MRW brings you markets, business and policy news from around the world.
Aluminium giant plans to cut capacity
Aluminium firm Alcoa is considering cutting 460,000 metric tons of aluminium capacity over the next 15 months. Alcoa says the decision has been partly driven by aluminium prices, which have declined by more than 33% since peaking in 2011. Alcoa currently has 568,000 metric tons of smelting capacity idle.
“Because of persistent weakness in global aluminium prices, we need to review every option to maintain Alcoa’s competitiveness,” says Chris Ayers, president of Alcoa’s Global Primary Products. “Any action taken will only be done after a thorough strategic review and consultations with stakeholders.”
Tthe review will include facilities across its system and will focus on higher-cost plants and plants that have long-term risk due to factors such as energy costs or regulatory uncertainty.
Recycling Today, 7 May
Arizona EfW facility will take a city’s waste
Abengoa, a Spanish company which provides technical solutions for renewable energy and environmental projects, is to develop a waste to energy gasification facility in Arizona.
Abengoa says it has been selected by Vieste Energy - a Chicago-based renewable energy development company - to undertake the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the plant for a period of 30 years. The company said that the planned facility will treat waste from the city of Glendale, Arizona, and represents a total investment of $110m.
Construction will last about 20 months, during which about 50 jobs will be created. The project includes the receipt, sorting and recycling of up to 180,000 tons (163,000 tonnes) of municipal solid waste (MSW) per year.
Waste Management World, 7 May
Two more firms joins WEEE campaigners
The Coalition for American Electronics Recycling (CAER) has announced that two companies, Xstrata Copper and CloudBlue Technologies, have joined the industry campaign to support the Responsible Electronics Recycling Act (RERA).
RERA will prohibit unregulated export of nonworking electronics and electronic scrap containing hazardous materials. According to CAER, trade in tested, working electronics and recycled commodities would not be restricted and is expected to grow with passage of RERA. According to a recent CAER study, RERA’s passage may generate up to 42,000 new jobs with an annual payroll of up to $1bn (£640m).
Recycling Today, 7 May
Group aims to make battery recyling easy
A growing problem in the battery recycling industry is the outsourcing of recycling to foreign countries, according to US group Energy Products. Together with its affiliate, Battery Giant, the group has created the BatteryRecyclingUSA.com service, with the aim of making “proper battery recycling easier for everyone in the USA”.
The average US household has more than 20 battery-operated devices in use, and that number continues to grow. It warns that in some cases, unsuspecting consumers may send their batteries for recycling to “poorly or unregulated facilities” whose main goal is to extract value from used batteries rather than to protect the environment.
Depending on the types of batteries involved, Energy Products will pay to collect them, and emphasises that they will all be recycled within the USA.
Recycling International , 8 May
Retailer signs up for safer e-waste disposal
Staples has become the first electronics retailer to sign up to ambitious new eWaste recycling standard. Staples will now work almost exclusively with electronic waste recyclers that adhere to the highest standards of safe disposal and recycling.
Specifically, that means recyclers certified as e-Stewards by the Basel Action Network (BAN), a global toxics trade watchdog group named after the UN Basel Convention.
To be certified, recyclers must demonstrate that no hazardous e-waste will be exported to developing countries, deposited in landfills or incinerators, or sent to prison labour operations. Recyclers also erase all data from storage components.
Business Green, 3 May
Energy sales boost Dutch waste processor
Netherlands waste processing firm Twence booked a positive result of over €11.8m (£9.98m) on a net turnover of €96.1m in 2012. About half of the turnover came from the sale of electricity, steam and heat, while the sale of secondary raw materials accounted for some 5%. Under the leadership of its new director, Paul de Jong, Twence made a strategic decision last year to further develop itself into a company focusing on secondary raw materials and sustainable energy.
De Jong said: “Thanks in part to the increasing internationalisation of the waste market and the import of refuse-derived fuel (RDF), our waste-to-energy plant will be operating at full capacity in the coming years. Expanding the production of secondary raw materials in the region of Twente is now our priority.”
Twence, 29 April
Greek group to build Bulgarian MBT plant
A Greek consortium, comprising construction company Aktor and infrastructure developer Helektor, has won a contract to build a 410,000 tonne per year mechanical biological treatment facility which will produce refuse derived fuel in Sofia, Bulgaria.
According to a report by the Sofia Globe, Sofia City Hall picked the consortium despite offering a higher price of 213.5 million leva £92m) because it offered a lower cost for processing waste compared to that offered by the second-placed bidder, Sadinata 2012 consortium.
The decision was also reported to be influenced by the significantly lower amount of waste that would be landfilled which was in line with City Hall targets.
Waste Management World, 2 May
Plastic ‘always’ ends up in ocean basins
No matter where in the world plastic waste enters the sea, it can end up in any of the five ocean basins, new research in Australia shows. Investigators at the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science, based at the University of New South Wales, concluded that even if the practice stopped today, floating garbage patches would continue to grow for hundreds of years. Hundreds of buoys are released into the ocean every year, and each sends out regular 140-character messages on its location and the ocean conditions it encounters.
Recycling International, 8 May
Nigerians miss out on value of polythene
Nigeria is yet to tap up to 10% of the value of polythene production in the country despite the huge market for the products, an entrepreneur has said. Olufemi Chris Akinkuebi, whose company, Hessplast Packaging Industry, based in Lagos, is aspiring to set the pace in the production of polythene products.
Akinkuebi said: “There should be a recycling plant in every local government in Nigeria. We are working on such proposal to send to every local government in Nigeria. Having recycling plant will generate employment opportunities and government will make more money by selling the recycled material to manufacturers of plastic and other related companies.”
Daily Trust, 8 May
India brings order to WEEE management
India’s Orissa State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) is to form a committee to create an inventory of e-wastes following frequent failure to collect these wastes in the Indian state. Two months ago, the OSPCB authorized five collection centres in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack to collect waste but the job could not be done in the absence of an inventory. State e-waste management rules came into force in May 2012. Most of the e-waste is generated in Bhubaneswar, which is home to government and private offices, commercial establishments, educational and research centres. The board had asked the waste generators to implement the guidelines or face legal action.
Times of India, 9 May
Lack of space means waste is not sorted
Most Mumbaikars are unwilling to segregate waste before disposal, according to a survey by The Energy and Resources Institute. Despite the belief that waste segregation at source is the best way to handle solid waste and limit health hazards, 80% of those surveyed were not willing to do it. The survey revealed that generating less waste and improving the recycling capacity are other ways which people felt can help manage waste. A meager 8% were in favour of a user charge.
Lack of space seemed to be a prime concern for people when it came to segregating waste at home, with 64% citing constraints. Many others said even though they may segregate waste, the civic body doesn’t collect it separately, making it a futile exercise.
Times of India, 8 May