Weekly News Bulletin: Apr. 19-25, 2011


Stericycle Completes $237M Acquisition of HWS Following Divestiture

Stericycle, Inc. (Lake Forest, IL) said it completed its acquisition of former rival Healthcare Waste Solutions (HWS), originally announced last September, from Altaris Capital Partners, LLC for $245 million. HWS is expected to add about $45 million in annualized revenues. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the state of New York cleared the transaction after Stericyle agreed to divest some of its New York assets, including a transfer station in the Bronx. The DOJ's antitrust division, along with the attorney general of the state of New York, filed a civil antitrust lawsuit under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., to block the proposed transaction. Consequently, the value of the deal was reduced by $8 million to reflect the divestiture, various other adjustments, and a reduction for HWS's indebtedness as of the closing date...Read More »



Senate Panel Approves Electronic Manifest System for Hazardous Waste

The Senate Environment & Public Works Committee (EPW) has approved by voice vote bipartisan legislation (S. 710) to create an electronic manifest system for hazardous wastes which would modernize and streamline the existing paper-based system and, according to its proponents, provide a more easily enforceable chain of custody for such wastes. One of the bill's backers Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) said that the tracking of hazardous waste shipments through a paper manifest system is an "enormous" burden. Each manifest form has seven or eight copies, which must be filled out manually and physically carried with the waste shipments, mailed to generators and state agencies and stored among facility records, he said. "The paperwork burden is so great that 22 states and the EPA do not even collect copies of the forms," Cardin said. "Those that do so get their copies months after the waste has been shipped. In the vast majority of cases, the only time regulators look at the manifests is during inspections or after a disaster to identify the responsible parties."...Read More »



Swisher Hygiene to Sell 10M Shares of Stock to Raise $76M

Swisher Hygiene (Charlotte, NC), whose chairman is waste industry pioneer H. Wayne Huizenga and which recently entered the waste business with two acquisitions, has agreed to sell 9.85 million shares of its common stock in a private placement. The company said the shares would be sold for $7.70 each to funds belonging to an unspecified global financial institution. The transaction is expected to yield $75.9 million in aggregate proceeds that it intends to use to "further its organic and acquisition growth strategy, as well as for working capital purposes." Swisher, which began as a bathroom supply company has subsequently expanded into the $57 billion industrial hygiene industry. Huizenga bought into the company and brought it public by merging it with former ice cream company CoolBrands in August last year. In February, Swisher bought Fort Lauderdale, FL-based waste services company Choice Environmental Services in a deal valued at $92 million. Swisher's CEO is Steve Berrard, a long-time confidant who has teamed with Huizenga at AutoNation and Blockbuster...Read More »



Babcock & Wilcox and KBR Land $688 Million Contract for Waste-to-Energy Plant

A consortium of companies including subsidiaries of Babcock & Wilcox and KBR Inc won a $688 million contract with Florida's Palm Beach County Solid Waste Authority to provide engineering and construction services for the county's waste-to-energy facility. The county plans to construct three mass-burn boilers capable of generating up to 95 megawatts of electricity. Work on the project is expected to begin in May. The project also includes the design and construction of grates, ash systems, metals recovery systems, emissions control equipment including a dry flue gas desulfurization unit, baghouse, carbon injection and selective catalytic reduction system duct work and other components. B&W will design and supply the boilers and air quality control systems. KBR's subsidiary BE&K will provide engineering and procurement of the balance of plant equipment and provide overall construction services for the project...Read More »



Court Rejects Suit Claiming Wood Preservatives as Solid Waste

A federal district court in California rejected a novel environmentalist lawsuit charging that a utility had illegally "disposed" of waste when chemicals used to treat utility poles leached into San Francisco Bay by way of stormwater. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California March 31 granted a motion by the defendants in Ecological Rights Foundation v. Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) et al. to dismiss the complaint against them, saying that the plaintiffs' argument that the conveyance of pentachlorophenol which PG&E used to treat its utility poles into the bay by stormwater runoff and by dust blown into the air, was not a disposal of solid waste under the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA), nor did it constitute a discharge under the Clean Water Act (CWA). In her March 31 decision, Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong said the plaintiff's argument that it was unpermitted disposal of a solid waste is unsupported by case law. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit's 2004 decision in Safe Air for Everyone v. Meyer "explained that RCRA 'reveals [a] clear Congressional intent to extend EPA's authority only to materials that are truly discarded, disposed of, thrown away, or abandoned," Armstrong wrote in her decision...Read More »



EPA to Seek Comment on New Coal Ash Data, Following Criticism

The EPA said it plans to give stakeholders the opportunity to comment on its data and analysis of how to regulate the disposal of coal combustion residue (CCR) amid criticisms from both environmentalists and industry that the initial proposal did not adequately assess its risk and economic impacts. EPA waste chief Mathy Stanislaus told the Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Environment & Economy April 14 that "EPA plans to issue a notice of data availability [NODA] in the next month or so to provide the public an opportunity to comment on certain information and data we have received during the public comment period."

So far, EPA's proposal, issued in July 2010, has drawn more than 450,000 public comments, including strong opposition from industry groups which argue that regulating CCR as a "special waste" subject to regulation under strict subtitle C requirements of the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA) would create a "stigma" that would discourage its beneficial reuse in cement, gypsum and other products. House lawmakers recently introduced separate bills that would block EPA from regulating CCR under subtitle C, (HR 1390 and HR1405). Conversely, Democrats and environmental groups argue that regulation under subtitle C rules is the only way for the EPA to adequately manage CCRs which if not properly contained, can harm the environment. The volume of comments led EPA and Administrator Lisa Jackson, who had originally sought to issue a final rule in 2011, to postpone any rulemaking and instead seek further analysis...Read More »



New $30M Landfill Gas-to-Energy Project in Michigan

Waste Management (Houston, TX) has begun construction of a giant $30 million landfill gas-to-energy project at its 450-acre Pine Tree Acres landfill in Lenox, MI. The project will ultimately produce 21.6 megawatts of electricity which is enough to power nearly 20,000 homes. It is a substantial expansion of the current system that has been in place since 1998 and which was expanded to 5.6 megawatts in 2003. Construction of the project is expected to be complete in the fall of this year. It includes a new 11,000-square-foot industrial facility that will house eight 20-cylinder engines built by Caterpillar that will each consume 4,800 cubic feet of landfill gas per minute. Waste Management has set a goal of tripling its recycling capabilities over the next decade and doubling its renewable energy production to a point where it could power 2 million homes...Read More »



MaxWest Secures $32.5M for Wastewater-to-Energy Project

MaxWest Environmental Systems Inc. (Sanford, FL) has secured $32.5 million in third round funding from Invesco to further deploy its novel commercial process that converts wastewater treatment residuals ("biosolids") into green energy. Invesco joins previous investor Leaf Clean Energy Company , a renewable energy and sustainable technology investment firm, which invested in MaxWest in 2008. MaxWest says that its first, commercial-scale facility, in Sanford, FL, offers a safe, cost-effective and environmentally friendly alternative to incineration, landfill and land application of biosolids. The gasification process captures the energy contained in biosolids and recycles it for use on-site, while reducing the inlet volume by over 90 percent...Read More »



New Gas-to-Energy Project at Las Vegas' Apex Landfill

Construction is underway on a landfill gas-to-energy (LFGTE) project at Republic Services' giant Apex Landfill in Las Vegas, NV. Republic contracted with Energenic to design, build and operate the 6 megawatt facility which is expected to be operating late this year. Utility company NV Energy has signed a 20-year agreement to purchase electricity from the site which should be enough to power 6,325 homes. "Using landfill gas for electric power production provides an additional source of clean, domestically fueled energy production. This is an invaluable opportunity to use the gas produced at the landfill for energy generation and further endorses our mission to reduce our carbon footprint as a company," said Joe Burkel, area president for Republic Services. Energenic is a joint venture between Marina Energy LLC and DCO Energy LLC. The Apex landfill is one of the largest landfills in the US.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Landfill Methane Outreach Program (LMOP), there are currently 518 LFGTE projects operating in the United States. The agency says these facilities generate enough electricity to power approximately 940,000 homes and heat roughly 722,000 homes each year...Read More »



Global X Launches Waste Management Exchange Traded Fund

Global X Funds has introduced a new Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) that tracks the waste management industry. The Global X Waste Management ETF (WSTE) is comprised of one-third allocations to hazardous waste, non-hazardous waste, and recycling stocks spread among 28 holdings. The top three non-hazardous stocks are Waste Management Inc. (WM) 9.9%, Republic Services Inc (RSG) 7.9%, and Waste Connections Inc (WCN) 3.5%. The top three hazardous stocks are Stericycle Inc. (SRCL) 10.1%, Sims Metal Management Ltd (SMS) 5.7%, and Clean Harbors Inc (CLH) 4.7%. And, the three biggest recycling holdings are Veolia Environnement S.A. (VE) 9.6%, Darling International Inc. (DAR) 3.4%, and China Everbright International Ltd. (CHFFF) 3.3%. Constituents currently represent nine different countries with the U.S. having the largest proportion at 54.6%. Others include China 14.9%, France 11.9%, Canada 5.6%, Australia 4.4%, Norway 2.8%, Japan 2.3%, U.K. 1.9%, and South Korea 1.5%.

WSTE will compete mainly against Van Eck's Market Vectors Environmental Services ETF (EVX). EVX currently has just $31.8 million in assets invested in 21 stocks after being on the market since 2006...Read More »



Survey of Executives Finds Challenges to Adopting Sustainability Strategies

More than half of senior executives polled indicated that their respective companies have a formal sustainability strategy in place, while another 31 percent said they are either working on a plan or expect to eventually adopt one. In the study, "Corporate Sustainability: A Progress Report," Big Four firm KPMG surveyed 378 senior executives, including 86 from the U.S. The survey was released in connection with the launch of the KPMG Global Center of Excellence in Climate Change & Sustainability, based in the Netherlands. When asked to identify the key business drivers for implementing sustainability-related business objectives within their companies, the executives cited enhancing brand reputation (37 percent), regulatory or legal compliance (35 percent), reducing costs (34 percent), product or service differentiation (24 percent), and increasing profitability and managing sustainability risks (both 23 percent). Other business drivers included: customer retention (20 percent), staying competitive (15 percent), generating shareholder value (13 percent), and recruitment and employee retention (8 percent).

However, survey respondents cited numerous challenges including how to determine and measure program metrics for peer-to-peer comparisons, finding reliable data related to sustainability, meeting the reporting requirements of a variety of stakeholders, and 43 percent said it was difficult to overcome organizational focus on other programs that provide more readily measureable short-term financial benefits...Read More »



WCA Waste Corp. to Release First Quarter Results on April 27

WCA Waste Corp. (Houston, TX) plans to release first quarter financial results after the close of the market on April 27. The company will host a conference call the following day at 8:30 am (EDT) to discuss the results...Read More »


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