Special Report: Recycling

Highlights from Day Two of WasteExpo 2016

Day two of WasteExpo 2016 kicked off with the National Waste and Recycling Association’s (NWRA) Awards Breakfast, which recognizes the industry's brightest stars. The awards presented at the event included: Driver of the Year, Hall of Fame, Distinguished Service, Member of the Year, Chapter Leadership Award and Special Trustee.

Day two of WasteExpo 2016 kicked off with the National Waste and Recycling Association’s (NWRA) Awards Breakfast, which recognizes the industry's brightest stars. The awards presented at the event included: Driver of the Year, Hall of Fame, Distinguished Service, Member of the Year, Chapter Leadership Award and Special Trustee. Attendees also participated in 13 education sessions, which covered the topics of organics and food recovery, technology, waste and recycling sorting, safety, finance and leasing, source performance standards for landfills and much more.

Here are some highlights from the second day of WasteExpo:

1. The National Waste & Recycling Association unveiled the winners at the annual Awards Breakfast at WasteExpo on Tuesday morning.

The winners included:

Women's Council Scholarships

Lyndsey Schumucker, Cornerstone Environmental Group; Makayla Marr, Rumpke Consolidated Companiese; Audrey Aviles, Advanced Disposal Services

NWRA Member of the Year Awards

Terry Guerin, Southside Landfill and Jeannie Dubinski, Big Truck Rental.

Chapter Leadership Awards

Will Flower, Winter Bros. Waste Systems of Conn.; Ron Bergamini, The Action Environmental Group; and Robert Lee, Ecotech Waste Logistics

NWRA Distinguished Service Awards

Rick Prather, Advanced Disposal Services and Jason Lind, Cram-A-Lot

2016 Drivers of the Year

Ronald Work, Waste Management, Ambridge, Pa., Large Commercial

David Brian Bedford, Republic Services, Boise, Id., Large Industrial

Efren 'Fernando' Lopez, Republic Services, Stockton, Calif., Large Residential

Scott Bruso, PDC/AREA Disposal, Morton, Ill. Medium Company

Daniel Clark, City of Tacoma, Wash. Public Sector LargeMark Frazure, MOA Solid Waste Services, Anchorage, Alaska, Public Sector Small

Rickie Patterson, Rumpke Consolidated Cos., Cincinnati, Regional Commercial

Angel Veloz, Waste Pro USA, Ft. Myers, Fla., Regional Industrial

Chuck Lawyer, Casella Waste, Williston, Vt., is the Regional Residential

Gary Reay, Wasatch Front Waste & Recycling District, Wasatch Front, Utah, Small Company

Hall of Fame

Bill Meyer, Republic Services; Michael Paine, Paine's Inc.; and Kevin Walbridge & Charles Walton, Wastequip 

2. Rod Muir, waste diversion expert for the Sierra Club Canada Foundation; Richard Lombardo, director of business development for North America for Natur-Tec; Jason Sanders, national programs manager for EcoSafe Zero Waste; and Sarah Martinez, Eco-Products’ self-titled sustainability maven, spoke about residential food scrap program development, the role of compostable products in food recovery and packaging solutions during their education session.

Muir discussed the four food scrap decisions you need to make:

  1. Choose technology.
  2. Choose your collection frequency and method.
  3. Choose your containers.
  4. Communication.

“If you take away one thing from my presentation, it's the importance of every other week collection of trash,” says Muir. “Every other week collection of trash drives people to pick their food scraps out of their trash.”

“Disposal is always going to be cheaper. It's a game that you cannot win,” says Muir.

Lombardo covered compostable bioplastics and the three criteria of ASTM D6400: disintegration, mineralization/inherent biodegradation and safety.

“We don't have a landfill issue, but we do have a capacity issue,” says Lombardo.

“Every year, Americans spend $218 billion on food that is NEVER EATEN,” says Lombardo.

Sanders spoke about eliminating waste through the use of compostable plastics and the challenges with multi-family housing recycling.

“The challenge with multi-family housing is that you don't know if your neighbors are actually recycling or composting,” says Sanders. “Education and outreach is key to eliminating waste in multi-family residences.”

“If you give the residents the tools to get the job done, they will get the job done,” says Sanders.

Martinez talked about some strategic approaches to foodservice packaging and using tools to help divert waste.

“Over 21 percent of what we send to landfills is food, and we only compost 5 percent of the wasted food that we generate,” says Martinez.

She also highlighted three key points to waste diversion in foodservice operations:

  1. Inputs: Access all packaging and materials needs on the outset and minimize the number of packaging substrates.
  2. Operations: Bin signage, on-product messaging, bin attendees and back-of-house sorting.
  3. Outputs: Haulers, commercial composer considerations, contamination limits and the types of packaging that are accepted, tested and BFI certified.

“We need more composting infrastructure and collection programs, contamination must be addressed and we need to increase the demand for finished compost,” says Martinez.

3. At the Paper & Plastic Recycling Trends and Markets session, Patty Moore, president of Moore Recycling Associates, and Dan Cotter, vice president of CellMark, Inc. discussed the many trends, challenges and opportunities for paper and plastic recycling.

“I think that the issues of global oversupply of virgin material are temporary because we expect to see some normalization and that will take some of the older, lower-efficiency facilities offline,” says Moore. “The normalization we expect to happen will hopefully help bring value back into the recycling arena.”

“We are seeing some recovery in the pricing and while crystal balls are never 100 percent accurate, I think we have hit the bottom and will likely continue to see very slow improvements in pricing,” says Moore.

“Due to comingled collection in residential waste streams, the quality of paper is going down, especially in news grades,” says Cotter. “The quality drop in news grades is mostly due to the fact that there’s very little news print left in the residential waste stream because people aren’t reading newspapers as often as they used to. The lack of newspapers being read and the lack of newsprint mills have also caused a change in the specs for the PS standards.”

“Currently, all the paper grades are moving and the demand is reasonably strong,” says Cotter. “And even though the commodities prices have come down, they are still higher than they should be based on what the sell price is for customers. There won’t be any quick recovery in the commodities prices in the U.S. for scrap being exported, and I think we are going to be sitting near these current levels for a while longer.”

4. During the Impact of New Source Performance Standards for Landfills, Patrick Sullivan REPA, CPP, BCES, senior vice president for SCS Engineers and Matt Stutz, P.E., principal for Weaver Consultants Group, spoke about the ongoing obstacles of the NSPS rules. The EPA is currently revising the NSPS rules, which will be published in July 2016.

“The new NSPS rules will go into effect right when it's published,” says Sullivan. The EPA will eventually need to revise the landfill NESHAPs, but that’s currently not on the calendar right now.”

“With SEM, the EPA has proposed that all penetrations and open areas must be monitored,” says Sullivan. “We need the EPA to define what an open area is and how it’s different from anything else that we are monitoring.”

“Less than 40 percent of all design plans have been approved and that continues to be an issue,” says Stutz.

“Out of all the requirements, the Wellhead Standards require the most paperwork and are creating issues that don't need to be issues,” says Sullivan.

“There are two options for landfill gas treatment: send it to a controlled device or send it to a treatment system,” says Sullivan.

5. Chaz Miller, director of policy and advocacy for NWRA, spoke to Waste360 about some takeaways from WasteExpo so far.

Miller moderated the Curbside Recycling & Public Education Programs super session that took place on Monday. “It’s all about behavior change and creating a social norm,” says Miller. “The basic form of social norm is set, but the basic form of recycling right is not well set. There are many ways that we can cut down on contaminants and improve the handling of recyclables, but that takes a while.”

NWRA is currently working with SWANA and Keeping America Beautiful to help educate the public and its members about what can and cannot be recycled. One of their major efforts is their listing of the 10 things that belong in a curbside box.

Miller also touched on the Managing the Risk of Recycling Markets session that took place on Monday. “Instead of being driven by supply and demand, we are driven by supply,” says Miller. “Michael Timpane, project manager for RRS, was right when he said that recycling is simply a service.”

6. The 40 Under 40 Awards reception took place on Tuesday afternoon. The award recipients were joined by friends, family, coworkers and the Waste360 staff to accept their awards and celebrate their significant impact on the waste, recycling and organics industry.

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