The proposed modifications:
1) change the maximum allowable amount of aluminum-wound material in the shelmo specification from 10 percent to 5 percent; and
2) change the ropes specification title from “Wheel Weights” to “Lead Wheel Weights.”
Any party may submit to ISRI a written appeal of the ISRI board’s approval of these changes up to 30 days after publication of this notice. ISRI says written appeals must provide a rationale and a request for action.
Once finalized, the new specification will be included in ISRI’s Scrap Specifications Circular, which provides industry guidelines for buying and selling a variety of processed scrap commodities, including ferrous, nonferrous, paper, plastics, electronics, rubber and glass.
To submit comments, recommendations or questions please contact ISRI’s Joe Pickard at JoePickard@isri.org.]]>
Pathacura brings more than 20 years of experience in the industry. Its focus on small and midsize waste generators allows Pathacura to help those companies with strict budgets and more diverse volume demands.
"We are thrilled to welcome Pathacura to the Red Bags family and to expand our services into Connecticut," says Sean Fredricks, president of Red Bags. "There is an incredible opportunity to expand these necessary services throughout the states of Connecticut and New York. We are confident the combination of the leadership and experience of the Pathacura and Red Bags teams will bring about a best-in-class, compliance-focused, medical waste disposal organization."
"Providing safe, quality service for our customers has always been our focus,” Michael Mongillo of Pathacura says. “Combining this with the experience and expanded services the Red Bags team offers allows us to accelerate our pursuit to improve medical waste disposal services for all medical waste generators throughout the state of Connecticut.”
Established by professionals with extensive experience in medical waste disposal services, Red Bags says it promises to provide the best and most consistent services to its customers. An expanded service menu allows the company to offer compliance training, paper shredding, pill bottle shredding, media destruction, hard drive destruction, file storage and disposal of light and universal wastes.
The combined companies serve a wide range of service sectors and industries, such as local and state services, schools, first responders, health care providers, life science, adult care, hospitality and veterinary.]]>
Through the contract, Toter offers National IPA participants the ability to purchase refuse carts, organics carts, recycling carts, bear-tough carts, organics bins, front-end-load containers and cart lifters.
Derrick Masimer, vice president of sales, Toter, says, “We appreciate the opportunity to continue our support for the city of Tucson and National IPA in their efforts to increase resident satisfaction while keeping costs in line.”
National IPA partners with lead public agencies, including governments, educational institutions and nonprofit agencies that competitively solicit national contracts for aggregated use. Participating agencies can use cooperative purchasing agreements with National IPA suppliers, streamlining the contracting process by eliminating the need to solicit the contract. There is no cost for agencies to participate and use the contracts available through National IPA, Toter says.
Allan McCombs, senior vice president of account management, National IPA, says, “National IPA is thrilled to continue our long-standing relationship with Toter. Their previous contract provided cities and counties with an easy and value-based vehicle to purchase durable waste containers. We are excited Toter’s new contract will continue to offer our participants access to leading-edge sustainable solutions.”]]>
In a letter sent by Upstate CEO Adam Weitsman to Kent Robertson, president and CEO of Fenix Parts, Upstate has offered 50 cents per share for Penix stock, which Weitsman writes “represents an attractive all cash premium of approximately 46 percent over the company’s closing price of 27 cents on Feb. 8, 2018.”
Adds Weitsman in his letter, “Fenix is in the business of automotive recycling and has many characteristics that are attractive to Upstate. We are eager to work with the company on this proposal and want to open a collaborative line of communication as soon as possible.”
He also writes, “Our offer would be funded with cash on-hand and not subject to any financing condition. To facilitate a transaction, we have engaged Olshan Frome Wolosky LLP as our legal counsel. We are prepared to move expeditiously and cooperatively to complete a transaction and are available to discuss this proposal with Fenix’s board of directors at your earliest convenience.”
Weitsman describes Upstate Shredding as “the East Coast's largest privately-owned scrap metal processor and one of the largest in the United States, [operating] from 16 locations located throughout the northeast [that] are collectively capable of processing over 1 million tons of ferrous scrap and 200 million pounds of nonferrous scrap.]]>
The bottle is currently being used to package Primal Group's ViTA brand of natural, plant science-powered personal care products. The bottle is manufactured by Classic Containers, Ontario, California.
"Envision is proud of the work we are doing by collecting and recycling OceanBound plastic, but we are excited that it was able to displace 100 percent of the virgin resin in the bottle and colorant,” Dan Ferus, general manager of Envision Plastics says. “We attribute the success to Vita's persistence, Classic Containers' willingness to work outside the box, Techmer's creativity and Envision's high quality standards. We hope that this is the first of many and invite all brands to find ways to add Envision's OceanBound Plastic into their products and packaging."
Envision's OceanBound Plastic is a fully traceable resin designed to be further processed into natural and mixed color as well as the many proprietary products Envision offers including Prisma and Deodorized Resin. Envision’s product is fit for most HDPE plastic applications.
"Classic Containers was thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Envision in the launch of the first 100 percent OceanBound resin bottle. The material processed amazingly well without any concerns. Working with Envision and our customer to bring this bottle into the marketplace was a remarkable experience," Kevin Tibbets, executive director of sales for Classic Containers, says.]]>
Together the acquisitions expand Covanta’s service area and allow for continued development of a suite of environmental services offerings, including industrial liquid waste treatment and assured product destruction for the pharmaceutical, health and beauty, consumer products and food products industries.
“Quantex and Sorinco were leaders in their space, recognized for service dependability and innovative solutions—exactly the type of companies that complement our strategy and allow us to grow in an important market,” Paul Stauder, president of Covanta Environmental Solutions, says. “Now, as part of Covanta Environmental Solutions, these entities will have the ability to provide our customers with an even more robust and comprehensive menu of the latest in sustainable materials management and environmental services, with the same or better level of service they have come to expect.”
With these latest acquisitions, Covanta has 17 material processing and recycling facilities in the U.S. and Canada.]]>
The 12 recipients and their projects include:
- Bunn Box Inc. – $420,000 to go toward a new crusher, stationary platform scales and a front-end loader with scales for the construction and demolition (C&D) materials recycler. Projected amounts to be diverted from landfills include 150,000 tons of concrete, 2,500 tons of rebar steel, 2,500 tons of other metal, 1,000 tons of wood and 480 tons of cardboard.
- Republic Services Recycling of Indiana Inc. – $166,300 toward the purchase of a glass cleaning classification system at its materials recovery facility (MRF). Because of the recycling process and end market requirements, additional cleaning and recovery of glass by screening, air extraction and sizing will be installed.
- Vidal Plastics LLC, – $106,000 to purchase an extruder and quality lab to be used for compounding recycled commodity resins, mainly polypropylene and polyethylene. The project will divert up to 375 tons of plastic scrap from landfills annually.
- City of Valparaiso/Public Works – $93,600 for the Go Green Campaign, which is aimed at increasing efficiencies, education and marketing of the city’s recycling program. This includes purchasing radio-frequency identification recycling containers for collection of recyclables and compost.
- Warrick County Recycling & Resource Management District – $76,900 toward purchasing a new feed conveyor and implementing sorting line modifications at its MRF to increase processing capacity. With the improvements, the organization expects to increase its annual output of recyclables from 1,800 tons to 5,400 tons.
- City of Winchester – $66,000 toward implementing a curbside recycling project with the purchase of recycling containers.
- City of Greendale – $42,300 to implement a new residential single-stream collection program. Funding will be used to purchase 65-and 96-gallon recycling rolling carts/recycling containers.
- Child Adult Resource Services (CARS) – $17,900 to purchase equipment to demanufacture electronic scrap.
- Upland Brewing Company Inc. – $5,300 toward the purchase of a vermicomposting system for processing food and paper waste coming from its Bloomington Brewpub.
- Woodrow Wilson Middle School – $3,560 toward the purchase of recycling and compost bins for the school’s Green Team initiative to collect recyclables and to begin vermicomposting.
- West Central School Corp.– $1,200 toward buying recycling containers for initiating a drive to recycle all soda and water bottles in the school.
- Metropolitan School District of Shakamak/Greene County Solid Waste Management District – $1,000 toward purchasing recycling containers to collect cardboard, paper, plastic, aluminum and steel cans.
Regarding profitability, CEO Tony Smurfit remarks, “I am pleased to report EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) for the fourth quarter of €351 million ($431 million), an increase of 10 percent year-on-year. Our EBITDA margin for the quarter at 15.9 percent also improved both year-on-year and on a sequential basis. Our full-year EBITDA was €1.24 billion ($1.52 billion), a record for the group, with an EBITDA margin of 14.5 percent.”
As far as business conditions in the containerboard and box-making sectors, Smurfit adds, “Our full year result was delivered against a backdrop of an increase in excess of €120 million ($147 million) in recovered fiber costs, generally higher raw material costs and adverse currency movements.”
Adds Smurfit, “This improved result for the year, and more importantly for the fourth quarter, reflects the benefits of our continued focus on offering our customers cost-effective and innovative solutions, our capital expenditure program, input cost recovery through paper and box price increases and generally strong markets. We also continue to benefit from the group’s geographic reach and integrated model, which support our customers by ensuring security of supply in very tight markets.”
Of its largest market, Smurfit comments, “Our European business showed very strong progression for the quarter, growing its margin to 16.5 percent. This strong performance came as a result of high levels of demand across most product lines and input cost recovery. Security of supply for our customers is key for us and we have been investing accordingly.”
He continues, “In the Americas, reported EBITDA of €311 million ($382 million) and a 14.4 percent margin came in below our expectations. The result was impacted by a number of factors, including increased recovered fiber costs, adverse weather events in the latter half of the year, the continued rise in containerboard prices where we are a significant net buyer of approximately 300,000 metric tons, and adverse currency moves.”
Looking forward, Smurfit says, “As we start 2018, the benefits of paper-based packaging are being increasingly recognized as the most sustainable, biodegradable solution for both our customers and their end customers. While we continue to experience currency volatility, wage inflation as well as higher energy and other input costs, 2018 has seen the continuation of good demand in Europe, further input cost recovery and signs of improvement in our Americas business. The group has exciting plans in place to continue our development and sustain our industry leadership into the future.”]]>
In a research paper available through the website of the scientific journal Nature, the co-authors say they have developed a “a simple and effective strategy to transform bulk natural wood directly into a high-performance structural material with a more than 10-fold increase in strength, toughness and ballistic resistance and with greater dimensional stability.”
Existing wood treatment techniques have already “led to the enhanced mechanical performance of natural wood,” write the scientists. They add, “However, the existing methods result in incomplete densification and lack dimensional stability, particularly in response to humid environments, and wood treated in these ways can expand and weaken.”
A key to the new process, according to a summary of the research posted by Nature, involves “partially removing lignin and hemicellulose from the wood, [which] makes it around three times denser, with an 80 percent reduction in thickness.”]]>
“This is a three-story condo community comprising 150 units along with a clubhouse, fitness center, swimming pool and tennis court,” says Chuck Herb, owner of Sunshine Recycling. “It’s a good-sized residential complex, so there will likely be a fair amount of waste that is generated each week.”
Sunshine indicates it is installing a 34-yard self-contained compactor at the complex for solid waste that will be picked up and hauled away weekly.
“We’re happy to get the new contract, and we’re always eager to talk with people who are looking for dumpster rentals or waste hauling services,” says Herb. He says the firm’s customers include contractors, manufacturers, property managers, retail business owners who regularly generate materials, as well as home owners involved in a renovation project that need a container on a short-term basis.
Sunshine Recycling Inc. indicates it offers recyclable, waste and construction debris collection and hauling services and trash compactors. The firm is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council and is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) AP certified.]]>
Delta Plastics makes agricultural plastic polytube and recycled-content trash bags.
“As leading consumer brand initiatives and government regulations such as California’s SB270 bag law, requiring post-consumer resin, continues to grow, demand for high-quality sustainable plastic packaging is increasing,” says Pete Grande, CEO of Command Packaging and Encore Recycling. “It became obvious we needed a growth partner to accelerate our expansion and meet the growing demands of the markets we serve. The ability to manufacture Command’s product line in Delta’s Arkansas and Texas facilities will also be a great benefit to our customers in the Midwest and East. Merging the two companies together creates impressive synergies for both companies.”
Comments Sean Whiteley, CEO of Delta Plastics, “Expansion west has been a significant part of our strategic growth plans. California has an abundance of plastic scrap that can and should be recycled. The opportunity to immediately manufacture Delta products in California is a tremendous opportunity for us to accelerate the implementation of our plan. With Delta’s extensive collection capabilities, within weeks we can begin recycling millions more pounds of plastic otherwise destined for landfills. We will also be positioned to support California’s goal of 75 percent recycling, composting, or source reduction of solid waste by 2020.”
Command Packaging will continue to operate as an independent business unit, while Encore Recycling will be integrated into Delta Plastics’ recycling business unit, according to the two companies.
Dhu Thompson, Delta Plastics’ owner and chairman, remarks, “Combining Delta’s 24 years of recycling expertise with California’s only recycler of agricultural plastic film creates North America’s largest supplier of high-quality, film-grade, post-consumer recycled resin. Considering the direction our customers and markets are moving, we have an unrivaled advantage today, and we will continue to build upon this foundation for years to come.”
In addition to its Little Rock plant, where the company makes its Revolution Bag line of recycled-content plastic blown film and trash bags, the company operates an agricultural plastics recycling operation in Stuttgart, Arkansas. The company also had previously expanded into California with the formation of Revolution Plastics, collecting more than 10,000 tons per year of used agricultural plastic in the state. Delta Plastics is also the parent company of Rodeo Plastics, which it acquired in 2017. That firm produces a range of industrial plastic films and bags.]]>
The notices of violation include one public nuisance violation and one illegal open burning violation.
“The Air District is continuing to investigate this incident for all potential air quality violations in collaboration with Contra Costa County Health Services and other agencies,” says Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the Air District. “Together with our partner agencies, we will fully investigate the cause to prevent fires like these from occurring in the future.”
Smoke from the fire resulted in air quality complaints from local residents plus road closures, limited evacuations, and “shelter-in-place” instructions for areas near the fire. Air District staff collected air samples that indicated elevated air pollution levels in the area closest to the fire. Fines and penalties are under review and will be levied on a future date.
Following the fire, Sims Metal Management released a statement declaring in part, “We want to assure members of the public that we will continue to be a valuable member of the community and that we will maintain our rigorous standards. We will be able to have a better understanding of what happened and how best to mitigate the risks once we have completed our evaluation of how the fire began and its root cause.
“We expect to be transparent in that process. We will look at any improvements to reduce the risk of fires at this facility, including a focus on stockpile size, improving fire breaks and use of technology to monitor stockpiles.”
Sims’ statement continued, “In any fire event, our facility is designed to contain storm water, and our systems operated as designed.
We will continue to work with those authorities regulating our business and seek to implement additional corrective measures if and when recommended. Toward that end, we expect to be meeting with the regulatory and local community to listen and, as needed, to act. We apologize for any inconvenience caused to the community by this incident and will continue to be committed to being a good corporate neighbor.”
Jill Rodby, a spokeswoman for Sims Metal Management’s West Region, also commented, “We will need to review the notices and will work cooperatively with the agency to address its concerns.”]]>
The plant can process up to 8,000 tons per year of film, used big bags and similar plastic scrap. The film scrap arrives in pre-sorted bales, which are then shredded and have contaminants removed by a pre-washing unit and an initial washing stage.
In the next stage, more contaminants are dissolved in a wet granulator that create intense friction. A subsequent friction washer separates the dirty water from the end product.
A hydro cyclone separates heavy contaminants and non-PE plastics from the desired fraction. “This separation process has a particularly high separation effect and ensures the high quality of the produced film flakes,” states Herbold.
In two drying steps, involving a centrifugal dryer and hot air dryer, the product reaches a residual humidity level deemed suitable for further material processing into pellets in a downstream extruder. The pellets are then ready to be converted into “high-quality film,” the company indicates.]]>
The facility is Connecticut’s largest waste facility and is set to undergo a transformation that will cut in half the amount of trash burned and dramatically increase the recovery of recyclable materials and organics, according to DEEP. The agency says one-third of Connecticut’s waste is sent to the MIRA facility.
The Sacyr Rooney Development Team is an alliance between Sacyr, a Spain-based firm specializing in complex infrastructure projects, and Naples, Florida-based Manhattan Construction Group, which has experience financing and building large-scale infrastructure projects. Other members of the bid team include Baltimore-based Synagro, a provider of biosolids and residuals options, and CWPM, a waste removal and recycling services company based in Plainville, Connecticut.
“One-third of the state’s trash (over 700,000 tons per year) is currently sent to the MIRA waste-to-energy facility on Maxim Road, Hartford, where material is combusted for energy generation. The facility’s aging equipment is prone to unplanned outages and MIRA had warned state officials that it would be unable to bear the cost of needed upgrades,” says DEEP Commissioner Robert Klee. “The Sacyr Rooney concept has the potential to provide significant environmental and economic benefits to the state, as well as significant improvements in host community impacts compared with the present state.”
DEEP says the environmental benefits of the MIRA upgrades include the recovery of more than 40 percent of incoming municipal solid waste (MSW) for beneficial uses by employing enhanced recycling, anaerobic digestion and composting technologies. The remaining material will be combusted for the production of electricity in a refurbished power system. Taking into account expected diversion and the reduced throughput, DEEP says the concept would reduce by approximately one-half the amount of waste currently combusted at the facility. The concept also helps maintain in-state waste management capacity rather than significantly increasing reliance on out-of-state landfilling, which is consistent with the state’s statutory waste management hierarchy as well as the 2016 Comprehensive Materials Management Strategy (CMMS).
The economic benefits include the potential to stabilize tipping fees throughout the regional waste system, reigning in costs for residents and businesses, according to DEEP. The Sacyr Rooney concept is projected to provide tipping fees that are lower than current MIRA contracted rates for many customers. Other benefits include the transformation of waste into commodities and the creation of new jobs.
For the city of Hartford, the Sacyr Rooney concept holds the potential for a higher host benefit payment, local hiring and purchasing, job training programs, a new education center, aesthetic improvements to the facility and site, remediation of existing contamination at a portion of the site, and increased public access to the riverfront, according to DEEP. Upgrades to the power system and the significant reduction in combustion at the site also will reduce the potential for environmental and human health impacts for residents of Hartford and surrounding towns. DEEP says it has established a process to ensure Hartford has a seat at the table for negotiations on moving the project forward.
DEEP will monitor negotiations involving Sacyr Rooney, MIRA and the city of Hartford aimed at reaching a final development agreement by August 2018. If an agreement cannot be reached, DEEP says it has reserved the right to invite another proposer, Mustang Renewable Power Ventures, to enter into talks with MIRA. Contracting will be followed by approximately three years of planning, permitting and construction before the new facility is fully online.
More information about the proposals and the RFP process is available online.]]>
In late January, the city rolled out carts to 9,900 households, completing the city’s five-year push to replace its 18-gallon recycling bins with more convenient 96-gallon carts for Garland’s 240,000-plus residents, the organization says. As a result of this programmatic upgrade, the city anticipates the volume of recyclables collected to increase by 2,000 tons per year, which The Recycling Partnership says equates to 4,381 metric tons of greenhouse gas avoidance.
The Recycling Partnership supported the roll-out with grant dollars, technical assistance and educational resources.
Garland is the 15th community The Recycling Partnership has teamed up with to put recycling carts on the ground, bringing the total number of carts the organization has helped to distribute to 412,000.
“We are pleased to support the city of Garland as they finalize a multiyear effort to provide residents with carts, proven as the most effective vehicle for curbside recycling,” says Justin Gast, technical assistance specialist for The Recycling Partnership. “We look forward to creating more change across the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and state of Texas in the coming years.”
“I would like to thank The Recycling Partnership for their time, resources and financial assistance as we mark a major milestone in the city of Garland,” says Tiana Lightfoot Svendsen, Garland’s Environmental Outreach Coordinator. “I encourage residents to utilize their new blue cart and take this opportunity to refresh their knowledge on what goes in it. Acceptable recyclable materials are listed on the Garland Environmental Waste Service’s website and on the lid of the recycling cart. Together, we can make a more sustainable, healthier community.”]]>
According to an online article by Reuters, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has announced the new timeline for its goal to reduce the nation’s steelmaking capacity. The country is by far largest producer of steel in the world. In 2017, China produced approximately 830 million metric tons of steel, 49 percent of all steel produced globally.
China’s original plan called for idling 150 million metric tons of steel production capacity by 2020. According to Reuters, China’s previous cuts, along with a healthier global economy, has boosted steel rebar prices up by nearly 38 percent in the previous 12 months. The price improvement, however, lured some closed mills into resuming production.
“Strictly preventing the addition of new capacity will be the key to successfully pushing the structural supply-side reform in the steel industry in 2018,” the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has stated, according to Reuters.
In the first half of 2018, ministry officials will begin inspecting previously closed induction furnace operations to ensure they have not resumed production. According to the online report, the ministry also will encourage companies to build more electric arc furnaces (EAFs) to melt scrap, and will urge steelmakers to move production out of high-air-pollution regions.]]>
Dynamic, which already recycles glass, cardboard and plastic generated in the unpacking process, indicates its new equipment will give the company the ability to capture the liquid inside containers while separating the recyclable packaging.
“We provide safe and secure product destruction for our clients,” says Brian Potter, president of Dynamic Recycling. “In addition to that, we offer the client an environmentally friendly way to destroy their waste perfume, waste beer, waste cosmetics and all other waste commercial products containing ethanol.”
The company currently only accepts bulk liquids in 55-gallon drums, 275-gallon totes and tanker trucks. With the installation of a network of conveyors, shredders and dumping pits, the company indicates it can then begin unpacking waste in commercial packaging. “We will need more staff to unload, sort and process the materials,” says Larry Moore, Dynamic’s operations manager. “That’s a great thing, because it means more local jobs here in Bristol. We’re very excited to fire up the new product destruction line.”
“Getting our decasing operations down here to Bristol will be a huge accomplishment for us,” adds Potter. “It will enable us to streamline the waste straight to the DSP (distilled spirits plant). That will make life easier for our clients, the waste transporters and our operations in Abingdon (Virginia).”
Dynamic Recycling currently manages its beverage destruction and product destruction operations at a facility in Abingdon, Virginia, that is owned by its sister company MXI Environmental Services LLC.
MXI Environmental Services also operates a DSP and has been recycling ethanol-based products since 2001. “MXI’s [plant] will be able to focus more on our waste processing operations. We will also eliminate all the transportation of the bulk liquids from Abingdon to Bristol. That’s an expensive and wasteful process that will go away when we get this operation up and running,” says Potter.
The work is being performed by Burwil Construction of Bristol. The company is installing two balers, one shredder and glass storage pits. The project is expected to be completed on March 1, 2018.]]>
The company indicates the new plant has “state-of-the-art technology to maintain Sellick as a leader in the rough-terrain forklift market.”
The 126,000-square-foot factory was designed for “new product innovation, improvement to quality control and flexibility in product design,” according to Sellick.
“Our long-term plan is to increase the business through new product,” says Howard Sellick, the firm’s president. “The sky’s the limit on what we can produce in this new facility.”
As it nears its 50th year in business, Sellick Equipment Limited continues to produce a variety of rough-terrain forklifts, each custom built to meet a customer’s application and supported by a dedicated dealer network in North America, according to the company.
At the new plant, the manufacturing process was upgraded via a new machining center consisting of CNC controlled laser cutting, milling, and turning machines; automated storage and retrieval systems for raw materials and aftermarket parts; and a metal preparation and paint line implemented to enhance product longevity, according to Sellick.
Sellick Equipment Limited is a subsidiary of Upland, Indiana-based Avis Industrial Corp., along with recycling equipment companies American Baler Co. and Harris.]]>
Plastic materials that at end of life can completely break down naturally and disappear harmlessly may sound like the ideal answer. People hear terms such as “biodegradable, bioplastic” and “compostable,” and assume these plastics are more “environmentally-friendly.” However, the reality is not so simple.
The main issue here is a lack of understanding of the nature of compostable or biodegradable plastics and what bioplastics are, including their specific applications and the specialist treatment process needed to deal with these materials.
Bioplastics are made using renewable feedstocks rather than being derived directly from oil.
Bioplastics can be used in the production of conventional polymers that can be recycled, such as recycled PET (polyethylene terephthalate), or biodegradable polymers such as PLA (polylactic acid).
It may seem obvious that selecting a bioplastic is the most sustainable option. However, although there is a clear benefit from not depleting a non-renewable source, we need to consider that many petrochemicals are a byproduct of the oil refining process. While we still live in an economy that is so heavily reliant on oil, it may be better to make use of its byproducts rather than let them go to waste.
Bioplastics are not free of environmental impact, and the carbon emissions associated with growing crops and converting these into the required chemicals needs to be taken into account.
“Compostable” and “biodegradable” are more or less synonymous terms and mean that the material will completely break down under certain conditions. The key to understanding any potential benefit is to know whether the polymer will easily break down, say in your home compost, or if it has to be treated in an industrial composting facility.
Many plastics that are described as biodegradable or compostable have to be collected and separated from the rest of the plastic scrap and be sent to a purpose-designed industrial composting facility where they can be broken down successfully. These facilities exist for food waste, but ensuring compostable packaging reaches them can be challenging.
Consumer confusion over what materials can and can’t be recycled is another big issue. Is this plastic water bottle made from a biodegradable plastic or conventional plastic, like PET? Does it go in the recycling bin or with the food waste collection?
Currently, throughout the U.K. there is a good collection and recycling infrastructure for PET bottles, and this can be accessed by most people through council curbside collections. The infrastructure for food waste collection is not as well-established, especially for on-the-go collection.
So, for water bottles made from biodegradable plastic to be correctly recycled, a public communication campaign would be required so people understand that biodegradable plastic should go in with food waste. Additionally, more food waste collection facilities in public places would be needed.
Some packaging, such as that made from starch, will readily breakdown in a less controlled environment. However, it is not possible to switch completely to these type of materials because they are not suitable for all applications. For example, kitchen and food recycling caddy liners are starch-based and will degrade in a home composting system. However, this material would not be suitable for use in packaging since it would quickly start to break down when wet.
It’s important for brand owners, food producers and manufacturers to consider very carefully what packaging format they use and to make an informed decision based on the reality of our current waste management infrastructure and level of public understanding. Ensuring that products are designed for recycling is essential if we are to recover more of our resources.
They also need to understand what actually happens to their materials at end-of-life and what their environmental impact could be. What is described as compostable doesn’t mean it will just break down at the side of the road.
Marine litter is a huge concern, but only 2 percent of plastic waste in the oceans is estimated to come from the whole of Europe and the U.S. combined. Using plastic bottles in the U.K. is a perfectly responsible packaging system because 99 percent of householders can put their plastic bottles in their household recycling collection bins.
Attention must be turned to on-the-go waste and littering. Levels of marine plastic could be reduced by improving on-the-go waste provision and anti-littering public information campaigns. Better infrastructure is needed in public places to allow people to recycle when out and about. This is happening with more recycling points at places like train stations, airports and town centers. But people have to use them, understand them and know why it matters.
So, are biodegradable plastics better for the environment? It’s a massive challenge and, as we’ve argued, it’s also complicated!
Ultimately it has to be down to infrastructure investment, public education and behavioral changes. Plastics are an inherent part of our lives and not “all bad.” Their responsible use and disposal and recycling should be a top priority.]]>
The three acquired companies -- Timberline Disposal, Talking Trash and Rocky Mountain Cabana -- have operated in various regions of Colorado with a focus on collecting recyclables at special event programs.
According to Scott Eden, president of Mountain Waste, by merging the companies together, the combined entity can compete with larger, national firms. Eden says these recent acquisitions are the eighth for the company since it began.
“Competition typically serves to contain prices, but the competition needs to be effective,” says Eden. “These companies and their customers will now benefit from increased purchasing powers and operating efficiencies.”
While some redundant truck routes will be eliminated, there will be no employee layoffs, according to Eden. With the combination of the three companies Mountain Waste and its approximately 200 employees operate around 150 daily routes, including around 45 routes in Denver.
The companies will operate under the name Timberline Disposal & Recycling and be based in Silverthorne, Colorado.
“Customers will begin to experience an expanded, robust line of services, including construction dumpsters, pick-up of organics, portable restrooms, special event sustainability services and more, all under one company umbrella,” Eden states.
Terms of the merger, including purchase price, were not disclosed. Two of the top executives of the merging companies will remain investors with Mountain Waste, and Eden says Mountain Waste will rely on them for suggestions about ways to enhance the companies’ reputations for customer service.
Signage and other branding will be incorporated on a gradual basis. Eventually, customers of all three companies will have one phone number and one website with a single point for online payment.
Mountain Waste & Recycling, with operating divisions throughout Colorado including Pro Disposal & Recycling, operates more than 50 trucks in the Denver metro area and serves both commercial and residential customers.
Eden indicates one area that Mountain Waste has capitalized on is servicing many of the festivals and special events that take place in Aspen and other resort areas of the state.]]>