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American Chemistry Council recognizes Amcor, APR and P&G

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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PPRCE 2017: Plastic faces scrutiny

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The 2017 Paper & Plastics Recycling Conference Europe, organized by the Recycling Today Media Group, was Nov. 7-8 at the Hilton Warsaw Hotel & Convention Centre.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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PPRCE 2017: Catching up quickly

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The 2017 Paper & Plastics Recycling Conference Europe, organized by the Recycling Today Media Group, was Nov. 7-8 at the Hilton Warsaw Hotel & Convention Centre.

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Game raises awareness about recycling contamination

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Scrapo establishes online trading network for recycled plastics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Study reveals economic impacts of recycling in Texas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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SWANA supports America Recycles Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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China’s customs agency may reconsider some plastic scrap restrictions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

News from Recycling Today - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 06:28
Image: Dreamstime

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Keep America Beautiful, Zephyrhills increase recycling access across Florida

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Finance news affecting secondary aluminum markets

News from Recycling Today - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 00:46
Cleveland-based aluminum producer Aleris Corporation has announced the company’s planned acquisition by Zhongwang USA LLC will not proceed. Zhongwang USA is a United States-based firm set up by the chairman of China-based China Zhongwang Holdings Ltd.

In a news release announcing the end of the potential transaction, Aleris stated, “The merger was subject to customary regulatory approvals, including approval from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).  In July 2017, CFIUS raised concerns about the transaction, and the parties withdrew their filing while extending the merger agreement to allow for additional discussions.” That extended agreement time lapsed on Nov. 12, 2017.

“While this is not the outcome we intended, we remain committed to our growth strategy and have made great strides over the past year in expanding our capacity and developing the capabilities required to meet the future demands of our industry,” says Sean Stack, Aleris Chairman and CEO. “This includes our automotive expansion project in Lewisport, Kentucky, which is beginning to serve customers.”

Since 2010, Aleris has been owned and controlled by a group led by investment funds within Los Angeles-based Oaktree Capital Management LP, as well as certain funds managed by New York-based Apollo Management LP. “Our ownership group remains committed to Aleris and highly supportive of the company’s strategy,” says Stack.

He continues, “I am proud of our employees’ focus and accomplishments over the past several months and appreciate the support we’ve received from customers. Aleris remains well positioned for future growth, and we will continue to focus on serving our customers with excellence as we move forward.”

In the days prior to the Aleris announcement, shares in the holding company that owns secondary aluminum producer Real Alloy began dropping in value, falling to below 65 cents per share by Monday, Nov. 13.

The original assets that comprised Real Alloy were sold off by Aleris to an investor group in late 2015. Real Alloy also later acquired three plants formerly run by Beck Aluminum Alloys. The company currently has 17 production plants in North America and six in Europe.

As of mid-November, analysts and credit agencies were expressing concern about the ability of Real Industries (the holding company of Real Alloy) to keep its stock listed.

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PPRCE 2017: Other cards to be played

News from Recycling Today - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 00:27
Presenters at the 2017 Paper & Plastics Recycling Conference Europe event, held in Warsaw in early November, helped portray the emergence of India and the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) region as important destinations for Europe’s scrap materials.

Hrishikesh Vora of Mumbai-based Victory Creations and Paperworks, said capital is being invested in new and upgraded paper mills in India, and that the nation is about to experience “an unprecedented demand for scrap paper.”

He said the “Amazon effect” of increased boxes being shipped to individual homes has expanded to India, where Amazon “has become a household name,” according to Vora. Growth in that sector is spurred in part by India’s demographics, as a nation where 50 percent of the population is 25 or younger.

Vora said India is growing at a 7 percent annual clip as a consumer of finished paper, and the nation’s mill sector will need recovered fiber at a companion rate. “Today, there is tremendous interest in India; it is a land of opportunity.”

He said India’s paper production is being forecast to rise from 15 million metric tons produced in 2017 to 27 million tons produced in 2030. “With that growth, scrap paper will always be in demand,” Vora stated.

Vora said several Indian mills began “setting up supply chains” to bring in scrap paper tonnage from the United States in 2017, and that in 2018 it would be “very interesting in terms of how India will buy its scrap paper.”

Michael McManus of Indonesia-based Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) said that firm has observed how China’s restrictions on scrap paper imports are affecting the overall Asian finished paper market.

APP operates a recycled-content mill in Ningbo, China, and several mills in Indonesia that also consume virgin pulp. With China’s restrictions causing scrap paper costs to rise in that nation, “Costs are increasing in our China operations but are decreasing in our Indonesia operations,” said McManus.

With global supplies of recovered fiber being tight (even with China’s restrictions), McManus said he foresees “more integration with virgin fiber” in Asia in the form of paper machines that can be fed with varying ratios of virgin or recycled fiber. “There are plenty of things that haven’t been done yet” on that front, according to McManus.

Shailesh Gothal of Belgium-based Gemini Corp. described how that company has worked for the past several years to diversify its customer base for plastic and paper scrap to avoid being caught short by sudden regulatory changes in China.

He says Gemini’s exposure to China for the 1,400 containers it ships per month “is only 10 percent.” Said Gothal regarding the topsy-turvy conditions of 2017, “It was pretty easy for us to manage our business while China was closing.”

Gothal said emerging Asian markets such as Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia are likely to follow China’s lead on restrictions, however. “There will be pollution controls that will [curtail] these markets that are coming up,” he predicted.

He said he foresees “very little hope for mixed plastic” as a globally shipped commodity. “Sorted material has to improve, or they’re going to ruin the market for everything,” he stated.

The 2017 Paper & Plastics Recycling Conference Europe, organized by the Recycling Today Media Group, was Nov. 7-8 at the Hilton Warsaw Hotel & Convention Centre.

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Quebec MRF upgrades equipment with Machinex to improve quality

News from Recycling Today - Mon, 11/13/2017 - 14:47
Machinex Technologies, Plessisville, Quebec, recently completed an equipment upgrade to the Recuperation Mauricie material recovery facility (MRF), near Trois-Rivieres, Quebec. The purpose of the upgrade was to increase the system’s efficiency and the quality of the sorted material.

Machinex incorporated the new advanced equipment into the existing MRF. It includes a new ballistic separator to separate the packaging from mixed paper; two optical sorting units - one to sort the contaminants out of the mixed paper and the other to separate plastics in three categories: PET, HDPE and mixed. The old corrugated container (OCC) separator has been replaced by a new generation model, which Machinex says reduces the wrapping of the plastics around the components. Most of the glass fragments are removed at the beginning of the sorting line, thanks to the addition of a glass separator, and an Machinex eddy current separator removes aluminum cans.

"We are very proud to have realized this project of modernization at Recuperation Mauricie, because it is a long-time customer for Machinex with whom we built a relationship of trust,” says Pierre Paré, Machinex Group CEO. “The added high technologies will allow Récupération Mauricie to increase its productivity, but especially to improve the quality of its products."

Daniel Cassivi, managing director of the Group RCM and Récupération Mauricie, says he was impressed with Machinex team. “Throughout the project, we felt that people at Machinex were in control of the situation, which was confirmed by the resumption of the activities without delay according to the initial planning. We lived a positive experience at every level.”

Cassivi adds, “After only one week of operation, the upgraded system can produce a quality fiber good enough to sell to China, according to one of our brokers.”

Machinex a developer of sorting, waste management and recycling technology. It has designed and installed more than 350 turnkey facilities in partnership with leading MRFs in Canada, the United States, Europe and Oceania.

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MH Equipment adds regional sales manager

News from Recycling Today - Mon, 11/13/2017 - 07:27
MH Equipment, Chillicothe, Illinois has announced Isaac Yates has joined the company as a regional sales manager in the St. Louis and Scott City, Missouri, areas.

Yates joins the MH team after most recently working for Fairchild Equipment, Ham Lake, Minnesota, where he served as president over the West Division. Fairchild Equipment sells materials handling and warehouse equipment, forklift parts, certified training and other products.

Yates has more than 40 years of experience in various sales leadership roles. He has held executive positions at a number of companies, including Iveco Trucks of North America, Yale Materials Handling, Nordictrack, Jostens, New Standard Corp. and Rihm Kenworth.

MH Equipment President Jim Brake says, “MH Equipment in St. Louis is excited to welcome Isaac as our new regional sales manager. He brings great energy and many years of material handling experience to our sales team. It is clear that Isaac exemplifies the core values of our company and the future that we are building for our customers and employees.”

Started in Peoria, Illinois, in 1952 as one of the smallest Hyster forklift dealerships in the United States, MH Equipment has grown to become one of the largest material handling services providers in the U.S. In 1994, the company was purchased by current CEO John Wieland. The company has since grown from 50 employees to an organization comprised of multiple dealerships, more than 700 employees and 28 servicing locations throughout the Midwest. MH became a Yale equipment dealer in 2010 and currently has five locations serving the Erie, Pennsylvania; Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio; and St. Louis and Scott City, Missouri, areas.

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MB-Sort employs Sesotec’s Varisort Compact sorting system

News from Recycling Today - Mon, 11/13/2017 - 07:05
MB-Sort, Schoenberg, Germany, was established in August 2016 to provide contract sorting of various types of complex and technically problematic materials.

Every month MB-Sort recycles up to 200 tons of various mixed fractions. The company’s customers include recycling companies and manufacturers.

Among the tools MB-Sort employs for this task is the Varisort Compact system from Sesotec, also of Schoenberg.  

“In our own sorting line, the material must be sorted into different material groups or cleaned. Sesotec's Varisort Compact system is optimally suited for this task,” says Markus Burghart.

Material is fed into the Varisort Compact system using specifically adapted vibration feeders that ensure a homogeneous material transfer onto the full width of the high-speed belt conveyor, Sesotec says. The combination of infeed slide and belt conveyor eliminates form, weight and friction influences of the infeed material. At the end of the belt conveyor, the material is classified by means of corresponding sensors. After evaluation of the relevant information, high-speed valves are activated with a corresponding delay time for material discharge. Particles that must be separated are deflected from their original trajectory by targeted compressed-air blasts, falling into a separate shaft, Sesotec says.

The Varisort Compact CM+ recycling sorting system among others is used to sort shredded small electric/electronic devices, separating printed circuit boards, copper, aluminum and stainless steel and other metals from plastics. 

In multisensor operation, the C and M+ sensors are combined. The C sensor unit provides information about form and color, and the M+ sensor is responsible for metal detection. With this combination, a high metal purity can be achieved and a usable plastic fraction can be obtained, Sesotec says.

In metal recycling, the objective is to achieve correct sorting of the metal mixture consisting of aluminum, zinc, copper, brass, and stainless steel. Sesotec's Varisort Compact CM+ system ensures reliable recycling with purities of more than 98 percent, the company says.

For plastics processing companies, production scrap or regrind must be separated by color. Once recycled, these materials can be fed back into the production cycle again. With the C color detection sensor, the Varisort Compact system can be used for this task.

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Olympus partners with Librestream Technologies

News from Recycling Today - Mon, 11/13/2017 - 06:17
Waltham, Massachusetts-based Olympus Scientific Solutions Americas, has announced that it is now offering the Onsight platform from Librestream Technologies Inc., Winnipeg, Manitoba, to provide additional functionality to its product portfolio. Using Onsight, Olympus customers in industries including aerospace, manufacturing and oil and gas can share live visuals from remote visual inspection (RVI) and nondestructive testing (NDT) instruments with remote experts for rapid decision-making in the field.

“Onsight complements the capabilities of the Olympus Scientific Cloud to deliver a rich collaboration experience,” says Karen Smith, senior vice president, strategy and marketing at Olympus. “The ability to instantly share visuals of the environment and from Olympus test instruments is important to our customers as they look for ways to leverage experts across their organizations. Librestream has over a decade of experience in remote collaboration, especially in low bandwidth environments, which is often where our customers operate.”

The Librestream solution includes Onsight Connect collaboration software and the Onsight 400R Collaboration Hub device to connect to Olympus videoscopes, ultrasound and other test instruments.

“Olympus is an innovator in the global scientific and imaging marketplace, and we are pleased to be working with them on a valuable IoT (internet of things) solution,” says Kerry Thacher, president and CEO, Librestream. He adds, “The Onsight platform complements the Olympus product capabilities by enabling remote collaboration across the Olympus RVI and NDT portfolio.”

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PPRCE 2017: End of an era

News from Recycling Today - Mon, 11/13/2017 - 02:02
For more than two decades, recyclers and traders around the world have been able to send paper and plastic scrap to China in loads that were far from containing one uniform material. That era is clearly coming to an end, according to presenters at the 2017 Paper & Plastics Recycling Conference Europe event, held in Warsaw in early November.

Craig Robinson of Cycle Link UK said a series of policy initiatives and announcements emanating from China had been “causing sleepless nights” for recyclers throughout 2017. Robinson said trade associations and manufacturers within China may ultimately influence that nation’s government to ease back some restrictions, but the nation’s central government is “determined to make this change.”

He said the closure of some mills will fit into a government strategy to decrease pollution and to rein in perceived excess capacity. When he visited China in July 2017, Robinson indicated paper mills at that time were given as little as two hours’ notice that environmental inspectors were on their way, and the inspectors “were checking everything” he indicated, all the way down to proper signage at facilities.

Subsequently, said Robinson, Chinese mills at times in 2017 sharply reduced their orders and “hurt Chinese mills’ reputation” in the European market. “We’ve become incredibly risk averse” he said of both sellers and buyers in Europe and Asia.

Robinson said he foresees more virgin pulp heading into China as a result, although OCC that can pass pre-inspection at a European port is likely to keep flowing.

As far as regulations within China, Robinson said his colleagues there tell him “nothing is confirmed until it is confirmed.” Speculation at the conference included a rumor that some of China’s largest mill companies may receive a waiver on a proposed 0.3 percent contamination level if they can demonstrate their mills are sophisticated enough to deal with contaminants.

Thijs Cox of Netherlands-based Ciparo BV said when China proposed its new restrictions to the WTO (World Trade Organization), it quickly agreed to them thanks in part to China using environmental regulation as its reason. However, member states have subsequently objected and “there is hope” that not all restrictions will stand as proposed.

Cox said that China recorded a 28 million metric tons per year recovered fiber deficit in 2016, and no matter how much effort it puts into additional domestic recovery it will be difficult to close that gap quickly.

Nonetheless, Cox said China’s government had good reason to introduce some of the restrictions, and 2017 likely marked “the end of an era” in terms of the ease of sending lower quality shipments to that nation.

Plastic scrap shipments to China have been even more severely affected in 2017, according to a presentation prepared by Dr. Steve Wong and delivered by Brian Taylor of the Recycling Today Media Group.

According to Wong, who is chairman of the Hong Kong-based Fukutomi Co. Ltd. and president of the China Scrap Plastics Association (CSPA), during some years this decade China has “absorbed more than 60 percent of world exports for plastic scrap.”

That came to a halt in 2017 with the National Sword port and facility inspection regimen, and is unlikely to return with the national government’s pending ban on imported post-consumer or residentially sourced plastic scrap.

As it has on the paper side, China’s central government says it intends to replace this material with domestic supply starting in 2020, according to Wong. To reach that target, he added, China will have to increase its plastic scrap recovery amount from 246 million tons in 2015 to 350 million tons by 2020.

Whether that supply is collected or not, any inbound material will not return in its former fashion. Wong noted that of the 24 items China has asked the WTO to allow it to ban at the end of 2017, eight of them are post-consumer plastic scrap grades.

Subsequently, both importers and shipping companies have eased back from these types of shipments starting as early as August 2017. Wong indicates it has created a “supply and demand imbalance situation to last for some time” and that “recycled pellet prices [are] climbing up continuously in China while [plastic] scrap prices outside China are moving the other way.”

A potential shortfall of some 7 million tons annually of recycled plastic materials in China is leading to opportunities for plastic scrap reprocessors to install capacity in nearby Vietnam and Thailand, according to Wong.

The 2017 Paper & Plastics Recycling Conference Europe, organized by the Recycling Today Media Group, was Nov. 7-8 at the Hilton Warsaw Hotel & Convention Centre.

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Associations respond to latest waste and recycling industry illness and injury data

News from Recycling Today - Sat, 11/11/2017 - 08:37
Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA), Silver Spring, Maryland, says it is pleased by the decline in the frequency of injuries and illnesses involving waste collection employees, but is concerned by the increase in injuries and illnesses for workers at landfills and material recovery facilities (MRF), based on the
U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2016 data, released Nov. 9, 2017.

The BLS data shows that private solid waste collection employees had a substantial decrease in their injury and illness rates, while both landfill and material recovery facility (MRF) MRF employees experienced increases in 2016. The solid waste collection employee injury and illness rate declined from 6.6 to 5.2 per 100 full time employees, the lowest level in more than a decade.

However, the 2016 injury and illness rate for employees at landfills increased to 4.9, where it was in 2014; this is an increase from the 2015 rate of 3.5, and is consistent with a spike in fatal incidents at landfills in the U.S. during 2016 as tracked by SWANA.

MRF workers had an increase in injuries and illnesses last year, going from 5.1 per 100 FTE in 2015 to 6.0 in 2016. MRFs also made the list of top 25 industries with the highest rates of injuries and illnesses requiring days away from work, restricted work, or job transfer, with a rate of 4.6.

“We are pleased by the decline in injury and illness rates among collection employees, and intend to review the 2016 and 2015 data to better understand the reasons for the decrease,” says David Biderman, SWANA’s executive director and CEO. “However, the increased injury/illness rates for landfill and recycling workers is troubling. Given the recent spike in fatal accidents this fall, SWANA will continue to be an industry leader in providing useful safety resources; nothing we do is more important.”

While the decline in the collection injury rate is a move in the right direction, SWANA has identified at least 13 fatal collection incidents in the U.S. in October 2017 alone, showing there is still much work to be done in order to keep workers safe and get waste collection off the list of top 10 most dangerous jobs in the U.S.

“SWANA’s Safety Ambassador Program is one of the ways that SWANA keeps safety a top priority for members at the chapter level, throughout the United States and Canada,” said John Tilton, SWANA’s South Carolina Safety Ambassador. “I am very pleased by SWANA’s focus on reducing accidents and injuries. Today’s data shows we have made some progress on the collection side of the industry.”

SWANA says it will be rolling out new safety initiatives in 2018 to provide additional resources for public and private sector employers and employees throughout the U.S. and Canada and continues to support “Slow Down To Get Around” safety efforts.

Arlington, Virginia-based National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) also weighed in on the results.

“Today’s BLS release of industry injury and illness data illuminates the progress being made to improve safety performance nationwide,” said NWRA President and CEO Darrell Smith. “Since our board of trustees designated safety as a strategic initiative in 2015, NWRA has worked to provide its members with tools and outreach efforts through Safety Stand Downs and our Safety Professional Development Series, as well as collecting our own data from members to monitor trends in safety.”

“In early 2016, NWRA convened an unprecedented industry-wide Safety Summit to significantly reducing crashes, injuries, illness and fatalities by building out sustainable prevention measures and engagement processes for a stronger industry safety culture,” said NWRA National Safety Director Anthony Hargis. “As a result of NWRA’s Safety Committee advances, the tools and processes we have developed focus on critical hazards and the industry sectors where performance can be improved. Our tools, such as ‘Safety Monday’ or Waste Expo Safety Education Sessions, help develop employee and employer best practices within the industry.”

The BLS data on workplace injury and illness is published annually, and information on the waste and recycling industry is based on the U.S. Census Bureau definition of the waste and remediation services industry (NAICS Code 562) as “solid waste collection, hazardous waste collection, other waste collection, hazardous waste treatment and disposal, solid waste landfill, solid waste combustors and incinerators.” A copy of the BLS announcement can be found at www.bls.gov.

 

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New Jersey students’ recycling app wins STEAM Tank competition

News from Recycling Today - Fri, 11/10/2017 - 08:16
Two Ocean City, New Jersey, fifth-graders from Ocean City Intermediate School won first place in the STEAM Tank competition.

The statewide STEAM Tank Challenge is created and sponsored by the New Jersey School Boards Association (NJSBA) and the U.S. Army to encourage New Jersey’s public school students in science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM). The STEAM Tank Challenge is in its second year.

According to an article on the Press of Atlantic City website, 10-year-olds Daphne Brozyna and Isabella Kenny designed the app to mimic Minecraft. Players use recyclables to build structures, helping students learn what can and can’t be recycled.

Kenny and Broznya’s app was one of 193 entries in this year’s challenge, according to the article.

Bozyna told Press of Atlantic City that a teacher who stands by the trash and recycling bins at lunch and reminds students of what can be recycled inspired the app.

The girls developed the app as part of their school’s OC Life 21 Club with the direction of Maureen Baldini, a computer science teacher. The teacher says the girls developed and designed the app themselves and that Cape May County Utilities Authority is interested in it.

Broznya and Kenny received $2,500 as part of their prize, the Press of Atlantic City reports.  

 

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