INTERNATIONAL, LEGISLATION & REGULATIONS, METALS
Indian agency amends inspection process for scrap metals
India’s Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) has released new rules involving preshipment inspection and certification of scrap metals entering the country.
Public Notice No. 12/2015-20 revises the rules for preshipment inspection agencies (PSIA) and for issuing preshipment inspection certificates (PSIC).
In April 2015, the DGFT announced it was revising its preshipment inspection and certification requirements for imported metallic scrap, but the effective date of that revision was subsequently postponed.
The recent adjustments follow concerns expressed by numerous recycling-related organizations, including the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) and the Metal Recycling Association of India (MRAI).
The May 18, 2015, public notice gives new rules for PSIA to apply for recognition by an Inter-Ministerial Committee, a status that will need to be renewed every three years. The agencies will have had to reapply to the DGFT by June 7, 2015.
The notice also includes details of the PSIC, which will be authenticated with the PSIA’s numbered hologram.
The prescribed certificate has to be provided to DGFT with photographs or a video clip of the PSIA inspector at the place of inspection; the testing instrument(s); the loading of each container; and the sealing of the container. Digital signatures also are proposed.
At the BIR International Trade Council meeting, held May 19, 2015, as part of the BIR’s World Recycling Convention in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, delegates discussed the notice and recognized that most large shredders can affirm the quality and safety of their own shredded scrap, so they could be exempted from preshipment inspection certification or could be recognized at some point in the future for self-inspection.
The revised notice was effective July 1. Current preshipment inspection certificates could be used through June 30, 2015.
LEGISLATION & REGULATIONS
Government releases new rules for H-2B visa workers
The Department of Labor (DOL) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have issued an interim final rule regarding processes for H-2B temporary nonagricultural visa workers.
The new rule regulating the H-2B labor certification process is “virtually identical” to a similar 2012 rule, according to DOL and DHS. Links to the final rule and a companion wage rule can be found on the DOL’s website at www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/eta/ETA20150772.htm.
Among some of the obligations for recycling facility operators and other companies and contractors using H-2B workers:
- if companies stop employing an H-2B worker, they must notify the DOL;
- all jobs must be at least 35 hours per week;
- workers must be provided with earnings statements, including hours worked and offered and deductions clearly specified along with copies of the job order;
- jobs must be advertised in newspapers and included in the new electronic job registry and there also is the possibility of required contact with community-based organizations;
- former employees with U.S. citizenship must be contacted with job opportunities;
- job offers must remain open to U.S. workers until 21 days before the employer’s start date;
- employers are prohibited from retaliating against workers exercising their rights under the program;
- employers must pay visa fees and other related charges; and
- employers must disclose their use of foreign labor recruiters in the solicitation of workers.
The DOL and DHS are involved in processing thousands of annual applications to the H-2B program, which grants temporary visas to seasonal workers in nonagricultural industries. One of the key areas of regulation—and contention—during the past few years has been the wage rates for seasonal workers.
But, after a challenge from Florida Rural Legal Services, a nonprofit labor rights group, the Northern Florida District Court ruled March 4, 2015, the DOL does not have the authority to issue regulations alone in the H-2B program, including standards for calculating prevailing wages for seasonal workers.
A cap of 66,000 H-2B workers per year is split into two portions, the first of which ended March 31, 2015. However, residual delays will occur from the shutdown of the program by the Justice Department. On Feb. 2, 2015, the DHS announced the cap for the first half of the fiscal year had been reached.
The interim final rule took effect in late April 2015, but all labor certification applications submitted before April 28, 2015, will be processed under the old rules.
Regarding wages, the DOL and DHS also issued a final rule for H-2B workers, eliminating a four-tier structure established in a 2008 ruling.
Under the new rule, similar to the 2012 ruling, the prevailing wage is the highest mean for an occupational category using the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) numbers. Employers are no longer allowed to use company-issued surveys to determine wages, except in limited circumstances, such as situations in which a job is located somewhere not included in the OES data collection.
SMS idles three Indiana facilities
Scrap Metal Services LLC (SMS), Burnham, Illinois, has announced plans to idle three of its SMS Paul’s Auto Yard operations in the Indiana cities of Demotte, Elkhart and Westville. SMS says it idled its Coloma, Michigan, yard earlier this year.
The company says it plans to focus its operations on the three remaining SMS Paul’s Auto Yard locations in South Bend, Gary and Lake Station, Indiana. These yards offer full-service auto yard and recycling services to the public. SMS says it also will continue to serve the needs of its customers through its auto shredder operations in New Carlisle, Indiana.
SMS says it has no immediate plans to reopen the idled SMS Paul’s yards until business conditions recover.
In February 2014, SMS announced its acquisition of Paul’s Auto Yard Inc. and Shafer’s Auto Yard Inc. Following the acquisitions, SMS created a new division called SMS Paul’s Auto Yard. At that time, SMS said the new division included eight self-service auto parts yards with retail sales operations. The yards also purchase ferrous and nonferrous scrap.
SMS operates scrap processing, steel mill services, ship dismantlement and recycling, intermodal/truck/railcar dismantling facilities and auto salvage operations throughout the United States. The company provides full-service scrap management, consulting and purchasing services to industrial scrap generators and demolition contractors and has more than 20 operations in the United States and two operations in Mexico.
In March 2015, the company announced its SMS Mill Services LLC division will manage hot and cold slag, scrap metal and byproducts processing for the Monterrey-based Frisa Forjada steel mill located in Santa Catarina, Mexico, in the state of Neuvo Leon.
IFAT India 2015 features live demonstrations
The third edition of IFAT India, India’s leading environmental technology trade fair, is scheduled for Oct. 13-15, 2015, in Mumbai, India. The event is organized by Messe München International, which is based in Germany.
This year, for the first time, exhibitors at the event will be able to offer live demonstrations of their machinery and vehicles. To accommodate this change, additional space is available outdoors, next to Exhibition Hall 5 at the Bombay Exhibition Centre (BEC) in Mumbai, the site of this year’s event. Larger exhibits also can be presented in this area, the show organizers say.
At last year’s event, a total of 123 companies from 19 countries exhibited their products and services in the fields of water, sewage, refuse and recycling to approximately 4,800 visitors in roughly 5,000 square meters (54,000 square feet) of exhibit space. Show organizers say exhibitors were pleased with the level of interest among the trade show visitors.
Overall, the participants noted the Indian government’s increased readiness to invest in international environmental technology, IFAT India organizers say.
The closing report and exhibitor testimonials from IFAT India 2014 and information on the 2015 event are available at www.ifat-india.com.
Messe München International says it supports the environmental technology sector by organizing not only IFAT, the world’s leading trade fair for this sector, but also a range of other international environmental trade fairs at locations around the globe. These trade fairs include IE expo in Shanghai; IFAT Eurasia in Ankara, Turkey; IFAT India in Mumbai; and the IFAT Environmental Technology Forum in Johannesburg, South Africa.
ISA idles auto shredder
The scrap metal recycling company Industrial Services of America Inc. (ISA), headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, has announced it is idling its auto shredder in Louisville, effective immediately. The company says the “warm” idle is in response to current market conditions primarily related to ferrous price volatility and lower ferrous scrap volumes.
ISA says it will monitor and analyze market conditions and will review its long-term options for its shredder and related downstream processing operation. The company says it does not expect the cost of idling the equipment, including a reduction in employees, to exceed $200,000.
ISA says its auto shredder operation, including the downstream processing activities, had an operating loss in 2014 related to the steep decline in ferrous scrap prices, which has crimped profitability for many shredder operators.
The company says it will look at the possibility of using the shredder for specialty items that can provide benefits to suppliers, consumers and ISA to maximize margin, profitability and opportunities.
ISA says it will focus its energies and resources on its nonshredder business units, all of which had improved operating results in 2014 compared with 2013. These units include its other metal recycling operations, equipment rental and waste services units and an auto parts business.
Despite idling its shredder, ISA says its shear and baler capabilities will allow it to continue to process ferrous scrap.
ISA also recently entered into an offer to sell 4.4 acres of real estate to a firm principally owned by Daniel Rifkin, CEO of MetalX LLC, Waterloo, Indiana.
Additionally, ISA entered into a lease agreement with Rifkin pursuant to which ISA will lease a portion of the parcel. The lease terminates April 14, 2019, but the company has the right to vacate the leased premises upon 90-days’ notice to the purchaser; the lease would then terminate immediately upon the company’s vacation of the leased premises.
ISA sells scrap to MetalX LLC in the course of its business, having sold material in the amount of $1.7 million to MetalX LLC in 2014.
LEGISLATION & REGULATIONS, PLASTICS
Plastic bag companies file suit over Dallas fee
Hilex Poly Co., Superbag Operating Ltd., The Inteplast Group and Advance Polybag Inc. (API) have filed a suit against the city of Dallas over an ordinance imposing a 5-cent-per-bag charge on single-use plastic bags. The plaintiffs claim the charge conflicts with Texas state law.
In the lawsuit, the four plastic bag companies claim that aspects of Dallas Ordinance 29307 “do not comport with Texas Statutes and the Texas Constitution. Although the city was aware before the ordinance was enacted that the ordinance violated the Texas Health and Safety code, the city nevertheless pressed on undeterred and enacted the ordinance. Similarly, although the city was notified prior to the effective date of the ordinance that the ordinance also constituted an impermissible tax, the city pressed forward with enforcing the ordinance.”
According to the lawsuit filed by the four plaintiffs, “Because the city’s ordinance conflicts with Texas law, it is preempted, invalid and of no force or effect. Accordingly, by this original petition, Hilex, Superbag, Inteplast and API seek a Declaratory Judgement invalidating the ordinance and a permanent injunction prohibiting enforcement of the ordinance.”
The plaintiffs say the ordinance would penalize them through a decline in the sale of single-use carryout bags; require the manufacturers to perform short manufacturing runs; impose additional expenses related to printing; and require warehouse space to accommodate multiple product identification codes for bags. They also say the ordinance would result in higher costs for citizens and retailers in the Dallas area.
The city of Dallas issued this statement in response to the suit: “The filing of this lawsuit directly contradicts the vigorous support for a fee-based option shown by the lead plaintiff, Hilex Poly Co., during the city’s consideration of the ordinance.”
The city adds, “The city will continue to act in the best interest of the health, safety and welfare of its residents.”
Cleveland launches residential recycling campaign
The city of Cleveland, working with nonprofit group The Recycling Partnership, Falls Church, Virginia, has launched a new recycling education campaign for residents called “One Simple Act.”
The campaign is designed to demonstrate that recycling is one simple act that can unite residents and yield impressive results. It involves making recycling more convenient by rolling out new blue recycling carts for residents and messaging encouraging recycling.
“As part of this campaign effort, we have set a goal to double recycling citywide from 13 to 26 percent over the next 12 months,” says Jenita McGowan, the city’s chief of sustainability. “We need every Cleveland resident to help get us there. This is our community, and we all have a stake in doing what is right for not only our environment, but also our economy and our future.”
The city also recently passed a new set of guidelines for curbside recycling that include placing recyclables loose in the recycling cart instead of in plastic bags. The new process is intended to be easier for both residents and the recycling facility.
Cleveland residents will encounter the campaign in a variety of ways, including print advertisements, recycling truck signage, mailers, community events and online via social media and at the OneSimpleActCleveland.com website.
“The Cleveland/Recycling Partnership collaboration is a true example of successful public-private partnership,” says McGowan. “The city has maximized its education budget because The Recycling Partnership brings national-level recycling and communications expertise to the area at no cost to the city.”
“The ‘One Simple Act’ campaign developed for Cleveland will also serve as a model for other communities that are looking to improve education efforts and increase participation and tonnage in local recycling programs,” says McGowan.
More information about “One Simple Act” in Cleveland, including a full list of what can and cannot be recycled, is at www.OneSimpleActCleveland.com.
Recycling Today Media Group selects Madrid for European conferences
The Recycling Today Media Group, a business unit of GIE Media Inc., Valley View, Ohio, has selected Madrid as the host city for the 2015 editions of its co-located Paper Recycling Conference Europe and Plastics Recycling Conference Europe events.
“It is again our privilege to welcome recyclers, mills, government officials, brand owners and other stakeholders in the recycling value chain from throughout Europe and globally to our conferences,” says Jim Keefe, publisher of the Recycling Today Media Group. “Spain has been a popular destination in the past, and siting this year’s events in Madrid was the result of industry requests and close cooperation with the local recycling community.”
The events will be held at the Eurostars Madrid Tower Hotel. It is again being organized by the Recycling Today Media Group in cooperation with its industry programming committees.
“We’re gratified that scrap paper and plastics collectors, processors, sellers and buyers as well as brand owners interested in end-of-life management have found this event to be a worthwhile regional and global gathering place,” says Brian Taylor, editor of Recycling Today and Recycling Today Global Edition magazines.
The 2015 events again will offer sessions examining markets for established and emerging recovered paper and plastic scrap commodities in a global context. Additional topics covered will include emerging trends in paper and plastic packaging; updates on the plastic scrap stream recovered from obsolete electronics; case studies of successful plastic scrap and recovered fiber collection efforts; and a roundtable for paper mill operators to discuss the recovered fiber market from their viewpoints. Complete program details will be released soon.
Additional information on the events will be available soon and will be updated regularly on the conference websites, which can be accessed through the Recycling Today Events site at www.RecyclingTodayEvents.com. Inquiries also can be made to email@example.com.
Phoenix Technologies adds plastic flake line
Phoenix Technologies, Bowling Green, Ohio, a producer of recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET) pellets, has announced an $18 million expansion that will enable upstream production integration. (Phoenix is profiled here.)
The company says it will add a new wash line, which is expected to be operational by the end of this year, to manufacture clean flake. Phoenix uses clean flake as an infeed material to create its rPET pellets, which are used to create packaging for products that include beverages, food, personal care and household cleaners.
Prior to the installation of the wash line, Phoenix has either purchased clean flake directly or sourced baled bottles that have been reclaimed from curbside collection, tolling this material through a third-party wash operation to create clean flake.
To prepare for the upstream integration, Phoenix says it has worked to diversify and strengthen its supplier relationships to source enough bales and dirty flake to feed a wash line with the projected output of 50 million pounds per year. The company says it will purchase raw material for the facility from waste haulers and material recovery facilities (MRFs).
Lori Carson, Phoenix director of commercial operations, says, “We will simply be shifting where in the chain we procure the material” as a result of the expansion.
“Combining the total supply chain, from bale to final pellet, and its processes will allow us to optimize both the wash and flake processing components in ways that we could not when clean flake was coming from external sources,” says Bob Deardurff, president of Phoenix. “The new wash line also will enable Phoenix to fine-tune critical manufacturing variables so that we can better deliver processing and performance attributes of value to our customers.”
Using patented technology, Phoenix Technologies produces postconsumer rPET for reuse in consumer packaging applications. The company says its rPET pellets can be blended with virgin resin for similar performance.
Toronto expands curbside recycling program
As of June 1, 2015, the list of plastic film materials accepted by the city of Toronto through its Blue Bin Recycling program has expanded. The city estimates that an additional 3,500 metric tons of plastic film will be collected as a result of the expansion and forecasts that the Blue Bin diversion rate will increase by 2 percent and the overall residential diversion rate will increase by 0.35 percent.
The additional revenue from the sale of the film, reduced landfill costs and increased stewardship funding will offset the additional operating costs, resulting in an annual net savings of $8,500 per year and $4,970 in 2015, based on seven months of savings, the city says.
In 2014, the city marketed 2,055 metric tons of plastic film from the Blue Bin Recycling program. The marketed plastic film material was composed primarily of retail shopping bags and clear plastic bags.
The decision to expand the plastic film collected for recycling follows a study by the staff of the city’s Solid Waste Management Services, which worked to solidify recycling markets for additional plastic film following securing processing capacity at Canada Fibers Ltd.’s material recovery facility (MRF).
The Canada Fibers facility is equipped with technology that creates an opportunity to recover plastic film for recycling.
A stable market for the expanded list of plastic film materials has been established, resulting in the opportunity to add new materials to the Blue Bin Recycling program, the city of Toronto says.
The expanded list of plastic film that will be added to the Blue Bin Recycling program includes:
- milk bags;
- select types of bread bags;
- sandwich bags (e.g., resealable bags);
- bulk food bags;
- dry cleaning bags;
- newspaper/flyer bags;
- outer bags from diapers and feminine hygiene products;
- fresh or frozen produce bags;
- transparent recycling bags; and
- overwrap from toilet paper, napkins, paper towels and water as well as from soft drink packaging.
Biodegradable, black and laminated plastic films will not be accepted for recycling through the city’s program.
The city says the addition of plastic film will help it to reach its 55 percent diversion goal in 2015.