The Recycling Partnership Launches Film and Flexibles Task Force

The Recycling Partnership Image Recycling Partnership Launches Film and Flexibles Task Force

The Recycling Partnership announced the launch of a Film and Flexibles Task Force to define, pilot and scale recycling solutions for a more than $31 billion U.S. packaging category, including plastic film, bags and pouches. Amazon, Dow, Hill’s Pet Nutrition, PepsiCo and Procter & Gamble are serving as anchor funders and advisors for the formation of the new Film and Flexibles Task Force.

Film and flexible packaging in North America is projected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3 percent, as consumers and brands alike recognize the economic and convenience benefits of the lightweight yet durable packaging material. Today, much of this material is sent to landfills due to lack of collection and processing infrastructure and established end markets. And even in places where there are retail stores that collect and recycle it, much of the material is lost due to lack of consumer awareness.

“Building public-private partnerships to enable a more circular economy through increased recycling participation, decreased contamination and establishment of viable end markets is what we do best at The Partnership,” said Keefe Harrison, CEO of The Recycling Partnership, in a statement. “The Film and Flexibles Task Force will bring this knowledge to work alongside the unique expertise of our community and funding partners to drive meaningful and measurable change in the growing film and flexibles category.”

Current consumer take-back programs for film at retail storefronts see an average recycling rate of only 4 percent. Meanwhile, residential recycling programs experience high levels of contamination and increased mechanical processing costs when consumers incorrectly attempt to recycle film in curbside carts instead of returning to retail.

“Understanding the infrastructure necessary and the education required to empower consumers are two of the most critical factors to successful film and flexibles recycling in the U.S.,” said Laura Thompson, senior director of strategic projects for The Recycling Partnership, in a statement. “By joining the Film and Flexibles Task Force, partners are coming to the table to define and measure the challenges faced today and develop a roadmap to drive innovative recycling solutions for tomorrow.”

“We are motivated and inspired to be a founding partner of the Film and Flexibles Task Force. This initiative brings together every step in the value chain with the potential to take meaningful strides in creating solutions that are scalable and can be leveraged nationwide,” said Julie Zaniewski, sustainability director for Dow, in a statement.

“At PepsiCo, we’re committed to building a world where plastics need never become waste and partnership will be key to achieving this vision,” said Simon Lowden, president of PepsiCo Global Foods, who leads PepsiCo’s Plastic Agenda, in a statement. “We recognize the significant role this Task Force can play in reducing plastic waste and developing a path to circularity for plastic films.”

The Task Force will employ a four-step framework that includes data gathering and benchmarking; goal setting; establishment of pilot programs; and determining the means for long-term scalability. Initial data gathering will include capture rate studies, consumer insights research, analysis of end markets, among other areas. Goal setting and pilot programs will include partnerships with cities and community recycling systems over a multiyear period, as well as piloting pathways of feedstock for potential chemical recycling solutions.

“Hill’s Pet Nutrition is committed to 100 percent recyclability of our packaging and is finalizing design of a new laminate for our kibble and treats that is far more recycling friendly than the flexibles we use today,” said Peter Fallat, director of global design and packaging for Hill’s Pet Nutrition, in a statement. “There is a big job ahead to establish a viable infrastructure to make the packaging truly recyclable, and we welcome the opportunity to work with The Recycling Partnership on this important initiative.”

Norwegian, JUST Goods to Eliminate Single-use Plastic Bottles

Norwegian, JUST Goods to Eliminate Single-use Plastic Bottles

Norwegian Cruise Line announced its partnership with JUST Goods, Inc., which will enable the cruise line to replace all single-use plastic bottles across its fleet by January 1, 2020, beginning with its newest innovative ship, Norwegian Encore.

In 2018, Norwegian Cruise Line eliminated single-use plastic straws across its 16-ship fleet and private destinations, and as a result of this most recent initiative, it will replace more than 6 million single-use plastic bottles every year. These efforts are driven by the company's Sail & Sustain Environmental Program, which commits to minimize waste to landfills, reduce its CO2 emissions rate, increase sustainable sourcing and invest in emerging technologies.

Norwegian, JUST Goods to Eliminate Single-use Plastic Bottles

"We are a leading company—one that is in the business of creating memorable experiences for our guests," said Andy Stuart, president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line, in a statement. "It is imperative that we take meaningful steps to preserve our oceans and the destinations we visit. Partnering with JUST is one of my proudest moments, as the head of our pioneering brand. This latest effort—the elimination of single-use plastic bottles across our fleet—is just the latest environmentally responsible action we are taking to reduce our footprint and encourage others to protect our natural resources. While we are aware that this is just the beginning of what we and others need to do to be good stewards of our environment, we are committed to our Sail & Sustain initiatives and will continue to innovate for the overall benefit of the planet and its future."

Envisioned and founded by American rapper, songwriter, actor and activist Jaden Smith and family, JUST takes an innovative approach to sourcing and packaging the world's most valued resource: water. The company focuses on an impact model, taking into consideration both how the water is sourced and packaged. JUST is 100 percent spring water in a plant-based carton. The carton is made of 82 percent renewable materials—the paper carton is made from trees grown in responsibly managed forests, and the cap and shoulder are made from a sugarcane-based plastic. It is refillable and recyclable. JUST has a global presence with bottling facilities in Glenn Falls, N.Y.; Ballymena, Northern Ireland; and Ballarat, Australia.

"It's critical that businesses take a leading role in efforts to lighten the impact we have on our planet," said JUST Goods, Inc. CEO Ira Laufer in a statement. "We created JUST to do just that—to be a better option in a category that has created a lot of the damage and continues to do so. The JUST team couldn't be happier to now share this goal with our partner, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL). We're deeply appreciative of Norwegian's commitment that's so similar to ours—the company is pushing the boundaries of what's always been done because it knows we all need to do better. We're thrilled to be taking steps in the right direction alongside NCL."

Recycled HDPE Prices Climb, While PET, PP Prices Fall

Waste360's Top 10 Stories of 2019

Prices for natural high-density polyethylene (HDPE) have climbed drastically in the past month, while polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polypropylene (PP) prices declined.

Resource Recycling reports that the national price of post-consumer natural HDPE from curbside collection programs is 46.38 cents per pound, compared with 25.88 cents per pound this time last month. And in some areas, natural HDPE is trading as high as 52 cents per pound, compared to 38.25 cents per pound a year ago.

The report also notes that the national average price of color HDPE is up by more than 30 percent and is now trading at 13.06 cents per pound, compared with 9.94 cents per pound last month. Meanwhile, the national average price of post-consumer PET beverage bottles and jars dropped for the second consecutive month, from 10.72 cents per pound this time last month to 9.80 cents per pound.

Similarly, the national average price of PP dropped from 12.38 cents per pound last month to 8.75 cents per pound this month.

Resource Recycling has more:

The price of natural HDPE has skyrocketed over the past month, roughly doubling in some areas to a high of 52 cents per pound. Color HDPE also took a notable jump.

The national price of post-consumer natural high-density polyethylene (HDPE) from curbside collection programs is now 46.38 cents per pound, compared with 25.88 cents this time last month.

In some areas, natural HDPE is trading as high as 52.00 cents per pound. One year ago, the national average for this grade was 38.25 cents per pound. The last similar high was in September 2014, when it reached a national average of 52.69 cents per pound.

Read the full article here.

Borealis to Produce Renewable PP Via Neste’s Renewable Propane

Borealis to Produce Renewable PP Via Neste’s Renewable Propane

Borealis, a provider of polyolefin solutions, and Neste, a provider of renewable diesel and renewable jet fuel, are entering into strategic co-operation for the production of renewable polypropylene (PP). The cooperation will enable Borealis to start using Neste’s 100 percent renewable propane produced with Neste’s proprietary NEXBTL technology as renewable feedstock at its facilities in Kallo and Beringen, Belgium, starting at the end of 2019.

Neste offers bio-based alternatives to conventional fossil-based feedstock to be used in the production of polymers and chemicals. Neste has an annual production capacity of 3 million tonnes of renewable products. Thanks to its proprietary NEXBTL technology, it can utilize nearly any bio-based oil or fat as raw material, including lower-quality waste and residue oils to produce various renewable products.

Borealis will use Neste’s renewable propane produced in Rotterdam at its facilities in Belgium to create an entire portfolio of applications based on renewable PP. This marks the first time that Borealis uses bio-based feedstock to partially replace fossil feedstock in commercial production of PP. It will also be the first time that renewable propane dehydrogenation is carried out at an industrial scale.

Borealis’ propane dehydrogenation and PP plant setup in Kallo will enable the company to start offering bio-based propylene and consequently bio-based PP in which bio-based content can be physically verified and measured. In addition, Borealis will continue to apply mass balance approach in its production at Kallo and Beringen to take a major step forward to provide both renewable propylene and renewable polypropylene to its customers. The process will be certified by the International Sustainability & Carbon Certification, whose full value chain scope ensures that the renewable feedstock used is certified renewable, sustainably produced and traceable to point of origin.

“Using renewable feedstocks produced primarily from waste and residue streams is a major contribution to reducing our reliance on fossil fuel-based feedstocks,” said Lucrèce Foufopoulos, Borealis executive vice president of polyolefins, innovation and technology and circular economy solutions, in a statement. “Through cooperation with Neste, we can offer our customers and partners a new portfolio of renewable PP solutions, helping them to make their offering more climate friendly. True to our EverMinds approach, we are a frontrunner in helping build a circular economy for plastics. Borealis will not only help protect the environment but also build a business fit for the future.”

“Polymers and chemicals industries will play a major role in the fight against climate change. It is, therefore, very satisfying to see the industry change starting to happen toward more sustainable, climate-friendlier feedstock alternatives. We are eager to help forerunner companies like Borealis to start replacing fossil-based feedstock with renewable ones. This new step is a meaningful contribution toward creating a healthier planet for our children,” said Mercedes Alonso, executive vice president of renewable polymers and chemicals for Neste, in a statement.

Need to Know

DSNY Commissioner Lauds Commercial Waste Zone Agreements

DSNY Commissioner Lauds Commercial Waste Zone Agreements

Kathryn Garcia, commissioner for the City of New York Department of Sanitation (DSNY), praised the agreement DSNY and the City Council reached last week to create a commercial waste zone system.

During a Crain's New York Business Breakfast on October 15, Garcia acknowledged that some businesses, particularly in Midtown Manhattan, might have fewer options, but highlighted that the bill allowed for a single citywide carter for very large loads. Crain’s New York reports that she also admitted that the new plan—combined with previously passed air pollution rules—would result in fewer firms in business. She added that when soliciting bids for the franchise system, the city would focus on data, particularly safety and customer service records, according to the report.

Last week, the City Council announced amended legislation that advances a non-exclusive zoning model, dividing the city into zones in which a maximum of three waste companies can operate, and creates incentives to switch to more sustainable vehicles and haul trash to more reputable waste transfer stations. There are also provisions to increase public safety training requirements for sanitation workers and authorize DSNY to set a minimum rate waste haulers can charge customers.

Critics, however, maintain the plan isn't new and that the original DSNY plan had not been subjected to adequate public transparency. Critics have also expressed their concerns that the zone waste policy could force consolidation among carters, drive up prices and drive down service standards for small business owners.

Crain's New York has more:

A drive to restructure the city's private carting industry is near the end zone—and the Department of Sanitation czar spiked the ball at a Crain's Business Breakfast at the New York Athletic Club on Tuesday.

Commissioner Kathryn Garcia lauded the pact her agency struck with the City Council last week to create a zoned carting system, asserting that it balanced environmental and safety concerns with the needs of both the businesses that must contract private trash haulers to dispose of their waste and the small operators who do the dirty work. The revised bill will split the five boroughs into sections in which only three companies that have bid on and secured city franchises may handle commercial waste. It will also obligate garbage companies to implement new employee safety standards and transition to zero-emission vehicles by 2040.

Garcia, a Mayor Bill de Blasio appointee, had pushed for years for a more lenient program with more competing vendors against Brooklyn Councilman Antonio Reynoso, who proposed a more restrictive bill.

Read the full article here.

The Technology Behind West Virginia’s New HEBioT Facility

Talking Tech with Waste360’s 2020 Innovator Award Recipient

Waste and recycling facilities across the globe are becoming smarter and smarter thanks to advancements in technology. Some are utilizing robotics to make jobs safer, operations more efficient and materials cleaner, while others are using advanced systems to turn waste into fuel and other sources of energy.

In Martinsburg, W.Va., Entsorga West Virginia, a partnership between Apple Valley Waste LLC, Entsorga USA and BioHiTech Global, is putting Entsorga Italia’s proprietary high-efficiency biological treatment (HEBioT) mechanical biological treatment (MBT) system to use for the first time in the United States.

With the HEBioT MBT system, Entsorga West Virginia is able to recover bio-mass, plastics and other carbon-based materials from mixed municipal solid waste (MSW), compost the materials and then convert them into a solid recovered fuel (SRF) to be used by a nearby cement manufacturer. Other recyclable commodities like metals and glass found in the MSW stream are placed into the local municipality recycling stream to be properly recycled.

“This technology has been deployed in Europe now for about 10 years,” says Michael Schmidt, executive vice president of strategic growth and initiatives at BioHiTech Global. “We brought this technology to the U.S. after about six years of discussions, and the timing right now is really fortunate because we’re faced with an international recycling crisis and a rising concern and demand to find a solution to plastic waste.”

Some of the technology used at the facility—conveyor belts, screens, shredders, etc.—isn’t new, according to Schmidt. But what is new and unique is the software that’s used for communication throughout the facility. This technology, which is more on the front end of the process, allows Entsorga West Virginia to schedule, automate and ensure what it’s creating in terms of fuel is consistent.

The HEBioT process consists of four main steps. First, Apple Valley Waste collects waste from residents and takes it to the facility, where the materials are dumped through roller shutter doors into an indoor aerated reception pit. Then, overhead cranes work to complete “missions,” automatically grabbing the waste and moving it to conveyers, where the materials travel through a rotary screen and are separated into two waste flows. Smaller materials are then moved via cranes to the biostabilization area and larger materials are held to be added back into the mix during a later phase of the process.

The Technology Behind West Virginia’s New HEBioT Facility

The biostabilization stage typically takes between seven and 10 days. During this time, the waste sits in a bio-oxidation hall, equipped with a ventilation system, mulch to keep odors at bay and sensors that work to measure things like temperature, weight, chemical and moisture. This process allows the waste to dry out quickly.

Once the waste is ready to be refined and converted into SRF, it’s moved to the facility’s mechanical refinement area, where the larger materials that were being held are added back into the mix, any recyclables are removed from the mix to be recycled and any materials that can’t be used to create SRF are removed and sent to landfill. According to Schmidt, Entsorga West Virginia is working to find other ways to divert the material that can’t be used for SRF away from landfill. For example, the material may be used for sloping or alternative daily cover at the landfill.

Once the final mix is ready, it’s ground into SRF—a shredded mixture that Emily Dyson, Entsorga West Virginia project manager, refers to as “a fluffy paper mixture that will be used as a supplement for coal.” This renewable fuel will offset use of coal or fossil fuel up to 30 percent to power the kiln at Argos Essroc Portland cement plant, according to Dyson.

The Technology Behind West Virginia’s New HEBioT Facility

The facility will produce about 55,000 tons of SRF annually and is designed to process 110,000 tons of MSW per year. It has been running since March, and like any new operation, it has experienced its fair share of challenges.

“A lot of the challenges we’ve experienced have been through natural commissioning growing pains,” says Schmidt. “When you’ve got a new, great crew of people who have never worked in a facility like this before, there are learning curves. The Entsorga Italia team has been very helpful with ensuring that training is done frequently and that the team [at Entsorga West Virginia] fully understands every aspect of the system.”

“One of the other big challenges has been the waste stream,” adds Schmidt. “We throw out a lot of stuff in the U.S., and we’ve found a lot of metal in the waste stream coming into our facility. That material isn’t combustible, so we can’t consume those [metals] in the process. We’re working with our partners to clean up the stream, and at the end of the day, our environmental compliance director is working to ensure we’re taking the right material to make the right blend to create the [SRF].”

While Entsorga West Virginia works to overcome those challenges at its first HEBioT facility in the U.S., it’s also undergoing the permitting process for a new facility in Rensselaer, N.Y., and is in discussions about opening facilities in other areas as well. 

“This is an exciting time for us, and the reason why we’re doing this is really more than just the technology,” says Schmidt. “Our team is doing it because they care, and they want to be part of something that’s successful and game changing.

Andrew Rumpke Takes Family Business to New Heights

Andrew Rumpke Takes Family Business to New Heights

Andrew Rumpke has come a long way since beginning his career at Rumpke Waste & Recycling while in the eighth grade. As a third-generation garbage man, Rumpke is tasked with taking his family’s business to new heights, and it’s safe to say he enjoys the challenge.

Over the years, Rumpke has worked his way up through the ranks to become east area vice president, where he now helps manage seven landfills, six recycling facilities and staff. In addition, he’s working to grow the business, make certain that recycling efforts and services are strong and ensure that Rumpke Waste & Recycling maintains its great culture.

“Since his early start at the company, Andrew has never stopped learning, working or inspiring others to propel Rumpke to new heights,” says Bill Rumpke Jr., Rumpke’s brother and Rumpke Waste & Recycling’s president and chief executive officer. “Andrew is a patient, firm, decisive, determined and inclusive leader. He welcomes his team into their roles, pushing them toward improvement, while taking the time to empower them by teaching them about the industry and business. He is endlessly willing to listen to, consider and, when it makes sense, support new or different ideas. Strategic and innovative, Andrew never shies away from a challenge, growth opportunity or technology to better position Rumpke and the Rumpke team. He shares the ethics, tenacity and vision of our grandfather and father, and as his older brother and boss, I couldn’t be prouder. He believes in progress to ensure prosperity and exhibits perseverance to be the best despite any challenge. In such a short time, Andrew’s accomplishments surpass so many others. He is deserving of this award.”

Rumpke received a 2019 Waste360 40 Under 40 award and recently spoke with us about his career, how he’s working to grow his family’s business and how the company has continued to have success with recycling despite market challenges.

Waste360: When and how did you begin your waste and recycling career?

Andrew Rumpke: I’m part of the third generation of a large family waste and recycling business based in Ohio. We’ve been in business since 1932, and the company was founded by my grandfather William. F. Rumpke. I’ve been involved with the company my entire life, and when I was in eighth grade, I was given the opportunity to work for the company by my father William Rumpke Sr. Since then, I’ve been a general laborer, driver, operator, division manager, regional vice president and now area president.

Waste360: Tell us about your current role as east area president.

Andrew Rumpke: The team in Rumpke’s east area manages seven landfills and six recycling facilities in Ohio and Kentucky. This includes the general management and leadership of operations, marketing and sales, customer service, fleet maintenance and safety. The east area has 1,300 employees and 900 collection vehicles. My role is to build a great team and to help and support them with carrying out our mission of being a great place to work and providing a great service.

Waste360: Despite recycling challenges, you’re investing in the Columbus, Ohio, materials recovery facility as well as glass recycling in Dayton, Ohio. Can you tell us about that?

Andrew Rumpke: We’ve been recycling for a very long time at our company. We’ve been recycling in Columbus for over 30 years, and we’ve been recycling glass in Dayton for over 15 years. In August 2011, we installed new systems to process single stream recycling at our materials recovery facility in Columbus, and in November 2011, we built a new glass recycling facility in Dayton.

Andrew Rumpke Takes Family Business to New Heights

We’ve seen a strong demand for recycling services from our customers, so we’ve reinvested into both of our recycling systems to keep them in great operating condition and to continuously improve quality and throughput. Our teams in Dayton and Columbus have worked very hard to maintain those systems.

We’re committed to recycling and want to position Rumpke to handle our customers’ material for the long term. Our recycling teams have built some strong and stable partnerships with the end users of our recycling material, and we’ve been able to enter into long-term agreements with end users, largest by producing and focusing on great quality.

Waste360: The east area is now designated as an Ohio Green Fleet by Clean Fuels Ohio’s statewide Ohio Green Fleets program. Can you tell us about that?

Andrew Rumpke: Rumpke has long been committed to investing in and upgrading our fleet to compressed natural gas-powered units throughout our entire organization. We have compressed natural gas fleets and fueling capabilities in our Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton and Louisville operations.

Rumpke’s Columbus fleet was designated as an Ohio Green Fleet by Clean Fuels Ohio as it now operates 80 compressed natural gas-powered units and an onsite, time-filled fueling system, which displace about 40 percent of the fleet’s total diesel fuel usage.

Andrew Rumpke Takes Family Business to New Heights

Waste360: Since 2007, you’ve overseen 25 acquisitions and grown revenue. Tell us about that growth process and how you plan to continue to grow the east area in the future.

Andrew Rumpke: Our primary goal is to be a great service organization and a great place to work. Our strategy is to be great right where we’re at in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana and build in those areas over time through the hard work of the people in our organization.

We’ve been in a strong position to grow in our home state, and we’ve done some of that through acquisitions. Since 2007, in the east area, we’ve expanded our facility network by adding five landfills, six transfer stations and five recycling systems. We’ve integrated about 30 hauling companies into our system, and in the future, we will continue to work hard, to be a great service provider in those areas and in our home territory, to be a great place to work and to focus on our customers.

Waste360: Rumpke also partnered with the city of Columbus to launch the city’s first curbside recycling program. Tell us about the program and what it entails.

Andrew Rumpke: In 2012, Rumpke partnered with the city of Columbus to begin the first citywide comprehensive curbside recycling program. The every other week collection program services more than 200,000 households in the city of Columbus and diverts over 30,000 tons of recycled material annually.

There are 40 route drivers and trucks and 30 recycling plant team members dedicated to this work daily, and the materials collected from the program are processed at Rumpke’s materials recovery facility in Columbus and then sent to end users.

Andrew Rumpke Takes Family Business to New Heights

Waste360: Can you tell us about the recycling audit Rumpke recently completed in Columbus?

Andrew Rumpke: We recently did an audit in Columbus, and we’re also concurrently doing audits with the city of Cincinnati, the city of Fairfield and the city of Centerville.

This spring, we partnered with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, The Recycling Partnership, the city of Columbus and the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio to launch an education campaign to help residents recycle correctly and reduce contamination, which is a fire risk, a safety risk to our people and can break equipment and slow down processing.

The eight-week program included an initial audit of materials from targeted areas. Residents within the city of Columbus were sent information about the best way to recycle right, and a team of auditors inspected the carts and engaged some feedback from residents about their recycling habits.

We’re reviewing results from the audit, but our long-term goal of the program is to see increased material quality. Today, material quality has never been more important, and we really want our customers to recycle the right way.

In the future, we’ll do additional audits to see if material quality has improved after the program.

Waste360: Tell us about Rumpke’s new headquarters and some of its features.

Andrew Rumpke: Rumpke is based in Colerain Township, Ohio. The headquarters there had been in the same place for 40 years, and we simple outgrew it. We needed to bring multiple departments and people under one roof and prepare for the future growth of the organization.

Andrew Rumpke Takes Family Business to New Heights

The new 74,000-plus-sqaure-foot headquarters currently houses about 180 employees, with space for 220. It honors the history of our organization and also prepares us for the demands of the future.

The hard work of Rumpke’s team has allowed us to be able to take this milestone step, and it’s something we’re very proud of.

Waste360: What are you most proud of in your career thus far?

Andrew Rumpke: I’m most proud of the Rumpke team and their commitment to working together, helping each other grow and helping the organization find solutions to daily and long-term problems.

I’m also proud that Rumpke has been committed to helping people grow through formal leadership and management training, professional driver training programs, maintenance technician training programs, on-the-job training and mentoring. Through these things, we’ve committed to retain our culture, which is packed with integrity, dignity and respect for all employees, customers, communities and business partners.

Waste360: What advice do you have for the future generation of the waste industry?

Andrew Rumpke: In our industry, we have the responsibility to be the professional experts that communicate accurately and honestly with employees, customers and communities. So, if you want to be successful in our industry, be prepared to think long term, to learn from others, to be responsible for the management of landfills and recycling systems, to ensure safe and efficient movement of material, to think creatively and to make decisions that are proven, long term and sustainable.

Need to Know

Balcones Partners with CP Group for MRF Retrofit

Balcones Partners with CP Group for MRF Retrofit

Balcones Resources has partnered with CP Group of San Diego to upgrade its single stream residential and commercial materials recovery facility (MRF). The 100,000-square-foot facility was originally installed in 2012. Changing market conditions, rising labor costs and new technology were the main motivators for Balcones to undertake a large retrofit. 

“Balcones is committed to creating and operating recycling programs that produce positive environmental and financial impacts. These programs must endure the test of time and market changes,” said Kerry Getter, Balcones CEO, in a statement.

In 2018, Balcones committed to working with CP Group on a system retrofit. The retrofit gave Balcones a competitive edge, increased throughput, decreased operating costs and improved fiber recovery and purity. The collaborative effort between Balcones and CP enabled the companies to analyze and test several scenarios and determine the correct design arrangement and use of optical sorters.  

“After a lengthy project analysis, we decided to work with CP Group because their success in the marketplace, advanced technology and experienced team gave us confidence in our investment. MSS demonstrated our material and proved the results we needed to achieve to make the investment. We are already seeing those results at our facility,” added Getter. 

The large retrofit was complete in May. The heart of the upgrade features three MSS CIRRUS FiberMax optical sorters. MSS is the optical sorting division of CP Group. FiberMax optical sorters run at 1,000 feet per minute on 112-inch-wide belts using near infrared technology to clean the fiber streams with both positive and negative sorting.

The focus of the FiberMax has been the removal of fugitive plastics and other non-conforming items from the paper stream. This creates cleaner material which in turn makes a more valuable product. 

The retrofit also includes a new 4-deck CP Glass Breaker screen to remove glass and fines, a 140-inch-wide CP AntiWrap Screen, CP’s newest fiber screen that separates large fiber from other materials, and a 140-inch-wide CPScreen to separate small mixed paper. The new glass breaker was implemented to increase the recovery of glass and eliminate disc wear. The fiber screens were upgraded in order to increase material recovery while greatly reducing the labor required to clean the screens due to the anti-wrapping capabilities. 

The equipment upgrade also came with new software to enable Balcones to better understand its production through quantified data. Through the use of an integrated SCADA package, Balcones can track its live production on its balers including daily material totals, as well as inbound and outbound material volumes on each line.

“Balcones really pushed us to offer the very best in technology that would serve them for many years to come. Working with the Balcones team has been a real pleasure. As operators and marketers of their material, they really know their numbers. When it comes to MRF design, you have to know your numbers in order to create the right solution. Balcones made it easy for us. We’re looking forward to continued work with them,” said Branden Sidwell, CP sales engineer, in a statement.

Need to Know

WASTELINQ Expands Nationwide

WASTELINQ Expands Nationwide

Texas-based WASTELINQ, a provider of waste management technology that enables waste generators and environmental service companies to maximize the business value of responsible waste management strategy and practices, announced the expansion of its operations nationwide.

In addition to its native Texas, WASTELINQ now supports users in California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland.

WASTELINQ's software as a service (SaaS) enables customers to utilize solutions that achieve both environmental and financial stewardship, maximizing the business value of responsible waste management strategy.

Chief Financial Officer Ken Odom attributes growing demands for WASTELINQ solutions to “the company's deep roots in the environmental services space.”

"We deliver on our vision by letting the people who have done waste management design the tools that would have allowed them to do their jobs better, the tools they wished they had when they started in the industry," said Odom in a statement. "The result is a set of tools that work the way they're supposed to in the field."

Frank Virginia of Denver-based AET Environmental explained the value that WASTELINQ brings to their operations.

"The WASTELINQ Enterprise systems gives us the tools we need to run our business efficiently with the flexibility to make changes as necessary,” said Virginia in a statement. “They really understand the business, and their customer service has been outstanding."

In addition, WASTELINQ said it sees more geographic expansion in its future. The company recently appointed industry veteran Jackie Losco-Nunez to lead sales and support efforts in the southeast region of the United States.

"Jackie brings a wealth of industry experience and a history of cultivating deep partnerships in the environmental services space," added Odom. "She is the perfect example of the type of commitment to customer success that WASTELINQ is relying on and will be a great asset to customers in the critical southeast region."

Need to Know

Fossil Fuel Companies and the Plastics Pollution Crisis

Fossil Fuel Companies and the Plastics Pollution Crisis

As recyclers try to keep up with an influx of newly produced virgin plastics, major petrochemical companies that extract and process the fossil fuels used to make plastics have convinced consumers that they can recycle their way out of the global trash problem. That’s according to a recent HuffPost article that explores how fossil fuel companies are making the plastic waste crisis worse in America.

The report notes that fossil fuel giants like ExxonMobil and Shell, as well as plastic makers like SABIC and Formosa Plastics, are building and expanding at least five ethane cracker plants in Appalachia and along the Gulf of Mexico. The facilities will turn ethane into polyethylene pellets, which can be made into a variety of products, including milk jugs, shampoo bottles, food packaging and the air pillows that protect e-commerce orders.

The article goes on to say that there already are 350 million tons of new plastics produced worldwide annually, and that is in juxtaposition to dismal global recycling rates.

HuffPost has more information:

So many things we buy come packaged in plastic containers or wrappers that are meant to be used once, thrown away and forgotten ― but they don’t break down and can linger in the environment long after we’re gone. It’s tempting to think that we can recycle this problem away, that if we’re more diligent about placing discarded bottles and bags into the curbside bin, we’ll somehow make up for all the trash overflowing landfills, choking waterways and killing marine life.

For decades, big petrochemical companies responsible for extracting and processing the fossil fuels that make plastics have egged on consumers, reassuring them that recycling was the answer to our trash crisis. Just last month, Royal Dutch Shell executive Hilary Mercer told The New York Times that the production of new plastics was not the problem contributing to millions of tons of plastic waste piling up in landfills and drifting in oceans. Instead, she suggested, the problem is one of improper waste disposal. Better recycling, she implied, is the solution.

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