A US District Judge has halted the City of Dallas' controversial Flow Control ordinance, ruling that it impairs waste haulers rights and impedes ongoing contractual relationships. In his 33-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor affirmed arguments made by the National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA) and several haulers that the ordinance violates the city's 20-year franchise agreements, reached in 2007, with local waste haulers that gave them permission to haul commercial waste to any state-approved landfill, not just the city's McCommas Bluff landfill. The law, which was to take effect on January 1, but was later delayed in light of the court proceedings, would require all haulers collecting waste within the city to take it to the city's landfill or one of its transfer stations.
The ruling is a setback for the city which planned to use the additional revenue to develop a novel material recovery facility and enhance its energy recovery from increased landfill gas and later from gasifying a portion of the non-recoverable waste...Read More »
The Obama administration, led by the US Department of Agriculture, is seeking to encourage the production of advanced biofuels, which could be commercialized sooner than cellulosic fuels, to help industry meet EPA's supply mandates for biofuels under the renewable fuel standard (RFS). So far, the USDA is seeking to leverage increased demand by the military for so-called "drop-in" fuels to spur production of advanced biofuels for vehicles that are easier than cellulosic ethanol to use in existing fueling infrastructure, though the administration continues to back cellulosic fuels, which are usually produced from corn waste, switch grass and other sources. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has in recent weeks pointed to new innovation in advanced biofuels in the last six months that could change earlier expectations on how the country will meet its RFS goals. Last month EPA finalized its RFS blending requirement of 8.65 million gallons for 2012, up 2 million gallons from 2011. Consequently, industry is concerned about inadequate supply to meet EPA's mandates because they fear they will be forced to purchase "credits" to offset any blending shortfalls. They cite data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) that showed production levels unable to meet the EPA goal...Read More »
Waste Management, Inc. (Houston, TX) plans to roll out its first Rotopress collection trailers, which have been available in Europe for nearly eighty years, in an effort to improve operational flexibility and reduce fuel use and lower maintenance costs. The Rotopress trailer, built by German company Faun, employs a corkscrew method to compact waste which increases payloads by about 40 percent. A typical trailer can hold 14 tons compared to 10 tons for a conventional vehicle. It features a "decoupled tractor-trailer configuration" that gives the vehicle a tighter turning radius, among many other benefits. The company says the ability to decouple the trailer from the chassis will offer more maintenance flexibility, leading to better utilization of assets. Moreover, the unique corkscrew design moves waste to the front of the body which better distributes the weight over both axles leading to improved performance and lower maintenance costs...Read More »
The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) says that despite growing industry support, federal legislation proposing to ban the export of electronic waste to certain countries is not likely to become law. ISRI opposes the proposed Responsible Electronics Recycling Act because it would, in their view, interfere with "free and fair trade of specification grade commodities into the global marketplace" which they see as "a vital component of sustainable recycling." On the other side of the debate is a new coalition of industry groups led by The Coalition for American Electronics Recycling (CAER) which supports the legislation because many of its members are increasingly complaining about being undercut by competitors with unscrupulous practices who send their e-waste overseas to developing countries...Read More »
Synergy Renewables (Dallas, TX) which is working with Primoris Services Corp. and Dynamis Energy, LLC (Boise, ID) to develop and construct multiple waste-to-energy projects worldwide, has signed contracts to construct two $50 million waste-to-energy facilities in Puerto Rico. Each of the two facilities will utilize a proprietary process to gasify approximately 180,000 tons of municipal solid waste annually in order to generate 10 megawatts of clean renewable energy per location, according to a press release. The construction phase for the projects is scheduled to begin this year and be complete by the end of next year. The projects address two of the island's major problems: high power costs and a shortage of landfill space. Earlier this month however, activists filed suit to block one of the projects for not having addressed possible environmental impacts...Read More »
Waste Management, Inc. (Houston, TX) is investing $16 million in a recently acquired facility in Toronto, Ont. to develop a state-of-the-art construction and demolition (C&D) recycling plant. The semi-automated single stream recycling plant, which is expected to be operational by this fall, will process an estimated 87,000 tonnes of C&D material in its first year. As with single-stream facilities in general, it is expected to significantly increase the diversion of materials away from landfill, especially since contractors and developers will no longer have to separate at them at the source. The facility will serve western and southern parts of the greater Toronto area. The site was selected "because continued strong construction activity and population growth are anticipated in Toronto," said Brad Muter, Waste Management's vice president for eastern Canada. He added that 66 percent of the waste stream in the area is generated by the industrial-commercial sector, which underscores the opportunity for the facility help to increase recovery rates...Read More »
California officials with Gov. Jerry Brown's (D) administration appear to be working to remove regulatory barriers to biogas production and use in the state's pipelines in an effort to allow the gas to receive credit under California's climate change and renewable power programs. This would help California reach its aggressive 2020 greenhouse gas (GHG)-reduction mandates and its 33 percent renewable portfolio standard (RPS). California law currently prohibits biogas produced at state landfills from being injected into the state's natural gas pipeline system based on utility concerns that it may contaminate the California's natural gas supply because it contains additional "contaminates." Biogas, the result of anaerobic digestion, typically contains 50-80 percent methane, 20-50 percent carbon dioxide, and traces of gases such as hydrogen, carbon monoxide and nitrogen...Read More »
The City of Lake Worth, FL is testing the use of a computerized monitoring system to track individual customers' recycling rates. The system employs barcodes on individual waste containers along with readers on the collection vehicles which records each collection along with the weight of the material and the address from which it was collected. A small monitoring camera allows the driver to verify the contents of the container. Eventually, the city hopes to encourage customer participation by offering rebates or other incentives for recycling, possibly akin to or in conjunction with the Recyclebank program. It will also help the city better utilize its single-stream recycling system built three years ago. The city bought the $130,000 system, called the Container Asset Recovery Tracking System (CARTS) from California-based Rehrig Pacific with the help of a $75,100 federal grant. The system is expected to pay for itself over time based on the disparity in price paid to dispose of materials in the landfill (about $42 per ton) versus the money received from recycling ($10 per ton). It could also be used to track commercial containers and has the added benefit of verifying customer complaints about a missed collection...Read More »
Waste-to-biofuels and chemicals company Enerkem Inc. (Montreal, QC) has appointed Carl Rush, Senior Vice President of Organic Growth for Waste Management, Inc. (Houston, TX) to its board of directors. "We are glad to have Mr. Rush join our board of directors", said Vincent Chornet, President and Chief Executive Officer of Enerkem. "Carl is a seasoned executive who brings extensive experience and knowledge of the waste management industry." Rush, who joined Waste Management in 2001, has led the company's investments into alternative energy and diversion technologies, leading efforts to maximize value from waste, including converting them into biofuels, renewable chemicals and energy. Rush replaces Tim Cesarek as Waste Management's representative on Enerkem's board of directors...Read More »
RockTenn (Norcross, GA) announced the opening of a 150,000 square-foot single-stream recycling facility in Memphis, TN, the first of its kind in the area. It becomes the company's ninth single-stream processing site among its 39 recycling locations and complements RockTenn's established single-stream recycling plants in Chattanooga and Knoxville. Single-stream recycling, which allows customers to comingle their recyclable materials in one bin, simplifies collection and lowers costs while boosting participation.
"We are investing in new facilities across the country to support demand and provide full-service solutions through innovative technology. Our growth is focused on making recycling easy by increasing our single-stream capabilities and supporting our customers' sustainability initiatives across the country," said Mike Oswald, senior vice president and general manager, RockTenn Recycling and Waste Solutions...Read More »
Officials with the Rhode Island's Central Landfill in Johnston, growing desperate of seagull problems, have approved a variety of draconian measures to reduce the bird population there by half including shooting, pyrotechnics and cannons. The Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation board, which owns the landfill, voted this week to spend up to $75,000 on the anti-seagull measures for one year. The Providence Journal reports that there are tens of thousands of birds at the landfill which pose a danger of collision with local aircraft operating in a nearby aviation corridor. Officials said that they would attempt non-lethal methods first before resorting to shotguns. Activists already thrilled about landfills in general, are sure to love the idea of killing birds there...Read More »
A Texas-based renewable energy company is proposing to build a $20 million waste-to-diesel fuel conversion plant in Augusta, Maine at the site of the city's landfill. The company, Eastern Green Energy LLC which is a subsidiary of GGI Energy (Plano, TX), said a similar, large scale plant in Korea went online in 2007 and that the technology has existed since 1958. The company's process involves sorting, crushing and dehydrating the waste and, with proprietary technology, converting it into a gas which is then purified and converted into ready-to-use fuel. The process can handle nearly any kind of feedstock other than metal, glass, and ceramic materials, and generates very few emissions and no toxic emissions. The initial facility would convert about 50 tons of waste per day which could double the remaining life span of the city's Hatch Hill landfill by about 15 years. The city would pay the firm to take the waste for which it receives a tipping fee but would also receive lease payments from the firm. The firm will earn revenue by selling the fuel for which it is currently shopping an off take agreement with potential buyers...Read More »
WCA Waste Corp. (Houston, TX), which recently agreed to be taken private in a deal valued at $526 million by Macquarie Infrastructure Partners II, is seeking to amend its 7 1/2% Senior Notes Due 2019 to coincide with the deal. Meanwhile, the company is being sued by a group of investors who allege that the company's board of directors breached their fiduciary duty in failing to adequately shop the deal before agreeing to be bought by Macquarie.
A similar lawsuit was brought by a group of investors against Waste Industries USA Inc. when it was taken private in 2008, for about $544 million, also by Macquarie Infrastructure Partners along with Goldman Sachs...Read More »
KiOR (Pasadena, TX), which is building its first commercial biofuel production facility in Columbus, MS due online late this year, said it closed on a $75 million four-year term loan with a lender group comprised of an affiliate of Vinod Khosla and two Canadian corporations owned by certain pension fund clients of Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo). "This follow-on investment in KiOR reaffirms the continued long-term commitment of two of North America's most knowledgeable renewable energy investors in light of KiOR's on-time and on-budget execution of its first commercial facility . . . and prospects for KiOR's larger, second facility in Mississippi planned to break ground after our Columbus facility is fully operational," commented Fred Cannon, Chief Executive Officer. KiOR employs a unique two-step proprietary technology to convert abundant non-food biomass into gasoline, diesel and fuel oil blendstocks...Read More »
Heritage-Crystal Clean, Inc. (Elgin, IL), a provider of parts cleaning, used oil re-refining, and hazardous and non-hazardous waste services, said it has begun operating its $40 million oil re-refining plant in Indianapolis, IN, well ahead of schedule. The re-refinery is the second largest in the US with a capacity to process 50 million gallons per year of used oil feedstock into 30 million gallons of lubricating base oil. The project fits neatly with the company's existing business. Currently, HCCI sells the used oil collected by its branches as fuel to electric utilities and asphalt plants, but believes it would enjoy higher profit margins by re-refining the oil instead for sale as a higher value-added product. The company is drawing on previous experience having developed two other such sites that currently constitute 70 percent of the market between them...Read More »
Bridgeport BioDiesel (Bridgeport, CT) has opened a 1 million gallon-per-year biodiesel plant in its home town that utilizes used cooking oil from restaurants, hospitals, and schools. Output from the plant will be enough to heat about 550 homes. Connecticut law requires restaurants to separate their used oils from regular trash and dispose of it properly. Business owners typically pay third-party contractors to collect the oil and transport it to a waste collection site.
In November, a New Haven, CT company, Greenleaf Biofuels, began constructing a $6 million, 10 million gallon-per-year biofuel plant, housed in a 8,500 square-foot facility, that will process grease and possibly some virgin oils...Read More »
The City of North Miami Beach, FL, which has a population of about 40,000, is exploring the privatization of all or a part of its waste collection and recycling services. Brian K. O'Connor, the city's Chief Procurement Officer said all options are on the table, including the contracting of all or part of the services, and contracting with one or more firms...Read More »