Plastics recycling association supports EU strategy on waste
Plastics Recyclers Europe (EuPR), an organisation created to represent plastics recyclers in Europe, has applauded a resolution made by the EU Parliament on steps to boost the recycling of plastics in Europe. In a press release, the PRE says the resolution, adopted by Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) will result in an increase in plastics recycling.
On Jan. 14, 2014, members of the European Parliament adopted the European Strategy on plastic scrap (also called the Prodi Report).
“The voted report is a further step towards market changes that have been pushed by the political representatives of EU citizens. In this report the MEPs have perfectly understood the issues limiting plastics recycling,” says Ton Emans, EuPR president.
“Now the European Commission has the support of the Parliament to make ambitious legislative proposals, which will enable an enhanced sustainability for plastics products,” Emans adds.
PRE says it welcomes the report’s findings on the challenges of bio-plastics. While bio-plastics could be an opportunity for plastics products, the report underlines that the sustainability of bio-sourced materials must be evaluated and that an end-of-life solution for bio-degradable plastics must be implemented at the EU level.
The organisation says because of changing legislation and markets, the recycling of long-life applications is more challenging than for short-life applications.
UK achieves carpet recycling target
Figures released by Carpet Recycling UK (CRUK), Stockport, England, indicate that 107,000 tonnes of scrap carpet was reused, recycled and recovered in the United Kingdom in 2013, a 21% increase from the prior year.
CRUK says the landfill diversion rate of 27% means that it has exceeded its original target of 25% by 2015 two years early. The target was set in 2008 when the industry organisation was launched to tackle the 400,000 tonnes of scrap carpet arising annually in the U.K.
Reuse and recycling of end-of-life carpet increased 19% or by 7,000 tonnes and energy recovery rose 31% or by 15,000 tonnes in 2013, compared to 2012, according to CRUK. The organisation’s new goal is a landfill diversion target rate of 60% by 2020.
“We are confident that this [new target] can be reached given the progress rate over the past five years as the demand for carpets as a material stream has increased steadily,” says Laurance Bird of CRUK.
Carpet is now regarded as a beneficial resource from which valuable raw materials can be extracted for reuse in a second life, according to Bird.
Paper mills report Operation Green Fence benefits
If recyclers in Europe and North America look back at the dollars-and-cents impact of Operation Green Fence in 2013 and see red ink, it may or may not comfort them to read about positive bottom-line effects being touted by the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China (China Customs), one of the agencies that oversees Operation Green Fence.
A mid-January 2014 news release from China Customs refers to a study conducted by a regional papermaking association claiming improved pulping yields thanks to Operation Green Fence.
“According to [an] estimation made by the Fuyang Paper Association, papermaking companies in Fuyang earned RMB40 to 65 (€4.80 to €7.80) more on each ton of imported waste paper due to the lower moisture content and less foreign substances [in bales].”
The news release continues, “In this way, Green Fence has brought in RMB70 million (€8.37 million) more for the local paper industry (which imported 1.5 million tons of waste paper) for the first 10 months of 2013, according to the association.”
The China Customs news release connects the positive financial news to its inspection regimen. “There are less plastic films and pop cans hidden in the waste paper now and the moisture content is lower,” it quotes an inspector at the Fuyang Customs Office as saying as he looked at inbound bales in December 2013.
“Foreign suppliers realise now we will say ‘no’ to those waste paper [bales] whose classification is confusing, and we will no longer accept those with foreign substances,” the inspector, surnamed Wang, adds.
Dutch group boosts ASR recycling capacity
ARN, the Dutch organisation that coordinates end-of-life vehicle (ELV) recycling in the Netherlands, has reported that in 2013 its PST (Post Shredder Technology) plant in Tiel, Netherlands, was able to process 38,000 tonnes of auto shredder residue (ASR). “We now have sufficient capacity to process all the automotive shredder waste from all Dutch ELVs,” says Hans van de Greef, ARN’s director.
Van de Greef says that by improving the structure of maintenance and providing training to operators who work the line, ARN’s PST plant succeeded in significantly increasing capacity at the facility in 2013. “We are now at the 38,000-tonne mark. With that capacity, ARN can fulfill its obligation of recycling 95% of all ELVs,” van de Greef comments.
ARN says it is searching for investors to open a separate factory for the production of Crusca panels. Crusca panels, which can be used to shore up the banks of rivers, ditches and ponds, are one of the end products ARN is developing to consume plastics extracted from ARN’s plant.
“We have drawn up a bid book with our business case, on the basis of which PNO Consultants will approach individual entrepreneurs,” says van de Greef. “In that way, we hope to find a partner who is willing to take up the challenge of establishing the Crusca plant together with a group of investors.”
Biffa acquires PHS Wastetech
United Kingdom-based waste management firm Biffa Group has agreed to acquire the commercial waste business of PHS All Clear Ltd, known as PHS Wastetech, for €3 million.
PHS Wastetech specialises in general dry waste services. The acquired company provides nationwide commercial waste management service across a 12,000-account customer base, which complements Biffa’s operational platform. Biffa will acquire four new operating locations.
The acquisition follows Biffa’s purchase of the solid waste business of United Kingdom-based Shanks Group plc at the end of 2013.
Harsco lands multiyear contract in China
Harsco Corp., a United States-based steel mill and industrial services firm, has signed two multiyear contracts in China that will bring in ¤145 million in projected revenues. The contracts, one a new award and the second a multiyear contract expansion and renewal, address innovative approaches to waste stream management and energy reduction with two customers in the Chinese steelmaking market, the company says.
Harsco’s contract renewal is with Hangzhou Iron & Steel Group and aims to build on a Harsco process underway at another Chinese steelmaking plant that significantly reduces the environmental impact of steelmaking versus traditional methods. Harsco’s process allows for high-efficiency metal recovery and comprehensive use of metallurgical materials, which Harsco will market for beneficial reuse in the cement, concrete and road-base infrastructure sectors.
Hangzhou’s steelmaking plant has a capacity of 3.8 million tonnes per year and serves the demand for steel products along China’s East Coast. Harsco began operations at Hangzhou in 2002, providing resource recovery services and environmental products through a superfines operation that produces cement substitute from slags.
“In the last 12 years since our cooperation started, Harsco has provided the world the best services in slag processing,” says Shizhong Li, chairman of Hangzhou Iron & Steel Group. “They have made great contributions to protect the local environment.”
Viridor plans glass recycling investment
The waste and recycling firm Viridor, based in the United Kingdom, has announced plans to invest ¤30 million ($44.5 million) to build a glass recycling facility in western Scotland. The 6,500-square-metre facility in Newhouse, Lanarkshire, also will produce material to be used to make insulation products. The new facility will replace a currently operating glass processing facility located in eastern Scotland.
Viridor says the new facility will be one of the most advanced glass recycling plants in Europe, capable of recycling 200,000 tonnes of glass per year, which amounts to 150% of all glass packaging currently collected in Scotland. The company’s existing glass processing facility is able to process around 100,000 tonnes of glass containers per year.
The sharp increase in the capacity at the new facility will require Viridor to establish various partnerships to boost recovery levels.
The Newhouse recycling center is being designed to “drive Scotland’s recycling economy, reduce reliance on imported materials and [ensure the recycling] of 100% of Scottish packaging glass,” says Viridor. The facility will recycle glass from 17 Scottish local authorities and will recover up to 97% of input materials.
Equipment at the facility will include 15 optical sorters, X-ray sorters, more than half a kilometre (nearly one-third of a mile) of conveyer belts and 2.5 kilometres (1.5 miles) of electrical cabling across three floors of processing towers.
The investment will allow Viridor to color-sort mixed glass while rejecting material contamination.
Installation started in January and production was scheduled to begin in the summer of 2014.
Says Ian McAulay, CEO of Viridor, “Bringing the U.K.’s most advanced glass recycling center home to the central belt places Scotland at the leading edge of global glass recycling.”
Cellmark and Norske Skog expand sales cooperation agreement
Oslo-based paper company Norske Skog and CellMark AB, Sweden, have entered into a long-term marketing agreement to sell publication paper into Asia.
To accomplish this, the two companies are to establish a new distributor in Singapore called NorCell Asia, which has the exclusive marketing rights for all Norske Skog products to be sold in Asia. Under the agreement, which started in January 2014, Norske Skog plans to transfer its current sales operations and sales staff in Singapore from PanAsia Paper Trading to NorCell Asia.
The two companies established a similar long-term sales cooperation agreement for North America in August 2011, which is operated by NorCell Inc.
Norske Skog says that the two parties’ experiences from the cooperation in the North American markets have triggered the expansion of the cooperation between the two groups into the Asian markets.
Sven Ombudstvedt, CEO of Norske Skog, says the common goal of Norske Skog and CellMark is to offer customers a range of solutions for their publishing needs while maximising efficiency and minimising cost in the supply chain.
Hans Kling, Cellmark CEO, says the agreement will strengthen its position in publication grades sales into Asia and allows the company to further develop its cooperation with Norske Skog in a new region.
UK electronics recycler makes acquisition
Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) recycling firm Environcom, based in the United Kingdom, has acquired fellow U.K. WEEE recycler Overton Recycling from administration.
Environcom says the acquisition will enhance its position in the WEEE recycling industry, adding a third site and increased processing capacity.
“We’re delighted to have acquired Overton Recycling, which will not only increase Environcom’s processing capacity, but will also secure key recycling jobs in the industry,” says Sean Feeney, Environcom’s CEO.
Environcom currently operates two other WEEE recycling facilities, including one in its headquarters city of Grantham, England, which it describes as “one of the largest and most advanced in Europe.”
ZincOx releases update on Korean project
United Kingdom-based ZincOx Resources plc has reported that Korean Recycling Plant (KRP), its wholly owned subsidiary, is in the final months of ramp-up stage to full production, which remains on target for the second quarter of 2014.
ZincOx says its efforts and improvements in the price of zinc should result in 2014 being a turnaround year. The average London Metal Exchange zinc price for 2013 was $1,909 (¤1,448), and “we have recently seen this price averaging $2,050 (€1,491) which can have a significant impact on earnings,” the company says.
Because of repairs the company undertook at the plant in 2013, production was limited to 24,577 tonnes in 2013.
Andrew Woollett, ZincOx executive chairman, says, “We are looking forward to a very productive 2014 and also to a firmer zinc price, which recently seems to be responding to the planned closure of major zinc mines.”
MBA Polymers receives investment
MBA Polymers, a company involved in recycling plastics from end-of-life durable goods such as computers, electronics, appliances and automobiles, reports it has received a significant financial investment that will allow it to expand its operations in Worksop, United Kingdom.
Nigel Hunton, CEO of MBA Polymers, says, “This is a sign of real confidence in our business going forward, and this new funding will enable us to complete improvements which will enhance operational performance and expand capacity at our U.K. plant at Worksop.”
Along with the investment, MBA says it expects to see an increase in shredded plastic scrap derived from automobiles shredded at EMR’s new facility coming online near Birmingham, U.K. The company says that when fully operational, EMR’s shredding plant will be the largest recycling plant in the U.K. Shredded plastic produced at the new plant will be sent to MBA’s Worksop location for further processing. EMR, headquartered in the U.K., operates scrap metal recycling facilities in several parts of the world.
“Taking these moves together, we expect that during the year we will be able to expand production, increase efficiency and expand capacity,” says Hunton. “2014 is looking very positive for MBA Polymers with some great opportunities in front of us.”
When the expansion is complete, the plant will be able to handle around 80,000 tonnes of plastic scrap per year. MBA will process a range of industrially generated grades of plastics.
In other company news, MBA Polymers has named Paul Mayhew its new global sourcing manager. In this role, Mayhew will focus on improving the company’s sourcing opportunities and byproduct value creation and on delivering focus to initiating sales growth prospects. Mayhew joined MBA Polymers in 2013 from 2k Manufacturing.
Environment Media Group announces call for entries to U.K. recycling awards
The Awards for Excellence in Recycling and Waste Management, hosted by the Environment Media Group (EMG), are open for entries. The awards are designed to honor authorities, companies, people and the community sector in the United Kingdom.
According to EMG, the founder of the awards, the program rewards innovation, dedication and success within this growing sector. Submissions are welcomed from local authorities, commercial organisations, individuals and the community sector, EMG says. EMG also runs the industry news website www.letsrecycle.com.
For 2014 EMG has launched a new award category, the Circular Economy Success award, as one of the 11 entry groups. The organization also says it will offer a free table of 10 at the awards luncheon to one of the first 100 entrants.
All 11 categories are free to enter and submissions must be received before the closing deadline of midday, 13 March 2014. Entries are scrutinised by an experienced judging panel, before winners are announced at the awards ceremony on Thursday 1 May 2014. EMG says the ceremony will be hosted by a “high-profile” TV celebrity and will take place at The Landmark in London.
“The Awards for Excellence event is a high-profile occasion in the recycling calendar, recognising industry innovation and success,” says letsrecycle.com editor Steve Eminton.