PLASTIC FILM RECYCLING SURGES, RIGIDS SLIP
Postconsumer plastic film packaging recycling grew 11 percent in 2013 compared with 2012, for a total of 1.14 billion pounds, according to the American Chemistry Council (Washington, D.C.). That’s the largest annual plastic film collection total since the survey launched in 2005.
Moore Recycling Associates (Sonoma, Calif.) wrote the 2013 National Postconsumer Plastic Bag and Film Recycling Report for ACC’s plastics division. It includes information on product wraps, bags, and commercial stretch film made primarily from polyethylene. The report attributes the higher recycling numbers to an increase in collections and more comprehensive reporting. The researchers discovered more small and midsized businesses collecting film and bags, and more consumers are bringing the materials to store collection points. The recycled film is used for manufacturing a variety of products, such as composite lumber, crates, pipes, and new plastic packaging.
In related news, Procter & Gamble Co. (Cincinnati) has joined ACC’s Flexible Film Reycling Group. The 16-member group works to increase flexible film collection and recycling, in addition to educating the public about the importance of recycling. FFRG has helped establish film recycling pilot programs across the United States. Visit plastics.americanchemistry.com/Product-Groups-and-Stats/FFRG.
Another study by Moore Recycling Associates reports the United States collected a little more than 1 billion pounds of rigid plastics—excluding bottles—in 2013. That’s a 1-percent slip from 2012 but still a 210-percent increase over 2007. High-density polyethylene was 36 percent of the rigids collected, and polypropylene was 39 percent, both up slightly from 2013. The researchers attribute the decline to China’s Green Fence initiative in 2013, which raised the standards for imported plastics.
U.S. and Canadian processing of rigid plastics grew 17 percent in 2013 over the previous year, reaching 67 percent of the material collected. This is the largest proportion processed domestically since the report started in 2007.
The most common domestic uses for the postconsumer rigid materials include auto parts, crates, pipes, and lawn and garden products. Visit www.americanchemistry.com.
NORTH AMERICAN ALUMINUM DEMAND GROWS
The Aluminum Association (Arlington, Va.) reports 5-percent growth in North America’s year-on-year aluminum demand in 2014. The estimated 25.5 billion pounds of aluminum that producers and fabricators shipped last year is the largest total since 2006. Aluminum recycling in the United States rose 4.1 percent in the first 11 months of 2014 compared with that period in 2013.
Apparent aluminum consumption in domestic markets totaled 22 billion pounds through the end of 2014, a 7.3-percent increase over 2013. Aluminum imports—excluding trade between the United States and Canada—rose 20.2 percent in 2014, to 5.5 billion pounds, but exports dropped 6.8 percent, to 7.4 billion pounds, in that period.
New orders of aluminum mill products increased 3.9 percent in 2014, year on year. Primary aluminum production fell 7.1 percent in the same period.
Aluminum demand has jumped 38.3 percent since 2009, the association reports. Visit www.aluminum.org.
ACCESS TO PAPER RECYCLING INCREASES
More Americans than ever have access to community paper and paperboard curbside and drop-off recycling programs, according to the American Forest & Paper Association’s (Washington, D.C.) 2014 AF&PA Community Survey. Overall consumer paper recycling collection access stands at 96 percent, up from 87 percent in 2010.
The survey looks at 12 paper and paperboard grades—including newspapers, mail, bags, liquid packaging cartons, and corrugated cardboard—all of which experienced recycling access increases. Access for nine of the 12 grades is at or greater than 90 percent. Analysts found particularly large increases in Americans’ access to bleached paperboard and liquid packaging carton recycling, which grew 26 percent and 34 percent, respectively, indicating that communities have added more types of paper and paperboard to their recycling programs. Visit www.paperrecycles.org/sustainability.
CHANGING RECYCLING STREAM AFFECTS RECOVERY FACILITIES
Recyclers who handle curbside collections need to adapt to the rapidly changing content showing up at U.S. materials recovery facilities, according to a report from the American Chemistry Council.
In Making Sense of the Mix: Analysis and Implications of the Changing Curbside Recycling Stream, authors Green Spectrum Consulting and Resource Recycling, both based in Portland, Ore., note many MRFs were built in the late 1980s and 1990s, primarily for paper recovery. But paper generation has dropped steadily since peaking in 2000, and other materials, most notably plastics, are showing up in increasing numbers at MRFs. The shift has prompted recovery facilities to upgrade equipment and to try anticipating future trends.
Another major change has been the switch from smaller, segregated recyclable material bins to large, single-stream collection carts. The larger carts accommodate a greater volume of materials than small bins, but commingling also creates greater levels of contamination. In addition, widespread resident confusion over what can and cannot be recycled in each municipality creates more “tag-along” materials, such as flexible plastic packaging, which often catch MRFs unprepared. Many facilities are unaware of new items entering the stream until they receive them.
MRFs can keep up and even benefit from the accelerating changes in the material stream by recovering new materials and developing new markets, the report suggests. Stakeholders already are working to come up with new technologies and programs to maximize recycling. In the interim, the authors see potential in waste-to-fuel and plastic-to-fuel strategies for materials that can’t reliably be separated or recycled. Visit www.americanchemistry.com.
RECYCLERS COULD BENEFIT FROM ARIZONA LAW
Arizona has passed legislation to promote fair competition between municipalities and private waste and recycling firms. The law adds to legislation from 2000 that requires municipalities that collect waste or recyclables outside their jurisdiction to pay fees on the revenue comparable with private collectors’ taxes. The new law adds fees for postcollection activities such as processing recyclables. Proponents of the law say it evens the playing field between private businesses and municipalities wishing to compete outside their jurisdictions. Visit www.azleg.gov/legtext/52leg/1r/bills/sb1187h.pdf.
100-PERCENT-RECYCLED ALUMINUM PRODUCT RELEASED
Novelis (Atlanta) has launched a line of materials certified to contain high levels of recycled aluminum. It has branded the line evercycle.
The first product in the evercycle line, which it has designed for producers of food containers, consists of 90 percent postconsumer content and 10 percent manufacturing scrap, making it the only material of its kind on the market, the company says. Novelis is currently shipping the evercycle product line in North America, with the intent to expand globally as demand grows.
The products are infinitely recyclable and part of the company’s plan to increase its products’ overall recycled content to 80 percent by 2020. Visit www.novelis.com.
GROUPS MAKE ACCREDITATION CHANGES
The National Association for Information Destruction (Phoenix) now will accept International Organization for Standardization (Geneva) audits as a substitute for scheduled audits in the NAID AAA certification program. ISO auditors will need to provide NAID with a copy of the audit results.
NAID says the change will not have much effect in North America, but it could be advantageous for members in regions where ISO audits are required for other purposes. The association still will require certified members to go through unannounced, NAID auditor-conducted random and investigatory audits. Visit www.naidonline.org.
Also changing is the Basel Action Network’s (Seattle) e-Stewards certification program. Participants are now subject to random, unannounced on-site facility inspections, which are intended to increase the program’s rigor and stakeholder confidence. Participants still must undergo yearly third-party audits by accredited certification bodies. The random performance verification initiative will operate as a pilot program through year’s end. Visit www.e-stewards.org.
In other NAID news, the association is challenging a New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (Trenton, N.J.) regulation that limits options for businesses destroying hard drives that contain personally identifiable information. New Jersey is the only state requiring a state-level environmental license to shred hard drives, which NAID says is unnecessarily restrictive. NAID is supporting and offering resources to Guardian Data Destruction’s (Long Island City, N.Y.) existing initiative to modify the regulation. Visit www.naidonline.org or www.guardiandatadestruction.com.
EARTH DAY SURVEY REVEALS WASTEFUL HABITS
Americans still are discarding many things without realizing they could be recycled, a new survey finds. To mark the 45th anniversary of Earth Day, automated electronics recycling kiosk company ecoATM (San Diego) commissioned a survey of 1,000 people, which Edelman Berland (Washington, D.C.) conducted in March. It found 62 percent of respondents admitted to throwing away items that can be recycled. For instance, 44 percent had discarded batteries; 38 percent, clothing; 24 percent, ink cartridges; 8 percent, cell phones; and 4 percent, MP3 players. When asked why they don’t recycle small electronics, 30 percent of respondents said they didn’t know where electronics could be recycled and 11 percent said it’s not convenient enough.
The survey also asked people how they view Earth Day, held each year on April 22. It revealed that public views have evolved regarding the event’s purpose. Although Earth Day began in 1970 as an idea to combat land, air, and water pollution, today 47 percent of Americans mostly associate it with recycling. Visit www.ecoatm.com.
COMPANIES HOLD BROKEN TOY RECYCLING DRIVE
Piles of inactive action figures, games with missing pieces, stuffed animals with the stuffing loved out of them—all these items take up space in kids’ toy boxes. In April, parents could recycle those broken or incomplete toys instead of throwing them away, thanks to a partnership between Tom’s of Maine (Kennebunk, Maine) and TerraCycle (Trenton, N.J.).
Families could sign up online to receive one of 500 free toy recycling boxes that came with prepaid shipping labels for easy mailing to TerraCycle. The program accepted a specified set of toys and games, then TerraCycle repurposed the material into new items, such as picnic tables.
The companies continue to operate the Tom’s of Maine Natural Care Brigade, which accepts all personal care item packaging for recycling. They report recycling 11,000 pounds of packaging through the program in 2014. Visit www.tomsofmaine.com/community/Earth-Month/Home.
TEXTILE RECYCLING EDUCATION PROGRAM HITS MILESTONE
The Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association (Abingdon, Md.) has now brought its recycling message to more than 1 million elementary school students, thanks to its partnership with The Education Center (Greensboro, N.C.).
The free curricula for grades K-2 and 3-5 give teachers grade-appropriate information about the benefits of recycling household textiles such as clothing. Learning resources include a fact sheet, infographics, worksheets, and lesson plans, which incorporate such core subjects as math and science. More than 20,000 teachers have used the program since its launch in 2012, reaching nearly 1.1 million students.
The official education campaign ended in March, but the resources remain available on The Education Center’s website or at www.smartasn.org/educators-kids.
OPENINGS AND EXPANSIONS
■ Schupan Industrial Recycling Services (Kalamazoo, Mich.) opened a new retail buying center adjacent to its Elkhart, Ind., facility in April. All operations are housed inside a 19,000-square-foot building, which lets customers drop off recyclables with drive-through convenience and safety, it says. Visit www.schupan.com.
■ Appliance recycler Recleim (Atlanta) has opened its newly renovated Granitesville, S.C., flagship facility. The company says the $40.6 million Hickman Mill facility is the first in North America featuring a closed-loop process to recycle appliances, with a capacity of 1.4 million units a year. Recleim expects to hire about 200 employees by year’s end. Visit www.recleim.com.
■ AXION International is boosting production capacity for its recycled-polymer products at its headquarters in Zanesville, Ohio, and at its Waco, Texas, facility. It began increasing the Waco facility’s production in the second half of 2014 to meet increased demand, and throughput now stands at more than 2 million pounds a month, up from 1.5 million pounds. Processing capacity for HDPE bottles at the Zanesville facility has tripled since December. AXION anticipates doubling production capacity again by the end of this year. Visit www.axionintl.com.
■ Virtus, manufacturer of the Cumberland, AEC, Sterling, and Economizer processing equipment brands, has expanded its operations and sales network and will sell its products under the Virtus brand directly to the North American market from its Crystal Lake, Ill., home base. Previously the ACS Group (Schaumburg, Ill.) marketed those brands. Virtus’ 21,000-square-foot facility near Chicago will stock machines and aftermarket parts and house a material testing center. Although to date it has focused on the plastics recycling market, it is now marketing its granulators, shredders, and briquetters to tire, electronics, and postconsumer waste processors and to waste-to-energy sites. Visit www.virtus-equipment.com.
■ Plastics industry shredding and washing machinery specialist Lindner reSource (Grossbottwar, Germany) now has a subsidiary in the Atlanta area. Lindner Resource America (Tucker, Ga.) will provide sales and technical support for the company’s full product portfolio. The Tucker facility will have a technical center for test runs of customer materials. The new facility is at 5126 South Royal Atlanta Drive, Tucker, Ga. 30084; the phone number is 770/349-6319. Visit www.lindner-resource.us.
SMS LANDS SLAG CONTRACT
■ Frisa (Santa Catarina, Mexico), a seamless rolled rings and open die forgings manufacturer, has contracted with Scrap Metal Services (Burnham, Ill.) to manage on-site slag and processing operations for its enlarged facility in Santa Catarina. After Frisa completes the plant’s expansion, SMS will manage its hot and cold slag, as well as process scrap metal and byproducts produced during steelmaking. Visit www.frisa.com or www.scrapmetalservices.com.
EXIDE CLOSES BATTERY RECYCLING FACILITY
■ Exide Technologies (Milton, Ga.) will permanently close its lead-acid battery recycling facility in Vernon, Calif., in an agreement with the federal government to avoid prosecution for environmental and hazardous-waste violations. Under the agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California (Los Angeles), Exide will dismantle the Vernon facility, clean up the 15-acre site, and admit to felony violations. It also will pay $14 million to clean up any contamination in surrounding neighborhoods, and for five years it will fund periodic tests to check lead and arsenic levels in nearby residents’ blood. Exide recently completed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in which it changed from a public to a private company. Visit www.exiderestructuringinfo.com.
MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS
■ Phoenix-based Republic Services has acquired City Carton Recycling (Iowa City, Iowa). Republic will continue to employ 120 City Carton workers at its seven facilities in eastern Iowa, and it will provide the same services City Carton has been providing or additional ones, it says. Visit www.republicservices.com or www.citycarton.com.
■ Arrow Electronics (Centennial, Colo.) has acquired technology asset management firm RDC (Essex, England), a subsidiary of Computacenter UK (Hatfield, England). As part of the $84 million deal, Arrow will provide IT disposal services to Computacenter UK for five years. Visit www.arrow.com or www.rdc.co.uk.
■ Caraustar Industries (Austell, Ga.) has completed its purchase of The Newark Group (Cranford, N.J.), creating a single 100-percent-recycled paperboard manufacturing company. Visit www.caraustar.com or www.newarkgroup.com.
■ Battery Solutions (Howell, Mich.) is acquiring Refind Technologies’ (Gothenburg, Sweden) state-of-the-art automated battery sorting and data collection technology. Battery Solutions says it’s the first U.S.-based company to invest in such a system, which collects detailed battery information such as brand, model, size, and age while sorting up to 2,500 pounds of batteries an hour. The two companies will work together to further develop uses for the gathered data. Visit www.batteryrecycling.com or www.refind.se.
■ Automotive Fluid Recycling (Fleming Island, Fla.) has purchased the Midwest, Northeast, and Southeast service routes from fuel recovery company Lamb Fuels (Chula Vista, Calif.). The service area overlap and greater route density will provide long-term sustainability for both companies, they say. Visit www.lambfuels.com or www.autofluidrecycling.com.
■ Aluminum manufacturer Aleris Corp. (Beachwood, Ohio) has sold its business operating as Global Recycling and Specification Alloys to Signature Group Holdings (Sherman Oaks, Calif.) for $525 million. The new business, which Signature has named Real Alloy, remains in Cleveland and is the world’s largest independent aluminum recycler, Signature says. It expects the deal to boost its annual revenue from less than $50 million to about $1.5 billion. Visit www.signaturegroupholdings.com, www.aleris.com, or www.realalloy.com.
■ Granutech-Saturn Systems (Grand Prairie, Texas) has acquired the Magnatech Engineering (Tonganoxie, Kan.) brand of industrial hammermills and ringmills. The move allows the company to serve a wider variety of customers, such as nonferrous scrap metal recyclers, and positions it for global growth, it says. Granutech will make the Saturn hammermill line in its Grand Prairie manufacturing and machining facility. Visit www.granutech.com/saturn-hammermill.html.
■ Plastics recycling equipment manufacturer Amut Group (Novara, Italy) has bought plastic packaging equipment maker Dolci & Bielloni (Biassono, Italy), which now operates as Amut Dolci Bielloni. Visit www.amut.it or www.dolciextrusion.it.
■ Superior Industries (Morris, Minn.) plans to acquire Calgary, Alberta-based crushing and screening equipment manufacturer Clemro Western. The purchase will allow Superior to increase its bulk handling product portfolio, it says. Visit www.superior-ind.com or www.clemro.com.
■ Schnitzer Steel Industries (Portland, Ore.) plans to merge its auto parts and metals recycling businesses into a single division by the end of this fiscal year and make other cost-cutting moves to reduce its debt. Approximately half of the $60 million it expects to save annually from the changes will come from the metals recycling business by idling equipment and reducing sales, general, and administrative expenses; about 40 percent will come from the Pick-n-Pull auto parts business by closing stores, improving productivity, and reducing selling, general, and administrative expenses. The remainder will come from the corporate shared services division by reducing organizational layers and leveraging support functions across the company. Schnitzer expects about 25 percent of the savings to occur by the fourth quarter this year and the rest by the end of fiscal 2016. Visit www.schnitzersteel.com.
■ Liberty Tire Recycling Holdco (Pittsburgh) has completed its financial restructuring to reduce ongoing debt obligations. The restructuring and infusion of new capital reduced outstanding debt securities by $50 million and trimmed the company’s annual cash interest expense. Liberty says it expects the restructuring will provide a stronger balance sheet, focused strategy, solid customer base, and more financial flexibility. It also expects to invest in plants and equipment while seeking new markets for growth. Visit www.libertytire.com.
NEW DISTRIBUTORS APPOINTED
■ Bunting Magnetics Co. (Newton, Kan.) has added Ventura Process Equipment Co. (St. Simons Island, Ga.) as a sales and service provider in Latin America. Ventura has offices in Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, and Mexico. Visit www.buntingmagnetics.com or www.venturaprocess.com.
■ Arnold Machinery Co. (Salt Lake City) has become a distributor of Sennebogen (Straubing, Germany) material handlers. Arnold will market the equipment to scrap recycling customers in Arizona and Nevada.
Sennebogen also has authorized Anderson Equipment Co. (Bridgeville, Pa.) to sell its material handlers throughout New York, except for the New York City area. The company already sells and supports Sennebogen machines in Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire. Visit www.sennebogen-na.com, www.arnoldmachinery.com, or www.andersonequip.com.
FIRM EASES TEXTILE RECYCLING
Spring cleaning may soon get a lot easier. Community Recycling’s (Fairless Hills, Pa.) CR HOME program lets consumers pack clothing, shoes, and fashion accessories into their own boxes, print free, prepaid shipping labels, and simply leave the boxes outside for a mail carrier. Donors can go online and track their items to see where they are being reused—and get an estimate of the environmental impacts of their recycling efforts. Visit www.communityrecycling.biz.
HONORS AND MILESTONES
■ Micronized rubber powder manufacturer Lehigh Technologies (Tucker, Ga.) has received the Environmental Achievement of the Year Award from Tire Technology International (Dorking, England). The panel of judges—made up of tire company executives and industry researchers—acknowledged Lehigh’s ability to produce crumb rubber from scrap tires that can be used in the production of new tires without degrading the new tires’ performance. Manufacturers have used the lower-cost feedstock in more than 300 million tires. Visit www.lehightechnologies.com.
■ The ARCOA Group (Waukegan, Ill.) is celebrating 25 years in the electronics recycling business. Formed by the 2013 merger of the Asset Recycling Company of America (formerly Midwest Electronics Recycling) and the Midwest Copier Exchange, the company now employs more than 80 full-time workers in four states. Visit www.thinkarcoa.com.
■ Electronics recycler e-Cycle (New Albany, Ohio) celebrated its 10th anniversary in April. The company began with three employees in 2005, when it operated out of founders Christopher and Tonia Irion’s basement. It now employs more than 80 people in two Ohio locations. Visit www.e-cycle.com.
■ Fortune magazine (New York) has named Alcoa (New York) the most admired metals company in the world for the fourth consecutive year. Fortune provides both industry-specific and overall rankings. Alcoa earned top scores for financial soundness, long-term investment value, and global competitiveness. Visit www.alcoa.com.
The Alcoa Foundation-funded Cans for Pets initiative, launched in Pennsylvania in 2012, has reached a milestone of 300,000 aluminum pet-food cans collected. The program offers a 5-cent donation to an animal shelter for every aluminum pet-food can recycled. Coordinated by the Pennsylvania Resources Council (Pittsburgh), Cans for Pets has raised more than $15,000 for medical care, food, and adoption support of shelter animals. The program has expanded to benefit shelter animals in Indiana, Iowa, Tennessee, and Texas in the three years since it launched. Visit www.prc.org/petcan.
■ Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley presented Mack Manufacturing (Theodore, Ala.) with a Governor’s Trade Excellence Award in February. Eight companies received the award for making a significant contribution to or experiencing success in international business. More than 15 percent of Mack’s annual production is sold via exports. Visit www.mackmfg.com.
■ The Auckland Chamber of Commerce presented material handling equipment designer A-Ward (Auckland, New Zealand) with the Best of the Best in Innovation award during the Westpac Auckland Business Awards’ inaugural Best of the Best ceremony. A-Ward qualified for the top businesses competition after winning the Supreme Business Excellence Award late last year. The company also just celebrated its 15-year anniversary. Visit www.a-ward.com.
EQUIPMENT SALES AND INSTALLATIONS
■ U.S. Shredder and Castings Group (Trussville, Ala.) has designed and installed a complete shredder and downstream separation facility at Pacific Recycling (Eugene, Ore.). The heavy-duty 80108 shredder has a heavy-duty spider rotor and a 4,000-hp DC drive system from Amerimex Motor & Controls (Houston) and is designed to process up to 150 tons of material an hour. Visit www.usshredder.com or www.pacificrecyclinginc.net.
■ Stena Recycling (Gothenburg, Sweden) has installed a Metso (Helsinki) EtaCut shear at its facility in Skövde, Sweden. The new shear has increased the facility’s processing capacity by 400 percent, it says. Stena plans to install four additional shears at its facilities throughout Sweden over the next two years. Visit www.stenarecycling.com or www.metso.com.
■ Charleston Steel & Metal Co. (North Charleston, S.C.) has licensed a Shared Logic (Holland, Ohio) software package. The Windows-based RIMAS NT/P product tracks key scrap business operations, such as commodity prices, shipping, and accounting. Visit www.sharedlogic.com or www.charlestonsteelandmetal.com.
■ Roll-off trailer manufacturer Benlee (Romulus, Mich.), Goldsboro Metal Recycling (Goldsboro, N.C.), and Raleigh Metal Recycling (Raleigh, N.C.) have launched the Metal Commodities and Recycling Report. The three- to four-minute videos will post to the company websites on Mondays, providing a weekly synopsis of demand, pricing direction, and other relevant information on scrap commodities, including steel, copper, aluminum, oil, corrugated, plastics, and electronics. Visit www.benlee.com, www.goldsbororecycling.com, or www.raleighscrapmetalrecycling.com.
■ The World Steel Association (Brussels) has released a new publication titled Steel in the circular economy—A life cycle perspective. The free publication examines the full life cycle of steel products and how steel contributes to a sustainable, zero-waste society. Citing case studies that show effective use of the full life-cycle approach, the publication also encourages lawmakers to look at a full life cycle before making legislative decisions about materials. Visit www.worldsteel.org/publications/bookshop.
■ Lighthouse Strategic Partners (Middleborough, Mass.) has released a guidebook to help family businesses easily transition to the next generation. Learn to Fly, published by Wow Books, provides a safe “flight” plan for family businesses by comparing the transition to flying an airplane. The book is free for the business public, aside from shipping costs. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
■ Big Market Research (Portland, Ore.) has released two reports about the e-scrap industry. The first, published by Allied Market Research (Portland, Ore.), examines the global e-scrap management market from 2013 to 2020, drivers for growth, and future opportunities. Visit www.bigmarketresearch.com/e-waste-management-market.
The second study, performed by Technavio (London), analyzes the global electronics recycling market from 2015 to 2019. The report covers key vendors, challenges, and market growth prospects for the Americas; the Asian-Pacific region; and Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Visit www.bigmarketresearch.com/global-e-waste-recycling-2015-2019-market.
■ UpcyclePost (Issaquah, Wash.) has launched its first website module—The UpcyclePost Gallery—to inspire artisans and consumers of upcycled, recycled, repurposed, and reused materials. The gallery features more than a thousand images of products made from recycled materials, including artwork, jewelry, fashion, furniture, and toys. The company says the new gallery is its first step in creating a fully functional marketplace for upcyclers. Visit www.upcyclepost.com.
PROJECT TESTS GLASS AS CERAMIC FLUX
A Spain-based pilot program, LIFE ClayGlass, will use a grant from the European Commission’s (Brussels) LIFE + Program to test the process of using recycled glass as a flux in structural ceramic products. The project investigates whether mixing clay with recycled glass allows lower ceramics cooking temperatures—which can get up to nearly 1,250 degrees C—and ultimately reduces ceramics production’s environmental impact. Incorporating glass into the mix allows a lower firing temperature because glass melts at lower temperatures than clay does. Researchers believe the process will succeed with any glass type or color, including cathode-ray-tube glass and auto glass. When the project ends in 2016, testers expect to prove that using glass as a flux in ceramic tile production will create a 15-percent reduction in manufacturing costs, a 10- to 15-percent drop in energy use, and a 2,000-mt drop in carbon dioxide emissions each year. The LIFE Program funds EU activities regarding the environment and climate action. Visit www.lifeclayglass.es.
Lucky Buddha Beer is receiving accolades for more than just its suds. The Chinese beverage company, whose products are distributed in the United States by Sage Beverages (Carlsbad, Calif.), teamed up with Noble Environmental Technologies (San Diego) on a design for sustainable store end-cap displays, which Walmart (Bentonville, Ark.) will use in up to 1,200 stores across the United States.
Noble Environmental Technologies developed ECOR, the material from which the Lucky Buddha displays will be made, from 100-percent-recycled cellulose fiber material sources, such as newspaper, wood chips, oats, coffee, coconuts, and bovine processed fiber. ECOR is 100-percent recyclable through typical cardboard recycling programs.
ECOR can serve as an alternative to cardboard end-caps, which deteriorate more quickly and need more frequent replacement, the company says. In fact, they expect the Lucky Buddha Beer displays to last at least six months and up to one year.
Last year, Walmart challenged its top business partners to develop more sustainable products and business practices, including in-store marketing materials and displays. The chain views Lucky Buddha’s ECOR displays as one step on the way to its goal for operations to send zero waste to landfills by 2025. Visit www.luckydrinkco.com or www.ecorusa.com.
PULL UP A CHAIR
Kids can outgrow their bedroom and playroom furniture almost as quickly as their clothes. The Cardboard Guys (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) has introduced recyclable cardboard kids’ furniture to ease the redecorating process and cut down on used furniture heading to landfills.
The three business partners came together during a college project and designed the cardboard furniture, then they launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the manufacturing. The furniture is made in the United States from 40-percent to 60-percent postconsumer recycled corrugated fiberboard and can be recycled in curbside programs when the kids are finished using it.
Each customizable piece arrives flat, and families can assemble it easily without adhesives. Youngsters can flex their creative muscles by decorating the pieces however they choose. The designs reportedly allow each product to hold substantial weight—more than 500 pounds for the chair. Visit www.thecardboardguys.com.
RESEARCHERS RECOVER RARE EARTH ELEMENTS
Chemists at the Catholic University of Leuven (Leuven, Belgium) have developed a new method for retrieving rare earth metals from discarded fluorescent bulbs. They used an ionic liquid to remove europium and yttrium from red lamp phosphor, which has been used for more than 40 years in television screens and fluorescent bulbs. The organic dissolving agent does not evaporate, is not flammable, and dissolves only the red lamp phosphor without damaging other elements. Once recovered, the metals can be reused. Visit www.kuleuven.rare3.eu.
Plastics stole the spotlight at NPE2015: The International Plastics Showcase. A fashion show of garments made with recycled or reused plastics kicked off the March trade show in Orlando, Fla.
Savannah College of Art and Design (Savannah, Ga.) students created designs for outfits constructed from plastic-based fabrics and embellishments made of common items such as bubble wrap and plastic shelf paper. Some creations also included 3-D-printed plastic accessories.
The Society of the Plastics Industry (Washington, D.C.) produced this Pursuing Zero Waste Fashion Show to promote plastics recycling by using art as an educational tool. The students produced zero-waste designs without sacrificing aesthetics, it says. Visit www.npe.org or www.plasticsindustry.org.
ON THE MOVE
The Canadian Association of Recycling Industries headquarters has relocated from the Toronto area to Ottawa. Reach the association at:
130 Albert St., Suite 1906
Ottawa, ON K1P 5G4