Weekly News Bulletin: Aug. 23-29, 2011


Waste Connections Buys $65 Million Alaskan Waste Company

Waste Connections, Inc. (Folsom, CA) has agreed to buy the operations of Alaska Pacific Environmental Services Anchorage, LLC and Alaska Green Waste Solutions, LLC, collectively called Alaska Waste, which is the largest privately-owned solid waste company in Alaska with annual revenue of about $65 million. Terms of the deal, which is expected to close in the first quarter of 2012 and is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approval, were not disclosed. Alaska Waste provides solid waste collection, recycling and composting services to more than 60,000 customers in Anchorage, the Mat-Su Valley, Fairbanks, the Kenai Peninsula and Kodiak Island. All current employees are expected to remain with the company.

"Alaska Waste provides us an attractive opportunity to enter multiple markets within a new state and with leading market shares. Alaska's unique regulatory framework is somewhat of a hybrid between our existing markets in Washington and Montana," said Ronald J. Mittelstaedt, Chairman and CEO. "Alaska Waste has more than doubled its revenue over the past five years primarily through acquisitions and new sustainability initiatives, including recycling, composting and biodiesel refining."...Read More »



EPA Takes Heat for Definition of Solid Waste Rule Proposal

EPA officials, during an Aug. 16 webinar, defended provisions of its proposal to amend its definition of solid waste (DSW) rule against criticism that the proposal could exempt solvents and potentially dangerous precipitation runoff from strict regulation. EPA Office of Solid Waste (OSW) officials argue that the changes will set an adequate balance between promoting recycling and protecting against environmental contamination. Meanwhile, the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) says in Aug. 4 comments that EPA's new proposal "may alleviate a number of our concerns . . . but more time is needed to fully evaluate the proposed rule."

EPA's July 6 proposal would amend a 2008 rule which broadened the definition of "solid waste" while narrowing which materials are considered "hazardous" and subject to strict waste handling and disposal requirements. It was meant to promote recycling of materials otherwise considered hazardous. But environmentalists sued the agency, saying that it was too lenient and would lead to dangerous "sham" recycling. The Obama administration's proposal is more stringent in a number of ways. For example, under the proposal companies would have to meet all four of EPA's criteria for determining whether recycling is legitimate -- rather than two of the four criteria as the Bush-era rule requires. The new proposal also more specifically defines the circumstances under which the agency would consider materials destined for recycling to be safely "contained."...Read More »



SWANA Seeks EPA Guidance for Long-Term Care of Landfills

The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA), having recently published a report on the topic, is calling on EPA to develop a national policy on how to manage closed municipal solid waste landfills past the 30-year post-closure care (PCC) period mandated by the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA). In its report and in presentations, SWANA cites studies that show environmental risks remain long after the PCC period and consequently, some states are beginning to develop their own approaches to the issue.

The concern is that states lack a consistent and scientifically grounded approach to address the issue. Some environmental groups, who argue that landfill liners and covers are bound to fail, would like to see PCC regulated indefinitely. Alternatively, private landfill owners and some in industry calling for state oversight over landfills to end after PCC. Components of subtitle D landfills include bottom liners, leachate collection and removal systems, landfill gas collection and control systems, stormwater management systems and final covers. The worry is that waste retains a latent ability to generate leachate and gas, which could lead to release, should water be introduced into the landfill...Read More »



Covanta to Build and Operate $250 Million WTE Plant in Ontario

Covanta Holding Corp. (Morristown, NJ) said its subsidiary Covanta Durham York Renewable Energy Limited Partnership has been given the green light to begin constructing a new $250 million 140,000 ton-per-year waste-to-energy plant in Clarington, Ontario. Covanta will design, build and operate the project on which design work has already begun and construction is set to begin in the Fall with and be completed and operating by early 2014. Once operational, the mass-burn plant will be capable of producing 17.5 megawatts of clean energy, enough to power 10,000 homes. Steam generated by the facility could be utilized for district heating in an industrial park adjacent to the facility, heating the equivalent of 2,200 homes.

"We are delighted to receive the go-ahead on the construction of the Durham York Energy Centre, the first large scale, commercial energy-from-waste project in North America in over 15 years. The state-of-the-art facility will provide a long-term solution for sustainably managing the Regions' waste and set an industry standard for operations," said Anthony J. Orlando, president and chief executive officer of Covanta Energy...Read More »



Court Denies EPA Bid to Delay Activist Lawsuit Over Boiler MACT

A federal district court has denied EPA's request to delay proceedings of a lawsuit challenging the agency's stay of its contested boiler and incinerator air rules. The Aug. 15 decision by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia also orders EPA to file a motion by Aug. 25 outlining its reasons for opposing Sierra Club's motion for summary judgment in the suit, with Sierra Club's response to EPA's motion to dismiss the suit due the same day.

Sierra Club filed suit in July (Sierra Club v. EPA) over EPA's decision to use Administrative Procedure Act (APA) authority to indefinitely stay implementation of its final boiler maximum achievable control technology (MACT) air toxics rule and a related rule for commercial and industrial solid waste incinerators (CISWI) issued in February. EPA stayed the rule pending an ongoing rare self-initiated reconsideration of the rule to address industry's concerns that the rules are unachievable and based on incomplete and potentially flawed information...Read More »



RockTenn Partners with JBI to Convert Waste Plastic into Oil

Paper and packaging producer and recycler RockTenn (Norcross, GA) signed an exclusive ten-year license with oil and gas company JBI, Inc. (Thorold, Ontario) to convert paper mill by-product waste into fuel. JBI will deploy its Plastic2Oil technology at RockTenn facilities to process waste plastics from RockTenn's paper mills and its materials recovery facilities (MRFs) and to mine and process plastic materials from RockTenn's monofill sites, where it has been storing thousands of tons of plastic materials for several years. "RockTenn has the industrial relationship and feedstock to support hundreds of Plastic2Oil processors," said John Bordynuik, JBI's founder and CEO. "We anticipate a mutually beneficial relationship for both parties and intend to expand as quickly as possible. RockTenn currently has sites that can support clusters of processors. In preparation for this agreement, we have designed our processors to be modular ‘plug and play' to allow rapid deployment across RockTenn's locations."...Read More »



Paper Consumption to Decline up to 21% by 2015

A new study finds that the profound adoption of tablet and other electronic readers will cause North American consumption of paper used in magazines, newspapers and book publishing (so-called knowledge grades) to fall by up to 21% by 2015 and by up to 50% in fifteen years. This is in addition to the massive collapse that occurred during the recent economic downturn. The report, "The Impact of Media Tablets on Publication Paper Markets," published by Boston-based research firm RISI, projects that sales of tablet devices will reach 195 million units by 2015 contributing to the decreased demand for printed publications. "Many graphic paper producers make their living selling paper to the publishing industry, those companies will be greatly affected by media tablets," explained RISI Vice President John Maine. "Significant demand impacts could come as soon as 2012."...Read More »



Waste Connections Developing Landfill Gas-to-Energy Plant in Colorado

Waste Connections, Inc. (Folsom, CA) is set to begin operating a landfill gas-to-energy plant that will utilize gas from its two landfills in Erie, Colo. to generate 4.8 megawatts of electricity, which is enough to power 3,300 area homes. The company has teamed with Landfill Energy Services to build the gas-to-energy facility which has signed a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Brighton, Colo.-based electric cooperative United Power to buy the electricity. The plant will employ two Caterpillar 3516 engines to convert about 1,200 cubic feet of methane per minute into electric power. Erie spokesman Fred Diehl said capturing the methane at both landfills is the equivalent of offsetting 30,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide that might otherwise be released into the atmosphere...Read More »



Greenstar to Build Single-Stream Recycling Plant in Akron, Ohio

Greenstar Recycling (Houston, TX) plans to build a single-stream recycling facility in Akron, OH that will also serve as a hub for recycling and recovery activities in the area. Greenstar, in partnership with the City of Akron, will invest up to $8 million to build the facility in a converted 195,000-square-foot hangar at Akron Fulton International Airport. "This facility will allow Akron to continue to offer its businesses and residents the convenience of single stream recycling – eliminating the need to pre-sort recyclables – while growing its local economy with new investment and a minimum of 45 new green jobs," Matt Delnick, Greenstar CEO, said in a statement. The facility also will convert recovered plastic into synthetic crude oil, which will be handled by Cleveland-based Vadxx Energy LLC through a joint venture with Greenstar. Vadxx hopes to convert 12,000 tons of No. 3 through No. 7 plastics into 80,000 barrels of oil annually...Read More »



Investment in Alternative Fuel Companies Dips to $930 Million in 2010

A new report indicates that while investments in alternative fuel technologies declined in 2010, investment in flexible technologies that can use a variety of feedstocks or generate diverse end products increased. Lux Research (Boston, MA) said that total investment in alternative fuel technology start-ups declined to $930 million in 2010, marking a four-year low, but that investment in flexible technologies reached an all-time high of $698 million. Lux noted that investors have grown more selective, placing larger bets on fewer companies, particularly those that are flexible in terms of the type of feedstock they utilize or the end product they deliver can provide secondary revenue streams and limit the impact of price volatility. Lux also noted that investors are looking at later stage funding for companies wanting to ramp up to commercial operation. Lux said it expects new corporate investors to enter the space, such as waste management companies...Read More »



INEOS Waste-to-Fuel Plant Gets $75 Million US Loan Guarantee

INEOS New Plant Energy LLC (Vero Beach, FL) which plans to build an organic waste-to-biofuels plant in Vero Beach, Florida, said it received a $75 million loan guarantee from the US Department of Agriculture. Completion of the INEOS plant is expected in summer 2012. It will convert about 300 dry tons per day of citrus fruit, vegetable and yard waste in a gas fermentation process to produce ethanol and enough electricity to run the plant and 1,400 homes. The other companies offered loan guarantees in January were Coskata Inc, Green Diamond Diesel LLC and Enerkem Corp...Read More »



Progressive Waste Plans to Buy Back Stock

Progressive Waste Solutions Ltd. (Toronto, ON) said it plans to buy back up to 4 million shares of its common stock, representing 3.3 percent of its 121 million outstanding shares. "We believe a repurchase of our shares represents an attractive investment in the company and an advantageous use of company funds," said Joe Quarin, the newly appointed president and CEO of Progressive Waste, in a statement. The shares can be repurchased on the Toronto Stock Exchange, the New York Stock Exchange and alternative trading systems between Aug. 19 and Aug. 18, 2012. Progressive, formerly IESI-BFC, is the third largest waste firm in North America where 56 percent of its revenues come from its US operations...Read More »



Waste-to-Fuel Developer Coskata Closes First Series D Financing

Waste-to-fuel developer Coskata Inc. said it closed its first Series D round of financing. The company did not disclose an amount for the round, but said that existing investors including the Blackstone Group, Khosla Ventures, Total Energy Ventures International, ATV, Globespan Capital Partners, General Motors, Arancia and Sumitomo all participated. Coskata employs a gasifier to convert waste products into a syngas which is then converted into fuels or chemicals...Read More »



Ameresco Buys Renewable Energy Services Company

Energy services developer Ameresco, Inc. (Framingham, MA), also known for its landfill gas-to-energy projects, is buying APS Energy Services Company Inc. (Tempe, AZ) which also provides energy efficiency and renewable energy services to institutional customers that include state and local governments. Ameresco bought APS from Pinnacle West Corp., parent company to Arizona Public Service, the state's largest electric utility. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. "As a leading Southwest energy services provider with strong leadership supported by seasoned professionals, APS Energy Services adds substantial bench strength to the Ameresco team and is a great addition to our family," Ameresco CEO George P. Sakellaris said in a press release. Ameresco is an independent provider of energy services, efficiency, infrastructure upgrades and renewable energy developer...Read More »


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