Weekly News Bulletin: Jan. 24-30, 2012


Activists Sue EPA to Issue Final Coal Ash Rule

A coalition of 11 environmental and public health groups are suing the EPA to force the agency to set a hard deadline by which it will issue the final version of its long-stalled coal combustion residuals (CCRs) disposal rule. They argue that EPA is ignoring a Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA) requirement to periodically review and revise its waste rules. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson recently said the agency plans to finalize the rule in late 2012 after completing a risk analysis of coal ash reuse in products. The rule will finalize EPA's June 2010 proposal to regulate coal ash either as a RCRA subtitle C hazardous waste subject to strict disposal controls, as desired by the activists, or under RCRA's subtitle D solid waste program, which would delegate the regulation of CCRs to the states...Read More »



Wilmington Plans $40 Million Landfill and Sewage Gas-to-Energy Plant

The City of Wilmington, DE announced plans for a $40 million plant to convert landfill and sewage gas into clean energy. The plant, which is to be built by Honeywell, would combine landfill gas from the Delaware Solid Waste Authority's Cherry Island Landfill with methane collected from the city's wastewater treatment plant's sludge-handling systems, then pipe the waste-derived fuel into a 4 megawatt power turbine. Leftover heat would be used to dry wastewater plant sludge, reducing its weight by more than 80 percent and converting it into a form that could be sold as fertilizer or used as a fuel itself in cement kilns or other industrial burners. The energy plant provides not only the benefit of clean energy and fuel revenue but also solves the problem of disposing 50,000 tons of sludge annually. That was previously handled by a company called VFL Technology Corp. that had been mixing the sludge with large quantities of coal ash and other industrial castoffs, mostly from surrounding states, but it never found a market for what it described as a soil substitute. When VFL failed to win a permit renewal, the sludge had to be hauled out of state beginning in 2009...Read More »



Alcoa and WM Recycle America Support E-Waste Regulation

Alcoa and Waste Management Recycle America recently joined the Coalition for American Electronics Recycling (CAER) adding heft to industry support for legislation that would strengthen EPA's authority to regulate electronic waste (e-waste). CAER supports the passage of the Responsible Electronics Recycling Act, introduced last June, which would prohibit the export of certain electronic waste (e-waste) to developing countries that lack environmental safeguards. Many e-waste recyclers have long complained of a patchwork of state regulations that makes it difficult to operate their business, but more recently they are complaining about getting undercut by competitors with unscrupulous scrapping practices who send their e-waste overseas to developing countries. Last month, Sims Recycling Solutions, the largest e-waste recycler in the world, joined the group, signaling a growing rift with the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), which opposes the legislation. ISRI contends that any restriction on e-waste recyclers would hurt business, smaller businesses in particular, and cause less e-waste to be recycled...Read More »



Element Markets Developing Biomethane Plant at Apex Landfill in Ohio

Houston, TX-based biomethane developer Element Markets LLC is building a large biomethane project at the Apex Sanitary Landfill in Amsterdam, Ohio. The project, which is expected to be operational in 2013, will convert landfill gas into pipeline-quality biomethane and byproducts to be sold into the power and transportation market. It would be enough to power 19,000 homes. The giant 1,285-acre Apex landfill receives about 1.8 million tons of waste annually and is expected to produce 32 million MMBtu of biomethane throughout its operational life. Element Markets owns and operates landfill gas-to-energy projects nationwide...Read More »



EPA Urged Not to Require Preprocessing of MSW for it to Qualify as Renewable

In comments submitted to the EPA, a number of industry groups are urging the agency not to require the separation of recyclable materials from municipal solid waste (MSW) in order to qualify for use as a feedstock for biofuels under the renewable fuel standard (RFS), saying that different processes require flexibility in such plans. EPA took comment until Jan. 9 on its Dec. 9 Federal Register notice on a plan by Fiberight of Blairstown, LLC (see related story) to separate recyclable materials such as paper, glass and plastics from MSW so that it can be used as a feedstock to make cellulosic ethanol. While EPA is not taking comment on whether to adopt the Fiberight process as an industry standard, Waste Management, Terrabon and INEOS Bio in separate comments urge EPA against taking that approach or declaring Fiberight's process as an industry best practice, arguing that a variety of variables, including the source of MSW, the quality of the feedstock needed for biorefining and other attributes determine the best method to separate recyclables from MSW...Read More »



RockTenn's Fiscal Q1 Margins Hurt by Outages and Merger

RockTenn Co. (Norcross, GA) first quarter profit rose less than expected as the packaging and recycling company was hurt by competitive prices and maintenance-related factory outages, and weighed down by its recent $3.5 billion acquisition of rival Smurfit-Stone last year. Nevertheless, net income rose by 52 percent. "Our adjusted earnings of $1.18 per share reflect continued earnings accretion from the Smurfit-Stone acquisition, which we estimate at $0.15 for the quarter and $1.03 for the seven months since we completed the acquisition," Chairman and CEO James Rubright said in a statement. The company reported unadjusted net income of $76.7 million or $1.06 per share for the first quarter, compared to $50.3 million or $1.27 per share a year earlier. Net sales for the quarter tripled to $2.27 billion from $761.10 million in the same quarter last year, primarily due to the contribution from the Smurfit-Stone acquisition; however, that was slightly lower than expected...Read More »



USDA Awards $25 Million to Iowa Waste-to-Ethanol Plant

Maryland-based Fiberight LLC has been awarded a $25 million loan guarantee from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to build a plant near a landfill that will convert a portion of the municipal solid waste (MSW) stream into cellulosic ethanol. The 55,000-square foot plant at the Benton County landfill near Blairstown, Iowa is expected to produce 6 million gallons of ethanol when it becomes operational next year. "Projects like this are still unique and in the early stages and the model this company is using holds a lot of applications because there is no shortage of garbage," said Matt Hartwig, a spokesman for the Renewable Fuels Association. "He said there are other plants producing smaller amounts of cellulosic ethanol, on what is described as a demonstration scale, maybe 500,000 to 1 million gallons, but the Blairsburg plant will be among the first to reach commercial scale production." Fiberight, which also will have a smaller plant operating in Lawrenceville, VA, this year, will invest $20 million in the Iowa plant. It also received $2.5 million from the state. Fiberight's process employs enzymes that act on the waste which has been broken down into a pulp to produce sugar that is then fermented into ethanol...Read More »



Progressive Waste to Report Fourth Quarter Results on Feb. 28

Progressive Waste Solutions, Ltd. (Toronto, ON) plans to report its fourth quarter and full-year earnings after the close of the markets on Tuesday, February 28. The company will host a conference call the following day at 8:30 am (Eastern) to discuss its results...Read More »


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