Weekly News Bulletin: Jan. 4-10, 2012


Waste Connections Announces New Headquarters in Texas

Waste Connections, Inc. (now The Woodlands, TX), announced its new corporate address in The Woodlands, Texas, as the company has already begun moving about 100 of its employees from Folsom, CA. The move, which is expected to be complete by September, is expected to cost over $15 million in relocation expense which would be in addition to a $4 to $6 million loss from the abandonment of its old corporate lease. The company announced its intention to move last August, citing the need for a more centralized and easier access point to service its expanding geographic footprint. CEO Ron Mittelstaedt said that "The Woodlands offers our employees an attractive, lower cost, and more centrally located community well serviced by two major airports." At the time, he was sharply critical of California for having the "highest state tax rates in the nation," characterizing the state's legislature as "dysfunctional" and saying that "it's extremely difficult to do business here." The lower cost of living in Texas is expected to make it easier for the company to attract employ talent...Read More »



Waste Connections Could Buy Veolia

Waste Connections, Inc. (The Woodlands, TX) said it is interested in buying the US waste business Veolia ES Solid Waste Inc. (Milwaukee, WI) which was put up for sale last month by its French corporate parent Veolia Environnement. Waste Connections could pull off a deal depending on how it is structured, according to CEO Ron Mittelstaedt. "We could do up to a couple billion dollars right now, no problem, with our existing credit capacity," Mittelstaedt told Waste & Recycling News on December 28. "There are certainly large pieces of it that are very attractive to us," he remarked. "There are some that are not as consistent with our business model, so it depends on if they sell the whole thing. Do they sell it in geographic regions? What do they do?" Waste Connections has so far followed a strategy that eschews more competitive urban markets in favor of more rural markets, particularly those that employ franchise agreements for waste services. Veolia's US waste business had revenues of 614 million Euros ($822 million) in 2010. Analysts believe the business could fetch between $1.5 billion to $1.9 billion...Read More »



ReCommunity Buys Hudson Baylor

ReCommunity (Charlotte, NC), a recycling company formed in March last year, has acquired Hudson Baylor Corp. and its 12 recycling facilities in the Northeast, the Mid-Atlantic and more recently in Arizona. Two more facilities are opening in 2012. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Hudson Baylor's 300 employees will join ReCommunity which combined will operate 36 facilities in 12 states, and employ a force of 1,150. ReCommunity was formed in March 2011 by investment firms Pegasus Capital Advisors LP and Intersection LLC which purchased the non-core recycling assets spun-off by Casella Waste Systems (Rutland, VT) in a $134 million deal. "Our mission is to continuously improve community sustainability through maximized resource recovery," said Jim Bohlig, CEO of ReCommunity...Read More »



Chicago Saving Money through Ambitious Plan to Rework Waste Collection

Chicago's Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that his city has reduced its recycling costs by $1 million through competitive bidding and cooperation between the city and unions representing the Department of Streets and Sanitation which ultimately embraced flexible scheduling, more efficient routes, and fewer crews. The city has already reduced its cost per cart from $4.77 at the beginning of the competition to $3.75 per cart for the month of December, a 21 percent reduction that has lowered the program cost to $2.16 million from $3.15 million in the previous quarter that ended in September 2011. "We launched competitive bidding for recycling in an effort to save money while delivering quality services, and our results have exceeded our expectations," said Emanuel. Competitive bidding in recycling is the first step toward extending Chicago's Blue Cart Recycling program throughout the city. In 2012, more than 20,000 additional households will get recycling services, bringing the total to more than 260,000. The city has been divided into six zones, four of which are being serviced by the private sector companies and two that are still serviced by city employees.

In October 2011 the Mayor laid out the City's "2012 Budget Proposal to Secure Chicago's Future," which included plans to remake the city's antediluvian waste collection system and privatize many of its functions...Read More »



E-Waste Market to Double Over Next 15 Years

The volume of scrap electronics (e-waste), with increasing adoption of electronic gadgets around the world and ever shorter product life cycles, is expected to double over the next 15 years, from 6 million tons in 2010 to 14.9 million tons, by 2025, according to a recent report by the market research firm Pike Research (Boulder, CO). This puts pressure on industry players, governments, and advocacy groups to find new ways to expand electronics recycling and reuse in order to avoid having e-waste being buried, incinerated, or dumped where it pose a significant environmental hazard.

Fortunately, says Pike, the e-waste management industry is growing apace to help deal with this increasing volume of waste. "The growth in responsible disposition of obsolete electronics is being driven both by environmental legislation around the world as well as the sustainability and corporate social responsibility programs of leading electronics manufacturers and service providers," said Pike analyst Bob Boggio. He noted, however, that e-waste is still easily and inexpensively sent to landfills, and that trans-boundary shipments of e-waste to countries where the waste is not disposed of responsibly remains a big problem...Read More »



Waste Pro Buys another Louisiana Waste Company

Waste Pro USA, Inc. (Longwood, FL) bought Acadian Waste Disposal Service based in Gonzales, LA, about 20 miles south of Baton Rouge and which serves 13,000 customers in that market and the surrounding Ascension Parish. "This recent acquisition will compliment Waste Pro's current operation in Kenner, LA and allow for greater service flexibility in surrounding parishes," said John J. Jennings, President and CEO of Waste Pro. Waste Pro, which is expected to generate revenues of at least $400 million in 2011, has been growing aggressively through acquisition throughout the southeast where it currently serves more that 1.8 million customers from 91 operating locations and maintains more than 114 exclusive municipal contracts and franchises...Read More »



Firms Charge Veolia with Violating Securities Laws

A pair of law firms said they were investigating whether Veolia Environnement and several of its key executives violated federal securities laws by making false and misleading statements concerning Veolia's internal controls, business fundamentals and financial guidance. The French water and waste giant, the world's largest environmental utility in terms of revenue, operates utility and public transportation businesses that supply drinking water, provide waste management services, manage and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, and operate rail and road passenger transportation systems.

The alleged violations include management's overstating Veolia's financial results through improper accounting practices; lacking adequate internal controls to determine its financial condition; failing to record various impairment charges in a timely manner and; failing to disclose a decline in revenue from the renewal of some of its major concession contracts. As a result, they say the defendants lacked a reasonable basis for their positive statements about the Company and its prospects...Read More »



Senators May Yet Oppose EPA's Boiler Rule Fixes

The EPA has promulgated its proposals to soften its recently issued boiler and incinerator rules but it remains unclear whether the changes will be sufficient to assuage the concerns of key senators that were opposed to the rules as originally proposed last March.

The revised rules were published in the Federal Register on Dec. 23 and include national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants for major source boilers, new source performance standards for commercial and industrial solid waste incinerators (CISWI) and a non-hazardous secondary materials (NHSM) rule to determine whether facilities are subject to the boiler or stricter CISWI rules based on the material burned in the unit. Industry, states, environmentalists and others are locked in litigation over the original rules, with industry arguing they are unachievable and based on faulty data. EPA stalled implementation of the rules and launched a rare self-initiated reconsideration in order to address several provisions criticized by industry. EPA officials say the revised rules provide greater flexibility for industry at a lower cost than the previously finalized versions...Read More »



Clean Energy Fuels Gets $150 million; Pickens Exercises Warrants

Clean Energy Fuels Corp. (Seal Beach, CA), which develops natural gas fueling stations, said it has secured $150 million from investors, including an investment from Texas oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens. Clean Energy said the investments resulted from the exercise of Pickens' warrants to purchase 15 million shares of the company's common stock at $10 per share. Pickens bought 1.5 million shares and transferred the balance to existing investors RRJ Capital, Seatown Holdings and Chesapeake Energy Corp., as well as Chief Capital LP, an investment vehicle wholly owned by energy investor Trevor Rees-Jones. The investments bring the total invested or committed to Clean Energy to $450 million during 2011, the company said. Last August the company received $150 million in funding from three Asian investment funds, having a month earlier received a similar $150 million investment from natural gas developer Chesapeake Energy (Oklahoma City, OK).

Clean Energy has fueling stations in more than 257 locations in the United States and Canada. Its "America's Natural Gas Highway" network is comprised of more than 100 LNG truck fueling stations connecting major freight trucking corridors across the country. The company also has a 70 percent stake in a landfill gas facility that it operates in Dallas and plans to build a second facility in Michigan...Read More »



FlexEnergy to Install Landfill Gas-to-Energy Project in California

US clean technology company FlexEnergy, Inc. (Irvine, CA) said it received approval to install its novel landfill gas-to-energy system at a now closed landfill in Orange County, CA. The company said that the County Board of Supervisors approved its plans to install a 1.5 to 2 megawatt Flex Powerstation at the idle Santiago Canyon landfill which will provide enough electricity to power 2,000 area homes. It will also help the county meet the air quality emissions for waste gases that are to take effect in 2013. The company boasts that its Flex Powerstation is capable of running efficiently on relatively low quality gas...Read More »



Heritage-Crystal Clean Appoints New COO and CFO

Heritage-Crystal Clean Inc. (Elgin. IL), a provider of parts cleaning and hazardous and non-hazardous waste services, has appointed new corporate officers. Greg Ray has been appointed Chief Operating Officer. Mark DeVita will fill his former post as Chief Financial Officer. John Lucks is now senior vice president of sales and marketing, and Ellie Chaves is the new vice president of sales, the company said. "We enjoy a very strong bench of management talent. These new assignments reflect our continuing commitment to develop a strong team of managers that will assure our company's success in the future," said CEO Joe Chalhoub...Read More »



Covanta Energy Wins Contracts from 4 Connecticut Towns

Covanta Energy Corp. (Morristown, NJ) said it signed contracts with the Connecticut municipalities of East Hartford, Guilford, Madison, and Newington to provide them with "sustainable waste management services" that includes processing and disposal at one of its four waste-to-energy plants in the state. The services that Covanta will provide encompass recycling and composting, as well as waste-to-energy and other waste disposal services. In doing so, Covanta beat out the Connecticut Resource Recovery Authority (CRRA) which had the contracts for the last 30 years. Covanta said that by bundling these services, the four communities will realize savings in the form of reduced disposal costs and rebates for recycling. "These towns did not want to landfill, and we heard them loud and clear," said Steve Diaz, a vice president and regional business manager for Covanta. "Covanta's infrastructure and strategic relationships in the region enable us to provide sustainable waste management solutions at affordable, stable rates."...Read More »



New York Bans Disposal of Electronics Waste

New York's statewide electronics waste recycling law takes effect this month which prohibits waste haulers from collecting electronic waste unless is it destined to be recycled or reused. The so-called Electronic Equipment Recycling and Reuse Act, passed in May 2010, also requires manufactures to accept for recycling or reuse based on the market share of their products sold in the state and establishes surcharges for failure to meet those standards. Those companies now have to provide "free and convenient" recycling to consumers but can charge a modest fee to larger private-sector business and non-profits. The bill places a disposal ban on electronics, to be fully phased-in by 2015...Read More »


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