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  • Protection of a Valued USPS Asset: Everyone Can Save Postal Dollars

    Dec 18, 2018
    By Postal Inspector Claudia Angel 

     Among the types of equipment used are: plastic and wood pallets, plastic tray and tubs, canvas and plastic hampers, general purpose carts, and bulk mail containers to move the mail. In the past 10 years, the Postal Service purchased $1 billion of new postal MTE to replenish inventory and ensure that both our business and our customers can function effectively. Protecting all postal equipment is a balancing act affected by many external and internal sources.

    Although rare, we have encountered situations at times where businesses and/or individuals kept excess amounts of postal equipment, and on occasion, have sold them to other businesses including recyclers. It is important that this equipment is returned to the Postal Service as the replacement costs add up quickly. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is the federal law enforcement arm of the Postal Service, charged with securing the mail and postal assets. The Inspection Service is requesting your assistance in the recovery of postal equipment.

    Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 1707, states it is illegal to misuse postal-owned equipment. Violation of this statute is punishable with up to three years imprisonment with fines.

    Criminal investigations conducted by the Inspection Service have revealed improper use with large quantities of postal equipment destroyed or recycled. As a result, the Postal Service is losing millions of dollars yearly in replacement costs.

    The Postal Service does not sell postal equipment, and postal employees do not have the authority to do so, regardless of its condition. Damaged equipment is only disposed of through a limited number of certified recyclers. It is illegal to sell or recycle postal equipment. If a company is in possession of postal equipment which it is not actively being used in conducting business with the Postal Service, it may be interpreted that the company is in illegal possession of postal MTE. 

    The Inspection Service has been directed by the Chief Postal Inspector to conduct reviews at mailer and recycling facilities nationwide in order to recover postal MTE not actively being used in conducting business with the Postal Service and to educate the general public on how to identify the postal equipment and have it returned to the Postal Service. If you should encounter postal equipment at your business which is not being used in conjunction with doing business with the Postal Service, or if you are aware of a situation of postal equipment being improperly used, please contact our Mail Transportation Equipment Recovery Hotline at 866-330-3404; upon doing so, you will be contacted by a Postal Service representative who will arrange to have the postal MTE returned to the possession of the Postal Service.

    Postal Inspector Claudia Angel currently serves as Program Manager at the U.S. Postal Inspection Service National Headquarters in Washington, DC. Inspector Angel oversees the Cybercrime Digital Product Security program in evaluating and recommending security controls, prevention, monitoring, detection and reporting for new/modified digital products developed or supported by the U.S. Postal Service. 

    Angel was appointed to the position of United States Postal Inspector for the United States Postal Inspection Service in August 2001 where she was assigned to the San Juan Field Office of the Newark Division and dedicated the first 10 years of her career conducting investigations throughout Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

  • Training with Local Fire Department a Winning Partnership

    Jun 21, 2018

    By Peter Van Houten 

    Over the past year the Portland Fire Department and Bob’s Metals Inc. have partnered in creating hands-on emergency response training opportunities with simulated rescue situations created by the Bob’s Metals yard staff.

    BobsMetalsThese experiences have included crash scenarios of multiple sized vehicles, enabling the fire department opportunities to test out and train on new cutting and lifting equipment to gain access to the ‘crash victim.’ The Portland Fire Department has an exceptional training facility, at Station 2, but one of the benefits in working with Bob’s Metals is dealing with the unknown. Part of the excitement is enabling our yard staff to create the scenario, and they seek to make it difficult.

    This past scenario included a Honda that had lodged itself underneath a full-size garbage truck, requiring the response team to assess gaining access to the injured driver by stabilizing/lifting the garbage truck and cutting away the doors and roof of the Honda. Overall feedback from the fire department is that they like the ‘surprise’ element of the scenario, making them analyze the situation to best utilize their skills and tools to perform.

    BobsMetals“I am very appreciative of the support that Bob’s Metals has provided station 8. As an officer, it is important for me to conduct routine drills, especially with operations that we do not perform very often, i.e. vehicle stabilization, extrication, and lifting. Furthermore, I feel it important to keep Truck 8 in our district instead of going to the other side of the city...the north end resources can be quickly depleted, so staying in district allows us to cut and run from a drill if need be.” – Lt. Justin De Ruyter

    Working together these scenarios not only provide the Fire Department with a more realistic training situation, but increases the awareness of employees to our own emergency plans and working relationships with emergency personnel. A win-win example in community partnership.

    Peter Van Houten is general manager of ISRI member Bob’s Metals, Inc.

  • Century Club to Have Its Day at ISRI2018

    Mar 12, 2018

    -By Manny Bodner and Barry Hunter

    Anyone who has a combined age and years of active participation in ISRI and/or its predecessor organizations, Institute of Scrap Iron and Steel, National Association of Recycling Industries, and/or Paper Stock Institute that meets or exceeds 100 years, whether or not you are still working, is encouraged to join this prestigious group.

    ISRI’s Century Club is intended to provide members with a means to maintain the industry relationships and friendships developed over the years, as well as the opportunity to contribute knowledge and expertise to the ever-growing and ever-changing scrap recycling industry.

    With the complete support of ISRI leadership, our first official meeting of ISRI’s Century Club will occur during ISRI2018, on April 17. Dubbed “Century Club Day at ISRI2018”, members will begin the day by teaming up with ISRI’s Young Executives group for a light-hearted and fun session during which the Century Club and Young Execs will discuss the industry and its many changes over the years. Next, Century Club members will be invited to tour the ISRI2018 Exhibit Hall. The day concludes with a Century Club Member-Private reception.

    We hope all those who qualify will share in our excitement and take advantage of this opportunity to join your fellow ISRI Centenarians by embarking on this next phase of ISRI involvement – sharing fun programs, fond memories, and social events throughout the year as organized by the group.

    For more information and to apply for Century Club membership, please visit the ISRI website and complete the application.

    England has Sir Winston Churchill; the USA has FDR; the ISRI Centenarians have Barry and Manny!” – Many Bodner. Manny can be reached at (713) 248-0396.

    Barry Hunter is the catalyst behind the effort to organize the ISRI Century Club, and will continue as Co-Chair alongside Manny Bodner. Barry can be reached at (201) 259- 5075.

  • Planning for the Storm

    Sep 21, 2017

    Natural disasters are an ever-present threat, and there’s evidence to suggest they’re occurring with greater frequency and severity. Recently, Texas and its neighboring states were left devastated by the catastrophic Hurricane Harvey. Just days later, Hurricane Irma battered the Caribbean and delivered a destructive blow to South Florida.  According to NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information 2016 claimed the 2nd highest annual number of U.S. billion-dollar disasters, shortly behind 2011. Given the unprecedented amount of damage left by both Harvey and Irma, 2017 is expected to top both record-high years.                               

    If a natural disaster struck your facility, would your company and employees be prepared? Your answer to that question could determine whether your employees escape injury and whether your company survives or fails in the disaster’s wake. Natural disasters can injure a company’s employees, damage property, disrupt operations, and threaten its future viability. Though businesses can’t control natural disasters or prevent them from occurring, they can prepare for them by developing an emergency preparedness and recovery plan. Such a plan can protect human health while helping the company swiftly re-establish normal business operations.

    First Things First

    Companies have several options for drafting a plan: They can prepare their own, hire a consultant, or work with local and/or state agencies.

    For recyclers who lack such firsthand experience or need assistance developing a plan, FEMA offers the Emergency Management Guide for Business and Industry, a free, step-by-step guide to emergency planning, response, and recovery for businesses of all sizes. The guide presents information on specific disasters, such as tornadoes and earthquakes, as well as general information on preparedness. The “Ready” campaign—a joint effort of FEMA and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security—also provides information to help businesses prepare. Though these do-it-yourself resources are helpful, it is often beneficial to get outside help from third-party professionals.

    Building an Emergency Plan

    Though each recycling facility faces its own set of natural disaster risks based on its geographic location, climate, access to transportation and emergency services, and more, the process of developing any emergency preparedness plan can follow the same basic outline, experts say.

    • Assemble a team. Start by putting together a group of employees that will develop, manage, and update your company’s disaster plan. FEMA’s guide suggests having the CEO or plant manager lead the group to demonstrate management’s commitment to the plan.
    • Assess your risks. Natural disasters can take many forms, so begin by assessing which ones could affect your operations. Each type of disaster requires its own preparations and responses to mitigate or eliminate the risk. After identifying potential or likely disasters, assess the impact each could have on the company, including your supply chain or customers.

    Part of risk assessment is considering your plant’s physical structures and layout. If employees have to seek shelter at the facility—such as during a tornado—are there areas on site to shelter them?

    Risk assessment also means identifying essential business functions. Determine how long your company could withstand an interruption and what it would need to re-open. Additionally, identify an alternative, temporary location from which your company could operate after a disaster. Be sure to review your company’s insurance policies as well, to ascertain which losses will be covered.

    • Form a plan. After you identify your company’s risks, develop a plan to address them. Procedures should spell out how your staff will respond before, during, and after a disaster. Basic plan features should include procedures for warning employees and visitors of any impending danger; providing escape routes, if necessary; protecting vital records and assets; and getting the company running as soon as possible—even if it’s from a temporary location.

      A thorough plan should identify more than one evacuation route in case the initial one is blocked, designate meeting areas for employees, and have a system to account for every individual at the facility, including visitors, when the disaster occurred. Your plan also should have information about community evacuation routes, facility shutdown procedures, and plans for assisting employees who might need transportation, the FEMA guide says.
    • Communicate effectively. Communication—before, during, and after a disaster strikes—is a key component of any emergency preparedness plan. Your plan should designate one or more people who are responsible for informing employees about potential dangers as well as those who will contact customers and vendors after an event. Identify whom you would need to contact internally and externally during a crisis, and keep their contact information up to date. Don’t expect to be able to use traditional communication methods such as land-based telephone lines or cell phones, experts say. Companywide text message alerts and check-ins—which require less bandwidth than voice transmissions—are a smart alternative.

      After a disaster, a company spokesperson should inform the public that the facility is recovering to dispel any rumors of its closure.

    • Consider your equipment and technology needs. Emergency preparation also means protecting data and equipment as well as having the right equipment to expedite recovery. For the latter, consider backup equipment and systems such as gasoline-powered pumps to remove water, alternative power sources such as generators, and battery-powered emergency lighting, experts suggest.

      On the data side, ensure company leaders have quick access to insurance documents, and maintain off-site backup storage of critical company records, customer data, and other information.

    • Train and practice. An emergency preparedness plan won’t work, of course, unless you train employees on its features and their responsibilities. Ensure the company is ready to implement the disaster plan when a disaster strikes by practicing implementation at least once a year through full-scale drills.

    As your employees work through the drill, they should consider how to react during the first minutes, hours, days, and weeks of the event. The more companies practice their plans, the better prepared they’ll be.

    In the wake of a natural disaster, when life returns to normal, review how your company and personnel handled the crisis and the effectiveness of your plan.

    This blog post was adapted from “Weathering Any Storm,” Scrap magazine, July/August 2012, by Nicole Meir, communications intern for ISRI.

  • Plan Ahead for a Hurricane

    Sep 11, 2017

    Preparing a scrapyard for a hurricane should begin well before the winds start whipping.

    Creating, reviewing and revising an emergency response plan prior to storm season provides the optimal protection.

    In planning ahead, you can react sooner and avoid potentially disastrous oversights when a storm threatens. For example, knowing how you will secure equipment before a storm hits and communicate with employees afterward so that they know when it is safe to return will help you better protect your business and your people.

    “The time to plan is always before,” said Terry Cirone, vice president of safety for the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries. “So, if you could be in the path of a storm get out that plan, dust it off and review it.”

    Cirone advises recycling centers to be particularly proactive in preparing their communication plans, controlling mold, and protecting their records. “It’s all about business continuity and protecting your assets.”

    Some businesses recently impacted by Hurricane Harvey failed to protect their files from water damage, she said. “If they get so flooded out or water-logged that you can’t utilize them, then that’s a problem.”

    With Hurricane Irma’s arrival imminent and additional storms looming, Cirone urged businesses to prepare early and act quickly to stay safe.

    Here are some suggested steps.

    • Review responsibilities for preparations and response with everyone, including senior management.

    • Establish processes for storm-related communication between employees and managers, such as how to announce when the business will close and re-open as well as how employees can report that they cannot make it to work. Update all related phone numbers.

    • Secure equipment or materials that could be sent flying by strong winds.

    • Shut down electrical equipment that could be exposed to flooding.

    • Remove low-lying files and other property that could be damaged by high waters.

    • Check for mold caused by flooding. Hire experts to treat affected areas like walls and carpets if needed to protect the health of your employees and customers.

    See ISRI’s Safety Tips for Hurricane and Flooding Cleanup and Recovery Work for additional information.

    The post was written by ISRI member Scrapyard Pro and originally appeared on the ScrapyardPro Blog.

  • Safety Before—and Beyond—Compliance

    Aug 16, 2017

    By Tony Smith

    Those who have been in the scrap business for decades might remember operating before the 1970 passage of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act. The act established the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the federal body that creates and enforces workplace safety regulations. Since then, businesses have had to ensure their operations are in compliance with OSHA regulations or the state equivalent or risk facing steep penalties.

    Long before safety was required by law, however, it was something industries tried to achieve by implementing best practices, sharing industry knowledge, and coming to consensus around voluntary standards. One such standard for crane safety, ASME B30, was first developed just over a century ago, in 1916, via the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (New York). For those who used lift equipment such as mobile cranes, overhead cranes, slings, and rigging, this signaled a new beginning in the world of safety.

    Scrap operations today are very different from what they were in 1916, of course. ASME B30 and similar standards are living documents, and the process of creating, updating, and refining them continues to this day. The stakeholders and subject matter experts that volunteer for this work come from diverse backgrounds and offer many different points of view, but they work together to reach industry consensus. ISRI Safety works with two different standards development organizations, ASME and the American National Standards Institute (Washington, DC), to ensure standards for scrap processing equipment reflect the industry’s needs and concerns.

    Right now I represent ISRI members in the standards development process for ASME B30 and a second standard, ANSI/NWRA Z245. That standard, for equipment, technology, and operations for the waste and recyclable industry, is managed by ANSI and the National Waste and Recycling Association (Washington, D.C.). I chair two subcommittees under those standards: ASME B30.25, Scrap and Material Handlers, and ANSI/NWRA Z245.7, Size Reduction Equipment. ASME B30.25, established 20 years ago, gets revised every five years; we expect to publish the newest revision in January 2018. ANSI/NWRA Z245.7 is a new standard we are developing, and we hope to publish it in the next three to five years. That, too, will have a five-year revision schedule.

    These are voluntary standards, not laws or regulations, but they offer guidance where there might not be any at the regulatory level. In many cases, OSHA does not have a regulation covering the specific safety issues related to scrap recycling equipment and processes. In other cases, the voluntary standards meet or exceed the regulatory requirements. The standards offer guidelines and best practices for equipment design and construction; equipment inspection, testing, and maintenance; and equipment operations. They focus on your real-world, day-to-day situations.

    Understanding and using the ANSI and ASME consensus standards as guidance documents for your standard operating procedures will streamline your operations and give your safety program a solid foundation. Doing so can help ensure the safe operation of your business. For more information on the consensus standards, visit www.ansi.org or www.asme.org.

    —Tony Smith is a director of safety outreach for ISRI.

  • ISRI Applauds SC for Enacting Superfund Protections for Recyclers

    May 23, 2017

    By Danielle Waterfield

    In 1999, Congress enacted limited protections for recyclers from Superfund liability in recognition that recycling is not disposal. The federal SREA law establishes that the federal government cannot impose liability for disposal of hazardous wastes on recyclers who shipped recyclable materials for recycling purposes. This law was enacted to make it clear that Congress never intended for recycling to be treated as disposal under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), commonly known as Superfund.

    Enactment of SREA protections into state law is essential to ensuring recyclers are not left with financial liability for the clean-up of hazardous waste incidents for which they had no responsibility. While the courts have upheld the validity of the SREA defense to CERCLA liability under federal law, in 2015 the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that the defense offered by SREA does not apply to clean-up claims asserted under state law. Without similar protections explicitly written into state statute, recyclers are vulnerable to liability for clean-up of hazardous instances for which they had no part.

    To address this significant exposure to liability, ISRI strongly encourages recyclers to seek enactment of state equivalent protections. In South Carolina, ISRI members Barry Wolff (Charleston Steel & Metal Company) and Blake Stanley (CRC Scrap Metal Recycling, LLC) led the charge with the assistance of the South Carolina Recyclers Association and financial support of the ISRI SE Chapter. Stanley, who is president of the SC Recyclers Association and Wolff (the immediate past president), coordinated with SCRA state lobbyist Ken Kinard along with the ISRI SE Chapter leadership, which has made enactment of SREA protections a policy priority within the chapter.

    The effort this year began with a legislative reception at the state capitol sponsored by the SRCA. Recyclers from around the state joined legislators and staff for breakfast to welcome and introduce them to the industry. ISRI attended the event and assisted with preparation of educational packets that were distributed on-site. Subsequently, ISRI and SRCA leaders met afterwards with staff from the S.C. Department of Health & Environmental Control to discuss the SREA language. With the Department’s support, the legislative work began to insert simple language into state statute clarifying that SREA protections for recyclers apply to not only federal cleanup actions, but state actions as well, effective immediately.

    ISRI applauds SE Chapter president Tom Rice and the board of directors for their leadership on this very crucial issue for the recycling industry.

    Danielle Waterfield is senior director, government relations/assistant general counsel for ISRI.

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  • Dialing Down Your Superfund Risk

    Apr 07, 2017

    By Kent Kiser

    Unfortunately, most recycling companies are leaving themselves vulnerable every day to such a threat, one that could very easily bankrupt both the company and its executives. The threat is Superfund liability, which remains a real and ever-present danger. You might think your Superfund worries disappeared when Congress passed SREA Shieldthe Superfund Recycling Equity Act in 1999. SREA was a monumental victory for the industry that provides companies with a valid defense to a Superfund liability claim, but this defense is not automatic. You can only claim the exemption if you can prove you took certain affirmative actions before shipping recyclable material to a consuming facility. Those actions include conducting due diligence on the environmental compliance status of your consumers’ operations.

    The threats are not just hypothetical. In November 2011, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency named 115 entities potentially responsible parties for Chemetco, a secondary copper smelter in Hartford, Ill., that it designated a Superfund site. In the March/April 2014 issue of Scrap, Scott Horne, then ISRI’s general counsel and vice president of government relations, noted this was the first time the EPA had named recycling companies PRPs for scrap shipments made since SREA took effect. The EPA later named another 1,400 entities Chemetco PRPs and “sent special notice letters to about 470 entities … requesting that they either agree as a group to pay for the remedial investigation and feasibility study for the site or arrange to do the work themselves with EPA oversight,” Horne wrote. At least one recycler had been named a PRP for another Superfund site, Remacor, which processed magnesium and rare earth metals. It and 18 other entities that had been named PRPs at that site signed a consent decree with the federal government in late 2012, agreeing to collectively pay $1.1 million in cleanup costs.

    SREA provides potential liability relief for those who arrange for the recycling of specific recyclable materials, which the law defines as including scrap paper, plastics, glass, textiles, rubber (other than whole tires), metal, and spent lead-acid, nickel-cadmium, and other batteries. The law does not cover anyone who owns or operates a contaminated facility or contamination caused in whole or in part by wastes from a scrap recycling facility.

    To qualify for the SREA defense, you must be able to demonstrate that your recycling company met all of the following criteria at the time of a transaction involving recyclable material as defined above.

    • The recyclable material met a commercial specification. You can demonstrate that by referencing specifications that industry trade associations publish, such as ISRI’s Scrap Specifications Circular, or other historically or widely used specifications.
    • A market existed for the recyclable material involved in the transaction. Evidence of a market can include a third-party published price (including even a negative price), more than one buyer or seller for material for which there is a documentable price, and a history of trade in the recyclable material.
    • A substantial portion of the recyclable material was made available for use as a feedstock for the manufacture of a new salable product. On this point, you need only demonstrate it is common practice for your recyclable materials to be available for use in the manufacture of a new salable product.
    • The recyclable material could have been a replacement or substitute for a virgin material, or the product to be made from the recyclable material could have been a replacement or substitute for a product made, in whole or in part, from a virgin raw material. In this case, you must be able to demonstrate the general use for the feedstock material, not that a specific unit was incorporated into a new unit. Given that some consuming facilities use recyclable material exclusively as their raw material, there are instances in which you do not need to show the recyclable material directly displaced a virgin material as the raw material feedstock.
    • For metals, the recycler did not melt the scrap metal prior to the transaction. Welding, torchcutting, sweating, and similar activities are not considered “melting” for the purposes of SREA.
    • For batteries, the recycler did not recover the valuable components of a battery and met all applicable federal regulations in effect at the time of the transaction. The liability relief applies only to those who collect, store, or transport spent batteries.
    • The recycler must demonstrate it took “reasonable care” to determine the environmental compliance status—as it applies to the recyclable material—of the facility that received the recyclable material. To qualify for the SREA defense, you must show you did not send your recyclable material to a facility you had an objectively reasonable basis to believe was not in substantive compliance with environmental laws and regulations.

    Defining Reasonable Care

    SREA determines if you took reasonable care based on several factors, with the first being the price paid in the recycling transaction. The intent is to establish whether the transaction price was reasonable based on general market conditions at the time, contractual arrangements between the buyer and seller, and the circumstances of the transaction, among other considerations.

    A second reasonable care factor is your ability to know the consuming facility’s operations regarding its handling, processing, reclamation, or other management activities related to the recyclable material. This provision acknowledges that a small company may be able to discern less information about the consuming facility’s operations than a large company.

    Reasonable care also is based on whether you made inquiries to the appropriate federal, state, or local environmental agencies regarding the consuming facility’s past and current compliance with the substantive provisions of any federal, state, or local environmental law or regulation, compliance order, or decree applicable to the direct handling, processing, reclamation, storage, or other management activities associated with the recyclable material. This provision only requires that you make reasonable inquiries to those agencies with primary responsibilities over environmental matters related to the recyclable materials involved in the transaction.

    Conducting such SREA reasonable care compliance evaluations, or due diligence, can be time-consuming and confusing, especially for recycling companies lacking in-house environmental or legal specialists. To help you with that task, ISRI developed its SREA Reasonable Care Compliance Program. The program provides comprehensive reports upon request on consuming facilities, giving you the information you need to satisfy that portion of a valid defense to a Superfund liability claim with relative ease and minimal cost.

    ISRI’s SREA Reasonable Care Compliance Program is an easy, cost-effective way for ISRI members to fulfill SREA’s requirements and, in the process, help protect your company from harm. The alternative is to continue to expose your company to potentially ruinous Superfund liability.

    Kent Kiser is publisher of Scrap and assistant vice president of industry communications for ISRI.

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  • Commodity Markets & Prices/Impacts on State Economies and the Environment: Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries Presentation to the National Lt. Governors Association Meeting

    Mar 28, 2017

    By Walter Wright

    Ms. Robin Wiener, President, Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (“ISRI”), undertook a presentation at the National Lieutenant Governor’s Association Federal-State Meeting titled:

    Commodities Markets & Prices: Impacts on State Economies & the Environment (“Presentation”)

    The meeting was held March 16th in Washington, D.C.

    ISRI (trademarked @ISRI) is a national trade association whose members include 1,300 companies that collect, manufacture, broker, consume, transport, and process various types of recyclables such as ferrous and non-ferrous metals, paper, plastics, tire/rubber, textiles and electronics.

    The National Lieutenant Governors Association had previously adopted a resolution supporting the concept that recyclables are not waste.

    ISRI was asked to be a part of a panel discussion at the meeting designed to convey the impacts of commodity markets on the state economies.

    The overall focus of the Presentation was the economic impact of the scrap recycling industry. For example, Ms. Wiener noted that jobs supported by the United States scrap recycling industry in 2015 totaled:

    • Direct 149,010
    • Supplier 171,350
    • Induced 151,227

    The source of these statistics is: “Economic Impact Study U.S.-Based Scrap Recycling Industry,” John Dunham and Associates, 2015.

    The study also concluded that the total economic impact of the recycling industry was $105.8 billion with 11.2 billion in federal, state and local taxes paid.

    The Presentation noted that between 30 and 40% of all scrap processed in the United States is exported every year. Total exported tons per year is 40 million metric with a value of $21 billion. These numbers are produced by the more than 8000 recycling facilities operating in the United States.

    As to state implications, the inter-relationship with commodity markets, recycling incentives and sustainable solutions was addressed. Ms. Wiener noted that energy saved using recycled materials has been determined to be:

    • 95% for aluminum
    • 88% for plastic
    • 60% for steel
    • 75% for copper
    • 60% for paper
    • 34% for glass

    Ms. Wiener addressed the future noting:

    • “Hope for upturn in 2017: Hints at rising commodity prices”
    • Relevance of political/government factors
    • Heightened uncertainty about future policy changes and unintended consequences of protectionist measures

    A copy of Presentation can be downloaded here.

    Walter G. Wright is a member of the Little Rock, Arkansas office of the Mitchell Williams Law Firm. His practice has focused for almost thirty years on environmental, energy (petroleum marketing), and water law. This post originally appeared on The Between the Lines blog made available by Mitchell Williams Law Firm and the law firm publisher. The blog site is for educational purposes only, as well as to give general information and a general understanding of the law. This blog is not intended to provide specific legal advice. Use of this blog site does not create an attorney client relationship between you and Mitchell Williams or the blog site publisher. The Between the Lines blog site should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

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  • Kansas Veterans Get Opportunity of a Lifetime Thanks to Local Recycler

    Mar 09, 2017

    This includes many ISRI members who help raise funds for the Recycling Research Foundation’s National Veterans Stipend, train and hire programs for veterans, and conduct local outreach to vets in their community.

    AllmetalstruckA great example of these efforts is Allmetal Recycling in Wichita, Kansas. Over Presidents Day Weekend, the company held a fundraiser for Kansas Honor Flight. Kansas Honor Flight is an organization that raises money to send World War II, Korean, and Vietnam War veterans “to visit their War Memorial in Washington, D.C. before it’s too late for them!”

    The event held by Allmetal featured a display of military vehicles, the American Legion Riders on motorcycles with American flags, presentation of colors by the Tornado Alley Young Marines, fallen soldier tribute, and remarks by Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell.

    “I am a son of the Greatest Generation as my father was a full bird Colonel in the US ARMY-Eastern Theater,” said Ken Mueller, vice president Business Development for Allmetal.  “As sons and daughters of the Greatest Generation, we at All Metal Recycling are proud to partner with the Kansas Honor Flight to celebrate our military veterans for their service and sacrifices.

    “Having been in Washington DC when the  World War II Memorial was dedicated  about 15 years ago and witnessing all the World War II veterans wearing their uniforms and red shirts celebrating this memorial dedication along with the Korean, Vietnam and, Iraqi War Veterans, one realizes how humble life is and how proud it is to be an American.  Partnering with our customers to support their desires in support of the Veteran Memorial Visits through Kansas Honor Flights fits perfectly with our corporate community support vision and missions.”

    The event started when a customer brought in a bag of UBC aluminum cans and asked if the check could be made out to Kansas Honor Flight. The goal of the event was to raise $5,000. However, thanks to the support of customers and others in the community, they raised $15,000! This will cover the costs to send 21 veterans to Washington, DC.

    This was a phenomenal effort by Allmetal, and one that will bring untold joy to a number of veterans. 

    2 Comments
  • ISRI Poll Shows What People Believe & Don’t Believe About Recycling

    Feb 17, 2017

    By Frank Cozzi

    Truths:

    Recycling reduces greenhouse gas emissions – 49% believed this to be true.

    The U.S. recycling industry is highly technical and sophisticated – 28% believed this to be true.

    There is enough recyclable material in the U.S. to meet the needs of manufacturers – 27% believed this to be true.

    The history of recycling dates back to the days of the cavemen – only 19% believed this to be true.

    Myths:

    Recyclable material put in residential curbside bins is mixed with garbage in a land fill – 11% believed this to be true.

    A product made from recycled material is of lesser quality than those made from a new raw material – 8% believed this was FALSE.

    There is little or no economic value in recycling – 7% still believe this to be true.

    Recycling does not save energy or conserve natural resources – 5% still believe this to be true.

    In the end, 73% believed at least one truth while 22% believed at least one myth to be true.  Stay tuned for next month’s post where we will supply the facts about the truths and debunk the myths!

    Frank Cozzi is the chief executive officer of Cozzi Recycling. This post originally appeared on the Cozzi Recycling Blog.

    2 Comments
  • REMADE for Design for Recycling®

    Jan 25, 2017

    In many ways, REMADE embodies ISRI’s four Design for Recycling® (DfR) principles—(1) Making Consumer Products Recyclable; (2) Reducing Environmental Risks; (3) Controlling Special Environmental Problems; and (4) Assistance to Manufacturers of Consumer Durables, especially the fourth principle (e.g., DOE matching funds)—to make consumer durables more recyclable and safer to recycle. ISRI’s involvement in REMADE, and before that with DOE’s Idaho National Laboratory (INL) and Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO), was no accident and years in the (re)making. ISRI expects that REMADE will be very beneficial to the recycling industry.

    Under DOE’s AMO as part of the Manufacturing USA initiative, the REMADE Institute is a national coalition of leading universities and companies that will forge new clean energy initiatives deemed critical in keeping U.S. manufacturing competitive. In a highly competitive selection process, DOE awarded leadership of REMADE to RIT’s team, the Sustainable Manufacturing Innovation Alliance (SMIA), based on the strength of SMIA’s REMADE proposal, led by Dr. Nabil Nasr, RIT Associate Provost and Director of the Golisano Institute for Sustainability (GIS). As REMADE Leader, SMIA will leverage up to $70 million in federal funding (see fourth DfR principle) that will be matched by $70 million in private cost-share commitments from industry and other consortium members, including 85 partners. In all, 26 universities, 44 companies, seven national labs, 26 industry trade associations and foundations, and three states (New York, Colorado and Utah) are engaged in REMADE. ISRI is a REMADE member and proud of its role in helping to shape REMADE and assisting SMIA in its winning proposal.

    REMADE will focus its efforts on driving down the cost of technologies essential to reuse, recycle, and remanufacture materials such as metals, fibers, polymers and used electronics. REMADE aims to achieve a 50-percent improvement in overall material energy efficiency by 2027. These efficiency improvements could save billions of dollars in energy costs, improve U.S. economic competitiveness through innovative new manufacturing techniques and small business opportunities, and offer new training and jobs for American workers. REMADE has the following five-year goals:

         5 to 10 percent improvement in manufacturing material efficiency

         50 percent increase in remanufacturing applications

         30 percent increase in efficiency of remanufacturing operations

         30 percent increase in recycling efficiencies

         A targeted 50 percent increase in sales for the U.S. manufacturing industry to $21.5 billion and the creation of a next-generation recycling and manufacturing workforce.

    REMADE’s focus and five-year goals did not happen by chance. In summer 2013, ISRI was invited by DOE’s INL to make a presentation on the recycling industry in a kickoff workshop for a newly conceived Institute for Recovery, Recycling, Reuse, and Remanufacturing (R4-I). Recognizing the opportunities within the R4-I concept for recycling thought-leadership and promotion of DfR, ISRI accepted the invitation to present and participate in the initial R4-I Workshop. In September 2013, ISRI and other stakeholder participants spent two days in a small Denver airport hotel trying to define more precisely the recycling and related sustainability problems that R4-I could address as a public-private partnership involving INL and other federal labs and institutions. This led to an initial R4-I whitepaper. As the R4-I concept gained traction over time, its name and scope evolved into the Reducing Embodied-Energy and Decreasing Emissions (REMADE) Institute under DOE’s AMO and as part of the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) (aka Manufacturing USA). ISRI participated in subsequent variously named and sponsored workshops November 2014, January 2016, and June 2016 to further refine the problem statements, concepts, and goals for the future REMADE.

    Later in June 2016, DOE issued a request for proposals on its Funding Opportunity Announcement for the REMADE Institute to “enable the development and widespread deployment of key industrial platform technologies that will dramatically reduce life-cycle energy consumption and carbon emissions associated with industrial-scale materials production and processing through the development of technologies for reuse, recycling, and remanufacturing of materials.” ISRI was soon invited and accepted the invitation to join RIT’s team, SMIA. ISRI met with other SMIA members late August 2016 for two days in Denver, Colorado to work on and fine tune SMIA’s REMADE proposal ahead of the late September 2016 submission deadline. Evidently, SMIA’s proposal was strong enough to overcome the competing proposals to earn the opportunity to lead the REMADE Institute.

    ISRI’s membership in the REMADE leadership team reflects the success of ISRI’s patient investment over three years to participate in the national technical conversation about the importance of recycling, including the role of DfR, in sustainable manufacturing. As we say in government relations, “it is better to have a seat at the table than to be on the menu.” ISRI has a seat at the REMADE table.

    Being so new, the REMADE Institute is currently gets its organizational structure set up to ensure operational readiness in finance, contracting, staffing etc. REMADE holds the promise of providing benefits and opportunities for the recycling industry over its initial five-year period of federal matching funds ($14 million annually). ISRI will keep ISRI members informed about REMADE activities and opportunities for involvement in REMADE projects.

    David Wagger is chief scientist and director of environmental management at ISRI.

    9 Comments
  • Stay Focused During the Holidays

    Dec 06, 2016

    According to the American Psychological Association, stress increases as we prepare to meet the “holiday rush.” It’s a common statistic that people preparing for a big event (holiday, vacation, wedding, etc.) are more prone to injury. Why? Because their minds are not focused on the task at hand; instead they are focused on another event. Our attention can be diverted, or we may unintentionally expose ourselves to potential risks on or off the job.

    As the year draws to a close, all of us need to take proactive steps to stay focused on our own safety and the safety of colleagues. Despite all the potential distractions, we need to be sure we keep our “head in the game.” We can begin by understanding how stress can distort our perceptions and by taking the following steps to understand and manage our reaction to stress.

    • Awareness is the first step in reducing stress. It’s easy to let your mind multi-task while your hands and legs are in “auto pilot” doing the work. But, you must resist the urge to think of other things and instead fully concentrate on the task at hand. No matter the activity, you must focus, be precise in your work, and be aware of your surroundings.
    • Recognize when you begin to feel “weighted” or uneasy, and identify the stressors or triggering events. External stress is often caused by something you feel you can’t control, but internal stress is highly manageable. You can control how you react to stress. If you find yourself becoming distracted, stop and reframe your thoughts to focus on the task at hand.
    • Be realistic in what you can accomplish during the holidays or any stressful event. Set achievable goals, and then take small, decisive steps toward those goals.

    Safety is for all of us – our co-workers, our families and our friends. You can help keep your holiday happy and safe by choosing to manage your stress and to stay mentally focused.

    Have a safe and wonderful holiday season.

    11 Comments
  • Protecting Against Fire and Other Property Losses

    Nov 01, 2016

    Unfortunately, at the same time the frequency of losses is falling, their severity seems to be increasing. In the past five years, the average cost per claim was lowest in 2013, at about $30,000, rising to more than $74,000 in 2014, then falling slightly to about $60,000 in 2015.

    Fire has been the greatest contributor to scrapyard property losses. About $12.4 million, or 44 percent, of the $28 million in property losses in the RecycleGuard program since 2012 were due to fire, even though fire-related claims are only 18 percent of all claims. Fire losses have an outsized impact due to their average cost of about $121,000 compared with a nonfire property loss average of about $33,000. It’s also troubling that even though the total number of property losses is falling, the number of fire events may be rising. RecycleGuard program participants experienced 12 fire-loss events in 2013, 31 in 2014, and 25 in 2015—and we estimate the program will experience 36 fire losses this year.

    In addition to the loss of buildings and equipment, fires impose other costs, including business interruption, customer service and retention losses, employee impacts, damage to your firm’s reputation, deductibles and/or coinsurance, and injury to people on site.

    How can you protect your facility from fires and other property risks? Take these three steps: 

    Adopt loss-prevention practices. Create a culture of safety in your company and implement good housekeeping practices, especially regarding industrial machinery and materials that could ignite easily and propagate a fire. Preventive maintenance for building systems, industrial machinery, and mobile equipment is essential. It’s also prudent to have adequate space between fireload materials—such as shredder fluff or paper— and your buildings and equipment. If you install fire protection systems, make sure they are scaled to provide adequate protection and have them inspected and serviced regularly.

    Create a business continuity plan. A small fire loss can result in a large loss of business income unless you have developed a business continuity plan to reduce downtime and related losses. Such a plan often includes the following elements.  

    • Business impact analysis. Identify key elements of your operations that would impair your business significantly if they were damaged or destroyed. These might be essential equipment, electrical transformers, and critical component parts that require a long lead time to obtain.
       
    • Recovery strategies. Use the information from your business impact analysis to document the resources you would need to recover from a loss, and identify key contractors, vendors, and suppliers that can provide those resources.
       
    • Plan development. Identify the employees responsible for company operations such as information technology, maintenance, electrical systems, and payment approval. Keep their contact information with the plan.
       
    • Testing, review, and improvement. Test your business continuity plan periodically to make sure all parties involved understand their roles and responsibilities and to identify areas for improvement. During this review, make updates to reflect any changes in your business, such as new equipment or additional locations.

    Assess your insurance coverage. Ask your insurance broker to visit your company to identify all exposures and confirm that your policy covers them properly. Clarify whether your current basis of coverage is replacement cost, actual cash value, or agreed amount. Ask your broker about property coverage beyond the basics, such as business income and extra-expense coverage as well as ordinance or law coverage should repairs or rebuilding require you to bring your property up to current code. As a final step, solicit deductible options to assess the trade-offs and potential savings difference between first-dollar coverage and a per-occurrence deductible.

    Dan Curran is senior vice president and underwriting officer for Willis Programs (Portsmouth, N.H.), which underwrites RecycleGuard, the ISRI-sponsored insurance program. Reach him at (603) 334-3027 or daniel.curran@willistowerswatson.com. RecycleGuard has prepared this article for informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide legal advice. Readers should not rely on this document or act upon any of the information it contains without first consulting competent legal counsel. This post originally appeared on www.WillisTowersWatson.com and in Scrap magazine.

    3 Comments
  • Titanium Scrap Market Update

    Sep 13, 2016

    There was some concern about a mild slowdown in business, but the hope was the scrap market would hold steady. However, eight months later, measured by all yardsticks, the titanium scrap market has become sluggish with declining prices and supply outweighing tepid demand.

    In recent years, industry sources have estimated that the size of the global titanium scrap market is 80,000 mt for higher-quality aerospace titanium scrap, plus an additional 80,000 mt for lower-quality, mixed ferrotitanium scrap. According to statistics from the U.S. Geological Survey (Reston, Va.), titanium scrap receipts in the first three quarters of 2015 registered 48,400 mt compared with 36,700 mt in the first three quarters of 2014. End-of-period scrap stocks for the third quarter of 2015 came to 19,900 mt, while scrap stocks totaled 14,400 mt in the comparable 2014 period. Scrap consumption in the first three quarter of 2015 totaled 38,900 mt, while consumption in the same period of the previous year was 31,900 mt.

    Edward Newman, senior vice president of United Alloys and Metals (Columbus, Ohio), said demand for titanium scrap for industrial applications has taken a major downturn in the last 12 months “due to reduced demand for titanium from the energy market along with a lack of large chemical and desalination projects. Aerospace scrap demand held steady through most of 2015, but started to slow down in the second half of 2015 and this trend has continued in 2016.”

    Newman explained that several factors are involved in this trend. “Mill demand has slowed due to a backup of material at the mills resulting in ongoing scrap inventory adjustments at a number of major producers. Second, sponge capacity is more than adequate, which negatively affects both scrap demand and pricing. On the supply side, ongoing high levels of aerospace production continue to generate large volumes of titanium scrap.”

    Market analyst Chris Olin, president and founder of Olin Research Group (Avon, Ohio), speaking at TITANIUM 2015, concurred with Newman on the slack business conditions in the industrial and oil and gas sectors, which have offset generally positive activity in the commercial aerospace industry. “We’ve been seeing weakness in the industrial categories—everything non-aerospace,” Olin said. As a result, distributors have been hedging away from the industrial sectors and adjusting their titanium inventory levels accordingly, he said. At the time, Olin’s remarks were aimed at overall business conditions in the titanium industry, but his insights do relate to the current scrap market trends.

    While all sources interviewed for this article concurred that the titanium scrap market has entered a lackluster period, only two executives, other than Newman, took a stab at explaining the “why” behind current business environment. (They both requested anonymity as a condition to share their feedback.) The first source, representing an integrated melter, pointed to the “structural changes” that have taken place in the titanium industry during the last three years. In essence, the structural changes reflect the major merger and consolidation activity, especially the Alcoa purchase of RTI and Berkshire Hathaway’s strategic acquisition of Precision Castparts Corp.

    An extended inventory evaluation period typically takes place in the wake of major acquisitions in a market, this source stated. This evaluation process has contributed to the slowdown in the scrap market. “A company has to tally the inventory on the books. There is a desire for companies to right-size inventories. We’ve seen an increase in melting volume, but scrap isn’t necessarily taking a bigger piece of that melting volume.”

    This executive said that the overall evaluation process also takes into account other important factors, such as projected, near-term market conditions, international currency trends, and assessing the value of sponge contracts.

    “The strong U.S. dollar has enabled sponge producers to reduce their prices without damaging their profitability,” he said. These low sponge prices, combined with low commodity prices for vanadium, have combined to create a situation where sponge and alloy formulations are more competitive and put downward pressure on the scrap formulation alternative. The presence of the vanadium alloy typically was an inherent advantage for scrap distributors.

    In addition, there are different degrees of scrap price “softness,” depending on the particular category of titanium and the market it serves. For example, commercially pure titanium scrap has seen a moderate drop in price, much like nickel and nickel-alloy scrap, for industrial applications that utilize superalloys. By contrast, pricing for ferrotitanium scrap is extremely weak, due to abundant supply but slack demand, particularly from the steel industry.

    The second executive, who works at a titanium scrap recycling company, also cited structural changes in the titanium industry in the wake of the recent mega mergers. “Maybe these companies have excessive inventory positions,” he wondered. “As new players, maybe they think they have too much inventory. Eventually, they’ll get their inventories in line with what they want to hold, but what then? How much scrap will they buy in the market?” He also pondered the impact of expanding closed-loop recycling systems mandated by aerospace original equipment manufacturers. “This scrap used to enter the marketplace, but no more,” he pointed out.

    The titanium scrap market showed signs of softening in the second half of 2015 and that trend has continued through the midway point of 2016, this executive observed. How much longer will scrap prices decline? He offered no predictions, but only said that customers eventually will return to buying scrap. As usual, the scrap purchasing activity will be steered by sponge prices and industry demand. “Only the melters known the answers,” he said. “When the scrap market turns, it turns, and demand will move up rapidly.”

    Even though there is a period of adjustment with regard to “structural changes” in the titanium industry, as described by these two sources, the consensus is that, for the long term, the mega deals struck by Alcoa and Berkshire Hathaway are positive developments, injecting confidence and capital into the titanium supply chain, especially in the key aerospace sector.

    Other industry executives weighed in to give their perspective on scrap market conditions. Matt Schmink, vice president of sales for Global Titanium Inc. (Detroit), confirmed that the price for ferrotitanium scrap has been declining steadily since mid-2015, and that there is plenty of scrap available on the open market. He explained that the steel industry, in recent years, has been using less ferrotitanium for automotive applications, as car builders have been focused on designs that call for lighter-weight, thinner-gauge, higher-strength steels to reduce overall vehicle weight and boost fuel consumption. Ferrotitanium scrap isn’t part of that mix, he said.

    Even though he currently sees nothing on the horizon to shift this downward trend, Schmink is confident that new applications are likely to emerge to boost consumption for ferrotitanium scrap. When used in the production of stamped steel parts, the addition of ferrotitanium adds ductility, which extends the life of the stamping presses as well as facilitates deeper-draw parts. “At the end of the day, markets always find a way,” he said.

    Vasily Semeniuta, president of Grandis Titanium Co. (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.), said the titanium scrap market currently is “somewhat out of balance,” with prices down and more supply than demand. He also noted that there is extensive sponge production capacity, especially in China, which is a factor in the titanium units market’s balance. “The mills are simply buying less scrap these days,” he said.

    Daniel Buwalda, director of aerospace operations for Keywell Metals (Monroe, N.C.), observed that, since the third quarter of 2015, there has been a slowdown in the sale of titanium and high-temperature alloys scrap. According to Buwalda, melters and original equipment manufacturers have “pulled back” their purchases of scrap. “There’s a lot of material in the supply chain,” he said. “Business for high-temperature alloys was a bit better in the first quarter of this year.”

    Regarding end-use consumers of scrap, Buwalda said the aerospace market remains solid “but is a bit softer than last year,” while the industrial market “is extremely soft.” He said international industrial markets, such as chemical processing, desalination and heat exchangers, have been slumping, in terms of demand for titanium scrap. “There are not a lot of large builds going on right now,” he observed.

    There have been technology upgrades in recent years, with regard to the processing of titanium scrap—namely the operations of cold hearth melting scrap processing. Newman, during a presentation at TITANIUM 2015, offered a review of titanium scrap processing trends. He explained that for cold hearth melting scrap processing, processed turnings can now be used without X-ray monitoring due to cold hearth’s ability to remove HDI’s. This advantage, he said, substantially increases the volume of titanium turnings returning to the titanium industry. He estimated that there are now 14 cold hearth furnaces operating in the United States.

    Regarding the vacuum arc remelting (VAR) method for producing ingots, the advantages for this process are that scrap can be included in raw material mix, but VAR melting does not remove high-density inclusions (HDIs) contamination. HDIs are particles of with a higher density than titanium, which diminish the mechanical properties of titanium, with the contaminating particles serving as crack-initiation sites. As such, VAR is best used for processing titanium scrap in its early stages.

    In his summary points during his conference presentation, Newman said scrap supplements sponge and master alloys to provide substantial low-cost units to the market place. Advances in melting and processing technology have allowed for the continuing increase in titanium scrap recycling. “The titanium industry needs to continue to move towards capturing a bigger percentage of the scrap stream. Implementation of buyback programs along with industry consolidation has stabilized both pricing and supply of scrap to producers. Scrap processing industry continues to provide valuable product, services, and innovation to the titanium industry.”

    Michael C. Gabriele is a freelance writer for the International Titanium Association. Jennifer Simpson is the executive director of the International Titanium Association.
  • Mommas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Litterjerks

    Aug 18, 2016

    Bad habits die hard, the saying goes, and an adult who has been littering his or her entire life is a tough nut for us to crack.  That littering is an inherently selfish and uncaring act has not sunk in to these folks, so we resort to more stringent measures.

    I sometimes wish I could follow behind them after they toss trash, like the Septa who accompanied Cersei Lannister on her infamous walk of contrition, intoning “Shame!  Shame!  Shame!”

    Over the years we recognized the need to nip the problem in the proverbial bud, and the way to do that is, not surprisingly, through educating our young people about litter before they ever acquire the habit.  To that end, we partnered with a variety of organizations to bring a curriculum developed by JASON Learning to our schools.

    JASON Learning is a nonprofit organization and long-time partner of the National Geographic Society. Founded in 1989 by Dr. Robert D. Ballard, the mission of JASON is to inspire and educate kids everywhere through real science and exploration. They partnered with the Institute for Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) on a national recycling awareness campaign to help students and educators understand the importance of recycling and the recycling industry.  ISRI represents recyclers that divert more than 100 million tons of materials from landfills each year.

    Staten Island Borough Hall, Pratt Industries, JASON, ISRI, GrowNYC, the Department of Education (DOE) and the Sanitation Department (DSNY) have joined in a public private partnership (PPP) to educate students in Staten Island schools with a pro-recycling/anti-litter message.  So far 35 schools (public and parochial), and over 50 staff members, including DOE officials, have received training in the STEM-based recycling and sustainability curriculum.

    As you are no doubt aware, since taking office we have been engaged in many efforts to combat the litter problem on Staten Island.  The JASON Learning curriculum resulted from a meeting I had last summer with the folks from Pratt Industries.  At that meeting, they informed me about the ISRI/JASON Learning curriculum, and their ability to secure the necessary resources through

    DOE and GrowNYC were immediately on board and helped us bring this curriculum, along with the Recycling Champions Program, to these Island schools.  The Recycling Champions Program develops model recycling programs at over 100 NYC public schools each year, educating students, staff, and custodians about recycling. 

    Staten Island is one of only three municipalities in the nation that ISRI is supporting for JASON Learning, the others being pilot programs in Kalamazoo, Michigan and Baltimore, Maryland.  This August, ISRI is hosting a Webinar for stakeholders in their organization to discuss our model and our success on Staten Island, and at a recent ISRI Board of Directors meeting in Washington DC, Staten Island was mentioned as the most successful ISRI/Jason program in the country.

    Pratt Industries will generously bear the cost and host at their paper mill in Travis the professional development for staff from participating schools. They will also host school tours at their Staten Island facility for participating schools so students can see firsthand how the paper recycling process works.

    It is important to note that the paper recycled at Pratt stays right here on Staten Island, where Pratt makes it into new paper and then makes that paper into new boxes, predominantly pizza boxes used by many of our pizzerias.  Pratt has also donated recycling bins that have been placed in participating schools.

    So this is an important part of our holistic approach to battling the bane of litter.  We will continue to engage the public with aggressive and edgy awareness campaigns, send our Clean Team out wherever and whenever we can, encourage residents and businesses to join in the cleanup, remind businesses and homeowners about their legal responsibilities to keep the area around their property clean, and educate our young people.

    Perhaps, someday in the not-so-distant future, through educating our younger generation, we can eliminate the need for litter “walks of shame” entirely. 

    Perhaps.  Someday

    James Oddo is the Staten Island Borough President. This post originally appeared the Borough Hall Insider blog.
    Go comment!
  • Helpful Exercises to Conduct on Safety Stand-Down Day

    Jun 15, 2016

    ISRI is holding its third annual Safety Stand-Down Day today. It is a day dedicated to taking an hour out of every shift to focus on the importance of safety in the scrap recycling industry’s facilities. This year’s focus is safety around mobile equipment, for example: forklifts, trucks, customer vehicles, rail cars, material handlers (cranes), etc. A scrap recycling facility can sometimes feel like organized chaos. With all of the materials and equipment that is being moved around during day-to-day operations, mobile equipment can be hazardous if proper precautions are not taken.

    When it comes to safety in the presence of mobile equipment, the understanding of blind spots around the equipment is extremely important. Not only do the operators of the mobile equipment need to have a clear understanding of the blind spots they have, but ISRI is highlighting how necessary it is for everyone in the workplace to get a feel and understanding for the existence of these blind spots.

    In order to help the entire workplace to become familiar with facility and mobile equipment blind spots, supervisors or management can have employees sit in the operator’s seat, without turning the machine on, and look around in order to experience the blind spots firsthand. This simple safety drill will help a new employee or even the seasoned veteran to better understand what an equipment operator see, and doesn’t see. Injuries often occur by what we don’t understand, so in order to prevent injuries from mobile equipment, employees must begin to understand the mobile equipment and the operators who run this equipment. Instead of taking chances around the unknown hazards of mobile equipment, ISRI is focused on promoting hazard awareness.

    One recommendation for safety procedures that ISRI’s Safety Outreach Director Tony Smith is making is a toolbox talk. This would be a small meeting about mobile equipment safety with workers who may find themselves interacting or working around the equipment. They would be encouraged to tell stories about their experiences, to talk about close-calls in order to avoid them in the future and to keep the awareness of hazards raised. Another toolbox talk recommendation is for the push for a focus on equipment inspection. Understanding the condition of the equipment and whether or not it is taken care of can affect workplace safety.

    ISRI recognizes safety as a core value of the scrap recycling industry by consistently updating safety initiatives and highlighting important safety issues for its annual Safety Stand-Down Day. We encourage all readers of this blog to participate with your fellow employees in this year’s safety stand down day.

    Erin Magnino is a communications intern for ISRI.

    3 Comments
  • SENNEBOGEN Believes in Safety Around Mobile Equipment

    Jun 14, 2016

    Put a 100,000 lb. (45,360 kg) scrap handler into the middle of a crowded yard full of moving vehicles and piles of heavy, sharp-edged metal… and you should be looking for trouble.

    That kind of safety challenge has always been foremost in the minds of the engineering and service teams at SENNEBOGEN. Talking with the people who work on the equipment, in the places they work, has taught the company a lot about potential problems. Overall, we’re always looking for trouble, and looking for solutions, in four key areas.

    Visibility

    The elevating operator station allows a clear panoramic view, not only of the load and target, but over the whole jobsite. That’s especially important when traffic is busy with other equipment, workers and customers on foot or in a vehicle crossing through the work zone. Having a window area as large as possible minimizes blind spots and a camera system on the rear & right side gives an operator a wider range of sight. Lastly, a cab with ergonomic seating, and climate control help operators remain alert through a complete shift.

    Accessibility

    Maintenance is a must but it can create potential hazards from slips & falls, strains and inadvertent impacts. Recognizing and mitigating hazards is a key to safely going about accessing machine components and maintenance areas. Having service points for the undercarriage in easy to reach from ground level areas helps keep service personnel out of harm’s way. Finding ways to limit the need for service personnel to climb up onto the machines will save time, and potential injury, too.

    Lifting capacities

    The square footprint of the latest machinery’s undercarriage and the central swing point allow equal load limits on all sides through 360°. This balance ensures a stable lifting stance in any direction, to minimize tipping hazards.

    Limit switches prevent hanging attachments, such as magnets and grapples, from swinging into the cab. Safety check valves protect operators from falling equipment in the event of sudden pressure loss due to a split hose.

    Check with your OEM because many offer free hands-on courses to familiarize technicians and operators with best practices on how to keep themselves and their equipment safe and productive.

    Fall protection

    Safety when working at heights is an important area to consider. Having wide steps in good condition, an access ladder, and handrails provide a 3-point contact for operators as they access and egress machine’s climbing points. A catwalk and railing system at the cab area give operators a safe perch at the top.

    Andreas Ernst is with SENNEBOGEN LLC. This is part of a series of blogs related to ISRI’s Safety Stand-Down Day on June 15.

    14 Comments
  • Top Five Tips for Training New Operators

    Jun 13, 2016
    Recruiting and retaining a qualified workforce is especially challenging these days. Fewer students are entering trade schools and acquiring crucial equipment knowledge, so on-the-job safety training is more important than ever. Keeping that safety message at the forefront of all specific machine and jobsite training is the one of the best ways to protect your employees and your bottom line.

    Here are five essential tips for keeping your jobsite safe around heavy equipment.

    1. Make operators read the manual – and then make them prove it.

      Whether you’re training a new operator or training an experienced operator on a new machine — they need to know the safety manual backwards and forwards before even getting into the cab, especially the meaning behind each warning symbol. After the operator has reviewed the material, give them a quiz outlining the most important takeaways from the book. Their score will prove where additional training is needed before they get in the operator’s seat. Even longstanding employees should be quizzed on their safety knowledge regularly, as routine and habit can take over on the job.

    2. Use the right machine for the job.

      Matching the right machine and attachment to the jobsite is paramount for proper safety. By assessing the task at hand and then choosing the right piece of equipment, the operator won’t be tempted to overcompensate or make a difficult decision in the name of productivity. Wheel loaders and excavators should be outfitted with scrap guarding to protect the windshield, cab roof, cylinders, swing circles, and most importantly, the operator. When the machine is equipped for safety, the operator is able to do his or her job more effectively

    3. Inspect the machine daily.

      A thorough check of the entire machine before starting the day will allow the operator to identify any potential safety issues at the onset. Taking note of leaking hoses, tire cracks or punctures and other outlying machine issues can prevent further machine damage and potential accidents.

    4. Report machine incidents immediately.

      Even the most minor safety incident must be reported to supervision and maintenance right away —regardless of the outcome. If small safety infringements are regularly ignored, operators will become complacent, which increase the likelihood of a major accident. All incidents, no matter how “small,” need to be dealt with on the spot, so the entire team can take proper action and prevent the same mistake from happening again.

    5. Take ownership of the machine

    One of the best mottos for an operator to work by is “treat the machine like you treat your personal vehicle.” Neglecting preventive maintenance procedures, like oil and filter changes, will only lead to eventual equipment failure. Operators need to stay on top of the maintenance schedule, keep the cab clean, and operate the equipment with pride. These machines are the lifeblood of the business, and proper care will keep them running in top shape.

    This Safety Stand Down Day, review the training materials provided to new operators, and incorporate additional steps where any safety procedure may seem unclear. Equipping both new employees and experienced employees with the tools they need to succeed will create a safer, more productive environment year-round.

    Volvo Construction Equipment. This is the second in a series of blogs related to ISRI’s Safety Stand-Down Day on June 15.

    2 Comments
  • Top Practices for Safety In and Around Mobile Equipment

    Jun 10, 2016

    Caterpillar Inc. is a long-time supporter of ISRI initiatives, especially those pertaining to the safety of the people who work in and with the Scrap Recycling industry.  Below are some best practices for mobile equipment safety:

    Speed and Traffic

    • Observe all posted speed limits and traffic patterns on entrance and haulage roads.Report speed infractions immediately.
    • Reduce speed when weather or road conditions increase hazards.
    • Yield to large trucks or loaders, especially when loaded.
    • Be sure other drivers and operators are aware of you.Use flashing lights, hand signals, or radio equipment to communicate, and do not attempt to pass until you have received confirmation.
    • Do not follow other equipment too closely.
    • Never park a vehicle in a high-traffic or congested area.

    Operation

    • Inspect any vehicle or piece of equipment for safety defects before operation it.Conduct pre-operation exams and complete an operator’s report after every shift.
    • Do not operate a machine that is in an unsafe condition or is not equipped with a fire extinguisher.
    • Always wear your seatbelt in any vehicle or piece of equipment.If a seatbelt is damaged or does not work, report it immediately.
    • Avoid accidents – maintain concentration, courtesy and control.

    Passengers

    • Never allow anyone to ride on the side of your equipment.
    • Don’t transport people in the front-end loader buckets or allow anyone to perform work from an unsupported bucket.

    Working on or Around Equipment

    • Never leave a machine unattended while an attachment is suspended in the air.
    • Block beds, buckets, forklifts, etc., against movement when the equipment is in the raised position for inspection or repair.
    • Be sure to maintain eye-to-eye contact with the operator before mounting the equipment.

    While this material is provided for informational purposes only, it is not as comprehensive or exhaustive on the relative topics.  While you pause operations on ISRI’s Annual Safety Stand-Down Day, keep in mind that even the smallest detail could potentially save a life. 

    Michael Condron is with Caterpillar Inc. This is the first in a series of blogs related to ISRI’s Safety Stand-Down Day on June 15.

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