Archive for Recycling

Chaz Miller…Thanks for the Years of Service

Chaz Miller recently announced his retirement from the National Waste and Recycling Association…I had the pleasure of working with Chaz over the years and his retirement article is a good summary of his efforts.

chad miller recyclingChaz knows both the solid waste and the recycling industries. His comments on recycling’s problems have always been on point.

Whether or not Chaz and I agreed on an issue, you could always rest assured that his position would be well thought out and supported by good research. Indeed, in the “old” days, I used his articles in many a class as a starting point of discussions about solid waste and recycling.

Chaz is not leaving in a sense, just moving to the next phase of work.

Thanks Chaz.

Read the full article:
Onto the Next Stage

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DART Misses the Bullseye with its Greenwashing Efforts…

Styrofoam fights come and go. NYC was stopped from enacting its styrofoam ban by good legal maneuvering by DART Corporation and by DART’s ridiculous claims that styrofoam food containers are easy to recycle.

The reality is that anything can probably be recycled from a pure chemistry standpoint. The point is, can it be sustainably recycled?

In this case, the answer is no. Styrofoam is essentially air and polystyrene. When recyclers move materials they need to move large loads by weight over the shortest distance possible with the material having the greatest value possible.

Styrofoam food packaging fails on almost all fronts. It does have a potential value, but shipping it to the midwest is not the solution.

Styrofoam beads in residue

It is also a significant contaminant as you can see in the photos posted. These photos are at a paper mill that makes new paper from old cardboard boxes. All that white junk is styrofoam packaging. Not really useful.

Styrofoam in pulp residue

Styrofoam food packaging is a product whose time has come and gone. It is not sustainable, it is harmful from an environmental standpoint and it wastes resources.

Any claims to the contrary are greenwashing.

Read the full article:
N.J. schools make efforts to ban Styrofoam food containers

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Is it Recycling or Scavenging?

The article in Craines NY Business outlines a young entrepreneur who is getting rich on the labor of the less fortunate while he is probably undermining years of recycling education in the City of New York. There are really two questions here.

The first is that the company its relying on people scavenging (allegedly) through the unseparated garbage of certain commercial and apartment complexes to find redeemable cans and bottles.

gray market recycling operationOn its face, there are problems here. The fact that people are not separating the materials in the first place is a violation of City law. The fact that he is offering property owners a service that essentially says don’t do more to separate your recyclables as required by law is probably a violation of City Law. The fact that he is operating a gray market recycling operation without a Business Integrity Commission License is certainly a violation of the spirit of the law.

I am all for doing what can be done to enhance recycling in all locations. Recycling creates jobs and in many programs helps to employ low skilled laborers in meaningful employment while they perform a valuable service.

Unfortunately, this program relies on people to whom this “entrepreneur” is not offering any job benefits…wages, health benefits,etc…On whose earnings he does not pay any taxes as an employer is required to do. His “employees” make no contributions to their future social security or medicare payments and the company makes limited contributions to the local economy.

In many poor countries scavengers scour landfills and garbage dumps for recyclable materials and sell them to people like this gentleman. Is this really how we want to have recycling work in this country?

Let’s think again.

Read the full article:
Conrad Cutler built an empire on recycling cans. But he’s putting a dent in city revenue

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A Bit of Good News for a Change

S-981 Electronics Recycling BillOn January 9, the Governor, in a complete surprise to all parties, signed S-981, the electronics recycling bill that has been passed, pocket vetoed and passed again.

This bill, now P.L. 2016-85 clearly makes the manufacturers of certain electronic devices, responsible for the cost of their recycling. It is a true producer responsibility law.

The signing of this bill is a good example of what can be accomplished when people engage in a democracy. Individual citizens, towns and counties united to send letters, pass resolutions and inundate the Governor’s office with encouragement to sign the bill. DEMOCRACY DOES WORK…

I have waited to write about this because as in many laws, the devil is in the details. The key here is what the NJDEP will do to implement the law. This is still a question.

My primary concern is that the manufacturers will try to undermine the law by trying to continue to underpay for the recycling service then cry to the legislature that they tried to make it work, but couldn’t. DEP has the tools to stop this, and I trust that they will do so.

We shall wait and see…but this is a good first step.

Read the full article:
PREVENTING THE E-WASTE STREAM FROM BECOMING A FLOOD

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