MRW brings you news from around the globe.
Energy-saving law opposed
Plans in the US for a law on saving energy collapsed as Republican senators blocked the legislation in protest at what they regard as the Obama administration’s ‘war on coal’. The Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act had received widespread support from 270 businesses, including BASF and General Electric. But Republican senators opposed the bill, concerned at proposed greenhouse gas rules for coal-fired power plants.
Fined company seeks bankruptcy
A New York scrap metal business being sued by a local authority over an allegedly unpaid $50,000 (£30,000) invoice has filed for bankruptcy. Roth Steel sought Chapter 7 protection in the Bankruptcy Court in the Northern District of New York, Syracuse. Jefferson County sued the company in April claiming that it had hauled more than 200 tonnes of metal from a solid waste facility but never paid the bill. The case remains pending.
Watertown Daily Times
E-waste recycler opens
TechWaste Recycling, based in Santa Ana, California, has opened an e-waste recycling facility in Brooklyn, New York. The company said the 10,000sq ft facility will strengthen its goal of handling a larger amount of outdated e-waste and IT equipment. All items are recycled in compliance with Environmental Protection Agency standards and a zero waste to landfill policy.
Violations at landfill site
The Department of Health has fined Hawaii County $350,000 for multiple violations at the Hilo landfill site. Health officials said the penalties covered the period between 1 January and 31 May 2013, when the county neglected to cover solid waste that was brought to the landfill. Additional violations were said to include a failure to monitor groundwater and explosive gas along with dumping tyres into the landfill. The county is expected to seek a reduction in the fines.
Company expands into rPET
DAK Americas is expanding into recycled PET resin in Argentina through the acquisition of CabelmaPET. The deal, subject to anti-trust review in the country, will bring 16,000 tonnes of rPET capacity to DAK Americas’ existing business. CabelmaPET’s bottle recycling facility in Buenos Aires produces food-grade recycled raw material, while DAK Americas currently produces more than 190,000 tonnes of virgin PET resin at a site in Zarate, Argentina.
Multiple business assets bought
Waste Management of Canada and GFL Environmental have signed an agreement under which GFL will acquire Waste Management’s assets across multiple Canadian provinces. Ontario-based GFL, an environmental services firm, will now own six new hauling yards, three landfill sites and gain 145 employees. The deal’s value was not given.
Industrial packaging acquisition
Funds managed by private equity group Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) are to acquire Germany-based Mauser Group, an industrial packaging company. The transaction is valued at €1.2bn (£1bn). Mauser manufactures and supplies plastic and steel drums and intermediate bulk containers for the chemical, industrial and food and beverage industries, among others. It is owned by Dubai International Capital.
Offer of waste management help
France and Azerbaijan have agreed a number of investments including waste management as part of the EU Eastern Partnership scheme. French president Francois Hollande spoke about developing relations in solid waste management, the food industry, transport and agriculture. “Azerbaijan is making efforts to improve the living conditions of its people. French companies are ready to share their experience in this sphere.”
Energy from brewery’s own beer
Austria’s Murau eGen brewery has generated enough energy for this year’s total output of beer from heat produced at a biomass combined heat and power (CHP) station which is operated by the local public utility company. The heat is supplied in the form of hot water generated at the CHP plant, which uses only wood from the region as the source of fuel. The company expects to generate all power for the plant by next year.
EU resource efficiency urged
Environmental campaigning groups have urged the EU to use a package of legal requirements, economic incentives and fiscal instruments to boost resource efficiency. Eight pressure groups suggested 10 measures the EU could take to make its waste policy “more resource efficient”. They include raising the recycling target for municipal solid waste to 70%, mandatory separate collections, landfill and incineration bans for recyclable and compostable waste by 2020.
IFAT organisers said the Munich show “has broken all previous records, attracting more than 135,000 visitors from all over the world”. Around 45% came from outside Germany, the highest proportion of overseas visitors in the history of the event.
Waking up to resources
The latest phase of the European Commission’s ‘Generation Awake’ campaign will focus on the environmental, economic, social and personal consequences of using resources unsustainably. The campaign aims to make consumers aware of the consequences their consumption patterns have on natural resources. Its interactive website has cartoon characters showing the environmental impact of everyday purchasing decisions.
Illegal dump removal
Cape Town has set aside R274m (£15.7m) for the removal of illegally dumped waste. To help mitigate the problem, the city’s solid waste management department has established an illegal dumping campaign, and appointed a service provider to inform and educate residents and businesses about their nearest drop-off facilities and landfill sites as well as the services that these sites offer. Cape Town has 25 facilities designed to make it convenient for residents to practice responsible waste management and recycling, but many communities remain unaware of these sites and their services.
Recovery of tyre waste
The Recycling and Economic Development Initiative of South Africa (REDISA) has recovered 21,677 tonnes of tyre waste since starting operations in July 2013. REDISA is responsible for implementing the Integrated Industry Waste Tyre Management Plan, which requires manufacturers and importers to pay a fee of R2.30 + VAT per kilogramme of tyre made in the country or imported. The first payments were made at the end of May last year, and since then a total of R575m has been collected. In all, 99.8% of tyre importers and manufacturers have subscribed to pay the waste tyre fee.
Challenge to contract
The High Court in Kenya has declared illegal Kisumu County’s Sh18bn (£122m) waste management deal. It follows a petition by businessman and Kisumu resident Eric Okeyo. Justice Aggrey Muchelule ruled that the decision by the Kisumu government to enter into a 15-year waste management contract at Sh1.2bn annually with Madam R Enterprises was null and void because the respondents were engaged in illegal enterprise. Okeyo said the respondents refused to provide public information to which he was entitled, and he was being denied his right to a clean and healthy environment.
Heavy rain caused a retaining wall to collapse at a recycling plant in the eastern Chinese city of Qingdao, killing 18 people. State media reported that, after a rainstorm, the wall crushed a workers’ house in which 40 people were gathered. Two other deaths in Hunan province and Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region were linked to flooding and landslides across the country.
Violent incinerator protest
A protest in eastern China about a plan to build a waste incinerator turned violent, with at least 10 demonstrators and 29 police officers being injured in clashes. Demonstrators overturned 30 vehicles, set two police cars on fire and blocked a road, the official Xinhua News Agency said. Protesters won a tentative victory when an online statement posted by the district government said construction on the plant would not begin until it had public support.
Medical waste gets mixed
The Kochi Corporation is to hold discussions with Indian Medical Association to help manage biomedical waste generated by bed-ridden elderly and chronically ill patients being attended to at home. There is concern that the biomedical waste gets mixed up with solid household waste, and poses a serious health hazard for people handling it.
Plastics firms sets high targets
The Guangzhou company Kingfa, by far China’s largest domestic plastic compounder, has set an aggressive goal for its new recycling business: 30 billion yuan (£2.85bn) in sales by 2018 or nearly a third of overall sales. The company established a subsidiary, Guangdong Kingfa, in Qingyuan, at the end of last year with plans for a 455-acre recycling industrial park. The first phase was due to start production this month with an annual capacity of 50,000 tonnes of polystyrene, polypropylene and polyethylene. About 60% of the plastic waste going into the facility will be sourced from overseas.
Plastics News China
Challenge of waste dumping
The disposal of 3,500 tonnes a day of rubbish is the biggest challenge for the South Delhi Municipal Corporation, according to its commissioner Manish Gupta. “The present landfill sites are over-saturated and there is no place to dump waste. In fact, we are sitting on a landmine. If something is not done fast, we may be staring at the face of a disaster.” With an increase in population, the solid waste generation in South Delhi is likely to increase to 6,000 or 7,000 tonnes a day by 2024, he adds. “The non-availability of facilities to dispose of construction and demolition waste is leading to the choking of drains,” he added.
Call to introduce third bin
Environment minister Albert Jacob wants councils in Perth and regional towns to introduce a third bin to collect organic waste for composting. Jacob said it was worth looking at for Western Australia but warned that there would be “hygiene considerations” given the region’s hot climate. The three-bin system - for general rubbish, commingled recycling and green waste - is already operated by several councils. A further 23 have now expressed an interest in adopting the system before the state’s landfill levy doubles next year. Just 36% of the state’s household waste is recycled compared with top-performing South Australia (77%), New South Wales (65%) and Victoria (62%)
Aluminium plant to close
Norsk Hydro is to close its Kurri Kurri aluminium plant in New South Wales, where production ceased in 2012. The original decision to stop production included low prices, uncertain trade outlook and a strong Australian dollar against the US dollar. The plant had nearly 500 employees, with a net annual production of around 180,000 tonnes.
Shanghai Metals Market
Mining products group cuts jobs
Steel and mining group Arrium will cut 120 jobs from its Waratah operations in Newcastle by mid-June due to lower demand for products used by the mining industry such as steel balls used to grind minerals, as well as railway wheels. Demand has fallen partly because of the opening of a facility in Indonesia which makes the steel balls. The restructure will cost Arrium AUS$15m (£8m), but is expected to deliver $14m a year in savings.
The West Australian
Guidance for redundant staff
Metals engineer Alcoa is to contribute AUS$9m to help employees affected by the closure of its Point Henry smelter and another facility in Yennora, New South Wales. Alcoa of Australia managing director Alan Cransberg said the company was following through on its pledge to help workers after announcing the closures, with the loss of 800 jobs. “Alcoa has been an integral part of the Geelong and Yennora communities for more than 50 years and all parties have benefited from this long-term relationship,” he said. “It is important we support them as they transition into a new phase.”