Montgomery, Alabama, mixed-waste processing facility announces temporary closure
Infinitus Energy, Plantation, Florida, has temporarily ceased operations at its advanced mixed materials recovery facility in Montgomery, Alabama, called Infinitus Renewable Energy Park (IREP) Montgomery.
A statement issued by Infinitus Energy states, “We plan to meet with all project participants in the coming weeks and with Mayor Todd Strange and city officials later this month to review a detailed plan that would allow us to resume operations.”
The company statement quotes Kyle Mowitz, Infinitus CEO: “One key element of a successful materials recycling program is the ability to sell recovered material at a price that will support the recycling process. While our customers have been satisfied with the material we have reclaimed, unfortunately the market price for these materials have dropped dramatically.”
The company says “diverting and recycling materials instead of sending them to the landfill has been an important environmental goal for IREP Montgomery since the inception of the public-private partnership with the city of Montgomery.”
According to an article in the Montgomery Advertiser, the plant employs 100 people and was diverting more than half of the trash it was receiving from the landfill at the time of the announced closure.
The article says company officials and city leaders plan to meet with new investors Oct. 22, 2015.
Strange tells Recycling Today, “The technology works; the commodities pricing doesn’t. The issue is the historically low commodities pricing.”
He says Infinitus based its pro forma on 10-year averages for commodities prices, but prices have been 20 percent to 30 percent of the historical averages.
Strange says the city has held to the terms of its contract, providing 100,000 tons yearly to the facility and paying a $28-per-ton tipping fee. The city also is receiving 40 percent to 50 percent of the recycling revenue.
Strange says Infinitus has told the city it has an additional investor that wants to get involved. The meeting in late October will give city officials the opportunity to meet with the potential investor.
The news of the temporary shutdown comes as disappointing to Strange, who has been a big proponent of bringing recycling to the city since he became mayor in 2009. (See the article “Leaps and Bounds Ahead,” which appeared in the November 2014 issue of Recycling Today.)
“We are disappointed,” he says. “It is the way to go,” Strange says of mixed-waste processing. “The technology works.”
If Infinitus is unable to work out an agreement, Strange says the city has the mortgage on the property, which would be turned over to the city.
The city of Montgomery is committed to recycling, he says. “We will do everything we can to continue the recycling strategy and to continue the [one-bin] strategy,” Strange adds.
LEGISLATION & REGULATIONS
EPA issues final NESHAP rule for secondary aluminum production
According to The Hill, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has updated national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants (NESHAP) to account for changes to the secondary aluminum production category.
The changes went into effect Sept. 18, 2015.
The compliance date for amendments listed in 40 CFR 63.1501(b) for existing secondary aluminum production affected sources is March 16, 2016. The compliance date for amendments listed in 40 CFR 63.1501(c) for existing affected sources is Sept. 18, 2017. Owners or operators of new affected sources that began construction or reconstruction after Feb. 14, 2012, must comply by Sept. 18, 2017, or upon startup, whichever is later.
Amendments include a requirement to report performance testing through the electronic reporting tool (ERT); provisions allowing owners and operators to change furnace classifications; requirements to account for unmeasured emissions during compliance testing for group one furnaces that do not have add-on control devices; alternative compliance options for operating and monitoring requirements for sweat furnaces; compliance provisions for hydrogen fluoride; provisions addressing emissions during periods of startup, shutdown and malfunction (SSM); and other corrections and clarifications to applicability, definitions, operating, monitoring and performance testing requirements. The final rule can be found at http://1.usa.gov/1jWJhM7.
Nasdaq launches steel index futures
The Nasdaq commodities exchange, Stockholm, will launch futures contracts for U.S. shredded steel scrap (Midwest U.S. Shredded Steel TSI Index Futures) and iron ore cost and freight China (CFR China 62 Percent Iron Ore TSI Index Futures) in November, followed by U.S. hot-rolled coil and other products in December.
All contracts will be financially settled against The Steel Index indices.
World Steel Exchange Marketing, a marketing partner of Nasdaq, says the combination of its marketing efforts, along with those of World Steel Dynamics, TSI/Platts and Nasdaq and support from the steel scrap industry should lead to a rapid ramp-up of steel scrap futures trading on the Nasdaq Commodities Exchange.
To trade these products, visit www.worldsteeldynamics.com/pg/survey.
Metalico sale is final; CEO Aguero sells shares
Scrap processing firm Metalico Inc., Cranford, New Jersey, has been purchased by Total Merchant Ltd., a firm controlled by Chung Sheng Huang, the chairman of the board and managing director of China-based secondary aluminum producer Ye Chiu Group.
Metalico’s board of directors had announced in June 2015 its acceptance of Total Merchant’s all-cash offer of approximately $102 million, subject to the approval of its shareholders. At a meeting convened Sept. 11, 2015, the transaction was approved by share owners holding more than 92 percent of the shares voted, or 57 percent of Metalico’s outstanding shares.
Metalico’s stockholders received 60 cents for each share of its common stock they owned as of the closing. Metalico shares ceased trading on the New York Stock Exchange and were delisted at the close of trading Sept. 11.
Before trading ceased Sept. 11, Metalico CEO Carlos E. Aguero sold more than 5.2 million shares of the company’s stock in a transaction reported on the FinancialWisdom.com website. The shares were sold at an average price of 60 cents, according to the website, for a total value of $3.1 million.
Metalico says that under Total Merchant it “will continue to operate under its current management.”
The company operates ferrous and nonferrous facilities, including three auto shredders, in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, New Jersey and Mississippi.
Total Merchant describes itself as “a privately held investment vehicle formed to seek appropriate opportunities in the United States metals and commodities market.”
Taicang City, China-based Ye Chiu Group is a producer of aluminum and aluminum alloys and a recycler of nonferrous metals with aluminum smelting facilities in China and Malaysia.
In 2002 Ye Chui established Alhambra, California-based America Metal Export Inc. to secure “continuous and stable” scrap supplies from the U.S.
ACC report shows rail shutdown could cost $30 billion
A broad rail service disruption lasting one month would cost the U.S. economy $30 billion and would increase the unemployment rate with a loss of 700,000 jobs, according to a study released by the American Chemistry Council (ACC), Washington.
The study, “Assessment of the Economic and Social Impacts of the Failure of Congress to Extend the Compliance Deadline for Positive Train Control (PTC),” outlines how most Americans would be affected by a rail shutdown unless Congress steps in to extend the PTC deadline.
PTC is a GPS-based system that is designed to prevent train collisions and derailments. Under the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008, railroads are required to implement PTC on lines that ship certain hazardous materials and carry passengers by rail by Dec. 31, 2015.
A rail disruption of this scale would strand commuters across the country and prevent the flow of goods that are vital to everyday life, putting the entire economy and public health at risk, the ACC says.
As the report details, a disruption of rail service lasting only one month would result in a 2.6 percentage reduction to U.S. real gross domestic product growth during the first quarter of 2016, which would put a major chill on just about every leading indicator in the first quarter.
Even allowing the deadline to approach will have severe consequences, according to the ACC, as companies need time to adjust transportation plans in the face of a shutdown.
PLASTICS, LEGISLATION & REGULATIONS
Judge overturns New York’s polystyrene ban
The New York State Supreme Court has overturned New York City’s ban on foam foodservice items, clearing the way for a recycling program that would cover 100 percent of polystyrene (PS) products and generate new revenue for the city, according to Dart Container Corp, a Mason, Michigan-based company that also was a party to the legal case.
The ruling from Judge Margaret Chan overturns the ban completely, stating that the “one undisputed short answer to whether EPS (expanded polystyrene) is recyclable is yes: single-serve EPS is recyclable.” The ruling refers the matter to the Department of Sanitation for further consideration consistent with the court order, allowing for recycling of the city’s EPS and No. 6 rigid PS to move forward.
A lawsuit brought against Mayor Bill de Blasio, Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia and the Department of Sanitation in July 2015 challenged the legality of the decision to ban EPS foam. At the time, the New York Restaurant Action Alliance (RAA) said more than 1,000 small business owners from New York City’s five boroughs had signed a petition demanding de Blasio reverse his foam foodservice products ban. Restaurants and bodegas say they consider the ban, which went into effect on July 1, 2015, but was not scheduled to be enforced until January 2016, a serious threat.
The RAA says other large U.S. cities, such as Denver, have established successful foam recycling programs. In mid-July 2015, Denver residents and commercial companies could include PS foam foodservice packaging, egg cartons, meat trays and protective packaging in their recycling bins. The expansion of the recycling program was funded by a $45,000 grant from the Foam Recycling Coalition, a program of the Foodservice Packaging Institute.
Kruger to convert newsprint line to linerboard production
Montreal-based Kruger Packaging LP has announced it will make an investment of $190 million (CA$250 million) to convert the No. 10 newsprint machine at its mill in Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, to manufacture 100-percent-recycled-content linerboard.
The project has received $144.5 million (CA$190 million) in support from the Quebec government, including a $63.9 million (CA$84 million) loan to finance the cost of the conversion and $80.6 million (CA$106 million) in funding through Investissement Quebec, invested in a new company that now combines all of Kruger’s containerboard and packaging activities.
As a result of the investment, the Quebec government will have a 25 percent ownership stake in the new company, which has assets in excess of $456 million (CA$600 million), according to Kruger’s announcement.
The investment also helps to secure “more than 800 jobs, including 620 in Quebec,” Kruger says.
During the 20-month conversion project, the former newsprint machine “will be completely modernized to incorporate some of the most advanced containerboard manufacturing technology,” according to Kruger. Once the new line is up and running in 2017, it is projected to produce 360,000 metric tons of 100-percent-recycled-content lightweight linerboard per year, according to the company.
Some of that output will be sold to Kruger Packaging’s box plants in LaSalle, Quebec, and Brampton, Ontario, while the remainder will be sold on the open market.
The type of linerboard to be manufactured in Trois-Rivieres “is seeing huge growth in North America and around the world, as packaging manufacturers seek to produce increasingly lighter and stronger products,” Kruger says.
The Trois-Rivieres mill’s other newsprint production line, paper machine No. 7, will remain in operation. Its three remaining newsprint lines will have an annual output of 600,000 metric tons, keeping the company “among North America’s top newsprint manufacturers,” Kruger says.
Kruger Packaging was founded in 1904 and produces publication papers, tissue products, containerboard and packaging made from recycled fibers. The company also operates recycling facilities in Canada and produces renewable energy, cellulosic biomaterials and wines and spirits.
Niagara Metals adds fourth location
Niagara Metals, headquartered in Niagara Falls, New York, has opened a fourth facility in the western New York community of Cheektowaga.
A notice on the company’s website says Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015, served as a grand opening celebration in Cheektowaga.
The company says it is purchasing ferrous and nonferrous metals at the new location, including end-of-life vehicles and wire and cable.
The new 15,000-square-foot location is open seven days weekly from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. It joins the company’s previous locations in Niagara Falls, Buffalo and Royalton, New York.
Company President Todd Levin, formerly of Louis Levin & Co. and Metalico, founded Niagara Metals in 2006.
Recycling Today profiled the company in its April 2010 edition.
LME delays metal delivery volume rule
London Metal Exchange (LME) opened a two-week consultation Oct. 1 to invite comments on possible anti-abuse provisions that would govern the application of its proposed queue-based rent capping (QBRC) rules. The QBRC rules are part of LME’s warehouse reform effort that dates back to November 2013.
July 1, 2015, LME sought feedback, closed Aug. 17, 2015, on a proposal to cap rent charged for metal in a queue, suggesting that from May 1, 2016, warehouses failing to deliver stored metal within specified times must discount rent charged to affected metal owners.
LME says it is aware “that it could be possible for a metal owner to request delivery of a large amount of metal at once and thus take advantage of QBRC to create load-out queues, which would allow them to benefit from the rent discounts applicable under QBRC.”
To counter this, LME has proposed an anti-abuse mechanism that would stagger the dates at which the rent caps would come into effect “to more accurately reflect the load-out schedule agreed [to] by the warehouse company and the metal owner.”
LME says it “has given careful consideration to the results of its July consultation and is currently minded to proceed with the implementation of QBRC, along with the increase to the minimum load-out rate for metal stored in LME-approved warehouses (LORI) also proposed in that consultation. However, a final decision regarding these measures will only be taken once the LME has finalized its analysis, including whether or not it is possible to adopt appropriate anti-abuse measures.”
The time required for the new consultation means the LORI implementation date of Dec. 14, 2015, should be moved to March 1, 2016, LME says.
“The LME has always highlighted the potential for QBRC to be used by metal owners to achieve free storage at the expense of warehouses. In the feedback to the consultation, a number of respondents felt this was a significant concern, requiring a specific anti-abuse provision,” says Matthew Chamberlain, LME head of business development. “We want the market to know we are listening to these concerns, and we certainly do not want QBRC to be a source of abuse. The launch of this follow-up consultation reflects this.”
Closed Loop Fund awards first three recycling investments
The New York-based Closed Loop Fund, an investment fund that makes below-market loans for recycling infrastructure, has announced its first three investments to bolster recycling infrastructure and reduce cities’ spending on landfills.
The initial capital includes $7.8 million from Closed Loop Fund, which unlocked additional investment of $17 million from other public and private co-investors, totaling $24.8 million. The three investments demonstrate replicable economic and environmental returns recycling can bring to communities across the U.S., the fund says.
The first investee is a joint venture between QRS and Canusa Hershman Recycling (CHR) to create a plastic recovery facility (PRF) in Baltimore.
The two other investments are in Quad Cities, Iowa, and Portage County, Ohio. These investments will allow these communities to convert from dual-stream recycling to single stream, making it easier for citizens to recycle and increasing recycling rates, according to the Closed Loop Fund.
The potential impact of the two investments is substantial, the fund says. Over the next 10 years, 37,000 tons of recyclables could be diverted from Portage County landfills, reducing greenhouse gas emission by 110,000 tons. Quad Cities could see 86,000 tons diverted from landfills and greehouse gas emissions reduced by 250,000 tons, the fund says.
The QRS and CHR facility will use technology to separate Nos. 3-7 plastics, turning them into raw materials for new products and packaging. The plant is expected to have the capacity to process 4,500 tons per month and will serve the majority of the U.S. East Coast, the fund says.
Rob Kaplan of the Closed Loop Fund says, “We know that when done right recycling is a profitable business that can save city and taxpayer money. That’s why Closed Loop Fund invests in business models like QRS-Canusa, Quad Cities and Portage County that solve key bottlenecks in the recycling system, create economic value for cities and make recycling more accessible for citizens.”
Schnitzer completes auto and metals recycling business integration
Schnitzer Steel Industries Inc., headquartered in Portland, Oregon, has completed the integration of its auto parts business and metals recycling business into a single auto and metals recycling business (AMR) during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2015. In accordance with the revised operating structure, the company says it plans to report financial segment and operating information for the combined AMR business for the fourth quarter and fiscal 2015, including comparable historical periods in its earnings release.
In advance of its full earnings release, Schnitzer also provided preliminary results for its fourth quarter of fiscal 2015.
AMR is expected to generate operating income of approximately $16 million, which includes an estimated adverse impact from average inventory accounting of $5 million. Ferrous and nonferrous sales volumes are expected to be in line sequentially, while car purchase volumes for auto parts stores are expected to be approximately 10 percent higher than third quarter levels.
The company’s steel manufacturing business saw slightly higher sales volumes combined with higher utilization rates, generating expected operating income in the range of $5 million to $6 million, Schnitzer says.
Schnitzer says it expects fourth quarter adjusted earnings per share from continuing operations to be in the range of 27 cents to 30 cents, which excludes restructuring charges of approximately 5 cents. Reported earnings per share from continuing operations are expected to be in the range of 37 cents to 40 cents, the company adds. Reported earnings per share are expected to be higher than adjusted earnings per share in light of the allocation of full year tax benefits to the fourth quarter, partly offset by restructuring charges.
The company says it also expects to report total debt of approximately $228 million as of Aug. 31, 2015, its lowest level since 2011.
This preliminary, unaudited information is based on Schnitzer’s current estimate of its financial results for the fourth quarter ended Aug. 31, 2015, and remains subject to change based on management’s ongoing review of the company’s fourth quarter financial results and the completion of its annual audit.
Schnitzer has plans to report the financial results for its fourth quarter and the 2015 fiscal year Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015.
Labor board rules against Republic Services
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has ruled in favor of temporary staffing agency workers at a recycling plant who petitioned to have the plant’s owners, Phoenix-based Republic Services Inc., take part in a collective bargaining and union certification process.
The late August 2015 ruling involved a case filed by a chapter of the Teamsters union and concerning workers supplied by a Houston-based staffing agency to a materials recovery facility (MRF) in California that is operated by Republic Services.
The MRF carries the name of predecessor firm Browning Ferris Industries (BFI), so the case is referred to as “Browning-Ferris Industries of California Inc., d/b/a BFI Newby Island Recyclery, and FPR-II LLC, d/b/a Leadpoint Business Services and Sanitary Truck Drivers and Helpers Local 350, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Petitioner.”
A 50-page downloadable file reviewing and explaining the decision can be found at www.nlrb.gov/news-outreach/news-story/board-issues-decision-browning-ferris-industries.
The three Democratic board members voted in favor of recognizing Republic Services as a “joint employer,” while the two Republican board members dissented from the decision.
In a news release announcing the decision, the NLRB says it has “refined its standard for determining joint employer status. The revised standard is designed ‘to better effectuate the purposes of the Act in the current economic landscape.’ With more than 2.87 million of the nation’s workers employed through temporary agencies in August 2014, the board held that its previous joint employer standard has failed to keep pace with changes in the workplace and economic circumstances.”
The NLRB says “two or more entities are joint employers of a single workforce if 1) they are both employers within the meaning of the common law; and (2) they share or co-determine those matters governing the essential terms and conditions of employment.”
It continues, “In its decision, the board found that BFI was a joint employer with Leadpoint, the company that supplied employees to BFI to perform various work functions for BFI, including cleaning and sorting of recycled products. In finding that BFI was a joint employer with Leadpoint, the board relied on indirect and direct control that BFI possessed over essential terms and conditions of employment of the employees supplied by Leadpoint, as well as BFI’s reserved authority to control such terms and conditions.”
The NLRB case stems in part from a Teamsters attempt to unionize the workers. The NLRB decision defines the workers at the MRF as those “who manually sort the material on the streams (sorters), clean the screens on the sorting equipment and clear jams (screen cleaners) and clean the facility (housekeepers).” The union seeks to represent more than 200 full-time, part-time and on-call sorters, screen cleaners and housekeepers at the facility.
The NLRB also ordered that “within 14 days the union certification ballots that were impounded on April 25, 2014, shall be counted and the appropriate certification issued.”
Following the ruling, labor unions and employers’ associations issued starkly different reactions to the ruling. “This decision may very well signal the beginning of the end of outdated laws that fail to address an economic structure tilted against working people,” states AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka in a statement posted to the union’s website. “It means more working people can engage in meaningful collective bargaining by bringing all parties who control their wages and other conditions of employment to the table.”
Randy Johnson, U.S. Chamber of Commerce senior vice president for labor, immigration and employee benefits, warned of additional burdens placed on employers as a result of the decision. “Because of the array of obligations and liabilities that attach with a finding of joint employer status, the Browning-Ferris case could lead many employers to significantly alter or limit the contractual agreements into which they enter,” says Johnson. “This will reduce employer flexibility and competition at a time when the economy continues to experience anemic economic growth.”
ISRI responds to recycling critic
In 1996, New York Times columnist John Tierney wrote an opinion piece called “Recycling is Garbage” that questioned the fiduciary responsibility and return-on-investment of municipal recycling programs.
In his Oct. 3 column, “The Reign of Recycling,” Tierney has renewed his criticisms, saying, “It’s still typically more expensive for municipalities to recycle household waste than to send it to a landfill.”
He adds, “The recycling movement is floundering, and its survival depends on continual subsidies, sermons and policing.”
Responding to Tierney’s column, Robin Wiener of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries Inc. (ISRI), Washington, writes, “John Tierney paints a confusing and misinformed picture of recycling, calling it ‘wasteful,’ ‘ineffectual’ and ‘costly.’ The reality couldn’t be further from the truth.”
She says more than 130 million tons of materials are collected annually to make new products, representing “nearly $106 billion in annual economic activity.” Recycling also is responsible for more than 471,500 U.S. jobs, generating more than $4.3 billion in state and local revenue and $6.76 billion in federal taxes annually, Wiener adds.
She says companies handling municipal recyclables “are experiencing unique challenges these days as a result of a changing business model and increasing quality concerns, [but] that represents well less than half of the total recycling activity occurring in the U.S. each year.
Wiener adds, “Unfortunately, by lumping everything together, Tierney sends the wrong message, effectively discouraging people from recycling altogether.” Abandoning recycling “would significantly hurt the U.S. balance of trade, the recycling industry, the environment and sustainable materials management,” she says.
Trex adds LLDPE pellet production
Trex Co., Winchester, Virginia, a leading manufacturer of composite decking and railing made in part from recycled linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE), says it has found a viable way to produce recycled LLDPE pellets from its excess raw material. Suitable for use in a variety of applications, these pellets represent a new business for Trex.
Jim Cline, president and CEO of Trex Co., says, “As one of the country’s largest recyclers of postconsumer and commercial polyethylene, we found ourselves with a surplus of material beyond what we could use in our core line of outdoor living products. We challenged our engineering team to come up with ways to use the excess material, and, as usual, they didn’t disappoint. In fact, what they developed has created a whole new business venture for us that not only benefits Trex but other manufacturers and the environment, as well.”
Leveraging its recycling and extrusion capabilities and using equipment downtime to experiment with and test different solutions, Trex says its engineering team ultimately delivered an LLDPE pellet suitable for use in a variety of products and industries.
“We envision numerous applications for our recycled pellets,” says Dave Heglas, senior director of material resources at Trex. “They are ideal for use in the production of bags, including trash bags, as well as molded products, such as bins, totes and even kayaks. We also see tremendous potential for these pellets in the manufacturing of both rigid and flexible tubing, such as agricultural drip tape.”
Trex says it is working with manufacturers across a range of industries, such as rotational molding, blown film, profile extrusion and material compounding, to explore additional uses for its LLDPE pellets.
The company says it can modify and reformulate its pellet content as needed to better fit specific manufacturers’ needs, processes and applications.
Trex says it has four pellet production lines, making it one of the largest producers of recycled LLDPE pellets in the U.S. The company plans to add several more lines in the future.
Safety problems persist for waste and recycling industries
The recently released U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) “2014 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries Summary” shows that “refuse and recyclable material collectors, as a category, ranked fifth among American workers, with a total of 27 fatalities, down from 33 in 2013,” according to a news release issued by the National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA), Washington.
The only occupations with higher fatality rates, according to the report, were logging workers; fishers and related fishing workers; aircraft pilots and flight engineers; and roofers. Electrical power-line installers and repairers; farmers, ranchers and other agricultural managers; structural iron and steel workers; driver/sales workers and truck drivers; and first-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers all had lower fatality rates.
Despite the 2014 decrease in waste and recycling industry fatalities, the fatality rate rose from 33 to 35.8 per 100,000 workers, as the sector employed fewer overall people in 2014. After reaching a 12-year high in 2003, fatalities fell by more than half between 2003 and 2007, according to the NWRA. Since then, however, they have been trending upward.
In response, the NWRA, which represents more than 800 private sector waste and recycling companies, says it has spearheaded a comprehensive industrywide series of initiatives in concert with its member companies aimed at reducing fatalities, injuries and accidents.
“Workers in our industry provide a vital public health and environmental service for every community nationwide, and their safety is a shared responsibility of both their employer and residents in the communities they serve,” says Sharon H. Kneiss, president and CEO of NWRA. “The lower [number] of fatalities shows that the collective safety efforts of the solid waste and recycling industry may be an indicator of positive progress, but the fact that the percentage rate of fatalities is up underscores the need for a continued relentless focus on lowering the rate of accidents, injuries and fatalities.”
Details on NWRA safety initiatives can be found at https://waste recycling.org/our-work/safety.
Study to examine recovery of flexible packaging
An industry collaborative has announced new research to recover more packaging that is currently destined for landfill. The project, Materials Recovery for the Future, brings together brand owners, manufacturers and packaging industry organizations to enhance recovery solutions for flexible film and packaging options.
Jeff Wooster, global sustainability director, Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics, says, “This new sortation research is critical in helping to close the recovery loop for flexible packaging, and we are committed to this collaboration to drive solutions for increased recovery rates.”
Resource Recycling Systems (RRS), Ann Arbor, Michigan, which developed the test methodology, will conduct the first phase of the research, including baseline testing of the sortation technologies, such as screens and optical scanners, commonly used in material recovery facilities. A representative mix of the flexible packaging generated by consumers will be created and added at an appropriate concentration to single-stream recyclables for testing. This stream will be run through the sorters, and the amount of flexible packaging captured in the resulting bale will be measured to determine sorting effectiveness.
This research is the first step in what will be a series of projects aimed at creating a mainstream recovery solution for flexible packaging. Results are expected to be published in the second quarter of 2016.
Materials Recovery for the Future is an initiative of the Research Foundation for Health and Environmental Effects (RFHEE), a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization established by the American Chemistry Council, Washington.