EPA completes revision of Bush-era recycling rules

The EPA has released its final revision of the George W. Bush administration’s definition of hazardous waste, which the agency said will improve recycling of hazardous materials. The revision to the definition of solid waste would require off-site recycling at only permitted facilities and revise the definition of “legitimate recycling” regarding certain products, including metal commodities. Read the rule here.

Webinar: Recycling 2.0 — Changing Consumer Behavior Amid Changing Waste Streams

December 9, 2014, noon CST
Register here

Consumer recycling, once seen as the most basic of environmental practices, has become decidedly more complex. Some communities have mandated aggressive, long-term, zero-waste goals to divert sometimes up to 90 percent of their waste from the local landfill. That can lead to a  wide array of what’s collected — and what’s not —  engendering confusion among residents.

The result: After decades of growth, recycling rates have plateaued, or even dropped.

How can cities regain the momentum? There are some tried and true methods, but it takes a village, literally — producers, recyclers, municipalities and consumers, working together to find solutions.

In this hour-long webcast, you’ll hear how waste streams are changing;  the latest data about what consumers think about recycling and what messages resonate with them; how one of the nation’s largest recycling companies is working with cities to increase recovery rates; and the secrets behind one of the most successful municipal recycling programs in the United States.

Among the things you’ll learn:

  • Current recycling trends and the true bottom-line impacts of non-recyclable materials such as “flexible packaging”
  • How recycling programs influence how consumers think and recycle
  • The differences between what consumers say about recycling and how they actually recycle (what they are actually doing)
  • Specific examples from Hennepin County, MN demonstrating how their innovative recycling education initiatives work


WM exec delves into contamination concerns

Read the full story in Resource Recycling.

Don’t fear the evolving waste stream.  But be judicious about what new packaging you allow in your recycling program.  That was the message from a Waste Management leader speaking on an EPA webinar last week.

Susan Robinson, federal public affairs director for publicly traded WM, offered a number of insights about how the country’s largest waste and recycling firm is trying to adapt to the “evolving ton” coming into materials recovery facilities as paper use declines and the plastics packaging space moves forward at light speed.

However, the takeaway from her 30-minute talk, which was part of the EPA’s Sustainable Materials Management webinar series, was that the recycling industry should focus more on clean material and less on constantly increasing tonnages.

Can materials innovation save the world? – video

Watch the video from The Guardian.

From creating leather handbags from old airplane seats, to making plastic out of sludge, materials innovation is taking place which could help solve huge resource scarcity problems. But are we moving fast enough? Can businesses, governments and consumers be persuaded to declare war on the word ‘waste’ and work instead to create new a permanent life for materials?

Jo Confino speaks to Sophie Thomas, co-director of design at of RSA, Scott Hamlin CEO of Looptworks, Richard Kirkman technical director of Veolia and Kresse Wesling co-founder of Elvis & Kresse about how to push forward sustainable innovation.

Researchers give unstable soils a carpeting

Read the full story at

A new, more environmentally-friendly practice for soil strengthening, using recycled carpet, could see the construction industry substantially decrease its carbon footprint thanks to research from the UTS Centre for Built Infrastructure Research.

The Closed Loop Fund Helps Cities Increase Recycling

Read the full story at Triple Pundit.

The biggest barrier facing most cities when it comes to providing the level of innovation and infrastructure needed to reduce waste and increase recycling rates often boils down to one factor: Money—or specifically, the absence of it. As budgets dwindle, missed opportunities to leverage problems in waste diversion cost cities millions of dollars in potential revenue each year.

In 2013, low recycling rates caused cities to collectively spend billions of dollars on landfills and lose over $11 billion in commodity revenue from the sale of recyclable material sent to landfills.

Enter Ron Gonen — co-founder of RecycleBank and former deputy commissioner of sanitation, recycling and sustainability for New York City under Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration.

Last week, the recycling maverick took the stage at the Municipal Waste Management Association (MWMA) Fall Summit (the environmental affiliate of the United States Conference of Mayors) to announce his latest project, the Closed Loop Fund — a consortium of large corporate companies that plan to invest $100 million over the next five years to support the development of recycling infrastructure and services.