazardous materials management services from this location.

As industries, commercial businesses, communities and residents of Ontario prepare for provincial regulations banning lamps from landfill disposal by 2020, Veolia says its new lamp recycling facility provides a more sustainable, circular economy solution to responsibly manage these wastes within Canada.

“Our investment in this facility represents our commitment to finding better solutions for lighting and electronic waste as well as ways to minimize the impact of waste on our environment,” Boston-based Veolia North America President and CEO William J. “Bill” DiCroce says. “As technology improves, we’re able to break down and reclaim even more materials, especially hazardous materials, and prevent them from entering the waste stream.”

Veolia says it has been supporting the lamp recycling needs of Ontario as an approved processor for the Recycling Council of Ontario’s Take Back the Light program.

“Our Port Washington, Wisconsin, facility earned approved processor status in 2013,” says Bob Cappadona, president and COO of Veolia North America Environmental Solutions and Services and Industrial for Canada. “For the past four years, spent lamps gathered in Ontario have been transported to our recycling facility in Port Washington for disassembly, mercury recycling and glass and metal recovery.”

With the new Pickering facility, spent lamps will be processed in Ontario. Veolia has invested in equipment to crush and separate expired mercury-bearing lamps, including compact fluorescents, into three components: metal, glass and phosphor powder. Ninety-nine percent of the glass and metal will be recycled locally by Veolia. The mercury-bearing phosphor powder will be transported to Veolia’s Port Washington facility for retorting and recycling, the company says.

The positive environmental impact of processing the lamps within Canada is significant, Veolia says. By minimizing the transport of lamps into the United States, the company says it expects to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions from diesel fuel usage by 796 metric tons per year.

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BIR council hears updates on China situation

News from Recycling Today - Tue, 10/24/2017 - 22:07
At its 2017 autumn event, the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) International Environment Council devoted its meeting time almost entirely to China’s import ban affecting certain secondary raw materials. The Brussels-based organization met in mid-October in New Delhi.

During a panel discussion moderated by BIR President Ranjit Singh Baxi, Robin Wiener, president of the Washington-based Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), said the latest policy developments in China reflect a multi-pronged strategy published in July 2017, the goals of which include: prohibiting imports of solid waste that entail “major environmental hazards and intense public reaction” by the end of 2017; halting imports that can be replaced by domestic resources; greater customs enforcement; refinement of laws, regulations and related systems; and bolstering increased domestic recycling.

Wiener said self-sufficiency in scrap is “an important driver” for the Chinese government. She also said a proposed 0.3 percent contamination ceiling for imported materials constitutes “an effective ban” because, among recyclers she has spoken on this issue, “no one thinks they can meet that threshold.”

For the United States’ recycling sector, China’s actions have the potential to affect $ 6.5 billion of annual exports and 150,000 related jobs. Some U.S. municipalities have stopped accepting certain papers and plastics in their curbside collection programs, said Wiener, which she said has been “a big force for us in raising this issue with the U.S. government.” Meetings have already taken place with the White House and members of the U.S. Congress among others, she added.

Emmanuel Katrakis, the Secretary General of the Brussels-based European Recycling Industries’ Confederation (EuRIC), said his organization’s response has included gathering information from members about the specific impacts of China’s policy so the European Commission can be armed with “hard data” when mounting its case.

IEC council members underlined the need for the global recycling industry to continue to work together on common arguments and to encourage the involvement of China’s manufacturers and consumers of imported secondary raw materials, with several contributors to the debate saying the import ban has the potential to be highly damaging to China’s own businesses.

BIR Director General Arnaud Brunet focused on the lessons that must be learned from recent policy developments in China, calling on national recycling associations to watch for “signals” of similar changes taking place in other countries, “because we have to be ready,” he stressed.

Governments need to be shown the benefits of partnering with recycling industry professionals, said Brunet, adding, “because we have good practices; we are the good guys.” Brunet is scheduled to travel to China in November, where he hopes to meet key officials and to gain an understanding of “the next step” and “where they are going.”

Michael Lion, president of Hong Kong-based metals trading firm Everwell Resources, and chair of BIR’s International Trade Council, emphasized that China’s President Xi Jinping has taken “a very personal interest” in the improvement of the country’s environment. The challenge for recycling industry representatives, he said, is to gain access to people “at the highest political level” within China and to explain “in a helpful and respectful way” how the recycling industry can work with them to a solution that is “commercially and socially advantageous to them.”

In reviewing BIR activities at the level of intergovernmental organizations, its trade and environment director Ross Bartley said a UNEP-Basel Convention Expert Working Group is in the process of reviewing various annexes of the Convention that have relevance to scrap materials. BIR is “in a good position” regarding this debate, not least because it has “engagement in the Expert Working Group,” he added.

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Latin American steel sector shows strength in 2017

News from Recycling Today - Tue, 10/24/2017 - 21:05
Nations throughout Latin America have generally reported increased output of crude steel in 2017, according to statistics gathered by the Brussels-based World Steel Association (Worldsteel).

Mexico and Brazil, the region’s largest steelmakers, are among the nations that have led the resurgence, with Brazil’s crude steel output on pace to rise in 2017 by 9.1 percent and Mexico’s by 7.5 percent, based on statistics through the first three quarters of the year.

Figures released in late October by Worldsteel for the first nine months of the year show South America’s steel output has climbed by 8.0 percent compared to the same period in 2016.

Joining Brazil in increased output are Argentina with an 8.9 percent rise and Peru with a 6.7 percent increase.

In North America, steelmakers have produced 3.5 percent more crude steel so far in 2017 compared to the first three quarters of 2016. However, Mexico is outpacing that average with its 7.5 percent gain, while United States production is up by 3.1 percent and Canada’s output has risen by just 1.3 percent.

Latin American nations with decreased output so far in 2017 include the cash-starved socialist states of Venezuela (down 9.4 percent) and Cuba (down by 12.6 percent).

By volume so far in 2017, Brazil is Latin America’s biggest steelmaker with nearly 25.5 million metric tons produced, followed by Mexico with nearly 15 million metric tons of output and Argentina in a distant third with nearly 3.4 million metric tons.

Argentina enjoyed a particularly strong September 2017, with its monthly output rising by 28.2 percent compared to September 2016. Brazil also made a strong showing in September 2017, adding 7.6 percent in production compared to the same month in 2016.

Mexico, meanwhile, failed to match its September 2016 output, producing 0.4 percent less steel in September 2017, while output in Venezuela dropped a massive 80.1 percent compared to September 2016.

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AF&PA objects to proposed grocery bag fee

News from Recycling Today - Tue, 10/24/2017 - 20:26
The Washington-based American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) and its president and CEO Donna Harman have expressed concern about a Massachusetts Senate proposal to ban plastic grocery bags and place a 10-cent fee or tax on paper bags.

 “This bill, intended to reduce plastic pollution, wrongfully penalizes paper bags—a commodity that is highly recycled, recyclable, compostable and made from a renewable resource,” says Harman regarding Massachusetts Senate Bill 424, also known as the “Act Reducing Plastic Bag Pollution.” The bill seeks to initiate the 10-cent tax on retail bags beginning August 1, 2018.

“Unfortunately, this is a missed opportunity to differentiate paper bags as an environmentally responsible option,” adds Harman. “Paper bags are a sustainable packaging option for consumers who need carryout bags.”

According to an online article by the Worcester , Massachusetts-based Telegram, , both chambers of the legislature in Massachusetts are drafting bills that would prohibit retailers with more 3,000 square feet of space, and all chain stores with more than three locations, from providing single-use plastic bags.

In addition to targeting plastic bags, the bills mandate that shoppers who opt for paper bags will be charged 10 cents, as in inducement for shoppers and retailers to steer toward reusable shopping bags.

“This policy takes Massachusetts in the wrong direction and sets a poor example for the region,” states Harman, who adds, “AF&PA looks forward to continuing to work with the state of Massachusetts on this provision.” 

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Allied Construction strikes dealer arrangement with Volvo

News from Recycling Today - Tue, 10/24/2017 - 20:15
Volvo Construction Equipment, with North American headquarters in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, and Cleveland-based Allied Construction Products LLC have entered into an agreement for the sale and support of Allied hydraulic breakers at Volvo dealer locations.

Volvo, in a news release, says the partnership has been created “to offer customers more options in breakers and other aftermarket attachments in North America, and results in the addition of 40 models to Volvo dealer product offerings, including the Allied flagship Rammer and Hy-Ram hydraulic breakers and Ho-Pac and Skid-Pac compactor/drivers.”

The company adds that “comparable Volvo-branded products in North America will be discontinued with this new partnership.”

“We understand that the availability of a broad range of high-quality breakers is important to our customers,” says Mark Mohn, director of attachments for Volvo in the Americas Sales Region.

“Instead of competing with industry leaders like Allied, who exclusively sell breakers, we can work together to better serve our customers. This partnership will help our dealers strengthen their ability to serve customers with an expanded range of products and best-in-class support from the breaker specialists at Allied.”

Allied’s product line includes 33 boom-mounted hydraulic hammer models and seven boom-mounted vibratory compactors/drivers.

Volvo dealers will order and receive breakers and relevant parts directly from Allied. The company also will provide service, parts and warranty support, and will support the existing population of Volvo-branded hammers in the field.

“We are pleased to offer Volvo and its dealers the market-leading products and support from Allied,” says Philip M. Paranic, president and CEO of the Cleveland-based firm. “Rest assured this is all we do — we pay attention.”

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National Waste & Recycling Association recognizes best in recycling

News from Recycling Today - Tue, 10/24/2017 - 13:24
The National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA), Arlington, Virginia, recognized innovators and leaders in its industry at the annual Executive Leadership Round Table (ELRT) in Orlando, Florida. Six awards were given to companies that have made substantial contributions to U.S. recycling through partnerships, public education, innovations in recycling equipment, and innovations in recycling facilities. Winners were selected by a panel of judges who are professionals in the waste and recycling industry as well as from other technology and education organizations.

“These awards honor the very best in the industry for excellence in educating the public and smart ways to recycle; creating innovative approaches to advance our work, constructing state of the art recycling facilities, and revolutionary partnerships that help protect the environment and increase collaboration with the recycling ecosystem,” said NWRA president and CEO Darrell Smith. “Our industry continues to make great strides in safety, engineering and community engagement, which not only helps to make us more effective but it also yields better results for the environment and the communities we serve.”

The Sustainability Partnership Game Changer Award and the Construction and Demolition Debris Recycler of the Year Award went to SCS Engineers and the Dane County Solid Waste Division for its Rodefield Landfill Construction and Demolition (C&D) Recycling Facility. Dane County brought in SCS Engineers to assist with the design and engineering of its facility. The entire processing line is housed inside the structure in an effort to keep the facility and surrounding area clean. This minimizes wind-blown debris as well as dust.

The Best Recycling Public Education Program Award was shared by the city of North Port, Florida’s Solid Waste Division for its outreach strategy and Recology San Francisco for its Educational Tour and Artist in Residence Program. The city of North Port launched its social media accounts in May 2015 and since then has used them, along with public events and direct marketing efforts, to keep residents informed of services offered by the Solid Waste Department, specifically the implementation of a new curbside recycling program.

Recology’s Artist in Residence Program provides artists the opportunity to take what other have thrown away and repurpose it into a variety of artistic mediums such as sculpture, photography, painting, and many other forms.

The Innovator of the Year Award went to AMP Robotics, Bolder, Colorado. AMP was honored for its artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic sorting system that is already in multiple material recovery facilities (MRFs). There is little to no retrofit costs and the robot can be installed within a weekend.

The Recycling Facility of the Year Award went to FCC Environmental Services, Spain, and the city of Dallas. This award recognizes the facility that demonstrates leadership in key measurements, such as innovation, quantity of materials collected and/or processed, types of materials recovered, site improvements, or sustainability measures adopted. The facility began operating on January 1, 2017. In its first year of operation, the MRF will process around 80,000 tons in 2017 with a total capacity of 140,000 tons per year.

The Organics Recycler of the Year Award went to the city of Cedar Grove, Washington, Republic Services, Phoenix, and the Alabama Coastal Foundation for their work together in the Oyster Shell Recycling Program. Cedar Grove was honored for the critical role it plays in Puget Sound’s recycling infrastructure and sustainability efforts. Cedar Grove diverts more than 350,000 tons of organic material from landfills annually.

“I congratulate all our winners on their outstanding achievements and contributions. It is important we recognize the good work our industry is doing to make our communities better,” said Smith.

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NWRA recognizes Wisconsin C&D recycling facility

News from Recycling Today - Tue, 10/24/2017 - 13:00
Wisconsin’s Dane County Solid Waste Division received the Construction & Demolition (C&D) Debris Recycler of the Year and Sustainability Partnership Game Changer Awards from the National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA), Arlington, Virginia, at a luncheon as part of NWRA’s Executive Leadership Roundtable event. Dane County was honored for its Rodefeld Landfill C&D Recycling Facility.

Dane County opened a C&D transfer station in 2013, a site where materials were dumped and then trucked to another facility for processing. At the time materials were being trucked more than 80 miles for processing, resulting in significant transportation fees for the county. In September of the following year, Dane County brought in four partners, Landfill Reduction & Recycling (LRR), Appleton, Wisconsin; SCS Engineers, Long Beach, California; Sparta Manufacturing, Notre-Dame, Quebec, and General Kinematics, Crystal Lake, Illinois, to help convert the existing transfer site into a recycling facility.

Each of these partners contributed to making Dane County’s goal a reality. SCS provided building design and engineering services for the project. SCS worked within the footprint of the existing transfer station building and included green features such as natural daylighting, LED lights, minimal additional paved areas, and utilized heat from the Rodefeld Landfill’s gas-to-energy system.

Sparta was responsible for the design of the equipment. This included system design, integrations, controls, manufacturing of all conveyors and steelworks, and installation. General Kinematics provided the key processing equipment that is responsible for screening and density separation.

LRR is responsible for the operation of the equipment and for finding end markets for the recycled materials.

“Dane County’s partnership kept C&D recycling as a viable, cost-effective option for the Dane County community,” said Darrell Smith, President and CEO of NWRA. “This project serves as a reminder that there are great benefits to keeping reusable materials out of landfills.”

The entire processing line is housed inside the structure in an effort to keep the facility and surrounding area clean. This minimizes wind-blown debris as well as dust. Dane County also requires all loads coming in or going out to be covered and performs regular site cleanups.

Dane County and its partners had five goals in mind: to save air space in the adjacent landfill, save money, free up customer fees for other services and initiatives, keep C&D recycling viable, and to meet other sustainability goals. In 2016, the site processed 48,000 tons, and is currently on pace to process 60,000 tons of C&D this year. Each ton processed saves the county $15-$17 by recycling the materials instead of burying them in the landfill. Dane County has also saved 60,000 cubic yards of air space because of the C&D facility, which prolongs the life of the Rodefeld landfill saving tax payers money and being environmentally conscience.

LRR was featured in the cover story, “Seizing the opportunity” in the March/April 2017 issue of Construction & Demolition Recycling available at www.cdrecycler.com/article/seizing-the-opportunity.

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In memoriam: Maurice “Mort” J. Ockenfels

News from Recycling Today - Tue, 10/24/2017 - 09:48
Maurice “Mort” John Ockenfels Sr. died Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017, at age 92, surrounded by his family. He and his wife, Marcy, founded City Carton Recycling Co., which was headquartered in Iowa City, Iowa, in 1967. They operated the company for 25 years before selling the business to their children.

Ockenfels was born June 21, 1925, in Walford, Iowa, the son of John and Lillian Delaney Ockenfels. He was a graduate of Hartwick High School in Hartwick, Iowa. From 1947 to 1952 he served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War. Ockenfels married Marcy Barker Nov. 29, 1949, at Hamilton Air Force Based in California.

In 1967, the Ockenfels founded City Carton Recycling Co., which they operated for 25 years. Following their retirement in 1990, the couple sold the business to their children. City Carton was the largest recycling company in Iowa before being acquired by Republic Services of Phoenix in January of 2015.

In 1958 Ockenfels and his brother operated Carl’s Cartage Co., a local trucking company. In 1963, Ockenfels established Ockenfels Transfer.

He was a member of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, the Knights of Columbus and the Bishop Cosgrove Assembly, Old Capitol Kiwanis, the American Legion and the Moose.

The Ockenfels wintered in Arizona for more than 30 years. He liked to play euchre, fish and pilot his company plane and was an active pilot until he turned 79.

Ockenfels is survived by Marcy and their eight children, Donna (Fred) Renon of San Diego; John (Deb) of Swisher, Iowa; Mark of Davenport, Iowa; Andy (Kathy) of Riverside, Iowa; Tim (Lisa) of Mount Pleasant, Iowa; Cindy Ward of Davenport; Chris (Verlaine) of Riverside; and Margie (Dennis) Maurer of Waterloo, Iowa. He also is survived by 12 grandchildren, Charles, Brandi, Dan, Kris, JR, Travis, Austin, Jake, Abbey, Becca, Christine and Jennifer, 12 great-grandchildren, Jacey, Justin, James, Gavin, Alexia, Jon, Kayla, Sam, Alex, Zack, Abel and Charlotte; and his siblings, Larry (Mary) of Swisher; Rosie Beadle, Margie McFate and Marilyn (Charlie) Ong, all of Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Therese Johnson (Clair Rausch) of Iowa City; and Virginia Storjohann of Centennial, Colorado.

Ockenfels was preceded in death by his parents; his children, Jerry, Debbie, Gene and his wife, Vivian, and Maurice Jr.; and his brother Dick and sister Carolyn Dohrer.

Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Monday, Oct. 23, at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, and visitation was held Oct. 22 from 2 to 5 p.m. at Lensing Funeral & Cremation Service, Iowa City. Burial with Military Honors was at St. Joseph Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Mort and Marcy Ockenfels Scholarship Fund for the Children’s Cancer Connection.  

Online condolences can be sent to the family at www.lensingfuneral.com

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Mahoney acquires Waste Oil Recyclers

News from Recycling Today - Tue, 10/24/2017 - 09:47
Mahoney Environmental, a recycler of used cooking oil headquartered in Joliet, Illinois, announced that it has purchased Waste Oil Recyclers Inc. (WOR), a used oil recycling company based in Modena, Pennsylvania. The integration of WOR into Mahoney will allow for direct service to Mahoney customers throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.

The October 2017 acquisition of WOR fits into the Mahoney strategy to grow its reach in the direct servicing of its customers for used cooking oil collection, recycling and other back-of-the-house service needs of our customers, Mahoney says.

"This acquisition will bring significant volume and contribute to Mahoney growth in self-service coverage, now at 27 states. WOR is unique in the depths to which their recycling culture drives their entire operation, nothing is wasted. They are just as passionate as Mahoney when it comes to their service culture and taking care of their customers. We see this as a common focal point going forward," Rick Sabol, president of Mahoney, says. "The previous owners, Jim Bricker and Brendan Steer will join Mahoney as part of the transition team for the Mid-Atlantic operation."

"For over ten years WOR has provided used cooking oil removal and recycling services in the region. Our goal of exceeding customer expectations is ongoing and we are thrilled to be a part of the transition as Mahoney will continue with what we started over ten years ago," Jim Bricker and Brendan Steer, co-owners of WOR, say.
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MRF & Recycling Plant Operations Forum: Investing in equipment and employees

News from Recycling Today - Tue, 10/24/2017 - 06:49
Huge investments have been made in the recycling industry in the last 25 years, and with mixed results, Nat Egosi said in his opening remarks at the second annual MRF & Recycling Plant Operations Forum in Chicago Oct. 10.

Egosi led the one-day forum, which brought together 170 attendees, from plant and regional managers to owners, engineers, equipment suppliers and government officials. The event was hosted by the Recycling Today Media Group in cooperation with RRT Design & Construction, a Melville, New York-based consulting firm with significant experience in the MRF design sector where Egosi is president and CEO.

“Our focus is on the ‘process’ in the collect, process and ship scenario,” Egosi said in his opening remarks.

The sessions at the MRF & Recycling Plant Operations Forum focused on the processes of plants, from safety of employees to separation of materials. Material recovery facility (MRF) operators and equipment providers, among others, discussed ways to improve procedures, best practices for certain sorting equipment, how to effectively manage a tipping floor and a retrofit as well as the use of data in everyday operations, among other topics.

The day flowed in a conversational-style format, allowing attendees to ask a question or make a comment during any presentation.

Below is a rundown of each of the seven sessions at the MRF & Recycling Plant Operations Forum:

Running a retrofit

When it comes to managing a retrofit, speakers Jill Martin and Jim Marcinko said it is all about relationships. From employees to end markets and equipment providers, every relationship matters during a retrofit process.

Martin, recycling and resource recovery administrator for Outagamie County Recycling & Solid Waste in Wisconsin, expressed the importance of trusting contractors. Marcinko, vice president of recycling operations for Waste Management Inc. (WM), Houston, drove that point home, saying, “Become a partner with the installation team. Treat them like family, get to know them. That’s your livelihood they are doing.”

A reliable relationship also comes into play during the retrofit process when material pileups could be a concern. Marcinko suggested to not hold on to material. “Send it to someone else and make sure it’s a reliable relationship,” he said.

Martin agreed. She said, “We never would have been successful without the cooperation from the mills and the labor company.”

In addition, training employees on the new equipment is just as important, Marcinko said, as the controls mostly likely will be different.

Beyond relationships, Marcinko advised attendees to determine who has the best solution for a specific retrofit. Every facility is different, he said, and every retrofit is unique. “The lowest-cost proposal is not always the best,” Marcinko said. He added, “The better you manage it … the better your results will be.”

In her presentation, Martin shared details of the two retrofits the Outagamie County Recycling & Solid Waste facility has completed. In 2008, the facility disassembled and sold its dual-stream equipment. (The equipment was reinstalled in Emmet County, Michigan, for a total cost of $1.1 million to deconstruct, transport, store, engineer, refurbish and install.) The building and all production stopped for nine months during this transition. Martin said subcontracted employees were offered unemployment or employment at another facility while one subcontracted staff and a few county staff stayed on to do painting, cleaning, small repairs and assist with installation and loading operations. The transfer station was used as a tipping floor. Material was shipped to other counties for processing, including loose paper transported via trucks to local mills. This cost the facility an additional $44,000 in hauling and $125,000 in processing during the nine months of construction, Martin said.

In its second retrofit, Outagamie County Recycling & Solid Waste doubled its capacity, increasing processing from 45,000 tons per year to 90,000 tons per year. Other improvements included the addition of a mixed paper bunker, a redesigned container line and an additional dock door. Production continued through this second retrofit, a highlight Martin pointed out as “what we did right.”

While the county encountered several challenges, including fitting equipment in existing spaces and electrical issues, Martin recognized, “We had challenges, but we did a lot right.”

Being forward-thinking also is helpful. “Forward-thinking of what are investments and changes we’ll want to make later so we can better plan for it now?” Martin noted.

Martin said the future of recycling lies in robots. “Our next retrofit will have some of this,” she said of robotics.

Separating Do’s and Don’ts

These back-to-back panels, one focused on fiber and the other on containers, dug into best practices for three key equipment classes: screens, ballistic separators and optical sorters.

Fiber

Moderator Egosi started the session by noting China’s proposed import ban on certain scrap imports, including mixed paper, is mostly due to contaminated loads of imported baled recyclables. Cleaning up quality is a must.

“China is not very nice to us these days,” said Pieter Eenkema van Dijk, CEO of Van Dyk Recycling Solutions, Stamford, Connecticut, and a speaker on the fiber panel.

Van Dijk said he has seen two actions occurring in MRFs that are affecting the way recyclers sort paper: Some recyclers are changing screens to nonwrapping screens. Others have invested in optical sorting equipment. “There’s a new way to approach single stream today, a completely different way,” Van Dijk said. “Instead of sending smaller material to screens, send it to an optical sorter. I think eventually we’re going away from screens because you can positively sort the paper and negatives can go to optical.”

In reference to China’s import ban and its proposed 0.3 percent limit on contaminants, Rich Reardon, managing director of Max-AI for Bulk Handling Systems (BHS), Eugene, Oregon, and another panelist, asked, “Who didn’t see this coming?”

Reardon said investing in plants and ensuring the entire system is “commissioned to perform” as it should is important. This includes “making sure the screen is set to the specification provided and that discs are in good shape,” Reardon said.

As for using screens to collect more old corrugated containers (OCC) from the stream, Reardon suggested operators change the screens in different zones.

“Should we be focusing on one mixed paper grade and pull out OCC or can screens be modified?” Reardon said. “You need to look at the opening on screens by looking at the balance on the system.”

Speakers said plastic film makes up about 5 percent of MRFs’ inbound streams. Reardon suggested using optical sorters and air to remove film. Bypassing a screen also is an option. 

Van Dijk said film “is a huge problem” and “it cost a fortune just to sort film.”

David Marcouiller, executive vice president of sales engineering at Machinex Industries Inc., Plessisville, Quebec, and another panelist, confirmed the difficulty of removing film from the stream. “Film is hard to get out and when you do, it takes good fiber with it,” Marcouiller said.

He said the bulk of labor in MRFs today is spent on the fiber line, pulling out film and OCC.

As for fiber quality concerns, Marcouiller said using ballistic separators also can be helpful. “As soon as you separate the material by size, you can really attack the problem in a different way,” he said of ballistic separators.

When collecting material in colder climates, where snow and ice, and therefore wetness, thrive, speakers suggested lowering screens. Additionally, Marcouiller said agitating the material more often can make a real difference.

Marcouiller said, “Packer trucks are getting better at packing material. … [You] need to agitate material throughout the system.”

Containers

Speakers on the containers panel said it is a matter of space and capital investments to make the necessary moves that will permit MRFs to sort flexible packaging and glass, among other containers, more efficiently.

Nick Davis, senior cost estimator for CP Group, San Diego, said the industry is learning to adapt to these changes. This is especially true considering Davis said MRFs’ inbound stream of flexible packaging is expected to increase to 3 percent to 5 percent.

“Flexible packaging is here and I don’t think it’s going away,” said Davis.

He added, “There are a lot of different things to consider. It will require rethinking of the MRF and how we recycle materials.”

A decade ago, the containers MRFs were sorting were mostly used beverage containers (UBCs), said panelist Michael Drolet, solution sales manager for Steinert US, Walton, Kentucky. Today, inbound streams include UBCs, plastics Nos. 3-7, glass and aseptic cartons, among other containers.

“We need to rethink our process flow to adapt to what we’re getting in the bin,” Drolet said.

He said drum magnets in MRFs started as a trend about five years ago. “The right drum magnet will always be more expensive, but will give you cleaner steel,” Drolet said.

However, Davis recognized the reality of accepting any and all materials at the MRF, saying, “We don’t have space to store every possible commodity. There’s market economics and also physical economics.”

Speakers addressed the question, “Can I improve something to better introduce material to equipment?”

Panelist Scott Jable, director of North American sales for Stadler America LLC, Colfax, North Carolina, suggested adjusting the angle of the screens. “I always adjust the angle first; the steeper you run your screen, the less contamination.”

He said star screens and ballistic separators have the same idea in mind: trying to get 3D material to go airborne. If a flattened polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle is stuck between two pieces of paper, recyclers should avoid overrunning their screens.

“Try to run your system at what it was designed to or designed with a reasonable throughput,” Jable said. “If you overrun your screens, you’ll bury everything.”

Jable said most of the issues with optical sorters are mechanical. Overrunning the sorter and not cleaning valves or putting them in the wrong place can cause disruptions.

Davis said CP Group has seen a number of MRFs add optical sorters, which are an alternative to disc screens.

Davis said, “Optical sorters, fed correctly, can do everything we’re asking them to do, it takes space and money. Nobody has really been willing to spend that much money.”

He added, “There are a lot of competing issues working on the economic side, but optical sorters are going to continue to evolve.”

As for robotics, Davis said he sees this type of equipment and optical sorters as competing and also complimentary to each other. 

War Stories

An open forum, the War Stories session welcomed attendees to share various challenging encounters they have had running their plants.

Dwayne McDonald, who works at Republic Services’ Fort Worth, Texas, MRF, shared a story of the time a bag of cash passed by sorters on the line. He described workers jumping around and a safety concern. No one was hurt, and the cash was pulled off the line and dollars picked up off the floor.

Jon Schroeder, general manager at Lakeshore Recycling Systems, headquartered in Morton Grove, Illinois, detailed a quick story when a live grenade showed up at the yard. “Our day got better as soon as [the fire marshal] left the yard,” Schroeder said.

Dem-Con Cos. President Bill Keegan shared an incident when a line worker shouted, “I got a gun!” before letting everyone around him know that he had just pulled it off the sorting line. “No one knew it was on the line,” Keegan said. It was an airsoft gun, and no one was hurt.

Figuring out the floor

At a single-stream MRF, turning off the faucet is not an option; feedstock is continuous. To manage this stream efficiently, Balcones Resources has a controlled receiving process, said speaker Joaquin Mariel, general manager for the Austin-based company. Balcones stores its residential and commercial loads on opposite sides of the tipping floor. With the loader in the center of the room, Mariel said the operator wastes less time this way. The loader also is used for audits; the less people on the floor, the better.

Mariel said, “We have enough tip floor space for four trucks. We monitor it effectively and the customer is happy.”

Speaker Brad Dunn, Cincinnati market recycling manager for Rumpke Waste & Recycling, outlined several factors to consider when figuring out the tipping floor: safety, fire/access, traffic flow, floor/walls, equipment and productivity. Another factor: considering which way the wind is blowing. Dunn sad building a MRF based on the wind’s positioning will help to keep material contained, and the property clean.

“Which way is wind blowing? You’ll pay more cleaning up your property,” if wind direction is not considered, Dunn said.

As for what the floor is made of, Dunn said concrete is king. “We’ve tried all kinds of concrete,” Dunn said of Rumpke. The company has settled on ballistic concrete. Dunn said this concrete type is durable, and while it costs more up front, it’s worth it.

Another cost that Rumpke realized is worthwhile: a trailer tipper. Rumpke’s Cincinnati MRF sees 18 trailer loads a day of single-stream material, Dunn said. The trailer tipper is “a highly used piece of equipment,” he said.

With so much incoming material, Dunn noted that scheduling is important. Don’t let the tail wag the dog, he said. “Work with the people that are bringing you the material,” Dunn said.

He added, “Who owns the floor? Your operators have to own the floor.”

Dunn expressed his concern for fires at MRFs, especially due to lithium-ion batteries. Rumpke has had nine fires in 2017 at its Cincinnati MRF, mostly due to lithium-ion batteries, Dunn said.

Straightening out Safety

While there aren’t any secrets in safety, there are best practices and ways to boost the morale and work ethic of employees to ensure a safe environment. Speakers Jerry Sjogren and David Lewis shared habits each of their companies exercise that encourage workers to show up to work daily with safety in mind at all times.

“Oftentimes we hire people because they have a pulse. We have to do due diligence in order to ensure we’re safe,” said Sjogren, safety director for E.L. Harvey & Sons, Westborough, Massachusetts.

Get to know the rules and regulations in your area, he said. With marijuana’s legalization in some states, Sjogren said you can still test for this drug. In addition, spend time with new hires going over safety and training them. E.L. Harvey’s safety philosophy is the same as the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries’ (ISRI’s): Safely or not at all.

Be aware of bullies who have worked at the facility for years picking on new hires. Many times, Sjogren said, it’s the “older senior guys” who are making a lot of mistakes because they are comfortable.

Sjogren and Lewis expressed the value in empowering workers. The more entrusted workers feel, the more likely they will report close calls and near misses, Sjogren said. Listen and respond to concerns.

“If you can get your people empowered to come to you, those are leading indicators,” Sjogren said. “It’s knowing people are doing what they’re supposed to be doing that you know you’ve got a good culture.”

Lewis, director of safety, recycling, at WM said, “We empower all of our workers.”

People learn by observing, said Lewis. Develop programs around safety. Show new hires photos of at-risk behavior and fall protection. WM uses a PowerPoint presentation to show new hires the company’s safety standards. “You have to start basic,” Lewis said.

People also want to be awarded and appreciated, Sjogren said. E.L Harvey & Sons has 20-25 percent annual turnover—two-thirds is the company discharging the employee, one-third is voluntary.

Turnover in this industry is “pretty immense,” Lewis said.

To boost morale, Lewis said WM recognizes safe behavior with cookouts, message boards and by celebrating milestones. The company also allows forklift drivers to paint and decorate their forklifts. “If you can paint your forklift, will you take better care of your forklift? Yes,” Lewis said.

“Be creative,” he added.

WM also encourages preshift stretching, Lewis said. “Make everyone feel like they are an industrial athlete, because they are,” he said.

“It’s really up to the employer to mentor and show respect,” Lewis added.

Digging into data

Figuring out which materials are worth sorting for a MRF is a challenge in itself. Speaker Jim Ford, general manager at Royal Oak Recycling, Royal Oak, Michigan, identified the “Three Commandments of Evaluating Recyclable Material Streams”:

  1. Know Thy Buyers and Sellers (including material, quality specs, volumes, shipping/collection needs and pricing);
  2. Understand Thy Operation (including plant capacities, material, space, upgrade or mix and cost); and
  3. Determine Thy Opportunity Cost (including volume and capacity, asset usage, margins and strategy).

“How much grief do you want to go through to meet your margins?” Ford asked.

Bill Keegan, president of Dem-Con Cos., Shakopee, Wisconsin, said it’s all about end markets. Without end markets, it is not worth sorting certain materials. “One of our challenges in the MRF is volatility,” Keegan said.

He said he has seen gains in revenue sharing models where revenue from commodities sold is split 80/20: 80 percent goes back to the customer, 20 percent to the MRF. This fee-for-a-service model is being implemented more often, he said.

“Get a recycling contract that weathers high and low,” he said.

As an industry, Keegan said there is not enough communication between packaging designers and recyclers. “Evolving material requires an evolving MRF,” Keegan said. He supports the hub-and-spoke model of MRFs as well as the use of optical sorters and robotics.

Examining employees’ efficiencies

Managing your workforce begins with respecting employees. That was the message from some executives at Leadpoint Business Services, Phoenix, who led the last session of the MRF & Recycling Plant Operations Forum.

Leadpoint specializes in productivity work with MRFs to help improve output, said Pat Hudson, vice president of sales and marketing for the company.

“When talking about safety, motivation and teamwork go hand in hand, we’ve heard that all day today,” Hudson said.

He outlined the key factors for a worker’s success: attention to detail, tolerance for the conditions and ability to work with others.

Asking nonessential questions is another idea Hudson shared. Asking a potential worker if they get carsick is one way to figure out if he or she has motion sensitivity, a concern for the job.

“The No. 1 rule for hiring is to help them be successful so you can get more tons,” Hudson said.

He added, “Don’t sabotage the candidate with self-fulfilling prophecy. Set the candidate up for success.

Ted Horton, vice president of operational excellence, shared a story of a facility in Reno that had gone through seven leaders in three years. “Churn and burn,” Horton said. Leadpoint suggested looking outside the box. That facility hired a leader from big box retail; he had never worn a safety vest or worn steel-toed boots.

However, the new leader brought so much more. “What he brought us was a ‘Can-do attitude,’” Horton said.

“Retail at its core is about people,” Horton continued. “He was always smiling, said thank you. He encouraged pride in his work.”

The underlying root cause of the turmoil at the Reno facility was not technical, it was leadership, Horton said.

“Every employee needs to add value,” Horton said. He added that peer-to-peer accountability is what makes a team successful.

The MRF & Recycling Plant Operations Forum was Oct. 10 in Chicago at the Marriott Chicago Downtown Magnificent Mile.

 

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Arconic announces leadership changes

News from Recycling Today - Tue, 10/24/2017 - 05:25
Arconic Inc., headquartered in Norcross, Georgia, has announced business management changes designed to streamline and strengthen its operational executive leadership. The changes are effective immediately.

Eric Roegner has been appointed executive vice president and group president, engineered products and solutions (EP&S), and Tim Myers has been appointed executive vice president and group president, global rolled products (GRP) and transportation and construction solutions (TCS).

Roegner, succeeds Karl Tragl, who will leave the company. Roegner joined Alcoa Inc. in 2006 and has 11 years’ experience in aerospace and defense. Since his appointment in May 2017 as executive vice president and group president, global rolled products, he has significantly rationalized and strengthened the business, with overhead reductions expected to save $15 million in 2018, Arconic says.

Roegner previously was chief operating officer of EP&S, where he led the successful integration of the RTI acquisition and oversaw Arconic’s jet engine business. He is co-inventor of the Ampliforge process, a hybrid technique that combines additive and advanced manufacturing processes.

He holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering from Princeton University and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University. He currently serves on the board of governors of the Aerospace Industries Association.

Myers joined Alcoa Inc. in 1992 as an automotive applications engineer and has a strong background in automotive and commercial transportation. He was appointed executive vice president and group president, TCS in May 2016 and has led the group to achieve five consecutive quarters of year-over-year EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) growth through June 2017. Myers was previously president of Alcoa Wheel and Transportation Products, where he drove the business to increase innovation, profitably grow market share and expand internationally, Arconic says.

Myers has also held automotive engineering and commercial roles for GRP and Alcoa Forged Products. Prior to joining Alcoa Inc., he was a product design engineer for Ford Motor Co.

Myers holds a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering and an MBA, both from the University of Michigan.

He currently serves on the board of governors (and is a prior chairman) of the Heavy Duty Manufacturer’s Association, and also serves on the board of directors of the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association.

“Both Eric and Tim are proven operational executives, with strong industry experience and a track record of driving profitable growth and serving our customers with excellence,” says Arconic Interim Chief Executive Officer David Hess. “Eric’s strong background in aerospace and defense position him to successfully lead EP&S as we support our customers in meeting their aggressive ramp-ups and drive increased share for Arconic on the new aero engine and airframe platforms. Tim’s deep operational and commercial experience in transportation markets will be key to realizing valuable synergies in our transportation portfolio in both GRP and TCS. With this change, Arconic brings GRP and TCS under a single executive leader, further streamlining our management structure.”

Hess adds, “We thank Karl for his leadership, passion for excellence and many significant contributions to Arconic. Under his leadership, EP&S improved operating performance and strengthened customer relationships in the face of an extraordinary ramp up in -nextgeneration engine deliveries. He created a team-oriented culture where innovation flourished. I wish him the very best in his future endeavors.”

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September 2017 output strong for steelmakers

News from Recycling Today - Mon, 10/23/2017 - 22:50
The world’s steelmakers churned out 5.6 percent more crude steel in September 2017 compared to September 2016, according to the Brussels-based World Steel Association (Worldsteel).

Output for the 66 countries that report to Worldsteel checked in at 141.4 million metric tons in September 2017, compared to 134 million metric tons of output in September 2016.

Year to date in 2017, Worldsteel reports crude steel production of 1.267 billion metric tons, also up by 5.6 percent compared to the same period in 2016.

Asia’s steel production continues to surge, having grown by 5.9 percent year-over-year. Asia has produced 876.3 million metric tons of crude steel in the first nine months of 2017, representing 69 percent of the world’s total.

Steelmakers in most other parts of the world also have raised their output of crude steel in the first three quarters of 2017, with the EU’s output increasing by 4.1 percent and North America’s production rising by 3.5 percent.

While China’s steelmaking capacity and output—and its ability to keep consuming the steel it produces—have been looked at with skepticism by many analysts, the nation’s steel output continues to rise. Year to date, China’s output has risen by 6.3 percent, with September showing only a modest deviation from that pattern (with a 5.3 percent increase in September 2017 compared to September 2016).

Ferrous scrap exporters in Europe and North America are likely encouraged by Turkey’s figure for September 2017. Steelmakers in Turkey produced 3 million metric tons of steel in September, an increase of 13 percent compared to September 2016.

Other substantial ferrous scrap importing nations also are experiencing steel output boosts so far in 2017, with crude steel output rising by 7.8 percent in Taiwan, 5.7 percent in India, 3.5 percent in South Korea, and an impressive 43 percent in Pakistan. Worldsteel says the production figure it receives from Vietnam is incomplete, but its known steel output has risen by 86 percent in the first nine months of 2017 compared to the first three quarters of 2016.

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ArcelorMittal honored for slag recycling effort

News from Recycling Today - Mon, 10/23/2017 - 22:17
A slag recycling project at the Ostrava, Czech Republic, ArcelorMittal steel mill has been honored by that nation’s Ministry of Industry and Trade through its “Transforming waste into resources” competition. ArcelorMittal’s Jitka Halamová received an award presented at the Czech Senate in Prague in mid-October 2017.

The project, which substituted the primary raw materials for steelmaking with processed recycled slag, ranked fourth in a competition entered by 127 contestants. A panel assembled by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Education, universities, professional associations and unions judged the entries.

 “This award is an affirmation of a project I have been working on for more than two years,” says Halamová, who played a key role in ArcelorMittal’s task to “efficiently recycle waste back into the production process.”

The slag pellets generated as a byproduct typically have a phosphorus content that limits their usefulness in the sintering process, since phosphorus reduces the quality of the resulting pig iron. Traditionally, very little slag is returned to the sintering process, according to ArcelorMittal.

But by mechanically processing the slag pellets, which are smaller than one-third of an inch (8 millimeters) in size, Halamová and her team were able to increase the slag’s iron content from less than 40 percent to between 54 and 57 percent, while keeping the phosphorus content low enough to reuse the enriched slag in the sintering process. The processed slag was thus able to replace iron ore, additives and fuel in the production process.

According to ArcelorMittal, one metric ton of enriched slag can replace slightly more than one metric ton of iron ore, about 740 pounds (336 kilograms) of carbonate additives and varying amounts of fuel.

Using slag in this way increases the sustainability of the mill’s operations and saves money compared to extracting and using primary natural resources, says the firm. In 2016 ArcelorMittal Ostrava recycled on average 1,900 metric tons of enriched slag per month, and in the process saved a more than $865,000 (€735,000).

“Since we've been using a special technology to sort the slag to end up a with higher iron content and a lower level of phosphorus, we have been able to reuse that slag in our operations in much higher amounts than before,” says Halamová. “Thanks to that, we are able to save iron ore, additives and fuel and, at the same time, we don’t accumulate large amounts of waste on our premises.”

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Merger speculation rife in Asian steel sector

News from Recycling Today - Mon, 10/23/2017 - 21:37
The Shanghai-based Baowu Steel Group Co., formed by the 2016 merger of Baosteel and Wuhan Iron and Steel, has reportedly signaled its intention to grow via acquisition. At the same time, investors are buying stock in India-based Bhushan Steel Ltd., based on speculation that it will be acquired by Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal.

According to an online news item by Reuters, Baowu Steel President Ma Guoqiang indicated to that news organization via e-mail that the company intends to “actively participate” in merger and acquisition opportunities in a nation where the government is encouraging such activity.

Reuters, citing the Beijing-based magazine Caixin, lists Chongqing Iron & Steel Co. as one potential acquisition target for Baowu, which currently has about 70 million metric tons per year of steelmaking capacity.

Investors in India, meanwhile, have driven up the value of shares in New Delhi-based Bhushan Steel Ltd., based on interest expressed by ArcelorMittal to acquire it. According to an online news item by the Mumbai-based Economic Times, Bhushan Steel’s stock value climbed 20 percent on Monday, October 23, 2017, based on the signal from ArcelorMittal.

The Economic Times describes Bhushan Steel as a holder of “distressed steel assets.” In its most recent financial quarter, the company’s sales were down by 10.6 percent compared to the previous quarter, and the company recorded a net loss.

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Green Energy and Development to develop recycling and composting facility in Atlanta

News from Recycling Today - Mon, 10/23/2017 - 14:52
Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport has chosen Green Energy and Development Inc., Winnebago, Minnesota, to develop a recycling and composting facility on airport grounds, according to an article on the Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC) website.

The facility, which the airport calls Green Acres, will be built on 30 acres of property on the south side of the airport in Clayton County.

The newspaper reports that Green Energy and Development Inc. was one of six firms to compete for the contract with Hartsfield-Jackson. The other companies were Cash Development LLC, Randolph & Company LLC, Columbia Technology LLC, Multiplex LLC and Sun State Organics LLC.

Airport officials want the Atlanta City Council to approve a 30-year lease with the company that includes two five-year renewal options, according to the AJC report. Services are estimated to cost $215,900 annually.

Hartsfield-Jackson officials tell the AJC they want to recycle material generated at the airport and compost chipped yard trimmings from the city’s public works department.

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Stadler completes Allerton Waste Recovery Park installation

News from Recycling Today - Mon, 10/23/2017 - 14:18
Germany-based Stadler, with North American headquarters in Colfax, North Carolina, has announced the completion of its latest high-volume installation at the Allerton Waste Recovery Park in North Yorkshire, U.K.

“This facility is truly state of the art,” says Stadler LLC CEO Mat Everhart. “The facility will process some 270,000 tons of MSW (municipal solid waste) annually, providing tremendous value for our customer and their community.”

The facility encompasses 132 conveyors, four 32-foot trommels and four ballistic separators. It contains 350 tons of steelwork and is designed to process nearly 80 tons per hour of MSW, recovering nearly all recyclables at purity levels comparable with the most efficient single-stream systems in operation today, the system supplier says.

“This is a complex plant designed entirely by Stadler in concert with our customer in response to their materials processing needs,” says shares Scott Jable, sales director for Stadler LLC. “Mechanical installation and full commissioning was completed in just 14 weeks by our highly experienced team.”  

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Arconic reports 3 percent increase in revenue for Q3 2017

News from Recycling Today - Mon, 10/23/2017 - 12:43
Arconic Inc., headquartered in Norcross, Georgia, has reported revenue of $3.2 billion for the third quarter of 2017, an increase of 3 percent year over year, driven by higher volumes across all business segments as well as higher aluminum prices. Organic revenue was up 5 percent year over year, the company says.

Net income attributable to Arconic in the third quarter of 2017 was $119 million, or 22 cents per share. The results included a last-in-first-out- (LIFO-) and metal-lag-related $30 million charge ($46 million pretax) and $13 million in special items, primarily charges related to restructuring, the company says.

Excluding special items, third quarter 2017 adjusted income was $132 million, or 25 cents per share. Annualized return on net assets (RONA) was 8.1 percent, based on year-to-date results.

Arconic says it continued its focus on cost reduction in the third quarter. The company delivered net cost savings of 1.5 percent of revenue and improved its full year selling, general and administrative expenses (SG&A) guidance by approximately $25 million versus the original 2017 target. Arconic says it is on track to deliver an improvement of approximately $100 million year over year in SG&A, with additional run-rate savings expected in 2018.

Third quarter 2017 consolidated adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) was $430 million, up 14 percent year over year. Consolidated adjusted EBITDA excluding special items was $437 million, up 2 percent year over year. Consolidated adjusted EBITDA margin excluding special items was 13.5 percent, down 20 basis points year over year, as rising aluminum prices had the dual impact of increasing revenue and a larger LIFO charge.

“Arconic delivered its third consecutive quarter of year-over-year revenue and EBITDA growth,” says Arconic Interim Chief Executive Officer David Hess. “We are demonstrating consistent improvements in operating performance on the back of healthy organic revenue growth, coupled with better-than-planned progress on streamlining, restructuring and net cost reduction. Uniquely this quarter, our results were negatively impacted by a sharply higher, noncash LIFO charge, resulting from a spike in aluminum prices.  We remain focused on a strong finish to 2017, and reaffirm the Arconic full-year earnings guidance.”

The company’s Engineered Products and Solutions (EP&S) segment reported revenue of $1.5 billion, up 5 percent year over year, and adjusted EBITDA of $312 million, up $16 million year over year. Increased aerospace volume and continued net cost savings were partially offset by unfavorable price and mix, Arconic says. Engine ramp costs were higher than expected. Adjusted EBITDA margin was 21.1 percent, flat year over year.

Its Global Rolled Products (GRP) segment reported revenue of $1.2 billion, a decrease of 4 percent year over year. Organic revenue was up 1. Adjusted EBITDA was $140 million, down $3 million year over year, driven by reduced aerospace wide-body build rates, airframe destocking and pricing pressure in regional specialties, partially offset by net cost savings of 1.6 percent of revenue. Adjusted EBITDA margin was 11.3 percent, up 20 basis points year over year, including a 170 basis point negative impact of higher aluminum prices, the company says.

Arconic’s Transportation and Construction Solutions (TCS) segment delivered revenue of $517 million, an increase of 15 percent year over year, and adjusted EBITDA of $83 million, up $7 million year over year. Higher volume and cost reductions more than offset headwinds, the company says, including unfavorable price and mix and higher aluminum prices. Adjusted EBITDA margin was 16.1 percent, down 80 basis points year over year, including a 120 basis point negative impact of higher aluminum prices.

The company ended the third quarter of 2017 with $1.8 billion in cash on hand. Cash from operations was $172 million, and free cash flow was $41 million. Cash used for financing activities was $15 million and cash used for investing activities was $128 million.

Arconic says it will hold a special meeting of shareholders Nov. 30, 2017, to approve the change of the company’s jurisdiction of incorporation from Pennsylvania to Delaware. Holders of record of Arconic common stock at the close of business Oct. 5, 2017, are entitled to vote at the special meeting. If approved, Arconic says it currently expects the reincorporation to occur on or about Dec. 31, 2017. The company’s post-reincorporation Certificate of Incorporation and Bylaws will not contain any supermajority voting requirements, will provide that the board of directors be completely declassified and that all directors be elected annually.

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