Trademark Metals acquires OneSteel Recycling’s Tampa, Florida, facilities
Trademark Metals Recycling (TMR), wholly owned by The David J. Joseph Co. (DJJ), headquartered in Cincinnati, has purchased the assets and business of OneSteel Recycling Inc.’s Tampa, Florida-area scrap metal recycling facilities. The operations include a shredding plant and a deep-water export site on 11.5 acres at the Port of Tampa Bay. In addition to the port facility, TMR acquired OneSteel’s Florida locations in Seffner, Clearwater and Hudson.
Before completing the deal, TMR, based in Tampa, had to ensure the Port of Tampa Bay would approve the transfer of the lease from OneSteel to TMR. The lease expires May 14, 2017, and has two extension options of 10 years each.
The consent to assignment of the lease provides that the terms remain the same. In addition, the consent provides that neither OneSteel nor TMR will be released from any liability under the lease. The port notes that OneSteel is current on its monetary obligations under the lease as of April 1, 2014.
TMR says the purchase is consistent with the company’s strategy to strengthen its presence in the Tampa region and demonstrates DJJ’s commitment to expanding its existing recycling platforms. With the acquisition, TMR now has 30 recycling facilities in Florida and Georgia.
DJJ is a subsidiary of the steel company Nucor, based in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Aleris to consider selling recycling business
The aluminum company Aleris, headquartered in Cleveland, has confirmed that it is formally evaluating the potential sale of its recycling and specification alloys business.
Steve Demetriou, Aleris chairman and CEO, says, “While the businesses remain steady and profitable, with excellent long-term growth potential, we are always reviewing our operations to ensure that Aleris is optimizing the value of its portfolio.”
The statement follows a report in the Wall Street Journal April 14, 2014, stating that the aluminum company had hired two firms, Credit Suisse Group AG and KeyBank, to advise on a possible sale. The report says the sale could net the company more than $400 million.
According to the Aleris website, the company has 10 recycling locations in North America and six in Europe as well as five specification alloys locations in North America.
Exide Technologies notifies employees of future layoffs
Exide Technologies, headquartered in Milton, Georgia, issued a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) notification to employees of its Vernon, California, battery recycling facility April 21. The temporary layoffs will affect 20 salaried workers, along with 104 hourly employees who are members of the United Steel Workers Union, AFL-CIO, Local No. 675.
WARN offers protection to workers and their families by requiring employers to provide notice 60 days in advance of covered plant closings and covered layoffs. Notice must be given to affected workers and their representatives, to the state dislocated worker unit and to the appropriate unit of local government.
Exide notified Vernon plant employees following the South Coast Air Quality Management District Hearing Board’s (AQMD’s) denial of the company’s request for a variance to obtain a limited extension of time to comply with a new “negative pressure” operational standard contained within recently amended air quality regulations (Rule 1420.1) that govern the Vernon location.
In addition, the Los Angeles Superior Court denied Exide’s petition that would have allowed the company to continue operating the Vernon facility until a trial on the legality of Rule 1420.1 could be held.
Either the variance or the petition would have permitted Exide to operate while implementing a Risk Reduction Plan previously approved by AQMD. The Risk Reduction Plan includes $5 million in operational improvements and capital investments to further reduce emissions, enhance compliance with the AQMD’s existing air quality regulatory standards and help to ensure compliance with recently adopted air regulatory standards.
“Because our Vernon facility is not currently operating and not able to meet the new operational standard without the necessary time to purchase, install and test the required equipment, we had no choice but to make this very difficult decision to temporarily lay off most of our workers, some of whom are second- or third-generation Exide employees,” says Robert Caruso, Exide CEO.
As Exide continues to evaluate its alternatives regarding future operations at the Vernon recycling facility, the company says it has established arrangements with third-party recyclers to provide tolling services. Exide says it also continues to negotiate additional purchases to satisfy lead requirements. Both of these measures are designed to allow the company to continue operations.
The Vernon facility, one of only two lead battery recycling plants west of the Rocky Mountains, processed 25,000 car, truck, motorcycle and other lead-acid batteries every day in a closed-loop system. Exide has operated the Vernon recycling facility since 2000.
MBA Polymers wins GPEC award
MBA Polymers, a plastics recycling company based in the United Kingdom, has won the Daniel Eberhardt Environmental Award at the 2014 Global Plastics Environment Conference (GPEC), held March 12-14 in Orlando, Florida.
MBA says the award is the highest accolade to be bestowed by conference organizers, the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE), and recognizes MBA’s 22-year commitment to recycling plastic polymers and raising awareness of the importance of tackling plastic pollution.
Mike Biddle, MBA’s founder, who gave a keynote address on ocean plastic waste at the event, accepted the award on behalf of the company.
“I’m honored to receive the Daniel Eberhardt award for our contribution to advancing plastics recycling technologies,” said Biddle. “Every step we’ve taken since we first started out has been driven by a desire to cut plastic waste from our world and transform it into high-quality raw materials for use in new products. This kind of circular thinking is vital to conserving natural resources, preventing environmental pollution and ensuring a good quality of life for future generations.”
The company, which was formed in 1992, handles a wide range of postconsumer plastics from complex waste streams—including end-of-life vehicles and electronic scrap—transforming the material into high-quality secondary raw materials.
MBA Polymers can process more than 175,000 metric tons of plastic per year at its plants in the U.K., Austria and China.
GPEC outlined MBA’s achievements in polymer recycling, technological innovation, impact and commitment to education among the chief reasons for its decision to present the company with the award.
“MBA has gone beyond pioneering new technologies to become a true champion for plastics environmentalism,” said Susan Kozora, IAC Group engineering manager and GPEC 2014 chair. “In particular, Dr. Biddle is an outstanding spokesperson on the topics of the circular economy and the need to reduce waste, protect our oceans and make the most of our resources. We’d like to congratulate him and his global team on a great achievement and wish MBA well as it looks to expand and increase its processing capacity.”
Consumer electronics industry sets recycling record
The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), Arlington, Virginia, has released its “Third Annual Report of the eCycling Leadership Initiative,” which shows a total of 620 million pounds of electronics were recycled in 2013, more than double the amount collected for recycling in 2010.
The initiative is a consumer electronics industry effort led by the CEA to increase the collaboration among consumer electronics manufacturers, retailers, collectors, recyclers, non-governmental organizations and governments at all levels.
“We want to make recycling electronics as easy as purchasing electronics,” says Gary Shapiro, CEA president and CEO. “Electronics recycling is a national issue, and CEA continues to work toward a national solution to replace the complicated patchwork of rules that varies from state to state.”
An additional 35 million pounds of consumer electronics were recycled in 2013 than in 2012, when 585 million pounds were recycled. The 2013 figure is more than twice the 300 million pounds recycled in 2010.
Rich says the eCycling Leadership Initiative has established a goal of recycling 1 billion pounds of electronics by 2016. The initiative says it plans to grow the number of collection opportunities available to consumers, improve consumer awareness of available electronics recycling collection sites and provide transparent metrics on electronics recycling efforts.
“The eCycling Leadership Initiative participants and CEA have made great progress educating consumers about how and where to responsibly recycle their electronics,” says Walter Alcorn, CEA vice president of environmental affairs and industry sustainability. “Through easy-to-use online tools and consumer-focused campaigns, more consumers are now aware of recycling opportunities available in their communities.”
LEGISLATION & REGULATIONS
Michigan adds to scrap recyclers’ obligations
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has signed into law House Bill 4593, which seeks to help law enforcement combat metal theft.
Reflecting the damage that scrap metal theft has had in Michigan, the number of reported metal theft crimes nearly tripled between 2011 and 2012, according to Michigan State Police data. Additionally, according to a National Insurance Crime Bureau study, Michigan ranks 10th in the nation for scrap metal insurance claims.
The new law, Public Act 99 of 2014, sponsored by Rep. Paul Muxlow, includes reforms designed to make it more difficult for criminals to sell stolen materials. The bill also prohibits cash payment for scrap metal. When buying copper wiring and pipes, catalytic converters and air conditioners, recyclers are required to mail payments of more than $25 to the addresses listed on the sellers’ forms of identification.
The companion bill, HB 4595—now called Public Act 217 of 2013, sponsored by then-Rep. Jim Ananich—makes it a felony for a dealer to purchase scrap metal or personal property if the dealer knows it was stolen. It also is a felony to sell these metal items to a dealer if the seller knows the materials were stolen.
PCA to convert newsprint machine at Louisiana mill
Packaging Corp. of America (PCA) has decided to idle the No. 2 paper machine at its DeRidder, Louisiana, mill and will produce containerboard on its No. 3 machine. The company, headquartered in Lake Forest, Illinois, will convert its No. 3 newsprint machine to produce what it calls lightweight linerboard and medium. As a result, PCA will exit the newsprint business.
PCA will continue to produce newsprint for its customers through mid-September 2014, at which time the company says it will shut down and convert the No. 3 machine. The company says it expects the reconfigured paper machine to restart by Nov. 1, 2014.
PCA estimates that the capital cost of converting the No. 2 machine would have been about $160 million and would have resulted in annual containerboard capacity of about 300,000 tons. The cost of converting machine No. 3 is estimated to be around $115 million and will have an annual containerboard capacity of 355,000 tons.
Petoskey Plastics to expand Indiana operations
Petoskey Plastics, a plastics recycling and bag and resin manufacturer headquartered in Petoskey, Michigan, has announced plans to expand its Hartford City, Indiana, operations. The company cites the growth of its recycling services and product line as the reason for expanding its Indiana facility.
To assist in the expansion, the Hartford City Council has approved the plastics recycler for a 10-year, $6.2 million tax abatement package.
Petoskey’s investment will be used to upgrade and enhance recycling operations and increase the capacity of the facility. Additionally, Petoskey says it will refurbish the rail spur that serves the facility, allowing for more efficient and sustainable transport of raw materials to the plant.
This is the second expansion to the company’s Hartford City plant. The first, completed in 2013, cost $9.7 million and added 80 jobs.
“As consumers and businesses focus more on recycling and green products, we are gearing up to meet the growing demand,” says Paul Keiswetter, Petoskey president and CEO.
Microbrewery first to use Novelis’ Evercan aluminum sheet
Novelis, an aluminum rolling and recycling firm based in Atlanta, has announced that the Marietta, Georgia-based microbrewery Red Hare Brewing Co. will be the first company in the country to use Novelis’ Evercan aluminum sheet for its beverage cans. According to Novelis, Evercan has been independently certified as a high-recycled-content aluminum sheet.
Red Hare’s beer will be packaged exclusively in cans made of a guaranteed minimum 90-percent-recycled content, Novelis says.
Survey examines consumers’ mobile device recycling habits
The proliferation of new cellphones and tablets has led to a growing glut of “e-waste” piling up in people’s homes as well as a lack of understanding about what to do with broken, unwanted or outdated devices, according to a survey released by San Diego-based ecoATM, the nationwide network of automated electronics recycling kiosks.
According to the survey, 57 percent of American device owners have idle cellphones at home, yet only 22 percent have previously recycled unused cellphones.
The ecoATM Device Survey was conducted by Kelton Research from March 10 to 17, 2014, and polled 1,018 nationally representative Americans age 18 and older who own a smartphone, cellphone, MP3 player or tablet.
Mark Bowles, founder and chief marketing officer of ecoATM, says, “Consumers are looking for easy and convenient ways to recycle or sell their unwanted devices, and we must continue to shift behavior when it comes to the responsible disposal of electronics that are no longer being used.”
Highlights of ecoATM’s survey include:
- Nearly four in 10 device owners (49 percent) have at least two unused cellphones, yet less than half have sold, recycled or given their old smartphones to someone else after using them.
- When upgrading a device, 12 percent of device owners would consider throwing their old gadgets away in the garbage, and nearly one in three (30 percent) would store it at home.
- Less than half of device owners (46 percent) would consider recycling old gadgets even though most believe that recycling is good for the environment (86 percent), safe (80 percent) and worth doing (77 percent).
EcoATM’s kiosks, which are in shopping malls and select retailers, collect consumer electronics, including cellphones, tablets and MP3 players, providing cash payments as an incentive to recycle.
Partners promote electronics recycling in Illinois
The Solid Waste Agency of Lake County (SWALCO), Gurnee, Illinois, and Sims Recycling Solutions, with Americas headquarters in West Chicago, Illinois, joined to promote electronics recycling on Earth Day, April 22, 2014.
Currently, SWALCO, with the support of Sims, hosts 18 permanent collection sites and a variety of one-day and seasonal collection events throughout Lake County. All events are posted on the SWALCO website, www.swalco.org/collections/electronics/pages/default.aspx#.
The Illinois Electronic Products Recycling and Reuse Act landfill ban was enacted Jan. 1, 2012, and prohibits electronic devices, such as televisions, monitors, computers, printers and more, from being discarded in the trash.
Since 2000, SWALCO has been providing opportunities for residents to safely and conveniently dispose of these electronics at community recycling events. With the help of Sims Recycling Solutions, the agency collected nearly 4 million pounds of electronics in 2013. More than 3 million pounds of that material was covered under the Illinois Electronics Take Back Law and collected on behalf of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) affected by the law.
Items accepted at these collection events include cable and satellite receivers, computer cables, cellphones, PDAs, computers (desktops, laptops and tablets), digital converter boxes, digital recorders, DVD players, fax machines, keyboards, mice, monitors, MP3 players, printers, scanners, TVs, VCRs, video game consoles, flash drives, small appliances (no glass parts), holiday lights, media (VCR tapes, DVDs and CDs), batteries and other electronics.
Items that cannot be accepted include air conditioners, broken glass, dehumidifiers, electric fixtures, fluorescent light bulbs, large appliances, lead-acid batteries, liquid or chemical waste, packaging materials and smoke and fire detectors.
All electronics collected are recycled at a local Sims Recycling Solutions facility.
Plastic film recycling increases slightly
According to a recent report, the collection of postconsumer film packaging for recycling in 2012 topped 1 billion pounds, a modest 1 percent increase from the prior year. The report, “2012 National Postconsumer Plastic Bag & Film Recycling Report,” was produced by Moore Recycling Associates, Sonoma, California, for the Washington-based American Chemistry Council’s (ACC) Plastics Division. It was based on surveys from 21 United States and Canadian processors and 39 exporters.
The plastic film addressed in the report includes plastic bags, product wraps and commercial shrink film.
“This report shows that even though film recycling had not grown as we had hoped last year, there is a lot of opportunity to make a difference with our programs,” according to Shari Jackson, director of the Flexible Film Recycling Group (FFRG), a product group of the ACC.
Today, more than 18,000 store drop-off locations are available throughout the U.S. to collect plastic bags, wraps and film for recycling. Moreover, existing infrastructures for collecting commercial film can be greatly expanded to capture significantly more of this material from the increasing number of businesses seeking recovery options for shrink film and transport packaging.
To boost the recovery of film plastic, the FFRG says it is introducing a number of initiatives to expand education and access to film recycling to increase the recycling of the material over the next five years. Additionally, the FFRG is working to implement in the coming months a national multistakeholder collaboration known as the Wrap Recycling Action Program (WRAP). The FFRG says it hopes to launch the initiative later this year. A social component of WRAP is underway to help educate Americans about what film and wrap plastics can be recycled. Preliminary information is available at www.plasticfilmrecycling.org.
San Francisco recycler fined $500K for violating metal theft laws
San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón has announced that the San Francisco-based scrap metal company Circosta Iron & Metal Co. will pay a $500,000 fine as part of a settlement of a civil prosecution brought by the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office.
“We can’t rely on enforcement alone to effectively stop metal thieves. We also have to make sure they can’t find an avenue to sell their stolen goods, and that requires recycling companies to do their part to deter metal theft by following the law,” Gascón says.
In an effort to shut down the market for stolen metal, California has passed laws designed to prevent, deter and detect metal theft by imposing requirements on companies that purchase scrap metal. The laws require scrap metal dealers to take steps to determine that the materials they purchase were not stolen. They also must photograph, fingerprint and record the identification of individuals selling certain types of scrap metal. Unless a statutory exception applies, dealers must wait three days before paying the seller for the scrap metal.
According to the San Francisco District Attorney’s complaint, Circosta consistently violated the state’s anti-metal-theft laws, including not holding payments for the required three days or buying scrap metal without requiring identification or other information from sellers.
Under the settlement, Circosta must pay $500,000 in civil penalties and costs. Circosta also will be bound by a permanent injunction designed to ensure good business practices and prohibit future violations of the law. By entering into this injunction, Circosta is agreeing to procedures that will make it a model for California metal recyclers in the future, the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office says.
Circosta is the third metal recycler to be prosecuted by the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office since 2013. The settlement with Circosta brings the total penalties and costs assessed against the three companies so far to $4.6 million.
Michigan governor introduces statewide recycling initiative
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has announced a statewide plan designed to increase access to residential recycling throughout the state. He has appointed a nine-member Michigan Recycling Council to guide the plan’s implementation.
Snyder announced the recycling initiative during a tour of Monroe, Michigan-based Clean Tech Inc., the state’s largest plastic bottle recycling plant.
“Michigan has a strong tradition of protecting and enhancing its environment,” Snyder said. “But when it comes to recycling, we must do better. Michigan trails other Great Lakes states and much of the nation in residential recycling. It’s a complex challenge, but one that we can address. This plan puts us on the right path.”
According to Snyder, Michigan’s recycling rate for residential waste is about 15 percent, while the national average is 35 percent.