State, local, and regional action to support recycling

Apr 4, 2019, 17:45 PM
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January/February 2018

* The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection worked with municipal recycling coordinators and the state’s six facilities that accept recycled material to create standard recycling rules across the state. The “What’s In, What’s Out” outreach program spearheaded by the state-chartered RecycleCT Foundation (Hartford, Conn.) includes a mobile-friendly website that provides a quick answer to whether or not you can recycle specific items, along with FAQs, informational videos, printed materials that cities and towns can share with residents, and explanations of why contamination drives up recycling’s costs. State officials say they hope the efforts will help Connecticut divert 60 percent of recyclable materials from the waste stream by 2024. Visit

* New York City’s Department of Sanitation has begun citing businesses and processing facilities that fail to properly handle their streams of discarded metal, glass, plastic, beverage cartons, paper, and cardboard, according to trade reports. The city’s Business Integrity Commission reportedly had not yet issued violations to commercial haulers as of mid-October, but it has conducted multiple investigations since the grace period for complying with commercial recycling rules ended in August. The rules allow single-stream collection of recyclables by haulers that have registered with the BIC, a move intended to increase recycling participation among businesses. Visit

* A new study estimates the overall impact of recycling of nonindustrial material on the Texas economy at more than $3.3 billion in 2015. The recycling industry also generated nearly $195 million of revenue for state and local governments through taxes and fees, according to the study, which the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality commissioned from consulting firm Burns & McDonnell (Kansas City, Mo.). The study covered collections from residential homes, commercial businesses, and institutions, including construction and demolition materials and tires, but not industrial material. Texas collected and diverted nearly 9.2 million tons of this material for recycling in 2015, nearly 50 percent more than in 2013, according to the study.

Increasing recycling in Texas will require both providing access to adequate infrastructure, particularly in rural or remote areas of the state, and creating new markets for recycled materials and new businesses to serve them, the study says. It recommends matching local producers of recycled products with local consumers. Visit or

L.A. Sanitation, the L.A. Department of Public Works, and Mayor Eric Garcetti hosted a daylong hackathon in September to generate solutions to some of the city’s recycling problems. The participating hackers competed for two awards: the best use of data to improve recycling and the best idea pitch. Winner of the $750 prize for best use of data was Raunak Pednekar, whose project analyzed data from recycling bins to determine what outreach efforts might help reduce contamination. The team of Lucas Magasweran and Rachel Magasweran’s mobile app, RecycLAble, won the $500 best idea pitch prize. With the app, users scan items to identify whether an item is recyclable and how or where to recycle it. Visit

May/June 2018

* A residential outreach and education pilot program helped reduce recycling-bin contamination by 32 percent in Chicago’s test areas, reports the Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation. Working with The Recycling Partnership (Falls Church, Va.), DSS found that 80 percent of the 4,400 households in its initial sample had plastic bags or wrap in their recycling carts. The program sent simple messages to households, using both mail and direct placement into residents’ blue recycling carts, identifying the plastic film as a contaminant. At the end of the pilot program, the number of recycling carts still containing plastic film dropped from 80 percent to 54.4 percent of the households sampled. DSS is continuing its outreach efforts with a new online tool to help residents find their recycling pick-up schedule and learn what they can or cannot recycle. Visit or

* Two cities have recently begun efforts to collect commercial glass from bars and restaurants. Ripple Glass (Kansas City, Mo.) has launched a commercial glass collection program with routes in downtown Kansas City and the River Market, Crossroads, and Westport areas, meeting what it says is growing demand for recycling from local bars and restaurants. The company has purchased a new truck and mobile collection container to collect glass in specific neighborhoods beginning in April, with plans for expansion as its routing and collection ability grows. Visit

* The state of New Jersey has purchased an online program for delivering recycling information to citizens. It will make the free Recycle Coach (Toronto) app available statewide
this year, allowing users to receive communications from their town or county and find a variety of information, including what is recyclable, when to put out recyclables for collection, and where to take specific recyclable materials. Visit

* Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection will work with the Closed Loop Fund to invest $5 million in recycling infrastructure projects across the state this year. The statewide program will follow the public–private funding partnership model Closed Loop launched in Waterbury, Conn., in 2017. The funding will consist of zero-percent loans to municipalities and below-market loans to private companies that have substantial business operations in the state. DEEP will assist in identifying applicants for the projects and conducting due-diligence screening, and Closed Loop Fund will make the final choice of projects to fund. Visit or

September/October 2018

* British Columbia’s Recycle BC program has begun collecting at its recycling depots stand-up pouches, zipper-lock pouches, and other material classified as “other flexible plastic packaging”—none of which is accepted in curbside or multifamily recycling streams. Working with Merlin Plastics (Delta, British Columbia), Recycle BC will test how best to recycle the material it collects at 116 depots in the province. Visit or

November/December 2018

* The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded The Recycling Partnership (Falls Church, Va.) a grant of $85,252 to develop public recycling education in Minnesota. The Recycling Partnership will work with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and other stakeholders to improve messaging about recycling and recyclability and increase recycling participation. Visit or

* The Pennsylvania Recycling Markets Center (Middletown, Pa.) plans to use $5 million in loans from the Closed Loop Fund (New York) to promote recycling projects in the state. RMC will identify and screen potential recipients of zero- or low-interest loans, and Closed Loop will evaluate and select the projects to receive funding, such as those for recycling infrastructure improvements and the manufacture of products with recycled content. Visit or

* Connecticut’s 2017 participation in the American Chemistry Council’s Wrap Recycling Action Program yielded an 11-percent increase in the amount of plastic bags collected at grocery and retail stores in the greater Hartford, Conn., area. The program also increased the amount of “other film” collected by 7 percent and decreased the amount of non-film packaging contamination by 23 percent. After the WRAP campaign ended, a survey showed increases in awareness about how and where to recycle flexible plastics and what types of plastics to take back to stores. Visit

* The National League of Cities has published a report to help city leaders improve local waste-management systems. Rethinking Recycling: How Cities Can Adapt to Evolving Markets offers recommendations for conducting an economic analysis of current waste and recycling operations, working with contractors, ensuring fees and rates reflect current costs, evaluating local policies and economic incentives, exploring unconventional markets, considering how to improve recycling streams, examining ownership of recycling facilities, and considering infrastructure investments. Visit

* The Recycling Partnership and Emerge Knowledge (Winnipeg, Manitoba), developer of the Re-TRAC Connect software, are launching a free Municipal Measurement Program that creates a standardized method for benchmarking curbside recycling programs. Visit or

January/February 2019
Coloradans Promote Recycling

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s new Colorado NextCycle program will offer modest grants and technical support, mentoring, and industry and economic data to those who collect and process recyclable materials and develop end markets. Recycling consultants RRS (Ann Arbor, Mich.) will facilitate the program and assess potential project teams that Colorado NextCycle will fund beginning this year. Visit or

* The Coca-Cola Foundation has awarded $500,000 to the Southeast Recycling Development Council (Hendersonville, N.C.) to launch a recycling infrastructure grant program. The goal is to expand curbside recycling in communities in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. The program will work with The Recycling Partnership (Falls Church, Va.), state recycling officials, local governments, and other organizations to provide technical assistance and educational resources and directly invest in infrastructure to recover recyclable materials. Such infrastructure could include recycling carts, MRF upgrades, recycling trucks, or transfer stations. Visit

* The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection has awarded more than $1 million in grants to help six recyclers in the state increase their capacity for processing hard-to-recycle materials. Aaron Industries Corp. (Leominster, Mass.) will use grant funding to install an ADG Solutions (Tucker, Ga.) automatic screen changer for processing postconsumer and postindustrial PP and PS, including materials previously deemed too difficult to process due to contaminants.

Casella Waste Management of Massachusetts (Auburn, Mass.) will fund a retrofit to increase its processing capacity and the value of its existing fiber product lines.

J.M. Equipment Co. (East Freetown, Mass.) will purchase a Metso (Helsinki) LT 1213 impact crusher that will allow it to produce up to 12,000 tons a year of processed glass aggregate from container glass. The state also awarded grants to recyclers of mixed construction and demolition materials and wood.

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March/April 2019

* Florida has joined the Wrap Action Recycling Program, an initiative of the American Chemistry Council Flexible Film Recycling Group (Washington, D.C.). The Florida WRAP campaign will focus on increasing public awareness and participation in plastic bags, wraps, and film recycling at grocery stores and other retail locations to reduce the amount of film inappropriately placed in curbside recycling bins. Partners in the program include Publix Super Markets, Waste Management of Florida (Pompano Beach, Fla.), the Florida Recycling Partnership (Tallahassee, Fla.), the Florida Retail Federation, and municipalities, recycling processors, and haulers. Visit

* Beginning July 1, San Francisco will require buildings that generate more than 40 cubic yards of waste per week to have the city or the municipal contract holder conduct audits every three years to measure whether tenants are properly sorting their recycling, compost, and trash streams. The city’s Department of Environment found that 60 percent of all material going to the landfill is recyclable or compostable. The mandate covers more than 400 buildings, including City Hall, the San Francisco Chronicle observes. Properties pass the audit if their collection containers have less than 10 percent contamination in recyclables, 5 percent in compostables, and 25 percent in trash, according to municipal contractor Recology (San Francisco). Owners of multifamily or commercial properties that fail the audit will have to hire a full-time “zero waste facilitator” for one year. Visit or

* North Carolina’s Moore County has hired glass recycler Strategic Materials (Houston) to collect residential glass from the county transfer station. Curb-side collection for glass was eliminated Jan. 1, but residents throughout the county will be able to take their glass products to one of seven county-maintained collection sites, which will then get moved to the transfer station. Strategic Materials will haul the glass once or twice a month from the transfer station to its processing center in Wilson, N.C. Visit

State, local, and regional action to support recycling

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