October 2020

Monthly News & Updates in the Southeast
Promoting sustainable recycling in the Southeast by connecting local supply and regional demand of recovered material.
Newsletters are accessible online at www.serdc.org/newsletter
Upcoming Events

VIRTUAL EVENT: October 6-7, 2020: Georgia Recycling Coalition Annual Conference

VIRTUAL EVENT: October 5-9, 2020: State of TX Alliance for Recycling Annual Summit

VIRTUAL EVENT: October 20-22, 2020: Paper and Plastics Recycling Conference

VIRTUAL EVENT: October 20-22, 2020: NERC Fall Conference

CANCELLED: October 26-28, 2020 Arkansas Recycling Coalition Annual Conference- Eureka Springs, AR

VIRTUAL EVENT:: October 26-28, 2020:

CANCELLED: October 27- October 30, 2020: Virginia Recycling Association Annual Conference- Virginia Beach, VA

VIRTUAL EVENT: October 27-29, 2020 APR Member Meeting
Upcoming Webinars

Wednesday, October 7: 9-10:30 am ET
This Master Class is the third in a series of Master Classes jointly organized by ISWA, EXPRA and Product Stewardship Institute to explain the concept of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), its various application for various waste streams and in various countries as well as diving into hot topics and specific details.

Wednesday, October 15: 2 pm ET
This Master Class is the third in a series of Master Classes jointly organized by ISWA, EXPRA and Product Stewardship Institute to explain the concept of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), its various application for various waste streams and in various countries as well as diving into hot topics and specific details.

Monday, October 19: 2:00 – 3:30 pm ET
Register for the webinar to learn about these new international requirements for exports and imports of plastic scrap and potential impacts on transboundary movements of this material. This webinar is intended for federal, state and local governments.
SERDC News & Announcements
Registration is open! SERDC Annual Members Meeting
Join us for three days of informative sessions during the SERDC Annual Fall Membership Meeting. This year's virtual event will offer networking opportunities, background on SERDC's mission and vision, and sessions with industry professionals discussing recycling in these "uncertain times."

The meeting is being offered free to our membership through the generous support of our sponsor members. Non-members can learn more about SERDC and join us for just a $49 registration fee. 

Registration is required. You will receive event information and your unique log in code prior to the event in a separate email.

We hope to see you there!
10:00-10:15 am ET

Sponsor tables
10:15-10:30 am ET

SERDC History, impact, future objectives

10:30-11:30 am ET


Communities/Supply Impacts from Covid, budgeting for recycling, essential for infrastructure and economy 
Speakers: Michael Snipes- (SWANA)

Kevin Perry- Georgia Beverage Association

Matt James- NC DEACS

Randy Hartmann-moderator
11:30-12:00 pm ET
Q and A day wrap-up
10:00-10:15 am ET

Sponsor tables
10:15-10:30 am ET

SERDC Forum with participants or messaging presentation

10:30-11:30 am ET

Speakers: Laura Rowell- Sonoco
Billy Johnson- ISRI, Chief Lobbyist

Advanced Recycling- TBD

11:30-12:00 pm ET
Q and A day wrap-up
10:00-10:15 am ET

Sponsor tables
10:15-10:30 am ET

Annual Meeting/Elections

10:30-11:30 am ET

Strategy- Procurement initiatives and national strategy
Speakers: Ksenija Janjic-
Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery
US Environmental Protection Agency

Jan Hardin-
Waste Reduction Partners,

Kimberly M. Cochran, Ph.D-.
Chief, Sustainable Materials Branch
Resource Conservation and Sustainability Division
Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
11:30-12:00 pm ET
Q and A day wrap-up
From SERDC Members

KW invests in processing equipment amid pandemic
Posted September 22, 2020 on Resource-Recycling.com/plastics

Supply and demand realities for key curbside plastics are evolving fast during the coronavirus pandemic, and they’ve led one major plastics recycling company to adjust operationally.

During a session of WasteExpo Together Online 2020, a virtual event held last week in lieu of the annual convention, Stephanie Baker of KW Plastics described how the pandemic has boosted the value of certain plastic products, and she explained recent investments her company has made to keep up with the demand.

Supplying the products became the new challenge, and KW quickly began receiving letters from customers who were concerned about sourcing sufficient resin to meet higher demand. Those supply concerns placed greater value on the essential role recycled materials processors play in manufacturing.

“From the very beginning, there was no question whether recycling was considered essential or not,” Baker said.

KW saw firsthand demand shifts, including through its in-house manufacturing operation, KW Container, which produces paint cans from recycled PP.

“We have never seen demand in the paint and coatings industry like we have,” Baker said. Typically demand spikes in the spring with consumers launching home improvement projects, and demand levels off late in summer as fall approaches.

KW also saw shifts in HDPE demand, and the overall demand increase across resins led KW to add two new extruders to its production line, Baker said last week.

“If we can get the equipment, which is tight right now, we have plans to add two or three more, because we feel like we are going to see this demand continue to grow for at least the next two or three years,” Baker said. “We want to do everything we can to get ahead of that demand.”

“So we are investing in the middle of the pandemic, as crazy as that sounds, into more production capacity. All of these developments indicate that domestic recycled plastic end markets are “very strong and they are reliable,” Baker said.

KW Plastics is a member of SERDC

National Waste & Recycling Association Recognizes Best in Recycling to Rehrig Pacific Company and Waste Management
Posted September 13, 2020 on WasteAdvantageMag.com

The National Waste & Recycling Association recognized innovators and leaders in its industry. Awards in five categories were given to companies that have made substantial contributions to American recycling through partnerships, public education and innovations in recycling facilities. Winners were selected by a panel of judges who are professionals in the waste and recycling industry as well as from other technology and education organizations.

The 2020 Sustainability Partnership Game Changer Award was presented to Rehrig Pacific Company and Waste Management for their effort to increase post-consumer resin (PCR) in roll-out carts by 10 percent. In October 2019, Rehrig Pacific was named one of Waste Management’s primary suppliers, and in spring 2020, Rehrig Pacific and Waste Management launched a project to test and commercialize roll-out carts that would incorporate at least 10 percent bulky rigid PCR. With a mutual focus on sustainability, Rehrig and Waste Management were able to expedite the testing and approvals to deliver the solution within three months.

Rehrig Pacific and Waste Management are members of SERDC
Waste Management report shows untapped recycling potential, clarifies policy positions

Posted September 10, 2020 on WasteDive.com

A recent report by Waste Management shows untapped capacity throughout the materials recovery chain, at a time when demand for faster recycling progress is increasing on multiple fronts in the United States. Highlights from some of the key takeaways in the report:

1. Significant work remains to hit circular economy targets for plastics

The Southeast is Waste Management's highest volume destination for end buyers of these plastics, though the Great Lakes is another prime location. But when it comes to regions accepting the most material generated outside their borders, the Southeast is handling the largest imported volumes by far across all categories.

The report goes into greater detail on the regional factors around PET, HDPE and PP, but one of the clear findings is much more can be done within the current system to achieve brands' stated circular economy targets. In many cases, it's more common for these recycled resins to be downcycled in products different than their original use. For example, according to the report, only 21% of PET collected for recycling is turned back into food grade bottles and most of that activity comes from the 10 bottle bill states.

Beyond the ongoing need to do this for PET and HDPE containers, there appears to be growing sentiment that PP offers untapped potential as well.

2. Residential MRF capacity is not being maximized amid calls for more recycling
According to Waste Management, more than 28% of MRF processing capacity (the equivalent of 6.6 million tons of material) in the U.S. is not being utilized. The New York-New Jersey and Mid-Atlantic areas have the highest shares of open capacity. Sizable open capacity also exists in the Pacific Southwest and the Southeast, followed by smaller amounts in every other area – except New England and the Midwest, which are largely full.

Amid years of discussion about needing to expand recycling infrastructure, this data appears to show more work can also be done to maximize use of existing elements.

“What jumped out at me was the excess MRF capacity," said Will Sagar, executive director of the Southeast Recycling Development Council. "We’ve got a lot of unmet demand for material and according to this we’ve got the processing capacity and we’ve got recycling collection over quite a bit of the population."

3. Recent collection and education tactics have shown results
The recycling sector has been increasingly focused on converting to cart-based collection, with a heavy emphasis on quality control following changing market dynamics. And while the related switch to single-stream that often entails remains a source of debate due to quality concerns, this report shows Waste Management is committed to that approach.

When paired with targeted education, Waste Management said this has led to more material and cleaner material heading to MRFs. It reports inbound contamination rates have declined from an average of 25% in recent years to "just over" 17%. The company also notes a goal, which has not been widely publicized before, of knocking inbound contamination rates down to 10% by 2025.

4. MRF investments are continuing with room for more
Along these lines, recent investments include four new or upgraded MRFs and 100 equipment upgrades at other MRFs. Per the report, upgrades such as screens and optical sorters have reduced residual rates and helped yield higher prices for better quality end products. While the company notes upgrades at one facility reduced its residual rate to 6.3%, lower than industry averages, a company-wide average residual rate is not reported.

Underlying this assessment is Waste Management's continued stance that processing investments are only worthwhile for materials "with enough volume to create full loads on a regular basis and with viable end markets." Materials fitting the company's criteria include "cardboard, aluminum and tin/steel cans, PET, HDPE and PP bottles, and glass (where end markets exist)." The latter characterization glass taps into a broader debate in the industry about how to best capture the material, as manufacturers say they want more of it, but fits with the company's prior comments.

5. Waste Management's policy positions are shifting slightly
Waste Management's opposition to a major packaging policy bill in California during the 2019 legislative session (a position it maintained this year) was one inspiration behind the shareholder resolution. The company's stance on broader extended producer responsibility (EPR) policies had generally been viewed as oppositional, but it began showing more nuance earlier this year and clarified that position in April.

Now, the company says it supports EPR for certain "hard-to-handle" categories such as electronics, batteries, lighting, paint and other materials "for which there are no funding or handling systems readily available to consumers." Otherwise, it is skeptical of EPR for packaging in part because it hasn't seen them drive sufficient changes in market demand or product design. The company does support "advanced disposal fees" and related structures that factor recycling costs into product pricing, which could leave the door open for stewardship models that don't change the company's control of processing infrastructure.

Beyond establishing support for pay-as-you-throw programs and recycling mandates, Waste Management also mentions its support for recycled content legislation. The company notes supporting a Washington bill vetoed earlier this year and one under consideration in New Jersey. While it was not registered as a supporter of a bill recently passed in California, the company said at the time it was "pleased" with that outcome.

Waste Management is a member of SERDC
Around the Southeast
Milliken Joins Polypropylene Recycling Coalition to Help Ensure a Circular Future for PP-based Packaging
Posted September 11, 2020 on Milliken.com

As part of a multi-pronged strategy aimed to amplify plastic circularity, Milliken & Company joined the Polypropylene Recycling Coalition, an industry collaboration established by The Recycling Partnership to improve polypropylene (PP) plastic recovery and recycling in the U.S. Milliken will tap into its material science expertise to help the organization increase the supply of high-quality recycled PP plastic in a variety of ways, including funding the coalition’s efforts to enhance the PP recycling infrastructure nationwide, establishing consumer education programs that encourage curbside recycling, and offering its product portfolio to packaging producers looking to use recycled PP plastic material.

“Our membership in the Polypropylene Recycling Coalition is one way we are improving the quality and performance of recycled polypropylene,” adds Allen Jacoby, senior vice president, plastics additives for Milliken’s Chemical Division. “It will add a new dimension to our goal to boost plastic circularity—which includes maintaining a robust portfolio of additives and modifiers.”

Milliken’s corporate headquarters are at the Roger Milliken Center (RMC) in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

Expansion means more jobs in Cleveland County, NC
Posted September 2, 2020 on shelbystar.com/

A grant will help fund an expansion of a Shelby, NC plant that will make it the only one of its kind in the country.

The North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority recently approved more than a dozen grant requests to local governments, including one for $360,000 to expand IMC-Metals America.

The company, a smelter of copper to be used for manufacturing parts, plans to add 30,000 square feet to the existing facility. Overall, the company plans to create dozens of new jobs and invest at least $26,000 with an investment of $12.6 million tied to the grant.

The expansion will keep copper scrap in the country instead of having it shipped overseas, and all the work will be done domestically.

Beth Norman with Cleveland County Economic Development Partnership said the expansion will bring the facility to the next level. She said the facility gathers scrap metal and wiring and the copper is melted and formed into anodes and nuggets. The refined product is used in a variety of ways, including in electrical wiring, cell phones and to coat pennies.

“They already have this new technology that will be coming into the new plant here. It is very high tech, it’s a green initiative,” Hamrick said. “No waste water is put back into the system, there’s no air pollution, it’s a very clean process. They are going to take the copper melting and they are going to take the recycling to a new level. It comes out as virgin copper, the pureset level of copper. It’s really exciting for Cleveland County. It will be the only one of its kind in the United States.”

She said the expansion will add 46 jobs over three years, and 54 over five with wages above average for the county.

Brand owner demand drives PET recycler’s expansion
PET Bottle
Posted September 22, 2020 on resoucre-recycling.com/plastics

PolyQuest is adding 25 million pounds per year of processing capacity to its South Carolina pelletizing operation. Growth in customer RPET demand led to the investment.

Wilmington, N.C.-headquartered PolyQuest is adding a post-consumer PET processing line at its Darlington, S.C. recycling plant, growing its RPET capacity by at least a third, the company stated this month.

PolyQuest currently has the annual capacity to process about 50 million pounds of PCR, material that is sold into virtually every PET end market. Customer demand has increased to the point that its post-consumer lines were running at full capacity and all the output was sold out, explained Tod Durst, president of PolyQuest, in an interview.

“The demand and interest in utilizing recycled resin back into the converters has done nothing but increase, driven by sustainability goals set by brand owners,” Durst said.

PolyQuest anticipates the new line will come on-line by the third quarter of 2021.

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