The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) reported a 16 percent decline in waste going to landfills in its state in 2009. Total disposal volume dropped to 47.8 million cubic yards from 57.1 million yards disposed in 2008. Much of the decline was due to a 13 percent drop in waste generated within the state. "Some of that may be due to the economy," said Robert McCann, a spokesman for Michigan's DEQ. Waste originating from Canada declined by 16 percent largely as a result of a deal in 2006 crafted by Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin with Canadian officials to gradually reduce the amount of waste coming across the border into Michigan. Under the arrangement, Michigan was supposed to see a 20 percent drop in Canadian trash in 2007 and a 40 percent drop by 2008, but those numbers never materialized.
The economy is certainly a factor, particularly for Michigan an industrialized state hard hit by the auto industry. While statistics for 2009 are not yet finalized, Waste Business Journal is projecting a 6.5 percent decline in total US waste generation from 2008. Declines in residential volumes, which constitute three fourths of the waste stream, are off modestly about 3 percent; however, construction and demolition materials, representing 12 percent of the waste stream, are off as much as 20 percent from last year. Commercial wastes from businesses, representing the other 13 percent of all wastes, are expected to be off as much as 15 percent from last year...Read More »
Two industry associations are challenging EPA's recently finalized medical waste incinerator air toxics rule. They argue that EPA unlawfully recalculated the industry's maximum achievable control technology (MACT) standard by using emissions data collected after the sector had already complied with EPA's first MACT rule for the sector, leading to an overly stringent result. The Medical Waste Institute and the Energy Recovery Council, formerly the Integrated Waste Services Association, filed a petition for review in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on Dec. 7. At issue is EPA's Sept. 16 final new source performance standard (NSPS) and emissions guidelines for new and existing hospital, medical and infectious waste incinerators, a standard that strengthens existing emission limits for all regulated pollutants emitted by the facilities. Section 129 of the Clean Air Act requires EPA to develop and adopt NSPS and emissions guidelines for solid waste incineration units. The NSPS addresses new sources, while the emissions guidelines address existing ones. Both are based on the MACT floor...Read More »
EPA administrator Lisa Jackson challenged criticism that the agency's proposed coal ash waste proposal would damage the building-materials industry, saying last week that the waste produced by coal-fired power plants can be safely recycled into products such as cement. "There seems to be genuine agreement that the use of coal ash in concrete and concrete-like products does not cause a threat to human health and the environment. The threats associated with coal-ash waste are from leaching," she said, "which is not a problem from a concrete perspective."
The EPA has been under pressure from Congress and activists to regulate coal ash after a spill in Dec. 2008 at a TVA plant in Kingston, TN spilled a billion gallons of ash and water over as much as 300 acres. In response, the EPA has suggested that it might regulate coal ash as non-hazardous if properly disposed or recycled and hazardous if handled otherwise, a so-called "hybrid approach." However, companies such as LaFarge SA, the world's biggest cement maker, are appealing to the Obama White House to warn that even the threat of treating coal ash as hazardous would create a stigma against reusing the waste for other purposes. Currently, more than 40% of coal ash is being recycled into products such as cement and drywall. The EPA is trying to find a middle ground between business and environmentalists. Regulating it as hazardous would give the agency federal control over its destiny and create unified standards but would significantly raise costs to power plants...Read More »
EnergySolutions attorneys will argue this week before the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals that its low-level radioactive waste facility in Clive, UT is not subject to regulation under the multi-state Northwest Compact. At issue is the May 2009 ruling by federal Judge Ted Stewart and the state's subsequent appeal that EnergySolutions' facility is not a "regional" disposal facility and thus is not subject to the compact's desire to restrict the type of non-regional waste that is received. The issue came to the fore in 2008 when EnergySolutions applied to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for permission to import 20,000 tons (1 million cubic feet) of various materials from decommissioned nuclear facilities in Italy
Federal legislation set up multiple regional compacts in the mid 1980s to allow states a way to manage and store low-level radioactive waste generated within compacts' boundaries. "The compact system was intended to be a solution to the serious low-level radioactive waste disposal problems that existed in the 1970s," according to arguments filed in the case.
EnergySolutions counters that compacts correctly have authority to regulate "regional disposal facilities" within their boundaries, but the legislation was never intended to exercise such broad authority over a privately owned facility established after passage of the law...Read More »
California's privately owned utilities are unlikely to meet a state mandate to generate at least 20 percent of their power from renewable sources by the end of 2010. That is according to Gregg Morris, director of the Green Power Institute, speaking before the Pacific West Biomass Conference on Jan. 12. "We've done a great job of signing contracts," Morris said. "We've done a very poor job of actually bringing power online." He said that the utilities have actually lost some ground since the renewable portfolio standard (RPS) was signed in 2002. At that time, the investor-owned utilities (IOUs) were averaging about 13.5 percent in total renewable generation that includes wind, solar, geothermal, small hydro and biomass. RPS data from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) confirms that even though 7,000 megawatts of IOU contracts have been signed for "RPS eligible" energy, actual project development has been stalled by regulations, a lack of transmissioncapacity and overlapping agencies with jurisdiction.
Energy from biomass, including landfill gas projects, dairy digesters and forest waste, declined to 19 percent of all renewable power in California in 2008 from 22 percent in 2003. In 1980, 60 biomass plants operating in California produced 1,000 MW of electricity. Today, it is about 30 plants, producing 600 MW...Read More »
Advanced Disposal Services Inc. (Jacksonville, FL) said it has about $80 million available for acquisitions and general corporate purposes after having refinanced its existing credit facility with a new $400 million first lien bank credit facility. "The new $400 million credit facility allows Advanced Disposal to continue its disciplined growth strategy by providing sufficient liquidity over the next four years," said Advanced Disposal CEO Charlie Appleby. The company is off to a good start. Earlier this month they bought multimaterial recycler Sumrall Recycling Services Inc., based in Hattiesburg, MS. Advanced Disposal provides integrated waste services in the Southeast and is part of Highstar Capital's portfolio of companies under its Star Atlantic Waste Holdings, L.P. that also includes Interstate Waste Services and North East Waste Waste Services...Read More »
Environmentalists are seeking new legislation banning the export of hazardous electronic waste (e-waste) in response to an EPA rule that is considered to narrow for it only applies to the export of spent-lead acid batteries (SLABs) instead of focusing on a broader list of hazardous wastes. EPA recently modified rules for hazardous waste exports to bring them into agreement with those applying to countries belonging to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Behind this effort is the Basel Action Network (BAN), which monitors the international movement of hazardous materials, and the Electronics Takeback Coalition. Both groups are pushing for a new bill banning e-waste exports, since legislation prohibiting e-waste exports that is currently pending in the House, H.R. 2595, has become "watered down" with too many exemptions. That bill is currently stalled having lost environmentalists' support.
BAN says EPA's rule falls short of the legally-binding OECD Council decision because it avoids regulation of scores of substances on OECD's "amber list," that are far more significant than lead acid batteries. These other wastes include sewage sludge, solid waste incinerator ash, asbestos and dioxin waste...Read More »
Waste Pro (Longwood, FL) has bought Delta Sanitation in Gautier MS, representing the largest acquisition to date for the waste services company. Delta is a residential and commercial hauling company that serves the coastal Mississippi area of Biloxi and Gulfport. It employs 124 people, owns a recycling facility and two C&D / Industrial landfills. Waste Pro's CEO John Jennings said "he is proud to add Delta and its highly experienced management group to the Waste Pro team." Wally Carter will remain in charge and become Waste Pro's newest Regional Vice President. Waste Pro is part of Atlanta-based Roark Capital Group and employs 1,500 employees across 37 locations in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina...Read More »
WCA Waste Corp. appointed Daniel J. Clark to its board of directors. He fills a vacancy created by the resignation of Ballard O. Castleman on Dec. 31 according to a company filing of Jan. 15. Clark is one of a group of investors in the company who have signed an agreement not to acquire more than 30% of any class of the company's voting securities and not to sell or transfer more than 10% of the company's common stock in any single transaction or series of related transactions to any person or entity, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The group of shareholders received a stake in the company when WCA Waste recently acquired Live Earth, LLC in a cash-and-stock deal worth up to $43.4 million...Read More »
Recycling company Greenstar North America (Houston, TX) has appointed Michael Simmons as its new CEO. Simmons was most recently a Senior Operating Partner at Q Investments, a multi-billion dollar hedge fund. Prior to that, he had spent 20 years at GE where he held international leadership positions in Corporate Finance, Mergers and Acquisitions, Business Development and Operations. Greenstar is owned by NTR plc which has operations in the USA, UK, and Ireland. Greenstar entered the US market in 2007 and since that time has established a network of 16 material recovery facilities which process about two million tons per year of recyclables...Read More »
Stericycle Inc. said it is investing more than $390,000 to expand its Indianapolis operations center that will create as many as 109 jobs by 2011. The current operation, which employs nearly 350 people, handles consumer product recalls and returns processing and features advanced product-handling equipment. Stericycle is a leading provider of regulated medical waste management and product recall and return services in the US. The company has more than 6,500 employees worldwide...Read More »
Waste Management plans to announce fourth quarter and year-end financial results on the morning of Tuesday, February 16 and host a conference call at 10 a.m. (Eastern Time)...Read More »
Industrial Services of America's Founder and Chairman Harry Kletter said that strategic investments, acquisitions, facilities expansions and the recruitment of a professional management team has poised the company for "tangible success for the company and its shareholders." Brian Donaghy, President, specifically cited the company's recent acquisition of Venture Metals and the hiring of its executives; Expansion of the company's primary metal recycling facility in Louisville that more than doubles its usable acreage; improvements that increase the company's ability to process and receive shipments of raw metal; and Installation of a 4-story tall, multi-million dollar shredder that dramatically upgrades metal processing capacity and throughput...Read More »