Industrial energy consumers have received at least temporary repreive from higher energy costs since the EPA's decision to indefinitely delay the effective date of its controversial new air toxics rules for industrial boilers and incinerators. The delay won plaudits from two key senators -- Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) and Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) -- who say delaying the rules should allow time for the agency to revise the requirements to address industry concerns. At issue is a May 16 announcement by EPA that it was using its authority under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) to delay, or "stay," its MACT standard for boilers and new source performance standard (NSPS) for commercial and industrial solid waste incineration (CISWI) units. The move came in response to industry petitions seeking an immediate and indefinite delay of the rules' May 20 effective date.
However, environmental groups including EarthJustice and Sierra Club are criticizing what they see as an illegal decision and could be girding for a lawsuit...Read More »
California's waste department is advocating the creation of a mandated pharmaceutical take-back program. The Department of Resources, Recycling & Recovery (Cal/Recycle) in a report to the Legislature is recommending the state pass legislation setting up a product stewardship program that could eventually become a model for other states and even a federal program. Manufacturers would design, manage and finance a statewide take-back program while Cal/Recycle would oversee the program, according to one option. Another option floated by the department would be to levy a fee on consumers to fund a take-back program overseen by state officials. The initiative stems from a 2007 law (SB 966) that required Cal/Recycle to work with other state agencies and stakeholders to develop voluntary model guidelines for disposal of pharmaceutical items and report to the Legislature recommendations for potential implementation of a statewide program. The new report finds that local governments now fund more than 80 percent of pharmaceutical collection programs in California and pharmacies fund another 15 percent...Read More »
Harvest Power (Waltham, MA), which converts organic wastes into renewable energy and fertilizer products, has received a $6 million investment from SAM Private Equity, part of the Rabobank Group, focused on sustainability investing and based in Zurich, Switzerland. This adds to the company's series B, $51.7 million round which includes other backers: Generation Investment Management, DAG Ventures, Keating Capital, Kleiner Perkins, Waste Management, Munich Venture Partners, and TriplePoint Capital. Harvest Power is currently developing two large renewable energy demonstration plants in Richmond, BC and Toronto, ON where it will deploy its technology to convert organic waste into renewable energy and fertilizer products at a lower cost than traditional anaerobic digesters.
"SAM's and Rabobank's wealth of experience in agribusiness and sustainability investing makes this a perfect match for us," said Paul Sellew, CEO of Harvest...Read More »
Two industry trade groups have devised a set of standards for processing construction and demolition (C&D) wood waste as a way to promote its use as fuel for energy recovery and to avoid its disposal in landfills. The Construction Materials Recycling Association (CMRA) and the National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA) worked together to develop the specifications which are based on permit requirements for boilers that use C&D wood as a fuel, regulatory requirements, and industry "real world" experience. Chaz Miller, responsible for managing NSWMA's state and federal regulatory task forces described the importance of this development, "These specifications will elevate recycled C&D wood – a large portion of the materials generated at construction and demolition sites – to the same level as long-time and proven recyclables, such as paper and metal."...Read More »
WCA Waste Corp. (Houston, TX) is offering $175 million in senior notes due in 2019 to "qualified institutional buyers," the net proceeds of which will used to repay existing debt. WCA Waste operates 25 landfills, 27 transfer stations and material recovery facilities, and 29 collection operations in 14 states that include Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Kansas, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas...Read More »
Dow Chemical said it has successfully demonstrated a highly efficient way to generate electricity by burning waste plastics that are otherwise hard to recycle. The pilot test found that 96 percent of available energy was recovered after incinerating 578 pounds of used plastic film in a kiln at one of Dow's waste treatment facilities. Dow said it currently sends scrap plastic from that lab to the landfill. The plastic incinerated in the test was linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE), a material used in plastic bags, plastic wrap and films, as well as other products. Dow conducted the test to get a direct understanding of how well energy recovery works with the plastics the company makes and sells, said Jeff Wooster, plastics sustainability leader for Dow's North American plastics business. "We view energy recovery as being complementary to mechanical recycling," Wooster said. Although plastics like shopping bags and stretch films are becoming more commonly collected and recycled, some films are either not collected or difficult to recycle. Plastic wrap for food products are particularly challenging because they often contain preservatives that can complicate recycling...Read More »
Forsite Development, which had been planning a 20-megawatt renewable energy plant as the centerpiece of its "Renewable Energy Eco-Industrial Park," or "ReVenture Park" in Charlotte, NC, now plans to scale back the project by half. "The smaller size, while unfortunate, does have sort of an added benefit that it takes the pressure off the county," said developer Tom McKittrick of Forsite Development. "It will be a smaller project and smaller is easier. It's not where we wanted to end up, but it's where we are." McKittrick told the Charlotte Observer newspaper that he had failed to negotiate an agreement to sell the full electrical output of the plant, blaming legislative uncertainty. Community resistance may have also played a role. Neighbors are resisting landfill expansion to accommodate the park while those living near the proposed plant are objecting to its emissions.
ReVenture originally planned to build a $126 million 20-megawatt waste gasification plant and $30 million recycling facility to process Mecklenburg County's residential waste. The "eco-industrial" park Forsite envisions for a contaminated 667-acre site in northwest Charlotte may later include a solar farm, waste treatment plant and other components...Read More »
Advanced Disposal Services (Jacksonville, FL) said it has refinanced its existing senior credit facilities with an amended and expanded $435 million credit line that adds $100 million in borrowing capacity which the company said it may use in pursuit of further acquisitions or for day-to-day operations. The company said the credit facility has been used to retire borrowing under its existing $250 million revolving credit facility due January 2014 and a $150 million Term B loan due Jan. 15. "Advanced Disposal's continued strong cash flow generation, excellent operating profitability and disciplined expansion of its 'integrated geographic hub' operating concept resulted in strong demand for the credit facility," Advanced Disposal CEO Charlie Appleby said in a press release...Read More »
Best Buy, the electronics retailer, said it is auditing its e-waste recyclers and their downstream partners to ensure compliance with regulations and industry standards. In addition to the audits, the company requires recyclers to be certified either to R2 (EPA) or e-Stewards (Basel Action Network) program standards. Best Buy contracts forbid recyclers to send "non-working" electronics to non-Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development countries. Best Buy is among a group of companies that has launched the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) led industry initiative that has a goal of recycling 1 billion pounds of e-waste annually by 2016. Best Buy collected 155 million pounds of consumer goods last year, more than half of which were consumer electronics. And, according to Leo Raudys, the retail chain's senior director of environmental sustainability, "We expect to grow by another 10 to 20 percent this year."...Read More »
General Motors said that it expects to save $1.1 million at its Orion, Mich. assembly plant by getting 40 percent of its energy from landfill gas. During most of the year, the plant which will soon begin producing fuel-efficient 2012 Chevrolet Sonic and Buick Verano this fall, runs exclusively on landfill gas primarily to generate steam for heating and compressed air. That gas comes from a landfill gas-to-energy project developed by Toro Energy at Waste Management's nearby Eagle Valley Landfill in Lake Orion. In addition to saving money, the use of landfill gas also cuts the amount of greenhouse gases, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides released in the air, which together with other improvements at the plant, will help "reduce greenhouse gas production by about 80,000 metric tons at a full three-shift capacity," said Maureen Midgley, GM executive director of Global Manufacturing Engineering...Read More »
Electronic Recyclers International (Fresno, CA) plans to open an e-waste recycling center in Badin, NC at a former Alcoa aluminum smelting plant. ERI, which recycles electronic products, including computers, cell phones, televisions and printers, would be the inaugural tenant in Badin Business Park. Alcoa, which bought a minority ($10 million) stake in ERI in March, has pledged $5 million to improve the 165,000-square-foot building, matching ERI's investment in proprietary technology and equipment. John Shegerian, the chairman and chief executive of Electronic Recyclers, said operations will begin in July at a temporary site. He said the company expects to receive local incentives but not state incentives...Read More »
In an effort to increase its sources of renewable energy, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has added a solar power facility in Tennessee and a Waste Management landfill gas-to-energy plant in Mississippi to its portfolio of suppliers. TVA says that its Renewable Standard Offer, started last fall, pays renewable energy generators based on the time of day the power is produced and the demand on the TVA system. The initiative is open to generators with a capacity of up to 20 MW using biomass, methane recovery, wind or solar energy sources. However, no single technology can exceed more than 50% of the program's total capacity of 100 MW. Waste Management's landfill gas facility will provide 1.6 MW of capacity from methane produced at the company's Prairie Bluff Renewable Energy Facility. Generation at the site is scheduled to begin in March 2012 and distributed by Natchez Trace Electric Power Association. The project is Waste Management's second Renewable Standard Offer site and the third overall in the TVA program. The company's 4.8 MW capacity landfill gas facility in Camden, Tennessee became TVA's first program participant in January. It is scheduled to begin delivering power in September this year through Benton County Electric System in Camden. All TVA Renewable Standard Offer projects are subject to applicable environmental requirements and securing transmission arrangements...Read More »