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Updated: 1 hour 7 min ago

Consumer Goods Forum adopts call to action on food labels

4 hours 45 min ago
The board of directors for Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), an industry network with the goal of globally adopting practices and standards that serves the consumer goods industry based in Issy-les-Moulineaux, France, unanimously adopted the call to action to simplify date labels, including companies like Tesco, Kellogg, Walmart, Campbell Soup, Bimbo, Pick n Pay, Nestlé, Carrefour and Unilever.

The announcement was made at a Champions 12.3 event at The Rockefeller Foundation during climate week and the 72nd United Nations General Assembly. At the event, Champions 12.3 also launched sustainable development goals (SDG) Target 12.3 on Food Loss and Waste: 2017 Progress Report, which takes stock of global progress to date toward halving food waste and reducing food loss by 2030.

The report finds that countries and companies are setting reduction targets aligned with SDG Target 12.3. Today, 28 percent of the world's population live in a country or region with a target to reduce food loss and waste, and nearly 60 percent of the world's 50 largest food companies have set reduction targets.

The call to action says retailers and food producers should take three important steps to simplify date labels and reduce food waste by 2020:

  • only one label at a time;
  • choice of two labels: one expiration date for perishable items ("use by") and one food quality indicator for nonperishable items ("best if used by"); and
  • consumer education to better understand what date labels mean.

In addition to the labels on products, the call to action recommends companies partner with nonprofit organizations and government agencies to educate consumers about how to interpret date labels. Education efforts could include in store displays, web materials and public service announcements.

A growing number of the 50 largest food companies now have active food loss and waste reduction programs. However, the report finds an insufficient number of governments and companies are measuring and reporting food loss and waste, a key step to identifying hotspots and knowing whether strategies are having impact.

An estimated 1.3 billion tons of food worldwide is lost or wasted each year. The average U.K. household with children spends £700 (around $950) per year on food that's thrown away. In the U.S., that figure is $1,500.

"Now more than ever is the time for business to play a leading role in tackling food waste. This is an issue that can only truly be tackled by collaboration across the value chain. Through our global membership, the CGF is committed to playing a leadership role. We believe simplified and consistent date labelling will help us get one step closer to meeting our resolution to halve food waste by 2025 while also helping reduce confusion for consumers," says Peter Freedman, managing director of the CGF.

Read SDG Target 12.3 on Food Loss and Waste: 2017 Progress Report here: https://champions123.org/2017-progress-report.

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ISRI seeks input for REMADE Institute efforts

5 hours 2 min ago
The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), Washington, has announced it is seeking input from industry professionals on current technical and economic recycling challenges in connection with the REMADE Institute.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) introduced the Reducing Embodied-energy and Decreasing Emissions (REMADE) Institute in January 2017. It is led by the Sustainable Manufacturing Innovation Alliance, which is part of the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT).

ISRI has been involved in REMADE and its development for nearly four years. The association is a REMADE Affiliate Member.

REMADE is focused on driving down the cost of technologies essential to the reusing, recycling and remanufacturing of materials such as metals, fibers, polymers and used electronics. The institute has the following five-year goals:

  • 5 to 10 percent improvement in manufacturing material efficiency;
  • 50 percent increase in remanufacturing applications;
  • 30 percent increase in efficiency of remanufacturing operations;
  • 30 percent increase in recycling efficiencies; and
  • A targeted 50 percent increase in sales for the U.S. manufacturing industry to $21.5 billion and the creation of a next-generation recycling and manufacturing workforce.

This week, REMADE is holding its Technology Roadmap Workshop near RIT.

As part of this technology roadmapping, REMADE has requested industry feedback regarding the technical and economic barriers that the industry faces every day. Companies do not need to be members of REMADE to participate in the surveys. To this end, REMADE prepared the following four separate anonymous surveys:

Survey participation involves these steps:

  • Respond – Answer two questions to identify and describe the biggest barrier you face.
  • Rate – Review a minimum of five responses from other participants and rate the extent to which your company faces the same.
  • Explore – Continue to review and rate comments from other participants.

Once completed with the survey, ISRI says participants will be sent a unique link, which gives users an opportunity to visit the survey later and offer additional feedback. Participants also can view responses that other companies have identified and anonymously share their experiences with others respondents.

ISRI says, “Your input will be extremely helpful and important for REMADE’s technology roadmapping. The collected information will help shape the direction of REMADE’s five-year program. These surveys will be open through the end of September. ISRI appreciates your taking the time to provide input.”

For questions about these surveys or REMADE, contact David Wagger, ISRI’s chief scientist/director of environmental management, at 202-662-8533.

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Maryland Environmental Service wins SWANA safety award

5 hours 26 min ago
Maryland Environmental Service (MES), a state agency with the goal of protecting and enhancing Maryland’s environment based in Millersville, was given a 2017 safety award for biggest safety improvement in the sustainable materials management division from the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA), Silver Springs, Maryland. MES received the award for its operation of the Prince George’s County material recovery facility (MRF) in Capitol Heights. 

“Employee safety is the top priority for us at MES,” says Roy McGrath, MES director and CEO. “Our partners rely on us to ensure facilities meet all safety compliance regulations. Congratulations to our team members at the Prince George’s County material recovery facility on this well-deserved recognition.”

After beginning operations at the county-owned facility in November 2015, MES spent a month repairing the existing equipment and conducting building and equipment improvements to bring the facility into safety compliance and operational viability. Currently, the plant processes more than 275 tons of single stream recycling per day, up from approximately 170 tons during the first few months of MES operations. 

In addition to 17 MES team members, 25 recycling sorters from a local minority business enterprise vendor, CMT Services Inc. of Hyattsville, work at the facility. This contract returns more than $1.5 million dollars in salaries per year to the local community.

An awards ceremony will take place during the International Solid Waste Association World Congress/Wastecon 2017 conference on Sept. 27 in Baltimore.
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GreenMantra Technologies ranks on 2017 Startup 50 list

5 hours 52 min ago
GreenMantra Technologies, a company that produces polymers from waste plastics based in Brantford, Ontario, has been named to the 2017 Startup 50 list of top new growth companies by business publication Canadian Business and its affiliate, McLean's Magazine.

The Startup 50 list ranks young companies on two-year revenue growth. GreenMantra Technologies is ranked number 20 on this year's list.

Founded in 2010, GreenMantra converts waste plastics such as film, bottle caps and food containers into synthetic polymers and other specialty chemicals. These materials are manufactured to provide specific performance and processing benefits in various applications in the coatings, plastics processing, adhesives, roofing and paving industries.

"This recognition of our rapid growth by Canadian Business highlights the increasing acceptance of sustainable technologies that can drive value while benefiting the environment and society," says Martin Hudson, vice president of finance for GreenMantra. "Our unique technology is enabling us to capture the hidden value in waste plastics, diverting material from the landfill and ‘upcycling’ it to create useful products for longer life applications. In this manner, we are helping to create a circular economy for plastics where they are beneficially reused rather than discarded."]]>

Thyssenkrupp, Tata Steel to merge European steel operations

7 hours 6 min ago
Thyssenkrupp AG and Tata Steel have signed a memorandum of understanding to form a joint venture to combine their European steel activities. Both companies will have an equal stake in the new company. The companies’ goal is to create a leading European flat steel player to be positioned as a quality and technology leader. The new entity is projected to have pro forma sales of about €15 billion ($18 billion), shipments of about 21 million tons annually and a workforce of about 48,000 across 34 locations, according to a news release issued by Thyssenkrupp.

The joint venture, Thyssenkrupp Tata Steel, will be managed through a holding company based in the Netherlands. It will have a two-tier management structure comprising a management board and a supervisory board, Thyssenkrupp says. Both boards are to have equal representation from Thyssenkrupp and Tata. The codetermination structures in Germany, the Netherlands and Great Britain will be retained.

Heinrich Hiesinger, CEO of Thyssenkrupp AG, headquartered in Essen, Germany, says, “Under the planned joint venture, we are giving the European steel activities of Thyssenkrupp and Tata a lasting future. We are tackling the structural challenges of the European steel industry and creating a strong No. 2.”

He adds, “In Tata, we have found a partner with a very good strategic and cultural fit. Not only do we share a clear performance orientation, but also the same understanding of entrepreneurial responsibility toward workforce and society.”

Natarajan Chandrasekaran, chairman of Tata Steel, headquartered in Mumbai, says, “The Tata Group and Thyssenkrupp have a strong heritage in the global steel industry and share similar culture and values. This partnership is a momentous occasion for both partners, who will focus on building a strong European steel enterprise. The strategic logic of the proposed joint venture in Europe is based on very strong fundamentals, and I am confident that Thyssenkrupp Tata Steel will have a great future.”

Thyssenkrupp will contribute its Steel Europe business to the planned joint venture. There also are plans for the joint venture to include Thyssenkrupp MillServices & Systems GmbH, a steel mill services provider that is part of the Materials Services business. Tata would add all of its flat steel activities in Europe.

Thyssenkrupp says due diligence will be conducted in the months ahead. In the process, the negotiating parties will give each other access to confidential business documents to the extent permissible between competitors. Based on this and on discussions with the supervisory board, the company says it expects to sign the contract with Tata in early 2018. The effective start of the joint venture could be in late 2018 following antitrust approval by the relevant authorities, according to Thyssenkrupp AG and Tata Steel.

Once the deal has closed, Thyssenkrupp says it and Tata plan to focus on establishing the joint venture and leveraging synergies from integrating sales, administration, research and development, joint optimization of procurement, logistics and service centers, as well as improved capacity utilization in downstream processing. After the ramp-up phase, the joint venture partners expect annual synergies of €400 million to €600 million ($480 million to $72 million).

Additionally, the production network will be reviewed starting in 2020 with the aim of integrating and optimizing the production strategy for the joint venture. “It is not yet possible to quantify the additional synergies from this integration in detail,” Thyssenkrupp says. “The scope for optimization also depends on numerous external factors, such as the outcome of the Brexit negotiations and the implications that follow. Other external parameters include the development of the regulatory environment in areas such as emission trading and international trade policy.”

Thyssenkrupp and Tata Steel say they expect that leveraging the cost synergies across the entire entity will require a reduction in workforce over the years ahead by up to 2,000 jobs in administration and potentially up to 2,000 jobs in production. This burden is expected to be shared roughly evenly between the two parties.

“We will not be putting any measures into effect in the joint venture that we would not have had to adopt on our own,” Hiesinger says. “On the contrary: By combining our steel activities, the burdens for each partner are lower than they would have been on a stand-alone basis.”

The steel industry has faced massive challenges in Europe for many years, Thyssenkrupp says, noting structural overcapacity in supply and constantly high import pressure, in particular. Various stages in the value chain are operating well below capacity. “Consequently, all producers are under pressure to fill capacity and forced to pass on restructuring gains to the market time and again,” the company says. “The result is a downward spiral and a need for restructuring about every three to four years, with major steel assets coming under threat of closure in the medium term.”

Thyssenkrupp says it is combining its European steel activities with Tata’s for five reasons:

  • Economies of scale are a key success factor in a market caught up in ongoing consolidation. Combining the No. 2 and No. 3 steelmakers in Europe results in a powerful new No. 2 for quality flat steel with a competitive market position and promising growth prospects.
  • The businesses are a complementary fit. Thyssenkrupp is stronger in the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) sector, while Tata’s strength lies with industrial customers. The main operating locations in Duisburg, IJmuiden and Port Talbot have good logistics links and serve customers in different, economically powerful regions. That makes for significantly broader overall coverage of customer sectors throughout Europe.
  • The steelworks of Thyssenkrupp and Tata rank among the most efficient facilities in Europe. Thanks to effective cost management, both producers operate at a profit.
  • Both partners aspire to quality and technology leadership in the European steel industry and continually develop innovative products and solutions for customers. High-tech steels are frequently the basis of industrial value chains in Europe and a key competitive differentiator.
  • The two partners each have a highly capable and dedicated workforce. The companies also embrace change to secure their future. And both companies have the backing of strong shareholders through a trust structure that perpetuates the ideas and values of the original owners.

The planned joint venture marks another key milestone for Thyssenkrupp. In its evolution into a strong industrial group, the company says it has two priorities: reducing dependency on the highly volatile steel business and enabling optimum development of all business areas.

Hiesinger adds, “We have always targeted the best solution for Thyssenkrupp. A joint venture with Tata is the only option that addresses the structural overcapacities in the European steel market, that creates substantial added value through synergies and at the same time is in line with our corporate culture. This also marks a clear commitment to our roots, as the joint venture enables Thyssenkrupp to retain its involvement in steel.”

More information on the joint venture can be found at www.thyssenkrupp.com/en/way-forward-for-steel/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=zukunftfuerstahl

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Emerging Asia is focus of Warsaw conference session

Tue, 09/19/2017 - 22:09
With China’s future as a plastic and paper scrap importer up in the air, other destinations in Asia could take on added importance in 2018. These emerging economies will be the focus of a session at the 2017 Paper & Plastics Recycling Conference Europe. The conference is being hosted at the Hilton Warsaw Hotel November 7-8.

At the session titled “Gateways and Barriers: The Export Situation II,” which takes place November 7 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., presenters will offer updates on the paper and plastic scrap trading opportunities existing and emerging in the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) region and the Indian subcontinent.

Presenters include Hrishikesh Vora of Mumbai-based Victory Creations (a company profiled by Recycling Today in late 2016); Shailesh Gothal of Belgium-based Gemini Corporation; and Michael McManus, who works from Canada for Indonesia-based Asia Pulp & Paper.

Throughout 2017, regulatory and policy changes taking place in China have caused papermakers and manufacturers of plastic goods in China—as well as recyclers shipping to them from throughout the world—to have questions about the future of the scrap trade there. (That will be the topic of the Conference’s opening session, “Gateways and Barriers: The Export Situation I.”)

As a reaction to those enforcement actions and drafted policy directives in China, manufacturers and recycling processors alike have been exploring their options to shift operations to ASEAN nations such as Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia, or to the Indian subcontinent.

One such recent investment involved a project by United States-based Unifi Inc. to partner with China- and Vietnam-based companies to bring production of recycled-content plastic fibers to Vietnam. When the alliance was announced in January 2017, Unifi’s president Tom Caudle remarked, “Vietnam has been a region of focus for brands and retailers over the past few years. The growth in the region cannot be ignored, with exports of approximately $27 billion of apparel and textiles in 2015, and expectations to grow to $30 billion in 2016. Within the past 18 months, we’ve grown distribution of Repreve to include Turkey, Taiwan, Sri Lanka and now Vietnam.”

Additional information on 2017 Paper & Plastics Recycling Conference Europe, including how to register, can be found on this Web page.

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TOMRA introduces AutoSort Laser

Tue, 09/19/2017 - 21:13
Wedel, Germany-based TOMRA Sorting Recycling has introduced the Autosort Laser, which it says can help enable the separation of glass, ceramics, stones, metals and plastics from household and commercial waste.

The new device’s capabilities “allow material recovery facilities (MRFs) to further fractionalize waste and reduce overall weight for landfill, thereby significantly reducing landfill costs,” says TOMRA. Autosort Laser also can help create additional revenue streams via the recovery of salable products, says the firm.

The new product’s laser sorting technology is based on TOMRA’s near-infrared (NIR) and ultra-flexible Autosort series, which has been widely accepted by the recycling industry, with more than 4,000 installed units. TOMRA’s Autosort Laser offers what it calls “a powerful sensor combination capable of detecting more material properties at the same point simultaneously, and therefore sorts material fractions more efficiently.” Unlike competing technology, says TOMRA, Autosort Laser excels at separating thin, thick or opaque glass from municipal solid waste (MSW).

One of the first companies to use the Autosort Laser is Remondis GmbH in Germany. “We are very proud of having the first Autosort Laser installed in our plant in Erftstadt,” says Harry Amann, Remondis site manager at the facility. “High cost savings and great output quality simplified our plant process. Needless to say, we expect a quick ROI [return on investment] on this project.”

TOMRA says Autosort Laser has an independent background system designed to ensure sorting stability and to make it possible to separate thin, thick or opaque glass from transparent polymers, which are used increasingly in items such as syringes, lighters, baby bottles and cosmetic product containers. TOMRA says its new sorting machine has “a unique mechanical design, which is built for the highest safety standards and ease of maintenance.”

The TOMRA group has used laser technology in its range of food sorting systems since 1997, and has now adapted and further developed the technology for the unique needs of the recycling industry. “I’m very pleased to see the first successful installations and the launch of Autosort Laser in our product portfolio,” says Peter Mentenich, senior product manager at TOMRA Sorting Recycling. “It ensures greater profitability for our customers and helps to significantly reduce the amount of material ending up in landfills. A good example again that sustainability and business are not mutually exclusive – both can be achieved with innovative waste management and recycling technology.”

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SteelMint Scrap Conference: ASEAN anticipation

Tue, 09/19/2017 - 20:17
Urbanization and economic growth are likely to keep steel consumption and steel production rising in Southeast Asia, according to speakers at SteelMint’s 2017 Steel Scrap & Raw Materials Conference Asia. Presenters from several ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries provided overviews.

Nghiem Xuan Da, the chairman of Vietnam Steel Corporation, says new capacity installed in that nation allowed Vietnam’s steel billet production to leap by 118 percent in 2016. The nation’s steelmakers produced 7.8 million metric tons of steel in 2016 and used some 4 million metric tons of imported ferrous scrap as furnace charge.

Of that 7.8 million metric tons of steel produced, Da said 4.7 million metric tons (60.2 percent) was made via the electric arc furnace (EAF) method; 2.3 million metric tons (29.5 percent) was in basic oxygen furnaces (BOFs); and 0.8 million metric tons (10.3 percent) was produced in foundries and induction furnaces.

Da said the nation’s production and consumption of steel has continued growing in 2017, with Vietnam on track for 10 million metric tons of crude steel output for the year (28.2 percent growth). He said about 60 percent of the ferrous scrap needed to make that steel will be imported, with Japan sending nearly half of the total (48 percent). Hong Kong is listed as the next largest contributor, at 19 percent, with some of that scrap likely originating in China or other nations, before it is transloaded in Hong Kong.

Forecasts based on urbanization and economic growth have Vietnam’s steel output continuing to rise, said Da. He said mill projects in the pipeline alone could help Vietnam reach 20 million metric tons of output in 2020, in which case the nation will need some 8 million metric tons of imported ferrous scrap.

Thailand’s current steel industry growth is not as dynamic, said Rajiv Mangal, president and CEO of Tata Steel Thailand PLC, however the nation’s steel sector does not include any integrated mill complexes, meaning its hunger for scrap is constant.

Thailand consumes about 18 to 19 million metric tons of steel annually, said Mangal, and it is among the top three importers of finished steel globally. That is one of several factors in place that could help prompt further investment in steelmaking in Thailand, he said.

Mangal said Thailand’s five-year plan includes a sizable infrastructure project called the Eastern Economic Corridor—a planned $43 billion project that includes a new airport, expanded port facilities, new and upgraded highways, and a high-speed rail line. The nation also is the 12th largest producer of assembled automobiles in the world.

Mangal characterized Thailand as having a “limited scrap supply” of its own, meaning it is likely to remain a significant net importer of ferrous scrap in the world market for the foreseeable future.

Though not part of the ASEAN trade region, India also is growing as a steelmaker, said Mohit Pawnday of Mumbai-based Sarda Metals & Alloys Ltd. India’s per person steel consumption is low, at 63 kilograms (139 pounds) per person, but growing, said Pawnday. “We should [also] see major steel production growth in India,” he remarked.

The ferroalloys niche represents one opportunity, said Pawnday, with low energy prices driving the expansion of manganese output in Malaysia and Indonesia. Plants in India that produce ferrochrome have allowed that nation to become the world’s third largest exporter of that alloy, said Pawnday. In his view, India can remain competitive in this sector because power costs are falling and there remains access to cheap labor as well as to “skilled technical manpower.”

Subhendu Bose, the managing director of Singapore-based Duferco Asia, said that despite recent investments in capacity, the ASEAN region overall still has “far less [output] compared to consumption,” creating an opportunity for steel exporters in China, India and other nations.

Bose said steel pricing has been strong in 2017 for a number of reasons, including: capacity cuts in China; efforts in the first half of 2017 to shrink finished steel inventories; a shortage of graphite electrodes that has put a ceiling on Asian EAF production; and limited scrap flows in ASEAN nations, creating another lid on EAF production in the region.

By spring of 2018, predicted Bose, Chines steel production will likely “ease back up,” and the shortage of electrodes for EAF furnaces will probably be resolved. “We should enjoy this as long as it lasts,” Bose said of the high steel prices.

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

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Northeast Recycling Council elects new leadership team

Tue, 09/19/2017 - 12:08
The board of directors for the Brattleboro, Vermont-based Northeast Recycling Council (NERC) has elected its fiscal year 2017 leadership team.

New board of director representatives from Connecticut, Maryland and Delaware were selected for “their demonstrated commitment to the organization and to environmental sustainability throughout the 11-state region,” says NERC. The 11 state members are: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Robert Isner, director of the Waste Engineering and Enforcement Division (WEED) at the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), has been re-elected as president; Kaley Laleker, deputy director of Land Management Administration at the Maryland Department of the Environment, has been elected as vice president; and Rick Watson, CEO of the Delaware Solid Waste Authority, has been elected as treasurer. Isner and Watson have served as NERC officers in past years, and this is the first time Laleker will be part of the board.

Isner has been with the Connecticut DEEP for more than 24 years, spending the past 18 years as the solid waste and hazardous waste program manager. His responsibilities as director of WEED include management of enforcement, permitting and compliance assistance activities for the recycling, pesticide, solid waste and hazardous waste programs.

Prior to joining Connecticut DEEP, Isner worked for more than eight years as a municipal land use planner for two municipalities in Connecticut. He holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Connecticut and a Master of Science from Central Connecticut State University. In addition to NERC’s board, he also serves on the board of directors for the Connecticut Chapter of the Air & Waste Management Association and the Connecticut Recyclers Coalition.

As the deputy director of Land Management Administration, Laleker’s responsibilities oversee solid waste, resource management, oil control, lead poisoning prevention, mining and land restoration programs. She formerly worked in the resource management program, primarily on composting and other recycling issues, as well as in the director’s office on regulations, legislation and other issues affecting the Land Management Administration’s work. She has a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law and has been with the department for five years.

Watson leads the Delaware Solid Waste Authority, which is responsible for managing all municipal solid waste, recycling, household hazardous waste, electronic waste and other special waste programs for the state. He joined the Delaware Solid Waste Authority in 1981 as a project engineer for Delaware’s first double-lined sanitary landfill. He has overseen design, construction and operation of solid waste projects, including landfills, transfer stations, landfill gas control systems and various recycling projects.

Watson has a Bachelor of Science degree in civil and environmental engineering from Clarkson University and a Master of Science degree in civil engineering from the University of Delaware. He has been a professional engineer in Delaware since 1983 and received a Board Certified Environmental Engineer (BCEE) certification in 1996 from the American Academy of Environmental Engineers & Scientists. He has served as vice president and president of NERC in the recent past.

The organization also announced that longtime NERC board member George MacDonald, from Maine, has stepped down and Megan Pryor has been appointed in his stead.

Pryor is an environmental specialist with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, where she oversees and administers the paint, mercury thermostat and mercury lamp product stewardship programs. She provides outreach, education and technical assistance, working with municipalities and businesses to meet specific situational needs in waste reduction and recycling efforts.

Pryor is currently pursuing a Certificate of Graduate Study in Sustainable Development at the Muskie School of Public Service. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Southern Maine with a Bachelor of Arts in environmental planning and policy.

In other association news, NERC has re-appointed board members Chaz Miller and Walter J. “Chip” Foley to one-year terms on the NERC board. This will be their third year of serving on the board.

Foley, a graduate of Penn State, started his career with the Federal Election Commission in 1976. His start in public policy began when he served more than seven years on the staff of Pennsylvania Governor Dick Thornburgh’s Washington office working on agriculture, military, insurance and environmental issues.

In 1988, Foley became the first director of the Coalition of Northeastern Governors’ Source Reduction Council. That position led to his recruitment by the steel industry to open a Washington office for the Steel Can Recycling Institute (eventually becoming the Steel Recycling Institute). He continued in that position as vice president, promoting the recyclability and recycled content of steel to decision-makers. In addition, he held the position of director of public policy for the American Iron and Steel Institute’s Steel Market Development Institute. He was an advisory member of NERC, past chair of the industry sector of the National Lieutenant Governors Association (NLGA) and vice president for public policy on the board for the National Council for Public-Private Partnerships.

Foley retired from the steel industry in May, 2014. He continues to be a contributor to the on-going work of the Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse and NERC. He also is a member of the Titanic Historical Society.

Miller worked for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) solid waste office, focusing on recycling and waste-related work. After a stint at the Glass Packaging Institute, in 1991 he worked for the former National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA), what is now the National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA). He has worked on a variety of issues facing recycling waste management, including market development, state recycling legislation, extended producer responsibility, flow control, interstate and international waste shipments, truck safety, transfer station siting and organics management. He has testified at state and Congressional hearings. Miller has been a keynoter and speaker at recycling and solid waste conferences in the United States, Canada, Japan and China. He writes “The Circular File,” an award-winning column for Waste 360.

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

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NWRA announces new Sun Belt regional director

Tue, 09/19/2017 - 09:32
The National Waste and Recycling Association (NWRA), Arlington, Virginia, has announced it has hired Kirsti Nelson as its Sun Belt regional director. Nelson will manage the association’s state chapters in the southern half of the U.S., spanning from North Carolina to Arizona. Her position will entail serving as the liaison between member companies that are active in each state chapter, chapter retained lobbyists and legislators. She will be based in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Nelson worked for 12 years in sales and marketing roles for a waste collection equipment supplier. During her tenure there, she served on numerous councils and committees for the association. For several years she was involved in the Women’s Council, serving as its president for two years. In 2010, she was a founding member of the Future Industry Leaders Alliance (FILA), a council for member employees who 45 years of age or younger. In 2013, she was awarded by her peers in the industry the Wastec member of the year, an award sponsored by the association.

“We are looking forward to having someone from within the industry serve our members,” Darrell Smith, NWRA CEO, says. “Kirsti’s perspective will help the association further identify value we can offer and assist us in growing membership. Her insight to the business side will help her relate to chapter members’ advocacy efforts.”

“I am humbled and excited to be involved in such a great organization,” says Nelson, “Each state has its own waste-related regulations and needs a local voice. This position is important to the industry as a whole, but more importantly, to the chapter members who I will be serving.”

Nelson assumed the position in September 2017.
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E-Stewards Digital Equity program to provide computer access to those in need

Tue, 09/19/2017 - 06:22
Photo: Dreamstime

The electronics recycling and refurbishment certification program developed by the Seattle-based Basel Action Networke-Stewards, has revealed the e-Stewards Digital Equity (eDE) program. The program is designed to channel computer equipment from large corporations and institutions to needy individuals and communities across North America.

Despite the fact that education, jobs, job access and emergency services depend heavily on the internet and computing equipment, 1 in 5 persons in the United States still has no access to the internet, the organization says. Meanwhile, every year, thousands of working computers, printers and peripherals are removed from service and recycled.  

The new e-Stewards Digital Equity (eDE) program, scheduled to go live Jan. 1, 2018, will tap large corporate partners to donate working or repairable information technology (IT) equipment directly to e-Stewards Certified Refurbisher/Recyclers, who will refurbish them. The devices refurbished through this program will be sold to and deployed by city-led digital equity programs to provide digital access to low-income users at very low cost. “The e-Stewards program hopes to divert thousands of computers and peripherals each year via ethical refurbishment and get them into the hands of deserving students, families and organizations across North America,” the organization says in the press release announcing the initiative.

"Currently, far too many old computers, tablets, printers and monitors are being shredded or dumped overseas rather than refurbished and given a second or third life in the hands of people that need them the most," says Bob Akers, enterprise manager of the e-Stewards Electronics Recycling/Refurbishment Certification Program.

E-Stewards says, “By providing large enterprise companies with the assurance of careful management and refurbishment of their old equipment and an established, reputable channel to needy communities, the e-Stewards Digital Equity program will allow enterprise corporations to more easily engage in donating to ethical reuse for community good. E-Stewards Certification assures worker protections, data security [and] minimum specifications for tested and fully functional equipment, and prohibits the export of hazardous electronic scrap to developing countries.”

E-Stewards lists a number of benefits it says are associated with eDE:

  • Cities benefit by having low-cost, high-quality equipment.
  • Enterprises benefit from having their IT asset liabilities carefully managed while garnering excellent public relations.
  • E-Stewards Refurbishers/Recyclers benefit by expanding their market to another realm of asset management services while building fruitful community relationships.
  • The low-income recipient benefits by access to a new device experience at very low cost.
  • The environment benefits by lowering the carbon and toxics footprint from information technology use by giving longer life to resource-intensive products.

"We are looking forward to participating in this program and being able to be a part of the very real human stories about improving lives in our community while protecting the global environment," says Reed Kaiser of the University of Phoenix.

"Seattle welcomes this new e-Stewards initiative," says Chance Hunt, Seattle community technology manager. "As we work to tackle the digital inequity problem, we often find that the demand for quality low-cost computing equipment exceeds the supply. This public-private partnership could greatly improve this situation."

"It is extremely rewarding to see how lives change for the individuals participating in our Digital Equity programs," says Neil Peters-Michaud, CEO of Cascade Asset Management, an e-Stewards Certified Refurbisher headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin. "It's a win for our customers, our company and the community."

The current list of eDE partners includes The National Digital Inclusion Alliance; HUD ConnectHome; EveryoneOn; Seattle; San Francisco; Madison, Wisconsin; Kansas City, Missouri; Old National Bank; American Family Insurance; iFixIT; Mobile Citizen; and University of Phoenix.

The current list of e-Stewards Refurbisher eDE founders includes Apto Solutions, Blue Star Recyclers, Capitol Asset Recovery Inc., Cascade Asset Management, eGreen-IT Solutions, ERI, EPC Inc., Friendly Earth, Global eWaste Solutions Inc., Kuusakoski US LLC and Sage Sustainable Electronics LLC.

E-Stewards says it is actively enrolling interested cities, e-Stewards Certified Refurbishers/Recyclers and enterprise donors and service providers as eDE partners. 

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ISRI proposes amendment to guidelines for MRFs' inbound curbside recyclables

Tue, 09/19/2017 - 05:55
During its fall meeting, scheduled for Nov. 6, 2017, the board of directors for the Washington-based Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) will consider amending ISRI’s scrap specifications to reclassify “clean, dry double-polycoat food packages” to better reflect how material recovery facilities (MRFs) characterize these inbound paper products in the recycling stream.

ISRI says the proposal reflects concerns within the recycling industry that by listing “clean, dry double-polycoat food packages” under “Additional Materials for Inbound Curbside Recyclables for MRFs” in ISRI’s “Scrap Specifications Circular” (page 64), it gives the impression that the material is preferred by MRFs. In reality, the material is not preferred and may be considered prohibitive by MRFs that need a secondary market for their materials to remain viable economic and environmental partners with the communities they serve, the association says. The amendment, if passed, would move “clean, dry double-polycoat food packages” to Paper (not preferred or may be prohibited) with examples (not inclusive) section of the inbound curbside recyclables guidelines.

This amended specification was previously approved by ISRI’s MRF Council, Plastics Division and Paper Division at the Summer Board & Committee Meetings. Per ISRI’s bylaws, the full ISRI board of directors will vote on it at the November meeting. The board may choose to adopt, amend or reject the recommendations of the divisions or table them pending further review.

More information about the rules governing the procedures from the addition, amendment or withdrawal of ISRI’s scrap specifications can be found in the “Scrap Specifications Circular.” To submit comments, recommendations or questions, please contact ISRI’s Joe Pickard at jpickard@isri.org. A 30-day open comment period follows the board’s vote.

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PRE says biodegradables in the recycling mix causing harm

Tue, 09/19/2017 - 00:30
Brussels-based Plastics Recyclers Europe (PRE) says the quality of recycled-content plastic film in Europe is being negatively affected by degradable plastics from Southern Europe.

Even what PRE calls “very low quantities” of degradable plastics that end up in plastic film scrap streams “have a significant, negative impact on recycled plastics,” says the group.

PRE singles out material streams in Southern Europe as posing a quality issue in films with recycled content production because of the higher share of degradable plastics. A trial done on 1,000 metric tons of equally purchased qualities of scrap from Northern European and Southern European suppliers showed “substantial quality discrepancies in the recycled film,” says PRE. The organization did not specify which nations were placed in either geographic category.

The tests were performed on recycled plastics made from scrap containing “98/2 post-consumer quality” converted into a film of 50-micron thickness. Extrusion worked normally with recycled plastics coming from Northern Europe. However, “holes and specks” occurred regularly in the film produced with scrap coming from Southern Europe, says PRE.

To understand the defects and ruptures of the film, samples were analyzed by infrared spectroscopy, thermal analysis and via gas chromatography mass spectrometry. These analyses showed most of the degradation is coming from substances used in production of degradable plastics, says PRE, including starch, polylactide (PLA) and polybutylene adipate terephthalate (PBAT).

“These tests show there is a big impact on the functionality of recycled plastics coming from Southern Europe waste film flows,” states PRE. “Therefore, it is necessary to develop separate streams not only for bio-waste but also degradable plastics in order to make sure that degradable plastics do not enter [scrap] streams of conventional plastics.”

The push toward increasing the use of degradable plastics is expected to make the problem more acute in the future, says PRE. The group is thus asking government agencies to assess the overall impact of degradable plastics on the conventional streams and to develop separate collection for both bio-waste and degradable plastics “in order to avoid putting in jeopardy the efforts of making plastics more circular.”

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SteelMint Scrap Conference: Hot news

Mon, 09/18/2017 - 21:10
Steelmaking technology vendors are competing vigorously to help steel producers pare down their operating costs and capital expenditure amounts, judging by presentations at SteelMint’s 2017 Steel Scrap & Raw Materials Conference Asia.

The long-booming economies of Asia are now yielding more ferrous scrap, and Gerald Wimmer of Austria-based Primetals Technologies says his company has developed technologies to help steelmakers in the region tap into the newly-abundant supplies of scrap.

Wimmer said China’s annual collection of ferrous scrap is likely to “more than double in the next 50 years” from its current level of 180 million metric tons per year. He said China’s central planners “know this” and have targeted a scrap usage goal of 20 percent by 2020, compared to a projected 11 percent in 2017.

Added Wimmer, “This will have an impact on the whole world and will affect the price.” He said that in September 2017, the now abundant amounts of scrap in China have led to ferrous scrap prices there that are some 600 Chinese yuan ($91) per ton “cheaper than hot metal.”

Steelmakers in China have responded positively to Primetals’ Jet Process, said Wimmer, which he called “a solution for basic oxygen furnace (BOF) operators” that can get them above the current 20 percent scrap charging ceiling and instead “allows up to 50 percent” scrap as charge. Wimmer said the technology has been tested at scale at a POSCO steel mill in South Korea.

Primetals also has a technology called Finex, said Wimmer, that allows steelmakers to use smaller iron ore fines in a more cost-effective manner compared to previously existing technologies.

Sridhar Rao, who works from Mumbai for Italy-based Danieli, described the evolution of Danieli’s electric arc furnace (EAF) micromill technology, which he says allows steelmakers to produce steel from scrap at facilities with a small footprint.

“Micromills make minimills smaller and more profitable,” stated Rao. He said the micromills use Danieli’s FastArc and FastCast technologies to continually charge scrap and engage in “endless casting and rolling” to create a process that goes from scrap to finished billets to a rolling mill to spooling lines, all in a relatively small facility.

Rao said customers in Greece, the United States and Egypt have worked with Danieli to build micromills with increasing capacities. He said the Egyptian mill is achieving 80 tons per hour of output, and that he foresees new Danieli micromills being built in the Middle East and Vietnam as possibly reaching the 100 tons per hour mark.

Simone Severo of Germany-based SMS Group GmbH gave an overview of that company’s ConDor technology, designed to improve safety and profitability at EAF mills. The ConDor automates processes at the slag door that can be “dangerous areas” at mills, said Severo.

The ConDor can protect workers from “splashes and reactions” during the scrap charging process and during other mill procedures traditionally carried out by workers driving forklift trucks. The ConDor can push scrap automatically through the slag doors with a ram driven by a hydraulic cylinder.

In addition to its safety features, Severo said the ConDor can minimize scrap loss and ties into the carbon injection process, meaning it can save up to 3 percent on electricity costs and lengthen the life of a mill’s electrodes.

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

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Speculators cooling on copper

Mon, 09/18/2017 - 19:36
Non-physical traders of copper began reeling in their optimism toward the red metal in mid-September 2017, according to one recent analysis of positions taken in the market.

Less money went toward bullish (higher future prices) positions in the period from Sept. 6-12 after several previous weeks of growing optimism, according to an online article posted by Investing.com.

What Investing.com calls “large metals speculators” traded a net positive 46,614 Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) contracts in copper in the week through Sept. 12, which Investing.com says marks a 2,251 contract reduction (4.6 percent) compared to the previous week.

The activity reversed a string of eight weekly gains for copper bullish positions, says Investing.com. Despite the reversal, however, net positive positions in the red metal have been above the 40,000 contract level for four straight weeks.

Investing.com also reports that according to unofficial market data, “Over the same weekly reporting timeframe, from [Sept. 6-12], the JJC iPath Bloomberg Copper ETN (exchange-traded note), which tracks the price of copper, closed at approximately $34.57, which was a fall of $1.12 from the previous close of $35.69.” That marks a 3.1 percent drop in the value of the ETN.

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Real Alloy to restart Kentucky UBC recycling facility

Mon, 09/18/2017 - 14:55
Real Industry Inc., Sherman Oaks, California, has announced that its Real Alloy Holding Inc. subsidiary is restarting its used beverage container (UBC) recycling operation at its Morgantown, Kentucky, facility due to increased customer demand and to fulfill a new contract.

The company says it plans to restart its UBC recycling operation in October 2017.

The UBC recycling operation has been idle since December 2015. On an annualized basis, Real Alloy says it expects to process approximately 50,000 tons at the Morgantown facility, which represents more than 6 percent of Real Alloy North America’s total annual volume. Cleveland-based Real Alloy Holding is comprised of the Real Alloy North America and Real Alloy Europe units.

Terry Hogan, president of Real Alloy, says, “We are excited about restarting the UBC recycling operation at Morgantown. The restart will bring approximately 30 people back to work at the facility and will result in higher equipment utilization with the higher production levels. We are currently ramping up the equipment and expect to be delivering the targeted volumes by the beginning of October 2017.”

Real Industry Inc. also has announced that it has retained Jefferies LLC, a global investment banking firm headquartered in New York, to assist in refinancing Real Alloy’s $305 million of senior secured 10 percent notes coming due in January 2019.

Kyle Ross, president and CEO of Real Industry, says, “Over the past few weeks, our senior management team has engaged in preliminary discussions with current and prospective investors regarding a potential refinancing of our senior secured notes. The leveraged finance market is in a strong position, and the company has engaged a team at Jefferies, with whom we have a long-standing relationship, to lead this process.”

 

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Liebherr USA celebrates opening of Lodi, California, sales and service center

Mon, 09/18/2017 - 10:33
Liebherr USA, Co., Newport News, Virginia, held an opening reception at its new sales and service center in Lodi, California, Sept. 12, 2017.

The event was at the facility located at 880 South Beckman Road, Lodi, California. Attendees included local customers and guests as well as Lodi city officials.

During the event, Liebherr USA, Co. showcased its newest technologies, product range and service capabilities across the United States for Mobile and Crawler Cranes and the Foundation Equipment divisions. Guests had an opportunity to tour the facility, operate the crane simulator, participate in the human power crane obstacle and view a variety of machines and components.

This new location will serve as the sales, service and repair facility for Liebherr USA Co.’s Mobile and Crawler Cranes and Foundation Equipment divisions in the western region. The opening of the Lodi location is the latest development in support of the manufacturer’s rapid growth in the United States under the newly formed mixed sales organization. The integration of the divisional activities allows Liebherr to expand and increase the presence of its diverse product portfolio in the U.S market and is a tremendous benefit to customers, providing access to Liebherr parts, services and equipment.

Established in 1949, the Liebherr Group is today a leading manufacturer of earthmoving equipment and a supplier of innovative user-oriented products and services in many other fields. The family-owned company employs more than 40,000 people in over 130 companies worldwide on every continent.

Liebherr’s product range covers earthmoving and material handling machinery, mining equipment, mobile cranes, construction cranes, mixing technology, domestic appliances, maritime cranes, aerospace and transportation systems, machine tools and automation systems as well as high-performance components for mechanical, hydraulic and electrical drive and control technology. Liebherr also operates hotels in Ireland, Austria and Germany.

The group’s holding company is Liebherr-International AG in Bulle, Switzerland, which is entirely owned by members of the Liebherr family.

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AMCS launches Analytics and Digital Engagement solutions

Mon, 09/18/2017 - 10:12
Boston-based AMCS, a leading application platform provider for the waste and recycling industry, today announced the release of two new key solutions on the AMCS Platform: AMCS Analytics and AMCS Digital Engagement.

AMCS says it is investing significantly in building a best-in-class cloud platform that will bring together their various capabilities and offerings into a scalable, enterprise-grade solution. This industry specific platform brings together the company’s six core solution ranges: Enterprise Management software, Mobile Workforce, Vehicle Technology, Intelligent Optimization, Digital Engagement and Analytics.

The AMCS Platform is driven by exponential demands from waste companies looking for integrated capabilities to digitize their business and is designed to automate, standardize and optimize all business processes from waste collection to recycling and material trading. The technical architecture is based on the most modern technologies and is built to handle the data and workload volumes of large enterprise customers, says the company. The open application programming interfaces (APIs) of the platform have been designed to allow the flexible and seamless integration of our solution into corporate IT architectures.

AMCS Analytics is a business intelligence (BI) service, including a large set of standard role-based dashboards based on AMCS’s many years of experience working with waste and recycling companies across the globe. AMCS Analytics is designed to eliminate the costly and time-consuming tasks of gathering diverse data and allows instant access to meaningful business insights, focusing on the data that can accelerate business performance and avoid revenue leakage. Whether located on-site or in the cloud, the industry centric and intuitive nature of the solution means that businesses of all sizes can benefit without the need for in-house teams, custom data transformations or external BI expertise.

AMCS’s Digital Engagement solution enables operators to better service customers online and build stronger relationships through social media, digital assistants and connected (IoT) devices. Customers will be able to contact their service provider when, where, and however suits them best. In turn, operators will greatly reduce call center traffic and benefit from a more streamlined, automated and lower cost communication channel. AMCS Digital Engagement solution also offers out-of-the-box customer e-commerce, supplier web portals and provides secure digital payment channels offering customers online payment.

“Today the largest waste companies in the world rely on AMCS Platform and thus depend on us to push the boundaries with every release, to ensure we're providing what they need to stay competitive," says Mark Abbas, chief marketing officer at AMCS. "With the expansion of the AMCS Platform, we are building on our strategy to empower our customers with an intelligent platform that will support the ongoing transformation to a more circular economy. Our solutions allow customers to digitize their businesses, enabling them to operate more seamlessly and efficiently.”

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DeKalb County, Georgia, appoints new sanitation director

Mon, 09/18/2017 - 09:19
Michael Thurmond, CEO of Georgia’s DeKalb County, has appointed Tracy Hutchinson director of the Sanitation Division. Hutchinson is the first woman to lead the division, which is the largest within the county’s Public Works Department.

Hutchinson Hutchinson joined the Sanitation Division in 2004 as assistant director of processing and disposal services. Since September 2016, she has served as interim director and is responsible for managing the division’s day-to-day operations, which include 641 employees and five operational areas. Hutchinson also oversees the Seminole Road Landfill, the only county-owned landfill in the state of Georgia.

DeKalb’s Sanitation Division serves more than 178,000 households weekly and leads the county’s environmental sustainability efforts, including the recently launched glass recycling program. The county says Hutchinson continues to bring positive attention and awareness to its sanitation efforts, vision and mission and was recently profiled in the August issue of the Kansas City, Missouri-based American Public Works Association (APWA) magazine, APWA Reporter.

Hutchinson is a 20-year solid waste industry veteran. Prior to joining the Sanitation Division, she was the first African-American female to serve in a senior management role within the engineering department at Waste Management Inc., headquartered in Houston. She was also the first female African-American president of the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA), Georgia Chapter.

Hutchinson holds a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from Savannah State University, serves as an APWA Public Works Leadership Fellow and holds professional SWANA certifications in landfill operations, collection systems and recycling systems.

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Nucor board approves projects

Mon, 09/18/2017 - 08:46
Nucor Corp., headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, has announced that the company’s board of directors has approved a steel bar micromill project and the expansion of either its Illinois or Ohio merchant bar operations. Nucor is considering five states in the Midwest and Southeast for the micromill project: Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, South Carolina and Florida.

Nucor says its bar mills are a cornerstone of the company that have generated significant value in the past and are expected to do so in the future. The micromill project and the expansion of its merchant bar operations are part of Nucor's planned strategy for long-term profitable growth. By leveraging its existing operating abilities, these projects will maintain the company’s position as a low-cost producer and will allow it to better serve our customers, according to Nucor.

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

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