MRW brings you markets, business and policy news from around the world
Old Navy mattresses are kept from landfill
Sailors from the decommissioned US military vessel USS Enterprise will help to load trailers with thousands of mattresses that are being sent for recycling as part of the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Mid-Atlantic’s integrated solid waste programme.
According to the US Navy, the initiative, which is seeking alternatives to landfill, will “see 13,000 shipboard mattresses recycled in a first-of-its-kind programme”.
Following the return after its final deployment, the carrier’s collected used mattresses are scheduled to be recycled by Nine Lives Mattress Recycling.
Hilton’s US arm trials mattress recycling
Hilton hotels have announced a programme to recycle 85% of old mattresses. The components of mattresses that can be recycled, such as quilt scrap, steel springs, cotton fibres and wood, can be reprocessed into new products, from flooring to construction materials.
Randy Gaines, vice- president of engineering operations for the Americas at Hilton Worldwide, said: “Our hotels have purchased more than 50,000 mattresses in the past two years in the US alone.” He hinted that the programme was likely to be replicated by the company’s operations around the world.
Gaines also said this was a cost saving strategy and would count towards Hilton’s commitment to reducing waste output.
Hospitals save cash in sustainability strategy
A study of nine hospitals has found that efforts to go green resulted in significant savings. The authors of the study concluded that if the changes were rolled out across the healthcare sector, it would result in $5.4bn (£3.4bn) of savings in five years and $15bn in 15 years.
A key area for sustain-ability strategies was waste management, alongside energy use reduction and changes in procurement.
To save money from changes to waste disposal, the hospitals in the study streamlined the process to include recycling and reducing packaging and rubbish, such as paper, food refuse and non-infectious garbage that is inadvertently mixed with medical waste.
Blair L Sadler, senior fellow at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and one of the study authors, said: “With little or no capital invest-ments, significant operating savings can be realised. It is a better strategy than having to lay off valuable personnel or closing effective programmes that lose money.”
‘Clean’ smelter takes vehicles from ARN
Dutch automotive recycling organisation Auto Recycling Nederland (ARN) will be the first to use the smelting specialist Ensartech’s new smelter installation at its Delfzijl site. According to ARN, the collaboration will make “a meaningful contribution” towards its aim of driving the country’s car recycling rate towards 95%.
The smelter uses high-temperature technology.
The process converts waste streams that are highly polluted or otherwise difficult to treat into various types of energy, while simultaneously ensuring clean slag production.
With an initial smelting capacity of 25,000 tonnes a year, the technology “can be scaled modularly to much larger capacities”, Ensartech said.
Sweden signs up to take Norway’s waste
Sweden plans to import 800,000 tonnes of waste a year from its European neighbours, mostly Norway, to fuel its power plants. Only 4% of waste in Sweden is sent to landfill, but now the country has a shortfall in waste to power its waste incinerators, which heat about 810,000 homes.
It is considerably cheaper for Norway to export its waste to Sweden than to burn it domestically, leading the two countries to strike a arrangement under which Norway will pay Sweden to take the material off its hands.
The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has said it also hopes to take in waste from Italy, Romania and Bulgaria - countries that still landfill most of their waste - as well as the Baltic region.
The EPA explained: ‘They do not have incineration or recycling plants, so need to find a solution for their waste.”
Slow demand hits aluminium alloy price
Spot prices of standard grade aluminium alloy fell in Europe this week as sluggish demand and good supply weighed on the market.
A European trader said that with parts of German industry enjoying a hiatus on 31 October and 1 November, there had been very few inquiries on the market.
A Polish aluminium alloy producer commented: “It is quiet because there are so many holidays across Europe this week.”
Market players expect more buying action next week as a number of diecasters seek November and December supplies.
Brazil stays in top spot for can recycling
Brazil led the world in aluminium can recycling in 2011, with a rate of 98.3%.
The country has been ranked number one since 2001. Last year Brazil achieved 98.3% by recycling 248,700 tonnes of aluminium cans, out of a possible 253,100 tonnes.
“In 2012, the sector increased its capacity by 9.5%, from 21 billion units per year to 23 billion units per year,” said Renault de Freitas Castro, executive director of Abralatas, the high-recyclability can producers association.
Aluminium recycling needs only around 5% of the electrical energy used in the production of primary aluminium.
Hazardous waste is targeted by Chinese
China’s first official plan for hazardous waste control has been released. It aims to determine the exact amount and distribution of hazardous waste nationwide; to increase the level of standardised management; and to reduce the environmental risk it might bring by 2015. Hazardous waste material includes medical, chemicals and heavy metals.
Zhong Bin, head of the solid waste sector at the pollution emission control department of the Environmental Protection Ministry, said:
“By 2015, the annual generated hazardous waste will exceed 60 million tonnes.”
The disposal capacity in China now is 23 million tonnes.
The plan involves finishing the construction of 334 centralised disposal facilities for hazardous waste. The total amount required for 14 key programmes is $4.18bn
Can initiatives in Cape Town are launched
Metal packaging manufacturers and a recycling awareness enterprise will launch local initiatives in Cape Town, South Africa, as part of international ‘Canvironment Week’, later this month.
Nampak’s Bevcan and Divfood divisions are the two manufacturers involved, while recycling initiative Collect-a-Can and its brand Can-Do! are behind it.
Canvironment Week is an environmental campaign initiated in 2010 by Indian metal packaging manufacturer Hindustan Tin Works to promote the global sustainability and recycling of metal cans.