Hope You’re Not Tired of Talking Plastic

Hope You’re Not Tired of Talking Plastic. Having trouble giving up the plastic straw? Keep meaning to bring your own bag to the store?

Maybe Plastic Free July can help motivate you or help you get as close to plastic free as you can.
On the Plastic Free July website, you can take their challenge to do your best to be plastic free for the month. It’s only one month … but it’s long enough for everyone to study their plastic use and recycling habits and see how they can make adjustments. Maybe you could challenge your family or your office and perhaps it will cause companies to take a look at how they might improve their recycling programs.

Plastic Free July was created by the Plastic Free Foundation whose mission is a world free of plastic waste. Founded in Australia in 2011, the organization today has become a worldwide movement with millions of participants in more than 170 countries …

  • MPASS - Plastic recyclingAir New Zealand is removing individual plastic water bottles from several flights for the month. The airline figures their actions can keep almost a half a million bottles out of landfills. The company also says action will reduce carbon emissions by reducing weight on the aircraft.
  • In Hong Kong, a group called HP Ploggers has an invitation on the Event Brite site asking people to sign up for a clean-up Cheung Chau island. If you haven’t heard of plogging, it’s the combination of jogging and picking up litter. The idea started with Stockholm’s runners’ desire to help keep their city clean. It has spread across the world and today, if you do an Instagram search for “plogging,” you get over 70,000 posts.
  • The World Wildlife Fund South Africa has partnered with two other nonprofits in a Plastic Free Mzansi (“Mzansi” is an informal term for South Africa).

Here at home, Greenpeace USA offers great suggestions to make the plastic free effort work for you in an article on the organization’s website: “How to Participate in Plastic Free July.”

  • Beginner: You can pick one disposable item to avoid all month, like single-use plastic straws, coffee cups, grocery bags, or water bottles, and create a new solid habit of bringing your own reusables!
  • Intermediate: You can commit to eliminating those big four (single-use plastic straws, coffee cups, grocery bags, or water bottles) or another mixture of single-use plastic items you notice in your lifestyle.
  • Expert: You can go all in and avoid all disposable plastic all month!

We’re going to hear more and more about recycling as the percentage of people concerned about the environment and climate change continues to grow – in the U.S. and around the world.

Bloomberg News reported in an article last month “Here’s How Climate Change Is Viewed Around the World,” that “Climate change is global in nature, and is creeping higher in surveys of voter concerns. They cite a recent survey of the European Union’s 27 countries (excluding the U.K. which showed that “combating climate change and protecting the environment” was cited as a concern by 43% of respondents, up from 35% a year ago. While it wasn’t the #1 concern in every country, it was in seven countries (Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany), up from five just six months ago.

In the U.S., there are several recent polls which show that concern about the environment and global warming is rising:

  • A Gallup poll this spring found that: “Worry about global warming is up and majorities of Americans support proposals to reduce the use of fossil fuels while increasing the production of wind and solar energy.”
  • In their recent study, “Climate Change in the American Mind: April 2019,” the Yale University Program Climate Change Communication, found that “About half of Americans (54%) say they have thought about global warming more than ‘a little.’”
  • The Pew Research Center released a survey earlier this year which showed, among other things, that “A majority of U.S. adults (56%) say protecting the environment should be a top priority for the president and Congress, while a smaller share (44%) says the same about dealing with global climate change.”

Other new news on plastics:

Customers Demand Green

Customers Demand Green

Consumers Are Choosing Businesses with Green Practices

Here’s the proof

Early American corporate leaders like Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller were also leaders in corporate philanthropy. Through the years, following their example, corporate philanthropy continued to grow, becoming more institutionalized in the early 1950s. According to the Association of Corporate Citizenship Professionals in “Corporate Social Responsibility: A Brief History,” Howard Bowen is known as the “Father of Corporate Social Responsibility.” In his 1953 book, The Social Responsibilities of the Businessman, the American economist and Grinnell (Iowa) College president, first publicly connected the responsibility of corporations to society.

In the years since Bowen’s book, Corporate Social Responsibility has evolved from what was seen as just a “nice thing to do” to more of a corporate necessity.

According to a January, 2019 article in Forbes magazine, investor interest in environmental, social and governance factors has gone mainstream. The article continues, citing a recent study from Oxford University which found that more than “80% of mainstream investors now consider environmental, social and governance information when making investment decisions.”

This investor interest, combined with increasing consumer and employee demands, have resulted in more and more business leaders realizing that attaining sustainability is a necessary step in preparing for the future success of their business.

If you do an internet search for phrases like “green consumer demographics 2018,” you’ll find numerous links like these from the last quarter of 2018:

It’s Official: Customers Prefer Sustainable Companies
Entrepreneur Magazine, December 2018

Was 2018 the Year of the Influential Sustainable Consumer?
U.S. Sustainability Market to Reach $150 Billion By 2021
Nielsen report, December 2018

Customers Demand Green
Small Business Association

Consumers are increasingly using their spending power to effect change.

The number of consumers looking for sustainability in the companies they do business with and the products they buy continues to grow. According to a November 2018 Nielsen study, “Global Consumers Seek Companies That Care About Environmental Issues,” almost half of U.S. consumers (48%) are likely to change what they buy to meet environmental standards.

The Nielsen study continues: “While still juggling convenience, price and awareness along with their need to better the world, they’re looking for companies to step up as partners in their quest to do good …” This isn’t a trend a company can simply side-step. Sooner or later, whether through government regulation, sheer force of nature, or public outcry, companies will need to respond. No matter what market you’re in, connecting sustainability factors to how it impacts consumers is the key.”

In addition to making choices about where to shop and where to eat and drink, many of these concerned consumers are going to be looking for a place to live and – if you are one of the large multi-family developments – you want to give them every reason to choose you.

If you need a second reason for a waste audit …
                                                       … remember that your customers may be watching

Read more:
The Business ROI of Social Investments

Audit is Not a Dirty Word with M-PASS

Audit is Not a Dirty Word with M-PASS

If you’re like a lot of people, this is the last word you want to hear. Maybe it’s the thought of IRS agents combing through that pile of receipts from three years ago? Given the general use of the word, a bit of fear is not an overreaction. For example, here’s Merriam-Webster’s first definition of the word: “…a formal examination of an organization’s or individual’s accounts or financial situation.” And their example: “The audit showed that the company had misled investors.” Even if no one has done anything wrong, the word still has a negative connotation.

But there is a way that the idea of an audit can elicit happier feelings, save businesses money, and help the environment.

We’re hearing the phrase “waste audit” more and more in the business world and there are several reasons why. A waste audit can potentially save your organization money. This type of audit assesses a company’s existing waste diversion practices along with the equipment and transport they use. And it’s an important topic for our business to be thinking about at this moment because we need to be looking for easier, more efficient, and more cost-effective methods of waste diversion.

Why?

  • An audit can uncover over spending or unnecessary costs in a company’s waste diversion operations, resulting in savings for the company.
  • An effective assessment has the end result of reducing the amount of material taken to landfills which helps everyone, while reducing costs.
  • In today’s world, a company’s commitment to sustainability matters to consumers.

Economic factors are pushing us towards more effective, more efficient waste diversion. A waste audit is the answer – a business that has made the recommended changes after an audit will show clear proof that they are operating in the most sustainable way possible and saving money. A dedicated audit team continues to monitor results to ensure that the changes prompted by the audit continue.

Businesses of every size, from fast-food restaurants to bars to college and university campuses, will find significant economic benefits from a waste audit. Larger companies, such as manufacturing and distribution centers, as well as property management companies also benefit.

Historically, our industry has included instances of overcharging or over-servicing clients.

Both these, and other issues, will come to light in a waste audit. For example an audit may determine that a company is being of over-serviced if it has a dumpster pick-up five times a week when it’s needed only twice a week.

Sometimes it’s as simple as that you don’t know what you don’t know.

A good waste audit is a thorough one. An independent experienced third-party audit team gets to know your waste intimately by conducting on-site surveys to review existing equipment, space restrictions, process flow, and recyclables that can be diverted from landfill to reduce operating expenses.

And a good audit team doesn’t leave – they are always there for ongoing support and to measure the success of the new program.

Read on to learn about M-PASS’s audit process and how it can help your business save money and join the move toward more sustainable business practices.

M-PASS and Audits (and You)
We Are M-PASS and we approve this message.

“M-PASS has saved each of the participating US business units of Mainetti over $150k this year – as you know that savings goes straight to the profit line. It was humbling to ‘learn what we didn’t know’ when we felt we had our hands on the pulse of all aspects we touch. They are the real deal.”

Russel Folmar
General Manager – Mainetti RTS

As more companies are learning about the benefits of waste and recycling audits, M-PASS is ready to help.

M-PASS uses a proprietary, multi-step audit process to examine all components of an organization’s existing waste & recycling programs. The goal is to maximize efficiencies and reduce associated costs.

  • THIS IS IMPORTANT BECAUSE – the audit process sets M-PASS apart from other companies doing audits.

A waste and recycling audit will produce savings for your organization and enhance your “green” initiatives

  • THIS IS IMPORTANT BECAUSE – those concerned customers are asking demanding increased sustainability where they live, work, shop, and eat and drink.

Audits can include solid waste, grease, special & hazardous waste, and recyclable materials such as organics, fiber, plastics, glass, metals, wood, etc.

  • THIS IS IMPORTANT BECAUSE – M-PASS leaves no trash untouched.

The entire process is quantified so the process is guaranteed to be transparent. M-PASS Environmental will not implement anything other than what would be defined as “durable” or lasting savings opportunities.

  • THIS IS IMPORTANT BECAUSE – Transparency ensures there will never be any question about results.

WHAT ELSE SETS M-PASS APART?

We specialize in discovering incremental cost savings and revenues associated with waste disposal and recyclable materials

We are independent and have no direct ties to any particular landfill or recycling facility. 

We conduct a “Shared Savings Audit.” This means there is no upfront cost. We get paid by sharing in the savings we generate for you.  We also offer fee-based audits, if preferred.

Don’t Just Scrap It

Don’t Just Scrap It

What do you think of when you hear the word “scrap?”

Throw away those scraps of paper. Feed those scraps to the dogs. I can’t use this; just scrap it.

But when we talk about “scrap metal” the word takes on a whole different meaning.

Scrap metal literally is what’s left over. Old cars and appliances. Building materials from a construction site or a demolition site. Cast Iron.

But don’t throw this kind of scrap away, send it to a junkyard, or leave it lying around your business or home. It’s valuable.

For thousands of year, people have understood the benefits of scrap metals, turning their existing materials into new goods.

Have you ever wondered why the outside of Rome’s Colosseum looks like it’s covered with holes? The original construction of the Colosseum used iron clamps to hold the stones together. After the Fall of Rome, the metal became extremely valuable and people swiped it for their own purposes – using it in other structures or making weapons.

And, here in the U.S. during World War II, scrap drives were a popular way for everyone to contribute to the war effort. People collected unused or unwanted metal that could be used in building equipment to fight the war – and the drives also built morale.

WHY RECYCLE METAL
Like glass (M-PASS November, 2017), metal is a natural element, mined from the earth.  Over time the excavated land is depleted and the miners move to other areas looking for metals, taking a huge toll on the land.

Like other types of recycling, reusing metals affects our environment in a number of ways:

  • preserving natural resources
  • reducing emissions
  • and managing energy consumption

Recycling metal can also bring great economic benefits. Scrap metal recycling today is the basis for a powerful industry because it many metals can be recycled an infinite number of times with no degradation of its properties. And it’s an industry that provides jobs.

According to the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. (ISRI), “The scrap recycling industry connects the ends of the manufacturing supply chain. It has evolved in response to changing market dynamics and represents a key component in creating a circular economy.” ISRI’s 2018 Recycling Industry Yearbook follows that statement with this chart:

2017 Volume of Scrap Material Processed in the United States (metric tons)

Iron and Steel 66,000,000
Aluminum 5,268,000
Copper 1862,000
Lead 1056,000
Zinc 67,000
Paper 46,100,000
Plastics 815,000 (2016)
Electronics 5 million + (est)
Tires (# of tires) 110,000,000 (2016)

ALL SCRAP IS NOT EQUAL
To gain the optimum environmental and economic benefits of recycling scrap, you need to know your metals. In case we’ve all forgotten our geology, metals are classified as ferrous or non-ferrous; both types have been used by humans since ancient times. And if you’re not sure which you have, a good old-timey magnet will identify the ferrous materials.

Ferrous metals are combinations of iron with carbon. Some common ferrous metals include carbon steel, alloy steel, wrought iron, and cast iron.

Non-ferrous metals include aluminum, copper, lead, zinc, and tin. Precious metals are non-ferrous. The most common precious metals include gold, platinum, silver, and palladium.

In “The Basics of Recycling Scrap Metal for Money,” Earth 911 ranks the value of the materials:
Copper $$$$
Brass $$
Stainless Steel $$
Aluminum $$

Copper has always been valuable and was the first metal to be forged or melted into jewelry and other decorative objects. Copper’s value today is due to its importance in many products that affect our daily lives, such as power cables and plumbing tubes.

And on the lower end, although scrap aluminum isn’t worth a lot of money, it can be recycled and used again within a few months. The recycling process saves 80% of the energy that was used to make it.

ECONOMICS OF SCRAP METAL
Scrap prices are subject to many of the same market forces as primary commodities and can experience similar price volatility. The main factors determining scrap price are international and domestic markets and supply and demand.

Copper continues to have the highest value, as evidenced in the increasing number of copper thefts over the last few years. For example, in an October 2012 article, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported “Arrests made in copper wire theft ring,” when six people were arrested for stealing wire hanging from AT&T telephone poles and selling it directly to metal recyclers. More recently – in December of last year – street lights went out at an intersection in Kansas City, Missouri, because thieves had stolen the copper wiring from the lights.

The scrap market has become increasingly globalized, partly as a function of better transportation and technological systems, as well as a greater recognition world-wide of the benefits of using scrap commodities due to limited natural resources. As it has become more global, it has made positive contribution to the U.S. balance of trade, with major exports to China, Canada, Mexico, and Turkey, among other countries.

China remains a huge influencer in scrap market prices, as it has in many parts of our business over the last few years. Added to existing U.S.-China trade tension, it’s been difficult to predict how the market will perform this year.

Robin Wiener, ISRI President summed it up this way in an interview with Recycling Today late last year: “China has been the major source of overseas demand for U.S. nonferrous scrap. As a result, China’s import restrictions are having outsized impacts on a range of nonferrous scrap commodities. For example, U.S. exports of copper and copper alloy scrap to mainland China during January to July 2018 were down 41 percent as compared to the first seven months of 2017. The corresponding figure for aluminum scrap is a 26 percent decrease.”

OUTLOOK
Even with these variables, analysts are predicting a growth in the global scrap metal recycling market. ResearchandMarkets.com released the “Global Scrap Metal Recycling Market 2018-2022” report in late 2018. Their findings predict that the global scrap metal recycling market will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.16% from 2018-2022.

The report continues: “… one of the major drivers for this market is the rise in role of metal recycling in key industries. Recycling has witnessed increased importance in key industries such as healthcare and automotive.”  But it also cautions:  “The uncertainly in trade of steel and aluminum among the leading countries will affect the global scrap metal recycling market during our forecast period.”

Global Market Insights analysts expect that continuing strong consumer demand and intense production in the sector will continue, powered by the increasing use of scrap metals for economic viability and energy conservation.

Copper continues to hold its value and even with China’s import restrictions, the outlook for copper demand is bright for 2019, as demand is expected to outpace supply.

On the other hand, the aluminum scrap market is not as optimistic. Due in part to oversupply, while aluminum scrap is moving, it is not moving at a rate or price that most scrap dealers find satisfactory. The imbalance between supply and demand has pulled pricing lower, and spreads have widened.

In case this hasn’t already caused your head to spin, these two headlines about the ferrous market from different issues of Recycling Today define the meaning of the word “volatility”:

January 11, 2019: “Ferrous scrap loses value in January trading”
March 21, 2019: “RMDAS (Raw Material Data Aggregation) prices show ferrous
market rebound Mill buying price transactions show $20 per ton gains for nearly
all grades in all regions.”

YOU DON’T HAVE TO FIGURE THIS OUT ON YOUR OWN
Fortunately, there are resources that can guide us through what may seem like a complicated process.

The ISRI issues a Weekly Market Report which tracks prices and other commodity news.
And, of course, there’s an app for that: the iScrap App allows you to keep up with prices and other industry news on your phone.

Or we can help. If you don’t have a magnet handy to determine if you scrap metal is ferrous or non-ferrous, or if you want to simplify the whole process, M-PASS Environmental can help you sort it out. M-PASS’s Lorraine White: “We manage a large volume of scrap metal across the United States and are able to leverage outstanding scrap metal pricing for our clients. We understand the scrap metal industry and therefore, provide above average rebate programs to our customers.”
For more information:

Bureau of International Recycling

ISRI Industry Recycling Yearbook 2018
This annual publication by ISRI, “the voice of the recycling industry,” provides an in-depth look at all areas of scrap recycling.

Recycling International “Scrap News”
“Unveiling recycled metal industry trends with respect to the metal landscape: escalating demand for scrap metal processing to augment the industry expansion over 2018-2024”

December 2018 report from Global Market Insights

We Believe…

The Children Are Our Future

It’s hard to believe that we’re already in the second month of 2019 and trying to remember what New Year’s resolutions we made this year. There’s still time to re-visit them and maybe make a few others. We’re hoping the younger generation will have greater success in keeping theirs.

Global Recycling Day 2019

New Year’s resolutions aren’t always a sure thing, but let’s make this one last. Youth and education are at the center of the second Global Recycling Day’s 2019 theme “Recycling into the Future.” This year’s program centers on the power of youth, education, and innovation in ensuring a brighter future for the planet. Looking ahead to the March 18th event, the Global Recycling Foundation is asking children across the world to make better recycling practices one of their 2019 New Year’s resolutions.

Read more about Seven Recycling Promises to Become a Global Recycling Citizen here.

Read more about the Global Recycling Foundation here.

There are also some great ideas and inspiration for children and their families this year.

I Want To Be Recycled

Keep America Beautiful and the Ad Council are partnering on the “I Want To Be Recycled” public service advertising (PSA) and awareness campaign. The bi-lingual, multi-media campaign illustrates that an individual can “Give Your Garbage Another Life.” The website has lots of information and the “Super Sorter” game.

Read more about I Want to Be Recycled here.

Ryan’s Recycling

Ryan Hickman was about four years old when he accompanied his dad to their local recycling center and cashed in a few cans and bottles. That was the turning point for this young man who today, at age nine, heads his own company – Ryan’s Recycling. Ryan started in his Orange County, California, neighborhood and his efforts soon expanded to people in the town of San Juan and his county. Ryan is passionate for recycling, and works to keep the cans and bottles from reaching the ocean and harming the environment.

Since he began, Ryan has recycled nearly half a million cans and bottles. About three years ago, the company started selling tee shirts and Ryan donates the money to the Pacific Marine Mammal Center – over $8,000 in two and a half years.

Read more about Ryan’s Recycling here.

 Really Get Back to Nature — Go Hiking On a New (Reclaimed) Trail

Greenville, South Carolina’s Lake Conestee Nature Park is connecting its 12-mile trail network to the nearby site of a former municipal landfill, providing a connection between Lake Conestee and several service roads on the former landfill property and will ultimately lead to a series of one-way trails with observation points. The 100-acre landfill, closed by the city of Greenville in 1995, is one of the tens of thousands of closed municipal landfills in the United States. The city will constantly monitor levels of contamination and signs will mark safe/unsafe areas.

Read more about the transformation here.

Read more about the Lake Conestee Nature Area here.

And if the New Year involves some closet-cleaning (or if you’re a follower of Marie Kondo) …

Crayola Markers

While the entire marker is not recyclable, it’s possible to recycle the plastic marker barrel after removing the tip and the reservoir.  The marker caps can be recycled at recycling facilities that accept #5 plastic.

But if you have drawers or cabinets full of old markers (or if, like me, you don’t want to sit there and take them apart), Crayola has developed a process to convert markers to energy — a “ … process that repurposes the entire marker, regardless of the different kinds of plastic or how they are assembled ….” And Crayola has partnered with K-12 schools across North America in ColorCycle, an initiative to encourage collecting used markers that will be repurposed by the company.

Not only do they take back used markers, you can find lesson plans and other information about the program on their website. (ColorCycle)  They’ve added a couple of financial inducements – FedEx Ground picks up the markers and Crayola pays for the shipping. And until March 2, 2019, they are offering a discount on online orders with the code: RECYCLE.

Lego

This popular company has a different problem with petroleum-based plastics – they’re the product, not the packaging. But last year Lego announced that they are joining other companies looking to reduce plastic waste. Their goal is to build its toys entirely from plant-based or recycled materials by 2030.

An article in the August, 2018, New York Times, reported “Lego Wants to Completely Remake Its Toy Bricks (Without Anyone Noticing)”. Lego already uses plant-based materials in flexible parts of a small percentage of their products. A team of researchers is working on ways to make changes in their product while keeping it the same Lego the world has loved since the 1950s.

Legos are one of the things that can easily be reused (in Stuff!, the December, 2018, M-PASS blog we highlight reuse). They can be passed along to younger children in your family or your neighborhood; or you can donate them to a school, nursery, or secondhand shop. 

For a local perspective, we talked to 12-year-old Talia Camp to get her thoughts on recycling. At this 6th grader’s school, she and her peers work together to educate others about recycling. When asked if she talks with her school friends about recycling and the environment, Talia said, “Yes, all the time. I stay on them at lunch to put the cans in the single recycling bin we currently have at the school.” Talia’s biggest worry is for our oceans and wildlife: “It concerns me to think animals are living in and consuming our trash. We are contaminating what we eat.”

M-PASS will fill your company’s or organization’s needs to contribute to a more sustainable world. You can, in turn, take it home (if you haven’t already).

 

2019 – What’s Ahead

What's Going On With.....

As we head into 2019, M-PASS is keeping an eye on important issues for the recycling industry – including important topics from 2018 which will continue to be in the news and new trends and ideas the industry will be looking at this year.

WHAT’S GOING ON WITH …

Glass

Glass recycling continues to be a difficult issue, though work to improve efforts to recycle.  Glass also continues. 

Some key findings from the Glass Recycling Coalition’s 2018 Glass Recycling Survey:

  • Expectations of consumers and residents to be able to recycle glass decreased slightly (3%).
  • Concern about glass recycling decreased by 14 percent among public-sector respondents, while concern increased among glass industry respondents by 14 percent. Both sectors identified cost-effectiveness as a top concern.
  • Respondents care what happens to recycled glass.

 

China

During 2018 China continued increasing its ban and restrictions on recyclables.

Waste Dive reports that China has announced plans to restrict imports of eight different scrap categories – including aluminum, steel and copper – starting July 1. According to the Bureau of International Recycling, these materials previously were on the “unrestricted” materials list, but will be subject to restrictions and government approval under the new regulations.  These actions move China closer to its goal to eliminate solid waste imports by 2020, according to Recycling International.

Food Waste

Organic recycling is expected to increase in 2019, driven by legislation and consumers’ demands for increased sustainability.  On December 20th, the President signed the Agriculture Improvement of Act of 2018. The Farm Bill includes eight new provisions and programs to reduce food waste, including pilot funding to support state and local composting and food waste reduction plans in 10 states, creation of a Food Loss and Waste Liaison position within the USDA, and clarification and expansion of liability protections for food donations. These provisions reflect longstanding recommendations of Farm Bill Law Enterprise (FBLE) member, Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic

And sustainability is listed as one of Food Dive’s “6 Trends to Impact the Food Industry in 2019

No Surprise: Already a climate change leader, California takes on food waste

Technology

Entering 2019, industry experts predict that the use of smart technology will continue to grow, as the industry works to clean up recycling streams, improve safety, strengthen operations and create new job opportunities.

Industry Experts Provide 2018 Highlights, 2019 Predictions 

Scrap Metal

The scrap marketplace has become increasingly global in recent decades and the United States is the largest exporter of recycled commodities in the world – exports of all scrap commodities from the United States increased to nearly 38 million tons last year.

2018 Recycling Industry Scrapbook The industry anticipates continued growth in 2019, providing jobs and increased economic activity.               

Political and Legislative

In addition to national legislation like the 2018 Farm Bill, states and cities are also taking action.

Starting January 1, 2019, New York City stores and foodservice businesses can no longer offer, sell or possess single-use foam food containers, such as foam takeout clamshells, cups, plates, bowls and trays. And manufacturers and stores may no longer sell or offer for sale packing peanuts or other loose-fill packaging in the city.

DSNY: Foam Ban for Businesses Begins

Hennepin County, Minnesota (Minneapolis) enacted revisions to its recycling ordinance in 2018. The biggest change requires companies generating large quantities of food waste —restaurants, grocery stores and hotels — to implement organics recycling by January 1, 2020.

Plastic items continue to disappear as Boston enacts a plastic-bag ban, California became the first state to ban plastic straws (unless requested at dine-in restaurants) and Los Angeles goes a step further with an effort to completely ban plastic straws in local restaurants by 2021.

RECYCLING ECONOMICS

For the first time since late 2015, Montgomery (AL) is getting ready to open its recycling facility. Through a partnership with Repower South, the city will ramp up machinery to fine tune the addition of more than $10 million in equipment to the existing $37 million facility before running all of the city’s trash through the building sometime in January.

In December BioHiTech Global, Inc., a technology and services company that provides cost-effective and sustainable waste management solutions, announced it had completed the acquisition of an additional 26.8% ownership stake in the nation’s first HEBioT™ renewable resource recovery facility located in Martinsburg, West Virginia, making it the largest owner of the facility. This facility is expected to generate $7 million of annual high margin revenue beginning in 2019, utilizing a patented high efficiency mechanical and biological treatment process for the disposal and recycling of mixed municipal solid waste into an EPA approved solid recovered fuel.  The HEBioT Process is expected to divert from landfills as much as 80% of the waste that enters the facility.

 In November, the Northeast Recycling Council released a list of 17 North American paper mills that have announced an increase in their capacity to process recycled paper. The list includes 15 in the U.S. and two in Mexico, and includes new mills as well as mills adding recycled fiber capacity or converting what they process.

 The Circular Economy

Introduced by researchers in 1976 the term “circular economy” is increasingly heard in the recycling industry, as business and organizations are working to develop and implement solutions to landfill diversion and focus on sustainable package design, waste reduction, and  the concept of reuse and upcycle.

Even the U.S. Chamber of Commerce promotes change in their Sustainability and Circular Program. This program states that the linear economy approach of extracting natural resources from the ground , made into products, used, and thrown away has proved to be highly successful in delivering economic development in past years. It acknowledges, however, that global trends indicate that the ability of this traditional model to produce economic growth is being increasingly challenged, requiring search for alternative approaches that can work in the long term. As a result of our throwaway society, natural resources are being depleted at an accelerating rate, and the ecosystems upon which business and society depend on are being degraded or destroyed.”

CLOSER TO HOME

According to Gloria Hardegree, the Georgia Recycling Coalition is “…taking a What’s your Focus for 2019 approach based on some of the main topics that came out of the Resource Recycling conference last fall.”

Here are some ideas

  • Zeroing in on a clean stream and how to lessen contamination;
  • Glass recycling: fact vs. fiction.
  • Broken glass is accepted for recycling;
  • Glass has not been hit by China’s policies
  • There are strong end markets for glass
  • Labels and organics present no problem for recycling glass
  • Demand for glass is about 11 million tons per year in the U.S.
  • By the numbers: Metrics and data have been growing topics of focus in the industry; Stay Tuned: GRC is working with the state to adopt the Municipal Measurement Program launching in early 2019—a collaboration of Re-TRAC and the Recycling Partnership. It will be free for local governments and replace our Measure GA program.
  • More organics/composting growth/infrastructure: with the national wasted food reduction goals, efforts are ramping up at the Community Based Compost level as well as small scale site opening and large scale manufacturing sites in the works. This area is starting to gain traction in Georgia.

Source: Georgia Recycles newsletter, Fall 2018

A bit of irony illustrates that we can’t stop working …

No More Plastic was written Martin Dorey and released in 2018. The English author is an environmental advocate who says he worked with the printer “to make it one of the most environmentally friendly books of the year.” So you can imagine how he felt when the book’s distributor shrink-wrapped the book. Dorey told the BBC: We’re sleep-walking into oblivion with plastic and we need to change everything from the bottom up.

Remember that wherever 2019 takes you and your business, M-PASS is here, adapting to anticipated changes in our industry.

 

ADD TO YOUR CALENDAR

Global Recycling Day, March 18th

Earth Day, April 22nd

America Recycles Day, November 15th

 

 

CONFERENCES

February 24 – 25, 2019. Southeast Recycling Conference & Trade Show, Orlando FL. For more information, visit http://www.southeastrecycling.com.

 

May 6 – 9, 2019. Waste Expo, Las Vegas NV. For information, visit http://www.wasteexpo.com/we17/Public/Enter.aspx.

 

11th World Congress and Expo on Recycling

June 13-14, 2019 Edinburgh, Scotland

Theme: Recycling: Creating a Sustainable World

 

2nd Global Summit on Recycling and Waste Management

THEME: RECYCLE MORE, WASTE LESS: A PLEDGE TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Date: July 22-23, 2019

Location: Tokyo, Japan