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RTGE Staff September 10, 2013

>METALS

Gerdau to Idle Cambridge, Ontario, Melt Shop
The steel company Gerdau, headquartered in Rio de Janeiro, has announced plans to idle the melt shop at its Cambridge, Ontario, steel mill complex.

Philip Bell, a spokesman for the company, says Gerdau will taper off its melt shop operations during the next several weeks. Gerdau expects the melt shop to be idle until the end of the year at least, Bell says, though the company will continue to monitor market conditions to determine if a restart is warranted. The company reports that about 100 employees could be laid off as a result of the idling.

According to Gerdau, because of the slower than expected economic recovery and the impact of imports, it has decided to shift billet production from its smaller melt shop at the Cambridge mill to its larger melt shop in Whitby, Ontario, which has the capacity to produce enough billets for both mills under current market conditions. The Cambridge rolling mill will continue operating with billets supplied from Whitby.

The company adds, “Staffing level adjustments are expected to take place over the next several weeks as the company applies the provisions in its collective bargaining agreement and evaluates available job opportunities at the Cambridge and Whitby mills. We will continue to make our full range of products and work closely with customers to ensure their requirements are met.”

In related news, Gerdau also has idled its auto shredder in Buffalo, N.Y. Bell says the facility will continue to take in material from peddlers and other sources, however.

In deciding to idle the shredder, Gerdau says it continuously analyzes the marketplace as well as the company’s production capabilities and the most cost effective alternatives to meet the current and future customer needs.

Gerdau adds, “Since the Buffalo yard will continue to operate as a collection point for its mega shredder in Whitby, Ontario, the impact to Buffalo suppliers will be minimal.”


>PLASTICS

ECO Plastics Names New CEO
The U.K.-based plastics recycling firm ECO Plastics has appointed Chris Brown as its new CEO. He replaces Jonathan Short, ECO Plastics’ former managing director, who has been named deputy chairman.

The board of directors for ECO Plastics also has appointed Bill Reeves chairman and Darren Marr chief financial officer.

Under the new structure, Brown, who has more than 18 years of industry experience, will assume responsibility for ECO Plastics’ day-to-day operations and management, while Short, along with Reeves, will focus on innovation and the business’ medium- and long-term strategies.

“We are delighted to name Chris as our new CEO. He has a wealth of experience, is well-respected throughout the FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) industry and will slot straight in,” says Short. “More than anything, today’s announcement is demonstration of the huge progress that ECO Plastics has made since we reopened in 2010. These appointments leave us ideally positioned as we look to take our business into its next chapter with a board that has huge industry experience and expertise.”


>METALS

Novelis Commissions Rolling Mill in Brazil
The U.S.-based rolled aluminium products producer and aluminium recycler Novelis, headquartered in Atlanta, has officially opened its expanded aluminium rolling operations in São Paulo. The company says the expansion will increase aluminium production capacity at the plant by more than 50% to greater than 600,000 tonnes of sheet per year.

The US$340 million expansion is the largest capital investment for Novelis in South America in the past decade, according to the company.

“This investment reflects the ability of Novelis to respond to our customers’ needs, develop new products and surpass market expectations,” says Phil Martens, president and CEO of Novelis. “Brazil is one of the most rapidly growing regions where Novelis operates around the world. With the expansion of our plant in Pindamonhangaba, we expect to meet the growing demand for aluminium flat rolled products in South America for the next decade.”

The expansion included the installation of a third cold rolling mill, a new ingot casting center and a new pusher furnace. It also houses what the company says is the largest aluminium recycling center in South America.

“The investment strengthens the company’s leadership position in key markets, including beverage cans and aluminium packaging,” says Tadeu Nardocci, president of Novelis South America.


>PAPER

James Cropper Develops Technology to Recycle Disposable Coffee Cups
James Cropper, a U.K.-based paper producer, has unveiled a new technology for recycling disposable coffee cups made of from 90% to 95% high-strength paper and 5% polyethylene coating. The company reports that its new technology will allow companies to separate the plastics from the cups, leaving paper pulp that can be recycled into high-quality paper.

The company has opened a £5 million recycling facility at its production mill in Kendal, Cumbria, U.K., that will employ the technology. The new facility was inaugurated by Queen Elizabeth II, who visited James Cropper’s headquarters alongside Princess Anne in July.

In addition to recycling the paper from the cups, James Cropper’s process also allows the plastic coating to be recycled. According to James Cropper, the recycling process involves softening the cups in a warm solution and separating the plastic coating from the fiber. The plastic is skimmed off, pulverized and recycled, leaving water and pulp. Impurities are filtered out, leaving high-grade pulp suitable for use in luxury papers and packaging, the company says.

In a news release, Mark Cropper, chairman of James Cropper, says, “Cup waste is a rich source of high-grade pulp fiber; but, until now the plastic content made this product a contaminant in paper recycling. Our technology changes that and also addresses a major environmental waste problem and accompanying legislation.”

Phil Wild, CEO of James Cropper, says, “This is the latest in a long history of innovation that has kept James Cropper ahead of the game for nearly 170 years and six generations. We were one of the world’s first producers of colored papers, today the preferred choice for packaging of numerous global luxury brands from fashion houses and champagne producers, such as Krug, to smartphone giants and department stores, like Selfridges. We were also a pioneer in the production of paperlike nonwoven materials from carbon and other fibers.”


>METALS

ELG Utica Alloys Acquires Assets from SMM
ELG Utica Alloys Inc., Utica, N.Y., has acquired Metal Management Aerospace Inc. (MMA) from Sims Metal Management Ltd. (SMM), New York.

ELG Utica Alloys recycles titanium, super alloys and high-temperature metals.

MMA, based in Hartford, Conn., was a subsidiary of SMM’s North America Metals business.

SMM says MMA was determined to be noncore because of the unique aspects of its processing capabilities and associated commodities.

According to an SMM news release, “The sale terms have not been disclosed and are not considered material to [SMM]. A pretax loss of about US$9 million is expected to be recognized by [SMM] in relation to the transaction.”


>METALS

Constellium Completes Rolling Mill Expansion in Neuf-Brisach, France
Constellium NV, a France-based manufacturer of value-added aluminium products, reports that it has completed the expansion and enhancement of its aluminium rolling mills in Neuf-Brisach, France.

The plant supplies rolled aluminium products for the beverage, food packaging and automotive markets. The project will enhance the capacity and performance of its facility to meet demands and optimize production, according to Constellium. (Constellium was profiled in the July/August 2013 issue of Recycling Today Global Edition.)

The two major projects comprising the expansion represented an investment of ¤23 million (US$30.5 million). The first project modernized a casting complex dedicated to rolling slab production, which improved the safety and quality of the operations as well as increased casting capacity, the company says.

The second project involved the replacement of a pusher furnace that is dedicated to the homogenization and preheating of slabs before rolling. The replacement is expected to lower energy consumption while increasing throughput and optimizing quality, Constellium says.

“We will continue to invest in the modernization and development of the assets that we expect will support Constellium’s sustainable growth for the benefit of our customers in the years to come,” says Laurent Musy, president of Constellium’s Packaging and Automotive Rolled Products business unit.

Constellium also reports that two similar projects involving the modernization of an additional casting complex and the replacement of another pusher furnace are underway.


>PLASTICS

European Plastics Recycling Group Calls for Separate Collection of PET Trays
The Brussels-based plastics recycling organization Plastics Recyclers Europe (EuPR) is calling for plastics recyclers to separate PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles and containers from PET trays. EuPR says PET trays must have their own recycling stream and must be sorted from PET bottles to ensure resource efficiency.

Casper van den Dungen, chairman of EuPR, says, “Trays and bottles are two different types of products, which cannot be recycled in the same recycling line. Their designs and chemical compositions are not the same and can create quality problems for existing PET recyclers.”

He says the 700,000 tonnes of PET trays consumed in Europe yearly can be recycled if they are properly separated. “This trend will enable investments in lines able to recycle trays and improve Europe’s resource efficiency,” he says.


>METALS

QET Tech Aerospace Launches Aircraft Recycling Service
The Mexican firm QET Tech Aerospace, Ciudad Obregón, Mexico, had added an aircraft end-of-life recycling service to its airframe MRO Service. The new service includes extracting parts, disposing of the chemicals and non-usable material in an environmentally safe way and recovering for recycling the recyclable materials.

According to QET, the Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association (AFRA) estimates some 12,000 aircraft will be retired over the next 20 years. “Because our MRO (maintenance, repair and overall) prices are so low, we can separate out the aircraft under a quality system approved by our aviation authority for the handling of aviation parts. These parts continue to be used in the aviation industry, so it is important to have access to the right manuals, tooling, trained people, aviation insurance and handling system in place,” says Julio Cesar Alvarez, CEO of QET Tech Aerospace.

To further reduce the cost of recycling, QET Tech Aerospace has joined Mexico’s IMMEX program, a system that allows the temporary importation of goods that are used in an industrial process or service to produce, transform or repair foreign goods without covering the payment of general import tax, value added tax and, where appropriate, countervailing duties.

Once the aviation parts are removed, the remainder of the plane is given to a low-cost facility to be discarded under the supervision of QET Tech Aerospace. Also, under the IMMEX program, all the tools and equipment imported for the use in the program can be imported without tax or duties. QET Tech Aerospace provides products and services to the international aviation industry.


>PLASTICS

BVSE Event Examines U.K. Plastics Recycling
Plastics recycling in the U.K. was a focus of presentations during the 16th International Conference on Recycling of Plastics, which took place in Bad Neuenahr, Germany, in June. More than 410 industry experts took part in the event, which was organized by the German recycling association BVSE (Federal Association for Secondary Raw Materials and Waste Management).

According to the U.K.-based recycling research and advocacy group WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme), approximately 2.5 million tonnes of plastic packaging enter the U.K. market every year. In 2012 about 644,000 tonnes (25%) were recycled. By 2017, 42% are expected to be recycled. In order to achieve this target, current efforts would have to be doubled, the group says. Today, more than 40% of plastic bottles are recycled thanks to the development of collection systems in the last 10 years. For household rigids and films, the recycling rates still range below 5%, reported Roger Baynham of the British Plastics Federation (BPF).

Industry experts from the U.K. agree that collections from households and businesses need to be developed further, but also doubt that the current system of packaging recycling is capable of essentially improving plastics recycling.

Like Germany, the U.K. has implemented producer responsibility laws for packaging materials. Companies buy “Packaging Recovery Notes” (PRN/PERN) to fulfill their obligations. The certificates are issued by accredited recyclers or exporters based on the quantity of materials recycled or designated for recycling and to prove that materials have been recycled. The funds are intended to support industry development.


>PLASTICS

Eco-Care Joins Polymotive Group
The engineering plastics recycling firm Eco-Care, headquartered in Krefeld, Germany, has collaborated with Polymotive Group (PMG), based in the Netherlands, to boost the recycling of plastics from the automotive industry. PMG is an automotive consulting group that specialises in managing global automotive original equipment manufacturers- (OEM-) based supplier projects directly at the OEM or from the tier and system supplier community.

Eco-Care has been developing a technology to separate mixed plastics typically recovered from interior trim systems such as instrument panels that include skin, foam and retainer materials. Over the years, Eco-Care, along with a number of larger German OEMs, have developed a system to collect scrap materials from point of use, separate and clean the material and then return the certified product back into the same production facility for further use. In addition to traditional automotive interiors, the separation and reprocessing of other automotive plastics is a growing part of Eco-Care activities.

Michael Downs, CEO of PMG, says, “The arrival of Eco-Care into the PMG family has been welcomed with open arms, the technology, quality and dynamics of this company are a clear positive contribution to our portfolio of virgin plastic products which are already widely used by our customers in the global production of passenger vehicles.”

Jean-Jacques Collin, managing director of Eco-Care, observes, “Over the last several years we have been concentrating our efforts on developing a world-class technology for our domestic customers. Now we are ready to offer this technology and our services to our global automotive partners.”


>ELECTRONICS

Electronics Recycling Event in Singapore Takes Shape
ICM AG has announced the schedule of the 2013 Electronics Recycling Asia event, to be held in Singapore Nov. 12-15. Conference attendees will have access to plant tours Nov. 12 and 15, before and after attending eight sessions Nov. 13 and 14.

Among the tour destinations are electronics recycling plants operated by Cimelia Resource Recovery Pte. Ltd., ECO Special Waste Management and TES-AMM (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. A fourth tour option is a visit to Singapore’s Semaku “seafill” landfill.

The event’s eight sessions feature presentations from representatives of OEMs that include Dell, Wistron Corp. and Hewlett-Packard. Among the recycling companies represented on the speaker roster are Sims Recycling Solutions of the United States, the Li Tong Group of Hong Kong and Umicore Precious Metals Refining and the ALBA Group from Europe.

Electronics Recycling Asia is organized and hosted by Switzerland-based ICM AG. More information on the event, including how to register, can be found at www.icm.ch/wrf-2013.


>METALS

Trimet to Acquire Two Rio Tinto Aluminium Plants
The German aluminium producer Trimet has agreed to acquire two of Rio Tinto’s aluminium plants in France. The plants had become high-cost producers, and Rio Tinto had been seeking to sell the facilities to reduce costs. The two facilities are located in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne and Castelsarrasin.

Trimet says the acquisitions allow the company to extend its portfolio of specialized light metal products. The deal is conditional upon the approval of the regulatory authorities and the execution of an energy supply agreement and a partnership arrangement with Electricite de France (EDF).

The production plants, built by the French aluminium manufacturer Pechiney and later taken over by Rio Tinto Alcan, produce aluminium wire rod for electric cabling.

Under the arrangement, Trimet will take 65% of Rio Tinto’s aluminium smelter in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne in eastern France in addition to a manufacturer of aluminium wires in Castelsarrasin in southwestern France, while EDF will take a 35% stake. French state-owned investment bank BPI may later take a minority stake.

“We are both delighted and proud that we can contemplate maintaining production and saving jobs in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne and Castelsarrasin,” says Heinz-Peter Schlüter, owner and chairman of Trimet Aluminium SE’s supervisory board. “The sites fit in perfectly with Trimet’s strategic orientation. This applies to the qualified staff as much as to technical standards and the superior products. The terms of the transaction also allow us to envisage reliable, long-term investment plans.”

Trimet explains the agreement secures a long-term supply of aluminium oxide and electric power.

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