Weekly News Bulletin: Feb. 27-Mar. 5, 2013


Lancaster Purchase of Harrisburg Incinerator Could Hurt Credit Rating Says Moody's

Moody's investor service may be throwing a monkey wrench into Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority's (LCSWMA) plans to buy the troubled Harrisburg, PA incinerator. While affirming its A3 rating of the LCSWMA's $30.6 million of debt, Moody's said the acquisition could result in a "multiple-notch rating change." LCSWMA, beginning in Mar. 2011, has offered to buy the Harrisburg plant which has been at the heart of the City of Harrisburg's financial woes that include $340 million in debt. The Moody's report goes on to caution that "Given the history of this particular asset, the undertaking by the authority may be credit negative in our view." James Warner, CEO of the LCSWMA, expressed dismay, saying that Moody's had overstepped. "When they say multiple-notch rating change, we can only assume a negative one," he said. "This was really an ordinary surveillance update, so we were surprised by this. They wanted to know about this deal. We discussed it but really we didn't think it should factor into their upgrade." A multiple notch downgrade could put LCSWMA's debt on the edge of "non-investment grade," resulting in more difficulty obtaining funding and higher interest rates. Nevertheless, Warner said that they are moving forward with the deal and he hopes to be in there by the end of the second quarter...Read More »



San Jose Could Become Biggest City to Ban Plastic Foam Containers

The City of San Jose could become the largest city in California to ban plastic foam food containers. This week, its council voted to conduct environmental impact studies on a potential countywide phase-out that could speed the adoption of similar measures in other area cities. Two weeks ago New York City's Mayor Michael Bloomberg also proposed banning plastic foam containers, along with efforts to double the city's recycling rate and go after food waste. He noted that the ubiquitous plastic foam coffee cups and clamshell food containers break easily, litter streets and parks, clog drains, foul waterways and have to be removed when mixed with other recycled materials, adding as much as $20 per ton to the cost of recycling...Read More »



ReCommunity Recycling Appoints New CEO

ReCommunity (Charlotte, NC) has appointed James E. Devlin as its new Chief Executive Officer, effective March 4. He replaces company co-founder James W. Bohlig, who is retiring. Devlin will focus on broadening the company's reach within existing markets and on entering new markets and expanding product offerings. He brings 27 years of experience in the oil recycling, waste, and logistics sectors, having most recently served as President of the environmental and waste recycling division of Heckmann Corporation. Heckmann acquired Thermo Fluids, Inc. last March where Devlin served as CEO since 2008. Prior to that, he served as a regional vice president at Waste Management Inc., with responsibility for the $1.2 billion business unit encompassing the Southern California, the San Francisco Bay Area and Arizona...Read More »



Dallas Adopts Zero Waste Plan Even without Flow Control

The City of Dallas has adopted a long range plan to become a "zero waste" city. To achieve that end, it recommends expanding recycling goals to businesses and rental homes that are not currently included in the city's recycling programs. These are served by private companies and few have recycling. 50 percent of Dallas residents reportedly live in rental homes. The plan's timeline calls for diverting 40 percent of waste from the landfill by 2020 and 60 percent by 2030. The goal of reaching "zero waste" by 2040 is to be achieved by maximizing waste diversion rather than complete elimination. Absent from the plan is the flow control measure that would have required all waste generated in the city be taken to the City's landfill where a high-tech material and energy recovery facility was proposed. A judge ruled against the flow control measure as a violation of the city's existing contracts with its private haulers. The city is seeking a new trial in the case...Read More »



Industry Group Supports Missouri Bill to Dismantle Waste Districts

An industry trade group is voicing support of a Missouri bill that seeks to eliminate the state's existing solid waste management districts which would change the way funds are allocated to municipalities to pay for waste reduction and recycling programs. Consequently, Senate Bill 13 would also reduce the environmental "tip fee" charged to landfills and transfer stations that is the source of those funds. The Missouri chapter of the National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA) along with the bill's sponsor Sen. Kurt Schaefer (R-19), argue that the bill makes up for the reduction in tip fee by eliminating the "overhead and administration costs" of operating the districts...Read More »



Orange County Deploys Falcons over its Landfill

Orange County, Calif.'s 6,000 ton-per-day Olinda Alpha Landfill employs a team of falcons and a hawk to chase away scavenging birds, primarily comprised of seagulls and crows. The scavengers often carry waste into surrounding neighborhoods and wilderness areas. Their feces pollutes the air and waterways. However, one falcon working at a time is enough to deter thousands of gulls that would otherwise feast on the landfill's working face. The county began its pilot falconry program last November and currently budgets $150,000 to operate it year-round. Falconry, which is an art that has been practiced since 2,000 BC, is used primarily to keep pest birds away from landfills, farms, urban areas and airport runways. The practice is regulated by state and federal guidelines...Read More »



WM's Mahoning Landfill Starts 4.8 MW Landfill Gas-to-Energy

Waste Management's Mahoning Landfill, just south of Youngstown, Ohio, is now operating a 4.8 megawatt landfill gas-to-energy project. Five 20-cilinder Caterpillar engines burn the gas to produce enough electricity to power 3,500 homes. The electricity is being sold to the city of Oberlin. Through its waste-based energy efforts, WM now creates enough energy nationally to power 1.1 million homes, and hopes to reach the 2 million mark by 2020...Read More »


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