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Articles from 2015 In February

Highlights from CNN's 'United States of Trash'

On Thursday, Feb., 26, CNN aired an episode of Morgan Spurlock Inside Man that explored the waste and recycling industry. Here are some stills and highlights from the episode, which saw Spurlock follow his own trash to see what throwing something "away" really means. The show examined many aspects of the waste stream, from landfills to recycling to waste-to-energy. It also took a peek at the "zero waste" lifestyle.

Progressive Waste Records Mixed Results for 2014

Progressive Waste Solutions Ltd. posted mixed results for its fourth quarter and year.

The Vaughan, Ontario-based waste and recycling firm said for the quarter ended Dec. 31 net income fell 47.8 percent to $18.9 million, or 17 cents per diluted share, compared with $36.2 million, or 31 cents per diluted share, in the year-ago period.

Revenue rose 0.5 percent to $504.6 million from $502 million, according to a news release.

 For the year Progressive Waste’s net earnings climbed 7.2 percent to $126.5 million, or $1.10 per diluted share, compared with $118 million, or $1.02 per diluted share, a year earlier. Revenue dropped 0.8 percent to $2.01 billion from $2.03 billion.

"2014 was a transformational year for Progressive Waste Solutions as we demonstrated significant progress on our strategic plan to be a best-in-class operator in the waste services industry," said Joseph Quarin, Progressive president and CEO. "We put in place a great team that led Progressive Waste Solutions to achieve record results with strong growth in revenue, adjusted net income per share and free cash flow, on a constant currency basis, exceeding the guidance we provided at the beginning of the year.”

Progressive Waste’s 2015 outlook includes the divestiture of Long Island operations revenue, representing about $90 million, and acquired assets of about $50 million. It also reflects the current softness in recycled commodity prices and the impact of lower oil prices on energy-sensitive markets. The company expects solid improvement in revenue and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA).




Boston’s Big Problems

Boston has a big problem—two actually. The winter of 2015 has blessed Bean Town with 7.5 feet of snow. The city is on its way to setting a snowfall record. And that creates a problem. As Dr. Seuss wrote, “all that deep, deep, deep snow, all that snow has to go.” But where? And worse yet, how does the city pay for snow removal?

According to the Boston mayor’s office, the city has removed 19,000 truckloads of snow and plowed 285,000 miles of roadway since the storms started. But what to do with all of that snow? According to an article in The Boston Globe, the city is using five “snow farms,” or if you will, vacant lots, to handle the snow. The city also has special snow-melting machines that vaporize snow and turn it back into water at the rate of 400 tons an hour. In addition, the mayor’s office is reaching out to innovators for ideas to solve its snow-removal problems. If you have an innovative idea, contact the mayor’s office now. Operators are standing by.

Wherever the snow ends up, the city has to pay for its removal. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said the city has already spent about $36 million on snow cleanup, which is double its budget. Winter is not over and more snow is predicted. One thing is certain–Boston taxpayers will pay even more for snow removal before spring arrives in May or June.

But wait. Mayor Walsh hopes to transfer that cost to you and me by getting the federal government to reimburse 75 percent of Boston’s snow-removal costs.

I feel your pain, Mayor Walsh, but I have my own snow removal to pay for. So I have a simple solution. Let’s apply extended producer responsibility to snow removal. The idea behind extended producer responsibility is that if we hold the manufacturer responsible for all the costs of its products, including recycling or disposal, the manufacturer will find a way to lower those costs.

Since God is responsible for making snow, He (or She) should pay. I say to Mayor Walsh, send the bill to the Pearly Gates. God is the ultimate responsible entity. I am sure He will live up to His responsibilities.

And who knows, maybe spring will come early as a result.

Need to Know

Cutting Food Waste Could Save Global Economy $300 Billion A Year

Reducing consumer food waste could save between US$120 and 300bn per year by 2030, according to a new report by WRAP and the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate. To achieve this would require a 20-50% reduction in consumer food waste.

One third of all food produced in the world ends up as waste, while the value of global consumer food waste is more than US$400bn per year. As the global middle class expands over the course of the decade, the cost could rise to US$600bn, according to new research conducted by WRAP for the Global Commission.

Continue reading at the CIWM Journal Online

Need to Know

St. Louis County to Launch Health Survey of Residents Near the Bridgeton Landfill

The Saint Louis County Department of Health is launching a survey to assess the health of people living near the Bridgeton Landfill.

An underground fire has been smoldering at the Bridgeton Landfill since 2010, causing odors emanating from the landfill to increase.

Residents as far away as Maryland Heights and St. Charles have complained about the foul smells — and about symptoms such as burning eyes, sore throats, headaches, nausea and nose bleeds.

Continue reading at St. Louis Public Radio

Need to Know

Seattle's New Composting Law is Big Business for Cedar Grove

Seattle's new composting requirements have driven a 30 percent increase in new customers for the local company in charge of dealing with all those food scraps.

But the company says some of that new business – it flat-out stinks.

Cedar Grove has been processing the vast majority of Seattle's compost from those who signed up on voluntary basis since 1988. 

Continue reading at the Puget Sound Business Journal

Need to Know

Gas-to-Liquid Methanol Plant Offers Revenue Stream for Biogas, Landfill Gas Producers

Alternative chemicals and fuels producer Maverick Synfuels has announced the availability of the Maverick Oasis BG Gas-to-Liquid methanol plant product line.

These plants convert biogas from sources such as anaerobic digesters and landfills into higher value methanol, widely used in industrial chemicals. When paired with anaerobic digesters that produce renewable biogas from organic waste, the Maverick Oasis BG product line is the first small-scale system that simultaneously reduces greenhouse gas emissions while helping to solve environmental problems associated with dairy and swine waste as well as other organic waste, the company says.

Continue reading at Environmental Leader

Need to Know

Pilot Tests Plastic Waste To Energy Potential

Joining forces during the course of 2014, Dow Chemical Co., the Flexible Packaging Association, Republic Services, Agilyx, Reynolds Consumer Products, and The city of Citrus Heights, CA, created a collection pilot program intended to divert non-recycled plastics from landfills and to optimize their resource efficiency across the lifecycle. From June to August, approximately 26,000 households in Citrus Heights were provided with purple bags—known as “Energy Bags”—in which participants were asked to collect plastic items not currently eligible for mechanical recycling, so they could instead be diverted from the landfill and converted into energy. Collected items included juice pouches, candy wrappers, plastic pet food bags, frozen food bags, laundry pouches, and plastic dinnerware.

The purple Energy Bags were collected from homes during the community’s regular bi-weekly recycling program, sorted at the recycling facility, and sent to a plastics-to-energy plant. Using their patented thermal pyrolysis technology, which is complementary to current mechanical recycling programs, Agilyx converted the previously non-recycled plastics into high-value synthetic crude oil. The crude oil can be further refined and made into valuable products for everyday use, such as gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel, fuel oil, and lubricants, and can even be transformed back into plastic.

Continue reading at Packaging World

Need to Know

Proposal To Increase Garbage Bill Heads To Sacramento City Council

If you live in the City of Sacramento your garbage bill may go up by about a dollar a month starting in July. 

Last night, the Utility Rates Advisory Commission approved a proposal to increase rates each of the next three years.

Steve Harriman with the Department of General Services says there's a $4 million deficit for garbage collection, recycling, and leaf collection services. 

"We are required by law to match revenue and expense. And -given that we have not increased rates since July1 of 2010- we have seen increases in a number of areas," says Harriman.

Continue reading at Capital Public Radio

Need to Know

Waste Management Agrees to Cleanup Deal in California

After reaching a settlement with a Ventura-based environmental nonprofit late last year, Waste Management must now create a plan to reduce the amount of pollution seeping into the ground from its trash hauling facility in an effort to protect local water quality.

WM’s trash collection and hauling facility—an 8.2-acre property located off West Los Angeles Avenue in Simi Valley— must now be swept weekly with a machine to ensure there are no metal contaminants, according to the Dec. 29 settlement.

Continue reading at The Acorn