• 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.

  • 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. 

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

    Feb 17, 2017

    By Frank Cozzi


    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.


    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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.
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  • 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.

  • 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.


    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.


    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.

  • 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.

  • 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.


    • 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.


    • 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.

  • Light at the End of the Rail Tunnel?

    Jun 03, 2016

    The scrap recycling industry relies heavily on the rail road system to transfer materials to customers who are located a long distance away. The collaboration of transportation workers and scrap handlers has steadily remained confusing and stressful at best; scrap handlers need the rail cars to transport materials to market and the transportation crew knows there isn’t competition, so the increase of service disruptions has become extremely augmented.

    The root of the service disruption problem is, the rail crew knows that trucks transporting scrap are only useful for short distances, around 300 miles or less. Much of the transportation of scrap materials is longer, and needs to be carried out by a rail car, which means there is no competition against the rail cars, causing the customer service to falter. This is where the service disruptions occur: attempting to request a number of specific rail cars is difficult. There either aren’t as many cars available as are needed which causes less material to get delivered, the cars get distributed late which causes the customer to get the purchased materials late, or don’t get delivered at all because they are lost, sitting in another station waiting to be picked up by the rail crew. This leaves everyone in the industry understandably frustrated.  

    There is little the Surface Transportation Board (STB) can do directly because certain commodities are considered exempt. However, people can call the STB with a complaint about the lack of customer service, organization, and unfair overcharging. The STB has had very little authority over traffic deemed captive traffic due to the exemption.

    Recently, the scrap industry has seen a light at the end of the tunnel (finally): STB became authorized to unilaterally investigate certain alleged Interstate Commerce Act violations, which established STB as an independent government agency and implements other administrative and operational changes. This adjustment in STB’s power has allowed them to finally be able to take action against the rail roads: on March 23, the STB opened a rulemaking and proposed to revoke iron and steel scrap exemption, as well as several other commodity exemptions, due to public hearing on utility of commodity exemptions in 2011 and analysis of the confidential waybill showing rail rates 1992-2013.

    Erin Magnino is a communications intern for ISRI. Billy Johnson is chief lobbyist for ISRI.

  • TPP Trade Agreement to Benefit Scrap Industry

    May 23, 2016

    As our industry celebrates World Trade Month, it is important to recognize the strong support that ISRI has for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement (TPP). ISRI is largely proud of the agreement’s elimination of most tariffs on scrap commodities. Our industry already brings in a lot of success for the United States in exporting commodities, and the tariffs elimination will allow for an even larger growth in industry triumph. According to the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. International Trade Commission, the United States exported nearly 40 million metric tons of scrap commodities valued at almost $21 billion in 2014.

    “With the help of the TPP, tens of millions of dollars are guaranteed for our country,” said Eric Harris, ISRI’s Assistant VP of Government Relations. “Many people in the scrap industry will be pleasantly surprised by the success that the entire industry will experience. TPP eliminates tariffs on scrap commodities and equipment, as well as promotes the Made-in-America concept, both of which are extremely important for our industry.”

    The agreement includes 12 major countries (Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, and the United States) with the purpose to assist in the growth of the American economy and increase the exports from America. The Office of the United States Trade Representative outlines such benefits (among others) as:

    • Eliminating over 18,000 different taxes on Made-in-America exports
    • Including the strongest worker protections of any trade agreement in history
    • Including the strongest environmental protections of any trade agreement in history
    • Helping small businesses benefit from global trade
    • Capitalizing on America’s position as the world leader ins services exports

    The TPP Agreement is in line with ISRI’s Free and Fair Trade Policy, which was adopted by the Board of Directors in 2013. It outlines ISRI’s dedication to encouraging free trade across borders, as well as ISRI’s encouragement of an exchange of ideas and education on issues related to free trade. 

    Erin Magnino is a communications intern for ISRI.

  • A Glimpse Into the History of ISRI and International Trade

    May 17, 2016

    World Trade Week has been recognized by the recycling industry since President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed the yearly dedication to foreign trade by announcing the first National Foreign Trade Week to occur in the third week of May in 1933. It came at a necessary time of rekindling a passion for trade and its important role in rebuilding the American economy after the Great Depression. ISRI is paying tribute to trade for the week, and a part of this tribute is looking back on ISRI’s key moments of facilitation with international trade for its members.

    ISRI is involved in the facilitation of trade relations with several large parties, including China, India, and Turkey. Our members have exported scrap from the U.S. to China that is valued at $8.8 billion, Turkey at $1.9 billion, and India at $772 million. Additionally, over the past 50 years, ISRI and its predecessor associations have fought against efforts here in the U.S. to impose export controls on certain types of materials, most notably steel and most recently copper.

    Initially, ISRI’s efforts in China involved helping members understand the Chinese government’s new regulation (in 2004) requiring all exporters of scrap materials to China to be licensed by the General Administration on Quality Supervision, Inspection, and Quarantine of the People’s Republic of China (AQSIQ). The new licensing regime required each exporter that did business directly with a Chinese company to complete an application that would then be reviewed by AQSIQ for sufficiency. The stated purpose for creating the licensing regime was to improve the quality of scrap materials shipped to China and to reduce the amount of trash and hazardous materials that were contained in many container loads. ISRI experts helped members in the industry through the initial licensing process, and ensured that every member was kept up to date on any changes made to the law and its functionality, as well as providing extra succor to members who ran into brick walls. ISRI has made it a priority to cultivate relationships with Chinese recycling associations, industrial consumer associations, and several government agencies. 

    In India, ISRI met with the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) shortly after China’s implementation of AQSIQ. We were asked to explain to the agency, its director, and deputies the Chinese licensing regime and any issues it had created, as the Indian government was intending to implement a similar program—however, after discussing the nitty gritty of the AQSIQ licensing regime, the DGFT decided to steer clear from the confusion and consternation the law had brought to trade with the Chinese. From this, ISRI has developed relationships with the DGFT, as well as with Indian recycling associations and industrial consumers.

    ISRI has also made a point to open up and develop a dialogue with the Turkish Steel Association and the Turkish Embassy in Washington, DC in order to play a more present role in U.S. trade with them.

    ISRI’s role in international trade has been crucial to the relations with the countries that the U.S. scrap industry fosters. ISRI’s actions in countries like China and India allow ISRI’s members to successfully trade scrap materials with these significant players in the global industry.

    Erin Magnino is a communications intern for ISRI.

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  • ISRI Exhibits, Presents at Re|Focus Plastic Recycling Conference

    May 02, 2016

    ISRI Exhibits, Presents at First Annual Re|Focus Plastic Recycling Conference

    Last week, ISRI participated in the Re|Focus Plastics Recycling Conference, hosted by the Society of Plastics Industry.  The conference’s focus was to bring together all segments of the plastics supply chain – from virgin resin producers to plastic recyclers and everyone in-between. Taking advantage of the unique audience, ISRI hosted a session, “Tapping the Potential of Auto Shredder Residue,” which featured ISRI President Robin Wiener and Joe Pomykala of Alter Trading. The session discussed ISRI’s efforts to make ASR Plastics a viable feedstock and was aimed at manufacturers and consumers of recycled plastic materials. Preliminary feedback from attendees was they believed the session was both informative and valuable. The presentation is the second in as many weeks ISRI has given in front of various audiences in its effort to “get the word out” that ASR plastic can be utilized as a feedstock for certain applications. The conference afforded many opportunities for ISRI to strengthen relationships with other stakeholders, existing members, and already-identified membership prospects.

    Jonathan Levy is director of member services for ISRI and serves as its Plastics Division liaison.

  • How to Make Money in Plastics Recycling

    Mar 15, 2016

    The device on which you are reading this blog (or on which you printed it) likely contains plastic, in addition to some precious and non-precious metals. When that device reaches the end of its life, you have two types of options, I learned from the Circular Economy Executive Education Course I'm taking: 

    1. Linear product and material options include "burying" the device in a drawer or tossing it into a landfill bin. The embedded materials and energy are lost.
    2. Circular options include upgrading the device for continued use, passing it to others to use, salvaging it for usable parts, and finally recycling it. The economy grows from the use of finite resources.

    It's the circular option for plstics that prompted the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) to ask Dr. Ramesh Srinivasan of Eco-Catalyst; Andy Fergurson, chair of the environmental committee of the International Association of Plastics Distributors, and me to co-lead a workshop entitled How to Make Money in Plastics Recycling at ISRI's Plastics Summit convention (to be held on April 6th, 2016, in Las Vegas).

    "Over the past several years many metal recyclers have successfully made the jump into plastics," said ISRI's director of member Services Jonathan Levy. "Their efforts have paid off in that they are now more diversified, handling more materials, and in a better position to weather the ups and downs of individual market sectors."

    Why Plastics, why money, & why now

    Because more and more products are made of plastic and not yet designed as Circular Economy solutions, the supply of mixed, post-consumer plastics is burgeoning. Plastics recycling, however, is a newer business than metals recycling, the latter having business models that are well understood. Many metals recyclers have been reluctant to make the jump to plastics.

    At first glance, recycling plastics is like recycling any other commodity—it takes a keen understanding of the markets, material, equipment, and input-output data to succeed, grow, and thrive. However, my co-speaker Dr. Ramesh Srinivasan, CEO of Eco-Catalyst, pointed out "a successful plastics recycling business needs to carefully balance material-dependent processing costs with what the market will bear."

    And because many metals recyclers are not yet convinced that they can recycle plastics profitably — especially with the currently low cost of crude oil for new plastics — the workshop is timely.

    Data is everything

    When discussing how best to treat post-first-use products both economically and responsibly, an electronics-producer client of ours exclaimed, "Data is everything." It's the same for recyclers.

     Andy Fergurson, head of recycling at a USA plastics recycler, realized that he needed objective, reliable data on profitability and sustainability to convince his corporate executives to invest the necessary resources to build a truly sustainable plastics recycling program. During workshop, Fergurson will walk the audience through a pilot study he conducted using Eco-Catalyst's Smart EOL.  

    "Tracking the variable costs associated with recycling divergent grades of plastics from many different sources — as well as factoring in turbulent market prices — allows us to make sure each transaction fits well into our business model and profitability targets," Fergurson said. "We can identify at a glance which transactions to pursue based not only on recyclability but also on profitability."

    Srinivasan created Smart EOL "to give the recyclers and manufacturers of a variety of products the ability to design end-of-life programs for their products and materials that are economically viable and environmentally sound."

    Inter-industry solutions for plastics "waste"

    When the plastics in the device you are using are responsibly and efficiently recycled, they may not appear again in another electronic device, but instead in a completely different industry's product. To provide an example, I will kick off the ISRI workshop on April 6th by engaging the audience in a case study, from the Healthcare Plastics Recycling Council, in which an increasing supply of used healthcare plastic packaging is heading to consumer electronics products. The Circular Economy requires creative thinking leading to economic and responsible "circling" of materials both intra- and inter-industries. 

    We hope to see you at the workshop! In the meantime, let us know your thoughts on plastics and the electronics supply chain in the comments section below. 

    Pamela Gordon is CEO of Technology Forecasters. This blog post first appeared on EBN.

  • A Silver Recycling Playbook

    Jan 08, 2016
    A couple of months ago, Metals Focus produced a report for the Silver Institute looking at the outlook for global silver scrap supply, arguably one of the most opaque and complex areas of all the precious metals’ fundamentals.

    Before looking ahead, it’s worth looking first at the recent history. In 2011, scrap rose by 13% to 206.7 Moz (6,430t). Volumes then fell steeply to just over 164 Moz (5,100t) in 2014, a combined drop of 21%. Much was driven by the rise and fall of the silver price, and in particular its impact on silverware and those elements within industrial scrap where profitability of recovery is price sensitive. Economic distress also boosted scrap, not just by hard pressed consumers disposing of old pieces, but also via the trade’s melt of slow selling jewelry and silverware. Background forces boosting volumes included growth in the above-ground stock of fabricated goods, in particular industrial end-uses, and environmental legislation tending to become tighter. Countering that were other factors such as the historic decline in photographic fabrication due to digital inroads.

    By sector, silverware was the largest driver of the above trends. This might surprise given its modest fabrication today, but that only highlights other factors important for scrap, namely the large above-ground stock of the product and a high value per piece (compared to jewelry). The West and India were the prime drivers of the rise and fall in scrap, whereas Chinese recycling rose every year, largely as a result of growing scrap from the ethylene oxide (EO) sector.

    Looking ahead, following three consecutive years of losses, silver recycling is projected to increase at the margin, to 168 Moz (5,210t) in 2015. Further modest gains are then expected in the next two years. This relatively steady performance is premised on assumptions that higher industrial recycling will be partly offset by uninterrupted losses in photographic, silverware and coin scrap.
    The rise in industrial scrap should primarily come from the silver recovered from EO catalysts as capacity expansions, centered on China, continue. Growth in silver recovered from electronics and electrical sources, however, is expected to be muted, as rising gross volumes and tighter waste disposal legislation will be countered by falling silver grades per unit. Jewelry scrap should also ultimately rise, if only modestly, as price-led gains in emerging markets, especially India, counter ongoing falls in the West.

    In contrast, heavily depleted near-market stocks and the absence of distress selling in the West mean that silverware recycling should fall out to 2017, even with India’s price-led gains. A larger decline is forecast for photographic scrap, as the knock-on effects of earlier fabrication losses continue, chiefly through declining recovery from x-rays. Lastly, coin scrap should also fall as we see recent years’ high level of old circulating coin melt as unlikely to continue.

    Philip Newman is with Metals Focus, one of the world’s leading precious metals consultancies. They specialize in research into the global gold, silver, platinum and palladium markets producing regular reports, forecasts and bespoke consultancy. The quality of Metals Focus’ work is underpinned by a combination of top-quality desk-based analysis, coupled with an extensive program of travel to generate “bottom up” research. Their analysts regularly travel to the major markets, speaking to contacts from across the value chain from producers to end-users, to obtain first hand and unique information for their reports.

  • Top 5 Items People Forget to Recycle in the Bathroom

    Nov 13, 2015

    America Recycles Day – on Nov. 15 – is a great time to celebrate recycling and learn new ways to recycle in your home.

    With the national recycling rate at 34.3 percent, there is still plenty we can do to recycle more, to recycle right, and to convert friends and family into recyclers.

    So, how can we work together to increase that recycling rate? Let’s start by recycling in the bathroom.

    We have found that only 41 percent of Americans say they always recycle products from the bathroom. As a result, common bathroom products like shampoo bottles, toothpaste boxes and shaving cream cans are more likely to end up in landfills than their kitchen counterparts.

    Why is this happening? According to our 2015 consumer insights study with the Ad Council, more than one in five people say they would recycle more products if they understood that they could be turned into new products. And nearly half of the people say they don’t recycle in the bathroom simply because they don’t have a recycling bin there to do so!

    That’s why it’s more important than ever to spread the word about personal care product recycling. Check out the top five items that many people forget to recycle in the bathroom. Recycle them this America Recycles Day – and every day!

    Brenda Pulley is senior vice president recycling for Keep America Beautiful.

    Whether it’s hairspray, leave-in conditioner or dry shampoo, your favorite beauty products can take on another life through recycling. For example, your shampoo bottle could be recycled into a hairbrush, and your hair product bottle could become a dress. Click here to learn more about what your personal care products can become.

    Quick Tip: Placing a small bin in your bathroom can help you to remember these items. You can solidify your commitment to recycle by taking the America Recycles Day pledge here: http://americarecyclesday.org/pledge/


  • ISRI Responds to Misinformed Claims About the State of Recycling in The New York Times

    Oct 07, 2015

    In a recent New York Times Magazine column (The Rein of Recycling, Oct. 3), John Tierney paints a confusing and misinformed picture of recycling, calling it “wasteful,” “ineffectual,” and “costly.”  The reality couldn’t be further from the truth.

    The reality is that recycling in the United States is a vibrant activity and a key driver in domestic and global manufacturing, supplying more than 130 million tons annually of scrap metals, paper, electronics, plastics, rubber, glass, and textiles for manufacture into new products.  Mr. Tierney completely ignores the economic impact of this activity on the U.S. economy.  Recycling represents nearly $106 billion in annual economic activity and is responsible for 471,587 direct and indirect jobs in the U.S., generating more than $4.3 billion in state and local revenues annually, and another $6.76 billion in federal taxes.

    Mr. Tierney also falls short in his analysis of the environmental impact of recycling. Nearly all independent studies, including those by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, have shown that recycling offers superior environmental benefits to landfilling and incineration. Further, utilizing recycled materials reduces energy requirements and greenhouse gas emissions in many manufacturing processes when compared to using virgin materials.

    Yes, some segments of the recycling industry—particularly those that handle municipal recyclables—are experiencing unique challenges these days as a result of a changing business model and increasing quality concerns.  Decreased commodity prices combined with the decision of some municipalities to collect recyclables in the same bin as waste materials affect both the economics and the technological feasibility of recycling.  But that represents well less than half of the total recycling activity occurring in the U.S. each year. 

    Unfortunately, by lumping everything together, Tierney sends the wrong message, effectively discouraging people from recycling altogether. This would be a major setback for society, and is why as an industry, we partner with organizations such as Keep America Beautiful to showcase the enormous environmental and economic benefits of recycling.  Let’s focus on what works and develop the processes and technology needed to expand recycling. Turning our backs on recycling altogether now would significantly hurt the U.S. balance of trade, the recycling industry, the environment, and sustainable materials management. That would be a major step backward for our country.

    Robin Wiener is president of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries.

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