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Articles from 2015 In September


Worker's Comp - Strategy and Cost Containment

Private Equity Group Buys Multifamily Waste, Recycling Hauler Valet

A private equity group has bought Valet Waste, a Tampa, Fla.-based waste and recycling hauler for multifamily dwellings, for an undisclosed amount.

Funds managed by the private equity group of Ares Management L.P. and Harvest Partners LP acquired Valet from investment funds affiliated with New Mountain Capital LLC, according to a news release.

Valet Waste provides doorstep waste and recycling collection five nights per week for more than 400 management companies and owner groups serving more than 665,000 units across 34 states. The company also provides complementary maintenance service to multifamily units such as nightly maintenance, apartment cleaning, apartment turns and porter services through its Maintenance Plus program, launched in 2014.

“Valet Waste is a leader in its industry, with a longstanding track record of delivering high-quality service to its customers and providing a top-rated amenity to residents. We are excited to partner with the Valet Waste management team and look forward to supporting the company in its next phase of growth,” said Matt Cwiertnia, partner in the Private Equity Group of Ares Management.

Added Michael DeFlorio, senior managing director of Harvest Partners, “We are excited to invest alongside this first class team to build upon Valet Waste’s leadership position in the market and expand services more broadly across the multifamily housing industry.”

Multifamily dwellings represent a unique challenge for recycling and waste collection. At WasteExpo this June Ron Falcon of Integrity Waste talked about those challenges, and how diversion in multifamily units is quite low because it is more difficult than curbside collection for single-family homes.

In a column for Waste360 earlier this year, Bob Gedert, director of the Austin (Texas) Resource Recovery Department, points out that about 47 percent of the housing stock in the growing city are multifamily dwellings. He says to meet this challenge for a city with a zero waste goal, the city adopted an ordinance that requires commercial and multifamily properties to provide their employees and tenants with convenient access to recycling. By Oct. 1, 2016, all multifamily properties in Austin will be required to provide recycling services.

One Firm’s Quest to Develop a Portable Organics Digester

Usually when referring to the use of farm animals to create bioenergy, you are discussing waste-to-energy options and resources. But one Seattle, Wash., company is trying to change that.

Impact Bioenergy has created the HORSE system for generating bioenergy. HORSE stands for a high-solids, organic-waste, recycling system with electrical-output. It is a portable digester.

“Impact Bioenergy prefabricated modular systems can process 25 to 925 tons per year of waste materials,” says Jan Allen, president, Impact Bioenergy. “Renewable energy can be in the form of building heat, hot water, radiant heat, light, electricity and prime motion. Fertilizer can be in the form of liquid fertilizer, dried fertilizer, fertilizer pellets and compost.”

The system was introduced to the U.S. in February. The first North American system was delivered to British Columbia. Allen says Impact is crowd-funding to put one or two HORSES on the ground in Seattle area as reference plants.

“Our crowd sourcing goal is to both connect like-minded people and to raise enough money to build a containerized version of the HORSE. Individuals and organizations can make an impact and be part of this. We have a specific project in Seattle and are hoping to build more as a demonstration to allow early adopters and innovators a chance to operate this system,” he says. “The vision is to become more self-sufficient and to make renewable energy on your property and fertilize your own or a nearby garden or farm to grow food and flowers.”

Allen says the HORSE system is both a sustainability and society game changer.

“It’s all about the quadruple bottom line: people, planet, profit and progress. There are 700,000 restaurants and 4,000 college campuses in North America,” he says. “Each one should have their own HORSE. Just imagine the sustainable energy revolution for islands, resorts, zoos, museums, schools, parks, convention centers, farmer's markets, music venues, apartments and corporate and municipal campuses as they turn food scraps into energy.”

The HORSE system can take a wide range of organic wastes including kitchen trim, plate scrapings, meat, grease, oil, all edible liquids, seafood, dairy products, starch, sugar, fruit, vegetable, small bones, soiled paper products, napkins, tissue, paper towels, waxed paper, grass clippings, leaves, fats, fryer oil, grease trap waste, beverages, alcohol, soup, condiments, manure, human waste and food processing wastes. 

Because it is a liquid system, all organic materials need to be reduced to one-inch or smaller pieces. Organic wastes are blended and homogenized for three to four days and metered into the digester. The digester is a closed system (sealed from the atmosphere), mixed and heated to about 100 degrees.

This produces biogas that can be used as renewable natural gas. The biogas is stored overnight within the system and can be used during peak energy demand periods during the day. The HORSE system creates renewable energy in the form of hot air, hot water, radiant heat, electricity or cooking gas.

Allen says that liquid organic plant food in the form of nutrient-rich water is produced daily in equal volumes to what is put into the system. There are only two moving parts in the digester—mixer and heating pump—and this liquid is produced by gravity flow as new food waste is metered into the system.

“Energy is produced by microbial conversion of the calories in the organic waste by fermentation. This is biomimicry as we have designed a living machine that functions like a HORSE or other animal with a digestive tract,” Allen says. “It can create up to 37 megawatt hours of raw energy at full operating capacity. As renewable gas that’s 125 million BTU per year—4.3 megawatt hours of this energy is electrical output.”

The HORSE system also can create 5,400 gallons per year of liquid fertilizer, according to Allen.

“This is the first time a manufacturer has commercialized anaerobic digestion at this scale, enabling customers to generate energy from food waste and other organic materials,” he says. “This creates the opportunity to eliminate the costs and environmental impacts associated with the disposal and hauling of organic, carbon-based wastes to distant landfills by converting them into heat, electricity, vehicle fuel, and soil amendments on-site at their point of generation.”

Allen says one of the benefits of the HORSE system includes eliminating garbage pickup and the carbon emissions associated with long distance trucking.

“Imagine a technology that can divert waste and create energy off-grid. Imagine eliminating the organic waste from the disposal system. Imagine making it into two valuable new resources for commercial use,” he says.

Need to Know

Oakland Proposes New Rate Hike on Recycling to Resolve Contractor Dispute

While much of the recent controversy around Oakland's new garbage contract has centered on the exorbitant rate increases for commercial composting, the City of Oakland has quietly put forward a new proposal to increase the recycling rates for all residents beyond the fees that officials negotiated and approved last year.

On the agenda of the Oakland City Council tomorrow is a proposal from the city's Public Works Agency to raise recycling rates by more than 10 percent to resolve a dispute with the private contractor California Waste Solutions (CWS). The proposed hike would enable CWS to increase its annual revenue by roughly $800,000, according to the report. 

Continue reading at the East Bay Express

Need to Know

Proposal Will Add N.J. Site to List of Country's Most Hazardous Waste Sites

A former pesticide factory could be the newest addition to a list of the country's most hazardous waste sites, according to a proposal by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Tests have found high levels of arsenic and lead in soil surrounding the former site of the Kil-Tone Company on the 500 block of East Chestnut Avenue in Vineland.

"By adding this site to the Superfund list, the EPA moves forward in its commitment to do extensive sampling needed to determine the best way to clean up the contamination," said Judith A. Enck, EPA regional administrator, in a press release.

Continue reading at NJ.com

Need to Know

Residents Trash New York Sand and Stone Plan for Waste Transfer Station in Hempstead Village

A Hempstead Village gravel and trucking company is proposing to build a waste transfer station near homes in the village, and many in the community say they are going to fight it.

Representatives for New York Sand and Stone Inc. are asking the village planning board to approve a 15,000-square-foot waste transfer station on a decontaminated brownfield site at Sewell and Mirschel streets.

Continue reading at News 12 Long Island

Need to Know

US Seafood Waste Enough to Feed Up to 12 Million People for a Year

There are plenty of fish in the sea. Plenty, also, in the trash.

Of all the food that Americans waste--and Americans waste a lot of food--it's the seafood that never gets eaten that should trouble us most. Few sources of nutrition, after all, are as coveted as fish. They're high in protein, and low in fat. Eating them is associated with all sorts of beneficial health outcomes. And yet, few foods are discarded so frequently.

Between 2009 and 2013, as much as 47 percent of all edible seafood in the United States went to waste, according to a new study from the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. And the majority of that is thanks to consumers (both families and food businesses), who buy fresh and frozen fish, but never end up eating it or selling it.

Continue reading at the Alaska Dispatch News

Need to Know

Delaware Hospitals Hit With Fines for Hazardous Waste Disposal Violations

State environmental officials have issued penalties to two Delaware hospitals for hazardous waste violations.

Officials say Bayhealth Kent General Hospital in Dover and St. Francis Hospital in Wilmington for hazardous waste violations have 30 days to appeal the penalty orders.

Continue reading at NBC Philadelphia

Casella Tells Shareholders Why They Should Reject JCP Plan in Proxy Fight

Casella Waste Systems Inc. has made its case to its shareholders to re-elect its slate of existing directors to its board and prevent a possible takeover, as investor JCP Investment Management LLC wants its two director candidates elected at the Nov. 6 meeting.

Rutland, Vt.-based Casella sent a letter to shareholders asking them to vote for John Casella, William Hulligan and James O’Connor. O’Connor is the former chairman and CEO of Phoenix-based Republic Services Inc. who was appointed to the board in July. Hulligan was appointed in September, and is the former chairman and CEO of Progressive Waste Solutions Ltd., Vaughan, Ontario. John Casella is chairman and CEO of Casella Waste.

JCP has indicated that they intend to conduct a proxy contest and seek the election of two director candidates in opposition to Casella board recommendations, according to a news release.

If the three Casella directors are re-elected, the number on the board would total nine. Seven would be independent and four would have joined the board since 2008.

In its letter, Casella Waste describes the JCP group as led by James Pappas, and that it began accumulating Casella shares in May 2014. Casella identified the other JCP board nominee besides Pappas as Brett Frazier.

“Over the past two and a half years, Casella has achieved significant progress and momentum in executing on its strategy, improving its financial and operating performance and growing stockholder value,” the letter states. “As such, we question the judgment and logic of JCP in forcing upon Casella a costly and distracting proxy contest to replace highly qualified, experienced and valued members of your board with its own candidates without providing stockholders with any credible arguments as to why its candidates, one of whom has no waste management industry experience whatsoever and one of whom has never served on a public company’s board of directors, are more qualified than your board’s nominees to drive further stockholder value creation. We do not believe that JCP has proposed any director candidates who have experiences and competencies that would expand the depth and breadth of your Board. Nor has JCP shared with Casella’s management or your board an alternative strategic plan or any specific ideas for improving Casella’s prospects or enhancing stockholder value.”

Casella Waste also pointed out that its board has taken action to improve operating and financial results, and that it’s improving cash flow and reducing leverage.

Casella Waste said it has attempted “on numerous occasions to constructively and in good faith engage with JCP to avoid a proxy contest.”

Casella revealed JCP’s interest in July, saying then that JCP called for three people it named to be placed on the Casella board. JCP also said it had numerous inquires from potential buyers.

Leone Young in her June Business Insights column said industry analysts have pegged Casella’s valuation on a takeover basis within a wide $5-$10 per share.

Special Report: Fleets

Software Provider Stays Busy In Waste & Recycling Industry

AMCS USA Inc., a software provider for the waste and recycling industry, has had a busy quarter—acquiring new businesses and securing funds to enhance its suite of technological offerings for the waste and recycling industry.

A North American subsidiary of AMCS Group, AMCS USA recently announced the launch of its latest mobile Android application that provides operators with a real-time overview of all their services while enabling the addition of ad hoc work and the alteration of existing routes.

The company also recently publicized the acquisition of P&L Software Systems Limited, a leading supplier of waste management software in the UK, and a $45 million (Euro) investment, led by Insight Venture Partners, a New York-based private equity and venture capital firm, with participation from the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF)

Waste360 sat down with Mitch Alcon, president of AMCS USA Inc., a subsidiary of AMCS Group, to discuss the company’s growth and technology solutions for the waste and recycling industry.

Waste360: You recently received $50 million from Insight. What is Insight and what will that money be used for?

Mitch Alcon: Insight Venture Partners is a premier U.S. private equity firm that specializes in funding high-growth software companies. The money raised will go towards building the organization, continuing to develop new innovative solutions and mergers and acquisitions to grow our U.S. market.

Waste360: Your headquarters are in Ireland, but do you have a strong presence in the U.S.?

Mitch Alcon: With the acquisition of PC Scale Technologies in February 2014, PC Scale’s strong product offerings, experienced and knowledgeable team, and customer-driven focus provided AMCS with a strong U.S. presence to continue to market existing solutions as well as bring to market new and exciting solutions to address issues not being addressed by others. AMCS US has more than 750 active waste and recycling customers in the private hauling and municipal markets, and manages billions in customer’s revenues.  Our U.S. headquarters are located just outside of Philadelphia, in Oxford, Penn.

Waste360: What type of software do you provide the waste and recycling industry?

Mitch Alcon: AMCS [provides] a complete end-to-end solution to the waste and recycling industry. Our integrated vehicle technology (on-board computer systems, radio-frequency identification and truck scales) coupled with our powerful route optimization can optimize operation performance, create a paperless environment, and minimize revenue leakage. Information from the field is seamlessly integrated into the AMCS enterprise resource planning solution to handle all business processes. AMCS continues to add new mobile and internet solutions to improve overall communication between all of a customer’s constituents. 

Waste360: What makes your software different from others?

Mitch Alcon: Our end-to-end solution for the waste and recycling industry captures critical data missing in other solutions. The solutions are built on most current technology but designed to be deployed by any sized organizations. AMCS has a diverse customer base, from local to national firms, and prides itself in understanding the needs and providing the solutions for each customer, and actively developing new solutions to address the critical issues facing the industry. So, as you grow, AMCS can grow with you.

Waste360: Are there North American waste and recycling companies using your software? If so, which ones?

Mitch Alcon: We have more than 750 active waste and recycling customer in the commercial and municipal markets. Some customers include Greenwaste Recovery Inc. in San Jose, Calif., Recology in San Francisco, and Valley Vista Services in City of Industry, Calif. 

Waste360: Anything else you’d like to add?

Mitch Alcon: AMCS’ mission is to be the global leader and innovator of technology solutions for the waste and recycling industry, and to empower our customers to extract maximum value from their business critical data across every level of their organization—from the truck, to the scale house and to the back-office. We do this by delivering superior, integrated technology solutions that provide a 360-degree view into their business, and which are designed to meet their specific needs, mitigate their financial risk and turn their valuable resources into revenue.