Weekly News Bulletin: Oct. 18-24, 2011


Waste Connections Beats Third Quarter Estimates on Strong Pricing

Waste Connections, Inc. (Folsom, CA) beat market estimates for the seventh consecutive quarter, as strong pricing drove higher revenue for its waste collection and disposal services. "We once again exceeded the upper end of our revenue and margin expectations due primarily to continuing strength in pricing, special waste activity and recycling commodity values," Chief Executive Ronald Mittelstaedt said in a statement. Third quarter net income rose to $46.3 million, or $0.41 per share, from $41 million, or $0.35 per share a year ago. Revenue increased by 17 percent to $404 million from $346 million last year. Mittelstaedt added "Our recently announced agreement to acquire Alaska Waste and the completion of the Town of Colonie landfill privatization during the third quarter bring the total annualized revenue from signed or completed transactions year-to-date to approximately $200 million, with about $80 million expected to contribute to rollover growth in 2012." The company also increased its quarterly dividend by 20 percent to $0.09 per share...Read More »



House Passes Bill to Force EPA to Regulate Coal Ash under Subtitle D

House Republicans passed a bill that would force EPA to regulate coal ash as a Subtitle D waste, which gives the states, not the EPA, ultimate regulatory oversight. The bill was designed to prevent EPA from regulating coal ash as a Subtitle C or hazardous waste as it has proposed to do under certain conditions. Industry, lawmakers and the states have criticized that approach which the argue would lead to much higher costs on the power industry and consumers and decimate the beneficial reuse of the material in cement, gypsum and other products by creating a "stigma" on the material by raising liability concerns. This latest bill (H.R. 2273) was sponsored by Rep. David McKinley (R-WV) and passed the House 267-144. A similar measure aimed at clipping EPA's wings passed earlier this month which would limit EPA's regulation of emissions from boilers and kilns.

Under H.R. 2273, states would have to regulate coal as they do ordinary municipal solid waste which would require its disposal in lined landfills with safeguards and monitoring to prevent groundwater contamination...Read More »



White House Critical of House Bill on Coal Ash but Stops Short of Veto

The Obama White House said it opposes House legislation (H.R. 2273), which allows states with approved municipal solid waste programs to implement a permitting program for coal ash as a non-hazardous waste, calling it "insufficient" for addressing the risks of coal ash containment and management and "undermines" federal authority to ensure that coal ash rules are protective of human health and the environment. Unlike other House bills that seek to curtail EPA regulation of power plant emissions, the coal ash measure has not drawn the threat of a presidential veto. In a Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) issued Oct. 12, the White House stopped short of threatening to veto the measure and laid out some general principles for what a coal ash program should contain, suggesting the administration could still be open to some sort of legislation. "The Administration supports the development, implementation, and enforcement of appropriate standards for facilities managing coal ash, while encouraging the beneficial use of this economically important material," the statement says.

To win the administration's support, the SAP says, the bill would need to include: "clear requirements" that address the risks associated with the coal ash disposal and management; consideration of the best science and data available; "adequate" evaluation of storage facilities' structural integrity; "protective solutions" for existing as well as new facilities; and "appropriate public information and comment."...Read More »



Industry Divided Over Expanding EPA Waste Characterization Report

Industry groups are divided over EPA's proposal to expand its biennial municipal solid waste (MSW) characterization report to include new waste streams. Manufacturers reject the inclusion of non-hazardous industrial waste out of a worry that inclusion will lead to their ultimate regulation. On the other hand, recycling, utility and trade associations welcome the expansion. EPA announced in August that it is planning to modify the report -- which provides the agency with information on the recycling, reuse and generation of MSW -- to include measurements of industrial and construction & demolition (C&D) waste streams. The agency asked for comments on the efficacy and scope the report, saying it will use the input to develop "new measurement definitions and protocols for measurement of these materials." EPA wants to update the report because the data is being used in new ways by industry and academia such as in designing products around materials that are being collected for recycling at high rates. The structure, content and methodology of the current report has remained unchanged since the 1970s when EPA first began gathering the data...Read More »



Chicago Seeks to Save $20 Million Through More Efficient Waste Collection

Chicago's Mayor Rahm Emanuel has laid out the City's "2012 Budget Proposal to Secure Chicago's Future," which as expected includes plans to remake the city's antediluvian waste collection system and privatizing many of its functions. Among its most controversial measures is a plan to move to a grid system that would take responsibility for waste management away from the City's fifty legislative districts or wards each of which is headed by an aldermen that collectively comprise the City Council. That alone is expected to save the city $20 million per year by removing some of the ridiculous inefficiencies of collecting waste from one side of the street but not the other because of a ward boundary. Under the current system, the Mayor estimates that the city spends $100 more per ton to collect garbage than Los Angeles and Boston. His office said it would also implement managed competition to extend recycling services to more areas of the city...Read More »



Recycling Industry Groups Clash over E-Waste Policy

Two recycling industry groups have taken issue with a recent study of study of electronics recycling practices in the US in their widening debate about the export of hazardous materials. Although, both sides -- the environmental group Basel Action Network (BAN) and the trade association Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), agree that the survey offers little insight on export volumes or trends. Both organizations are tied to different revenue-generating certification programs for e-cyclers and oppose each other on the issue of exports. The study, conducted by independent research group International Data Corp. (IDC) of Framingham, MA, indicates that 78.66 percent of the companies surveyed said their output was traded, sold or transferred within the US. Eric Harris, counsel and director of government and international affairs of ISRI drew upon this finding as indicative that electronics are recycled in within the US and not "dumped" overseas. However, Jim Puckett, executivedirector of BAN, indicated that the statistic is meaningless for two reasons. One, respondents cannot be relied upon to report shameful or illegal activity, particularly e-waste exports, in a voluntary survey. Two, there is no evidence about whether the US was the final destination of the traded or transferred waste. It could still be exported by a third party company or broker...Read More »



Waste Pro Plans to Invest $100 Million in CNG Fleet

Waste Pro USA (Longwood, FL) plans to invest $100 million converting its fleet of heavy trucks from diesel to compressed natural gas (CNG). The investment includes construction of state of the art fueling facilities throughout the South. The company is initially is ordering 150 CNG recycling and collection vehicles for its Fort Pierce, Florida operations which will be serviced there by a CNG fueling station being constructed by Clean Energy Fuels Corp. "Being a privately held company enables Waste Pro to react quickly to our needs and the needs of the communities we serve. Many of our 115 exclusive municipal customers are excited about this opportunity to play a part in the use of domestic CNG fuel and want to participate with us," said John Jennings, President and CEO of Waste Pro. Waste Pro serves 1.4 million customers from 75 locations in Florida, Georgia, North & South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. It currently maintains more than 115 exclusive municipal contracts and franchises...Read More »



Republic to Add 60 CNG Vehicles to Indianapolis Fleet in 2012

Republic Services, Inc. (Phoenix, AZ) announced plans to build a natural gas fueling station in Indianapolis and add 60 natural gas vehicles to its fleet there in 2012. "Natural gas continues to play an increasingly important role in the U.S. transportation market," said Kevin Walbridge, executive vice president, operations. "With its relatively low cost per gallon equivalent and its clean-burning properties, natural gas offers a favorable solution for fleet managers who are trying to manage operating costs." Republic says it operates the sixth largest commercial fleet in the country which includes more than 700 natural gas collection vehicles...Read More »



WM Acquires InEnTec Stake Relinquishing S4 Joint Venture

Waste Management, Inc. (Houston, TX) has made a $22 million investment in closely held InEnTec Inc., its joint venture partner in S4 Energy Solutions LLC. The deal involved a share-for-share exchange that makes S4 Energy the wholly owned subsidiary of InEnTec, of which Waste Management is now a major shareholder. The deal makes Waste Management's investment portfolio "more consistent," Joe Vaillancourt, managing director for the company's Organic Growth Group, said in a statement. Waste Management has equity stakes in other closely-held companies developing waste-to-fuel conversion technologies, including Enerkem Inc., Terrabon Inc., and Agilyx Corp. InEnTec has a plasma gasification technology to convert municipal solid waste into synthesis gas (syngas) that can be burned for energy or converted to fuels. Its process was developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in collaboration with the U.S. Energy Department's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. InEnTec has a contract with Fulcrum BioEnergy Inc., a closely-held waste-to-ethanol plant developer, to provide its gasification systems for the company's projects. Fulcrum is developing its first waste-to-fuels plant in Reno, NV. On September 22, the company registered for a $115 million initial share sale...Read More »



Company to Build Waste-to-Fuel Plant in Hennepin County, MN

A Minnesota-based company has struck a deal with Hennepin County to take a portion of its waste stream and convert it into diesel fuel. Under the agreement, the company, Rational Energies, LLC (Eden Prairie), will lease space at the county's Brooklyn Park Transfer Station and have access to the 110,000 tons of municipal solid waste it receives each year. Rational Energies plans to recycle 8,000 tons of metal and plastic and convert 14,000 tons of plastic into diesel fuel. The company says that it employs a pyrolysis conversion process that produces a high quality fuel economically, without government subsidy, and the fuel can run in ordinary diesel engines...Read More »



Lime Energy to Begin 2.8 MW Landfill Gas-to-Energy Plant in Charlotte County, FL

Lime Energy Company (Charlotte, NC) said it is about to begin operating a 2.8 megawatt landfill gas-to-energy plant at the Charlotte County, Florida Zemel Road Landfill in Punta Gorda. The plant employs two GE Jenbacher engines each capable of producing 1.4 megawatts of electricity from the landfill gas. Ultimately, the company hopes to double the output of the project. Lime Energy, which is a diversified developer of clean energy projects across the US, entered the landfill gas arena when it bought the gas rights to the Zemel Road landfill in February from Global Energy Systems for $2.65 million. At the same time it entered into a 20-year power purchase agreement with a utility for the sale of the electricity produced and certain environmental attributes of the project. Global Energy had bought exclusive rights to develop the project from North American Natural Resources-Southeast, LLC in January 2009...Read More »



Advanced Disposal Buys MOR Recycling Expanding in South Carolina

Advanced Disposal Services Inc. (Jacksonville, FL) is expanding its presence in South Carolina through its purchase of MOR Recycling and Carting Inc. MOR Recycling and Carting provides commercial front-load and roll-off waste and recycling services. The deal brings with it five trucks and more than 725 containers. MOR President Kevin O'Halpin, along with several employees and drivers, will join the Advanced Disposal Columbia team upon completion the deal and hiring requirements. "Advanced Disposal is looking to grow our operations in the Columbia marketplace, and MOR Recycling and Carting provided us with the opportunity to strengthen the density and efficiencies of our commercial collection operations," said Advanced Disposal's Regional Vice President Charlie Gray. Advanced Disposal is the fourth largest privately-owned waste services company in the US with customers and operations in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina...Read More »



Waste Management Invests in Recyclebank

Waste Management, Inc. (Houston, TX) has made a strategic investment in the parent company of Recyclebank in a deal that pairs Waste Management's curbside collection infrastructure with Recyclebank's vast online community and incentive platform. The size of the commitment has not been disclosed. Both companies see prospects for growing their customer base and increasing participation. "Our collaboration with Recyclebank gives us a competitive advantage, and, at the same time, incentivizes more recycling by motivating people to change how they consume and dispose. It's a triple win for Waste Management, our customers and the environment," said Waste Management CEO David Steiner. The company expects to extend Recyclebank's green rewards program to its nearly 20 million North American customers over the next several years. Recyclebank, which encourages people to recycle by offering them rewards through a network of 3,000 local and national retailers, will take over Waste Management's Greenopolis social recycling platform -- including Greenopolis.com, RecyclePix and Oceanopolis -- making it the leading online recycling rewards program in America, according to a press release...Read More »



Mississippi's First Landfill Gas-to-Energy Project Operating

Mississippi's first landfill gas-to-energy facility has begun operating at the Golden Triangle Regional Landfill in the northeastern part of the state. The project, which is owned by the Golden Triangle Regional Solid Waste Management Authority (GTRSWMA), employs a General Electric (GE) J320 Jenbacher landfill gas engine to produce 1 megawatt of electricity that will be sold through Tennessee Valley Authority's (TVA) renewable power initiative. The TVA is purchasing the power from the 4-County Electric Power Association distribution system under the auspices of its Generation Partners program, which supports the production of renewable energy within the utility's coverage area...Read More »



New Landfill Gas-to-Energy Project at Smiths Creek Landfill in Mich.

Blue Water Renewables, a subsidiary of DTE Biomass Energy, is nearing the completion of a 3.2 megawatt landfill gas-to-energy project at the Smiths Creek Landfill which is owned by St. Clair County Michigan. Under a power purchase agreement, Blue Water Renewables will sell energy produced at the landfill to Detroit Edison for which the county will receive an estimated $400,000 per year in royalties. The output of gas from the landfill increased dramatically with the addition of a bioreactor in 2007, according to site manager Matthew Williams. Bioreactors accelerate the speed of waste decomposition by recirculating leachate or adding other liguids, in this case, septage waste to the buried waste in place. The produced gas will power two large 20-cylinder engines each capable of producing 1.6 megawatts of electricity...Read More »



Waste Management Helps Whole Foods to Compost 80% of its Food Waste

Whole Foods Market (Austin, TX) has partnered with Waste Management (Houston, TX) to launch a composting program for eight of its Chicago area stores. Whole Foods ultimately plans to convert 80 percent of its wastes into soil material for use in landscaping. The stores capture out-of-date food from each of the departments, as well as from its administrative and customer service areas, and place it into a compost container that is then collected by Waste Management which takes it to a site in Romeoville, IL, where it is mixed with yard wastes and, over a six-month period, converted into compost for use in landscaping...Read More »



Study Says Non-Recycled Plastics Could Power 5.2 Million Homes if Not Landfilled

A new study concludes that if all non-recycled plastics put into landfills each year were instead converted to energy, they could provide at least enough energy to fuel six million cars annually, or produce 52 million MWh of electricity, which is enough to power 5.2 million households per year. Similarly, if all the municipal solid waste produced in the US was diverted from landfills to waste-to-energy facilities, it could produce 162 MWh of electricity, or enough to power 16.2 million households every year. "As the United States seeks alternative fuel sources, research like this is crucial to helping identify alternative fuel sources for policy makers," notes Dr. Nickolas Themelis, Director of the Earth Engineering Center at Columbia University which authored the report that was sponsored by the American Chemistry Council. He adds that the potential energy savings could be even greater since his study focused only on municipal solid waste...Read More »



Gibson Energy to Buy Palko Environmental

Canadian midstream energy company Gibson Energy has agreed to buy Palko Environmental by purchasing the 61% of the remaining shares not already owned for CAN$62.7 million, including the assumption of CAN$16 million of Palko debt. The transaction will expand Gibson's Canadian custom terminal operations to include water disposal services and oilfield waste management. "The acquisition of the remaining interest of Palko is a key step in forming this platform to meet the ever increasing water disposal services and oilfield waste management needs of the oil and gas industry in North America" says Stew Hanlon, CEO Gibson. "Combined with our recent investment in the Plato Pipeline, Treating and Disposal facility and development plans for our Rimbey Custom Terminal, it creates a service offering in western Canada that will make Gibson a significant player in this space."...Read More »



Perma-Fix Completes Sale of Orlando Facility for $2 Million

Perma-Fix Environmental Services, Inc. (Atlanta, GA) said it completed the sale of one of its last remaining industrial waste facilities called Perma-Fix of Orlando, Inc. for $2 million, subject to certain working capital adjustments. The company announced the initial deal in August when it completed the sale Perma-Fix of Ft. Lauderdale, Inc. for $5.5 million. That leaves only Perma-Fix of South Georgia Inc. in Valdosta, GA as its last industrial facility as the company transitions into the more lucrative nuclear waste services segment...Read More »


Sign up to receive our free Weekly News Bulletin