Weekly News Bulletin: Oct. 5-11, 2010


Construction and Demolition Debris Volume Falling More Slowly in 2010

Construction and demolition debris (C&D) waste volume for 2010 is showing signs of improvement or at least is falling more slowly than last year's decline of 20% from the year before. Preliminary Waste Business Journal (WBJ) statistics indicate that C&D waste volume for 2010 will be down between 8% and 10%. WBJ estimates that the US will generate 104 million tons of C&D waste in 2010, down from 114.6 mil. tons in 2009 and 143 mil. tons in 2007. On the bright side, new processing facilities augmented by improved processes has improved the overall recycling rate to 28%, up from 23% in 2001. Higher disposal fees at landfills in recent years has created an incentive to recycle more as well. That leaves 75 mil. tons for disposal, of which 36 mil. tons will go to C&D landfills and about 31 mil. tons will go to sanitary landfills, which either have C&D only cells or are simply the more convenient option. The remaining 8.5 mil. tons will go to waste-to-energy plants or industrial boilers...Read More »



EPA Proposes Rule to Cut Mercury Emissions from Sewage Sludge Incinerators

Using its authority under the Clean Air Act, the US EPA has proposed a rule to cut emissions of mercury, particle pollution, and other pollutants from sewage sludge incinerators (SSIs), what it calls the 6th largest source of mercury air emissions in the US. Sewage sludge incinerators are typically located at wastewater treatment facilities. The proposed standards would apply to both multiple hearth and fluidized bed incinerators. EPA estimates that the proposal would cut mercury emissions from these units by more than 75 percent and yield health benefits ranging from $130 million to $320 million by 2015,. The measure is similar to rules the agency has proposed to restrict emissions from industrial boilers which has been highly criticized by industry as a job killer. The Council of Industrial Boiler Owners (CIBO), in a Sept. 14 statement, warned that the boiler MACT could put as many as 338,000 jobs at risk. In a Sept. 24 letter, 41 senators accused the EPA of proposing regulations on the boilers that would lead "to the loss of potentially thousands of high-paying jobs." Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said she was concerned that the rule would harm her state's pulp and paper industry...Read More »



Bill to Limit Export of E-Waste Leads to Debate over Exemptions

A recently introduced bill requiring EPA to enforce an export ban on electronic waste (e-waste), introduced on Sep. 29 by Reps. Michael Thompson (D-CA) and Gene Green (D-TX), is leading to a debate over exemptions, with recyclers seeking waivers to allow exports of commodity grade material while environmentalists seek to close any potential loopholes. The long-awaited bill H.R. 6252 seeks to end the practice of shipping used electronics overseas, which has been linked with environmental and health problems in developing countries due to unsafe recycling practices. It would amend the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) to prevent the "export of any restricted electronic waste" to countries outside of the European Union, and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Rep. Green said he is confident of the bill's passage given bipartisan support and that of some recyclers, electronics manufacturers, including Dell, Apple and Samsung, and environmentalists, including Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Electronics TakeBack Coalition (ETBC)...Read More »



CNBC Premiers Documentary "Trash Inc.: The Secret Life of Garbage"

Last week CNBC aired a one-hour documentary entitled "Trash Inc.: The Secret Life of Garbage" that provides a fascinating if lightweight overview of the waste management industry that few outsiders ever see. Reporter Carl Quintanilla takes us on a tour of garbage from New York and Pennsylvania to Nevada, Hawaii and Beijing to learn where it goes, who handles it and what's at stake economically and environmentally. He calls the industry a 21st century goldmine where garbage is an epidemic and an opportunity that is the basis of a $52 billion annual industry. Where waste is not one-size-fits-all and most of it is hauled to America's 2,300 landills, many of which make handsome profits for their operators and further yield energy producing gas. He follows trash from New York City to Pennsylvania, then visits Las Vegas' Apex landfill, the largest in the US and equivalent to 2,000 football fields. Then he travels to Beijing to show the flip side of the story: a city plagued with hundreds of illegal dumps and whose infrastructure is overwhelmed with garbage that is the result of a bourgeoning middle class. The report includes a visit to the great Pacific Garbage Patch but concludes with a focus on recycling and the many opportunities it presents, whether it's plastic bottles being repurposed into textiles or waste food being turned into high-octane gas, noting that 80% of discards are recyclable...Read More »



Stericycle is Buying Healthcare Waste Solutions for $245 Million

Medical waste services provider Stericycle Inc (Lake Forest, IL), is acquiring Delaware-based Healthcare Waste Solutions Inc for $245 million in cash, subject to some adjustments. The deal pairs up the number one and two companies in the space. Healthcare Waste Solutions, owned by health-care-focused investment firm Altaris Capital Partners LLC, has more than 20,000 customers, while Stericycle serves more than 280,000 businesses, including hospitals and blood banks, across North America. This is Stericycle's largest acquisition in the past year, overtaking its 2009 acquisition of medical-waste manager MedServe Inc. for $185 million from Murphree Venture Partners. Subsequent to the deal, Stericycle's SAMW Acquisition Corp unit and Healthcare Waste Solutions will merge to become a wholly owned unit, Stericycle said in a statement...Read More »



BlueFire Renewables Contracts to Build Plant for $296 Million

BlueFire Renewables Inc. (Irvine, CA) said it signed a deal with Wanzek Construction Inc., a unit of MasTec Inc. to build its first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant for a fixed cost of $296 million, thus meeting the third critical condition for its Department of Energy loan guarantee application for the project. BlueFire is seeking to build plant in Fulton, MS, that would convert forest residue, paper pulp and other woody material into 19 million gallons a year of cellulosic ethanol. Thus far there are no commercial-scale cellulosic plants in the U.S., forcing the US EPA to cut the initial 100-million-gallon blending requirement for 2010 to 6.5 million gallons. Industry experts expect the EPA to grant such waivers for years until large plants can be built. Wanzek and engineering partner Zachary Engineering will essentially scale up by 20 times a plant BlueFire built years ago in Japan. It will take about 24 months to build the 25-megawatt equivalent facility. BlueFire has already signed 15-year agreements to receive cellulosic feedstock from Cooper Marine & Timberlands for roughly $25 per ton and to sell all of its ethanol production to Tenaska BioFuels LLC...Read More »



Clean Energy Fuels to Build Natural Gas Truck Fueling Facilities Nationwide

Clean Energy Fuels Corp. (Seal Beach, CA) said it signed an agreement with Pilot Travel Centers LLC (Knoxville, TN) to build and operate natural gas fueling stations at Pilot Flying J truck stops around the nation. Pilot Flying J operates more than 550 facilities in 43 states and six Canadian provinces. The deal with Pilot is a bet that more truck operators will opt for natural gas instead of diesel as the federal government looks to cut emissions from heavy vehicles. Clean Energy, founded by legendary oilman and corporate raider T. Boone Pickens, operates about 200 natural gas fueling stations across the country providing fuel to more than 18,300 vehicles daily, including 5,000 transit buses. It runs a methane gas production facility in Dallas and liquefied natural gas plants in Willis, TX, and Boron, CA...Read More »



Science Fiction? EPA Fines Rocket Company for Hazardous Waste Violations

Casting itself as an impartial regulator or cutting edge, the EPA recently fined rocket developer Space Explorations Technologies, known as SpaceX, $45,600 for hazardous waste violations. SpaceX is the sister company to green-friendly electric car maker Tesla Motors, owned by Elon Musk. A 2009 inspection of the Hawthorne-based SpaceX found hazardous waste comprised of isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) and acetone (nail polish remover), stuff you could find in your bathroom, was stored longer than allowed, and containers had not been closed and had not been properly labeled. SpaceX is developing rockets it hopes will be used by NASA to service the international space station and to place commercial satellites in orbit. In June, SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket reached orbit in a test launch from Cape Canaveral, FL. Its next rocket will place a capsule into orbit. This year the company announced a $492 million agreement with Iridium Communications Inc. to launch a new generation of communications satellites into orbit...Read More »



GE Buys Company That Turns Waste Heat into Power; Landfill Gas Applications

General Electric (GE) said it acquired Calnetix Power Solutions, a privately held company which makes systems for converting heat from industrial equipment into electricity. Financial terms were not disclosed. Calnetix's system is designed to utilize unused heat from factories but can also be used to make electricity from gas engines, such as landfills that capture and burn biogas or at a concentrating solar power plant. The system operates like a refrigerator in reverse, employing an Organic Rankine Cycle where heat and pressure turn a working fluid, which is a refrigerant, into a vapor that expands to turn a turbine, which generates electricity. The company says that improvements in the basic cycle allow it to turn heat as low as 250 degrees F into 125 kilowatts of electricity. GE projects that the market for small-scale waste-to-power technologies will be $1 billion and is poised to grow rapidly "alternative energy sources such as waste heat are growing in importance given the urgent global need for more efficient use of our limited resources," said Steve Bolze, president and CEO of GE Power & Water, in a statement...Read More »



Clean Harbors Expands Board with Appointment of Exxon Mobil Veteran

Clean Harbors, Inc. (Norwell, MA) announced the expansion of its 11-member board of directors with the appointment of Edward G. Galante, a 30-year veteran of Exxon Mobil, as the tenth outside director. Galante recently served as a Senior Vice President and member of the Management Committee where his principal responsibilities included the worldwide downstream business: Refining & Supply, Fuels Marketing, Lubricants and Specialties and Research and Engineering. He was also He also was responsible for Exxon Mobil's corporate Public Affairs and Safety, Health and Environmental activities. Last month the industrial and hazardous waste services company raised its revenue forecast for the year a second time in light of work it has been doing to clean up the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, as second quarter revenues were more than double those of the corresponding period last year...Read More »



Republic Services Settles $3 Mil. Age Discrimination Lawsuit

Republic Services (Phoenix, AZ) agreed to pay $3 million and provide other relief to settle an age discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in 2003. The EEOC alleged that Republic terminated and denied job transfers to about 21 employees over the age of 40 at its facilities in southern Nevada between 2003 and 2005 because of their age. The terminated employees included garbage collectors, drivers and supervisors, some of whom had worked for the company for more than 25 years. The agency claimed the jobs then were offered to younger employees, who were held to lower performance standards. The EEOC also claimed that Republic engaged in a form of hazing called "break him off," where some employees were worked to the point of exhaustion. Republic Services said in a statement that because it has settled out of court, no jury or court has officially determined that age discrimination took place...Read More »



ICF International Wins 5-Year Contract with EPA Worth up to $31 Mil.

ICF International Inc. said it won a five-year contract worth up to $31 million from the US EPA for various services in support of the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response and Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery. Specifically, ICF will help the ORCR manage hazardous and nonhazardous wastes and polychlorinated biphenyls and provide services such as training, data collection and analysis and risk assessment...Read More »



Waste Management to Report Third Quarter on Oct. 28

Waste Management, Inc. (Houston, TX) will announce third quarter earnings before the market opens on Thursday, October 28 and will host a conference call that morning at 10 am (ET) to discuss financial results for the quarter...Read More »



Covanta Holding to Report Third Quarter on Oct. 20

Covanta Holding Corp. (Fairfield, NJ) plans to release third quarter financial results after the market closes on Wednesday, October 20 and will host a conference call the following day at 8:30 am (ET) to discuss them...Read More »



IESI-BFC to Report Third Quarter on Oct. 26

IESI-BFC Ltd. (Toronto, ON) will report third quarter financial results after the markets close on Tuesday, October 26 and host a conference call the following morning (Oct. 27) at 8:30 am (ET) to discuss those results and answer questions...Read More »


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