INSIDE THIS ISSUE
- From the Director’s Chair: Informative Article links, Recycling Rules and Keep Calm and Recycle
- NRRA News: July Pricing Guide, Fires at the Landfills, 2018 NRRA Fall Bus Tour, Disrupting Cycles and more
- School News You Can Use: Now offering Discounts for Fall Programming!
- NH the Beautiful: Recyclemobiles are yours for the asking! Book one today for your Summer Event!
- NH DES Updates: 2018 Solid Waste Operator Training Workshops
- NH News: In Franklin, Trash and Recycling are Sent to the Incinerator
- Maine News: Ecomaine Plastics Recycling is jeopardized by everything from Old Sneakers to Lobster Shells
- National News: Research Reveals Recycling is Increasingly Popular
- NRRA Calendar
~Recycling Fact of the Month~
One tree can filter up to 60 pounds of pollutants from the air each year.
FROM THE DIRECTOR’S CHAIR
There are three links for you to view this month.
Link # 1 refers to a recent update on the overall impact of the China National Sword on recycling markets.
Link # 2 Is an encouraging response from the marketplace in Phoenix as they strive to develop domestic markets for the material that China will no longer accept.
Link # 3 Is a video link to the crisis in ocean plastic in the Caribbean off the Dominican Republic.
The NRRA Board met last week for an in-depth discussion of Recycling in light of all the negative press that it has been getting recently. As we have stressed time and again in previous editions, RECYCLING RULE$. As evidence of this, an analysis of a small town’s recycling program in 2017 completed yesterday showed that it was paid an average of $120 per ton for its separated materials.
This stands in sharp contrast to the single stream material which is currently a charge of $120-$140 for non-contracted pricing.
NRRA works closely to assist all towns in developing sustainable infrastructure to help keep their RECYLING on the plus side of the ledger. NRRA is also working on better options for glass, mixed paper, and diversion to compost to help reduce the impact of the coming tsunami of waste stream price hikes the future portends for the Northeast.
Remember if you get a flat tire fix the flat. Don’t abandon the car on the side of the road
Imagine if we had ignored the crying Indian in 1970? Imagine where the oceans would be now. Imagine how much better the environment is with Recycling than without. Redoubling our efforts makes CENT$ and giving up only leaves a legacy of disaster for generations to come. Not an option.
Keep Calm and Recycle On: The Sky Isn’t Falling
By Chaz Miller, Waste 360
Recycling is in the news and not in a good way. Newspapers and television news shows are full of stories about its apparent death. If they are right, then recycling is doomed in this country. The good news is they are wrong.
Yes, municipal recycling programs are facing serious problems. Clearly this latest crisis will not be resolved overnight. Instead of panicking, however, we should take a deep breath and calm down. Recyclables are just another raw material whose prices fluctuate. The light is clearly shining at the end of this tunnel. It’s a long tunnel, and the train is moving slowly, but I see no reason to panic.
Let’s look at one “fact” I keep hearing over and over: the idea that the Chinese have banned all recyclables from their country. This is not the case. The government has indeed banned a number of recyclables including unsorted mixed paper and mixed plastics. Those two are the mainstays of municipal recycling programs and we lack sufficient domestic markets, so we do have a problem.
But let’s put this in perspective starting with paper. Residential mixed paper is part of the recyclable paper we send to China. We ship far more old corrugated cardboard (OCC) to China than “unsorted” mixed paper. Those boxes are not banned but they are not home free. Like all imported recyclables, they must meet a 0.5 percent contamination requirement.
That is a high barrier. However, commercial source separation programs should be able to meet those limits. In fact, American Chung Nam, the primary recycled paper supplier to Nine Dragons, the largest Chinese user of American wastepaper, recently announced it had won the contract to buy used boxes generated by Walmart from New York, California and three other states. Clearly, it believes those boxes will meet the new limits. Those boxes still face uncertainty over inspection and enforcement procedures. When that uncertainty is resolved, that paper should flow to China as steadily as it has in the past.
Unfortunately, the size of the American papermaking industry has shrunk in the last two decades. While mills still exist that want those raw materials, they are not big enough for all of the paper generated at the curbside and commercially. Cleaner commercial paper and residential paper from dual stream programs are in a better position than single stream paper. Processors with mill contracts also are better positioned than those relying on spot markets.
Nonetheless, hope is on the horizon. Two new mills designed to use this paper have already been announced. Pratt Recycling, the biggest U.S. consumer of residential mixed paper, is building a mill in Ohio. Green Bay Packaging announced in June that it will be replacing its 71-year-old mill with a larger, state-of-the art mill. It, too, will use residential mixed paper and OCC as a raw material. It probably won’t be open until late in 2019, but it represents the reality that entrepreneurs see opportunity in this crisis.
The NRRA July 2018 Pricing Guide is Now Available!
The NRRA July 2018 Pricing guide is now available! To access the newest NRRA Pricing guide CLICK HERE.
IMPORTANT PRICING ALERT: Mixed Paper Pricing (loose, bales, picked-up or delivered) is currently at a COST to Members. There are a number of ways NRRA can help until the fiber market improves, please call us if you have any questions or concerns.
As a reminder, this is simply a guide. For true, up-to-date pricing, please contact your NRRA Member Services representative. This guide is password protected, if you need the password, please contact Stacey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fires at the Landfill Really Stink
On Tuesday, July 24th, a small fire started in the landfill. This fire was quickly responded to and extinguished by the Solid Waste Division staff. Fires do happen at landfills. There are thousands that occur annually around the county. They can be started when someone throws stove ash out with their trash or when certain chemicals are combined in the back of a garbage collection truck.
The fire that started at the Lebanon landfill on the 24th was started by a small vehicle booster pack. This small battery (pictured here) was used to jump start a car or truck and really packs a punch. The battery was discarded with someone’s trash and run over with the landfill’s trash compactor. The result was immediate ignition with flames.
You can help prevent fires. The Solid Waste Division offers a number of recycling programs for items that can cause fires that could impact public health and/or the environment. Items like electronic devices, rechargeable batteries, automotive batteries and household hazardous waste are collected for recycling or proper disposal. Resident and business participation is critical to the success of these diversion programs.
Lebanon is fortunate to have dedicated and well-trained staff. Every day they come to work to serve the residents of Lebanon. Ray Becker, Solid Waste Heavy Equipment Operator, was the first on the scene and put the fire out with a fire extinguisher. Additional staff assisted with the facility’s water truck. The next group needed to help fight fires is the residents and businesses in Lebanon. We need you to do your part and participate in regular recycling programs and household hazardous waste events to keep these items out of the landfill and reduce the dangers associated with them.
If you have questions regarding recycling or proper disposal of an item, check out Lebanon’s recycling website or email Marc Morgan, Lebanon Solid Waste Manager at email@example.com
Coming Soon…The NRRA Annual Fall Bus Tour!
Save the date, Wednesday, October 10th, 2018! This year’s fall bus tour will take you to the Wellesley, MA Recycling Center then to tour E.L. Harvey Recycling in Westborough, MA. Though registration is not yet open, please watch your email for registration information and further details as space will be limited! Don’t miss the bus!
By Marc Morgan, NRRA Board Member and Lebanon Recycling Center Manager
In July of 2017, China told the World Trade Organization they would be imposing bans on certain solid wastes by the end of 2017. Products like recyclable paper, mixed plastics, recyclable metals and other waste products that the world had been dumping on them for decades would no longer be imported. China had been accepting more recyclable products than any other country in the world for years. They needed the raw material to manufacture goods. This made for an interesting relationship: China makes products from our waste, we buy those products, and then throw a good portion of them into the recycling bin to be shipped back to China. It seemed like a good system, until one looked a bit closer.
Over the years many have taken advantage of China’s lack of environmental controls and its need for “resources.” Recycling companies allowed for greater and greater contamination rates knowing that China is resource poor. This resulted in a degradation in the quality of materials sent to China for their manufacturing. Increased contamination or “Toxics along for the ride” management of recyclables from developed countries resulted in contaminants being found in toys manufactured in China. Over time the baled recyclables have gotten “dirtier”; containing more unwanted wastes, but China needed the material.
China used these materials to produce electronic devices, door knobs, children’s toys, clothing and more. The world was happy to buy cheap goods from China and send them our waste.
But remember, we sent China things they didn’t want. Sometimes it was off-spec plastic; other times it was hazardous waste tucked into scrap metal loads. The Chinese had to manage those unwanted wastes. Unbeknownst to most consumers, we were damaging the relationship and polluting the environment.
So what if we sent some off-spec recyclables; it is just business, right? There are greater impacts than “just business”. Assuming a contamination rate of 5% (rates seen prior to 2015), in 2016 the US sent not only plastic for recycling to China; but also approximately 365,000 tons of waste just from our plastic “recycling” bales. That doesn’t include mixed paper, steel, aluminum or others, just plastic.
China had to manage that waste and they don’t have modern waste management systems like developed countries. In some areas of China, waste is burned in pits, simply piled up or discarded in local waterways. The result is seen in contaminated water supplies, dirty air and sick Chinese people. It can also be linked to oceanic plastic pollution.
America’s desire for cheap, easy and “convenient” recycling has resulted in some major environmental problems. Single stream recycling is an example. It paved the way for easy sorting and resulted in low quality recyclables sold to overseas markets. The United States isn’t alone in all this; Canada, Europe, Australia and other developed countries sent low quality recyclables to China American paper mills predicted this more than 15 years ago when they started refusing recycled paper from single stream sorting facilities. American mills wouldn’t take the material because glass and other wastes were making their way into the paper bales. But recycling companies wanted to collect material cheaply and “recycle” it – if U.S. mills wouldn’t take the material, overseas markets in China, Vietnam, Indonesia and other Asian countries would.
So where do we go from here? With China not purchasing so much of the world’s recyclables; what should we do? The solutions haven’t matched up with the problem. Ban straws? Ban grocery bags? Can we really regulate good behavior? McDonalds is talking about discontinuing straws. The Queen of England has banned them from Windsor Castle. Starbucks is also hopping on the bandwagon. Brattleboro has banned single-use plastic shopping bags. But are we just kicking the can the down the road? Are straws really the problem? We have a love affair with the convenience of single-use disposable stuff.
Maybe it is time we take some personal responsibility and whenever possible simply not use single use disposable items. Carry a coffee mug and/or water bottle. Bring utensils in your purse or brief case. Pack a lunch for work or school. It shouldn’t be that complicated. Recently, a group from the Upper Valley in New Hampshire and Vermont spent one week without purchasing anything wrapped in plastic. It was exceedingly difficult, but they got creative and learned a lot about their patterns of thoughtless purchases and behavior. A coworker of mine last emptied their trash on January 9th, 2017. They produce less than one bag of garbage a year. Socrates’ quote “an unexamined life is not worth living” would not apply to this person.
I manage a regional solid waste program and bring these philosophies to work every day. It not only saves money, but also better utilizes the environment by using waste as a resource. An example of this philosophy at work can be seen with how we use glass. Years ago, we would purchase crushed stone to be used as drainage inside the landfill. Now we use glass as a construction aggregate and avoid purchasing crushed stone. Landfills are for waste and glass recycling markets are few and far between. By using the glass as an aggregate we avoid transportation costs and environmental impacts. We are also able to use more glass products that just bottles and jars.
Our industrialized culture assumes that progress and convenience are synonyms. They are not. When convenience is the goal, destruction is soon to follow. This is evident in “improvements” like mechanical logging, mono crop farming and even single-stream recycling. All seem to be good ideas but the natural world has suffered from such modern conveniences.
Solutions will need to start with a change in our thinking toward the created world. Currently trees, minerals water and other items in the environment are considered “natural resources.” They are seen as having value in dollars and cents: a tree is board feet, minerals become products, and water is for our consumption. All of creation has a value far greater than its resale value. The natural world provides so much more than raw materials for our consumption-drunk society.
It is time for a fresh look at the beauty all around us. It is time to question convenience.
Hooksett ends curbside recycling because of rising costs
In case you missed it, NRRA’s own Mike Durfor was interviewed for this piece that aired on WMUR on July 9, 2018
Curbside recycling is no longer an option for people living in Hooksett.
Officials with the town’s Public Works Department said the cost has exceeded their budget by tens of thousands of dollars. Instead of separating materials collected at curbside, the town will incinerate those items instead.
SCHOOL NEWS YOU CAN USE
10% Discounts on Fall Programming Until October 1!
Once again, The School Recycling CLUB will offer a 10% discount on school programming ordered by October 1.
Click on any of the programs below for more information. In addition to the 10% discount, 1/2 off Grants are available to NH schools thanks to New Hampshire the Beautiful!
- Trash On the Lawn Day (T.O.L.D.)
- Classroom workshops
- Star Assessment – FREE with any of the above programming.
Contact Gwen Erley or Sarah McGraw TODAY to schedule any of the above items. 603-736-4401 ext. 19 OR firstname.lastname@example.org
About The CLUB:
The School Recycling CLUB assists schools in implementing, maintaining and improving recycling programs! The CLUB is housed and managed by the Northeast Resource Recovery Association (NRRA).
Be sure to visit The NRRA School CLUB Facebook Page for more information and updates. Don’t forget to “like” our page!
In these pages you will find information about recycling, composting, lesson plans and activities, newsletters, fundraising and many other useful tools for your school. Feel free to explore the tabs and subtabs listed above.
In addition, The CLUB offers Workshops and Technical Assistance Trainings that schools may purchase for their students. To go to our menu of programs, click HERE!
We hold an annual School Recycling Conference to celebrate recycling in K-12 schools. The Conference offers workshops, exhibits, activities and awards. Read further for more information or go to our 2018 Conference Page.
NH THE BEAUTIFUL
Is your Town, Organization, School or Group planning a Spring or Summer Event?
The RecycleMobile is a unique, mobile recycling trailer created to assist “special event” organizers with collecting recyclables. The RecycleMobile consists of a fiberglass “box” with six collection holes (three per side). The “box” is attached to a 4′ x 6′ trailer and houses six 32 gallon barrels. Collection signs are attached by two pieces of VelcroTM above the holes and can be changed depending on which materials are being collected!
The RecycleMobile is not only practical, but easy to use, eye catching and educational! Consider using the RecycleMobile at:
- Home Comings
- Sporting Events
- Fall Harvest Days
- School/Park Clean Ups
- Street Festivals/Fairs
- Earth Day Events
Thanks to the generous sponsorship of New Hampshire the Beautiful, Inc. and NRRA, The RecycleMobiles are available for loan to NH municipalities, Schools and community groups for FREE!!!
Visit www.nrra.net or call us at 1-800-223-0150 for more information
NH The Beautiful now offers 18 Gallon Curb Side Recycling Bins as well as ClearStream Containers (and replacement bags).
Click the links below to find out how you can get yours!
Click HERE for Curb side Recycling Bin Info-please note bin pricing has increased ONLY MINIMALLY ($0.20) due to the increase in the size of the bins
Grants Program for NH Municipalities
Do you need equipment for your facility? A Floor Scale? Storage Containers?
All New Hampshire municipalities are eligible to apply for grants toward the purchase price of recycling equipment. For more information or to apply for a grant, go to http://www.nhthebeautiful.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/equipment_grant_app_710.pdf, print & fill out the form and fax it to 603-736-4402. If you do not have access to the internet, please give us a call, and we can fax or mail a form to you.
NH the Beautiful Provides FREE Facility Signs
All NH municipalities are eligible to apply for FREE facility signs. NHtB has been providing professional looking signs for NH municipalities since 1983. Under the NHtB Sign Program, New Hampshire Municipalities are all eligible to apply for signs (60 points each fiscal year or until funds run out). The NHtB fiscal year runs November 1-October 31. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Stacey at 603-736-4401 x.20. To maximize your points, you can also order “recycled” signs or overlays for existing signs!
For a complete list of sign options and to order signs, click here Complete Sign Packet. Simply print the forms you need, mail or fax them to 603-736-4402.
Please NOTE!!! You can only use points to order signs that are on the list. Words can be removed, but nothing can be added. Custom signs are available for purchase. Contact the NRRA for details.
Visit NH the Beautiful on Facebook and Twitter
To see all the latest that NH the Beautiful is doing for NH check out their Facebook Page! Click the following link – https://www.facebook.com/pages/NH-The-Beautiful/253682871403932
NH the Beautiful, Inc. (NHtB) is a private non-profit charitable trust founded in 1983 and supported by the soft drink, malt beverage, and grocery industries of New Hampshire. By offering municipal recycling grants (over $2.5 million) and signs, anti-litter programs, and technical assistance to recycling programs, NHtB is a unique organization that represents a voluntarily-funded alternative to expensive legislation intended to achieve the same end results. NHtB supports the NRRA School Education Program (the Club). The Northeast Resource Recovery Association (www.nrra.net) administers the New Hampshire the Beautiful programs.
NH DES NEWS
NHDES 2018 Solid Waste Operator Training Workshop Calendar
NEW HAMPSHIRE NEWS
In Franklin, trash and recyclables are sent to the incinerator together
By David Brooks, Concord Monitor
The crunch in global markets that is shrinking recycling programs all over the state has shown up in Franklin in a surprising way: Curbside trash and curbside recycling are now being tossed into the same truck and taken to the same incinerator to be burned.
Despite this change, made in response to a huge increase in the cost of getting rid of “single-stream” recycled material, the city hopes people will continue to separate their recyclables so they’ll be ready when true recycling starts again.
“I know it’s a pain for residents to do it, but it would be harder for people to get out of the habit and then back in the habit again,” said City Manager Judie Milner. “We hear from our company that gets our recycling that they think that the market may turn around, so we’ve asked residents to continue with the program as if we’re recycling.”
Franklin residents who want to continue recycling can take their material to the town transfer station, something currently done by about 5 percent of city residents, although they’ll have to sort it into glass, plastic, cardboard, paper and other categories. That manual sorting, as compared to throwing everything into the same curbside bin, is key: Milner said Franklin can still dispose of well-sorted recyclables at less cost than sending it to the Wheelabrator trash-to-energy incinerator in Concord.
The problem for Franklin, as for communities throughout the country and much of the developed world, is that the cost of getting rid of mixed recyclables collected through single-stream programs has soared. The main problem is that China, for years the world’s market for single-stream recyclables, has stopped accepting most such material because it contains too much unacceptable material, such as food-tainted pizza boxes or types of plastic that can’t be recycled.
Many towns have already cut back on recycling because of costs. Several have stopped accepting glass in single-stream systems, because it can break and contaminate the entire recycling stream, while others have cracked down on people putting non-recyclable material in their bins, such as a push by Concord to remind people not to recycle plastic bags, which snarl the sorting machinery.
Ecomaine paper, plastic recycling is jeopardized by everything from old sneakers to lobster shells
After global disruptions in the marketplace last fall, so-called ‘wish-cycling’ has driven up municipal waste disposal fees.
By Kelly Bouchard, Portland Press Herald
Recycling experts call it “wish-cycling,” when people put items in the recycling bin that they think should be recycled, even if the items aren’t on the list of paper, plastic, metal or glass waste that’s allowed to be recycled.
That might explain why ecomaine is still finding thousands of plastic bags – as well as garden hoses, plastic tarps, light bulbs, coat hangers, bubble wrap, scrap metal and even propane tanks – in loads of would-be recyclables delivered to its Portland facility. Some truckloads are so contaminated with nonrecyclable items, ecomaine sends them directly to its trash-to-energy incinerator rather than sort through the waste.
But wish-cycling doesn’t explain the bags of trash and other junk that some residents are adding to the stream of recyclables from 52 municipalities across southern and central Maine. Careless recycling that used to be acceptable at ecomaine is now costing taxpayers $35 to $70.50 per ton since China disrupted global recycling markets last fall. Some cities and towns are responding with hard-hitting public education campaigns that include leaving bins with nonrecyclables at the curb.
Residents of communities that own ecomaine appear to be the top offenders, filling curbside recycling bins and roll-off containers at collection sites with everything from maggot-infested lobster shells, old sneakers and worn-out pet beds, to small appliances, yard waste and construction debris.
“I pulled half of a snowblower out of one of our silver bullet roll-off containers,” said Erik Street, public works director in Yarmouth, one of 20 cities and towns that own and operate ecomaine.
Yarmouth had the highest average recycling contamination rate – 18.3 percent nonrecyclables per load – among all municipalities that sent recyclables to ecomaine from mid-May through mid-July, according to data provided by ecomaine. The town has warned residents that recycling contamination could jeopardize the program.
Other ecomaine owner members with high contamination rates during that period were South Portland (17.7 percent), Scarborough (17.1), Waterboro (16.4), Cumberland (16.3), Freeport (15.7), Windham (14.4), Falmouth (13.3), Portland and Cape Elizabeth (both 10.6 percent), and North Yarmouth and Pownal (both 10 percent).
“We’re making progress,” Street said of Yarmouth’s contamination rate. “It used to be up over 20 percent.”
THE IMPACT OF CHINA
More than two months after ecomaine announced that it was cracking down on recycling scofflaws, many communities continue to send tainted loads of recyclables. In addition to 20 owner members, ecomaine has seven associate members and 38 contract members in Maine.
Ecomaine made the announcement after China reduced its maximum contamination rate for imported recyclables to 0.5 percent – a nearly impossible number to meet – which effectively shut down Chinese recycling markets and pushed other buyers in the United States and abroad to raise their expectations for cleaner materials.
As a result, while ecomaine sold residential mixed paper for $107 per ton to recyclers in China last year, it now pays $30 to $45 per ton to send it to recyclers in India, Vietnam and Indonesia, said Kevin Roche, ecomaine’s CEO. Residential mixed paper, including everything from magazines to milk cartons, makes up about 55 percent of the more than 40,000 tons of waste recycled by ecomaine each year.
That’s a major reason why ecomaine’s recycling program is facing a projected $300,000 revenue shortfall in fiscal 2018, which ended June 30. In recent years recycling revenue exceeded expenses by $1 million in fiscal 2015, $200,000 in fiscal 2016 and $1.6 million in fiscal 2017.
Research Reveals Recycling Is Increasingly Popular
Here, for a change, is good news about the environment: Americans are recycling their food and beverage cartons more than ever and continue to look to brands to actively help drive the recycling of their products’ packages, according to a new survey.
What The People Want
The national study commissioned by the Carton Council of North America showed that 61 percent of respondents report they always recycle their food and beverage cartons, up 11 percentage points from when the survey was last conducted two years ago. Nearly all—94 percent—think recycling is important and 74 percent believe recycling should be made a priority.
People also have high environmental expectations for the brands they buy. Consumers overwhelmingly expect food and beverage brands to be committed to recycling. More than nine out of 10 said brands should take an active role in helping to increase the recycling of packages. And 56 percent said their loyalty to a food or beverage brand is affected by the brand’s engagement with environmental causes.
*If your town/municipality has equipment that you’d like to sell or a job posting you’d like us to include in our publication, please email your posting to Stacey Morrison at email@example.com*
Vertical Baler For Sale
The Town of Colebrook has a vertical baler for sale. Specifically, the baler is a BACE baler Model V63HD Serial Number: V63HD1504912. It was purchased new by the Town in 2014 for $10,445 from Atlantic Recycling Equipment. The baler was used for less than 18 months. The baler is to be sold “where is, as is.” Please call if you wish to view. $7,500 or best offer. Town of Colebrook 603 237-4070.
Free to a Good Home
Plastic Barrels available (must pick up) in Lancaster, NH. First Come, First served.
More NH Municipal Job Postings…
Can be found at: https://www.nhmunicipal.org/Resources/ClassifiedAds
NO M.O.M MEETING THIS MONTH
Thursday, August 3, 2018 – NH the Beautiful Board Meeting @ 8:30 NRRA Offices
Monday, September 3, 2018 – Labor Day, NRRA Offices Will be Closed- Please plan accordingly
Wednesday, September 12, 2018 – M.O.M Meeting @ 9:00 a.m. at NRRA Offices
Monday, October 1, 2018 – Registration Deadline for NRRA Fall Bus Tour- Don’t Miss the Bus!
Monday, October 8, 2018 – Columbus Day – NRRA Offices will Be Closed
Wednesday, October 10, 2018 – NRRA Fall Bus Tour – NO M.O.M Meeting!
Wednesday, November 7, 2018 – M.O.M Meeting @ 9:00 a.m. at NRRA Offices
Wednesday, November 7, 2018 – NRRA ANNUAL MEETING @ 12:00 – 2:00 pm at the Puritan Backroom Restaurant in Manchester, NH
Wednesday, November 14 & Thursday November 15, 2018 – NH Municipal Association Annual Conference at the Manchester Downtown Hotel
Thursday, November 22 and Friday November 23, 2018 – Thanksgiving Holiday – NRRA Offices Closed BOTH Days