• Re-Re-Recycle

    Sep 28, 2015
    We have a mission, something to do, that’s why we’re here, talking with you. Ya see, there’s a story and it has to be told about our dumps and the garbage they hold. Just look in your trash, and what do you see?

    Everyday things from you and me; newspapers, bottles and cans, made from trees, metal ore and sand.

    Natural resources and energy, to throw it all away seems crazy to me. So goes the song Re-Re-Cycle by Bill Brennan (Billy B) who since 1977 has performed for children, parents, and teachers combining environmental education and entertainment.

    If Billy B. is going to be successful and encourage more people to recycle it is important that a dynamic industry of scrap recyclers be ready to meet the demand for processing waste and scrap into new products and feed stocks. The U.S. scrap recycling industry processed more than 130 million metric tons of scrap in 2013, transforming it into useful raw materials needed to produce a range of new products. 

    An analysis conducted by my firm, John Dunham and Associates, has found that by performing this important service for consumers, governments and businesses throughout the country, the scrap recycling industry is currently providing 471,587 good jobs for working Americans and generating over $105.8 billion in economic activity. In 2015, as many as 149,010 jobs are being supported by the direct manufacturing and brokerage operations of the scrap recycling industry in the United States. These are good jobs paying an average of $77,153 in wages and benefits to American workers. In addition to this, 322,577 jobs throughout the U.S. economy are indirectly supported by the scrap recycling industry through suppliers and the indirect impact of the industry’s expenditures.

    The economic benefits generated by the scrap recycling industry are widespread. Scrap facilities are located in every state throughout the country in both urban and rural communities. This means that the U.S. scrap recycling industry provides real jobs, to real people, in every state in the union. And these jobs are not only in firms that process scrap materials into new, usable commodity inputs, but in firms that supply the industry with recycled materials, like steel mills and independent peddlers, as well as firms that supply machinery, trucks and services to processors. In addition, thousands of people in industries seemingly unrelated to scrap materials recycling, from servers in restaurants, to construction workers, to teachers in local schools, depend on the re-spending of the wages and taxes paid by scrap recycling industry to their workers and suppliers. 

    In addition to providing jobs and opportunities at home, the scrap recycling industry is an important part of the growing American export economy. Scrap commodities are among the nation’s largest exports by value, and overall, exports account for about 27 percent of the industry’s economic activity. This means that over 39,000 jobs are directly supported by the export activities associated with the processing and brokerage operations of scrap recyclers operating in the United States. An additional 86,254 jobs are supported by supplier operations and through the indirect effects of scrap recycling exports. This is because scrap materials that are intended for export must be collected, separated and prepared for transport out of the United States. The steps in this process provide well-paying American jobs. In fact, were it not for these export markets, many materials, including post-consumer paper and electronics would probably not be recycled at all, simply because there is no demand for them in the United States. By opening up new markets, the nation’s recycled materials producers create demand for materials that might otherwise end up in landfills.

    The scrap industry is the first link in the global supply chain for the growing demand of all manner of commodities ranging from iron and steel to paper; nonferrous metals such as aluminum, copper, and zinc; plastics; electronics; and rubber. As Billy B. would tell the kids, Everyday things from you and me; newspapers, bottles and cans, made from trees, metal ore and sand. Because of the hard work of the American scrap recycling industry, these scrap and waste materials find their way to new uses throughout the world. 

    John R. Dunham is managing partner for John Dunham and Associates. Watch, “Green Effect: The Recycling Industry’s Economic Impact,” a short video based on the analysis to learn more.

  • The Right Approach to Legislating Metals Theft

    Sep 01, 2015

    ISRI has consistently opposed the Metal Theft Prevention Act during the past three sessions of Congress (it has not yet been introduced in the current Congress) because the bill would unfortunately only complicate combating metal theft. What is more, we are not alone in opposing the federal legislation. Several state attorneys general and the National Council of State Legislators have gone on record opposing the federal metal theft legislation. In the past, the industry did support a federal legislative approach that included preemption but since those efforts failed all 50 states have enacted metal theft laws that reflect the needs of their citizens and local law enforcement.

    ISRI has worked closely with the state legislatures to help enact strict yet workable laws that take into account the experiences of scrap dealers, law enforcement, and prosecutors. Moreover, ISRI has been able to enact industry best practices into laws such as Do-Not-Buy lists that prohibit the purchase of items such as municipal property (manholes, sewer grates, lampposts, etc.), beer kegs, utility wire, and other valuable items except with proper documentation. We have also been promoting ISRI’s ScrapTheftAlert.com system that enables law enforcement to instantly broadcast information about a theft to scrapyards and law enforcement within a 100 miles radius at no cost. This tool is responsible for successfully recovering and returning stolen items to their rightful owners. Likewise, ISRI recognizes no law is perfect so we are constantly collaborating with our law enforcement partners to improve them – something that simply cannot be done at the federal level given today’s gridlock.

    In the end, regardless of how good a law may be, we must have ample enforcement of these laws or the metal thieves will continue to steal with impunity. Instead of a problematic federal metal theft bill that will only complicate the efforts of law enforcement and local prosecutors, we urge all stakeholders to join with us to both improve and enforce existing state laws. We all have a vested interest in getting this right, so let’s work together to stop metal thefts.

    Billy Johnson is director of political and public affairs for ISRI.

  • ISRI Members Establish an Identity for Recycling at NCSL

    Aug 17, 2015

    Once again, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) conference in Seattle was a huge success. This year had a record attendance of over 5,000 attendees with over 2,000 legislators and staff participating. A huge round of applause to Danielle Waterfield, Justin Short, Randy Goodman, and especially to all the members of the Pacific Northwest Chapter and the equipment vendors who went above and beyond to make sure the conference lunch exhibit was entertaining and informative. I also want to thank the members of the West Coast Chapter and the Rocky Mountain Chapter for their commitment and involvement. Each and every ISRI member who attended this conference contributed to the positive awareness campaign we have all been working toward.

    I started attending the NCSL conference 5 years ago in San Antonio. I distinctly remember introducing myself as a member of ISRI to anyone wearing a legislator badge. It did not make any difference to me which state they were from, just that they were a legislator. I also distinctly remember the resounding response I received from each and every one of them, which was, “WHO, I HAVE NEVER HEARD OF YOU.” ISRI’s decision to step up to the plate 5 years ago and sponsor the late night party was the first step. The decision 4 years ago to become a platinum sponsor was a monumental step in that we were then playing at the same level as some of our biggest advisories. The decision 3 years ago to sponsor the luncheon put us on a playing field far above and enviable to everyone else. ISRI’s Danielle Waterfield’s election to the Board of Directors solidifies our presence and insures our members that we are well represented as a viable industry. There is no better opportunity or venue to promote our industry and get our message to that many legislator’s and staff at one time. This is grassroots efforts at its best. It is imperative we maintain our current position and status within the NCSL. THEY KNOW WHO WE ARE NOW!!!!

    Once again, thanks to everyone that contributed or participated in this year’s NCSL conference. Without all of you none of this is possible. If we really want to elevate our status and promote our industry, we should try to have at least one member from every state at next year’s conference in Chicago. Now there’s a thought!!!!!!

    Warner Key is general manager for Hobbs Iron & Metal, a member of ISRI. This blog is part of a series written by ISRI members who attended NCSL offering their perspective and a behind the scenes look.

  • Investment in NCSL Pays Off

    Aug 17, 2015

    With more than 5,700 attendees and a fantastic turn out at ISRI’s National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Luncheon, I think that this year’s event was a huge success. Our booth in the exhibition hall served a purpose, but the luncheon hall has turned into a “show” all in itself. For the past 2 years we have designed an entrance path that forces all attendees to pass through our “gauntlet” of recycling displays. This year we had nonferrous metals on one side and all other commodities on the other. We used a combination of full sized bales with “mini” bales (2’x2’x2’) with table top displays in the entry way. That was all in the shadow of our larger display of a LARGE material handler reaching its grapple down on a crushed car on a flatbed trailer. Then the flatbed also had large bin samples of Shredded Steel, Zorba, and ASR. The attendees seemed very impressed and asked a lot of questions.

    Although this is only the second NCSL event I have attended, I believe that our presence specifically at the Luncheon and the Late Night Party are well worth the investment. Nowhere else will we ever get the opportunity to get our message in front of more individuals that are responsible for state government than in this setting. The booth, by itself, would be almost useless because ISRI would be one of several hundred others “selling their issues.”

    This event has also proved to be a great event for the host chapter to pull their members together and show off what they can do. The chapter was fantastic to work with and extremely well organized.

    If you can’t tell, I love this event. I think it is very important for ISRI, and the opportunity to host the luncheon gives us a “large canvas” by which to present our message.

    Randy Goodman is executive vice president for Greenland America, Inc., an ISRI member. This blog is part of a series written by ISRI members who attended NCSL offering their perspective and a behind the scenes look.

  • Behind the Scenes of NCSL’s Legislative Summit

    Aug 06, 2015

    The members of ISRI’s Pacific Northwest Chapter had a fantastic time at the late night party on Tuesday at the Showbox, a popular music venue that has seen every important Seattle band at one time or another. Great conversations, albeit over a very decibel-heavy cover band, were had with our local lawmakers and their staffs, including a nice visit with Representative Roger Goodman (WA), who has been immensely supportive of our members. It was also fun for our members to meet ISRI members from other parts of the country with whom they don't otherwise cross paths.

    After a short sleep, we were back at it again for a very successful luncheon, where I had some very interesting conversations with legislators from the state of Mississippi. As they are one of the states with an electronic reporting component in their metal theft law, we spoke about ISRI's new policy of supporting such reporting with certain protections and limitations.

    All in all, the access to lawmakers from all around our country and in an environment where ISRI was showcasing some of what we do with some very cool exhibits, the NCSL sponsorship is one of the best investments ISRI makes.

    Ryan Glant is vice president/general manager for ISRI member Pacific Iron & Metal, and serves as president of ISRI’s Pacific Northwest Chapter.

  • My Summer Internship

    Aug 04, 2015

    An unpaid internship seemed like the worst possible way to spend my summer. It would mean having to be far busier than I was the year before, since I would need an extra job in order to have spending money during the school year. At school, I have been on track to work in the Communications department of a social justice non-profit, and I did not want to have to admit failure in choosing this path. I was absolutely terrified to intern at the Institution of Scrap Recycling Industries for the summer because I could possibly hate the field, and if I were to find out, two years into my studies in college, that I needed to do something completely different, I would have gone into a tizzy. I also knew nothing about the non-profit, for it was not even social justice -- it was in the scrap recycling industry. I am horrible at change, and always have been, so taking this job opportunity would make this summer different than any I had in the past. I had certainly never predicted that interning with ISRI would change my life, in the best possible way.

    ISRI gave me the opportunity to access my creative abilities independently. I was assigned the task of writing multiple press and news releases, which I had never done for a professional company, and I seemed to have excelled because what I wrote was published with only a few edits. I learned more in my few weeks with ISRI than I could have ever learned in a classroom. I was allowed to sit in on meetings about how to properly utilize social media in specific situations, and ask specific questions, like why certain social media outlets were utilized more than others. The encouragement of an inquisitive attitude contributed to the all-around comfortable community that ISRI embodied.

    The atmosphere at ISRI is exactly the sort that I had been hoping I would be a part of in the future. It was business casual; we were all getting business done, but there was a friendliness and respect that everyone had for one another. There were jokes passed around the office, conversations about home life and weekend activities. I knew I didn’t only want a job, I wanted a comfortable group of friendly coworkers, and ISRI was just that.

    I learned more at ISRI than I ever could have in any classroom. I was shown the ins and outs of my future department, given a rundown of the sorts of nonprofits I should look to work for, and created professional friendships that would make my future possible and positive. I am forever indebted to the kind attitude that was ever-present at ISRI.

    Erin Magnino is a summer communications intern for ISRI. She will soon be entering her senior year at Bridgewater College and would like to pursue a career in communications in the nonprofit sector. This post originally appeared on her personal blog The Odyssey Online.

  • Addressing the Issue of Contamination in Municipal Collection Programs

    Jul 09, 2015

    A recent Washington Post article on American recycling pointed to two main causes for the recycling industry slowdown: declining commodity prices and the contamination of recyclables coming out of municipal collection programs. While we can do little to influence the former, we can address the latter. The quality limitations and processing costs associated with single stream collection were masked for a time by booming commodity prices and overseas demand for recyclables. Today, we face a new reality that is forcing many communities to realize what many in the recycling industry have known for decades: a trade-off exists between convenience and quality. Unfortunately, communities such as Indianapolis are adding fuel to the fire by comingling recyclables with trash. This only results in higher levels of contamination and less material going into the recycling stream.

    Industries around the country – and the world – depend on recycled paper, plastic, and metal commodities to make new products. With higher levels of contaminated recyclables, they will turn to virgin materials and the environmental benefits provided by recycling will be lost. There must be separate collection of waste and recyclables along with education of consumers about why mixing trash with recyclables degrades the quality of recyclable commodities and thus destroys the value of recycling.

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

  • From the Field: Fall Protection

    Jun 30, 2015

    Gravity is a force that we are all bound to and falling or having an object fall on us is something that we all try to avoid. Fall hazards are around us every day. Recognizing the areas at your work location that put people and objects in danger of a fall is the first step in creating a safer work environment for everyone. Putting steps, guardrails, or other fall protection systems in place to take away the hazard will make your workplace safer. Using ladders that are designed for the environment that you are working in is important to the health and safety of your employees. Stray power cords and tools create unnecessary trip and fall hazards. Round objects such as cans or stray scrap material may pose a slip and roll hazard that can cause a fall or twist an ankle. By simply using the three point method when climbing up, down, on, or off of an object you can help to prevent a slip, trip, or fall. Understanding the value of good housekeeping is a must to prevent slips, trips, and falls.

    There are many traps in life that create hazardous situations. It is part of your job to know and understand where these so called traps lie. Hazard recognition is a big part of being safe in your everyday life. Another name many people use for hazard recognition is “Life Experience.” Here are several resources that have been shared with me. They cover walking and working surfaces, ladder safety, and fall protection subjects. These should be used to teach people within your company about the hazards, or traps, that they may encounter in the scrap recycling industry. Falls are preventable if we understand where and how they might occur. Preparation and awareness are keys to helping to remove these hazards from your jobsite. Work safely at heights, or not at all.

    Tony Smith is the director of safety outreach for ISRI. This blog is part of a series during National Safety Month related to Safety Stand-Down Day, which occurred on June 24.

    Learn More

  • From the Field: Confined Spaces

    Jun 23, 2015

    As a result of some large OSHA fines in our industry lately, safety professionals everywhere are rethinking what we have always believed about Confined Spaces. What once were accepted as Non-Permit-Required Confined Spaces are now being re-evaluated as to whether they should be Permit-Required.

    One element of a Permit-Required Confined Space is “converging walls” that could make it difficult or impossible for a person inside that confined space to get out. Recyclers have been cited in the past year under this definition with regard to horizontal balers with feed hoppers that have converging walls. Consider: Does the hopper of your baler have converging, or funnel-shaped, walls? If so, OSHA looks at that baler as a Permit-Required Confined Space.

    OSHA fines over $100,000 have resulted in some of these situations. Don’t let it happen to you. Take a close, careful, honest look around your operation and make sure you’re compliant. If you have questions, call ISRI Safety and let’s talk it through. We’re here for you if you need an onsite safety program assessment. This service is one of your member benefits, and the only thing we ask is the investment of your time.

    One of the most critical issues with confined spaces is rescue. So—if I hit my head, or go into a diabetic coma while I'm in your confined space—do you have a way to get me out of there without pulling off my arms and legs and head? Are you sure? Have you practiced? Don’t wait until an emergency happens to know whether you can respond effectively.

    Finally, if you have signs on your balers, shredders, pits, or anywhere else out in your operation that say “Confined Space: Enter by Permit Only” you better have a file somewhere full of completed confined space permits. Take this time now to assure your Confined Space Program is everything it should be.

    Learn More

    Joe Bateman is the director of safety outreach for ISRI. This blog is part of a series during National Safety Month in preparation for Safety Stand-Down Day on June 24.

  • From the Field: Lockout/Tagout Safety

    Jun 15, 2015
    Failure to properly LOCKOUT was one of the most common ways to die in a recycling operation last year: second only to being struck by mobile equipment. Unlike being struck by something with wheels or tracks, however, the LOCKOUT process is completely under the control of the person locking out. At least, it should be.

    Failure to properly LOCKOUT has also led to one of our industry’s largest ever OSHA fines: $497,000. LOCKOUT was the second most frequently cited OSHA Standard two years ago. Last year’s deadly results will likely push this higher.

    LOCKOUT is one of the most critical safety processes we use in recycling operations. It can and should be a simple, straightforward procedure. To this end:

    1. Train your people annually in the details of LOCKOUT. This training should occur AT THE MACHINE, not in a classroom. Everyone should take a turn locking out—hands on!
    2. Retrain workers in LOCKOUT when:  
      a. You get a new machine,
      b. You get a new employee, or
      c. You see people aren’t locking out like they should be.
    3. Determine simple LOCKOUT steps for each machine. Make sure you include TRYOUT as one of your steps. Print them, laminate them, and post them at the machine. Remember that pictures added to these simple steps cross language and literacy barriers and really do speak a thousand words. Make sure your pictures match the machine and show the person locking out what to do.
    4. GOAL: Get Out And Look. Go out and watch to see whether your people are actually locking out.
    5. Discipline any worker you see in a machine without it being locked out.

    Joe Bateman is the director of safety outreach for ISRI. This blog is part of a series during National Safety Month in preparation for Safety Stand-Down Day on June 24.

    Learn More on Lockout/Tagout

  • From the Field: Mobile Equipment Safety

    Jun 03, 2015

    In the busy scrap recycling industry we see forklifts, skidsteers, trucks, railcars, and even customer vehicles moving through our facilities every day. The veterans in our industry know that this “organized chaos” is just another part of daily business in the scrap yard. But to the new truck driver, the temporary employee, the new buyer, or anyone else who finds themselves in the busy world of scrap we have an obligation to make sure that they understand where the hazards and blind spots are. Blind spots in a scrap recycling facility can be caused by stacks or piles of material, stationary equipment, or mobile equipment. To the mobile equipment operator these blind spots are something they understand and deal with every day. Most mobile equipment operators know and understand the blind spots on their equipment. But those operators who I have met in my travels all tell me that on a weekly and sometimes daily basis they will have someone or some vehicle approach or pass by their equipment on the blind side. This dangerous action can lead to serious injury if the hazard is not fully understood and respected by all.

    Using the mobile equipment at your jobsite might make you an operator. But knowing how to recognize and respond appropriately to hazards while using the equipment in a safe and efficient manner everyday will make you a professional operator. Strive to be a professional.

    Please take the time to use this material or other safety related materials that you may have to educate people in your facility about how to recognize blind spots and how to approach and pass by mobile equipment. These important lessons should be passed on to anyone who works, walks, or finds themselves around mobile equipment in the scrap recycling environment.

    Tony Smith is the director of safety outreach for ISRI. This blog is part of a series during National Safety Month in preparation for Safety Stand-Down Day on June 24.

  • ‘Design for Recycling’ Helps Save the Planet

    May 19, 2015

    Thanks in large part to ISRI’s evangelism and leadership, “Design for Recycling” or “DfR” is an environmental sustainability platform that’s building momentum in the consumer electronics industry. 

    At LG Electronics, we view DfR as a key element of our “Green Product Strategy” for developing products that reduce negative environmental impacts throughout the lifecycle, including when they are ready for recycling.

    I had the great honor of attending ISRI2015 and accepting the 2015 Design for Recycling Award on behalf of our environmental engineering and sustainability teams in Korea and in the United States who work to promote DfR principles in our products every day.

    DfR Means Advanced Products with Greener Features

    LG’s industry-leading OLED and Ultra HD TVs recognized by ISRI embody LG’s strategic direction for products with greener features designed to reduce the environmental load at every stage of the product lifecycle.  Specifically, product designs include a number of recycling-friendly traits such as use of:

    • Mercury-free display panels,
    • Recycled and recyclable plastics,
    • PVC- and BFR-free components,
    • Smaller and lighter packaging,
    • Ease of disassembly design, and
    • Standardized materials and connection types. 

    Simply put, we look for ways to improve product recyclability before we begin developing a product, and reduce negative environmental impacts by designing our products for easier part identification and accessibility, for easier disassembly and for better material recyclability.  We look for ways to reduce product weight and volume, too.

    Shared Responsibility to Protect the Environment

    In 2014 alone, LG Electronics USA collected and responsibly recycled 48 million pounds of used electronics – equivalent to diverting more than 20,563 metric tons of solid waste from the landfill.  Put another way, the positive environmental impact of LG’s 2014 responsible recycling is equal to taking more than 12,000 passenger cars off the road for a year or saving enough energy to power nearly 3,000 U.S. homes for a year. At collection events, LG encourages consumers to replace recycled electronics with new, more energy efficient ENERGY STAR® certified LG TV and monitors.

    Sustainability is a core business principle at LG Electronics, and we believe LG has a shared responsibility to protect the environment by reducing our environmental impact while enhancing the quality of life for consumers. We call this “Innovation for a Better Life” -- developing innovative products with the environment in mind, including a strong focus on DfR and responsible recycling. Life’s good when you live green!

    Dr. Nandhu Nandhakumar is Senior Vice President, LG Technology Center of America. In addition to being honored by ISRI with the coveted 2015 Design for Recycling Award, LG Electronics USA has been recognized with the EPA’s Sustainable Materials Management Challenge “Gold Tier Award” and the e-Cycling Initiative Leader Award” from the Consumer Electronics Association.

    To learn more about LG’s responsible electronics recycling programs and overall sustainability efforts, please visit www.lgrecyclingprogram.com/.

  • Exploring Options for Tire Fiber

    May 05, 2015
    At this year’s Annual Convention, I had the opportunity to help develop a workshop that presented the findings of a project the Tire Division has been working on. The workshop, “Using Tire Fiber in New Applications” gave participants the opportunity to hear the results from a recently completed study that analyzed tire fiber and how it might be used in new applications.

    As the liaison to the Scrap Tire Division, I have a bird’s eye view in seeing the challenges and opportunities this segment of the recycling industry is confronted with. Except for some limited applications, tire fiber is largely landfilled. The members of the Tire Division want to change that situation and develop new markets for it. But where do you start?  Up to this point there was largely anecdotal information about tire fiber. Figuring out what the stuff is made out of and how much is actually produced was the most logical place to start. That was impetus for developing the study.

    With a grant provided to the Division by ISRI’s Research Recycling Foundation, the study looked at several factors including what tire fiber is, how much is produced, where the material is currently being marketed and what markets may be open to using it as their feedstock. The results (available only to ISRI members on the website) were largely encouraging. Now with information regarding existing markets, the types of materials used to manufacture tire fiber, and the possible markets that it can be sent to, tire recyclers can now figure out where to go from here.

    It should be noted that the completion of the study doesn’t mark the end of this project, but just the beginning. In order to know how to get to the end point, you need to know where you’re starting. The study gave us the starting point. In the future, the project will tackle other important questions for tire fiber such as the need for developing scrap specifications and reaching out to other industries that might be interested in using this material.

    Nearly every part of a scrap tire can be recycled and sent to an end market. Now with this project well underway, it is possible additional components of a tire will be recycled and utilized. This would make tires one of the most highly recycled products people use every day.

    Jonathan Levy is director of member services and liaison to the Scrap Tire Division at ISRI.

  • Scrap Can Be Beautiful

    Apr 13, 2015

    Editor’s Note: Each year at the ISRI Convention and Exposition, the Recycling Research Foundation conducts a silent auction to raise funds for its research and scholarship programs. At this year’s event in Vancouver, April 21-25, there will be approximately 30 items to bid on by those present including the sculptures highlighted below that were donated by Commercial Metals

    Scrap Can Be Beautiful

    Since 1978, Commercial Metals Company has proudly presented the annual “Scrap Can Be Beautiful” contest and exhibit. This exhibit features art sculptures created by students in a metal sculpture class at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts located in Dallas, Texas. All scrap metal used in the various sculptures is donated to the school by Commercial Metals Company from one of our local recycling yards in the Dallas area.

    The artwork is judged each year by a panel of professionals comprised of artists and individuals who have worked in the arts field, some of whom have judged the contest for over 20 years. Sculptures are judged in ‘Tabletop’ and ‘Floor’ categories and the winning entries are then displayed in the Commercial Metals Company’s corporate lobby for the term of one year.

    The 37th annual “Scrap Can Be Beautiful” contest was held the week of January 12th, 2015 with 18 students participating and entering 35 sculptures for judging. Paige Furr, Sculpture and 3D Visual Arts Co-Coordinator for the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, once again supervised and inspired her students to create beautiful works of art. Each piece is carefully welded and sculpted to reflect the individuality of the student artists.

    Six winners were selected; three in the ‘Tabletop’ and three in the ‘Floor’ categories. Students of the winning sculptures were awarded ribbons and monetary prizes during Commercial Metals Company’s Annual Meeting of Stockholders. Each student was also given the option to enter the pieces they wished to sell into a silent auction where employees were allowed to bid and purchase pieces.

    The two selections we’re presenting to ISRI this year are from the floor and table categories.  Artist Sydney Shreve created the piece, Metalcycle and artist Celeste Rodela developed the item, Scale.  These two pieces are but a few examples of artwork which capture the simplicity and imagination that the Scrap Can Be Beautiful program embodies.

    For questions related to “Scrap Can Be Beautiful”, please contact contest and exhibit coordinators, Jane Blomberg at Jane.Blomberg@cmc.com or Susan Gerber at Susan.Gerber@cmc.com.

  • I Want To Be Recycled Campaign Gives New “Life” to Recyclables, Elevates Recycling Conversation to National Stage

    Mar 31, 2015

    Imagine a water bottle that dreams of becoming a park bench overlooking a gorgeous vista, a soup can that wants to breeze by as a bicycle, or a shampoo bottle that longs to be a superhero and turn into something new. These are some of the many destinies that could be fulfilled if more Americans took the time to recycle.

    Keep America Beautiful and the Ad Council are proud to partner with ISRI and other recycling industry leaders to present the award-winning “I Want To Be Recycled” public service campaign, which aims to inspire the nearly two in three Americans* who do not recycle regularly to make recycling a daily habit.

    This first-of-its-kind national recycling campaign is designed to motivate individuals to recycle every day. The campaign artfully shows the viewer that he or she can give new life to recyclable materials, like plastic bottles, by choosing to recycle. Informed by research and focus group findings, the Public Service Announcements (PSAs) and online resources are truly activating viewers on an emotional level.

    Thanks to the support of ISRI, other trade associations and company sponsors, the campaign has created four television commercials, three outdoor billboard ads, and radio advertising.  Since launching 18 months ago, the campaign has garnered more than $68 million in donated ad value. To put that into perspective, very few major consumer product companies spend as much on advertising over a similar timeframe to raise awareness about their brands. Simply put: “I Want To Be Recycled” is one of the biggest, if not the biggest consumer awareness effort, to raise the profile of recycling on a national level.

    Please join Keep America Beautiful and ISRI in sharing the “I Want To Be Recycled” campaign with your customers, friends, neighbors, and colleagues:

    -          Post the newest ads to your Facebook page, tweet them to your network, and link them on your organization’s website (Smile and Superhero).

    -          Give a ring to the PSA director at your favorite local newspaper, TV, or radio station and make it known that these ads are available and should be prioritized.

    -          Join the Keep America Beautiful recycling conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #berecycled and like Keep America Beautiful on Facebook.


    *38% or respondents to KAB and Ad Council survey, prior to campaign launch, said they were “avid recyclers”, recycling as much as possible and willing to go out of their way to do so.

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

  • Why Is Artificial Turf Under Attack?

    Mar 12, 2015

    Remember when you thought consensus had been reached on something — whether it be an agreement between colleagues or the result of significant research — only to find the consensus called into question weeks, months or years later?

    As a professional journalist for 25 years, first at daily newspapers and then as an editor on the staff of a leading trade magazine covering the sports business industry, my career was built on searching for the truth and then sharing it with readers.

    I was reminded, though, that consensus isn’t always enough after NBC News aired a five-minute-and-30-second report in October about artificial turf. Amy Griffin, associate head coach of the University of Washington women’s soccer team, linked cancer diagnoses (mostly lymphoma and leukemia) among 34 soccer goalies to the infill used in turf. Among the names on that list were two University of Washington goalkeepers.

    That’s a huge claim, one that sparked new concerns among parents, put athletic directors on the defensive and refocused the spotlight on an industry that appeared to have overcome the worst of its safety-related challenges.

    Synthetic turf has become the playing surface of choice for many high school, college and professional sports teams, and thousands of fields have been installed all over the country during the past 20 years. I was there from the beginning of this evolution, covering the widespread transition from natural grass to artificial turf and its special fibers that create a more grass-like feel and appearance, bolstered by crumb rubber infill that provides greater cushioning for players.

    This new generation of turf was introduced to the public in the mid-1990s and quickly became the focus of intense scrutiny regarding potential health dangers posed by the infill, which is manufactured with recycled tires.

    Independent study after independent study, however, rebuked claims of toxicity caused by infill. The Synthetic Turf Council issued a statement late last year in the wake of the NBC report, citing more than 60 technical studies and reports from the past two decades that review the health effects of crumb rubber as it pertains to toxicities from inhalation, ingestion and dermal contact, as well as cancer.

    These studies have been conducted by scientists and researchers at such diverse entities as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, the University of California, Berkeley’s Laboratory for Manufacturing and Sustainability, Wayne State University’s Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the State of Connecticut’s Department of Public Health.

    “The preponderance of evidence shows no negative health effects associated with crumb rubber in synthetic turf,” according to a statement from the Synthetic Turf Council. “As NBC factually reported, ‘there is no research directly linking crumb rubber exposure to cancer.’ ”

    That’s why Griffin’s claim is so frustrating to me — both as a parent who’s allowed his kids to play on artificial turf and as a sports business journalist who knows better than to blame the surface.

    Even Greenpeace, an organization unafraid to make noise, doesn’t point fingers at the turf. Last May, Greenpeace Germany investigated 33 pieces of soccer equipment (including shoes and goalkeeper gloves) produced by some of the sport’s leading gear manufacturers. Results, as reported by the daily trade publication Environmental Leader, showed that the majority of shoes and half of the gloves contained significantly elevated levels of perfluorinated compounds — persistent pollutants that do not break down when released into the environment and have been found to be toxic in laboratory animals.

    Maybe it’s time that shoes and gloves underwent the same type of rigorous examination that turf has endured.

    I asked Dr. Blair Leftwich, corporate technical director for Trace Analysis, an environmental testing lab based in Lubbock, Texas, which conducts independent tests for turf manufacturers, what he thought of the NBC report.

    “Infill’s reputation was doing fine until this happened,” he told me. “Infill is nontoxic, just like all the publications say. We didn’t find anything different. I don’t have any confidence at all that goalies have a higher cancer rate than anyone else.”

    In fact, Leftwich (whose son is a soccer player) suggests that other position players in soccer are on the ground more than goalies and thus in greater contact with the infill. And if synthetic turf were contributing to the development of cancer, why haven’t we heard about a spike in diagnoses among running backs or defensive linemen?

    Leftwich blames a combination of poor reporting and an overzealous coach for the controversy generated by NBC’s story, and he says he sent an email to the network citing his own studies. So far, Leftwich hasn’t received a reply.

    Sometimes the pursuit of truth is blocked by the ease of convenience. Simply because crumb rubber infill was such an easy target for so long doesn’t mean turf should take the fall. Again.

    This blog originally appeared on LinkedIn Pulse and was reprinted with permission from the author, Michael Popke. Mr. Popke is an award-winning journalist with more than 25 years of experience in print/digital media as a newspaper reporter, B-to-B magazine/online newsletter editor, social media content generator, freelance writer, book editor & music critic. He is the owner of Two Lakes Media Group.

  • Dust Control for Scrap Recycling

    Feb 23, 2015

    Dust suppression is an ongoing challenge in scrap handling and recycling operations. With raised awareness and tighter regulatory standards both contributing motivation for the industry to find efficient, cost-effective methods of fugitive particle control.  

    Dust can lead to:

    • Respiratory problems.
    • Higher equipment maintenance costs.
    • Reduced visibility.
    • Poor community relations.
    • Increased worker sick days.
    • Lower workplace morale. 

    For workers in high-dust areas, respiratory equipment and thorough training are always recommended, but a good dust management plan tackles the problem at its source.  Most shredders and crushers have some kind of dust suppression technology built into them, but it’s limited to those machines, leaving facility managers to determine the best means for suppressing dust generated once material hits the open air. 

    Methods For Recyclers to Control Dust

    Many companies use very basic water spraying techniques, such as sprinklers or hand-held hoses.  These methods can help capture surface dust before it becomes airborne, but they have a tendency to saturate target surfaces, often resulting in standing water that can create additional hazards, especially in cold weather.  The area coverage of these techniques also tends to be quite limited, frequently requiring significant staff time to man the hoses or reposition sprinkler heads.  

    But the greatest drawback is droplet size: water droplets produced from hoses and sprinklers are simply far too large to have any meaningful effect on airborne dust particles.  Atomized mist creates tiny droplets roughly the same size as the dust and delivers them over a wide coverage area, where they collide with the dust particles, absorb them and drive them to the ground.  The method has proven well suited to scrap processing and recycling applications, and remains one of the few technologies capable of delivering dust control via airborne capture, as well as providing surface wetting. 

    “We’ve logged thousands of hours in a wide range of industries and conditions across the world, including recycling centers,” said Laura Stiverson, President of Dust Control Technology.  “Atomized mist has been proven to effectively pull fugitive particles out of the air without saturating ground-level material, dramatically cutting water volumes and runoff compared to hoses and sprinklers.” 

    Particle Size vs. Droplet Size

    According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Services (NIEHS), dust particles become visual at approximately 50 microns in size.  To put that into perspective, the average human hair is around 70 microns in diameter.  Common dust particles from scrap recycling are often 200 microns or less, yet NIEHS estimates that rain droplets vary in size between 500-10,000 microns.  Droplets from hoses and sprinklers are even larger.  

    In contrast, atomized mist droplets are generally in the range of 50-200 microns in size.  Created with special nozzles that fracture the water flow, the mist is ejected from an engineered barrel by a powerful fan, creating a dense plume of droplet-rich air that can travel up to 100 meters.  

    Two things can happen when large droplets experience small dust particles:  

    Slipstream Effect - As a large droplet falls among tinier solid particles, its mass causes a rush of air to go around it (a “slipstream”).  The smaller particles can get caught in this air stream, causing them to avoid the droplet, rather than colliding and being absorbed.   

    As airborne dust particles and water droplets approach each other, the best chance for a collision is created when they are roughly the same size, thus minimizing the slipstream effect.  Atomized mist technology introduces millions of droplets per minute into the area, increasing their chances of coming in contact with dust particles.  

    Dry Splash - When large droplets hit stationary dust, the impact can cause surrounding dry particles to lift off the surface in a ground-level dust disruption or “dry splash,” becoming airborne and then migrating on ambient air currents.  But when atomized droplets land, they have little disruptive impact and quickly absorb surface material. 

    Dust Suppression Coverage Area and Water Usage

    From a water use perspective, large sprinklers for dust management can easily consume as much as 300 GPM (1,136 LPM), soaking the ground and debris.  But even the largest atomized mist unit consumes less than a tenth of that amount.  Machines that generate the mist come in various sizes.  Smaller units are supplied by a common garden hose and cover around 31,000 square feet (2,880 square meters), whereas a large-scale model fed by a fire hose can blanket more than a quarter million square feet of area (more than 23,000 square meters), still only using approximately 30 GPM. 

    With the benefits it brings to scrap handlers and recycling operations, atomized mist technology has had a pronounced impact on facilities in dozens of different countries around the world, improving the work environment and considered by some to be an industry best-practice.  As

    regulatory scrutiny continues to grow, and with it our sense of environmental stewardship, it’s likely to be increasingly specified to help companies manage their fugitive dust.  

    Carl Harr serves as a technical sales specialist for Dust Control Technology. For more information stop by booth 1106 at the ISRI Convention and Exposition, April 21-25, in Vancouver, Canada. In addition, there will also be a session there, “Dust Suppression in Scrap Processing Applications.”

  • Have a Seat at the Table

    Feb 10, 2015

    Paper Specs 1922Since I started working for ISRI eight years ago, I’ve often been intrigued by the industry’s specifications and their history.  Specs for different commodities evolved at different times, often reflecting the importance of the commodity at that time.  In fact, one of the primary reasons for the Association’s formation—more than 100 years ago—was to address the industry’s lack of “basic standards by which to operate.” They are now recognized as the source of terms for the trade of recyclable materials. 

    Which specs do you think came first?  I’d bet most of you were as surprised as I was.  

    In a couple weeks, on February 25 and 26, we’ll all have the opportunity to challenge and change an integral part of the Scrap Specification’s Circular.  The Paper Stock Industries Chapter will be hosting its Specifications Summit in Dallas and they are looking for nothing less than a complete overhaul of the fiber grades.  These changes will directly impact the future of paper recycling. 

    The fiber specs had their humble beginnings in March 1922 when 10 grades were proposed and passed by the Waste Paper Division of the National Association of Waste Material Dealers (NAWMD)—the precursor to the Paper Stock Industries Chapter of ISRI—and then by the NAWMD board itself.  These 10, some of which have changed little since their drafting, now number more than 50 and it’s time to take a fresh look at them.  We’re currently counting many of the major consumers and processors in attendance, but we need the input from all parts of the industry.  I hope to see you there.


    Tom Crane is the director of membership for ISRI and serves as the liason to ISRI’s Paper Division.

  • Pursuit Of Metal Can be Costly, If Not Deadly

    Jan 29, 2015

    Copper is a valuable metal that, increasingly in recent years, has been the target of thieves hoping to pocket some quick cash by selling it to scrapyards.

    Piping made with the material has been stolen from unoccupied homes and businesses. Copper downspouts have been snatched from churches. Even cemeteries have not been immune, as copper flag holders placed at the graves of veterans have been plundered. Cable-TV network CNBC reported in 2013 that copper thefts were ‘like an epidemic’ sweeping the nation.

    Unfortunately, the energy sector has not been immune. In early January of this year, the Orlando Sentinel reported that thieves in central Florida had made off with about 42 miles of copper wire.

    Non-radioactive copper wire also has been stolen from or close to switchyards located near several U.S. nuclear power plants. (No thefts from the “Protected Area,” or high-security, zone at the plants have occurred, and robust security measures help ensure that should continue to be the case.)

    Some examples of the metal pilfering:

    • More than 1,400 pounds of scrap copper were stolen from a storage building near a switchyard at the Beaver Valley nuclear power plant in April 2013. The building was located outside the security perimeter at the western Pennsylvania facility. Police subsequently arrested a mother and son in connection with the incident.
    • New York State Police announced in January 2013 that two workers at the Indian Point nuclear power plant had been charged with stealing several thousand pounds of copper and other scrap from the site. Tens of thousands of dollars from the sale of the spools of excess wire were pocketed by the now former employees, police said.
    • In August 2012, police arrested four individuals who made off with copper from multiple electrical substations in the Philadelphia suburbs, including one at the Limerick nuclear power plant. The theft almost cost one of the thieves his life in a near-electrocution.

    Between security patrols and other NRC-required measures, U.S. nuclear power plants are among the most fortified parts of the energy infrastructure while switchyards have not been, generally speaking, subject to the same level of security attention. That said, the good news is the utilities that own and operate the switchyards have been taking steps to deter future thefts.

    For instance, Con Edison, based in New York, announced last year that it had begun using markings on copper wire only visible under ultraviolet light, making it easier to track where the material originated and thereby identify theft suspects.

    Also, Pennsylvania-headquartered PPL, which operates the Susquehanna nuclear power plant, said it was bolstering security measures at substations and notifying scrapyard owners to be on the lookout for large quantities of copper wire that could have been taken from switchyards. Further, FirstEnergy and Ohio Edison said last September that they planned to install security fencing and monitoring systems at some of its substations in an effort to deter metal thieves.

    As with all issues that surface at U.S. power reactors, the NRC staff is always made aware when theft incidents occur, and the agency’s security and safety experts would engage plant operators on potential implications and preventive actions.

    The sudden loss of power from a nearby switchyard could potentially impact the operations of a nuclear power plant, making it a very bad idea. But it’s also illegal and potentially fatal for the thief. As PPL put it when it rolled out its campaign, “Copper – It’s not to die for.”

    Neil Sheehan is the Region I Public Affairs Officer for the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission. This post originally appeared on the NRC Blog.

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  • Set Positive Goals for Safety Programs

    Jan 20, 2015

    Focus on your efforts. Not the results.

    That’s the essence of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s policy for a Voluntary Protection Program (VPP), under which employers, employees and OSHA collaborate to make a workplace safer.

    So, while the beginning of the year is a good time to set safety goals for your scrapyard, do so with caution. Set safety goals based on how to work safer, rather than rewarding employees for not reporting injuries. Otherwise, OSHA may require you to revise your VPP.

    In a December newsletter regarding scrapyard safety, the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries provides potential safety goals that can make your scrapyard safer without running afoul of OSHA’s policies for safety programs.

    “We’re trying to get in front of the injuries and to reward them for the things that lead to safety,” said Joe Bateman, a safety outreach manager for ISRI.

    Though rewarding employees with gift cards for an injury-free month may sound like a good idea, your money would be better spent rewarding them for such positive habits as wearing personal protective equipment and attending safety training.

    In an August 2014 memo, OSHA stated:

    “A positive incentive program encourages or rewards workers for reporting injuries, illnesses, near-misses, or hazards; and/or recognizes, rewards, and thereby encourages worker involvement in the safety and health management system.”

    Furthermore, it continues:

    “When an incentive program discourages worker reporting or, in particularly extreme cases, disciplines workers for reporting injuries or hazards, problems remain concealed, investigations do not take place, nothing is learned or corrected, and workers remain exposed to harm.” 

    Though OSHA has been pushing businesses to shift to positive incentive programs for several years now, some scrapyards still haven’t replaced VPP that focused on injuries, often because of a lack of knowledge or resources for doing so.

    “When you have a workforce of 35 people you’re not going to hire a full-time safety manager. It falls on you,” Bateman said.

    But ISRI is helping to make the industry safer by providing free safety training and education to its members. Learn more about ISRI’s safety outreach program and resources at http://www.isrisafety.org.

    This post originally appeared on the Scrapyard Pro Blog.

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