Sustainability and Electronics: A Global Issue That Starts on a Community Level

Figure 1

Jason Haas

Businesses today position themselves as proponents of sustainability.  It’s something that resonates with consumers and can indeed be a win-win for everyone involved. Businesses see cost savings in recycling old electronics and show environmental stewardship. Our country’s government is joining this movement as well.  The U.S. General Services Administration has announced that the federal government will be banned from disposing old electronics in landfills. This measure falls in line with several individual state laws, such as the one introduced by Illinois in January of 2012, that enforce a landfill ban on electronics. Additionally, federal agencies are now required to use a certified recycler for their e-waste disposal. This is a very significant step—the government is the country’s largest consumer of electronics and it has been criticized in the past regarding its e-waste disposal practices. This new measure will ensure that all government-generated e-waste is processed by e-Stewards® or R2® certified recyclers.

Finding the proper balance between viablesolutions and environmental impact can be difficult.  When it comes to recycling electronics, the phrase “out of sight, out of mind” is all too relevant.  According to the EPA, the U.S. generated 3.19 million tons of e-waste in 2009 and a only a staggering 600,000 tons were recycled (17 percent).1  What does this tell us? It doesn’t mean that people don’t care about the environment, but it does speak loudly to the ease of putting trash out to the curb. Despite the simplicity of trashing electronics, the unseen danger is the litany of dangerous chemicals inside of electronic material. The EPA states that electronics comprise 1 percent of the material entering U.S. landfills, yet they contribute 70 percent of the toxins found there.2  Among these toxins are lead, mercury and cadmium. TV Takeback estimates just 1/70th of a teaspoon of mercury can contaminate a 20 acre lake, making the fish unfit to eat.3  On top of that, the mercury can enter the soil and contaminate food, plants and trees.  All of this is certainly alarming, but the fact is that many people just don’t know what to do with their old electronics.

Finding Balance

The first step is research and knowledge is the best tool in the movement for a more sustainable planet. Re-use is the most viable solution. Old electronics can be donated or passed along to others. If the products are not working, recycling is the next best option. Many electronics recyclers pay for end-of-life electronic material that many times is sitting in a storage room. Ask what your company recycling policy is and find out what they do with their end-of-life and obsolete electronics. Encourage co-workers to participate and bring in electronics for recycling.  Sustainability is a joint effort; no one can do it alone. It only takes one person’s efforts to stoke the passion of others and lead to a sustainable planet now and for future generations.

The next step in your sustainable journey should be contacting a local electronics recycler. The importance of using a certified recycler cannot be overstated. Many times, recyclers who do not possess industry certifications are not what they seem. These ersatz recyclers could be mishandling your material, may be brokers for someone else, or they may even be exporting your electronics to a foreign nation. Despite your best intentions and without your knowledge, these uncertified recyclers are damaging your company’s brand and our environment. Everyone who is interested in the sustainability movement should log on to to find a certified recycler in your area. E-stewards is a program of the Basel Action Network (BAN), a nonprofit group based in Seattle, WA. BAN was founded in 1997 and named after the Basel Convention, the United Nations treaty that restricts trade in hazardous wastes and is intended to stop the dumping of toxic waste on developing nations. In the last decade, BAN has exposed the issue of toxic trade through investigations, reports and documentary films. The e-Stewards certification is considered the “gold standard” in the electronics recycling industry.  Among its features, certified recyclers are prohibited from disposing of toxic waste in landfills or incinerators, exporting hazardous waste to developing countries, and using prison labor in the recycling of electronics.


Certified recyclers are also a great source of knowledge about viable electronics recycling solutions. Ask them about hosting a collection event, e-waste drive, or other event to raise awareness about safe electronics recycling. Another idea is to look into investing with companies that are leading with the sustainability message and have best practices with technology and certifications.  Brokers will always be around, but the companies that are investing in new technology will be the ones who make great strides in the recycling industry. We are all inhabitants of just one Earth and it is everyone’s responsibility to do what is best for the environment that we all share.

Technological Breakthroughs

Electronics recycling companies are beginning to employ fully-automated recycling processes in place of manual demanufacturing. This allows electronics to be shredded and sorted into saleable components without exposing humans to the harmful toxins inside.  These components are typically sold back to product manufacturers in a true closed-loop process. Primitive harvesting methods such as open-air burning (see Figure 1), acid washing, and even smashing products apart are still employed in developing nations. These methods expose humans and the environment to the toxins inside of electronics. In more developed nations, advances in recycling technology have greatly reduced the environmental impact of electronics recycling. Technology on the market has completely computerized machines that take less than five minutes to process a single item.  Laser-guided cutting systems, integrated with glass cleaning technology, can similarly reduce a Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) down to its saleable components without putting humans in danger.  New technology for the recent creation of flat panel televisions and monitors can separate and sort mercury from these products in a completely self-contained environment.

Electronics recycling is a relatively new concept, but it is extremely important for having a sustainable planet.  Electronics are omnipresent in our everyday lives and software is constantly being upgraded, which causes the amount of global e-waste to exponentially grow.  By joining together and educating ourselves and our neighbors, we can all sustain our beautiful planet and its environment.

Jason Haas is in Marketing at Creative Recycling Systems (Tampa, FL). Jason is a graduate of Northwood University in Midland, MI, with a BBA in Advertising and Marketing.  His career at Creative Recycling Systems is a perfect match for his passion for sustainability. Jason can be reached at (813) 386-6070, ext. 239 or via e-mail at





Por cada teléfono celular plantará un árbol con el auspicio de WWF

Por cada teléfono celular recoletado, Tragamóvil y WWF España plantarán un árbol en el monte El Madroño y los Alhagüeces en Lorca para regenerar antiguas tierras de cultivo y contribuir a la creación de un corredor ecológico. El objetivo de la fundación es plantar 3.000 árboles.

La campaña “1 árbol x 1 móvil” ha sido presentada esta mañana en Lorca por María Encarnación Molina, directora general de Medio Ambiente de la Región de Murcia; Melchor Morales, teniente de alcalde de Agua, Medio Ambiente y Ganadería del Ayuntamiento de Lorca; José Pérez, presidente de Tragamóvil, y Diana Colomina, coordinadora de Restauración Forestal de WWF España

La fundación medioambiental Tragamóvil ha puesto en marcha en Lorca la campaña “1 árbol x 1 móvil”, en colaboración con WWF España, la Dirección General de Medio Ambiente de la Región de Murcia y el Ayuntamiento de Lorca. El objetivo de la iniciativa es fomentar la recogida de teléfonos móviles en desuso para su reciclaje, y contribuir así a la recuperación forestal de cuatro hectáreas de importante valor biológico en el monte El Madroño y los Alhagüeces.

El objetivo de “1 árbol x 1 móvil” es recoger 3.000 teléfonos en desuso hasta el próximo 9 de diciembre. Para ello, la fundación ha acercado los puntos de recogida a los lorquinos, instalando un total de 26 recopiladores Tragamóvil en espacios municipales, comercios y zonas habilitadas para la retirada de residuos. Estos puntos pueden consultarse en la página web

Además, Tragamóvil promoverá la recogida mediante una campaña de concienciación y movilización ciudadana. Ésta incluye el uso de medios de publicidad como radio o exterior, comunicación en redes sociales y acciones de información por parte de varios equipos de la fundación medioambiental en más de 300 comercios y otras zonas de interés del municipio.

Una vez finalizada la campaña de recogida, Tragamóvil y WWF España comenzarán la reforestación de cuatro hectáreas de terreno semiárido en el monte El Madroño y los Alhagüeces. El plan de recuperación de esta zona, anteriormente dedicada al cultivo, proyecta la plantación de 3.000 árboles de especies autóctonas y compatibles con el ecosistema local.

Además de preservar el importante patrimonio biológico que alberga el municipio de Lorca, este proyecto de reforestación contribuirá a la creación de un corredor ecológico entre dos zonas de un gran valor para la protección de la fauna local, el Parque Regional de Sierra Espuña y el Parque Regional de Cabo Cope y Puntas de Calnegre.

Este es el segundo proyecto de reforestación asociado al reciclaje de teléfonos móviles que lleva a cabo la fundación Tragamóvil. El primero de ellos permitió la recuperación forestal de tres hectáreas de bosque autóctono en dos regiones de alto valor ecológico de las sierra de Madrid y Segovia en 2013.

El 93% de los materiales de una PC o notebook son reciclables

El 93% de los materiales de un ordenador de sobremesa son reciclables mediante las actuales técnicas de tratamiento empleadas en plantas autorizadas, según un estudio de la plataforma medioambientalRecyclia y la empresa Recybérica Ambiental.
Este dato confirma que el PC registra el mayor índice de reaprovechamiento de materias primas de las diez categorías de residuos de aparatos eléctricos y electrónicos (RAEE) establecidas en el Real Decreto 208/2005, que regula su gestión medioambiental.
Infografía sobre los materiales reaprovechables de los aparatos eléctricos y electrónicos.

La conclusión se desprende del estudio sobre la reciclabilidad de los RAEE que Recyclia y Recybérica Ambiental hacen público coincidiendo con la celebración del Día Mundial del Reciclaje el próximo 17 de mayo.

Por materiales, el estudio establece que de un PC con un peso medio de 21 kg (incluido el monitor de tubo de rayos catódicos), es posible recuperar 11.2 kg de metales comunes –mayoritariamente hierro y en menor proporción cobre y aluminio-, 4.6 kg de vidrio y 4.2 kg de una mezcla de diferentes tipos de plásticos.

Asimismo, un ordenador de sobremesa contiene una mínima proporción de metales preciosos recuperables, entre ellos oro, plata y paladio. En este sentido, por cada tonelada de residuos de estos aparatos, el equivalente a unos 48 PC en desuso, es posible recuperar alrededor de 0,0048 gr de estos metales preciosos.

La reciclabilidad de las impresoras alcanza el 88%

Como parte de este estudio, Recyclia ha analizado además el índice de reciclabilidad de una impresora, tipología de RAEE que la plataforma recoge en nuestro país, a través de la fundación medioambiental Ecofimática, desde el año 2005.

El estudio concluye que el 88% de los materiales contenidos en una impresora son recuperables y reutilizables en la fabricación de nuevos productos. Según Recyclia, de una impresora con un peso medio de 10 kg, se extraen mediante las actuales técnicas de tratamiento 4.8 kg de metales -mayoritariamente hierro-, 4 kg de una mezcla de plásticos y 310 gramos de vidrio.

Según José Pérez, consejero delegado de Recyclia, “todos tenemos en nuestros hogares ordenadores, impresoras y otros dispositivos electrónicos en desuso, de los que es posible extraer una gran cantidad de materiales reutilizables. Para que esto sea una realidad, es imprescindible la conciencia y la contribución de los ciudadanos a la sostenibilidad medioambiental mediante el reciclaje de estos residuos”.

Recyclia lidera, a través de las fundaciones Ecofimática, Ecoasimelec y Tragamóvil, la recogida selectiva y el reciclaje de RAEE en nuestro país, con más de 100.000 toneladas gestionadas desde su constitución en 2001. En 2012 los tres Sistemas Integrados de Gestión (SIG) retiraron más de 15.000 toneladas de equipos usados, lo que representa un crecimiento del 10% respecto al ejercicio anterior.

Los nuevos retos del sector de la gestión de RAEE, a debate en el Ecoencuentro 2014, organizado por Recyclia

(España) Durante la celebración del Ecoencuentro 2014 , organizado por Recyclia, María José Delgado, subdirectora general de residuos del Ministerio de Agricultura, Alimentación y Medioambiente (MAGRAMA), anunció que el borrador de Real Decreto sobre gestión de RAEE (Residuos de Aparatos Eléctricos y Electrónicos) ha valorado positivamente la plataforma electrónica de registro e información sobre esta actividad, que llevan usando los SIG desde hace años en nuestro país, denominado OfiRaee.

Para José Pérez, consejero delegado de Recyclia, “sin duda, se trata de una excelente noticia, ya que este punto era uno de los más polémicos dentro de la industria, dado el sobrecoste que suponía diseñar e implementar una nueva plataforma, más aún teniendo en cuenta el excelente funcionamiento y resultados de la actual”.

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Por otro lado, la subdirectora general también comentó que en el borrador se han ido suavizando progresivamente las exigencias sobre la reutilización de aparatos eléctricos, dada la complejidad de los requisitos técnicos para la valoración de cuáles pueden ser reusados o no, y que actualmente el borrador contempla que este índice de reutilización se sitúe entre un 2% y un 3% del total.

La cuarta edición de la reunión anual de la plataforma medioambiental Recyclia, EcoEncuentro 2014, que ha reunido un año más a representantes de la administración pública, distribuidores, fabricantes, gestores y Sistemas Integrados de Gestión (SIG), ha analizado los nuevos retos a los que deberá hacer frente el sector de la gestión de RAEE de nuestro país.

De hecho, y según se ha hecho público durante las ponencias, la Unión Europea estima que actualmente el 30% de los residuos electrónicos se gestionan de forma fraudulenta.

En este sentido, todos los participantes han coincidido en señalar, que este nuevo Real Decreto ha de servir para luchar contra los canales paralelos e ilegales de residuos. A este respecto, José Pérez ha vuelto a hacer hincapié en la necesidad de que el Real Decreto endurezca las sanciones por conducta fraudulenta en el ámbito de la gestión, así como actuar de manera más contundente contra los robos en puntos limpios.

El EcoEncuentro 2014 ha servido además para destacar los logros de los SIG, respaldados por la nueva Directiva como el modelo más eficaz de recogida selectiva y universal de los RAEE y de la aplicación de las técnicas de reciclaje más avanzadas.

A este respecto, José Pérez repasó la labor que ha convertido a Recyclia en la plataforma referente de nuestro país, con más de 130.000 toneladas de RAEE y pilas gestionados desde su puesta en funcionamiento.

Por su parte, Teresa Mejía, directora general de Ecolum, presentó la actividad de esta fundación dedicada al reciclaje de residuos de iluminación. Mejía puso de relieve la importancia estratégica del acuerdo de colaboración alcanzado con Recyclia, para aprovechar recursos y sinergias, y que le permitirá cerrar 2014 con 900 toneladas gestionadas de este tipo de residuos.

Luján recolectó más de 2 toneladas de residuos electrónicos

En el marco del Día Municipal de la Conciencia Ambiental, la comuna encabezó la segunda Campaña de Reciclaje de Residuos de Aparatos Eléctricos y Electrónicos (RAEE). Vecinos de Luján y de otros departamentos participaron activamente de esta iniciativa.

La Municipalidad de Luján de Cuyo realizó por segundo año consecutivo una campaña para recolectar chatarra electrónica para su posterior reciclado y contribuir de esta forma con el cuidado del medio ambiente.

El sábado, día de la Conciencia Ambiental, se recolectaron cerca de 2,5 toneladas de Residuos de Aparatos Eléctricos y Electrónicos (RAEE) y no sólo participaron los lujaninos, sino que también adhirieron vecinos de otros departamentos de la provincia.

Monitores, televisores y CPU fueron los aparatos que más llevaron a la Plaza Departamental, además de celulares, teclados, mouses, entre otros residuos.

Esta semana continuará la recolección de chatarra en las escuelas de Carrodilla y Chacras de Coria. Y la semana que viene se suma a esta iniciativa la Facultad de Ciencias Agrarias de la UNCuyo, ya que la institución se mostró interesada en colaborar con la causa y recolectar residuos en la casa de estudios.

Los RAEE recolectados fueron trasladados hacia el obrador municipal, y desde allí transportados a la empresa Reciclarg SA, de Guaymallén. Allí se les dará tratamiento adecuado, para hacer un uso sustentable de ellos y evitar la contaminación del agua, del suelo y del aire.


Los autos a hidrógeno son realidad, están a la venta y usan metales reciclables

Nuevos minerales y tecnología para el desarrollo de las energías alternativas, renovables y limpias. Los automóviles a Fuel Cell son el futuro, y es el camino que sigue el Mirai, de Toyota, que llega a los concesionarios japoneses el lunes 15/12.
El Gobierno japonés anunció que estos coches contarían con un plan subsidios especiales que, en el caso del ‘Mirai’, permitirá bajar su precio en Japón hasta los 5 millones de yenes (US$42.880).
Toyota Motor anunció que comenzará a vender en Japón, el lunes 15/12, el ‘Mirai’ (en japonés quiere decir ‘Futuro’), su vehículo pionero en el uso de batería de hidrógeno, basada en el uso intensivo de ciertos metales estratégicos (cobalto), así como catalizadores tierras raras (indio) y metales preciosos como el platino, que pueden ser reciclado en un 99 %.
El precio recomendado de venta al público, impuestos incluidos, es de US$62.094 (7.236.000 yenes), según explicó la empresa en un comunicado. Pero el Gobierno japonés anunció que estos vehículos contarían con un plan subsidios especiales que, en el caso del ‘Mirai’, permitirá bajar su precio en Japón hasta los 5 millones de yenes (US$42.880).
Esta fórmula ya se utilizó para popularizar en Japón el Prius de Toyota, el 1er. híbrido que se empezó a fabricar en serie en 1997 y cuyo precio inicial estaba en torno a los US$20.000 de la época. En la Argentina una fórmula equivalente sería imposible a causa de que el Estado es el gran beneficiario de la venta de combustible convencional porque aplica un impuesto que es mayor al beneficio de quienes comercializan el producto.
El Mirai recorre 650 kilómetros con un depósito de hidrógeno, que tarda en recargarse por completo 3 minutos, y emite sólo vapor de agua.
Es una berlina que también incluye un sistema híbrido que le permite utilizar nafta convencional.
Toyota ha establecido como objetivo vender unas 400 unidades en Japón hasta fines de 2015.
En Europa y USA estará disponible desde mediados de 2015.
“Es el comienzo de una innovación que va más allá del Prius (vehículo híbrido de Toyota, que también fue pionero en el mercado)”, explicó el vicepresidente ejecutivo de la compañía, Mitsuhisa Kato.
En la ceremonia se proyectó un video en el que el presidente del fabricante N°1 del mundo, Akio Toyoda, asegura que este vehículo “representa un punto y aparte para la industria automotriz”.
El modelo fue presentado en junio, pero Toyota no había informado cuándo estaría disponible en los concesionarios.
El lanzamiento del Mirai es parte de una iniciativa del sector privado y público en Japón de cara a lograr para 2040 una sociedad menos contaminante, más basada en el hidrógeno.
Uno de los principales competidores nacionales de Toyota, Honda Motor, presentó el lunes 17/11 su propio modelo de pila de hidrógeno, aunque su lanzamiento está programado recién para marzo de 2016 y su comercialización será más limitada.
La tecnología de celdas de combustible de hidrógeno (H) podría convertirse en la forma más limpia de energía, tanto en términos de generación del gas como en términos de productos de combustión (que son sólo el calor y el agua). El mayor problema ha sido que el proceso de generación de H limpio, eficiente y barato, ya que lafuente principal actual de H es el carbón.Pero el H también puede derivarse de manera más eficiente y ecológica a partir de la división de la molécula de agua (H2O). Pero también aquí, hay un obstáculo importante: el proceso controlado (no consumidor de energía eléctrica)  de hidrólisis  (división de agua) requiere de un catalizador para arrancar la reacción. Actualmente, el catalizador más eficaz para esto es el metal pesado platino. El Platino funciona de maravillas, salvo que se trata de un raro metal, y muy caro, por lo que lo hace poco práctico para uso industrial masivo.Además, la hidrólisis requiere dos pasos catalíticos – la primera (el ánodo +) quita los electrones de los átomos de hidrógeno en el agua y, a continuación, combina los átomos del oxígeno (O) liberado en oxígeno molecular (02). El segundo paso (el cátodo -) permite a los átomos de H cargados positivamente  que adquieran electrones y aparearse entonces en hidrógeno molecular (H2). Después, El H2 es combustionado (a través de O2) para potenciar el vehículo, dejando como rastro sólo agua (y algo de calor) como gases de escape. Para que todo esto funcione con un costo razonable, de manera eficaz y limpia y sin alterar el nivel de pH del agua (lo que interferiría con la catálisis), encontrar un o varios agentes catalizadoresha sido la preocupación primordial de los ingenieros de celdas de combustibles.Recientemente, los investigadores del Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) informaron el descubrimiento de un nuevo catalizador para partir el agua que es mucho más amigable para el  medio ambiente que el Platino: se trata de un compuesto de cobalto y fósforo, que son elementos relativamente baratos y abundantes. Se trata de un “gran salto” en la tecnología de combustible de hidrógeno y muchos científicos están festejando.Al igual que con todo avance importante, la tecnología necesita mejorar mucho. El sistema catalizador funciona colocando un ánodo de óxido de estaño e indio (ITO)  en una solución de iones de cobalto (Co4 +) y fosfato de potasio (PK). Pero este sistema todavía requiere una buena cantidad de energía externa para impulsar la reacción separadora de agua (esta fuente de energía no procede de la energía del combustible almacenado y no se recupera en el proceso). Además, el catalizador sólo puede manejar bajos niveles de corriente eléctrica. Sin embargo, los investigadores siguen siendo optimistas sobre los avances más recientes con este nuevo enfoque, sobre todo porque los nuevos catalizadores son tan fáciles de fabricar.El otro gran desafío de ingeniería es conectar los electrodos en la celda a paneles solares (que abastecen la energía inicial externa al sistema catalítico) para proporcionar una fuente limpia de energía. Además, se debe demostrar que los catalizadores que pueden trabajar en el agua de mar (que es alta en sal/alcalina). El agua de mar es la fuente de agua más barata y más abundante, y si un sistema viable podría ser concebido, este sistema sería capaz de generar H, transportarlo a las células de almacenamiento en tierra, y convertirlo en electricidad y agua dulce. Esto va más allá de proporcionar una fuente de combustible para los automóviles, podría satisfacer dos de la necesidades más básicas de la civilización, energía abundante y limpia, el agua potable.

Breves noticias en inglés sobre la gestión de RAEE (e-Scrap News)

Scrap News

Georgia Company to Use Former Weirton, WV Football Stadium to Expand Battery Recycling Business (WV) (11/07/14) Harris, Linda

Georgia-based Metal Conversion Technologies has chosen the abandoned Jimmy Carey football stadium in downtown Weirton, W.Va., as the site of its new battery recycling center. Groundbreaking is scheduled for Nov. 10. “This facility will address the growing need to recycle electric vehicle batteries, as well as other lithium-ion batteries,” including cell phone and laptop batteries, according to MCT owner John Patterson. He says the company initially will employ about 12 people, but he hopes to expand the facility to recycle other metal, which will require more staff. In its eight years, family-owned and -operated MCT has recycled more than 9,500 tons of batteries. The components are processed using MCT’s patented induction melt technology, producing the company’s remelt alloy, a commodity in the U.S. stainless steel market. The Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle previously had acquired the stadium property, with a provision that it be used to develop jobs and economic growth.

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New Plant Will Double Southern Nevada’s Recycling Capacity

Las Vegas Sun (11/06/14) Marcus, Steve

The recent groundbreaking of a second recycling plant in southern Nevada promises to solve some of the capacity problems that have discouraged area recycling. The first recycling facility, operated by Republic Services, lacked the capacity for all of the recyclables left on residential routes, forcing them to be disposed of in the company landfill. The new $34 million facility in North Las Vegas will operate alongside the existing recycling plant, and the combined facilities will make the Southern Nevada Recycling Complex the largest residential recycling operation in the United States. The new building will have a 2.5-acre footprint under one roof and will be made primarily with recycled materials. The facility also will accept a wider range of plastics, using new technology to help sort them into 11 basic materials. The plant will employ 180 full-time workers and also will use an automated network of devices, including optical sorters, magnets, vibrators, screens, and glass crushers. Material will take just three minutes to travel from the opening chute to the final baling stage, where it will be shipped to domestic and international markets. The new facility also will serve as an attraction for tourists and students by offering a multimedia learning center that explains the recycling process.

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Chandler Company Turns Worn-Out Blue Jeans Into Insulation, More

Cronkite News Service (11/05/14)

Chandler, Ariz.-based Bonded Logic and Phoenix Fibers collect discarded denim clothing and recycle it into bedding, wall insulation, and soundproofing products. They get bulk donations of denim from Goodwill and the Salvation Army. Bonded Logic uses about 150 pairs of jeans to make 500-pound bales, producing more than 2 million pounds of cotton-based product annually. The recycled cotton is used to make products such as UltraTouch insulation, which is 80-percent denim. The insulation has a comparable life span and R-rating to fiberglass insulation, but it is more than twice as expensive. Bonded Logic’s Sean Desmond says UltraTouch offers more soundproofing; is eco-friendly, safer, healthier; and is easier to install. He notes Bonded Logic’s insulation has prompted fiberglass insulation companies to begin offering more eco-friendly options, such as recycled fiberglass and recycled paper insulation. “People are just used to fiberglass; that’s what they know,” says Arizona State University sustainability scientist Mick Dalrymple. “The bottom line is cotton insulation will grow in market share versus fiberglass because of its superior acoustic benefits and lack of scratchiness. But the price differential and momentum will keep that growth lower than it would be otherwise.”

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Timberland, Omni Recycle Tires into Footwear

Environmental Leader (11/05/14)

Timberland is collaborating with tire manufacturer Omni United to make tires that can be recycled into shoe outsoles. Because the tire and footwear industries are the largest users of virgin rubber, the companies have established the first tire return/chain of custody process, ensuring the tires go directly toward creating Timberland shoes at the end of their useful life. Omni United is using Liberty Tire Recycling to collect its Timberland tires, which first will be ground into crumb rubber and then made into sheet rubber before being shipped to Timberland for outsole manufacturing. Timberland tires will become available in 2015 and 2016 for SUVs, trucks, and cars in a range of sizes. Warranties will range from 50,000 to 80,000 miles. Until enough Timberland tires are ready for recycling, Timberland and Omni United are looking for an alternative source of recycled rubber for a special line of Timberline boots.

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The New Alchemy? Company Makes Jet Fuel and Plastic Soda Bottles Out of Farm Wastes

E&E Daily (11/04/14) Huizen, Jennifer

Wisconsin-based Virent Energy Systems has developed a way to produce a 100-percent renewable plastic product. Virent plans to build a full-scale factory of the patented process for creating 100-percent renewable plastic packaging based on its technology for transforming sugars into products such as biogasoline and jet fuel. “Not only were our products found to be comparable to gasoline, but in some cases actually better given its extremely high octane levels,” says Virent CEO Lee Edwards. Existing machinery and pipelines can use the fuel without the need for adjustments, and nearly any type of vegetative feedstock can be used to make it. “What we yield in our process is just as wide-ranging as what comes out of a barrel of oil,” Edwards says. “It wasn’t long before the company itself and others began to recognize the potential we had for other applications.” Using its biogasoline technology, Virent succeeded in creating a viable and completely renewable PET replacement option called BioFormPX. Last week the PlantPET Technology Collaborative, a group of industry players including Coca-Cola Co., Ford Motor Co., Heinz Co., Nike, and Procter & Gamble Co., signed an “expression of interest” with Virent, offering its members an option of preferred access when commercial-scale production begins. The groups’ goal is to use 100-percent renewable packing for their products by 2020.

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Recleim, Pepsi Announce Partnership

North Augusta Star (SC) (11/04/14)

Recleim will provide recycling services for Pepsi Bottling Ventures’ retired cold drink vending machines, fountain units, glass door merchandisers, and other parts and components. With its exclusively licensed recycling technology, Recleim can recover 95 percent of the equipment by weight. Recleim will process PBV’s retired equipment at its flagship recycling facility in Graniteville, N.C., and provide a certificate of destruction guaranteeing the recycling process meets or exceeds federal, state, and local requirements. “Companies want to feel confident that when they recycle equipment and parts, it will be done right,” says Recleim president Doug Huffer. “Since not every recycler has the same capabilities, it’s crucial to work with one that can reduce the release of harmful substances—such as chlorofluorocarbons—into the environment. We provide that level of assurance, which is why companies like Pepsi Bottling Ventures turn to us for their recycling needs.” The company processes more than 60 million pounds of equipment annually, including household appliances, HVAC units, and other devices.

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The Business of Junk Is Growing Led by Old TVs

Daily Record (NJ) (11/03/14) Wilkowe, Ellen S.

The number of roadside signs and results of Google searches pleading for scrap indicates the number of companies and cleanout crews that recycle household products has significantly increased in New Jersey. The boon in these companies indicates people and governments are more concerned about climate change and the social and environmental crisis, says Joel Harmon, Fairleigh Dickinson University professor and executive director of the Institute for Sustainable Enterprise. He says stricter municipal regulations regarding waste disposal and sustainability claims are giving green companies a competitive edge. “People are aware of how much we waste but may not be willing to sacrifice the newest phone or couch, but like to know that they are reusable or recyclable,” Harmon says. Companies such as College H.U.N.K.S. (Honest Uniformed Nice Knowledgeable Students) Moving, which operates in 40 locations and 24 states, have grown in response to the many new regulations of disposal processes and a societal move toward decluttering. About 70 percent of the 15,000 tons of materials the company hauls each year comes from residential properties. Other companies that work to recycle, reuse, or restore residential furnishings and electronics in New Jersey include Junk-A-Haulics, Green Visions, Habitat for Humanity ReStore, 1-800-Got Junk, and Rockaway Recycling.

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From Fields to Fashion: Selma Ag Recycler Turns Trash Into Purses

Fresno Bee (CA) (11/01/14) Clough, Bethany

Selma, Calif.-based AJ Industrial recycles millions of pounds of discarded lay-flat irrigation hose into items such as purses, flip flops, and belts under its Landfill Dzine brand, which is sold online, in boutiques, and at retail trade shows. Prices on the finished products range from $395 for a two-in-one handbag to $20 for a pair of flip flops with straps made from the irrigation hose and footbeds made from recycled PVC. AJ Industrial is primarily an agricultural waste broker, but it also finds uses for other discarded materials such as vine covers, which are ground into pellets and made into trash bags. “Sustainable fashion is now big business,” says Pamela Hutton, a fashion merchandising instructor at Fresno City College. “Designers are looking for new ways of creating merchandise, and this is an actual recycler that has created the fashion, which is very fun, and fun that it’s local.” Other enterprises that make use of recycled materials include singer Pharrel Williams, who has launched Raw for the Oceans, a clothing line made from discarded plastic extracted from the ocean. Meanwhile, Levi’s sells jeans made from recycled bottles, and Dirtball sells clothing made from 100-percent recycled materials.

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New Railcar Refurbishing Company Will Create 150 Jobs

Hutchinson News (KS) (10/30/14) Green, John

Illinois-based Mervis Railcar has announced the construction of a $35 million railcar refurbishing facility in Hutchinson, Kan., that will have 150 employees within three years of opening. The plant will be run by Mervis Industries, a fourth-generation family-owned multistate plastics and metal recycler that employs more than 400 people. The plant’s main concentration will be tank cars used to ship petroleum or other hazardous products, while grain hopper cars also will be refurbished, according to Mervis president Adam Mervis. Future plant operations manager Larry Culligan says welders will comprise at least 40 to 45 percent of the facility’s jobs, while other employees will rebuild tank-valve systems, clean out and paint cars, and apply exterior decals. Mervis selected Hutchinson as the site of the facility thanks to its access to a pair of Class 1 railroads and workforce training programs at Hutchinson Community College and Hutchinson High’s Career and Technical Center. The proposed plant will include four buildings with a combined 224,300 square feet and about 20,000 feet of railroad track for transporting the cars, staging, and storage. Mervis says there will be 32 bays in the mechanical building for working on individual tank cars.

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Tacoma Business Wins AWB Green Manufacturing Award

Tacoma News Tribune (WA) (10/29/14) Gillie, John

Emerald Services, a Tacoma, Wash.-based recycling company, has won a green manufacturing award from the state’s chamber of commerce. Emerald Services was awarded the Association of Washington Business’ Green Manufacturing Award for 2014 for recycling about 20 million gallons of material a year and redirecting potentially dangerous materials that might have found their way to landfills to more useful purposes. The company operates in eight states and processes a wide range of recyclable liquids such as industrial lubricants and antifreeze. The company’s facility in Tacoma handles about 50,000 gallons of liquids a day. The liquids are reprocessed into other materials such as marine fuel and asphalt. Other companies recognized for their green manufacturing methods include Cadet Manufacturing, which makes high-efficiency heaters; Ozone International, which creates ozone generation equipment; and Manhasset Specialty Co., which makes high-end music stands and recently modified its preparation process so it produces no waste.

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Hanford ‘Work for Materials’ Deal Saves Money

Tri-City Herald (WA) (10/28/14) Cary, Annette

The U.S. Department of Energy is allowing Salem, Ore.-based Transformer Technologies to keep the copper, steel, and oil it recovers from three electric substations along the Columbia River. DOE notes it saved about $400,000 of taxpayer money by not using its contractor, Washington Closure Hanford, for the job. It also is benefiting the environment because Transformer Technologies will recycle the materials that Washington Closure would have sent to Hanford’s landfill. Transformer Technologies, which specializes in dismantling and recycling obsolete electrical equipment, has access to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-authorized facilities to recycle the substations, which contain more than 400,000 pounds of materials.

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Green Recycling Hopes to Bring Jobs to County

Jacksonville Daily News (NC) (10/28/14) Thomas, Christopher

The grand opening of Jacksonville, N.C.-based Green Recycling Solutions, a construction and demolition recycling center and landfill hybrid, this November will give local builders a better option for disposing of construction debris. The company is permitted to recycle debris such as concrete, plastic, drywall, metal, and brick from construction and demolition sites. Green Recycling Solutions will serve Jones, Onslow, Craven, Carteret, Lenoir, and Duplin counties. Because of the company’s low rates, it will cost less to recycle construction debris than to discard the material at local landfills. The company’s goal is to recycle 80 percent of the materials it receives in the first year. James Harper, former mayor of Maysville, N.C., has guided the project from the beginning and helped it obtain $1.1 million in federal grants. Harper says the new recycling center will create jobs and improve the environment in one of the state’s most impoverished counties.

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Metal Recycler Expanding to Keep up Wth Demand in Upstate New York

Albany Business Review (10/27/14) Morey, Krystle S.

Upstate Shredding is growing quickly to meet demand. The company processes more than 15,000 tons of scrap metal a month in its Albany locations and will be able to process three times that amount with the new $15 million metal processor and shredder it is installing at the Port of Albany. The company also has acquired six scrapyards in upstate New York this year and currently is in negotiations to purchase three competitors in the Albany area. “We were anticipating 100 customers a day,” says owner Adam Weitsman. “We get more than 400 customers a day.” Upstate Shredding plans to hire 35 more employees at the Port of Albany site and is expecting further growth over the next five years, with plans to expand into New Jersey. The company also has locations in western New York and Pennsylvania.

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TCI Attracts Clients With New Headquarters

Albany Business Review (10/20/14) Morey, Krystle S.

TCI transports and prepares for recycling the oil-filled transformers and other electrical equipment that top telephone poles. New York has one of the densest concentrations of transformers in the country, prompting TCI to invest $7 million in constructing its headquarters in Port of Coeymans. The new headquarters, with safeguards protecting the environment from potentially harmful spills and low emission operations, already is attracting municipalities and utilities as new customers, according to TCI president Brian Hemlock. TCI also has sister locations in New Jersey, Alabama, and Ohio. The New York location added 26 new jobs to the area and significantly reduced transportation costs by bringing the services closer to customers. The company plans to hire five more employees by the end of the year.

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JASON Learning, ISRI Announce Automobile Recycling Awareness Contest

JASON Learning and ISRI are inviting young filmmakers, artists, automobile enthusiasts, and recycling advocates to participate in a contest that asks young people to build awareness around the different commodities that can be recycled from cars at the end of their lifespan.

The automobile plays an important role in our everyday lives. Many different commodities are needed to make all the parts that go into a car, and almost all of them are recyclable. In the Automobile Recycling Awareness Contest, students in grades 5–12 are challenged to research one or more of the commodities that go into making a car and find out what happens to each commodity through the automobile recycling process and beyond.

Students currently residing in the United States may enter the contest as individuals or in small teams of up to four students. Entrants must create an original video or poster in the style of an infomercial or awareness campaign to illustrate the process and challenges that go along with recycling their chosen commodity or commodities into a reusable form. Top video and posters will be used to help educate the public on the many different commodities that make up automobiles, how those commodities can be recycled to develop other products, and the importance of designing automobiles for end-of-life recycling.

“Last year, more than 11.5 million cars in the U.S. were recycled into commodity grade materials including metals, glass, plastic, rubber, and textiles,” said Robin Wiener, president of ISRI. “By exploring automobile recycling in a fun and educational way, this contest gives young people the opportunity to learn about the life cycle and value of every commodity. At the same time, it will encourage many students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math in fields such as the recycling industry.”

“At JASON we pride ourselves on connecting students with the real professionals working in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to explore new frontiers and find new solutions to the problems threatening our environment,” said JASON Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Dr. Eleanor Smalley. “The Automobile Recycling Awareness Contest will teach students about the automobile recycling process from some of the industry’s biggest players, and give them the opportunity to think critically about the design and recycling of future automobiles.”

Entries must be submitted by January 15, 2015, and the winners will be selected by March 15, 2015. Prizes for the finalists include being featured on the JASON and ISRI websites, a year of JASON online access, a contest t-shirt, and, for two grand prize winners, a trip for the entrants and a parent or guardian to ISRI’s Annual Convention and Exposition in Vancouver, British Columbia, April 21–25, 2015.

For more information about the contest, including how to enter and submit your work, and JASON and ISRI in general, please visit:

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