EPA Announces Improved Recycling Rate

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced that the total weight of all municipal solid waste generated and disposed of in the USA remained constant for the year 2011, compared to 2010, but that the country’s rate of recycling moved upward, improving over the prior year.

The EPA reported that Americans generated over two hundred and fifty million tons of solid waste in 2011, a near identical amount to 2010. Of that total amount of waste, almost eighty seven million tons, or 34.7% was recycled or composted. The national recycling rate for 2010 was 34.0%.

The total waste generated per person was almost four and one half pounds per day, down from 2010.

The EPA  also provides recycling rates for various waste materials. Newspapers and paper materials have a recycling rate of almost seventy three percent. Aluminum cans are recycled at close to fifty five percent and glass containers and PET plastics are recycled at  thirty four percent and twenty nine percent respectively. The biggest year over year recycling gains were seen by aluminum cans and tires due to part to their high demand on the manufacturing market.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Even small improvements in your businesses recycling rate or waste disposal rate can result in savings when you compare year to year. The important thing is to track your before and after to see what works and what doesn’t. Every company has unique waste disposal and recycling needs so if you want to save money, you need to do what’s right for your business sector!

New Aluminum Recycling Program

The international aerospace and aviation corporations, Boeing and Alcoa recently announced a joint partnership for an innovative new waste management program that is expected to significantly increase their Boeing’s ability to recycle aerospace grade aluminum alloys needed for the production of the airplanes they manufacture.

Both companies estimate that an excess of eight million pounds of waste or unusable aluminum material can be expected to enter the recycling stream within the first year the program is in full operation.

The recycled materials will come from scrap  aluminum alloy materials needed in the manufacturing of fuselage and wing components of Boeing airplanes. Some of the specific waste materials to be recycled will include aluminum sheet and plate products and extrusions.

Boeing stands to benefit by reducing waste and minimizing disposal fees while demonstrating environmental stewardship and Alcoa, in turn, will have a source of high quality aluminum ready to enter the waste materials supply chain and recycling market.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: If your business produces a high volume of a specific kind of recycling waste, it may be in your best interest to find a business partner that caters to that niche.  By working together you’ll alleviate workload, share expertise, and realize cost savings. Just remember, recycling isn’t something that you have to do independently. With many recycling services and waste materials re-sellers entering the market, it’s worth exploring the opportunities available to you!

How To Recycle Single Use Coffee Pods

Single-cup coffee makers are now a staple in today’s workplace. They can be found in staff break-rooms, kitchens, and customer reception areas. While they are very convenient and appreciated by those wanting a fresh cup of coffee or tea, the single serving pods do cause both an environmental and waste disposal concern as they are not recyclable.

It is anticipated that thirteen percent of the adults in the United States drink single-serving brewed coffee every day. This percentage is expected to increase each year as the popularity of the machines continue to grow. Luckily, coffee manufacturers are attempting to address the waste generation and recycling issue.

Most single-cup pods are made from a mix of plastic, aluminum, coffee grounds and paper. Each of those items can be recycled individually, but not when combined which is beyond the abilities of standard municipal recycling services.

Some waste reduction solutions do exist. TerraCycle provides recycling for used coffee pods and has diverted close to twenty five million capsules from landfills since 2009. Green Mountain also offers a workplace program for composting coffee grounds and recycling materials.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: If your business relies on single serving coffee makers, take some time and look at how much waste they produce. You may discover that participating in a recycling program, or switching back to the old fashioned coffee pot, will save you more money!

Keeping Bottles And Cans Out Of Landfills

The Governor of Tennessee, Bill Haslam, recently signed into law a bill designed to keep plastic bottles and aluminum cans from being disposed of in regional landfills.

The new law offers financial incentives to all municipalities in Tennessee which provide recycling services to their residential and business members. The Recycling Development Council for the Southeast sees the new law as an important step in keeping valuable plastic and aluminum in the recycling stream and out of the waste stream. Both plastic and aluminum are waste resources that have manufacturing markets waiting and eager  to buy them if they are separated them trash to be recycled. Having more plastic and aluminum available for re-use also helps the state in job creation, supports economic development in the “green” industry sector, and helps to reduce strain on landfills in addition to reducing the cost associated with trash disposal.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Sometimes offering an incentive can be a big help to changing behavior. If you’re trying to get your employees to recycle more and waste less, think of ways to reward or incentivize them for changing their habits. If a department knows they can be eligible for a reward as a result of their cost saving, recycling efforts, they’ll be all the more enthusiastic to embrace recycling and encourage others as well!


GM Aims For Landfill-Free

American automotive manufacturer  General Motors,  is increasing their total number of landfill-free operations facilities, slowing coming closer to reaching their corporate environmental sustainability goal of one hundred and twenty five facilities throughout the world by the year 2020.

The company’s Lockport, New York location is the most recent facility to achieve zero-to-landfill status by converting all daily operations waste to energy or reusing or recycling. It is the 103rd such GM facility to reach this status.

During the prior year, the Lockport location recycled six million pounds of aluminum and generated nearly four million in revenue. The facility is responsible for manufacturing the heating and cooling components for a variety of GM vehicles. The plant manager and staff credits the convenience and ease of the recycling program as a key reason for its success. Clearly marked bins in key locations pose no disruptions to the workflow and serve as frequent reminders.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Whether your business is a large one like General Motors or a small operation with just a few employees, setting re-use and recycling goals is something that can save your business money, possible earn you some good publicity, and contribute to the well-being of the planet. If you’ve been thinking about creating a comprehensive materials waste recycling plan, let 2013 be the year you take action!

Scrap Metal Theft Ends With Prison Time

Thinking about the easy money to be made handling “questionable” scrap metal? Are you under the erroneous impression that recyclable materials are easy to misappropriate for your financial gain? Concerned about the trustworthiness of your employees? In recent weeks, six individuals from Tennessee were arrested and charged for their participation in an intricate plan of stealing truck-loads of waste scrap metal materials worth close to two million dollars. The illegal activity had been gradually taking place over a two year time period.

Each of the six people involved were charged with property theft in excess of two hundred and fifty dollars which is consider a class A felony and if convicted, carries a sentence of fifteen to twenty five years in jail.

It is estimated that cargo theft crimes result in a loss of up to thirty billion dollars each year for businesses and that close to eighty percent are considered “inside jobs.” In this case, the crime was started by employees of a trucking company which was responsible for hauling scrap metal material waste throughout the state. Through a scheme that involved paying off various security guards and drivers, the materials were then sold “under the table” to another scrap metal yard which promised not to document the transaction. The metal scrap was then hauled to another facility in Alabama and sold for cash which was shared by all the participants.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: There’s money to be made in the waste recycling of scrap metal but only if you do it above-board and adhering to the law. Be smart and protect both yourself, your business, and employees from the dangers of stealing!

Airline Waste Recycles Aluminum

The Alaska Air Airline Group is reporting that they diverted over two hundred and thirty tons of aluminum last year. That was enough recovered waste material to construct three new airplanes. This information comes from the carrier’s first corporate sustainability report.

In addition to the aluminum, the organization’s recycling programs are responsible for waste recycling more than eight hundred tons of material waste from landfills, including almost two hundred tons of paper.

The 2012 sustainability report documents the airline’s social responsibility efforts and outlines strategies and goals for improving their environmental stewardship. For the coming year, Alaska Air’s recycling goals are to increase its recycling collection to seventy percent and ensure that recycling is available in all flight kitchens and utilizing Forest Stewardship Council-certified material for juice containers.

Alaska Airlines services over ninety cities in Alaska and Hawaii, the continental United States, Canada, and Mexico.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Does your business issue a yearly environmental stewardship and waste recycling goals report? If Alaska Airlines recycled enough aluminum to build three airplanes in one year, what might your business be able to do? You might be surprised how much you money and waste material you can save when you have a yearly report to hold yourself accountable to!

Canadian Company Waste Recycles Light Bulbs

Dan-X Recycling in Nova Scotia, Canada, may be the first recycling company of its kind to be devoted strictly to the waste recycling of light bulbs. The business uses its own, specially designed and built machine to break apart the bulbs and separate the different parts for recycling and reuse.

The aluminum caps from the bulbs are sold to a Canadian scrap metal recycler and the phosphorous at the core of the bulb is sent to a company in Quebec for removal and reuse of mercury. The company is still looking for a business interested in acquiring the glass which could be used in the manufacturing of decorative patio stones, concrete, and other building materials.

Dan-X receives its light bulbs from local recycling and trade-in programs designed to have individuals and businesses trade in old, inefficient bulbs for energy-saving ones. In the first two months of operation, the business received over 275,000 light bulbs, with many more to follow.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Take a moment and look at the items ending up in your business’ garbage. What are you paying money to dispose of every month? Could some of that waste be recycled and save you money?

MillerCoors Makes Waste Recycling Goal

MillerCoors recent sustainability report indicates the company achieved a zero waste-to-landfill goal for four facilities and is currently in the process of establishing a recycling center at another.

The Chicago-based company also surpassed its target of reducing landfill waste disposal by fifty percent, instead obtaining a fifty-five percent waste recycling rate. This rate is greatly increased from 2010, when the company only achieve a thirty-two percent diversion rate.

By 2015, MillerCoors has stated that it will reduce the overall packaging weight throughout its product line by two percent, the equivalent of sixty-eight million pounds of materials.

A new recycling center was established at its brewing facility in Eden, North Carolina, and included an aluminum baler, a cardboard baler, and recycling containers.The result was that the facility recycled ninety-two percent of its generated waste.

In addition, the company also reuses or recycles spent brewer’s grain and yeast, glass, wood, plastic, aluminum, and other materials.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: How is your business handing waste disposal and waste recycling? Setting short and long term sustainability goals can help you move forward in saving green by going green!

Waste Recycling of Scrap Metal

If you’re in the construction, demolition, or remodeling business, chances are you’ve waste recycled scrap metal. Ever wonder what determines the monetary value of various scrap metals? Here are a few factors:

1) The Global Marketplace: Overseas markets, especially China, play a significant role in determining US values as more than half of all US scrap metal is exported.

2) The Home Market: The overall health of The New York Stock Exchange also impacts the price of metals.

3) It’s the Economy, Stupid! Car sales are a good indicator of what happens in the scrap metal industry; when new sales are down, steel production is likely to be down. When demand increases, expect increases in scrap yard prices.

4) Who’s Buying? Like all businesses, scrap metal sellers want to make a profit. It’s a supply/demand balance between what sellers can charge and what buyers will bear. Location, type of metal, and demand can fluctuate.

5) Scrap yards and Scrappers: While catering primarily to a local market with smaller demand, scrap yard often have flexible pricing. Scrappers develop relationships with scraps yards to ensure they’ll receive the best prices for their materials.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Scrap metals have value so if you’re putting them in with your waste disposal materials you’re losing money! It pays to develop knowledge of the local and regional scrap yards and dealers in your area and do research to make sure you get the best price for your recycled metals!