Municipal Recycling

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August 18, 2009

Greenstar North America Opens San Antonio MRF

Houston-based Greenstar North America has announced the opening of what it claims is the largest recycling facility in Texas. The 180,000-square-foot facility, located in San Antonio, has the capacity to process 20,000 tons per month and features a Bollegraaf single-stream processing system from Van Dyk Baler Corp., Stamford, Conn.

Greenstar reports that it has experienced a dramatic increase in recycling rates across its Texas markets, particularly in San Antonio. Since implementing single-stream recycling, San Antonio’s recycling rates have increased by as much as 200 percent compared to the previous collection approach in some areas.

John Rabon, Greenstar Southwest regional manager, says, "Greenstar opted to build the facility in San Antonio because it has the largest recycling program in the state and will serve as an excellent hub to collect materials from key regions across Texas."

The facility employs approximately 100 people and accepts single-stream materials from other recycling programs across Central and South Texas.

Greenstar handles 2 million tons of recyclables per year through a network of 14 processing facilities. The company has invested more than $300 million in its U.S. recycling business in the last two years, $50 million of which has been invested in Texas.

Boston Introduces Citywide Single-Stream Recycling Program

The city of Boston has switched to a single-stream recycling program that began July 1. The city says it expects to save more than $1 million as a result of the change to its curbside recycling service.

"This single-stream recycling program is key to Boston’s sustainability and is a great example of how we are thinking creatively to make sure Boston’s future is bright despite the difficult economic times we’re facing," Boston Mayor Thomas Menino says.

Jim Hunt, chief of Environmental Services for Boston, says, "Recycling is one of the easiest steps individuals can take to both improve our environment and reduce costs of waste disposal. The pilot programs we advanced in several Boston neighborhoods increased recycling by more than 50 percent and clearly demonstrated that Boston residents want to do their part to recycle more."

During the next year, the city will distribute more than 55,000 carts to residents in individual households and apartment buildings with six or fewer units.

Former NRC Leaders Urge Vote Against KAB Merger

Nearly 50 former leaders of the National Recycling Coalition (NRC), based in Washington, D.C., have urged the association’s members to reject a takeover by Keep America Beautiful (KAB), Stamford, Conn.

"This proposed takeover will eliminate NRC as an independent voice for recycling, giving recyclers just a limited advisory role in an organization that has historically failed to support the structural changes that are essential if progressive recycling policies are to be adopted in this country," says Clifford Case, NRC founder and former president and spokesperson for Save the NRC.

Save the NRC arose out of a May announcement that the NRC board accepted an immediate $200,000 operating loan in exchange for the rights to America Recycles Day and a possible takeover of all trademarks, rights and intellectual property in exchange for a payoff of nearly $500,000 in debt, pending a membership referendum.

Under the terms of the purchase, the NRC, through the NRC Advisory Council, would become a unit of KAB. The NRC would receive three seats on the KAB board of directors.

According to the Save the NRC group, a "no" vote could lead to a number of things including filing into Chapter 11 and reorganizing its debts and its priorities; operating as a volunteer organization with no paid staff that contracts out all services (including conference and Web site) and hosts an open two-way listserve for all members; dissolving completely; or merging with another organization.

"Hundreds of KAB affiliates around the country have done good and important work in litter prevention and beautification at the local level," says Mark Lichtenstein, former NRC board president, "but we don’t believe that KAB is an appropriate owner of the NRC name or programs, or that the proposal before the membership is in the best interests of recycling."