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Articles from 2006 In December

Happy Holidays from Waste Age!

The Waste Age family wishes you and yours all the best this holiday season and peace and prosperity in the New Year.

Waste associations call for the recycling all electronic waste

This week, several of the largest U.S. solid waste management and recycling associations joined together to call for the reuse or recycling of all electronic waste or “e-scrap.” In a joint statement, the Integrated Waste Services Association (IWSA), the National Recycling Coalition (NRC), the National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA) and the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) said, "Reuse and recycling are far and away the preferred methods of e-scrap management—and with sufficient infrastructure, nearly all discarded electronic products could be technically and economically recyclable." They went on to say that an integrated framework of federal regulations complemented by more customized state regulations would help achieve this goal.

According to a joint press release, the coalition is supporting, as a starting point, the adoption of financial incentives such as tax credits to consumers, manufacturers, retailers and recyclers for recycling old or unwanted computers, monitors and other electronic scrap waste, such as the initiatives proposed by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR). The goal, according to the coalition, is nearly 100 percent recycling of U.S. e-scrap within 10 years.

Toronto completes purchase of Green Lane Landfill

The city of Toronto announced yesterday that it has signed a purchase agreement with Green Lane Landfill for $220 million. According to a press release from the Mayor’s office, the city will assume control of the landfill in late March 2007. The facility will serve as the city’s repository for short and long term waste disposal. With an aggressive diversion plan, the purchase provides Toronto with a disposal capacity of 13 million tons for a minimum of 15 years.

The Green Lane Landfill has been in operation since 1978 and has received provincial approval for expansion and has passed the required environmental assessment.

Waste Management bumps up quarterly dividend payments

Houston-based Waste Management announced yesterday that its Board of Directors approved a 9.1 percent increase in its quarterly dividend program, raising the amount from $0.22 per share to $0.24 per share. According to a company press release, annual dividends in 2007 are expected to total $0.96 per share, an increase of $0.08 per share compared to 2006.

“Waste Management is first and foremost a strong and consistent generator of cash,” said David P. Steiner, chief executive officer of Waste Management, in the press release. “The Board of Directors and management consider the return of cash to our shareholders to be one of our most important duties. Based on the current share count, this equates to approximately $510 million in dividend payments on an annual basis beginning in 2007. At the current share price of $36.97, this dividend produces a yield of 2.6%, which is in the top 25% of the dividend paying companies within the S&P 500.”

Airline industry could save millions by recycling

According to the results of a study released today by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the airline industry throws away enough recyclables each year to pay for a fleet of airliners. To conduct the study, NRDC looked at 30 airports around the country. In addition to highlighting waste, the study holds up several positive examples, such as Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, which realized $180,000 in savings last year from recycling efforts, and Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI), which has cut costs by $15,000 a month. NRDC says these savings are often achieved through simple changes, like centralizing waste collection and implementing better contracting strategies.

According to NRDC, the airline industry discarded 9,000 tons of plastic in 2004, and enough newspapers and magazines to bury a football field more than 230 feet deep. Nationwide, U.S. airports generated 425,000 tons of waste in 2004 – a figure NRDC expects to increase nearly 45 percent by 2015. Each passenger today leaves behind 1.3 pounds of trash, the researchers found. Seventy five percent of this waste is recyclable or compostable. Yet the study revealed that the industry-wide recycling rate is 20 percent or less – one third less than the U.S. average as a whole.

"Airlines in the U.S. throw away enough aluminum cans every year to build 58 new 747s. It's the same story with paper and plastic," said Dr. Allen Hershkowitz, a Senior Scientist at NRDC. "Along with a huge amount of recyclable waste, the industry is throwing away a significant amount of money. And it's not just dollars. These are resources that don't need to be mined, logged or drilled. And by avoiding all that, you save a lot of energy and avoid a lot of emissions."

The complete report can be found at www.nrdc.org/cities/recycling/airline/contents.asp.

Waste Management CEO backs strategy to reduce dependence on foreign oil

David Steiner, CEO of Houston-based Waste Management and a member of the Energy Security Leadership Council, has added his voice to those of other business leaders and retired military experts in demanding that the U.S. government address its reliance on foreign oil. The council, which is co-chaired by FedEx Chairman, President and CEO Fred Smith and retired Marine Commandant P.X. Kelly, today released a set of recommendations meant to address U.S. policy as it pertains to oil consumption and production.

The bipartisan council, part of Securing America's Future Energy (SAFE), proposes several steps to cut U.S. oil imports by 2030. Major policy initiatives backed by the Council include:

- Significantly reforming and strengthening vehicle fuel efficiency standards.

- Funding substantial financial incentives for the domestic production and purchase of highly fuel-efficient vehicles.

- Growing the supply and demand sides of the biofuels market.

- Increasing access to U.S. oil and natural gas reserves on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) with sharply increased and expanded environmental protections.

"It's imperative that the United States develop a truly comprehensive strategy to reduce U.S. oil dependence because it threatens our economic and national security," said Steiner. “At Waste Management, we are both a large energy consumer – having a fleet of 22,000 trucks – and a renewable energy producer – our renewable energy projects produce enough green energy to power more than one million homes. I look forward to working with the Council and policymakers in Washington to see the Council's recommendations to enactment."

The Council's complete report, titled “Recommendations to the Nation on Reducing Oil Dependence,” is available at www.secureenergy.org.

Dell expands its computer recycling program

Round Rock, Texas-based computer manufacturer Dell today announced that it has expanded its free computer recycling program to accommodate several new markets around the world. As part of its take-back program, the company promises to recycle any Dell-branded computer or peripheral free of charge and without requiring an additional purchase. According to a Dell press release, Brazil, China, India, South Korea, Mexico and Taiwan were recently added to the program and consumer recycling services in Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and Thailand were “either added or enhanced.”

"With today's announcement, our efforts to make recycling free and easy are global. We remain focused on raising consumer awareness about the importance of recycling and increasing the volume of products we recover from consumers," said Eric Gates, Dell's worldwide manager of asset recovery services.

Dell launched its no-charge recycling service in Europe in 2003. The service was extended to U.S. consumers in 2004.

Wastequip acquires Mountain Tarp

Cleveland-based Wastequip today announced that it has acquired Mountain Tarp, a Middlesboro, Ky. manufacturer of tarping systems for belly and end dump trailers, dump bodies, transfer trailers, roll-off containers, scrap containers and flat bed trucks. Wastequip will continue to produce products using the Mountain Tarp brand name.

“Adding a great brand with strong leadership and market presence in the tarping industry supports our business growth goals of delivering superior products and services cost-effectively, while extending our product offerings to meet the needs of both national and local haulers,” said Wastequip president and CEO Bob Rasmussen, in a press release. “In addition, Mountain Tarp, with its strong presence in the construction industry, compliments nicely our existing Pioneer tarping brand whose principal focus has been the waste industry.”

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

New Jersery DEP recognizes recycler

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) presented an award for Outstanding Achievement in Recycling to Global Recycling Solutions (GRS) of Monmouth County, N.J. The company was recognized for creating a stable market for mixed broken glass, a material that often presents problems for recyclers. GRS accepts the mixed glass directly and from other facilities and pulverizes it into an aggregate. This eliminates the need for sorting and produces a material useful in filtration and as landfill cover. GRS then offers the processed glass to Monmouth County at no cost.