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Articles from 2015 In August

Need to Know

Europe Fails on Electronics Recycling Goals

Only a third of Europe's electronic waste is properly recycled, with vast numbers of cellphones, computers and televisions illegally traded or dumped, a study led by the United Nations and INTERPOL said on Sunday.

Sweden and Norway were close to European targets of collecting and recycling 85 percent of all electrical and electronic waste, at the top of a ranking in which Romania, Spain and Cyprus were bottom with less than 20 percent, it said.

European rules demand recycling of "e-waste", products with a plug or a battery, to recover metals such as gold or silver and avoid release of toxins such as lead or mercury.

Continue reading at Reuters

Need to Know

Anger Builds at EPA Over Radioactive Landfill

Leaders in a St. Louis suburb are urgently calling on top Obama administration officials to quickly clean up a landfill with radioactive waste that they believe could catch fire.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been working for 25 years on the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton, Mo., which has housed barium sulfate waste from the Manhattan Project since the 1970s.

The EPA is still studying the site and considering a wide range of actions to contain the radioactive material under its Superfund program for cleaning severe environmental contamination.

But with an underground, smoldering fire in an adjacent landfill, residents and leaders say it’s only a matter of time before the flames hits the radioactive waste, potentially sending it airborne and spreading it in an unpredictable way.

Continue reading at The Hill

Need to Know

Battery Recycling 'Victory' in North America

To date in 2015, some 2600 tonnes of batteries have been collected for recycling in the USA and Canada via the network of consumer battery stewardship organisation Call2Recycle. This year-on-year increase of 6% represents a 'significant environmental victory' and means battery collections 'are on target to grow for the 19th consecutive year', it states.

With approximately 90% of both US and Canadian residents living within 15 kilometres of one of Call2Recycle’s 34 000-plus public drop-off locations, battery recycling has become 'increasingly simple and convenient', the organisation claims.

Continue reading at Recycling International

Need to Know

Environmental Groups to Sue EPA Over Waste Disposal Rules

A group of environmental organizations plan to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), claiming the agency has failed to update waste disposal rules as required by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) – which they say should have been revised over 25 years ago – to address waste associated with drilling and hydraulic fracturing activity.

In an Aug. 26 letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, the groups said that the EPA has failed to meet its duty to revise at least once every three years Subtitle D regulations for wastes associated with the exploration, development, or production of oil, natural gas or geothermal energy.

According to the groups, the last time EPA conducted a review of these regulations was in 1988, when it revised regulations to promulgate “tailored” regulations for oil and gas wastes. EPA has also failed to review and update its guidelines for state solid waste management plans, missing 11 successive three year deadlines since the last review and update were conducted in 1981. 

Continue reading at Rigzone


Need to Know

Miami University Turning Food Waste into Water

In an effort not to waste money, Miami University is using its waste to save money.

The university has invested in multiple green energy initiatives, including a $30,000 to $50,000 machine that turns the food waste from the Garden Commons dining hall into wastewater that won’t clog up landfills.

Called EnviroPure, the eco-friendly waste disposal system is a large machine that looks like a freezer. But instead of ice on the inside, there’s a special mixture that breaks down the food waste, said Tina Rotundo, an executive manager of dining.

Continue reading at Journal-News

Waste, Energy Firms Partner for Indiana Landfill Gas Project

Waste and recycling firm Randolph Farms Inc. and Hoosier Energy are partnering on the construction of a landfill gas to energy facility at the Randolph Farms Landfill near Modoc, Ind.

Bloomington, Ind.-based Hoosier Energy will build the Cabin Creek 4-megawatt landfill gas operation with the Kalamazoo, Mich.-based Randolph Farms at its landfill in rural east-central Indiana.

The companies expect construction of the $12 million operation to begin in the fall of 2016, and power production to begin in early 2017, according to a news release. To reduce risk to member systems and co-op consumers, funding will come from low-cost clean renewable energy bonds.

Hoosier Energy will capture the landfill methane and use it to generate electricity. The 156-acre landfill receives electrical service from Whitewater Valley REMC, one of 18 distribution cooperatives that own Hoosier Energy.

Cabin Creek is part of Hoosier Energy’s strategy of furthering its diversified power supply portfolio. The Randolph project moves Hoosier Energy closer to its voluntary goal of providing 10 percent of member system power needs from renewable energy resources by 2025.

Hoosier Energy owns and operates two other landfill gas facilities, including the 4-megawatt Clark-Floyd landfill methane gas project in Clark County, Indiana, and the 15-megawatt Livingston landfill-gas-to-energy facility near Pontiac, Ill. A third plant, the 16-megawatt Orchard Hills landfill in Illinois, is scheduled to be operating in mid-2016.

There’s been some legislative activity recently aimed at helping landfill gas to energy projects. In the spring the New Jersey legislature considered a bill that would award renewable energy certificates to facilities that report losses related to gas-to-energy projects.

And in 2014 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published a final rule qualifying additional fuel pathways as cellulosic biofuel, including landfill gas, under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.

Meanwhile, waste-to-energy (WTE) projects have been gathering steam. The latest involves Sevier Solid Waste Inc. (SSWI), which said it is building a WTE plant in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., at a cost of $2.25 million. The facility will convert composted material into thermal energy while also producing a high-carbon biochar. The new biomass gasification plant will be capable of converting more than 30 tons of organics daily.

CNG Remains in the Plans for Many Waste Haulers

As diesel fuel prices continue to remain low, waste haulers plan on staying committed to natural gas-powered vehicles for their fleets.

In July, Phoenix-based Republic Services announced the addition of 17 compressed natural gas (CNG) solid waste collection trucks to its fleet in the Denver area. This brings Republic’s total number of natural gas-powered vehicles in Colorado to 82.

“We are proceeding with our CNG strategy while monitoring fuel prices,” says Steven Saltzgiver, vice president of fleet management for Republic Services.

Since the beginning of this year, the percentage of CNG trucks, relative to Republic’s overall fleet, has increased from approximately 14 percent to 15 percent.

“We have delivered more than 130 CNG trucks so far this year, and anticipate delivering more than 150 additional CNG trucks by the end of year,” says Saltzgiver.

Republic operates a fleet of more than 2,200 CNG vehicles and 38 natural gas fueling stations, nationwide.

Harland Chadbourne, director of purchasing for Waste Pro USA, says the Longwood, Fla.-based company also remains committed to growing its CNG fleet and fueling facilities because of its benefits.

“CNG continues to be a safe and reliable fuel source that burns cleaner than diesel and gasoline fuels,” he says. “Using CNG also moves Waste Pro away from our dependency on petroleum-based fuels and reduces the supply and demand volatility that comes with imported fuels. Additionally, our customers prefer our use of the fuel as many of them have complimented on how quiet our trucks operate when compared to the diesel models.”

Since the beginning of the year, Waste Pro USA has committed to build one new fuel station as well as expanding and upgrading two other facilities. About 10 percent of its fleet, 190 trucks, are CNG-powered.

While Ray Burke, vice president of business development, solid waste at Clean Energy Fuels Corp., admits that lower diesel prices have made the push for CNG a little more difficult, the first half of 2015 has been one of the busiest for the company’s solid waste business.

“Clean Energy completed 14 new station projects for waste customers during the first six months and we project to complete at least 22 additional projects before the end of the year,” he says. “The waste industry was one of the first to test and then fully adopt natural gas as a fuel. It knows there are additional benefits besides the lower costs. The price of natural gas has been stable—and low—for many years, it burns cleaner, which helps waste companies win municipalities’ business, and the trucks are quieter. The pace of adoption of natural gas in the waste industry continues to be very strong.”

The Newport Beach, Calif.-based company has not seen any fall off of CNG adoption since the first of the year.

“Those that began to adopt natural gas years ago continue to add to their fleets, while more and more municipalities and companies make the switch for the first time,” says Burke. “Even with low oil prices, the diesel commodity is still a 70-percent priced commodity. Another important point is that the price of natural gas has been consistently low for the last five to six years since so much of it was discovered in the U.S. and most energy experts believe this will be case for the foreseeable future. We still import a lot of oil, which remains a volatile-priced commodity. It might be lower today, but these same experts believe it will rise in the next one to two years.”  

Need to Know

Sports Venues Would Recycle 100% of Food Waste Under De Blasio Plan

Sports Venues Would Recycle 100% of Food Waste Under De Blasio Plan

Madison Square Garden and other major New York City sporting venues would have to recycle all food waste under new rules unveiled Thursday to expand the city’s composting program.

The rules would also cover restaurants at hotels with at least 150 bedrooms and large food manufacturers and wholesalers, and are part of Mayor de Blasio’s goal of having zero food waste going into landfills by 2030.

Continue reading at the New York Post

Need to Know

New Beltrami County Transfer Station Part of $28.5M Regional Project

A new transfer station planned for Beltrami County is just one of five facilities scheduled for construction and expansion in Greater Minnesota.

The five facility project has been organized by a five county Solid Waste Advisory Board which includes Beltrami, Clearwater, Polk, Mahnomen, Norman and will soon add Hubbard. Once completed, Polk County Environmental Services Administrator Jon Steiner said the new and updated facilities will be beneficial to all six counties involved.

Along with the new 40,000 square-foot transfer station in Bemidji for Beltrami County, the project includes new transfer stations in Park Rapids for Hubbard County and in Crookston for Polk County. Additionally, work will be done to expand the Polk County Resource Recovery Facility in Fosston, and construct a composting site in Polk County.

Continue reading at The Bemidji Pioneer

Need to Know

Minnesota Counties Agree on Price for Recycling Plant

Aurora Cannabis Shares Bleak Earnings Report

Ramsey and Washington counties have succeeded in whittling back the purchase price of a garbage recycling plant in Newport, and seem ready to buy it despite misgivings about the technology.

A board consisting of commissioners from both counties agreed almost unanimously Thursday to recommend spending $24.4 million to buy the plant, if a series of conditions is met by December.

That’s less than the $26.4 million, plus the current owner’s capital expenses, that an arbitrator had ruled was fair. Commissioners complained that the price seemed high for a facility with no other obvious buyer, and had pushed back the purchase to allow time for further talks.

Continue reading at StarTribune.com