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Need to Know

SWANA Renews Affinity Program Relationship with Re-TRAC Connect

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Silver Spring, MD – The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) has renewed its agreement with Re-TRAC Connect™ as a participant in SWANA’s Affinity Program. With the renewed and expanded relationship, more services, such as the Municipal Measurement Program™, are also being made available to SWANA Members.

“SWANA is pleased to renew and expand its relationship with Re-TRAC Connect,” stated David Biderman, SWANA’s Executive Director and CEO. “The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the importance of recyclables as feedstock for a variety of products, and Re-TRAC Connect’s programs offer terrific ways for local governments in the United States and Canada to measure and improve their local recycling programs.”

Re-TRAC Connect™ is a configurable web-based software solution that transforms the way local governments manage and measure their waste and recycling programs. The software uses intelligent online forms to streamline and standardize data collection, instead of using traditional spreadsheets, email, and paper forms that many still rely on.

“We’re excited about our renewed Affinity Program relationship with SWANA.” says Rick Penner, President of Emerge Knowledge Design Inc. (Re-TRAC Connect™). "While many SWANA members are already using the data management and reporting services we offer through our Re-TRAC Connect platform, this expanded relationship will help ensure everyone is aware of the ways our solutions can save agencies time and money.”

An important component of the expanded relationship is the Municipal Measurement Program™ (MMP). The MMP is a free tool designed and delivered by Re-TRAC Connect and The Recycling Partnership, that enables municipalities to track tonnage data, generation and diversion rates, broader economic benefits and other metrics, and helps these programs identify opportunities to improve.

The MMP also functions as a standardized reporting program that makes it possible for county and regional districts to easily access standardized municipal program information and benchmark data between jurisdictions, a first for the industry. Counties and districts can purchase access to data collected in the MMP from municipalities in their jurisdiction through the Government Data Management Plan (GDMP). The GDMP is the most efficient way for counties and districts to measure municipal program performance and offers a robust suite of reports that transform municipal program data into valuable insights. It also requires a smaller budget than designing a reporting program from scratch and takes less time to manage, thanks to Re-TRAC Connect's task automation and analytical reports.

To learn more about SWANA and its Affinity Program, visit https://swana.org/resources/affinity-program.

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ABOUT SWANA:

The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) is an organization of more than 10,000 public and private sector professionals committed to advancing from solid waste management to resource management through their shared emphasis on education, advocacy and research. For nearly 60 years, SWANA has been the leading association in the solid waste management field. SWANA serves industry professionals through technical conferences, certifications, publications and a large offering of technical training courses.

ABOUT SWANA AFFINITY PROGRAM:

SWANA’s Affinity Program provides members with companies that have been carefully reviewed by SWANA’s Affinity Program Committee to earn the distinction of being a “SWANA preferred provider.” As one of SWANA’s many membership benefits, SWANA members receive savings from group-wide cost reductions and pre-negotiated discounts with trusted, reliable companies through the program.

Episode 67: Is Textile Recovery A Roadmap to Circularity?

In this week’s episode of NothingWasted!we chat with Marisa Adler, Senior Consultant at Resource Recycling Systems (RRS). RRS is sustainability and recycling consulting firm that strives to create a world where resources are managed to maximize economic and social benefit while minimizing environmental harm. 

We spoke with Adler about solving the textile waste problem in the U.S., the interesting nexus of plastic and textiles, the role of the fashion industry in circularity and more.

Here’s a sneak peek into the discussion:

Waste360: Can you share a little about your work putting together programs for waste generators?

Adler: We work with a lot of clients who either have waste diversion goals or are looking for more ways to incorporate recycled content into the products they make. And we work with both the municipal and private sectors. For municipalities, we really look at their agenda and the political environment they are working within, and we’ll help them craft programs and strategies on creating programs or citing facilities. On the private sector side, we’ll help with sourcing studies and determining plans and tangible metrics for achieving their goals.

Waste360: Can you tell us more about the new white paper you and RRS created on “Textile Recovery in the U.S.: A Roadmap to Circularity”?

Adler: The goal is to really bring people to a common place where we can all understand the current state of textile recovery and create a baseline level of understanding and recognition of the need for scalable systems solutions. 

The paper presents today’s environment, lays out the gaps, and offers some ideas for solutions. What’s really exciting is that there’s a lot of buzz around this now, and people are finally giving attention to the problem of textile waste.

Waste360: What is one major gap or opportunity that you identified?

Adler: There is no current data that tell us the fiber composition and frequency and volume of blend within that waste stream. And that’s the information we need to know in order for textile recyclers—whether mechanical or an advanced recycling technology—to develop, build, and scale their facilities, and prove their feasibility models. So, the white paper lays out that we need to conduct waste characterization studies of the commercial and the residential waste streams, post-industrial, pre-consumer, and post-consumer—to create those foundational data sets that can then be used to build the rest of the system.

Waste360: Is fast fashion the main reason why textile waste is the fastest growing type of waste?

Adler: It’s definitely a contributing factor, but we can’t necessarily blame fast fashion for everything about this problem. The lack of infrastructure is also a key issue. Also, 85 percent of textiles that we generate are disposed of right now. So there’s a long way we could go in consumer behavior for people to reuse or recycle those textiles instead. These underlying factors all have an impact on the high volume of textile waste. 

Read transcript here.

#NothingWastedPodcast

Need to Know

From Sanitation Worker to Harvard Law Student

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For 24-year-old Rehan Staton, acceptance into Harvard Law School was once a pipe dream—but now it is a reality for the former sanitation worker. 

Growing up, Staton says, he was “losing in everything…no social life, home life was just horrible, and I hated school more than anything.” After graduating high school, and receiving only rejections to his college applications, Staton went to work at Bates Trucking & Trash Removal in Bladensburg, Md. 

“The other sanitation workers were the only people in my life who uplifted me and told me I could be somebody,” says Staton—and they encouraged him to reapply to college. In 2018, Staton graduated from the University of Maryland with a 4.0 GPA and took a job at the Robert Bobb Group, a D.C.-based consulting firm. 

Now, this fall, Staton is off to Harvard Law. The road to receiving the acceptance letter was “long and bumpy,” but if you “keep your eyes on the prize, everything will fall into place.” And, apparently, it doesn’t hurt to have friends in the sanitation business. 

View the original article here.

California’s Organics Bill: How Yolo County is Bracing for SB 1383

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California’s Senate Bill 1383 could mean big changes for landfills, which will have to find a home for organics that they will no longer be able to bury. The bill will have a particular impact on landfills that have been capturing methane from organic waste and capitalizing on it. Sooner or later, SB 1383 will mean less gas to work with.

Yolo County’s Integrated Waste Division finds itself in a unique situation. The county, which lies immediately west of Sacramento, will be able to provide a home for organic waste from other jurisdictions and capitalize on it by using the gas without having to first landfill the organics and then extract methane.

Ramin Yazdani, director of Yolo County’s Integrated Waste Division, recently spoke with Waste360 about what the county is doing in the way of biogas projects while supporting others that do not have similar resources. He described anaerobic digestion, the technology that the county leverages, and explained why he thinks SB 1383 won’t significantly affect volumes of food waste. And he talked about what California cities and counties will need in order to launch projects similar to Yolo County’s to benefit California.

Waste360: Tell us about Yolo County’s methane gas-to-energy projects.

Ramin Yazdani: We are currently using landfill gas from decomposing organics placed in landfill cells to produce electricity (about 3 megawatts), which is sold to the Sacramento Municipal Utility District.

We also receive about 45,000 tons of a green waste and food waste mixture, which is anaerobically decomposed (high-solid anaerobic digestion) for methane production for about six months in a batch reactor, which allows us to capture most of the biogas produced from the readily degradable portion of the food waste and other green waste. Then we make compost from the residual, which involves a short phase of aeration — 14 days — to reach the appropriate time and temperature for compost production. In addition to the 45,000 tons we currently process, we plan to soon take green waste from the city of Sacramento and other commercial customers in the region.

We also have a low-solid anaerobic digester project that is currently under construction. We will receive commercial food waste mixed with plastics and other contaminants, which goes through an automatic depackaging process system. After the food waste portion is treated in a large above-ground tank, it will be pumped into an anaerobic digester lagoon, where biogas will be produced and captured for either electricity or transportation fuel. The project will be operational this fall.

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Waste360: Many California disposal sites are landfilling organics, then collecting the methane that this waste generates to make energy. How might SB 1383 impact their projects once it mandates diversion of 50%, then 75% of organics from landfill?

Ramin Yazdani: People have opinions about how much methane will decrease, and when, as a result of SB 1383. But there is no simple answer. It depends on the technologies and how aggressively they are diverting organics. SB 1383 gives you time to work with businesses, households and communities to come up with a plan of how they will divert organics.

But generally speaking, as organics are diverted from the landfill, gas quantity will reduce. The magnitude is unknown and will depend on several factors.

There are models to predict, though even the best models to estimate gas generation are dependent on the organics, and these models have not been calibrated to predict the impact of SB 1383. I don’t think anyone could have a good understanding of the impact unless they do a full multiyear waste characterization study and use this information to calibrate the biogas production model. That information would come from looking at a statistically significant number of waste samples from the site to determine the organic portion change over time so they can calibrate the model used to estimate the landfill gas production reduction. Then they could take the results from that multiyear study and plug them into a model to make projections further out.

Waste360: Do you have a sense of whether less food waste will be generated as a result of SB 1383?

Ramin Yazdani: Unless the population drops, the volumes of disposed food waste won’t go down. There is more food rescue happening, but the amounts we are talking about are relatively small, and I don’t think that will change substantially. There will always be food that gets thrown away that does not meet the requirements of the food industry.

Without a reduction in population, restaurants will have excess food or food that has passed its shelf life. And there will be food waste from manufacturers, whether because it does not meet the requirements of local health departments and the Food and Drug Administration or the requirements of manufacturers’ customers.

I think volumes of food waste generated by consumers will be the same but less will go to landfills. You will just have to do something else with it.

Waste360: What is the difference in gas capture when organics are placed in an anaerobic digester versus when organics are landfilled and then the gas is collected from landfill cells?

Ramin Yazdani: Many landfills put garbage in active landfill cells as they are constructing them. It could take years to build out a landfill cell before they could capture this methane. During that time, landfill gas is generated but not collected in those active areas, and some of the gases are lost, especially from rapidly degradable organics. But managed smaller organics cells such as an anaerobic digester will let you collect gas, and you will not lose significant amounts. A typical landfill does not do this because it is not practical to collect gas early on, since you are still working in that area.

Further, if you take food waste out of the stream and treat it to produce biogas under a controlled environment, you will actually see improvements in collection efficiency of the biogas produced. This is because you are now actively separating and processing the collected organic waste.

Waste360: Why did you build this infrastructure in Yolo County?

Ramin Yazdani: To comply with the regulatory requirement of SB 1383 and AB 32.

Waste360: How do you think SB 1383 may affect your projects?

Ramin Yazdani: We have been taking food waste and will be taking additional food waste with the idea that there will be a need for businesses due to SB 1383. In our new project slated to launch this fall, we will begin by taking about 50 tons a day of commercial and industrial food waste, and over time the amount will increase to about 200 tons a day.

As landfill operators must comply with the mandate, they will have to find an alternative way to dispose of and treat organics. Our facilities have been designed for the increase in tonnage to be able to meet increased need within the region. In providing this service to others, we will produce and make use of more biogas.

One other point I’d like to make as it relates to SB 1383 is that there is a need for facilities to provide alternatives to landfilling, and one thing the bill lacks is ensuring there will be enough facilities. On one hand, we are supposed to create a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. But on the other hand, there has been limited thought into how to put infrastructure in place, who will build it, and how it will be funded, as well as how far the material should be moved from one location to another, and the emissions that this would create. Some California facilities are now hauling three or four hours away to get rid of their organic waste.

California is currently ahead of many states as far as regulations to reduce organics going to landfill and greenhouse gases. Yolo County is also ahead of implementing projects to meet the needs of our cities, but not all cities and counties in California are fortunate to have the funding and a facility to implement projects.

I would like to see more funding for projects that have a net benefit for California. Cap and trade funds have been used towards some of these projects, but more funds are required to comply with SB 1383 and AB 32. Given the current situation in California and other regions, we need to think and plan. Without more funding or other creative ways of getting more projects constructed, it would be difficult for jurisdictions to implement, and there will be increased cost to residents and businesses.

Need to Know

Capital Waste Prioritizes Charleston Market with Priority-1 Waste Acquisition

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Columbia, SC (June 30, 2020)– Capital Waste Services, LLC (“Capital Waste” or “CWS”), a portfolio company of Kinderhook Industries, LLC (“Kinderhook”), announced the acquisition of Priority-1 Waste, LLC (“Priority-1 Waste” or the “Company”), a roll-off collection company serving industrial and construction and demolition waste customers in the Charleston market. Priority-1 Waste represents Capital Waste’s second add-on acquisition and Kinderhook’s 48th environmental services transaction since inception.

“Priority-1 Waste allows us to expand our service offering in the Charleston market to include rolloff services for industrial and C&D waste customers. With the recent launch of our Charleston operations, we look forward to growing Priority-1 Waste into permanent roll-off work while also branching off into front-end load waste and recycling collection,” said Matt Parker, Chief Executive Officer of CWS.

“We are excited to further expand the Capital Waste platform through acquisition. The team has done an exceptional job maintaining its industry leading service while broadening its geographical reach and operational capabilities. We expect to continue this growth through both our expansive sales force as well as additional M&A.” said Rob Michalik, Managing Director of Kinderhook.

"I am happy to partner with Capital Waste who has the capabilities and resources to continue our great service for our growing customer base. I am excited to work with Matt Parker and his team post-closing as they continue to excel as leaders in the South Carolina market.” said Dana Arthur, Founder of Priority-1 Waste. 

Kirkland & Ellis LLP served as legal counsel to Kinderhook. Financing for the transaction was provided by Comerica Bank.

About Kinderhook Industries

Kinderhook Industries, LLC is a private investment firm that manages over $3.1 billion of

committed capital. We have made in excess of 225 investments and follow-on acquisitions since inception. Kinderhook’s investment philosophy is predicated on matching unique, growth-oriented investment opportunities with exceptional financial expertise and our proprietary network of operating partners. Our focus is on middle market businesses with defensible niche market positioning in the healthcare services, environmental / business services, and automotive / light manufacturing sectors. We have a track record of successfully and consistently building industry leaders.

For more information, please visit: www.kinderhook.com

About Capital Waste Services, LLC

Headquartered in Columbia, South Carolina, Capital Waste is a leading regional provider of solid waste hauling services for residential, commercial and industrial waste generators. The Company operates three hauling locations in Ridgeville, Columbia, and Florence. Capital Waste currently services over 48,000 residential customers across seven long-term municipal contracts as well as over 3,400 commercial, industrial, and construction and demolition waste customers.

For more information please visit: www.capwasteservices.com

For additional information about this transaction, please contact: 

Rob Michalik
Managing Director
+1 (212) 201-6789
[email protected]

Cor Carruthers
Managing Director
+1 (212) 201-6799
[email protected]

Need to Know

As NJ Economy Restarts, Shore Gets Buried in Trash

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Since New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy eased the reins on his state’s economy a month ago, the beach towns along the shore have been filling up, and increased takeout dining has brought a tidal wave of trash to the area.

Single-use plastic bags and containers are inundating shore towns as pizza parlors, seafood dives, supermarkets, and souvenirs shops spring back to life.

Some cities have added trash receptacles and increased collection frequencies in high-density areas. Others have increased patrols and added undercover officers to dissuade people from violating trash laws.

In early March, New Jersey’s legislature was in the midst of passing a stringent ban on single-use plastic bags and containers, but the impact of the pandemic stopped that effort dead in its tracks. Now a new bill has been introduced to prohibit the sale of polystyrene packaging and require plastic, glass and paper containers to be made from recycled material.

Read the original article here.

Need to Know

Budget Cuts at NYC’s Sanitation Department

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New York City is in the process of finalizing its 2021 fiscal year budget. At this time, a proposed budget cut of $28 million would end the voluntary curbside food waste collection program, local community composting operations and education efforts. And it would send more material to landfills, which are the third largest source of methane emissions in the United States. 

The city council should consider restoring $7 million to fund the Community Composting program and related recycling outreach and education initiatives, to stop global warming emissions.

It would be a big backwards step environmentally if the composting programs are eliminated.

Read the original story here.

Need to Know

Major Investments Needed for the Recycling of Flexible Packaging

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There is a demand for flexible packaging, but historically it has caused problems for recyclers. 

Yearly, 15 metric tons of flexible film are put on the EU market, of which nine metric tons are polyethylene (PE), however, Europe only recycles 23 percent of PE films. 

According to a new study, this packaging has a high potential for Europe to meet recycling targets for plastic. Yet, to achieve greater recycling rates, investments must be made simultaneously in collection methods and the quality of sorted waste.

There is the potential to increase the use of recycled content with polypropylene flexible packaging, which has a market of approximately 2.5 metric tons.

Read the original story here.