Soles4Souls’ Recycling Campaign Aims To Wear Out Poverty

How many pairs of shoes do own that you don’t wear anymore, or don’t fit?  Chances are you may have a few pair – possibly even more. Now, think for a minute.  What do you do with those shoes?  Do you throw them in the trash?  Donate or recycle them?  Pass them along to friends […]

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Resource Recycling Magazine: European Commission tables Circular Economy

European Commission tables Circular Economy

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Dec. 30, 2014

The European Commission has put an end to its Circular Economy initiative in hopes of developing a more robust and achievable alternative.

The group announced the decision as part of a series of major cuts to the European Commission’s long list of focus areas for its 2015 Work Programme.

While EC’s media contact Tim McPhie did not return a request for comment, the legislative body’s website notes the change as a prime example of the group moving to put in place even "more ambitious proposals."

"In some cases the Commission is proposing to withdraw proposals in order to replace them subsequently by more ambitious proposals or to tailor them more closely to its 10 priorities (for example to present a new proposal with a broader approach on the circular economy to meet our ambitions in a more effective way)," the group stated in a press release.

The Circular Economy initiative had held member countries responsible for reaching a 50 percent recycling rate by 2020. In 2012, EC countries combined for a 27 percent recycling rate.

In July of this year, EU leaders expressed support for a 70 percent recycling rate by 2030 and a special 80 percent recycling rate for packaging.

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Resource Recycling Magazine: Resource Recycling Conference 2015: Updates from major initiatives

Resource Recycling Conference 2015: Updates from major initiatives

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Dec. 30, 2014

In the last year, the industry has seen two major corporate-backed efforts form to help municipalities push their recycling programs forward. At the 2015 Resource Recycling Conference, attendees will get an exclusive look at how those public-private partnerships are progressing.

Ron Gonen of the Closed Loop Fund and Keefe Harrison from the Recycling Partnership will both take to the stage in Indianapolis to explain the initial steps their respective projects have made. These sessions will help articulate the ways corporate dollars are affecting America’s national diversion landscape and will give recycling professionals an inside look at how key funding decisions are being made.

Resource Recycling Conference 2015 is scheduled for Sept. 28-30, 2015 at the Downtown Marriott in Indianapolis. Head to for all the latest on attending, exhibiting and sponsoring.

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Resource Recycling Magazine: To ban or to recycle? NYC takes on foam

To ban or to recycle? NYC takes on foam

By Bobby Elliott, Resource Recycling

Dec. 30, 2014

Officials in the Big Apple are expected to make a decision soon on whether to ban select expanded polystyrene products.

The decision, which will be made on or before Jan. 1 by New York City’s Department of Sanitation, relates to a proposed ban on expanded polystyrene (EPS) food and beverage products that is slated to go into effect in 2015. Supporters of an alternative plan were given the last year to prove the viability of recycling the material instead of prohibiting it.

"There’s a commercial demand for recycled foam packaging, including foodservice items — nearly 140 companies process or use the plastic material in the U.S. and Canada," Mike Levy, senior director for the American Chemistry Council’s (ACC) Plastics Foodservice Packaging Group said in a statement sent to Resource Recycling. The ACC has spun off its own advocacy group, the Coalition to Put a Lid On It NYC, to lead the fight for an alternative recycling plan.

The coalition sent out a press release rallying support for their cause on Dec. 24, noting the Department of Sanitation "has until Jan. 1 to decide whether to embrace recycling or to ban polystyrene." The group also took out in an ad in the Dec. 29 issue of the New York Daily News.

At press time, the Department of Sanitation has not returned a request for comment.

At its core, the plan laid out by ban opponents calls on Dart Container, a major foam manufacturer, to fund the addition of all polystyrene products to New York City’s curbside and commercial recycling program.

"The offer standing before the mayor guarantees that all of the city’s foam products and No. 6 rigid plastics will be bought and recycled long term — at no cost to the city," Michael Westerfield, Dart’s corporate director of recycling programs, told Resource Recycling. "Does New York City want to recycle 100 percent of plastic No. 6 in the waste stream or do they want to ban the 10 percent that foodservice foam represents and continue to landfill the remaining 90 percent of foam which would not be affected by the ban?"

Once added to the recycling program, PS would be sorted and baled by the city’s recycling contractor, Sims Municipal Recycling, and then shipped to Plastics Recycling, Inc.(PRI) in Indianapolis for use in new foam products.

Due to their light weight, large size and relatively low value, foam products are generally viewed as an undesirable material to accept for processing at MRFs. However, recycled EPS can be used in a variety of products, such as picture frames, if the quality of recovered EPS meets the needs of manufacturers.

Tom Outerbridge, Sims’ general manager in New York, did not return a request for comment.

A new study by DSM Environmental estimates Sims would see almost 7,000 tons of food service foam packaging per year if New York brings the material into its recycling infrastructure. The study notes the company could get 8 cents per pound for the material, or $160 per ton, from PRI.

But that same study concludes too many uncertainties stand in the way of the approach, especially with only one secured market for the city’s EPS. "New York City would be implementing a citywide recycling program for a material without a proven track record of recycling success."

DSM was commissioned to perform the study by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a noted supporter of the ban.

"The new DSM study adds to accumulating evidence that it is not now economically feasible to recycle soiled polystyrene food and beverage containers here," NRDC senior attorney Eric Goldstein wrote in a Dec. 18 blog post.

The post also points out the mayor’s own past support for a ban. In 2007, de Blasio, then a Council Member, proposed to ban foam trays in restaurants and schools.

As recently as November of 2013, de Blasio reiterated his support for a ban, which was formally brought forward by former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.

It passed later that year, but included the one-year caveat for the industry to prove that recycling foam could be viable for the city.

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Resource Recycling Magazine: A look at the funding of the Massachusetts bottle bill initiative

A look at the funding of the Massachusetts bottle bill initiative

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Dec. 30, 2014

More than $10 million was spent this fall when voters in Massachusetts were asked if they would like to see the state’s container return system be expanded to include more types of beverages. The measure was soundly defeated in November. Just who funded the political committees on either side of the debate?

The proponents of deposit-program expansion raised about $1.5 million. Two environmental groups in the state — the state chapter of the Sierra Club and the Environmental League of Massachusetts’ Action Fund — funded about two thirds of the campaign’s cost. Among large individual donors to the campaign was Abigail Johnson, CEO of Fidelity Investments, the giant Boston-based mutual fund investment firm.

Two industry sectors funded the opponent committee. The beverage industry’s trade group, the American Beverage Association, donated $6 million and an independent beverage firm, Nestle Waters, separately provided $500,000. The other principal group fighting the measure was local grocers, with donations of $2.85 million.

The opposing camp raised so much money ($9.35 million) it appears it couldn’t spend the money fast enough and ended the campaign with $276,000 in the bank. This likely indicates the campaign committee’s late-campaign polls showed the initiative would fail and additional expenditures were not needed.

Almost 75 percent of voters rejected the proposed change, which would have expanded the state’s nickel redemption to cover water and many other non-carbonated beverages.

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Resource Recycling Magazine: Grant watch

Grant watch

Dec. 30, 2014

New Jersey awarded local governments more than $15 million in recycling grants, with the state determining the funding amounts based on municipalities’ 2012 recycling efforts. The funds can be used in many ways, including to purchase recycling containers, provide education about the benefits of recycling or support local governments’ staffing needs. The grants are authorized through the Garden State’s Recycling Enhancement Act.

West Virginia awarded recycling grants worth $1.8 million to 30 local governments, private industries and nonprofit organizations. The grants included $150,000 to Roane County Solid Waste Authority for a new recycling facility and $13,000 to West Virginia University Research Corporation to buy 60 bins for a campus-wide recycling program. The funding comes from the Rehabilitation Environmental Action Plan (REAP) Recycling Assistance Grants program.

Tennessee will award more than half a million dollars to local governments and nonprofit organizations to purchase recycling equipment, the state Department of Environment and Conservation announced. A total of $531,820 will be awarded, and the grants come from the state’s Solid Waste Management Fund.

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Resource Recycling Magazine: NewsBits


Dec. 30, 2014

Operators of materials recovery facilities (MRFs) in the United Kingdom will start seeing governmental inspectors on their sites, beginning in January. Already MRF operators (those handling more than 1,100 tons annually) must sample their output and submit quarterly reports to the U.K. Environmental Agency to make sure they are complying with bale-quality standards. According to Materials Recycling Week, EA inspectors will visit each site twice per year, with one of these to be a surprise visit. MRFs will pay $2,779 per year for inspections.

A longtime Massachusetts recycling company owner has been arrested and faces charges related to a pharmaceutical mixing company he co-owned. Greg Conigliaro was one of 14 people arrested and charged on Dec. 17 for their alleged roles at the New England Compound Center (NECC), which has been blamed for a 2012 meningitis outbreak that killed 64 people and sickened hundreds of others. Conigliaro is a founder and owner of Framingham, Massachusetts based-Conigliaro Industries, which recycles 150 different plastics, metal, glass, rubber, wood, paper and textile materials, according to its website.

Over the past two decades, the United Kingdom has collected for recycling more than 2 million tons of plastic bottles and a half-million tons of other plastic containers, according to a new report. The data comes from Household Plastics Collection Survey by RECOUP UK, a membership organization. The survey showed that collection of plastic bottles has plateaued. Last year, 10,000 tons were collected, an increase of only 3 percent from the previous year. Meanwhile, the collection of other types of plastic containers increased 11 percent.

A partnership in San Jose, California will create more jobs for homeless veterans and the chronically unemployed by boosting the number of mattresses Goodwill of Silicon Valley recycles. GreenWaste, a recycling and diversion company, will direct the approximately 500 mattresses collected each month in San Jose to Goodwill, according to a press release. Goodwill sends the mattress fabric to carpet manufacturers, wood to mattress re-conditioners and metal to recycling facilities.

Seattle residents could face warnings – and later fines – for throwing food scraps into their garbage cans. Starting Jan. 1, 2015 city residents and businesses will be required to place food scraps in a food-and-yard-waste container for pick-up or compost it themselves, according to The Seattle Times. The requirement also applies to used pizza boxes, napkins and paper towels. For the first half of 2015, residents will receive warnings when a sanitation worker finds more than 10 percent recyclables in their garbage cans. After that, they’ll face a fine of $1 for each violation.

Christmas tree shredding operations are getting some attention — slightly uncomfortable attention, at that — in a post at the website Boing Boing. Shredding Christmas trees for recycling may be a regular day at work for workers in the industry, but videos of materials shredding get some people hot under the collar, apparently.


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Put A Lid On Food Waste: Simple Tips For Extending Shelf Life Of Food

There’s nothing more frustrating than stocking your fridge with delicious produce, only to discover it withers and wilts just days later. It’s a waste of food and a waste of money. If you try to live sustainably, you are probably looking for ways to reduce waste in your home. Fortunately, there are simple things you […]

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