White paper sheds light on ‘real’ recycling rates
Bill Moore of Moore & Associates, an Atlanta-based consulting firm for the paper and paper recycling industry, and Peter Engel of Kessler Consulting Inc., a solid waste consulting firm based in Tampa, Florida, have released the white paper “Demystifying MSW Recycling Rates,” which sheds light on “real” recovery rates for municipal solid waste (MSW) in the United States.
The team says it believes this is the first study to integrate national MSW recovery rate data and to distinguish between the residential and the industrial, commercial and institutional (IC&I) sectors.
“A common foundation is essential for meaningful discussion and comparison among national, state and local jurisdictions,” Engel says. “This white paper provides some clarity that should help advance the dialogue.”
Some of the key findings are:
- Recent research and the authors’ analysis suggest that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) MSW recovery and disposal numbers, which are widely referenced by stakeholders, may underestimate national MSW generation and overestimate recovery.
- Comparing local government recovery rates to national statistics is rarely valid. Furthermore, the diversity of methods that state and local governments use to calculate recovery rates makes comparison amongst jurisdictions highly susceptible to misinterpretation.
- The authors estimate the IC&I sector generates 61 percent of MSW, while the residential sector generates 39 percent.
- Estimated materials recovery is 23 percent of MSW nationally, with organics recovery adding another 5 percent, for a total of 28 percent, less than EPA’s 34 percent recovery rate.
- The authors estimate that the IC&I sector recovers 30 percent of its MSW through materials recycling, while residential materials recovery is estimated to be 14 percent of MSW generated.
Veolia North America relocates headquarters
Veolia North America, an environmental services company, has announced plans to move its North American headquarters to Boston. The company already has 280 employees in the Boston/Cambridge area and more than 700 employees in Massachusetts.
“We believe that Massachusetts and the Greater Boston area, with its commitment to sustainability and growing a knowledge-based, innovation-driven economy, is a perfect fit with Veolia’s mission of ‘Resourcing the world,’” says Veolia North America CEO William DiCroce. “The region is an exceptional hub for talent, innovation and creativity, and it has a rock-solid commitment to sustainability. These qualities mirror the future we envision for Veolia as we develop new ways to meet today’s environmental challenges.”
DiCroce recently was named the president and CEO of Veolia North America. He previously served as president and chief operating officer of Veolia North America’s Municipal and Commercial business and has led Veolia’s energy business in North America since 2013.
Veolia adds that personnel currently based in its downtown Chicago headquarters who do not relocate to Boston will transition to the company’s Lombard, Illinois, offices.
Rhode Island adopts Recycle Across America standardized labels
Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corp. (RIRRC) has announced that Rhode Island has adopted standardized recycling bin labels from Recycle Across America (RAA).
RAA is a nonprofit organization based in Minneapolis that has created standardized labels for recycling bins in the U.S.
RIRRC partnered with RAA to develop a standardized label specifically for the state, which joins major U.S. brands, such as NBC Universal, Bank of America and Whole Foods, that have already adopted the labels.
“We are thrilled to have Rhode Island as our first state, and we commend RIRRC for its leadership,” says Mitch Hedlund, RAA executive director. “Recycling is the No. 1 thing society can do to help the environment, the economy, sustainable manufacturing and to help protect the oceans, but only when people recycle right.”
RAA is hoping to solve the problem of consumer confusion at the recycling bin by helping to make recycling signage look the same across the U.S. “We know how important it is to make all stop signs octagonal and red. We need to apply this same principle to the standardization of recycling bins,” Hedlund says.
More than 1 million RAA standardized labels are displayed on bins throughout the U.S. and have been proven to increase recycling rates from 50 percent to 100 percent, the nonprofit says, while reducing contamination with trash—a challenge Rhode Island has been facing in recent years.
The Rhode Island labels look like RAA’s standard mixed recycling labels but feature items recyclable in the state’s program.
“The new RI labels will provide the most basic, bare bones information that we need Rhode Islanders to have in order to produce good quality recycling,” says Krystal Noiseux, RIRRC education and outreach manager. “They don’t drill down into every detail you need to be a perfect recycler, rather they focus on using pictures and providing only the essential rules that anyone can easily follow, starting in elementary school.”
Closed Loop Fund to invest in Tennessee recycling program
The Closed Loop Fund (CLF), which issues below-market loans to strengthen recycling infrastructure throughout the U.S., has announced plans to invest $3.25 million to help Memphis, Tennessee, develop its recycling program.
The CLF estimates the city’s introduction of a recycling program will divert more than 48,000 tons of material from landfills.
To accomplish this, The Recycling Partnership, a national nonprofit based in Falls Church, Virginia, is providing $135,000 in communications funding, resources and in-kind support to ensure that Memphians participate and recycle right. In 2014, The Recycling Partnership provided support for the initial 40,000-cart pilot in Memphis.
The CLF says it has access to $100 million that it plans on using to increase the recycling of products and packaging.
Mayor Jim Strickland says, “The city of Memphis’ recycling program is a core service and highlights our commitment to become a leading progressive city in the South. I’m especially grateful to the Closed Loop Fund for its partnership in making this happen. With their help, over 100,000 recycling carts will be delivered throughout Memphis, with expected increases in recycling volumes to exceed 200 percent.”
“We are excited for the Closed Loop Fund’s newest investment and hope it will prove to be a role model for other cities and towns to replicate,” says Laura Phillips, senior vice president of sustainability for Wal-Mart, a chief sponsor of the CLF.
Additionally, Rob Kaplan, CLF cofounder and managing director, presented at the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) Environment Committee June 23, saying, “Today, Closed Loop Fund and our partners are helping 100,000 households gain access to recycling because it saves taxpayer dollars and improves consumer product supply chains. We hope sharing these investments at the U.S. Conference of Mayors will inspire mayors and municipalities across the U.S. to invest in recycling as a way to improve their communities and the environment.”
During the annual meeting, the USCM announced a list of resolutions targeting facets of recycling and waste reduction. Co-sponsored by Mayor Greg Stanton of Phoenix, chair of the USCM Environment Committee, the mayors passed resolutions (http://usmayors.org/resolutions/84th_conference/proposedcommittee-review.asp?committee=environment) in support of recycling and reducing food waste.
Hollywood, Florida, partners with Recycling Perks
In mid-September 2016, all single-family, multifamily and commercial participants in the Recyclebank incentive program in Hollywood, Florida, will have access to a new incentive program after six years.
The new incentive program from Recycling Perks, Norfolk, Virginia, will offer reward points to registered users that can be redeemed for discounts, freebies and special deals from retailers, restaurants, grocers and more. Ninety-five percent of these businesses are local, according to Recycling Perks, and the remainder are national businesses with a local presence.
All year long, the local Hollywood Recycling Perks representative will participate in neighborhood meetings, environmental awareness campaigns and city-sponsored events to promote the incentive program and to educate residents about recycling.
Recycling Perks LLC was started in Virginia in partnership with TFC Recycling, Chesapeake, Virginia, in May 2010 as a vehicle to provide recycling incentives to current and future residential recycling customers. Since then it has been adopted by many cities on the East Coast, including Atlanta; Clearwater, Florida; and Richmond, Virginia.
Recycling Perks has two goals: to get more people to recycle and to involve the community in making their cities greener.
Each partnership is tailored to the specific needs of each city served, according to the company.
Recycling Perks says it has built a knowledge base that allows it to provide service and support to cities that are looking to enhance their recycling programs, reward residents, foster community involvement in nonprofits and facilitate a “shop-local” environment.
“Hollywood takes a lot of pride in their recycling program, and we are ready to work together to provide additional education, outreach and rewards,” Recycling Perks President Bill Dempsey says.
Explore the August 2016 Issue
Check out more from this issue and find you next story to read.
Latest from Recycling Today
- SA Recycling makes diversity honors list
- Property in northwest Ohio considered for new MRF
- Recycling Today Media Group launches the Battery and Critical Metals Recycling Conference
- WM sees less growth in its collection and disposal volumes year over year
- Amcor to invest $250K into Circolution
- Direct Pak, City of Phoenix reclaim more than 16 million pounds of recycled PET
- Western Placer WMA joins Bye Bye Mattress collection program
- Call2Recycle Canada, GFL partner to expand battery recycling capacity in Western Canada