Weekly News Bulletin: Aug. 24-30, 2010


Fewer Workplace Fatalities Last Year, Especially in Waste Industry

There were fewer worker fatalities last year, partly because fewer people were working, and especially since some of the most dangerous jobs were in businesses most affected by the poor economy, like construction. This was also true for the waste management business which is among the more dangerous professions, where fatalities fell to just 25 deaths per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers from 36 the year before. Nationally, there were 3.3 fatal work injuries per 100,000 workers last year, down from 3.7 in 2008, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

However, waste management continues to be much safer than the fishing, logging, farming and construction industries. But not always a lot safer as it is today. During 1992 to 1997 it accounted for over 1 percent of all occupational fatalities. An increasing number of accidents were caused by other motorists colliding with workers near trucks. The waste industry and its trade associations responded with programs to help companies better train their workers and increase public awareness. The results have been phenomenal. The National Solid Waste Management Association (NSWMA) responded by launching its campaign "Slow Down to Get Around" program in 2004 and has subsequently developed safety videos and seminars addressing both landfill and transfer station safety issues. They cover teaching workers about proper safety procedures, about wearing proper protective gear, using backup alarms and view systems, avoidance of lifting and loading injuries, driver ergonomics and the dangers of cellphones, among other issues...Read More »



Waste Management Pioneer Huizenga Consolidating New Industry

Wayne Huizenga, a founder of Waste Management, is buying into the $57-billion commercial cleaning business. Huizenga said his Swisher International Inc. would merge with CoolBrands International Inc., which provides cleaning services for restaurants, hospitals and other industries, in a deal valued at about $100 million and involving the exchange of shares for about 58 million shares of CoolBrands. The deal uses Cool-Brands' listing to make Swisher a public company. "This is another opportunity to build a company that will grow," Huizenga said. "Now we'll have public capital to do acquisitions." Huizenga used the same industry consolidation model employed with Waste Management to make multi billion dollar companies out of Blockbuster Video, Auto Nation, Extended Stay America and others. In 1994, he took a big position in Republic Waste (now Republic Services), helping it to grow into the number two $8 billion company it is today...Read More »



China is Destination for Majority of World's Recovered Paper

China continues to hunger for recyclable materials, including recovered paper for which it accounted for over half (54%) of the worldwide demand last year. That is a substantial increase from 2004 when it accounted for 34% of the global trade in recovered paper. Meanwhile, two-thirds of the US export of recovered paper went to China last year representing just over 13 of its 19 million tons, according to the latest data from RISI, Inc...Read More »



MVR Opens $9.2 Million Plastic Resin Recovery Facility in KY

Mountain Valley Recycling, LLC (MVR) announced the ribbon-cutting of its new $9.2 million plastic resin recycling facility in Frankfort, KY. Boca Raton, FL-based MVR, which recycles plastic into reusable resins, said the plant will be capable of producing 90 million pounds of recycled plastic annually and employ about 360 people with an annual payroll of about $11.4 million. "We are pleased to call the commonwealth of Kentucky and the city of Frankfort the newest home to our world-class manufacturing operations," said Ronald Whaley, president and CEO of MVR. MVR's resins can be customized for use in a wide variety of applications, including consumer products. The company recently won US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of its resins for use in food packaging.

The company's president Ron Whaley said that "on an annual basis, for each 50 million pounds of resin we process, we save 275,000 barrels of oil."...Read More »



EQ Buys Hazardous Waste Facility in Tulsa, OK; Expanding West

EQ - The Environmental Quality Co. (Wayne, MI) announced its purchase of a hazardous waste management facility in Tulsa, OK from A Clean Environment, Inc. The facility which has 12 employees and will henceforth be called EQ Oklahoma, Inc., is a RCRA permitted hazardous waste treatment, storage and disposal facility that can accept and manage nearly all waste types and waste codes in drum and bulk containers. "The addition of the Tulsa, Oklahoma facility into EQ's extensive facilities and services network enhances our western U.S. presence," stated David Lusk, President and CEO of EQ. EQ now owns 24 service locations in North America. This is EQ's second acquisition in 2010. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed...Read More »



Waste Management and Linde to Develop another Landfill LNG Facility

Waste Management and Linde are developing their second landfill gas-based facility for fueling natural gas vehicles, applying $11 million in California Energy Commission money to develop a state-of-the-art liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility at Waste Management's Simi Valley Landfill, between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. According to Linde's Bryan Luftglass, speaking at Wastecon in Boston last week, said the new unit will follow on the two firms' $15.5 million LNG project at the Altamont Landfill east of San Francisco, that opened in November last year.

Linde North America is a member of The Linde Group, one of the world's leading gas and engineering companies; Waste Management is North America's largest waste management company...Read More »



FuelCell Energy Sells Methane-to-Electricity Power Plants

FuelCell Energy, Inc. (Danbury, CT) announced a pair of deals to sell its fuel-cell power plants that employ fuel cell technology to convert natural gas, methane, coal gas, or propane into electricity without combustion. In one instance, the company sold a 1.4 megawatt fuel-cell power plant to privately held G3 Power Systems Inc (Novato, CA) which will install the plant at a large poultry ranch in Southern California and utilize methane gas from chicken waste to produce clean renewable electricity. The system will use an anaerobic digester will be installed in place of the solid waste lagoon currently being used. In the second transaction announced in as many days, FuelCell Energy sold two 300 kilowatt fuel cell power plants to the Eastern Municipal Water District in southern California to be fueled by renewable biogas from the waste water treatment process. Again, an anaerobic digester will convert wastes from the system into methane and natural gases that will feed the power plant for conversion to electricity. Those power plants are expected to be operational by mid 2011. In both transactions, FuelCell Energy signed 5-year service agreements to operate and maintain the equipment.

G3, which provides fuel-cell installations along with engineering and construction services, entered into an non-exclusive distribution rights agreement with FuelCell in March...Read More »



Equity Firm Invests in New Jersey's Action Environmental Services

Private equity firm Summer Street Capital Partners LLC formally acknowledged its investment in Action Environmental Services' purchase of New York City assets from Republic Services. That deal which was announced in February and closed earlier this month, involves two transfer stations, hauling equipment and a handful of employees. Action hopes to drive more volume through its Bronx materials recovery facility that opened in June last year. The greater volume is expected to enhance operating margins while improving the quality of the recycled product. Summer Street joined Ironwood Capital as private equity partners to finance the Republic Services deal. "After working and investing together in a successful environmental services company in the early 2000s, we are thrilled to have the opportunity to invest again in support of the talented team at Action," said Brian D'Amico, Summer Street managing partner...Read More »



Casella to Report Fiscal First Quarter on Sep. 1

Casella Waste Systems (Rutland, VT) plans to report fiscal first quarter financial results, for the period ending July 31, after the close of the market on September 1 and will host a conference call the following morning at 10 am (ET)...Read More »



Enerkem to Break Ground on World's First Municipal Waste-to-Biofuels Facility

Waste-to-biofuels company Enerkem Inc. (Montreal, QC) said it will break ground on the world's first municipal waste-to-biofuels facility in Edmonton, AB on Tuesday, August 31. In June, Enerkem said it received $1.8 million in funding from the Climate Change and Emissions Management Corporation (CCEMC) for the pilot project which is a joint effort between the Edmonton Waste Management Centre, Alberta Innovates - Energy and Environment Solutions and Enerkem. Enerkem, which has also received an investment from Waste Management, has a proprietary thermo-chemical technology that converts residual materials, such as non-recyclable municipal solid waste, into clean transportation fuels, advanced chemicals, and electricity...Read More »


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