Weekly News Bulletin: Dec. 16-22, 2008


Recycling Rates Likely to Decline in Poor Global Market

Community recycling programs across the US are taking a big hit this year as the global economic downturn is eroding demand and driving down prices paid for recycled materials. Some communities are likely to give up recycling programs altogether especially since once profitable programs now represent a significant expense. The collapse in the recycling market is a direct by-product of the financial crisis, as demand has slumped for material to be converted into everything from boxes, to car parts and construction materials. For example, newsprint, which was selling for $160 per ton as recently as September, is now selling for less than $40; corrugated cardboard is down from $50 per ton to $10; tin is down from $25 per pound to $5. Aluminum is off 34% this year while copper is off by as much as 52%. Some materials such as glass and plastic cannot even be given away, forcing communities to instead pay for their disposal in a landfill. As a consequence, collection and disposal costs are likely toincrease as communities impose surcharges or raise prices to cover their costs and as demand for landfill disposal increases...Read More »



Lisa Jackson Nominated to Head EPA

President-elect Barack Obama has nominated Lisa P. Jackson to head the US EPA in his administration, citing her past experience as head of New Jersey's environment department (DEP) and her political skills necessary to strike deals between industry and activists. Most recently she has been serving as chief of staff to Gov. Jon S. Corzine, who happens to be leading Obama's transition team. Obama was said to have also been considering California Air Resources Board chief Mary Nichols, former Pennsylvania environment department head Kathleen McGinty, and activists' preferred candidate, environmental attorney Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Industry groups, including the NSWMA, are strongly receptive to Jackson on the premise that she would not be beholden to environmentalists' interests. Jackson, who is a chemical engineer, comes highly qualified for the job with twenty years of experience as an environmental regulator and a reputation as a consensus builder. During her 33 month tenure as commissioner of the DEP, the state began initiatives to crack down on polluters in environmentally ravaged areas of the state, ended the agency's bear hunts and unveiled an ambitious carbon reduction plan. Jackson also spent 16 years at the US EPA where she oversaw hazardous waste cleanup projects in New Jersey...Read More »



Sims Signs 20-Year Recycling Contract with NYC

Sims Metal Management has signed a 20-year recycling contract with the City of New York. While Sims has committed to invest more than $50 million in three locations, the revenue to Sims, assuming mid-range commodity prices, is likely to approach $1 billion over the 20-year period. For the first three years, Sims Metal Management will handle metal, plastic and glass. A predecessor company, Hugo Neu-Schnitzer East, began performing that role under short-term contracts in 2003. The terms of the deal take into account the collection of materials on a dual-stream basis. Sims will pay for paper scrap, which is one stream, based on market rates. The city will pay Sims for handling the other stream: metal, glass and plastics. For these materials, Sims and the city will share in any revenues from their sale...Read More »



Republic Agrees to Pay $10 Million Fine For Countywide Landfill

Republic Services has agreed to pay a $10 million fine to resolve all pending environmental violations at its troubled Countywide Landfill in Stark County, Ohio. Under a mediated agreement, the company will pay the fine to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to obtain its long-delayed operating licenses for 2008 and 2009. The agreement also calls for the Ohio EPA and the U.S. EPA instead of the County Health Department to oversee remediation efforts at the site where the company has already spent millions, including a $6 million project to excavate a fire break trench between the landfill's original 88 acres, where fires and odor problems originated, and the landfill's newer area...Read More »



EPA Expands ECF Rule to Allow More Wastes into Boilers

The US EPA said it has finalized the expansion to the Comparable Fuel Exclusion rule to allow certain secondary material, called emission-comparable fuel (ECF), to be safely burned for energy recovery in industrial boilers. By definition, ECF generates emissions that are comparable to those from burning fuel oil, when burned in an industrial boiler. "This action recognizes that ECF should be managed as a commodity valued for its energy content," said Susan Bodine, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. "This action will remove unnecessary regulation to promote use and energy recovery, while maintaining protection of human health and the environment."...Read More »



New York Town Exhumes Flow Control

The Town of North Hempstead, NY on Long Island has approved the reinstatement of a waste flow control law. Reinstituting flow control will allow the town to mandate that all waste collected within its jurisdiction, including its 30 villages, go through its transfer station in Port Washington. The law is to take effect in 2010, when current contracts with waste haulers expire. The decision to reinstate flow control comes by way of the US Supreme Court's decision last year in United Haulers v. Oneida-Herkimer, in which the court held that municipalities can compel haulers to use publicly financed waste facilities. Until then, flow control had been deemed unconstitutional by the high court's ruling on Carbone v. Clarkstown, NY in 1994. The waste industry, including the NSWMA, have argued for years that flow control inevitably leads to higher costs in the absence of competition...Read More »



Clean Harbors Now Trades on NYSE

Environmental and hazardous waste management services firm Clean Harbors has commenced trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the Ticker Symbol "CLH."...Read More »



Waste Services Completes Cost Cutting Plan

Waste Services, Inc. said it has substantially completed previously announced cost cutting measures including consolidation of corporate administrative functions to the Company's headquarters in Burlington, Ont., closing of some offices, and the reduction of 65 jobs throughout the company. Annual overhead cost savings are estimated to be between $4 to $5 million, which translates into 4 to 5 cents in earnings per share. "With the economic slowdown, it is an appropriate time to take advantage of this investment and streamline our administrative cost structure." said David Sutherland-Yoest, President and CEO...Read More »



Court Hears Case Whether County Can Delegate Waste Authority

A Gwinnett County, Georgia Superior Court Judge is hearing testimony of two haulers seeking an injunction to stop the county from turning its solid waste program over to a third party agency. Last month, that agency - Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful gave two companies exclusive rights to serve the nearly 180,000 households in the unincorporated areas of the county. Those companies are Waste Pro (Longwood, FL) and Advanced Disposal (Jacksonville, FL). Attorneys for the plaintiffs, Southern Sanitation and Sanitation Solutions, argue that the county improperly authorized GC&B to operate its waste disposal and that the agency lacks authority to enforce the program which is governed by solid waste ordinance, and that the plaintiffs were unfairly excluded from the process...Read More »



Senate Environment Committee Aids Considered to Run EPA Waste Office

President-elect Barack Obama is said to be considering key Senate Environment & Public Works Committee (EPW) staffers as candidates to be the next assistant administrators of various EPA offices or to head up regional branches. Among them are EPW Staff Director Bettina Poirier and fellow environment committee staff member Grant Cope as contenders to run the agency's Office of Solid Waste & Emergency Response (OSWER). Scott Slesinger, currently vice president for governmental affairs at the Environmental Technology Council and a former staffer with EPW member Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) is also in contention for the post...Read More »



American Ecology Names New President and COO

American Ecology said that its Board of Directors has appointed James R. Baumgardner to the newly created position of President and Chief Operating Officer, effective January 5, 2009. He will report to Stephen Romano, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, and be responsible for business development, disposal site operations, and "acquiring and integrating businesses to fuel future growth." Baumgardner, 46 hails from SECOR International, Inc., a Redmond, WA-based provider of environmental consulting services, where he was Senior Vice President and CFO...Read More »



Waste Management to Raise Dividend by 7 Percent

Waste Management Inc. said it plans to raise its 2009 quarterly dividends by more than 7 percent, as it allocates $1.3 billion for stock repurchases, acquisitions and debt reduction next year. The increased payout is part of a broader capital allocation program for next year approved by Waste Management's board of directors. The first dividend is expected to be formally declared in February and paid in March. The company will pay quarterly dividends of $0.29 per share in 2009, that will total $1.16 per share for the year, which will be 7.4 percent higher than those paid in 2008...Read More »


Sign up to receive our free Weekly News Bulletin