Republic Steel produces first heat at Ohio furnace
Republic Steel, headquartered in Canton, Ohio, has initiated hot commissioning of its new electric arc furnace (EAF) in Lorain, Ohio. The initial heats, begun Nov. 26, 2013, were cast into 6-inch-by-6-inch billets and were rolled on the 9/10-inch rolling mill, also at the Lorain plant. Production on the billet caster is expected to ramp up over December and January, with bloom cast production beginning in February 2014, the company says.
At capacity, Republic’s $85-million capital project will yield more than 1 million tons of steel per year to produce bloom and billet cast semifinished, bar and coil products.
“This latest investment in Republic Steel demonstrates our commitment to exceeding our customer’s expectations and satisfying both their current and future volume requirements,” says Jaime Vigil, Republic Steel president and CEO. “It is an exciting day for our Lorain plant, which discontinued steel production in December 2008 and is now back in the steelmaking business,” he adds.
The EAF will supply the bloom and billet casters, enabling high-quality production of special bar quality bar and coil from 0.295 inch to 6.5 inches in diameter and of 6-inch, 10.5-inch, 11.63-inch, 12.25-inch and 13.5-inch diameter seamless tube rounds, Republic says.
The EAF features a 150-ton heat size, eccentric bottom tapping, an exchangeable upper/lower shell, current-conducting arms, oxy-fuel burners, carbon and lime injection systems and automation.
Republic Steel has steelmaking capabilities in Canton and Lorain. It also operates value-added rolling and finishing plants in Canton, Lorain and Massillon, Ohio; Lackawanna, N.Y.; Gary, Ind.; and Hamilton, Ontario.
MIT and NCER release study on electronics recycling
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Materials Systems Laboratory and the U.S. National Center for Electronics Recycling (NCER) have released “Quantitative Characterization of Domestic and Transboundary Flows of Used Electronics,” a study that analyses the generation, collection and export of obsolete electronics generated in the U.S. The report is available at http://bit.ly/18RBgPO.
The study was completed under the umbrella of the StEP initiative—a partnership of several UN organizations, industry, government and international organizations, NGOs and the science sector—and funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in support of the U.S. government’s National Strategy for Electronics Stewardship.
According to the report’s authors, the study “presents the results of an effort to calculate quantities of used electronics (as whole units) generated and collected in the United States and exported from the United States.” The authors calculated generation and collection quantities using “a sales obsolescence method that included uncertainty,” while export quantities were calculated based on trade data. “The advantage of the trade data approach is that trade data for all types of electronic products is widely available (including extensive historical data), updated relatively frequently and provides insight into the destinations of products,” the report notes.
According to the study, about 258.2 million units of used electronics were generated in the United States in 2010, of which 171.4 million units were collected. Export flows were estimated at 14.4 million units, or 8.5 percent of the collected estimate on average, the study notes. By weight, 1.6 million tons of used electronics were generated domestically in 2010, with 0.9 million tons collected for recycling. Of the collected electronics, 26,500 tons were exported, which is 3.1 percent of the electronics collected by weight.
The authors add, “While the total quantity of used electronics exports reported here is most likely an underestimate due to the likelihood that some shipments of whole units are not reported using the proper trade codes, the proportions of exports to world regions is likely accurate.”
According to the study, mobile phones dominate generation, collection and export on a unit basis, while television sets and monitors dominate on a weight basis.
The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries Inc. (ISRI), Washington, D.C., says it has welcomed the new report. According to ISRI, “This study, along with similar reports by the U.S. International Trade Commission and the International Data Corp., provide irrefutable evidence that used electronics products are being reused and recycled in America, not ‘dumped’ into developing countries as proponents of export controls have argued for years.”
Robin Wiener, president of ISRI, says, “This latest study adds to the growing body of evidence that the U.S. electronics recycling industry is flourishing, recycling used electronics right here in America.”
The steering committee for the Coalition for American Electronics Recycling (CAER), which says it represents “U.S. companies that believe electronics recycling should be performed securely and sustainably, for the benefit of the American economy,” sent Recycling Today a statement in response to the release of the MIT/NCER study and ISRI’s comments that reads: “The new MIT/NCER study provides valuable insights into the dramatic growth of electronic waste around the world. However on the issue of exports, the study does not provide a sound platform for policymakers. As the authors note: ‘gaps in available data mean that the export quantities represent a lower bound. This is due to a lack of explicit data on used whole unit trade flows, which necessitates several key assumptions in the methodology. Therefore, it is important that other approaches be used to estimate export flows and compared with the quantities calculated in this report. This would provide insight into the magnitude of the error derived from the data gaps.”
Sims Metal Management opens New York City MRF
New York City officials held a news conference Dec. 12, 2013, to officially open Sims Metal Management’s (SMM’s) Sunset Park material recovery facility (MRF) in Brooklyn, N.Y. Deputy Mayor for Operations Cas Holloway, who left office at the end of December, and other local officials joined executives from SMM and its Sims Municipal Recycling division at the event.
According SMM, headquartered in New York City, the Sunset Park MRF will serve as the principal processing facility for all of the city’s curbside residential metal, glass and plastic recyclables as part of a long-term contract between Sims Municipal Recycling and the New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY). The facility has the capacity to process 1,000 tons of material per day.
New York City and Sims have invested $110 million in the facility. The New York City Economic Development Corp. (EDC) and the city’s Department of Small Business Services (SBS) also were instrumental in the development of the project, which SMM says is the largest facility of its kind in the nation.
In prepared remarks, Marty Markowitz, Brooklyn Borough president at the time, said, “Here in Brooklyn, when we ‘green it’, we ‘mean it’! Forgive us for ‘trash-talking’, but we can’t help but boast about the new Sims Municipal Recycling facility, a sustainably built, job-creating hub for our city’s recycling efforts on Brooklyn’s vibrant waterfront. Sunset Park’s latest addition is a boon to our local environment, reducing truck traffic and emissions while encouraging our next generation to learn about the recycling process in a firsthand way. Thank you to Mayor Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor Holloway, (DSNY) Commissioner Doherty, Sims Metal Management and all others who made this day a reality.”
Ron Gonen, DSNY Deputy Commissioner for Recycling and Sustainability, said, “This is a perfect example of a public-private partnership that will serve to protect our environment while also creating local jobs and generate revenue for the city.”
The recycling facility will transport most recyclables via barge, which is expected to lessen the city’s environmental footprint. The MRF also will use newly renovated freight rail on the Brooklyn waterfront for exporting processed recyclables. The move to rail and barge is expected to reduce DSNY vehicle traffic on city roadways by roughly 240,000 miles annually, the city estimates.
“Sims is very proud of the economic and environmental sustainability of the facility, and we anticipate it will dramatically enhance the recycling efforts of New York City,” said Bob Kelman, president of Sims North America Metals business unit. “We see ourselves as leaders in the global recycling industry, and there is no better place to set a new standard than in New York City.”
Tom Outerbridge, general manager of Sims Municipal Recycling, said, “The Sunset Park facility has been nearly 10 years in the making. We think the result is something everyone can be proud of. We look forward to being a vibrant part of this community and to serving the entire city as it continues to build a world-class recycling program.”
The MRF, designed by Selldorf Architects, was built to optimize environmental performance, SMM says. The buildings are made from 99-percent-recycled American-made steel and were elevated by 4 feet using a blend of recycled glass and crushed stone from Second Avenue tunneling operations. As a result, the buildings and equipment were undamaged by Hurricane Sandy. Other sustainable strategies include the creation of a new marine habitat, on-site stormwater management, one of the city’s largest solar power installations (600 kilowatts) and a wind turbine (100 kilwatts) planned for 2014.
The facility won the NYC Excellence in Design Award in 2010.
PLASTICS / REGULATIONS
New York City Council passes amended polystyrene foam ban
The bill banning the use of polystyrene foam in the foodservice industry, which was sponsored by New York City Council Member Lewis A. Fidler, who left office at the end of 2013, and supported by then-Mayor Bloomberg’s office, was amended to include a recycling test.
The amended bill was approved unanimously Dec. 19, 2013, according to a report in the New York Times.
As amended, the bill calls for a foam recycling test. A successful test will ultimately allow New Yorkers to recycle used foam cups and take-out containers in their residential recycling bins.
According to Dart Container, Mason, Mich., an opponent of the original bill, the amendment represents a step in the right direction by city officials.
“Dart has until Jan. 1, 2015, to prove to the sanitation commissioner that ‘dirty foam’ can be collected in the city, recycled and sold in an economically viable way. If Dart fails, the ban will go into effect on July 1, 2015,” the New York Times reports.
In response to the amended bill, Michael Westerfield, Dart Container director of recycling, says in a written statement, “Throughout this process we have negotiated with the city in good faith, and we thank Speaker Quinn and the members of the city’s Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste Management for making sensible changes to the proposed bill.
“While it is clear that this legislation singles out and unfairly maligns a quality, cost-effective and safe line of products, we are suspending further opposition as we believe it is in the best interests of all parties that we turn our attention to successfully passing the recycling test,” Westerfield continues. “We look forward to working with the commissioner of sanitation and other key stakeholders to prove that foam recycling is possible and practical for NYC as we have shown in many cities across the United States.
He adds, “We stand by the significant offer that we have guaranteed to the city that will reduce the amount of material going to landfills and their related costs as well as provide $4 million in additional revenue to the city’s coffers.”
Novelis to invest $200 million in additional capacity
The aluminum firm Novelis, with U.S. headquarters in Atlanta, has announced plans to invest an additional $205 million to expand its global manufacturing operations. The investment will include building new finishing lines at Novelis plants in Oswego, N.Y., and Nachterstedt, Germany, which are dedicated to producing aluminum automotive sheet.
The two new lines each will have a capacity of 120,000 metric tons per year, according to the company.
Novelis says its latest expansions are in response to the escalating global demand from automakers for aluminum sheet, which the company expects to grow by more than 30 percent annually through the end of the decade. When the new lines are commissioned in late 2015, Novelis says its global automotive sheet capacity will reach 900,000 tons annually, a three-fold increase from 2012.
“With the addition of these two new lines, we have invested nearly $550 million to expand Novelis’ global automotive capacity in the last two years alone,” says Phil Martens, Novelis president and CEO.
The company also says it has a new plant under construction in Changzhou, China, that is expected to begin production in mid-2014. Novelis also recently certified automotive production at its Gottingen, Germany, plant that complements its automotive facilities in Kingston, Ontario; Sierre, Switzerland; and Nachterstedt.
Novelis will invest $120 million to install a third aluminum automotive sheet finishing line at its Oswego plant and expand its recycling operations for automotive scrap. This new investment will increase its North American automotive sheet capacity to more than 400,000 metric tons in just two years, Novelis says.
The company also will invest $85 million to install an aluminum automotive sheet finishing line at its Nachterstedt facility. This expansion will increase the company’s aluminum automotive sheet capacity in Europe to almost 350,000 metric tons, according to Novelis.
Private equity firm acquires GreenFiber
Louisiana-Pacific Corp. (LP), a Nashville, Tenn.-based building materials manufacturer, and Rutland, Vt.-based Casella Waste, which provides recycling and solid waste services primarily in the Northeast U.S., have announced plans to sell their ownership stakes in US GreenFiber LLC to Tenex Capital Management for $18 million.
GreenFiber, with seven locations throughout the U.S., produces insulation products using a minimum of 85 percent recovered fiber.
LP and Casella each own a 50 percent stake in US GreenFiber LLC, headquartered in Charlotte, N.C.
“Over the last five years, the GreenFiber management team did an excellent job navigating the deep downturn in the housing market,” John Casella, chairman and CEO of Casella Waste, says. “And, with their recent improved performance, we took the opportunity to exit this noncore investment.”
Michael Green, Tenex Capital Management CEO, says, “In GreenFiber, we have acquired a market leading company in the insulation industry that enjoys a strong reputation for superior quality and a high level of customer service with contractors, builders, retailers and homeowners. We look forward to supporting the company and its management team in executing their growth plan.”
Prophet Equity to acquire Keywell
A U.S. bankruptcy court has approved a sale order for KW Metals LLC, an entity formed and controlled by the Texas-based private equity firm Prophet Equity, to complete the purchase of assets of Illinois-based Keywell LLC.
Keywell is a supplier of recycled stainless steel, high-temperature alloys and titanium metals.
After the acquisition, the company will operate as Keywell Metals LLC and will be headquartered in Chicago, with collection and processing facilities in West Mifflin, Pa.; Falconer, N.Y.; Monroe, N.C.; and Atlanta.
Ross Gatlin, CEO and managing partner of Prophet Equity, says, “Our equity fund is specifically designed to bring new life to businesses like Keywell. We have a distinctive track record of providing both the capital and know-how needed to not only preserve existing value but also to provide the investment capital necessary to unlocking future value. We have a long history of expanding capacity and dramatically growing strong platforms like Keywell and are excited to work alongside the existing management team.”
Published reports state that competing stainless steel recycling firm Cronimet Corp., Aliquippa, Pa., also bid on Keywell’s assets.
Glass recycling center opens in Oregon
A joint venture formed to boost glass recycling has opened a processing plant in Portland, Ore. Glass to Glass was formed by glass manufacturing firm Owens-Illinois (O-I) and eCullet, which describes itself as “a technology-based glass processing company.”
The recycling facility will supply recycled glass to O-I’s glass plant, also is located in Portland, to be manufactured into new glass bottles and jars.
“O-I is pleased to partner with eCullet on this new facility,” says Pedro Tchmola, manager of O-I’s Portland plant. “Using recycled glass in our manufacturing process is important to O-I’s sustainability efforts. This new facility will help us to reduce our use of virgin raw materials, lowering our overall environmental impact.”
Ryan Modlin, O-I North America vice president of government relations, says much of the recycled glass collected in North America comes from single-stream collection programs. O-I says this method can result in glass that is too contaminated to be successfully reused in manufacturing.
O-I and eCullet chose Portland as the site for their Glass to Glass plant in part because of the ample supply of quality recycled glass available through the state’s container deposit program, the companies say. The Glass to Glass facility also will process recycled glass from the state of Washington that may otherwise end up in landfills.
Glass to Glass was announced in May 2013 and the plant’s construction began in June.
METALS / AUTOMOTIVE RECYCLING
Metalico acquires Pennsylvania auto recycler
Metalico Inc., Cranford, N.J., has agreed to acquire the assets of Furlow’s North East Auto Inc., an automotive salvage and parts supplier in North East, Pa.
The transaction includes Furlow’s junk car and parts inventory and real estate in northwestern Pennsylvania.
The site will be operated by Metalico’s Goodman Services Inc. subsidiary, which is based in Bradford, Pa.
Tim Furlow, president of Furlow’s North East, will stay with the company.
Metalico says it plans to grow the facility’s salvage car buying capabilities and continue its pick-and-pull auto parts business while taking advantage of additional access to scrap metal to feed its shredder in Buffalo, N.Y.
Pratt opens new MRF
The paper and packaging company Pratt Industries, Conyers, Ga., has officially opened a new material recovery facility (MRF) in Columbus, Ga. The MRF replaces a smaller plant that the city of Columbus previously operated.
Myles Cohen, president of Pratt’s Recycling Division, says Pratt has had a public/private partnership with the city of Columbus for the past several years. The new MRF “simply takes the prior model to a new level, enabling more tonnage, from surrounding areas, to be processed in the state-of-the-art facility,” he says.
The city of Columbus paid for and built the $8.5 million, 54,000-square-foot facility and is supplying the labor for its operation from a nearby state prison.
Pratt supplied the sorting equipment for the MRF, which is the company’s 13th facility nationwide.
“This represents a new chapter in the evolution of the recycling program in the city and the state,” Pratt’s Cohen says. “By raising awareness and educating the residents of Columbus about the benefits of recycling, Pratt and the city have proven that a facility nearly five times the size of the original MRF is not only justified but a sound investment for Pratt and the citizens of this region,” he adds.
According to Pratt, at capacity the MRF will be able to process 200 tons per day of single-stream recyclables, including 150 tons of paper and old corrugated containers, which will be used as furnish for Pratt’s 100-percent-recycled paperboard mill in Conyers.
The new plant will process all types of residential and commercial single-stream material, including all grades of paper, aluminum, steel and plastic. In addition, it can handle recyclables from industrial and retail businesses, the company says.
The new building also includes a 10,000-square-foot Sustainability Center with interactive tools designed to educate adults and school children about the benefits of recycling.
Allied Alloys acquires California recycler
Allied Alloys, a privately held metal recycling and processing company based in Houston, has acquired Nico Alloys of California. Nico Alloys specializes in processing nickel-based scrap metal and has operations in Los Angeles and a corporate office in Northern California. Allied says the acquisition will provide it with a West Coast presence, helping the company to better serve customers in the Far East and Asia.
Allied Alloys is a full-service metal recycling and processing company that has an international brokerage alliance with Titan Metals, based in Houston. Allied operates four facilities as well as a Dallas location and specializes in custom blends for stainless and specialty mills. Key services and facilities offered by Allied include an in-house laboratory, detailed traceability of materials, customized programs and extensive warehouse space for processing and storage, the company reports.
Jeremy Blachman, COO and CFO of Allied Alloys, says the acquisition of Nico Alloys “is a strategic addition to the nickel-based scrap metal processing and blending that we already perform, with the addition of new capabilities that will extend our industry leadership.”
Alter acquires Iowa company
Alter Trading Corp., St. Louis, has purchased the assets of All Metals Recycling of Ottumwa, Iowa. The acquisition of All Metals expands Alter’s presence in Iowa, the company says.
All Metals Recycling began operating as an Alter company immediately after its purchase in early December 2013. The company was previously owned by Greg Goldizen, who will continue to be a supplier to Alter in his role as the owner of a separate business called Goldy’s Auto Salvage in Ottumwa.
“We are pleased to undertake this opportunity to serve Ottumwa and the surrounding community for their scrap metal recycling needs,” says Mike Vail, Alter regional vice president of operations.
“We welcome the All Metals employees to the Alter organization and look forward to becoming an active part of the local business community,” comments Leman Schulz, Alter regional director of operations.
Alter, a privately held, fourth-generation family firm, was founded in 1898. The company operates 52 metal recycling facilities, many of which are ISO 9001 and 14001 certified. Alter has 1,220 employees and a presence in eight states, including five trading offices in the U.S. and one in Hong Kong.
California revises CRV regulations
The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) has revised the California Redemption Value (CRV) regulations to reduce the volume of containers that individuals can redeem daily at recycling centers. The revised regulations, which went into effect Jan. 1, 2014, are designed to combat fraud by individuals and companies who have imported containers from outside California as well as by scavengers who remove containers from curbside programs.
The new per-person, per-day limits are 100 pounds of aluminum or plastic CRV-eligible containers and 1,000 pounds of CRV glass. Previously, the limits were 500 pounds of aluminum or plastic and 2,500 pounds of glass. Aluminum and plastic containers are most commonly found in truckloads brought across California’s borders for illegal redemption.
CalRecycle says it is undertaking a major and multipronged effort to protect the state’s beverage container recycling fund. Much of the emphasis is on preventing fraud.
Two additional program changes are pending. One change would enhance training of recycling center operators; the other supports a new state law requiring importers of out-of-state containers to enter California through the state’s Department of Food and Agriculture inspection stations and to comply with reporting and inspection requirements that include providing personal identification and specifying the containers’ destination in California.
Tennessee recycler to install auto shredder
Harmon Scrap Metal LLC, Cornersville, Tenn., has announced plans to install an American Pulverizer 60x85 auto shredder at its 60-acre scrap yard in Cornersville.
Cam Harmon Jr., who acquired the yard from his father several years ago, says Harmon Scrap Metal hopes to start construction on the 3,400-horsepower auto shredder in early 2014, with commissioning of the shredder by August 2014. Along with the shredder, the company will install a ferrous and nonferrous downstream sorting and recovery system.
In addition to its Tennessee facility, Harmon Scrap Metal currently operates two recycling facilities in northern Alabama, however the company also says it is considering expanding the number of facilities it operates.