Recycling industry veterans likely remember all too well the John Tierney-authored 1996 New York Times article “Recycling is Garbage.” The article attracted considerable attention in the solid waste and recycling communities, which had just been through considerable change after the creation of curbside recycling programs throughout the United States.
Nineteen years later—presumably after letting the China-stoked commodities boom run its course—Tierney is back with a nearly identical message in a late September 2015 New York Times column titled “The Reign of Recycling.”
Credit must go to Tierney (or whichever Times staffer is responsible) for the 1996 headline “Recycling is Garbage,” which was click bait before that term was invented.
Although “The Reign of Recycling” headline may not have quite the same punch, his follow-up piece again accomplishes the task of being a topic of discussion in the recycling and waste communities.
The slogan “The business magazine for recycling professionals” has appeared on the cover of Recycling Today dating back to before Tierney’s 1996 column, and with express intentions. Although municipal recycling is part of what our publication covers, our roots and a hefty percentage of our reporting focus is on the decades- or even centuries-old industrial and commercial recycling sectors.
Our readership includes recyclers who work with or for municipal recycling programs and others who find themselves competing with government-funded efforts or even shut out by governmental franchise or flow control agreements.
Taxpayers have every reason to consider Tierney’s arguments as to whether the recycling programs they fund are financially responsible.
Critics of Tierney’s essays, however, point to some flaws, including avoiding adequate discussion of the enormous costs of landfills or that the extraction of virgin raw materials often is subsidized at least as heavily as recycling.
Tierney’s click-bait approach toward recycling criticism may have another harmful impact: inadvertently conflating in the minds of some of his readers locally subsidized curbside programs with all recycling activities.
People who read and agree with Tierney’s column may feel emboldened to tuck their empty recycling containers in their garages, which may add to their cities’ disposal costs and to their tax burdens.
If some of his readers are business decision-makers who decline a commercial recycling opportunity, mistakenly thinking they are helping their company’s bottom line, this potentially will be more harmful.
Spending taxpayer dollars on a poorly managed or ill-conceived recycling program can be grounds for criticism. Unfortunately, committing to landfilling secondary commodities with a dollar value is most often a poor response.
While exports of most recovered fiber grades are “terrible right now,” according to a Midwest-based broker, other sources say domestic demand remains flat. Prices in the United States for mixed paper, old corrugated containers (OCC) and old newspapers (ONP) were stable across the board, while sorted office paper (SOP) in the Northeast region was at its lowest level in nearly two years for domestic mills, according to Boston-based research firm RISI’s PPI Pulp & Paper Week’s pricing survey. SOP declined $5 in the Northeast, Midwest and Southeast and dropped $10 in the Southwest, according to the pricing survey.
The Midwest broker says a “double whammy” has occurred regarding exports to China as the country’s economy “is well-documented as slipping and slowing down” in addition to sourcing its own scrap paper grades internally. He says his company’s net exports to China are down month over month and year over year as the country purchases less U.S. recovered paper.
Additionally, Mexican mill are not buying recovered paper as they are full, he says.
“Right now [paper mills in] the Southwest and Southeast [U.S.] are full of paper, and Mexico is full and not taking any more,” the broker based in the Midwest says.
An oversupply has contributed to this lack of demand, the broker says. He adds, “It’s in a strong buyers’ market, and consumption is not keeping pace with the supply.”
However, the broker says, “We’ve had more demand for pulp subs and double line and decreases in printers mix and office pack.”
Export prices for OCC, ONP and SOP declined in every region reported by RISI, while mixed paper saw a decrease in export prices from the West Coast region, according to the pricing survey.
The outlook for OCC may be brighter in the long term, however, according to a new report, “OCC/UKP Market Analysis and Outlook,” released by RISI. The 15-year forecast predicts that OCC availability “may become a significant issue again in the future—as we saw in 2011 … [as] the global OCC recovery rate will have to climb even higher to support additional capacity in the recycled containerboard segment.”
At the 2015 Paper & Plastics Recycling Conference, hosted Oct. 14-16 in Chicago, members of the Paper Stock Industries (PSI) Chapter of the Institute of Scrap Recycling (ISRI), Washington, described a trial the group conducted of domestic OCC versus foreign OCC. The group encouraged attendees to try a similar trial as PSI found that domestic OCC “ran very consistently.”
In addition, PSI introduced two new recovered paper grades that derive from single-stream material recovery facilities (MRFs): sorted clean news (SCN) and sorted residential paper (SRP). SCN replaces No. 9 news, according to PSI, and is “paper going off the end of the line.” SRP is nearly the same as sorted mixed paper; however, brown grades are not removed from the mix.
The PSI also introduced two new mixed grades: sorted mixed paper and sorted hard mix, which consists of OCC, other brown grades and grocery bags, boxboard cartons and household papers. Sorted mixed paper consists of all paper and paperboard of various qualities with prohibitive materials now allowed to exceed 2 percent.
Kari Talvola of Fibre Trade Inc., a speaker during the PSI specifications session at the Paper & Plastics Recycling Conference, clarified that these grades “are a guideline. This isn’t set in stone.”
PSI discussed nine steps it must take to complete grade changes, and PSI is at step No. 9, which is to receive approval by ISRI’s board at the ISRI Convention & Exposition in Las Vegas, April 2-7, 2016.
Johnny Gold, president of The Gold Group Recycling Consultants LLC and another panelist during the PSI session, told PSI members that hearing from them is essential in deciding grade specifications. “We’ll keep taking feedback until we get this right … Only active member companies will be able to vote on adopting changes.”
Midland Davis expands trading team
Midland Davis Corp., headquartered in Moline, Illinois, has expanded its brokerage division with the hiring of industry veteran Wendy Larson.
Larson, who brings 25 years of industry experience to her new role, started her career with The Peltz Group, Milwaukee, and worked most recently for Waste Management Recycle America.
“We’re thrilled to add someone of Wendy’s caliber to our team,” says Leonard Zeid, president of Midland Davis’ trading division, based in St. Louis. “Wendy brings expertise in managing both national and regional accounts, marketing MRF (material recovery facility) material as well as traditional paper and plastic grades. She has excellent relationships with the generators of recycled commodities as well as [with] the consuming mills.”
Larson is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She will be based at the firm’s Milwaukee office and may be contacted at 414-290-6575 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Midland Davis Corp. has been serving the recycling industry since 1892. Now in its fifth generation of family ownership, Midland Davis operates from five locations, collecting and recycling many grades of ferrous and nonferrous metals, paper, plastics and wood. The company operates recycling plants in Moline and Pekin, Illinois, and brokerage offices in St. Louis, Pekin and Milwaukee, as well as an agency office in St. Catharines, Ontario.
Metal Exchange Corp. names new president and COO
Metal Exchange Corp. (MEC), St. Louis, has announced the promotion of Rick Merluzzi to president and chief operating officer. Merluzzi will assume responsibility for the parent company and all of its affiliated companies: Pennex Aluminum Co., Continental Aluminum Corp., Electro Cycle Inc. and Metal Recovery Systems.
“Through thoughtful succession planning, Rick Merluzzi’s promotion marks the next step in our company’s evolution from a family-run business created 40 years ago to the large global industry leader that we’ve become today,” says Mike Lefton, chairman and CEO of MEC. “The Lefton family remains committed to the business. This transition should be seen as a reflection of our growth and our confidence in the executive leadership team’s ability to drive success well into the future.”
Merluzzi joined MEC in 2005 as president of Pennex Aluminum and later was named president of manufacturing for the entire MEC family of companies.
“I’m honored to be given the opportunity to lead such a tremendous organization,” Merluzzi says. “MEC has an exemplary 40-year track record of serving customers and establishing great long-term relationships. This is a great tribute to the dedication of the team of people at MEC, who are truly the key to our success and our ability to remain an industry leader.”
He adds, “Our core values of safety, integrity, respect and drive will continue to help guide us long into the future.”
Before joining MEC, Merluzzi held key leadership positions with Mobil Corp., FMC Corp. and Edlon Inc. He also has lived and worked in Europe and the Middle East.
Merluzzi has an undergraduate degree from Pennsylvania State University and an MBA in finance from Drexel University, with continued studies at Harvard University, Columbia University and the University of Virginia Darden School of Business.
He is the immediate past chairman of the Aluminum Extruders Council and is active in a variety of charitable organizations.
Founded in 1974, MEC (profiled in the August 2013 issue of Recycling Today) and its family of companies are industry leaders in nonferrous metals, from purchasing to manufacturing and processing.
Schupan & Sons appoints process improvement manager
Schupan & Sons Inc., based in Kalamazoo, Michigan, has announced that Rick Hart has been promoted to process improvement manager.
Beginning his career as a driver for Schupan Industrial Recycling Services in 1984, Hart moved to the newly formed Schupan Recycling in 1988, serving as a machine technician, maintenance supervisor and, most recently, operations manager. The company reports that Hart was a key player in establishing Schupan Recycling as a national leader in beverage container recycling.
Schupan Recycling is among the largest independently owned processors and marketers of used beverage containers in the nation. Its facilities process aluminum, PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic and glass for Michigan’s wholesalers and grocers.
Tom Emmerich, COO of Schupan & Sons, says, “Rick has been instrumental and invaluable in operational improvements for Schupan Recycling. As process improvement manager for Schupan & Sons Inc., Rick’s expertise and leadership will ensure the realization of company objectives. We’re always looking for ways to improve, and Rick’s vision will help get us there.”
Schupan Recycling is a division of Schupan & Sons Inc., with operations in Wixom and Wyoming, Michigan, and in Chicago.
Triple/S Dynamics appoints new president
Dallas-based Triple/S Dynamics, part of the KMC Global group of companies, has appointed Chris Rippee as its new president.
Rippee succeeded Jeff Sullivan and commenced his new role in September 2015.
Rippee holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Missouri University of Science and Technology. He began his career as a design engineer and progressed up through management roles to his most recent position as vice president of operations.
He has an extensive background in operational and manufacturing optimization, including training and implementing Kaizen principles of lean manufacturing and 360 process improvement, according to the company.
Ned Thompson, chairman of KMC Global, says, “Chris brings a broad range of talent to the table for Triple/S, and, going forward, the future of the company, the employees, the equipment and the customers will all benefit from Chris stepping into this position.”
Rippee says, “I am honored to take the reins of Triple/S and their long history of innovative engineering solutions, great products and quality manufacturing.
“The groundwork has been laid for us to take the company to the next level,” he adds.
Rippee’s appointment brings to a close the Sullivan family’s management/ownership of Triple/S Dynamics. James F. Sullivan, Jay Sullivan and Jeff Sullivan all have contributed greatly to the success of Triple/S Dynamics over their 50-plus years of ownership and management, the company says in a news release.
Since 1888, Triple/S Dynamics has manufactured equipment for the process industries, including the Slipstick horizontal motion conveyor and the Texas Shaker vibrating screen.
Builtrite Manufacturing adds two sales managers
Builtrite Manufacturing, Two Harbors, Minnesota, has added Mike Taranovich and Steve Mendenhall as sales managers. They help make up a team of five sales representatives who cover the United States for Builtrite.
Taranovich has worked for a John Deere dealership in Vermont that was initially owned by his father and then by Nortrax. He has since worked for several manufacturers that make equipment for the solid waste industry. He will cover the Southeast region, including the states of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama and South Carolina. Taranovich resides in Florida.
Mendenhall worked for many years selling John Deere Construction Equipment before entering the oil equipment industry in 2012. He will cover the Central region of the United States, including the states of Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and western North and South Dakota. Mendenhall resides in Colorado.
Builtrite Manufacturing designs and makes stationary electric material handlers, truck-mounted material handlers and a range of attachments for the recycling, solid waste, scrap metals, railroad maintenance, foundation drilling, general construction and other industries.
US Shredder and Castings Group expands staff
Miramar Beach, Florida-based U.S. Shredder and Castings Group has hired Ryan Njavro as ferrous and nonferrous systems general manager and Drew Holland Tigner as an accounts manager.
Njavro, based in Lake City, South Carolina, previously served as general manager for SGM Magnetics and most recently was involved in extensive consulting work for various companies. He can be reached at email@example.com and at 714-510-6135.
U.S. Shredder President Bill Tigner says, “I know of very few individuals in our industry with Ryan’s expertise and background. He began in the industry as a field technician and became instrumental in developing and perfecting some of the various systems that are used today for nonferrous separation in our industry. He has strong experience in helping customers understand how to create the various products that make their nonferrous systems more profitable. He is a technician, salesman and project manager wrapped into one.”
Drew Tigner, who is the daughter of the company’s president, graduated from the University of Alabama in 2013 and worked at orphanages in Uganda and Mexico for one year. Most recently she worked as an account manager for a firm in Nashville, Tennessee.
Drew Tigner is based in Nashville and will be responsible for supporting customers’ shredder castings, wear parts and systems’ needs. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 205-910-7055.
“We are pleased to add Drew to the U.S. Shredder team,” Bill Tigner says. “There is a strong tradition in the scrap industry for a new generation to come into a family business. Drew’s work ethic, intelligence and attention to detail will be a strong asset for our company.”
The U.S. Shredder and Castings Group offers scrap shredders, control systems, downstream systems, nonferrous recovery systems and air systems, as well as shredder castings, service, engineering, construction and installation to the worldwide scrap industry.
Vecoplan appoints director of customer relations
Matt Osborne was recently appointed director of customer relations at Vecoplan LLC, Archdale, North Carolina. In his new position, Osborne is charged with re-engaging older customers to determine, develop and implement best practices for all interactions between Vecoplan staff and the people they serve.
His initial focus will be expanding Vecoplan’s factory-certified parts program through the evolution of the company’s “constant improvements in service initiative.” Acting as a liaison, Osborne will facilitate communication and cooperation among Vecoplan customers and Vecoplan’s parts and service team.
The company says Osborne initiated the successful Vecoplan Roadshow in his former role as a regional sales manager in Vecoplan’s mobile division. During this time he demonstrated a talent for listening to users of Vecoplan machinery, gleaning insights and implementing customer satisfaction programs.
Prior to joining Vecoplan, Osborne was city manager at homebuilder DR Horton, Greensboro, North Carolina.
Takeuchi hires Southeast region business manager
Atlanta-based Takeuchi-US, a compact equipment maker, has appointed Steve DePriest to the position of Southeast regional business manager.
New to the company, DePriest brings more than 15 years of professional experience in construction equipment. His core responsibilities include managing dealer relationships, developing new and existing markets, assisting with inventories and directing sales planning and program promotions in the company’s Southeast territory.
DePriest has experience in manufacturing and wholesale and has been involved in dealer training, retail sales, customer development and selling to original equipment manufacturers. He previously has worked with excavators and wheel loaders and has been involved in all of the industries that Takeuchi serves.
“Steve is an intelligent guy and brings with him a wealth of experience in the very industries we serve,” says Kim Robinson, director of sales for Takeuchi-US.
Despite the current softness in most recycled plastics markets, speakers during the session “Market Outlook: Plastics” at the 2015 Paper & Plastics Recycling Conference, hosted by the Recycling Today Media Group in Chicago Oct. 14-16, were positive about the industry’s future.
Moderator Kim Holmes of SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association, Washington, said, “It’s a dynamic time for plastics right now,” referring to the effect of crude oil and natural gas pricing on that of virgin plastics.
Xavier Cronin of PetroChem Wire, Austin, Texas, said PET (polyethylene terephthalate) offered the most extreme example of this situation, with recycled PET pellets selling for 10 cents more per pound than their virgin counterparts.
He predicted lower plastic scrap prices across the board in response to lower crude oil prices during the fourth quarter of 2015.
Robert Render of Ravago Recycling Group, a division of Belgium-based plastics distributor Ravago, also pointed to the connection between crude oil and plastics prices, noting that polypropylene (PP) declined 30 cents per pound from September 2014 to September 2015, when oil prices reached $45 per barrel.
He said new prime PP and PE resin capacity would be coming online in 2016 and 2017, keeping prices for these resins soft and further squeezing recycling operations.
Despite these trends, Render said recycling is moving forward as demand for recycled content grows among brand owners. He said building and construction markets have strengthened and are increasingly demanding recycled content. Demand for recycled content also is increasing in the automotive and appliance sectors as well as from consumer products companies.
Technology also has led to beneficial changes in the plastics recycling industry, with continuous melt filtration being “one of the most innovative technologies,” Render said. The technology allows reprocessors to be more flexible because it can handle some paper contamination, he added.
To be successful, Render advised focusing on quality. “Consumers have many choices—be the one that delivers quality materials consistently.”
He added, “The hardest part is being selective in what you buy. You must have honest conversations with your suppliers.”
Regarding PET, Lori Carson of Phoenix Technologies, Bowling Green, Ohio, said, “Market economics are the big elephant in the room,” citing the diversity of packaging available today, overcapacity issues and the low yield from curbside bales that affects volume and cost.
In response to these factors, she said Phoenix was establishing longer-term contracts with suppliers, providing feedback to improve bale quality and engaging in value-based purchasing. Phoenix also has added equipment to produce its own PET flake, improving the quality and economics of its infeed material.
Prior to this backward integration, Carson said, “We spent a lot of time blending material from different suppliers to get uniform quality.”
Despite these challenges, she was optimistic about the future of PET recycling, saying applications and demand for recycled PET would grow and advances in processing would improve the quality and volume of material collected for recycling.
1. BPS concept feeder line. Brunswick, Ohio-based Best Process Solutions (BPS) now offers a concept feeder line (CFL) that it says is designed to solve many inherent design flaws in vibratory equipment. The company describes these features:
- suitable for all vibratory feeder applications, including under-mill, magnet, eddy current and finder-feeder processes
- can incorporate BPS’ patent pending Inertial Isolation System (IIS) to eliminate the transfer of vibratory energy to support structures
- powered by twin rotating motor vibrators providing linear conveyance
- options include dust-tight covers, pan liners and stainless steel noses
Visit www.bpsvibes.com for more information.
2. Endura-Veyor OCC screen. Endura-Veyor, Alpena, Michigan, has introduced its OCC (old corrugated containers) screen, which it says offers these features:
- designed to separate OCC from the material stream
- available in single- or double-deck designs
- adjustable disc configurations, deck speed and incline angle
- a heavy-duty support structure with gusseted legs and mounting plates and optional service platforms
- access doors allow entrance to the disc area for faster maintenance
- antiwrap shafts with easy-clean design to minimize down time
Visit www.endura-veyor.com for more information.
3. ShearCore Fortress F55 mobile shear. ShearCore, Superior, Wisconsin, has added the F55 to its line of Fortress mobile shears. It is available in the S (straight) model for excavators or material handlers in the 50,000-pound class and in the R (rotator) model for carriers in the 60,000-pound class. According to ShearCore, the F55 offers:
- a compact and powerful design with a 15-inch cylinder and 30-inch jaw
- an extra-large main shaft for longer life, better cutting capability and elimination of an auto-guide or puck
- a patent pending tip boot for improved wear coverage
- a WearGuard to reduce maintenance on parent material next to blades
- Weldox steel construction using 6-inch plate steel in the jaw to eliminate the need for lamination
Visit www.shearcore.com for more information.
4. Thermo Scientific Niton XL5 analyzer. Thermo Scientific, Tewksbury, Massachusetts, has released the Niton XL5 analyzer, which, according to the company, features:
- a smaller and lighter size than other X-ray fluorescence (XRF) alloy analyzers currently on the market
- at 2.8 pounds it enables operators to access difficult-to-reach areas to maximize test coverage, reduce user fatigue and provide low limits of detection
- a 5-watt X-ray tube for improved detection of light elements
- Bluetooth and GPS connectivity
- companion software delivering data transfer and remote viewing
Visit http://bit.ly/1VpKZRP for more information.
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