EPA Closes Comment Period on Recycling Plastics Recovered from ASR
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has closed comments on its interpretation of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) regulations under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). After what it calls significant research, the EPA is considering supporting the recycling of plastics that are separated from automobile shredder residue (ASR).
On Dec. 12, 2012, the EPA announced a public comment period on its interpretation. The agency’s position is that recycling material that would otherwise become waste can generate a number of environmental and economic benefits while protecting people’s health.
The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries Inc. (ISRI), Washington, D.C., approached the EPA regarding issues concerning the separation, recycling, use and distribution of recycled plastics from shredder residue recovered from metals recycling facilities.
In a Feb. 24, 2011, letter, ISRI requested “written confirmation that separating plastics from ASR aggregate for use and distribution in commerce, using processes that reduce any PCBs that may be present to a level at or below which there is no unreasonable risk, is authorized” under regulations promulgated pursuant to TSCA analysis. This analysis shows that the separation, recycling, distribution in commerce and reuse of plastics from shredder aggregate is consistent with existing authorizations that allow the use and distribution in commerce of products that contain low levels of PCBs, including provisions for “excluded PCB products” and “excluded PCB manufacturing processes,” ISRI states.
In its letter, ISRI also states that resolving regulatory uncertainty could lead to investments and further development of innovative methods to separate plastics from ASR materials that would produce broad environmental benefits and increase global competitiveness. The association estimates that between 1 million and 2 million tons of plastic are generated each year in ASR.
To support its position, ISRI developed a set of voluntary procedures designed to prevent the introduction of PCBs that are regulated for disposal into plastics recovered from shredder residue generated by metal recycling facilities. The “Voluntary Procedures for Recycling Plastics from Shredder Residue” includes the development and implementation of a documented materials management system through documented source control programs aimed at preventing the introduction of PCBs into shredder feedstock that contribute to shredder residue from which plastics will be recovered for recycling and documented output control programs for facilities processing/producing/recycling plastics from shredder residue.
According to ISRI, of the 1 million to 2 million tons of plastic generated annually in ASR, most could be separated and recycled using novel technologies rather than disposed. ISRI further delineates that the most common automotive plastic resin categories are polypropylene (PP), polyethylene (PE), polyurethane (PU) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). ISRI also mentions acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and high-impact polystyrene (HIPS) as other types of automotive plastics found in ASR.
To characterize the potential benefits of recovering and recycling plastics in ASR, ISRI commissioned a report from Nathan Associates Inc., Arlington, Va., which estimates economic benefits and environmental improvements from separating, sorting, processing and recycling rather than disposing of the plastics found in ASR.
Increases in the recycling of plastics from ASR also may offer some benefits beyond that of other forms of plastics recycling, according to the report. For instance, because substantial automotive recycling systems are already in place for the primary purpose of recovering steel, large quantities of ASR already are being simultaneously collected. Such available quantities of ASR may then be further separated and processed as necessary for purposes of recycling. Also, any potential expansion of ASR recycling capabilities could potentially generate excess capacity and/or technological advancements for use in the recycling of nonautomotive products of a similar nature, such as large appliances.
EPA says the Nathan report does not address the extent to which economic activity associated with the recycling of plastics from ASR would displace current economic activity associated with disposal of plastics or the manufacturing of virgin materials, nor does it address the timing of potential investments in new equipment. Additionally, the report relies on assumptions supported by limited data on plastic volumes, recoverability, environmental impacts and market prices, according to the EPA. The agency says it is interested in the public views on factors that may affect the direction, magnitude and timing of benefits, costs and environmental impacts associated with recycling plastics found in ASR rather than disposing of the material.
The interpretation under consideration would allow for the recycling of plastic separated from ASR under the conditions described in “Voluntary Procedures for Recycling Plastics from Shredder Residue,” relying principally on the regulatory provisions for excluded PCB products.
EPA says it believes it reasonable to interpret the regulations as generally allowing the recycling of excluded PCB products. Accordingly, under the interpretation discussed in its notice, to the extent that the shredder feedstock consists of these kinds of materials, the plastics separated from the resulting residue could be recycled into new products, provided the PCB concentration in any resulting product is below 50 parts per million.
More information on the EPA’s decision can be found in the Federal Register at www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-12-12/html/2012-29904.htm.
WM Recycle America Acquires Greenstar
WM Recycle America LLC, a subsidiary of Houston-based Waste Management Inc., has acquired Greenstar LLC from Ireland-based NTR plc. According to Waste Management, the deal will provide its customers with greater access to recycling solutions by adding the operations of one of the nation’s largest private recyclers to the company’s extensive recycling network.
Last year, Greenstar and its subsidiaries managed about 1.5 million tons of recyclables for more than 12,000 customers at 12 material recovery facilities (MRFs), including seven single-stream plants, and through its brokerage business. With this acquisition, Waste Management will have the capacity to manage about 15 million tons of recyclables per year, the company says.
“Acquiring Greenstar advances our growth and transformation strategy to extract more value from the material that we manage,” says William Caesar, president of WM Recycle America. “We have a stated goal of managing 20 million tons of recyclable material by 2020. With these assets, we have the capacity to achieve almost three-quarters of that goal and extend our ability to provide the recycling services that customers want.”
He continues, “The Greenstar material recovery facilities complement our existing recycling assets, and their managed services business will expand our brokerage and national account service offerings. We are excited about adding Greenstar’s team to ours and continuing to provide exceptional service to our customers as we execute our transformation strategy.”
Greenstar’s facilities are located in the eastern United States. The company also has a large presence in Texas, with operations in Dallas, Houston, Fort Worth and Dallas.
BIR Expresses Concern over Fraudulent Deals
The Bureau of International Recycling (BIR), based in Brussels, is warning scrap metal recyclers about a scam in which scrap metal recyclers are being offered nonexistent cargoes of scrap metal.
According to the BIR, throughout January reports have circulated that cargoes of scrap metal have been offered to companies at reduced prices. Further, the BIR notes, these deals were accompanied by documents confirming the quality of the goods being offered for sale.
However, after verification through the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) International Maritime Bureau (IMB), BIR says it became apparent that the documents were not authentic. In several cases, the same documents had been presented on multiple occasions with different company names. This suggests that either the same individuals are behind these offers or that the documents are available in the public domain and ready to be manipulated by fraudulent individuals.
According to the IMB, an analysis of the offers revealed that they were often made in the name of real traders, whose identities were cloned for fraudulent purposes.
The BIR warns that one strategy being used appears to be the creation of a new website with a domain name similar to that of the genuine company, featuring contact details but with different telephone numbers. In the meantime the IMB found out that at least one of these numbers was used for multiple companies and that email communications allegedly sent from a U.K.-based company were actually generated in Nigeria.
IMB also says that if a potential buyer would be sufficiently tempted by these offers and agree to take a sample cargo, he or she would be provided with a set of shipping documents and a link to an online cargo tracking site to monitor the progress of these cargoes, which allegedly were transported by a well-known carrier.
However, once the funds are handed over and the goods are not received, there is little the recycler can do to recover the loss, according to the BIR. Law enforcement will not get involved unless there is proof that a crime has taken place in their jurisdiction. Furthermore, many of the cases involve funds of less than $100,000, making them a low priority for police.
The BIR has an agreement with IMB to share information on fraud and theft in the recycling industry. BIR urges its member companies that suspect any suspicious documents or fraudulent activity to report this information to IMB so that the information can be disseminated to manage risk. The IMB can be contacted through www.icc-ccs.org, by email at email@example.com, by phone at 011-44 -0-20-7423-6960 or by fax at 011-44-0-20-7160-5249.
Big River Steel Proposes Arkansas Mill
Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe has announced that Big River Steel LLC plans to build a $1 billion steel mill in Arkansas’ Mississippi County. The project is contingent on approval by the Arkansas legislature authorizing the state to issue $125 million in general obligation bonds under the authority of Amendment 82 and all necessary regulatory approvals.
Big River Steel is backed by John Correnti, a long-time steel company executive, and a group of investors.
This is the first time Amendment 82 has been triggered since its adoption during the November 2004 general election, according to the Governor’s Office. It allows the state legislature to approve up to 5 percent of the state’s general revenue budget to be used for bonding of economic development projects.
When operational, Big River Steel LLC will produce steel for the automotive, oil and gas and electrical energy industries. Construction of the mill will take approximately 20 months from ground breaking, which is expected later this year.
Correnti says, “Arkansas’s geographic location in the heart of the markets we intend to serve, the state’s well-developed transportation infrastructure as well as the availability of reliable electrical power and the ‘can do’ attitude of the government officials in Little Rock, Mississippi County and Osceola make Arkansas a great place for Big River Steel to make its investment.”
The $125 million generated by the sale of the bonds will be divided as follows:
- $50 million for site preparation;
- $50 million in the form of a loan to Big River Steel;
- $20 million for costs associated with subsurface stabilization; and
- $5 million in bond issuance cost.
Once Beebe refers the project to the speaker of the house and president pro tempore of the senate, the legislature will have 20 working days to conduct an independent economic impact study. The legislation will then work its way through the committee process, after which a vote of both houses of the legislature will be taken.
Eastman Chemical Forms Group to Study Plastic Wraps
Eastman Chemical Co., Kingsport, Tenn., has organized a consortium to identify solutions to issues surrounding PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles and full-wrap labels in the recycling stream. The group includes members from more than 30 companies across the value chain and is charged with researching the issues to better understand the problems and to develop near-term and long-term solutions to benefit all involved parties.
According to Eastman Chemical, about 80 percent of full-wrap labels in North America are found on PET containers. As these labels grow in popularity, many PET bottles also have been down-gauged. The combination of these two elements has exacerbated the challenge recyclers face in processing these containers.
“There’s been a lot of discussion in the marketplace about the recycling of containers with full-wrap labels, and we thought it was time a group formed to collaboratively discuss the challenges and work toward holistic, win-win solutions for everyone, including those companies that process and recycle containers,” says Holli Whitt, market development manager, sustainability for specialty plastics, Eastman Chemical Co. “Full-wrap labels are becoming more popular with brand owners because they offer increased shelf appeal that can impact consumer purchasing decisions and brand loyalty. We want to find solutions that will allow brand owners to continue using these labels to secure brand recognition, shelf appeal and market share while mitigating the challenges recyclers are experiencing.”
Consortium members say a combination of solutions likely will be needed to address the issues related to full-wrap labels on PET bottles. Currently, those solutions include floatable labels, label perforation to aid in removing labels at reclaimers’ facilities, delabeling equipment availability at reclaimers’ facilities and consumers removing the label from the end product prior to reclamation.
Rumpke to Rebuild MRF
The waste and recycling company Rumpke, headquartered in Cincinnati, is in the process of building an 85,000-square-foot recycling facility in St. Bernard, Ohio. The facility, to cost approximately $32 million, will replace Rumpke Recycling’s material recovery facility (MRF) that was lost to a fire in April 2012.
According to Rumpke, when complete, the MRF will have one of the largest and most technologically advanced residential recycling systems in the United States. The plant will be capable of sorting up to 55 tons of material every hour, more than doubling the capabilities of Rumpke’s previous system. Rumpke says the facility, slated to be complete by this fall, will be able to process nearly 15,000 tons of recyclables per month when fully operational.
Jeff Rumpke, vice president of the company, says, “Rumpke is committed to recycling. We are making our largest investment to date with this recycling center, ensuring the region has access to the best available recycling technology.”
The new MRF will use optical sorting technology to identify and separate recyclables, including glass bottles and jars, paper, old corrugated containers, aluminum and steel cans and plastic bottles, by type. Cartons or aseptic containers, such as juice boxes, also will be accepted and processed through a partnership between Rumpke and the U.S. Carton Council.
When the MRF is operational, Rumpke says it will look to expand its commercial glass recycling opportunities for generators such as bars and restaurants.
“As a leader in recycling, we never rest, we are always out there searching, both domestically and internationally, to identify new manufacturers that are willing to take and use additional types of materials,” Steve Sargent, director of Rumpke Recycling, says.
“This operation is being built with future expansion in mind,” he adds. “We are committed to growing the recycling effort.”
DJJ to Supply Scrap to JW Aluminum’s South Carolina Plant
The David J. Joseph Co. (DJJ), headquartered in Cincinnati, and JW Aluminum have announced that as of Jan. 21, 2013, JW Aluminum will use DJJ as the primary scrap buying agent for its Mt. Holly, S.C., aluminum manufacturing facility. JW Aluminum will continue to source scrap directly from the marketplace for its other three manufacturing facilities in St. Louis; Russellville, Ark.; and Williamsport, Pa.
Terry Rath, DJJ Metals Group vice president, says, “This agency agreement brings a variety of benefits to JW Aluminum. In addition to DJJ’s financial strength and global sourcing of quality raw materials, JW Aluminum is assured quality supply at competitive costs, with administrative efficiencies and logistics expertise,” he adds.
Karl Hebert, director of procurement for JW Aluminum, says that while DJJ will be supplying the facility with a significant amount of aluminum scrap, it will not be the exclusive supplier of the material. “We take in all forms of aluminum scrap, from high purity scrap to really challenging aluminum,” Hebert says.
JW Aluminum manufactures specialty flat-rolled aluminum products used by the heating and cooling industry, light gauge converter foil for the flexible packaging industry, honeycomb foil for the aerospace industry, bare and painted sheet products for window coverings and the building and construction markets and other foil and sheet products.
Sims Reports Possible Inventory Fraud at UK Sites
Sims Metal Management Ltd. has identified that the carrying value of inventory at its U.K. business has been overstated. According to a Sims statement, the inventory in question is predominately associated with Sims Recycling Solutions locations in Long Marston and Newport in the United Kingdom.
The company says it believes the inventory adjustment to be around $60 million and relates to changes in the assessment of the net realizable value of certain stock and to book-to-physical adjustments. The company’s preliminary findings indicate the situation has arisen because of control failures and potential fraudulent conduct by local and regional plant management responsible for technology and downstream processing systems in the U.K.
A special committee of Sims’ board has been formed to take responsibility for the investigation. Chairman Geoff Brunsdon will head the committee, which also includes Gerald Morris, Jim Thompson, Heather Ridout and John DiLacqua.
The committee will determine where the breakdowns in the company’s control environment occurred and what initiatives must be taken to improve those controls and will oversee the implementation of the recommendations it makes. The committee also will determine what action will be taken in relation to any employees or third parties determined to be responsible.
Dynamic Recycling Ranks with “Inc.” Magazine
La Crosse, Wis.-based Dynamic Recycling, a company that provides electronics recycling, IT asset management and electronic scrap purchasing services, was recognized by “Inc.” magazine as the fastest growing company in Wisconsin, the No. 2 fastest growing environmental services company nationwide and the 79th fastest-growing company nationwide in the 2012 “Inc.” 5000.
Dynamic Recycling started its end-of-life electronics recycling operation in January 2007, its remarketing division in September 2009 and its scrap purchasing division in June 2010. The company says it is preparing for and expecting more rapid growth.
Miles Harter, CEO and director of business development at Dynamic Recycling, says, “We have a wonderful team that cares deeply about our clients. Because of this, we are always looking for new ways to keep electronics in the United States while creating added value for all of our clients.”
Dynamic Recycling currently holds R2 (Responsible Recycling Practices) and ISO-14001 certifications and is a Microsoft Registered Refurbisher. Dynamic Recycling also is in the process of becoming certified to National Association for Information Destruction (NAID) standards for data destruction and sanitization of electronic media.
The company is a member of AROW (Associated Recyclers of Wisconsin), MRC (Michigan Recycling Coalition), NCER (National Center for Electronics Recycling), the Recycling Association of Minnesota and the Illinois Recycling Association.
According to Dynamic Recycling, by having electronics recycling, IT asset management and electronic scrap purchasing divisions in house, it is able to provide accountability, competitive pricing and a better overall financial return for its customers. “At Dynamic, we want fair pricing for our clients without cutting corners,” Harter says. “By doing so much in house, we are able to accomplish this.”
The company says it plans to open a recycling center in the Southeast United States this summer and is starting a cell phone recycling division and offering more nationwide solutions for clients.
Plastics Recycling in Canada Increases
According to a report released by the Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA), Toronto, the recycling of postconsumer plastic packaging and products increased by 24 percent in 2011 from recycling levels in 2010.
According to the report, conducted by Sonoma, Calif.-based Moore Recycling Associates Inc., the increase is the result of more material being collected for recycling as well as more companies providing recycling statistics. In total, the report notes that more than 295,000 tons of postconsumer plastic was collected for recycling in Canada in 2011.
“This everyday packaging serves an essential purpose by preserving product integrity,” says Cathy Cirko, vice president of CPIA. She says the recycled packaging is turned into fleece jackets, new plastic bottles, pipes, pallets, crates, decking, picture frames and lawn and garden products.
Compared with 2010, the recycled plastic quantities reported for 2011 by Moore Recycling Associates Inc. represent an increase of 19 percent for bottles, a 70 percent increase for nonbottle rigid plastics and a 1 percent increase for plastic bags and film.
For 2011, the survey asked for specific information on the recycling of polystyrene foam, derived predominantly from cushion packaging for durable products and some foam food packaging. The expanded use of densification equipment to compress the foam has now enabled efficient transport to meet a growing recycled foam market demand in Canada, the United States and overseas, making it worthwhile to track recycling progress.
The foam packaging is recycled into fire protection products, decorative frames and crown molding.
“We are pleased that two-thirds of Canadian-sourced recycled plastic was recycled in Canada,” says Carol Hochu, president and CEO of the CPIA. “Our recycling industry remains strong and capable of diverting more plastics from Canadian landfills.”
The nonbottle rigid plastic stream saw a substantial increase in 2011 in part because more municipalities expanded collection to all plastic containers, Cirko says.
More information on the report can be found at www.plastics.ca/recycling.
Wausau Paper Hones in on Tissue
Wausau Paper, Mosinee, Wis., has announced that it will focus on growing its tissue business.
Wausau has begun the startup phase of a $220 million tissue capacity investment at its Harrodsburg, Ky., paper mill.
“Our tissue segment has demonstrated strong profitability and exceptional growth over the last decade,” Wausau President and CEO Hank Newell says. “We believe our shareholders’ interests will be best served through a singular focus on successfully marketing the capacity and capability of our new tissue machine and sustaining the historically strong growth and profit performance of our tissue business.”
CRT Recycling Receives Project Approval
CRT Recycling Inc., located in Brockton, Mass., has received approval from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for “Beneficial Use Determination Activity,” which the company says is tantamount to approval for a project that will recycle nonleaded TV cathode ray tube (CRT) panels to a new product.
According CRT Recycling, the nonleaded CRT panels will be screened multiple times to assure the absence of lead, sorted, crushed, separated by particle size and ultimately used as a secondary material substitute for sand or stone aggregate in cement.
“We’ve been working on this project for more than two years and are pleased that it has been thoroughly vetted and approved,” says President and CEO Peter Kopcych. “With this phase completed, we’re already preparing for the manufacturing process to begin.”
The company says replacing sand or stone aggregate with recycled CRT panels reduces the need to use stabilizing additives that limit concrete expansion. The amount of cement needed for a project also can be reduced by including as much as 20 percent of the crushed secondary material into the mixture.
Indiana City Awards Tax Abatement Package to Plastics Recycler
The city of Richmond, Ind., has granted the plastics recycling company Perpetual Recycling Solutions an 85 percent tax abatement for 10 years for a new facility it opened there. The company says it is planning a total investment of $4.65 million on the real estate and more than $30 million in total on the facility, including equipment.
As part of its incentive/abatement program, Perpetual Recycling says it will hire between 70 and 75 people by the end of the first quarter of 2013. The company says it expects to run three shifts per day.
According to a local report, the initial ordinance, submitted two years ago, asked for a 10-year standard, phased-in abatement that would have started with zero property tax on real estate for the first year and would have added 10 percent tax each year through 10.
SRS Opens Fourth Electronics Recycling Facility in Canada
Sims Recycling Solutions (SRS), with Americas headquarters based in Chicago, says it has officially opened a new electronics recycling facility in Laval, Quebec. The 55,000-square-foot plant is SRS’ fourth electronics recycling plant in Canada. The company also operates two electronics recycling plants in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and one in British Columbia.
“Quebec, home to 24 percent of the Canadian population, is the latest province to implement WEEE (waste electrical and electronic equipment) recycling regulations,” says Cindy Coutts, president of SRS, Canada. “If Quebec’s volumes reflect those of other provinces driven by similar regulations, we can expect at least 25,000 metric tons of WEEE to be recycled in Quebec over the next year.”
Coutts adds, “Sims Recycling Solutions is committed to developing the most advanced recycling technology and in providing more green jobs in Canada and the world.”
The Quebec WEEE stewardship regulations, Regulation Respecting the Recovery and Reclamation of Products by Enterprises, took effect July 14, 2012.
SRS owns and operates a total of 53 electronics recycling sites globally, including 16 sites in the United States. The U.S. facilities are in Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.
Gemini Signs Agreement with Ohio Waste Authority
Team Gemini, a project design and development company based in Orlando, Fla., has entered into an agreement with the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO) to build a landfill receiving facility and material recovery facility (MRF) on SWACO property in Grove City, Ohio.
The two sides say the agreement will allow an integrated sustainable solution that reduces SWACO’s use of landfills and will eventually eliminate their use by replacing them with a landfill receiving facility (LRF) that works in partnership with a waste stream recovery and recycling facility.
SWACO will own and operate the LRF, while Team Gemini will own and operate the Center for Resource Recovery and Recycling (COR3).
When the project is completed, all municipal solid waste (MSW) will be delivered to the LRF before being directed to either COR3 or to the landfill.
Initially, the MRF will be able to process up to 2,000 tons of material per day, Team Gemini says.
After the recyclables have been recovered, remaining organic waste will be preprocessed for use in anaerobic digesters and other nearby energy generation technologies, Team Gemini says.
In addition to the LRF and COR3 projects, Team Gemini has signed a lease with SWACO to develop a 343-acre tract of land to create an industrial and research park that will serve as a sustainable business cluster powered by the waste stream located within a community reinvestment area.
Team Gemini says it plans to become the anchor tenant in the industrial park, which will be named Gemini Synergy Center, and will build process facilities for recycled products and manufacturing to be powered by the MSW stream, including a biogas/biomass plant, a facility for converting compost into fertilizers and hybrid soils and the conversion of plastics into oil.
Ronald Mills, SWACO executive director, says the collaboration marks a milestone for sustainability. “This project shows how to take waste handling from a cost center to a revenue-generating center,” he says. “What we are doing here in Ohio will be seen as a game changer nationally.”
Team Gemini’s Doug Haughn adds, “Though we are starting with 25 percent recycling, we have the goal to one day reach close to 100 percent recycling and eventually mining the landfill for resources while increasing the revenue of SWACO in the process.”
Hawaii Joins Dell’s Reconnect Program
Dell Inc. and Goodwill Industries have extended their Dell Reconnect computer recycling program to seven Goodwill Industries of Hawaii locations on Oahu. The two organizations say they expect the new drop-off locations to contribute 500,000 pounds of obsolete electronics to Dell’s Reconnect program.
Through its partnership with Goodwill, Dell and its Reconnect program provide free collection of obsolete electronics at more than 2,500 Goodwill locations. The program reaches more than 64 million households in the United States and Canada.
“Dell is committed to putting technology and expertise to work where it can do the most good for people and the planet,” says Mike Watson, Dell director of compliance and takeback.
Proceeds from the donations are returned to Goodwill Industries. All equipment is recycled according to what Dell calls strict policies.
Shanghai to Host IE Expo in May
IE Expo will take place from May 13 to 15, 2013, at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre in China.
The event bills itself as Asia’s leading trade show for water, sewage, refuse, recycling, air pollution control and energy conservation.
IE Expo 2012 attracted 753 exhibitors from 25 countries and more than 24,000 visitors from 53 countries; the show occupied around 430,556 square feet of exhibition space, show organizers Messe München International say. Of the exhibitors, 67 percent were from China.
With China’s growing prosperity, awareness of environmental issues are on the rise. In the areas of emissions reduction, waste management, securing water supplies or waste-water treatment, the challenges facing China are enormous. Some $378 trillion in state funding has been earmarked for environmental protection between 2011 and 2015.
More information on IE Expo, including how to register, is available at www.ie-expo.com/en.
Sparrows Point, Md., Steel Mill to be Dismantled
The remaining assets of the former RG Steel Mill in Sparrows Point, Md., have been sold to Nucor Corp., Charlotte, N.C. The company reportedly plans to dismantle the equipment at Sparrows Point for use at its other steel mills.
The sale ends more than 100 years of steelmaking at the location, which at its peak in the 1950s as a Bethlehem Steel mill employed some 30,000 people.
According to an article in the “Baltimore Sun,” “Hilco Trading, one of the two companies that bought Sparrows Point for $72.5 million in an August  bankruptcy auction, sold the plant’s most valuable steelmaking asset to Nucor, a Charlotte, N.C.-based steelmaker, reportedly for spare parts.”
Following the announced decision to raze the Sparrows Point facility, Kevin Kamenetz, Baltimore County executive, said, “Today we face the difficult reality that more than a century of steelmaking as we know it has come to an end in Baltimore County. We all have fought hard to prevent this day. The entire community feels the emotional and financial impact, whether you are a former RG Steel or Bethlehem Steel worker, a retiree living in Turner Station or a business owner in Dundalk.”
Private Equity Firm Invests in Battery Recycler
New York City-based private equity firm BNY Mellon-Alcentra Mezzanine Partners, a division of Alcentra and part of BNY Mellon Investment Management, has recently invested $10 million to support Alston Capital Partners’ purchase of Battery Solutions Inc., a Howell, Mich., battery recycling services provider.
Battery Solutions designs and operates recycling programs and collection systems and provides for logistics, disassembly, chemistry identification, sorting, separation, processing, regulatory compliance and documentation for spent batteries. Battery Solutions has developed flexible battery recycling solutions to handle all battery chemistries, BNY Mellon-Alcentra says.
Justin Kaplan of Alcentra says, “We believe Battery Solutions is a high-growth company. We look forward to working with Alston Capital and the company’s management team to help Battery Solutions better serve its customers and identify growth opportunities.”
Chicago Recycling Firms Merge
Lakeshore Waste Services, Morton Grove, Ill., and Recycling Systems Inc. (RSI), Chicago, have merged to form Lakeshore Recycling Systems LLC (LRS) .
The private equity firm Tensile Capital Management, based in San Francisco, provided the financing for the merger. Additionally, Comerica Bank provided the debt financing for the deal. Livingstone Partners acted as the financial advisor to the two companies.
LRS, with primary operations in the Chicago area, describes itself as a diversified waste services company providing commercial, residential, recycling and roll-off collection services to commercial and municipal customers. According to Livingstone, LRS owns and operates the largest material recovery facility (MRF) in Illinois, processing nearly 1 million tons of material per year.
“We are confident that our people and our assets, coupled with the expertise and capital from our new partners, will allow us to rapidly expand from our combined position as a top-three independent in Chicagoland,” says Josh Connell, CEO of Lakeshore.
“RSI is pleased to be joining forces with Lakeshore,” says Jerry Golf, RSI president.
“The merger of Lakeshore and RSI creates a formidable player in the Chicago waste market,” says Doug Dossey, Tensile managing partner. “The company’s recent success in the municipal markets, including a steadily growing relationship with the city of Chicago, bodes well for its long-term growth trajectory and creates an ongoing need for the type of flexible capital that Tensile can provide.”
Steve Miles, a partner with Livingstone, adds, “We are thrilled to have helped forge the relationship between Lakeshore and RSI and secure growth capital to accelerate LRS’ platform expansion. We believe the creation of LRS is illustrative of the types of transactions smaller independents in the waste management industry must pursue in the face of an increasingly consolidated and capital-intensive marketplace.”
Liberty Tire Recycling Announces Deal with Hertz
Liberty Tire Recycling, Pittsburgh, has signed an agreement with the car rental firm Hertz Corp., headquartered in Park Ridge, N.J., to recover and recycle scrap tires from all of the rental agency’s locations in the United States. According to Liberty, the partnership is the first agreement of its kind in the rental car industry. The deal is expected to result in the collection and recycling of more than 160,000 tires per year, the company says.
“At Liberty Tire Recycling, we are always looking at ways to develop productive partnerships that lead to the recovery and recycling of more scrap tires across North America,” says Jeffrey Kendall, CEO of Liberty Tire Recycling. “Hertz is a leader in its industry, and with this agreement they have demonstrated definitively that they are committed to sustainable practices.
“With our continental footprint, we are the only company that can offer the services they are seeking, so we are delighted to partner with them,” Kendall adds.
“Hertz leads in sustainability throughout our operations, products and services,” Hertz Chairman and CEO Mark Frissora says. He adds that Hertz was taking “the next step forward” and launching “the first zero landfill waste tire program in the industry. Through our partnership with Liberty Tire Recycling, we are implementing the first national tire recycling program and again set the pace for our sector.”
The tires collected from Hertz will be recycled at one of 40 locations where they will be processed into crumb rubber.
WM Opens MRFS in Winston-Salem, NC, and Topeka, Kan.
Houston-based Waste Management Inc. (WM) used America Recycles Day to celebrate the grand opening of its new single-stream material recovery facility (MRF) in Winston-Salem, N.C. WM employees were joined by local elected officials from Winston-Salem and neighboring communities for the unveiling of the new plant.
“We have two reasons to celebrate today,” said Tracey Shrader, area vice president for WM’s south Atlantic area. “We are offering residents a very convenient opportunity to engage in making their community sustainable, and we are doing it on a day that is nationally recognized for all Americans to pledge to recycle more.”
The 85,000-square-foot facility in Winston-Salem employs advanced recycling technology to provide better separation of materials, increase capacity and improve local recycling participation, WM says.
Richard Huckabee, WM director of recycling for the South Atlantic area, says the technology can result in an average recovery of up to 30 percent more recyclable materials.
“Single-stream processing allows residents an economically sustainable recycling option that will not only increase recycling rates but also conserves natural resources and preserves valuable landfill space,” he says.
In related news, WM has dedicated its newest MRF in Topeka, Kan., at the company’s Rolling Meadows Recycling and Disposal facility.
Kent Harrell, WM director of collection operations, during the grand opening ceremony, said, “The Rolling Meadows MRF is an important step in our efforts to expand recycling options for customers in Topeka, Shawnee County (Kansas) and surrounding areas.”
Aaron Dunkel, deputy secretary for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, says, “The Rolling Meadows material recovery facility will yield major environmental and economic benefits to northeast Kansas by providing an efficient system for recycling and marketing a significant part of our household and commercial waste streams.”
Ted Ensley, a Shawnee County Commissioner, adds, “The material recovery facility allows Shawnee County to grow as a regional center and make it a greener place to live and work.”
In 2011, WM says it extracted almost 12.9 million tons of recyclables from the waste stream.
New York DA Charges 17 with Stealing Copper Scrap from Railroad
Nassau County (New York) District Attorney Kathleen Rice has announced that a grand jury indictment has charged 17 people with stealing more than $250,000 worth of copper wire belonging to the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) and selling it to a scrap yard. Fifteen of the 17 people indicted are railroad employees.
Rice says that between Jan. 1, 2010, and Jan. 10, 2013, 17 people allegedly conspired to steal copper wire from the LIRR, 15 of which were employees of the railroad.
According to the district attorney, an investigation by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) inspector general revealed that the defendants would steal new and used copper wire stored in railroad yards, often while on duty, and use LIRR trucks to transport the wire to their own personal vehicles. From there, they are said to have sold the stolen wire to Two Brother’s Scrap Metal, a Farmingdale, N.Y.-based scrap metal recycler, for nearly $254,000. The defendants used the drivers’ license of a nonemployee for the majority of sales to the scrap yard and divided proceeds among others on their work gang, according to the district attorney.
Investigators from the MTA Inspector General’s Office, the MTA Police Department, Nassau County Police Department Electronics Squad and the District Attorney’s office collaborated to catch the thieves in the act.
MTA Inspector Barry Kluger says, “The brazen actions of these defendants and the nature and magnitude of the thefts, as alleged in the indictment, are certainly alarming. Now that this phase of the investigation is complete, my office has begun to examine the apparent lack of effective supervision of these employees, as well as the evident vulnerabilities in LIRR’s inventory controls. How could these thefts have happened, and how could it have continued over such a long period of time, are questions that need to be answered. I wish to thank Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice and her staff, for joining us in aggressively pursuing the matter, and devoting substantial resources, time and attention to this investigation.”
Kennametal Considers Tungsten-Carbide Recycling Plant
The industrial services firm Kennametal Inc., Latrobe, Pa., says it has begun research into building a tungsten-carbide recycling facility in the United States and is looking at possible locations for the proposed plant. If built, the facility would serve Kennametal markets on a global basis.
The proposed recycling facility would reclaim material from scrap and consumed products, such as metal-cutting inserts, and reuse it for new production. “We’re talking about a high-tech operation where we’ll process used materials to develop new compounds essential to our industrial technology,” says Carlos Cardoso, Kennametal chairman, president and CEO. “This is an exciting first for our company, demonstrating our commitment to invest in sustainability and advanced technology strengthening our leadership in America and our service to customers around the world.”
The company also has announced that it is expanding its tungsten-cobalt blended powder operations at its facility in Tianjin, China.
According to Kennametal, both multiyear projects focus on diversifying Kennametal’s tungsten sourcing to balance supplies, costs and access to raw materials while also supporting sustainability and the company’s global growth strategy to achieve one-third of revenue from each of three regional markets: North America, Europe and Asia/rest of world.
Kennametal says by adding tungsten-cobalt blended powder capacity at its plant in China, the company expects to improve customer service in that region while reducing export delays and duties on the material.