THE FUTURE OF
APRIL 2021 recyclingproductnews.com
LITHIUM-ION BATTERY RECYCLING THE TOP FOUR TRENDS IN CARTON RECYCLING MANAGING FIBRE STREAM CONTAMINATION AT THE MRF
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COVER STORY: LI-CYCLE IS DRIVING THE FUTURE OF LITHIUM-ION BATTERY RECYCLING
MANAGING FIBRE STREAM CONTAMINATION AT THE MRF
LION ELECTRIC IS LEADING THE TRANSITION TO ELECTRIC FLEETS IN CANADA
EQUIPMENT ROUNDUP: WOOD WASTE GRINDERS
April 2021 | Volume 29, Number 3
DEPARTMENTS & SECTIONS
Li-Cycle is driving the future of lithium-ion battery recycling
From the Editor
The top four trends in carton recycling
Curbing single-stream contamination of OCC at the MRF
Lion Electric is focused on advancing both fleet electrification and telematics
Hauling & Collection
For electric-powered trucks, new incentives can further improve total cost of ownership
Reducing the multi-residential carbon footprint
Key factors for recyclers to consider when choosing a high-speed wood waste grinder
Rocket Composter investment to help AstraZeneca reduce waste and embrace circular economy
APRIL 2021 | VOLUME 29 • NUMBER 3 EDITOR Keith Barker firstname.lastname@example.org 604-291-9900 ext. 305 EDITOR IN CHIEF Kaitlyn Till email@example.com 604-291-9900 ext. 330
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FROM THE COVER: END-OF-LIFE LITHIUM-ION BATTERIES ON THE CONVEYOR AT LI-CYCLE Kingston-based Li-Cycle is now one of very few companies globally that is capable of recovering
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critical, valuable li-ion battery materials in a
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FROM THE EDITOR
EPR – A TICKET TO MODERNIZE OUR RECYCLING SYSTEMS
key element to creating circular economy for any material is to have a solid EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility) program in place for that material. EPR in basic terms, shifts the responsibility for managing the end-of-life of goods and packaging produced, including costs of recovery and recycling, onto manufacturers and distributors. In theory, this provides incentives to those manufacturers to design for recycling, increase product lifespan, make repair and reuse easier, invest in recycling infrastructure and end markets, and use more recycled content in new products. EPR has been an element of European society since the 1990s. The EPR regimen in B.C., in place now for close to two decades, is considered one of the first successful examples of region-wide, multiple-product EPR implementation, and has been used as a model for the development of new EPR programs worldwide. EPR in B.C. covers end-of-life management of over 20 different types of goods and packaging, and in 2014 it became the first jurisdiction in North America to implement a residential packaging and paper recycling program, which remains fully funded and operated by producers. Across Canada, EPR programs fall under provincial government jurisdiction and vary from province to province. Some products covered, depending on the province, include used oil, tires, electronics, cellphones, appliances, packaging, paper products, batteries, pharmaceuticals, fluorescent bulbs, mercury-containing products, pesticides, antifreeze, solvents, pressurized containers, end-of-life vehicles and mattresses. Currently, B.C.’s regulated EPR framework covers the most products, while Alberta is the only province west of Quebec without EPR in place. The province is currently working on establishing EPR for packaging and paper products, however, and should be in place and operating very soon. South of the border, Americans are progressing on the EPR front, albeit slowly, with around 10 states currently with some form of EPR program in development. While extended producer responsibility is one of our best tools for supporting innovative recycling and increased rates of recovery for goods and packaging, we are really just starting on the journey and it is a long road we’re on. Once EPR is established in a region for one type of product, it paves the way for additional products. But there are just so many types of products, all of which will eventually need to be addressed at the end of their initial life in a way that is funded by the manufacturer and supports the circular economy for that product. Take lithium-ion batteries for example. This end-of-life product stream is growing very fast due to both the proliferation of cellphones in every corner of the world, and the global transition from fossil-fuel to electric power for vehicles and machinery. The subject of our cover story this issue, Kingston-based Li-Cycle, is a lithium-ion battery recycling pioneer on the way to being one of the very first to safely and profitably recycle up to 95 percent of all the materials contained in these batteries. The company is a
recyclingproductnews.com | APRIL 2021
EPR is our ticket to modernize, profit from, and see unprecedented results from our recycling systems. Jodi Tomchyshyn London RCA President true innovator and has found a very effective way to do it, and is experiencing rapid growth – but that does not mean they should go it alone. EPR is exactly the type of tool needed to support innovators such as Li-Cycle in the recycling industry, because it incentivizes manufacturers to rethink the way they produce and distribute their products, which in turn increases the effectiveness and profitability of the work that recyclers do. If we imagine EPR in place for lithium-ion batteries, the manufacturers of those batteries would be incentivized to make the end-of-life management of their products as cost-efficient as possible. This would likely result in the incorporation of simple, positive changes in their product design. One such change could be colour-coding batteries at the point of manufacture. This would make sorting and collection more efficient, and would greatly reduce the potential of lithium-ion batteries getting into the regular waste and recycling stream, where they can explode and cause fires, machine downtime, injury or even death. In an article run in Recycling Product News, last September, provided by the Recycling Council of Alberta (RCA), Jodi Tomchyshyn London, president of the Recycling Council of Alberta, does a very nice job to sum up the true essence of EPR. She wrote: “EPR can and should be exciting for government, businesses and consumers. It’s the promise of positive environmental outcomes, market forces driving green jobs and innovations, and large producers bringing the prospect of a circular economy within grasp. EPR is our ticket to modernize, profit from and see unprecedented results from our recycling systems.”
KEITH BARKER Editor email@example.com recyclingproductnews.com
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urphy Road Recycling and Van Dyk Recycling Solutions will make a $30 million investment to build one of North America’s largest and most technologically advanced recycling facilities – the All American Material Recovery Facility (MRF) located in Connecticut. The All American MRF will be owned and operated by Murphy Road Recycling. The design of the facility and the supply of the system’s equipment will be provided by Van Dyk Recycling Solutions. The system will be operational by early 2022 and will employ 200 people during the construction phase and another 50 people when fully operational. Once online, it will be capable of processing 50+ tons of recyclable material per hour, with a projected annual capacity of at least 200,000 tons, providing the State a critical resource to reach its 60 percent waste disposal diversion goal. Murphy Road Recycling approached Van Dyk Recycling Solutions over a year ago to help it deliver on its vision for a new MRF that would accomplish three primary goals: 1. Increase the quantity, quality, and purity of recyclables; 2. Provide an innovative and safe working environment; 3. Have the flexibility to adapt to ever-evolving consumer habits and recycling market conditions. The fully integrated system, replete with artificial intelligence, will be dedicated to the maximum recovery of all recyclable material, with several second-chance mechanisms in place to make sure valuable material does not slip through the cracks. The design includes equipment to target paper, cardboard, boxboard, glass and five types of plastic. Not only will this new technology produce higher quality recyclables, it will also help keep Murphy Road Recycling’s employees safer. The All American MRF’s “mono-level structure” and heightened focus on automation will create an innovative and safe working environment. Murphy Road Recycling also believes that its MRF will be flexible enough to adjust to changing consumer habits and future recycling market conditions.
SWANA REPORT FOCUSED ON DS SMITH’S NEW PAPER REDUCING CONTAMINATION IN RECYCLING FACILITY COMPLETES CURBSIDE RECYCLING PROGRAMS A CIRCULAR ECONOMY TRIFECTA
new report developed by the Solid Waste Association of North America’s (SWANA) Applied Research Foundation (ARF) addresses the issue of increased contamination in curbside recycling programs in recent years and its effect on costs and safety at material recovery facilities (MRFs). The ARF report, Reducing Contamination in Curbside Recycling Programs, identifies and addresses the key reasons why residents place contaminants in their recycling bins. A better understanding of what causes these recycling behaviours should enable recycling and sustainability program managers to develop and implement more effective anti-contamination programs that address the underlying reasons for curbside recycling contamination. “This new ARF report provides useful and actionable information to recycling managers throughout the United States and Canada that can be used to reduce contamination and program costs,” stated David Biderman, SWANA’s executive director and CEO. “We hope local governments and companies take full advantage of the insights and analysis in the report.” In response to contamination concerns, many state and local governments are implementing “recycle right” programs that provide clearer and simplified instructions to residents on what recyclables are included in their curbside programs. SWANA supports these efforts and anticipates this report will serve as an important resource. The report looks at local governments that have implemented cart inspection and tagging options to reduce contamination and increase public awareness as well as what to do to enforce rules for non-compliant households. “We appreciate the support and involvement of our Sustainable Materials Management Group subscribers who submitted and voted for this important research topic and provided funding support for the research effort,” said Jeremy O’Brien, SWANA’s director of applied research. The full report, Reducing Contamination in Curbside Recycling Programs, is currently only available to SWANA ARF subscribers.
S Smith is now operating a “circular economy trifecta,” thanks to the combination of its year-old recycling plant, paper mill and packaging manufacturing facility, all within a few miles of each other in Reading. The concept allows corrugated packaging to be made, produced, collected and recycled within just 14 days, critical as retailers have scrambled to keep pace with higher demands for shipping boxes from stay-at-home shoppers over the course of the pandemic. The local recycling facility, capable of processing more than 36,000 tons of corrugated cardboard each year, contributes to the company’s goal of sending zero cardboard and paper to landfills after packaging is used.
FOR ELECTRIC-POWERED TRUCKS, NEW INCENTIVES CAN FURTHER IMPROVE TOTAL COST OF OWNERSHIP Mack Trucks’ new Mack LR Electric model, the OEM’s first fully electric refuse and recycling collection vehicle, is now among the first on the road to be eligible for multiple incentive packages in the U.S. and Canada, including the California Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP), the New York City Clean Trucks Program, as well as CleanBC and the Écocamionnage Program in Quebec. For more on this story and the electrification of today’s waste and recycling collection fleets, see our Hauling & Collection coverage in this issue, starting on page 30.
APRIL 2021 | recyclingproductnews.com
MACHINEX WORKING ON “MRF OF THE FUTURE” IN ENGLAND
achinex and U.K.-based Sherbourne Recycling Ltd., have signed initial contracts to complete a next generation MRF in Coventry, England. Sherbourne Recycling will oversee the project, creating new jobs for the local economy through 2022, when commissioning of the new facility begins. The MRF of the future owes its name to the integration of artificial intelligence at the heart of the system, including advanced technologies such as several sorting robots and optical sorters, to be designed and installed by Machinex. Machinex says the AI will allow real-time interconnectivity between the main sorting equipment, and the operations management of this facility will be based, among other things, on the data collected by the AI. The plant is expected to achieve high rates of material purity from the widest range of material recycled commercially and by households, including low grade, single-use plastics. It will be just over 12,000 square metres and set on a 4-acre site allocated by Coventry City for waste use. Construction is scheduled to begin on site in summer 2021, taking approximately 15 months for the initial building construction to be completed. The next step will then be the arrival of Machinex to install the waste sorting and processing equipment and system. The facility is expected to be fully operational by summer 2023. Over the last three months the project team, led by Coventry
City Council, have worked with Machinex and Clegg Group to refine the maximized use of the site, and conclude on-going discussions with CSWDC to provide a private wire connection from the Energy from Waste Facility already at the site, to power the MRF. Once operational, the facility will be able to process 175,000 tonnes of recyclate on an annual basis, from both domestic and commercial sources. By investing in technologies to achieve high purity rates and tackle a wider range of waste materials, including single-use plastics, the facility will be able to target U.K.-based end processors and command a higher market price for the material streams created.
CLEAN EARTH RECYCLES OVER ONE MILLION POUNDS OF UNUSABLE HAND SANITIZER
lean Earth has developed a customized solution for the proper disposal and recycling of hand sanitizer which has resulted in the salvaging of 1.1 million pounds of non-viable product in 2020. As large volumes of hand sanitizers were produced and purchased to combat COVID-19, companies are now experiencing an unexpected need for large-quantity material disposal of off-spec, recalled and expired hand sanitizing products. Clean Earth’s recycling solution includes a fuel blending process to recover the alcohol from the hand sanitizer, transforming the waste to a gas fuel additive product and giving these non-viable products a second life as a new usable energy source.
ZENROBOTICS SUPPLIES NORWAY’S FIRST AI-POWERED SORTERS FOR IC&I WASTE
orwegian waste management company Bjorstaddalen has opened the country’s first robotic sorting facility for C&D and C&I waste. The fully automated robotic sorting station supplied by ZenRobotics features robotic arms that can perform up to 6000 picks per hour. The robotic sorting station is set up as a standalone waste sorting process connected to Bjorstaddalen’s existing material recycling facility that has a total capacity of 150,000 tons per hour. The intelligent sorting robots are able to recover fractions such as A, B and C wood, non-metals, hard plastics, black plastics and inert.
recyclingproductnews.com | APRIL 2021
NEW U.S. STATE RANKING REPORT SHOWS SOUTH IS LAGGING BEHIND ON THE RECYCLING FRONT
unomia has released a new research report titled The 50 States of Recycling: A State-by-State Assessment of Containers and Packaging Recycling Rates, offering the first state-bystate comparison of recycling rates for the most commonly used containers and packaging materials throughout the United States. The first-of-its-kind report is intended to set a baseline in each state that can be leveraged to inform policy, design programs and assess infrastructure proposals and improvements. Using 2018 data sourced from the EPA, states, counties, municipalities, sorting facilities and material processors, the study looked at plastic bottles and trays, glass bottles and jars, aluminum cans, steel cans, and cardboard and boxboard. Importantly, the report focuses on recycling rates based on the actual material reprocessed or upcycled into new products, rather
than the collection rate, the more commonly used standard of measurement. The study found the states with the highest recycling rate for common containers and packaging materials excluding cardboard and boxboard in 2018 were: Maine (72 percent), Vermont (62 percent), Massachusetts (55 percent), Oregon (55 percent), Connecticut (52 percent), New York (51 percent), Minnesota (49 percent), Michigan (48 percent), New Jersey (46 percent) and Iowa (44 percent). The 10 states with the lowest recycling rate for CCPM (excluding cardboard and boxboard) in 2018 were: New Mexico (13 percent), Texas (13 percent), Alabama (11 percent), Oklahoma (10 percent), Mississippi (8 percent), South Carolina (8 percent), Tennessee (7 percent), Alaska (6 percent), Louisiana (4 percent) and West Virginia (2 percent).
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INTRODUCTIONS & UPDATES
Heavy-duty wheel loaders
NEW COMPACT TROMMEL DESIGNED FOR ADAPTABILITY
Terex Ecotec has expanded its trommel offerings with the launch of the new TTS 518. The company’s smallest trommel to date, the TTS 518 has been designed to offer flexibility to operators in applications including compost, biomass, green waste, soil and gravel. With compact dimensions, ideal for small- to medium-sized operations where space may be limited, these mobile plants have been designed to accept a number of other trommel manufacturers’ drums, enabling seamless integration into any existing fleet, and are fully equipped with a fuel-efficient Stage V/Tier 4 engine (dual certified) and the latest intelligent screening technology. The TTS 518 is available in both tracked and wheeled variants, provides a total screening area of 23 square-metres, and is fitted with a 1.8 m x 4.7 m horizontal drum with a spiral design, as well as intelligent operator and feed control.
INCREASED PERFORMANCE ADDED TO SELECT XPOWER WHEEL LOADERS
Liebherr has updated their L 550 XPower and L 556 XPower wheel loaders for use in heavy-duty industrial operations including landfills, scrapyards and recycling centres where dust, dirt, corrosive and abrasive materials can pose particular challenges. These new XPower wheel loaders are available in four lift arm versions and are now equipped with a power-split travel drive that increases engine power. Other key features include: increased tip load capacity and the capability to use larger buckets and tools than previously; high-performance hydraulics that enable dynamic lift and tip functions, irrespective of the size or weight of working tools; and a fully automatic LIKUFIX quick coupler system. In addition, structural modifications to the lift arms on these XPower wheel loaders provide higher breakout, holding and retrieval forces than previously, ideal for challenging materials such as scrap metal, paper, compost and wood waste.
recyclingproductnews.com | APRIL 2021
SCRAPPER TRUCK SCALES ENGINEERED FOR SCRAP AND RECYCLING
Cardinal Scale’s Scrapper series truck scales are engineered for scrapyards, recycling centres and other facilities requiring a medium-duty NTEP legal-for-trade scale. The Scrapper utilizes a proven PSC high-tensile-strength, pre-stress concrete deck weighbridge that is 10 feet wide with lengths up to 52 feet. The Scrapper series comes in capacities ranging from 25 tons up to 45 tons (25-ton CLC), providing an excellent lowcost scale for weighing mid-sized trucks and pickup trucks pulling trailers. These scales are built for single-source convenience and quality construction utilizing stainless steel model CBC compression load cells. Lifting lugs and a foundation template are included with each PSC truck scale order to ease installation.
Online calculator tool
NEW CONVEYORS FEATURE LOW MAINTENANCE AND SMART COMPATIBILITY
REDWAVE has expanded its product portfolio of sensor-based sorting technology to conveyor belts specially optimized for use in the recycling sector. REDWAVE says their new modular conveyor systems are available in troughed, sliding and chain belt conveyor configurations and are highly adaptable to customer conditions and for different materials. Units feature improvements of the chute connection for feeding onto a sorting machine, easy accessibility for cleaning and maintenance, and overall low maintenance requirements, with removable sheet metal cladding, swivelling floor panels and easy-access external lubrication points, as well as belt covers and gutter seals for dust control. These conveyors are also compatible with smart technology, with connectivity to an entire sorting system through the integration of REDWAVE “mate”, an artificially intelligent, total support, monitoring and control system for recycling plants.
ONLINE TOOL HELPS CALCULATE THE COST OF ELECTRIC-POWERED TRUCKS
Peterbilt recently introduced an electric vehicle operating cost calculator for prospective electric vehicle customers. Hosted within the Peterbilt.com website, the operating cost calculator is a tool for prospective customers to evaluate the total cost of ownership of a Peterbilt electric-powered truck, models 220EV, 520EVor 579EV, on a per mile or per hour basis. The user-friendly interface delivers an accurate side-by-side comparison to help customers understand the real-world savings and financial benefits of electric models. Peterbilt also recently launched their updated vocational 567 and 520 trucks which now include a VMUX electrical system, delivering enhanced functionality and easy, seamless integration with a wide range of vocational truck body types. These trucks also include extensive exterior and interior updates for operator comfort and efficiency, the latest in safety systems technology, and improved fuel efficiency and reliability.
APRIL 2021 | recyclingproductnews.com
LI-CYCLE IS DRIVING THE FUTURE OF LITHIUM-ION
KINGSTON-BASED INNOVATORS ON THE PATH TO CREATING A TRUE CIRCULAR ECONOMY FOR A CHALLENGING WASTE STREAM BY KEITH BARKER, EDITOR
With current construction of their largest facility in New York, set to open in 2022, Kingston, Ontariobased Li-Cycle is now on the path to becoming the first to capture 95 percent of all valuable materials in a lithium-ion battery and produce batterygrade lithium chemicals for use directly in the manufacture of new batteries.
i-Cycle, the global pioneer in end-of-life lithium-ion battery recovery and recycling, is continuing into 2021 on the heels of a very busy 2020. Last year the company upgraded their facility in Kingston to double its capacity to recover end of life lithium-ion batteries and opened a second facility in Rochester, New York, bringing their total recovery capacity to approximately 10,000 tonnes per year. In 2020, the company was also recognized with multiple clean-tech and circular economy industry accolades, was ISO certified and announced its plans to become a publicly traded company . In addition to all of this, Li-Cycle completed an EV bus battery recycling pilot with fellow Canadian-based electric-powered bus manufacturer New Flyer LLC, turning 3,200 pounds of heavy-duty lithium-ion battery modules into valuable material, the bulk of which is reused in making new lithium-ion batteries.
SPOKE & HUB
According to Li-Cycle’s Chief Commercial Officer, Kunal Phalpher, traditionally, the bulk of used lithium-ion batteries have been sent to a thermal or smelting process, which really focuses on nickel and cobalt recovery, and to a certain extent copper. “There’s a lot more materials in a lithium-ion battery,” explains Phalpher. “Our business is focused on any type of chemistries. Whether it’s iron phosphate or nickel, manganese or cobalt, we can take any batteries from the lithium-ion family. What we aimed to figure out was how do you safely get more of the value out of the battery, and recover a wider array of the material, rather than let valuable materials go to waste or into other streams. “The second issue we’re trying to resolve is that smelters and other large furnaces use a very centralized model. But batteries are heavy, difficult and expensive to transport. So how can we think of creating a better logistical network or system whereby you can reduce those logistics costs?” For Li-Cycle this is where their award-winning, proprietary Spoke & Hub concept comes into play. The technology used is a combination of mechanical safe With current construction of their size reduction and hydrometallurgical resource recovery specifically designed for largest facility in New York, set to open lithium-ion battery recycling. The spokes in 2022, Kingston, Ontario-based Li(currently Spoke 1 is in Kingston and Spoke 2 is in Rochester) are where all types of Cycle is now on the path to becoming li-ion batteries are safely transformed from the first to capture 95 percent of all a charged state to inert. Here, Li-Cycle separates out easily recoverable plastics and valuable materials in a lithium-ion metals, including copper, aluminum and precious metals, for sale to recyclers. Phalbattery, and produce battery-grade pher says value for the metals they recover lithium chemicals for use directly in the really varies by battery type. “A control circuit board on the battery has manufacture of new batteries. gold and silver in it,” he explains. “Depending on the size of the batteries and type of the batteries, you’ll get variability in the precious metals, but it is all extracted in the same mixed metal, copper and aluminum stream. When we sell it downstream, they’re According to Li-Cycle CEO Ajay Kochhar, “Li-Cycle is at able to recover not only the copper and other metal, but all the forefront of perhaps the most important segment of the the precious metals.” electric vehicle and battery supply chain. This is a market that What is left after the initial plastics and metals are separated requires significant development – specifically when it comes out is black mass, which is really Li-Cycle’s main focus. Black to handling the incoming tsunami of spent lithium-ion battermass is a dense, cakey mixture containing a blend of critical ies. Without sustainable and economically viable lithium-ion battery materials, including cobalt, nickel, lithium and graphbattery recycling, we believe it’s likely that electric vehicle ite, as well as copper, manganese and aluminum, all of which proliferation will be substantially hindered. Our newest investcan be sold directly back to the lithium-ion battery manufacturment partners have the vision to see that truly innovative and ing sector for use in new batteries. circular battery recycling is the key to providing a solution for Phalpher says that by far the highest value material recovthis urgent global challenge and opportunity.” ered for them is cobalt from this black mass. It’s the highest With all of their growth and advances in 2020, Li-Cycle is now dollar per tonnage, and they produce a significant amount of one of very few companies globally that is capable of recoverit. The next highest total value would be the nickel. ing critical battery materials from lithium-ion batteries in a “The black mass is the feed to our Hub, so we’re going sustainable and safe manner. With the current construction of to build that Hub at a large scale,” explains Phalpher. “The their largest facility in New York, set to open in late 2022, the black mass is refined through several chemical processcompany is also now on the path to becoming the first to capes, including an innovative, non-thermal wet process that ture 95 percent of all valuable materials in a lithium-ion battery, separates out cobalt nickel, and lithium in individual forms, and produce battery-grade lithium chemicals which can be used with a high enough purity to go back into the battery supply directly in the manufacture of new batteries. chain directly.”
recyclingproductnews.com | APRIL 2021
Li-Cycle and New Flyer completed an EV bus battery recycling pilot in 2020, turning 3,200 pounds of heavy-duty lithium-ion battery modules into valuable material.
The new Hub facility in Rochester is expected to bring Li-Cycle’s total yearly capacity for the recycling of lithium-ion batteries to about 60,000 metric tonnes, including the recovery of approximately 25,000 tonnes of black mass material.
A SAFE, EFFICIENT CLOSED LOOP FOR LITHIUM-ION BATTERIES
A more environmentally friendly process for recovering used lithium-ion batteries is inherent in Li-Cycle’s Spoke & Hub model. The process recovers up to 95 percent of each lithium-ion battery for recycling, keeping them out of landfills and other streams, and it means there is less high-weight, potentially hazardous, emissions-creating lithium-ion battery transportation required. In addition, it keeps lithium-ion batteries, which are explosive if punctured, out of regular recycling streams. The environmental and safety benefits of what Li-Cycle is doing is also about the technology being used. Core to their methodology for recycling lithium-ion batteries is that there is no thermal processing at any stage. Li-Cycle’s process is uniquely capable of recycling all variants of cathode and anode chemistries within the lithium-ion spectrum, without the need for sorting into specific chemistries. It involves a two-step mechanical and hydrometallurgical (wet chemistry) technology that ensures that lithium-ion batteries are processed safely, without heat or the risk of fire. The process is also inherently sustainable, producing no solid waste streams, minimal water discharge and no harmful air emissions.
According to Phalpher, it is true that lithium-ion batteries are potentially hazardous and do need to be dealt with in a very specific way to keep the process safe. If an alkaline battery is shred, there is no risk of fire, whereas with lithium-ion batteries, if a recycling facility or landfill was to puncture one, or it goes into a shredder, it can cause a small explosion and possibly a fire. “That’s where our specialized, non-thermal technology comes into play. It eliminates the risk of fire when processing these batteries.” He notes also that the highest risk part of the lithium-ion battery recovery process is during transport, as spent batteries are moved mostly by truck. “They have to be packaged properly for transport,” he explains. “Then, as long as we’re storing them properly, we are safe. There are certain precautions and best practices in order to store them appropriately so that even if there is an incident, it’s not causing a whole batch of batteries to catch fire. We have a warehouse full of batteries, which are completely safe.” Phalpher adds that when dealing with electric vehicles and automotive OEMs as a source for their used batteries, it’s pretty clear which ones are lithium-ion and which ones are not. But from residential and commercial sources, Li-Cycle does get a very small amount of contamination in their streams, but it is really a non-issue. “Our upstream partners’ sorting processes are manual and very efficient, typically, so our plants can sometimes end up with 0.01 percent contamination from alkaline batteries, but not much more. As we look at batteries on our lines, we make APRIL 2021 | recyclingproductnews.com
Li-Cycle’s Spoke 2 lithium-ion battery recycling facility began operations in December 2020, bringing total capacity to 10,000 tonnes per year.
sure to pick out ones that aren’t lithium-ion. It’s not going to have a huge impact if a couple of AA’s get into our process once in a while. Alkaline batteries are far less volatile than lithium-ion batteries.” There is definitely much more of a challenge for recycling facilities if lithium-ion batteries contaminate consumer battery recycling streams. “If a consumer drops their battery off at a store, that collection system is generally taking all types of batteries: alkaline, nickel, cadmium, etc., and then they are sorted into different streams by recyclers,” says Phalpher. “We’ve seen instances of lithium-ion batteries mistakenly going to a lead–acid recycling facility, or a municipal recycling facility, where somebody has thrown their phone in the garbage and it causes a fire. We really need to be careful with these batteries. Regular recyclers are just not set up to safely and efficiently deal with them. They don’t work in their existing processes. Part of the solution is to educate the public and industry about the risks of sending end of life lithium-ion batteries through the wrong pathway.” Currently, the lithium-ion battery manufacturing sector is looking at standardized colour-coding of batteries, so that they’re more identifiable in the stream, and easier to separate. “There’s definitely a few initiatives out there to help make collection and identification safer and easier,” he says, adding that there is also some good infrastructure for efficient collection already in place.
By 2040, an estimated 559 million electric vehicles will be on the road worldwide. The capacity of global lithium-ion battery energy storage installations is projected to grow over 50 times during that same period.
recyclingproductnews.com | APRIL 2021
“We want to try and use existing collection schemes, like what is in place for lead-acid auto batteries, through automotive groups and automotive dealerships,” Phalpher says. “There is a well-oiled machine for pickup and drop off of lead-acid batteries. So, how do we integrate with that and ensure that lithium-ion batteries are properly identified? Some lithium-ion batteries look exactly like what a lead–acid battery looks like, so it is hard to identify in regular recycling streams. “Labelling, and colour coding, whatever they can do to make it easily identifiable for sorting batteries quickly, is an important next step,” Phalpher adds.
ON THE HORIZON FOR LI-CYCLE
“We have been selling our black mass, but we’re now in a phase where we’re moving toward keeping it for ourselves, to process for further value at our Hubs,” explains Phalpher. “The most valuable pieces of that are the cobalt and the nickel, where we have seen a real increase in price in the last several months – basically since the beginning of the year. According to one of our analysts, we’ve already hit the prices that were projected by many experts for 2024 or 2025. Black mass is tradable to various smelters, and refiners buy it primarily on a nickel/cobalt basis so there’s a good market for it.” He says as electrification of vehicles continues to increase rapidly, the demand for all of the valuable materials in lithium-ion batteries is also growing at a tremendous rate. “Many expert reports tell us that the supply demand gap is projected to come in the next three to five years, which is also helping drive pricing now.” Phalpher adds that one of the key trends currently around the electric vehicle supply chain, especially in North America, and it has already been seen in Europe over the last several years, is significant growth of domestic electric vehicle supply chains. “We are going to be a raw material producer at a large volume in North America,” says Phalpher. “So as much of that supply chain that we can keep local, helps bring down the cost of producing batteries for EVs – which is the goal: to build mass production and higher penetration into that market.
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Once Li-Cycle’s new Hub facility is operational in 2022, the company will have a lithium-ion battery recovery capacity of 60,000 tonnes per year.
Li-Cycle is at the forefront of perhaps the most important segment of the electric vehicle and battery supply chain. This is a market that requires significant development – specifically when it comes to handling the incoming tsunami of spent lithium-ion batteries. “We’ve used lithium-ion batteries in phones and laptops for some time now, but from a pure weight-tonnage perspective, it hasn’t yet been a very large market,” he continues. “As we use more devices, and we have the addition of all the other applications for lithium-ion batteries, with the electrification of vehicles, trucks and trains, all of this is going to add a significant volume of batteries. That’s why you have more and more companies, like ourselves, looking at this as a niche business.” Phalpher says Li-Cycle’s efforts for 2021 are primarily focused on the construction of their Hub facility in Rochester, and on eventually adding additional spoke capacity in North America, as well as global expansion into Europe and Asia. “If we looked at lithium-ion battery recycling five years ago, it was about the economics of the technology. We’ve now proven that you can make an economic case to safely, cost-effectively recycle lithium-ion batteries. As an industry it’s now about continuing to improve how we collect and transport these batteries, and make it more efficient, safer and more cost-effective.” RPN
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THE TOP FOUR TRENDS IN CARTON RECYCLING FOR 2021 BY ISABELLE FAUCHER
s for most industries, the last year has been a challenging one for carton recycling in Canada. Certainly, at the Carton Council of Canada (CCC), we have witnessed a year characterized by significant fluctuations in both demand and price. Navigating these changes has not been for the faint of heart, nor should we expect that we’ve seen the last of pandemic-related impact on our business. Nevertheless, there are strategies we can use to help mitigate the challenges and maximize the opportunities ahead of us. Without a doubt, this is an excellent time to recommit to best practices like positive sorting, bale quality and consumer education. Following are four of the top trends that will influence the state of carton recycling in Canada over the next year.
1. PRICING, END MARKETS AND REGIONALITY
As cartons are a substitute for sorted office paper (SOP), their value typically fluctuates relative to that grade. Panic-buying and hoarding of tissue products in spring 2020 occurred simultaneously with office closures brought on by
recyclingproductnews.com | APRIL 2021
pandemic lockdown measures. This led to substantial reductions in the supply of SOP, resulting in significant price increases for the grade in April through June 2020. Carton pricing increased accordingly. However, prices for SOP, and for cartons, began dropping in August. This was also driven in large part by the pandemic, given that a large proportion of recovered SOP is used to make tissue products for the away-from-home sector. That sector continues to be adversely affected by the pandemic, as many restaurants, stadiums and other venues remain closed. In late 2020, prices for tissue grades including SOP started inching upward slightly. Unfortunately, the value of cartons has not followed suit in some locations, such as Ontario. One of the reasons for this is the high cost of transportation. In neighbouring Quebec, however, the situation is different. Since the Sustana mill in Lévis, Quebec, began purchasing bales of cartons for transformation into pulp, soon after the start of the pandemic, sales of this material by municipal recycling facilities in the province have more than doubled (3,200 tonnes of
cartons were sold to end markets in 2020, compared to 1,260 tonnes in 2019). The higher sales volumes were also accompanied by an increase in the average price: it rose from $17/tonne in November 2020 to $28/tonne in December 2020, to $30/ tonne in January 2021. Sustana’s arrival in the Quebec market is undoubtedly an important factor in these increases. In even better news, the Sustana facility is also considering adding the capacity to recycle up to 15,000 tonnes of cartons annually in the future (growing from an estimated 3,330 tonnes total cartons recycled in 2020). Likewise, in addition to the seven currently established carton recycling facilities in North America, including two Kimberly-Clark mills in Mexico, there is growing demand for cartons from mills located in India as well as Vietnam. Those MRFs that are located close to a port are best positioned to benefit from this. In addition, there may be a new end market in Connecticut, U.S., in the near future. There is also a looming fibre shortage expected once away-from-home markets open. This is sure to be beneficial to carton recycling.
We should expect to see continued fluctuations in volume and price for recovered cartons. Technology is helping us increase the quality of our bales, new end markets may be in sight, and consumers remain critical partners in our efforts. Isabelle Faucher All of the above points to a currently dynamic and challenging market, with many moving parts, which can be tough to navigate. If any MRFs or other recycling facilities are having difficulty moving carton loads, they can always reach out to the Carton Council of Canada for help.
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2. CONTINUED FOCUS ON POSITIVE CARTON SORTING
Another critical element supporting carton recycling success is positive sorting. While we do know that some cartons are sent for recycling along with other fibre types, such as mixed fibres and boxboard, sorting cartons into their own grade maximizes their value and supports the development of new carton-focused end markets. Those Quebec MRFs that positively sort cartons – currently 11 out of 23 facilities in the province – have certainly understood this. And they seem to be doing a remarkable job, judging by a recent report characterizing materials exiting sorting centres conducted by Éco Entreprises Québec and RECYC-QUÉBEC. These two organizations recently published the results of the first phase of their study, covering the period from June 2018 to August 2019. They show that carton bales from participating MRFs had the highest purity of all the materials audited. On average, they consist of 96 percent gable-top and aseptic containers, as well as other generally accepted fibrous materials, and therefore contain very little in the way of contaminants. As the success of these MRFs demonstrates, producing quality bales of cartons is something that is entirely possible. There is no reason to believe that this success is not being, or cannot be replicated in other facilities. At the Carton Council of Canada, we are working to encourage and assist other MRFs in Quebec and elsewhere in Canada to start positively sorting cartons.
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Cartons are a substitute for sorted office paper (SOP) with value that typically fluctuates relative to that grade. This graph shows the commodity pricing trend of SOP over the past 18 months.
3. CONSUMER EDUCATION: A CONTINUAL PROCESS
Of course the recycling equation isn’t complete without considering the role of consumers and consumer education. CCC recently wrapped up an eight-week social media campaign focused on increasing the public’s awareness around recycling. While we saw encouraging engagement in the online campaign, we also observed continued skepticism and misinformation. Some of the most com-
mon questions related to the differences among recycling programs in different regions, whether there is a need to rinse out cartons, and whether cartons actually in fact end up in recycling facilities. Overall, the campaign reinforced the notion that ongoing consumer education is critical, particularly at the local level. Arming consumers with relevant, timely and region-specific information helps combat some of the most prevalent myths and misconceptions. To support local awareness efforts,
RECYCLERS OF USED CARTON BALES (GRADE PSI-52) IN NORTH AMERICA • • • • • • •
Sustana Fiber, Quebec Great Lakes Tissue, Michigan Continuous Materials, Pennsylvania Sustana Fiber (USA), Wisconsin Continuous Materials, Iowa Kimberley-Clark de Mexico, Bajio Kimberley-Clark de Mexico, Ecatepec
recyclingproductnews.com | APRIL 2021
CCC recently launched its newly updated Image and Ad Bank, featuring numerous downloadable ads and images that can be customized to fit any interested parties’ education efforts.
4. AWAY-FROM-HOME RECYCLING
In addition to supporting homeowners’ recycling efforts, away-from-home recycling continues to be one of CCC’s priorities. This is particularly relevant in schools, where a large number of drink boxes and small milk cartons are consumed. We believe there is a strong link between being active and present in schools and improving the recovery performance of small carton formats. This seems to be particularly true with respect to aseptic cartons, which lag in capture performance relative to larger carton formats. To this end, CCC has partnered with EcoSchools Canada to develop a set of best practices for carton recycling at schools, with versions for provinces where cartons are collected curbside and for those that rely on a deposit system.
A critical element supporting carton recycling success is positive sorting. While we do know that some cartons are sent for recycling along with other fibre types, such as mixed fibres and boxboard, sorting cartons into their own grade maximizes their value and supports the development of new carton-focused end markets.
Inside the carton recycling facility at Sustana Fiber, Quebec.
Isabelle Faucher We remain committed to supporting the success of our industry partners and welcome the opportunity to provide information, resources, ideas and support. Education and practice of good recycling habits at a young age is very important to raising future recyclers. So far, 2021 is shaping up to be another challenging year. We should expect to see continued fluctuations in volume and price for recovered cartons. However, we have important tools we can use to continue to improve both the capture and recycling rates of cartons across Canada. Technology is helping us increase the quality of our bales, new end markets may be in sight and consumers remain critical partners in our efforts.
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The CP OCCScreen is designed for efficient OCC (old corrugated cardboard) separation, automatically separating large cardboard from other fibres, containers and debris. The CP OCCScreen consists of durable half-inch-thick steel discs, with an offset elliptical pattern that provides lateral agitation to remove contaminates, containers and mixed paper, leaving OCC end product highly marketable.
CURBING SINGLE-STREAM CONTAMINATION OF OCC AT THE MRF A Q&A WITH CP GROUP’S NICK DAVIS BY KEITH BARKER, EDITOR
ontamination of incoming OCC and other fibre streams at the MRF has risen significantly over the last several years. The pandemic has had an effect on what is being discarded, how much, and where. Today’s MRF’s see much more OCC and mixed paper from curbside programs, but far less Sorted Office Paper from businesses, for example. For MRF operators who are having issues with contamination of their incoming streams, resulting in higher sorting costs and lower purity of output, there are technology and strategies that can help. RPN caught up with Nick Davis, product development engineer at CP Manufacturing, to talk about the nature of contamination in the OCC fibre stream and about some of the best practices and technology currently available for safely and efficiently achieving high-purity output at the MRF.
Which grades of recovered fibre are most affected by high contamination rates, and what is the main contaminant?
Most paper contamination is small in size and tends to flow with the mixed paper streams. For example, items such as soiled napkins, straws, and wrappers end up in the small paper fraction. These low-weight, high-pick-count items are difficult to sort without optical sorters. OCC on the other hand tends to be positively sorted and has less contamination concerns.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected the amount of contamination in single-stream systems overall?
Overall, contamination has increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic as a result of people being at home more, cleaning out garages, attics and storage rooms. Some items thought of as being recyclable are thrown out erroneously and have created excess contamination that is widespread in all streams, especially mixed fibre.
What is the easiest change, or the first thing a MRF or other recycling facility should consider doing, if they are struggling with high contamination of their incoming fibre stream, but want to take advantage of the current high market prices for clean, recovered OCC, for example?
The type of contamination that appears in a MRF’s OCC stream determines how to respond. If the OCC has small items such as glass, grit or small plastics, that means the screening isn’t working correctly. The facility can adjust OCC screen parameters or openings to get the grit out. Additionally, adjusting the infeed mechanisms and pre-sort belt speeds can thin out and prepare material hitting the OCC screen. For larger contamination items, slow down throughput to allow manual sorters to see the impurity better so they can pull it out in a post-sort. If an optical sorter is already in place, a switch from a negative to a positive sort logic should be considered. Many MRFs have tightened their OCC patterns in the last couple years in an attempt to capture more of the massive amounts of small OCC generated as a result of the “Amazon effect.” If a screen is tightened too much, the natural consequence is more contamination in the overs or reduced capacity, which then has to be adjusted in other parameters. APRIL 2021 | recyclingproductnews.com
What equipment do you recommend using at a MRF or other recycling facility to produce high-purity OCC from mixed incoming streams, in basic terms?
We use a CP Drum Feeder, CP Auger Screen followed by a CP OCC Screen for large-size OCC. Additionally, we use an Anti-Wrap Screen and CPScreen, respectively, in combination with an MSS FiberMax optical sorter, for small- and medium-sized OCC.
How should the methodology or process change, depending on varying sizes of incoming OCC?
Different sizes of OCC are sorted in different manners. Large OCC is liberated by an OCC screen that prepares the material on high amplitude discs. The large openings on the screen reduce contamination. A drum feeder fluffs and breaks up nested material and layers large OCC on top of smaller items to enhance screening. We started placing an Auger Screen in front of the OCC screen to remove a significant amount of the smaller fraction in the inbound flow. Lower input to the OCC screen is more efficient because the machine parameters can be finely tuned to liberate OCC from larger items, and there is additional screening from the Auger Screen. After screening has done all it can, any remaining large items are easier to remove at the QC station. Smaller OCC items that go in the unders of the OCC screen are seen throughout the MRF flows and need to be positively sorted at several locations either by people or optical sorters.
If the OCC has small items such as glass, grit or small plastics, that means the screening isn’t working correctly. The facility can adjust OCC screen parameters or openings to get the grit out. Nick Davis
recyclingproductnews.com | APRIL 2021
Can you explain the CP Group methodology principle of “fractionate, liberate and separate.”
Fractionation is the process of sizing and breaking up inbound material into smaller streams so that each station, screen, automated sorter or person can work more efficiently. By fractionating upstream of the OCC screen with the Auger Screen, we reduce the inbound burden depth and contamination, so a cleaner OCC product is processed. In the next step of liberation, we use high amplitude, high agitation mechanical devices at multiple stages throughout the process to singulate each item and break up conjoined material. Essentially this process removes 2D from 3D materials, while also reducing grit and small contamination. Once the prep work is done, we separate with an MSS FiberMax optical screen for positive identification and sorting of OCC to produce high-quality end products.
Should positive sorting of smaller OCC be a key part of a MRFs best strategy for producing clean OCC output from mixed incoming streams?
It is recommended, and really, a necessity, to positive sort for small- to mid-size OCC. In our experience sufficient screening and QC will produce clean OCC, especially if the inbound material is prepared properly and multiple stages of screening are used.
What’s next for CP Group in 2021?
CP Group is continuing development in automation, data collection and MRF optimization. Last year we tested our latest development, the patented CP Elliptical Auger Screen. This new machine adds aggressive agitation to the sorting process, fractionates the stream and then liberates the material. This can be used for primary and secondary sorting, and its dual action earlier in the process enhances downstream separation. As we further roll out development of the CP Elliptical Auger Screen, we are confident that it can reduce or even eliminate the pre-sort in many facilities.
NICK DAVIS is the product development engineer
at CP Manufacturing. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics and Quantitative Economics, is a third-generation inventor in recycling equipment and development, and holds multiple patents for improving mechanical separation.
A single MSS FiberMax unit can replace up to 25 manual sorters as it performs up to between 800 and 1,000 picks per minute, versus only about 40 picks per minute for a manual sorter and provides conveyor speed of up to 1,000 feet per minute.
HAULING & COLLECTION
LION ELECTRIC IS FOCUSED ON ADVANCING BOTH FLEET ELECTRIFICATION AND TELEMATICS
aint-Jérôme, Quebec-based Lion Electric is a company to watch as both fleet electrification and telematics for fleet management continue to take hold in North America’s waste and recycling sector. The electric vehicle manufacturer announced the start of construction of a battery manufacturing plant and innovation centre in Quebec this year, with plans to begin operations in early 2023. At the new plant, Lion Electric will produce battery packs and modules made from lithium-ion cells, which will be used in the company’s latest electric-powered trucks and buses. Lion Electric also recently began a collaboration with Geotab, the IoT and fleet management and telematics specialist based out of Oakville, Ontario, with the introduction of the new LionBeat advanced electric vehicle (EV) telematics system.
CREATING A TRUE CIRCULAR ECONOMY FOR ELECTRIC VEHICLE BATTERIES
Lion Electric’s battery manufacturing plant and innovation centre project and its development represent an investment of approximately $185 million CAD by Lion, which says it will benefit from important support from both federal and provincial governments of approximately $100 million CAD. With the construction of the new plant, Lion Electric predicts considerable reduction in the cost of its electric vehicle manufacturing while ensuring control and optimization of a key component of its vehicle supply chain. Given the battery is the most expensive component of an electric vehicle, Lion Electric says this new manufacturing capability will have a direct impact on the development of heavy-duty electric transportation while also offering important environmental and economic benefits to the process. With a planned yearly production capacity of five gigawatt-hours in battery storage, Lion will be able to electrify approximately 14,000 medium- and heavy-duty vehicles annually. The manufacturing plant and innovation centre will offer Lion many strategic advantages, according to the company, including a reduction in its battery system production cost as well as a stable line of procurement of battery packs. Highly automated, Lion’s factory is projected to produce one battery module every 11 seconds and a full battery pack every five minutes. Once the infrastructure is built, Lion Electric will be the first Canadian manufacturer of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles to equip itself with its own automated battery pack manufacturing capability.
recyclingproductnews.com | APRIL 2021
Lion Electric’s Lion6 and Lion8 all-electric urban trucks feature a fully integrated chassis, cabin and safe, highperformance lithium-ion Batteries (NMC), providing motor power up to 350 kW and 3,500 Nm torque.
LIONBEAT TELEMATICS DESIGNED FOR ELECTRIC VEHICLES
Lion Electric’s collaboration with Geotab on the LionBeat advanced electric vehicle (EV) telematics system is another significant recent development. This system has been developed specifically for electric vehicles, offering a robust and flexible telematics suite intended to optimize all aspects of electric fleet operations, including productivity, safety and cost, by leveraging real-time vehicle data. According to Lion Electric, this ultimately helps to reduce total cost of ownership for fleet operators while maximizing their return on investment. The LionBeat telematics system is built on top of Geotab’s open platform fleet management solution, which is designed to fit the demands of fleet operators of any size, including mixed and zero-emission fleets. Lion Electric says Geotab’s technology provides intuitive, full-featured solutions that help businesses and operators better manage drivers and vehicles by extracting accurate real-time and historical data, giving operators greater insight into fleet safety, productivity, fleet optimization, regulatory compliance and sustainability.
The LionBeat system will be installed on every Lion zero-emission truck and bus, making the vehicles instantly telematics-compatible. This will enable both Lion Electric and the end user to leverage data to help drive business and fleet management decisions. “In developing LionBeat, we have created a unique purpose-built telematics solution specific to electric vehicles, and we saw Geotab as the ideal partner for this technology,” said Marc Bedard, CEO and founder of Lion Electric. “Not only is their expertise in the space second to none, but they also understand that EVs are the future and that collaboration with a segment leader such as Lion is key to leveraging critical data from electrified platforms – ultimately leading to cost savings for operators and increased efficiency.” LionBeat is capable of analyzing every aspect of data in electric vehicles in order to deliver actionable insights on key information, including: electric vehicle performance management, charge prioritization, routing and dispatch, fleet management, driver management and training, maintenance and diagnostics, and advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS).
In developing LionBeat, we have created a unique purpose-built telematics solution specific to electric vehicles. Marc Bedard CEO and Founder of Lion Electric According to Lion Electric, LionBeat is also easily expandable and can connect with an operator’s current fleet management software, as well as incorporate live driver feedback and identification systems, additional vehicle sensors and more. In addition, vehicle and fleet data can be accessed in real time via the LionBeat online user portal, or historically through customizable reports. APRIL 2021 | recyclingproductnews.com
HAULING & COLLECTION
FAMILY-OWNED WASTE HAULER AMONG FIRST TO DEPLOY BYD ALL-ELECTRIC COLLECTION TRUCKS
&M Sanitation, a family-owned business serving the town of Kuna, Idaho, has deployed two BYD all-electric Class 8 collection trucks, the first such battery-electric, zero-emission vehicles in the state. The trucks are replacing two diesel vehicles, which will result in cleaner air and a lower carbon footprint for their operations. J&M is the first company in the state of Idaho to own and operate BYD electric collection trucks, and is now operating two out of only 10 on the road in North America. The BYD 8R heavy-duty trucks feature BYD’s proprietary electric propulsion system designed specifically for refuse and recyclables collection. With 295kWh of battery
capacity, these trucks use cabs, chassis and propulsion systems built by BYD to support a full day’s operations, and are equipped with 31-yard automated side-loader bodies made by refuse truck body manufacturer Amrep. J&M’s all-electric trucks feature an all-Hardox 450 body shell, providing strength and durability with a 175k psi rated hopper and body – offering an exterior four-times stronger than ordinary mild steel grades, while weighing 20 percent less than a traditional refuse truck. J&M Sanitation trucks run each weekday, each serving about 800 Kuna homes resulting in 1,065 lifts of the arm daily and approximately 18 tons of waste collected. Without
As the waste management industry seeks to provide zero-emission trucks for the communities they serve, J&M Sanitation is demonstrating with BYD that battery-electric trucks are ready to fully support their operations. Aaron Gilmore, BYD
recyclingproductnews.com | APRIL 2021
J&M Sanitation’s BYD 8R heavy-duty electric-powered trucks feature 295kWh of battery capacity for a full day’s work, and are equipped with 31-yard automated sideloader bodies by refuse truck body manufacturer Amrep.
opportunity charging, each of the trucks can return following a completed route with 18 percent remaining State of Charge (SOC). J&M plans to utilize opportunity charging – plugging in during routine downtime – to maintain additional SOC throughout their routes. “Our company made this investment to not only serve the community we love but also preserve the community,” said operation manager Chad Gordon of J&M Sanitation. “We are a small, family-owned business. We care enough about our environment that we wanted to make the switch to zero-emission, electric vehicles. It is time for our industry to make changes to help preserve the natural beauty of our world. We can make a difference and we wanted to be a catalyst for change.” According to BYD VP of truck business Aaron Gillmore, “Our trucks are hard at work every day, proving that electric is the new standard. As the waste management industry seeks to provide zero-emission trucks for the communities they serve, J&M Sanitation is demonstrating with BYD that battery-electric trucks are ready to fully support their operations.”
Alan Blanchard, regional sales manager, refuse bodies for Amrep, added, “Amrep is known for being ‘west coast clean’ and ‘east coast strong.’ Working as a partner to deploy one of the first all-electric refuse trucks is a testament to that statement and we couldn’t be prouder to be a part of leading change within the industry.” BYD designs their electric trucks to be clean and quiet, with fewer moving parts than carbon-burning trucks. Plus, with fewer vibrations than conventional vehicles, the BYD trucks provide the operator with a better driving experience. “As a small, family-owned company, we were able to make the change from diesel to the electric waste removal vehicles long before legislation mandated the change,” said J&M Owner and CEO Tim Gordon. “I want to encourage legislators from across the country and government officials from the energy department to consider legislation that encourages other waste removal companies to make this change sooner. If a small company like ours can make the change, larger companies can too.”
FOR ELECTRIC-POWERED TRUCKS, NEW INCENTIVES CAN FURTHER IMPROVE TOTAL COST OF OWNERSHIP
ccording to Mack, these types of incentive programs were created to help improve the total cost of ownership for customers while making the purchase of zero-emission vehicles more cost-effective for customers operating in all market segments. “Fleets desiring battery-electric vehicles now have the opportunity to apply for funding, helping them more easily transition to an electric fleet,” said Jonathan Randall, Mack Trucks senior vice president of North American sales and commercial operations. “Mack is pleased that there are now several programs available to support the efforts of customers choosing to move toward zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and a more environmentally friendly operation.” The Mack LR Electric is eligible for the following incentive programs: California Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP), up to $120,000 per vehicle; MOR-EV Trucks Program, Massachusetts, up to $90,000 per electric vehicle; CleanBC Go Electric Specialty Use Vehicle Incentive (SUVI) program, British Columbia, up to $100,000 per electric vehicle; New York City Clean Trucks Program (NYCCTP), up to $185,000 per electric vehicle for fleets sized with 15 trucks or less; Utah Clean Diesel Program, up to 45 percent of the total cost of an electric vehicle; and Écocamionnage Program, Quebec, up to $175,000 per electric vehicle. Mack says its electric-powered truck will also qualify for many regional grant programs that stimulate the transition to clean transportation. The Mack LR Electric is equipped with two electric motors with a combined output of 448 continuous horsepower. The powertrain delivers 4,051 lb.-ft. of torque available from zero RPM, which is fed through a two-speed Mack Powershift transmission to Mack’s proprietary S462R 46,000-pound rear axles. Four NMC lithium-ion (Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide) batteries are charged through a 150kW, SAE J1772-compliant charging system, and all accessories are electrically driven through 12V, 24V and 600V circuits.
Mack Trucks’ Mack LR Electric model, the OEM’s first fully electric refuse vehicle, is among the first to be eligible for multiple incentive packages in the U.S. and Canada.
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APRIL 2021 | recyclingproductnews.com
HAULING & COLLECTION
REDUCING THE MULTI-RESIDENTIAL CARBON FOOTPRINT METRO MERGER WITH WILKINSON CHUTE STREAMLINES SMART WASTE MANAGEMENT CAPABILITIES FOR PROPERTY MANAGERS
here has been a marked increase in household waste during the pandemic largely as a result of home renovations, online shopping and the growth in demand for disposable, single-use goods. In Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto and Halifax, household waste has increased as much as 35 percent in 2020, compared to 2019. More people working from home means more waste and recyclables for collection, including at multi-residential buildings such as condos and apartments. According to Toronto-based Metro Compactor Service, as private and municipal hauling and landfill costs in Canada continue to increase, facility managers and multi-residential property owners across the country are among those feeling the strain of higher costs for managing waste, and they are looking for sustainable, cost-effective alternatives to the traditional way of doing things. Today’s multi-residential property managers want lower costs combined with a reduced carbon footprint. They want a seamless and sustainable waste management ecosystem that is managed for them, using advanced equipment, technology and systems, and is inclusive of high-level service and support. Similar to many sectors, the bottom line for property managers is: the less time and resources that are devoted to dealing with waste and recyclables, the better.
CREATING A ONE-STOP SHOP
Metro Compactor Service is a specialist in the sales, rental and servicing of waste and recycling equipment for
recyclingproductnews.com | APRIL 2021
haulers, waste management firms and municipalities, as well as multi-residential, industrial, commercial and institutional (IC&I) markets, across Canada. The company, based in Brampton, Ontario, with a second operation in B.C., near Vancouver, maintains the largest service fleet in Canada; repairs and maintains equipment of every make, model and size; and provides a full range of technology-enabled waste equipment for sale or rental. Using a network of technicians as well as sophisticated iSMART remote diagnostics, control and monitoring technology, Metro is helping its customers reach their waste management and sustainability goals, minimize downtime, lower operating costs and extend equipment life. This spring, Metro announced the merger of its service and repair division with sister company, Wilkinson Chutes Canada. While Metro has been servicing waste equipment for the high-rise and residential markets for decades (since 1978), Wilkinson Chutes Canada, also based in Ontario, has specialized in the manufacturing and service of highrise chutes for nearly a century (since the 1920s). The two companies, with unified service and repair departments, will now offer a full range of residential waste services and a one-stop shop for residential property managers. Metro says the merger will make their customers’ lives a lot easier and more streamlined, reduce their carbon footprint and provide a wider range of equipment options in one place, including Wilkinson’s full range of OEM chute liners, chute doors and waste
sorter systems specifically designed for the multi-unit residential, mixed use and commercial industries. “We wanted to make the customers’ experience seamless – whatever the need,” explains Danny Mauti, CEO of Metro Compactor Service and Wilkinson Chutes Canada. “Going forward our customers will see more value. “Our unified team will allow us to deliver on our Super Service promise, which is all about taking care of our customers by being proactive, providing peace of mind and being a leader through innovation. Facility managers can call one place to get it all taken care of, and have one simple maintenance contract and point of contact. We’re making the experience much cleaner and are giving customers peace of mind. “It’s more important than ever to have a single provider with coast-to-coast capabilities to help consolidate the residential waste systems, from chute to bin,” continues Mauti. “Our goal is a reduction in the overall carbon footprint of managing residential waste – including fewer trucks, fewer bins, less downtime and longer equipment life. The bottom line is, less of a property manager’s time and resources are devoted to dealing with garbage.”
A SMARTER WAY TO MANAGE WASTE
According to Mauti, the newly merged company capabilities now include rentals, service and sales of chute doors and lining, tri-sorters and bi-sorting machines for recyclables, waste compactors, bin movers and all types and sizes of
Our goal is a reduction in the overall carbon footprint of managing residential waste – including fewer trucks, fewer bins, less downtime, and longer equipment life. Danny Mauti CEO and President, Metro Compactor Service
A Metro Compactor Service technician tending to the iSMART system.
bins and parts. It also now offers Metro’s iSMART technology to a wider range of customers. This technology allows for remote troubleshooting and diagnostics on waste equipment, by Metro and Wilkinson technicians, any time and at any equipment location. Metro’s iSMART provides customers and service providers with a secure connection to an online network, with data and insights, including performance reports, fullness data and controls, to optimize waste system performance and enhance the overall success of sustainability programs. This technology detects issues and alerts Metro staff. Alerts are saved in a database and staff is on hand to both analyze issues and contact a company immediately to address issues. Mauti says simple issues can most often be resolved over the phone with the guidance of a technician. In the case of something more complex, Metro dispatches a technician to the customer location. He emphasizes that while many in the property management industry continue to rely on waste services on-demand, Metro’s comprehensive option is a better alternative, especially now that they are merged with Wilkinson Chute. For multi-residential and IC&I sector waste management, as an alternative to on-demand service, their comprehensive plan can result in enhanced system performance and longevity overall, a lower carbon footprint, lower costs and greatly minimized downtime. “Our service plans allow Metro to take full care of all aspects of a waste system and improve it far beyond anything on-demand service could achieve.”
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APRIL 2021 | recyclingproductnews.com
Six models of The Beast horizontal grinders are available from Bandit Industries with engine options ranging from 300 to 1,200 hp. These plants are available on tracks and with various tooth and screen options that allow for processing everything from wood waste and roofing shingles to plastics.
KEY FACTORS FOR RECYCLERS TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING A HIGH-SPEED WOOD WASTE GRINDER BY KEITH BARKER, EDITOR
ecyclers have multiple options for recovering wood waste material. Slow-speed, high-torque shredders work well in lower volume applications where the infeed may be more variable, and for clean, round wood, nothing beats a disk or drum chipper. For most large-scale wood waste recycling and composting operations, the high-speed wood waste grinder, either in a horizontal or tub configuration, remains our industry’s workhorse. Overall, the wood waste grinding industry has become more sophisticated over the last decade – for the most part, organics recyclers no longer make decisions purely based on engine horsepower or mill opening size, and they are faced with mulitiple end-market opportunities and very tight profit margins in most cases. Today’s more sophisticated operations prioritize the tracking of fuel and wear part consumption against throughput, and many invest in asset protection plans. Today’s high-speed grinders have adapted as recyclers and recycling markets have evolved, and can handle a very wide
recyclingproductnews.com | APRIL 2021
range of materials, including all kinds of wood – from wet and stringy to hardwood and stumps – as well as asphalt shingles, corn, hay, C&D wood, plastic and food waste, just to get the list going. There are available fast-changing screens, teeth, knives and drums to easily make different products with one machine, and integrated metal sorting systems. These machines can provide the capability to simultaneously grind and colour landscape mulch, and are available with a huge range of options designed to enable recyclers to customize their grinder to their operational needs. Beyond the initial research into available suppliers and machines, recyclers should consider factors such as the type and volume of materials expected for processing, machine safety, cost of operation, ease of maintenance, reliability, planned end-product size and production rate requirements, as well as end market demand and future growth potential. Following is a breakdown of major factors to consider when adding a grinder to an organics recycling operation.
HOG VS. TUB
The main difference between horizontal and tub grinders is that horizontals generally use a chain-based feed roller and “moving floor” to feed the hammermill, which is more complicated to maintain, but provides more consistent feed, especially for longer material such as whole trees. A tub uses gravity and a rotating, conical top-feed tub to feed the hammermill. Both types of grinders can handle most material they encounter, but in general horizontals will more easily handle longer material compared to a tub, while a tub grinder can provide more productivity for large material such as stumps and pallets. Some horizontals are also available with an angled cuttermill designed to employ gravity for better infeed. With horizontal grinders, generally, you don’t have to size your product as much as you do with tubs. However, for many, the tub grinder is a preferred way of grinding wood waste for pure volume reduction, and to produce mulch because it “smashes” wood and produces less splinters, compared to a horizontal which basically “rips” material apart. Tub grinders are also highly productive, but slightly less complicated machines, and are easier to work on and maintain. With respect to safety, tubs do have a reputation as a less safe option, mainly due to the fact that the grinding mechanism on a tub is exposed and there is a higher possibility of hazardous flying material being thrown from the plant. Today’s tubs (and some horizontals as well), however, are available with tub covers and full enclosures to prevent this. Productivity and safety always comes down to operators at the end of the day. If an operator keeps a tub full, there is much less chance for dangerous flying material, as essentially the material on top stops material from the bottom of the tub, where it meets the hammermill, from flying out and causing a hazard.
While the latest Tier 4 technology has greatly improved overall fuel consumption for diesel-powered grinding equipment, an electric grinder produces no GHGs and will almost always offer a lower cost per ton (or cubic yard) of finished product, compared to a diesel grinder. Electric grinders are ideal for stationary applications where there is access to three-phase power, but are also available with mobility packages (including trailer mounts and electrical connections, for large site and multiple location applications).
MATCH THE MACHINE TO THE TASK AT HAND
How much material is expected to be processed per hour is a key question. The amount of material throughput per hour will impact the processing speed of an entire line. Recyclers should consider their current volumes for grinding as well as future potential volumes. A basic rule of thumb, for some, is that higher speeds are needed for higher volumes. Where a grinder will be used should also be considered. If noise is an issue, and volume requirements are not too great, then a lower-speed, high-torque, single-shaft shredder that runs anywhere from 90 to 300 rpms, may be a better way to go. Higher speed equates to a noisier machine. It is best to choose a grinder that works well with existing equipment and set-up. Over-sizing a grinder to match “fringe”
We have some customers that chip material with knives on The Beast cuttermill for playground chips, then switch to teeth for producing a fine finish mulch for landscaping, then switch back to knives for more chips. Customers that choose The Beast chipping drum over the standard cuttermill can swap between the two in about a day, giving them the flexibility to have both a high-production chipper and horizontal grinder. Jerry Morey President, Bandit Industries
The DiamondZ DZT8000 Tub Grinder offers a reinforced frame design and aggressive 60-inch hammermill for increased production capacity of up to 100 tons per hour.
APRIL 2021 | recyclingproductnews.com
EQUIPMENT ROUNDUP materials that may be encountered drives up the costs of every ton or cubic yard produced. An empty grinder with the engine or motor running means an operation is grinding air. Metal separation needs should also be considered. Nails and other scrap metal need to be removed from wood residue in order for the end product to be sellable, especially in C&D and asphalt recycling applications. Knowing what percentage of separation you need will determine what kind of extraction system you need in your grinder. The amount of separation needed will most likely be determined by the specifications of the fibre buyer or based on the end use for the processed material. Cross-belt magnetic separators are commonly used and two-stage metal separation is available, which adds a magnetic pulley head and is ideal for applications where very high purity is paramount, such as composting and fibre-to-animal-bedding.
Rotochopper’s FP 66 B grinder is available with RotoLink which monitors maintenance life, vibration and bearing temperatures, engine data, and production data, and allows operators to work in real time with technicians and support.
CALCULATE THE COST PER TONNE
There are basically three major cost components to wood waste grinding: power, labour and ongoing operating costs. Diesel machines tend to be more expensive to run than electric, but they are usually self-contained and portable, making them a good choice for mobile applications. For energy costs, overall, electric-powered machines will cost less to run and require less downtime for routine maintenance. It should also be noted that if high volume is not a main consideration, operating cost for low-speed technology such as a shredder, is typically lower than a high-speed grinder. When it comes to labour costs, they of course vary greatly from one region to another. Many grinders offer the flexibility to be batch-fed or integrated in-line with conveyors and other material handling equipment. A grinder designed only to be fed in batches can result in more labour costs than one that can be dump-fed or fed automatically by a conveyor. Outside of energy, operating costs for high-speed grinders comes down to reliability of the machine and the routine and preventive maintenance plans that are in place. Productivity can be as high as possible, but excess downtime will quickly eat away at profitability gains. This is where the right maintenance regimen and solid dealer support with quick parts availability become key once again.
Vermeer’s TG7000 tub grinder, available with an easy-access Duplex Drum designed to significantly reduce the maintenance time required to keep the hammermill in good working order while maintaining durability in operation.
PLAN FOR OPTIONS, PLAN FOR FLEXIBILITY
No matter what 2020 and the global pandemic have thrown at us, opportunities for recyclers remain healthy. Markets for wood fibre, recycled asphalt shingles (RAS) and other products that can be produced with the right grinder continue to grow and change, and the movement toward circular economies will continue to push this trend. There are solid and developing markets for coloured mulch, natural mulch, biofuel, refuse-derived-fuel, fuel pellets, compost, animal bedding and other engineered fibres, as well as hot mix asphalt supplement – all of which can be made with the right grinder. Today’s grinders are available with a wide range of options to accommodate flexibility, including track-mounted and mobile models, integrated mulch colouring capability, metal separation, as well as quick-change drums, grinder teeth and screens designed to equip one machine for multiple applications and varying end products. For example, easy change-out chip drums for horizontal grinders are now available from some manufacturers, which enable operators to quickly and
recyclingproductnews.com | APRIL 2021
Morbark’s 3400XT is now available with a new, patent-pending Vtection System option, which monitors rotor vibration to reduce damage from contact with unshreddable objects, or other causes of damaging vibration such as an out-of-balance rotor, broken insert, defective bearing or the grinding of extremely hard wood.
easily switch from turning wood waste to mulch, to making a uniform-sized wood chip preferred over standard grindings by wood-fuelled waste-to-energy plants and pellet mills. Other options that can be integrated into today’s grinders include: a secondary hammermill for very fine particle sizing applications; customized infeed and outfeed set-ups,
KNOW YOUR SUPPLIER
CBI’s Magnum Force 6800CT provides a 190-degree screening area with production rates up to 200 tons an hour, and employs an offset helix rotor designed to minimize kinetic energy loss from each strike, requiring less power to rotate the drum while evenly distributing wear.
including conveyor belts, vibrating conveyors and metal separation; and high-abrasion packages for processing tough materials like asphalt shingles, C&D and yard waste. In addition, the modern grinder includes sophisticated, “intelligent” machine control and monitoring systems, remote capabilities, as well as feed controls and infeed protection systems that automatically stop the machine before metal and other contaminants contact the hammermill, potentially preventing catastrophic damage.
Today’s grinders can produce several hundreds of tons per hour of saleable material if all the parameters are just right. But when downtime occurs, for hard-facing, cleaning or maintenance or broken parts, production and profitability gains can be lost very quickly. All manufacturers will tell you that regular maintenance combined with consistent production is key to maintaining the highest long-term output, including a lower cost-per-tonne or cubic yard. Most manufacturers in the industry will also tell you that support is the number one factor you want to consider prior to purchase. Parts and service can make or break a recycling business, so this has to be an initial consideration. For grinder owners and operators, parts should be available locally, or if not, should be shippable direct to the customer in one day. Research your supplier and once decided, take advantage of the relationship on an ongoing basis. Today’s major manufacturers of horizontal and tub grinders for wood waste recycling are experts that can offer help determining what size and type of grinder will fit for an operation or application, they can help in finding end markets for products produced, they can help optimize a machine’s operation over its entire life, and they can help in obtaining financing options for an equipment purchase. For recyclers considering a grinder purchase, especially if they don’t have a solid, positive experience with a given supplier to work from, good market research is paramount. Ask a lot of questions, ask to talk to current customers. It is the right supplier, over the long run, that will make the greatest amount of difference to your bottom line, with respect to lower downtime and lower overall cost of operation per tonne produced. RPN
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ROCKET COMPOSTER INVESTMENT TO HELP ASTRAZENECA REDUCE WASTE AND EMBRACE CIRCULAR ECONOMY
ultinational pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca has invested in an A900 Rocket Composter from U.K.-based Tidy Planet to process 24 tonnes of annual food and green waste at its 100-acre manufacturing site in Macclesfield, England. This represents the first commercial-scale composter to be installed on an AstraZeneca site – a move the firm hopes will drive sustainability forward across its network globally. The investment forms part of the organization’s wider sustainability target to reduce waste and embrace a circular economy. As part of this environmental commitment, the company is also aiming to achieve zero-carbon status at its 4,000-person-capacity campus, by 2025. Prior to purchasing the three-quarter-tonne machine in 2020, members of the AstraZeneca team did their research, including a virtual meeting with The University of Liverpool’s Guild of Students, to discuss what they have learned so far based on their campus’ existing Rocket installation and composting operation. “Installing an on-site composter seemed like a great fit for us, as by recycling our food and green waste at source, we can create a closed loop model that reduces both wastage and our carbon footprint,” commented Guy Camm, FM development manager at AstraZeneca’s Macclesfield site. “We’re deeply committed to making our campus more sustainable, and we want to be best-in-class for how we handle our food and green waste. “Our horticultural team will be using the resulting compost across the campus, and there is a proposal in place that it will also be used to grow fresh produce – further reducing food transportation miles and carbon emissions,” continued Camm. “We’re also working with our catering supplier to ensure all our takeaway cups and tableware are compostable, to make sure our approach is a truly holistic one.” Huw Crampton, sales manager and composting expert at Tidy Planet, said: “It’s great to be working with a fellow local company, helping to harness its resource potential, and cut down carbon emissions associated with off-site waste transportation.” The Rocket composter is an in-vessel, closed and contained system specifically designed to allow for on-site recycling of
recyclingproductnews.com | APRIL 2021
On site in Macclesfield, England, with their new Rocket Composter. Left to right: Mick Clayton and Guy Camm from AstraZeneca, Huw Crampton from Tidy Planet and George Leighton, Sodexo Chef and “Composter Champion.” food waste from large-scale catering and food service operations. It uses a continual flow system with waste being added daily and compost exiting daily. Units are built to last with easy maintenance and require only a single-phase power source. They also need to be located under cover and require a consistent, dry source of woodchip to add to the food waste mix for optimal composting. The Rocket Composter’s potential can also be maximized by using Tidy Planet’s Dehydra dewatering system, installed prior to the Rocket, to increase capacity potential by up to 300 percent. Recycling food waste on site eliminates the need for costly collection and disposal, says Tidy Planet, and a useful compost end product is produced instead. According to Guy Camm, their new Rocket Composter will soon be given a name in an AstraZeneca staff-wide competition. “In terms of why we chose Tidy Planet, we loved the fact they were local to us – down the road in fact,” said Camm. “After speaking to their reference site in Liverpool, we gained a real feel for how the same model could work for us – and this was really exciting. “We’ve made sure that we have space for another machine – futureproofing the demands of the campus, if our food waste levels increase. And we’ve also recruited a ‘composter champion’ from our catering workforce to support, govern and train others in how to use the equipment. Further down the line, we also aim to make the compost available for employees to take home with them, following a small donation to one of our local charities of choice. “We hope that this is the beginning of a long-term composting journey not only here in Macclesfield, but at our other U.K. and global sites too.”
“WHY AND HOW TO MEASURE FOOD LOSS AND WASTE” GUIDE UPDATED
orth America’s Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) has launched a revised practical guide for measuring food loss and waste. Why and How to Measure Food Loss and Waste: A Practical Guide 2.0, implements findings from focused testing with a diverse set of businesses and organizations across North America. According to the CEC, food loss and waste can be costly to a business, and decreasing food loss and waste can be a great business opportunity. The organization says this new, user-friendly guide is meant to empower a wide range of stakeholders, including governments, businesses and households, to find solutions to prevent and reduce food loss and waste. For the development of the revised guide, pilot organizations used the original guide to measure food loss and waste in their operations, assessed the utility of the guide in practice and suggested opportunities for improvement. Based on information collected in the pilot from the case study development processes, as well as from data and input from the business community and other expert analysis, the guide was revised to improve its usability and effectiveness. Highlights of the revised guide (2.0) include a revised Business Case section for food loss and waste measurement and reduction to help users understand which parts of business operations need improvement and which management measures can be taken to reduce waste. Version 2.0 also provides supporting resources, such as a business cost calculator to help businesses understand the costs and potential benefits of addressing the amount of food loss and waste in their operations. The revised guide also offers an update to available online databases that allows businesses and organizations to submit
their own food loss and waste data and review food loss and waste data from others, such as the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s “Food Loss and Waste Database” and the “Food Waste Atlas,” developed by the World Resources Institute and WRAP. In addition, the new guide features accompanying case studies from each of the North American countries, showcasing the value of food loss and waste measurement and how measurement has driven better decision making and process optimization. Established in 1994, the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) is governed and funded equally by the Government of Canada, the U.S.A. and Mexico. The CEC brings together a wide range of stakeholders to seek solutions to protect North America’s shared environment while supporting sustainable development.
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LAST WORD WASTEFUL INPUTS POSE LIMITS ON COMPOST’S FULL POTENTIAL BY SUSAN ANTLER
he results of a five-year Manitoba-based research trial using residential source-separated compost on vegetable crops are currently bringing discussions about the value of composting to a higher level. According to the trial, not only did the application of compost on either an annual or bi-annual basis outperform the non-use alternative in terms of plant productivity, but the use of compost also improved the vegetable crops’ nutritional values, drawing positive and valuable connections to human health. We are now able to link compost’s benefits to nutritional and human health. This link reinforces the undeniable importance of organics recycling and composting. Composting already provides so many benefits including: resource re-utilization, optimum landfill management, local economic and community development, water conservation and water quality improvements, improved soil health and enhanced plant growth, reduced chemical inputs, greenhouse gas emission reductions and increased potential for carbon sequestration.
Besides how to garner the political will and inertia involved in making the right change happen, an important question now becomes, “What will limit organics recycling from realizing its full potential?” Besides how to garner the political will and inertia involved in making the right change happen, an important question now becomes, “What will limit organics recycling from realizing its full potential?” One answer rests within the area of “unwanted inputs.” This includes plasticized fruit (fruit packaged in plastic), plastic stickers on vegetables, and oxo-degradable bags, which consumers (and the retailers who purchase them) believe are the same as a compostable item. These kinds of plastic contaminants, along with a range of others, are increasingly showing up in organic residual feedstocks, at either composting or anaerobic digestion facilities. This has an impact on efficiency of processing of materials and on quality of final product, be it digestate or compost. While organics processing facilities have some means to remove these items, either up front prior to processing, or before product sale, the ideal is that they don’t appear in collection
recyclingproductnews.com | APRIL 2021
programs in the first place. Education and communication messages help, but voluntary action can only go so far. A number of initiatives are currently in the works in this area that have the potential to support the work and functioning of organics recycling facilities. Federally, the Government of Canada’s plan to achieve zero plastic waste by 2030 is currently reviewing next steps on their suggested proposal of end-of-2021 bans on plastic checkout bags, straws, stir sticks, six-pack rings, cutlery and foodware. The Standard Council of Canada’s compostability standard (BNQ 0017-088) as managed by the BNQ (Bureau de normalisation du Québec) is also under review, to be updated pending the 2021 release of the revised International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Compostable standard (ISO 17088). The Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) recently released a road map and action plan designed to address key barriers to acceptance of certified compostable products and packaging. The road map aims to identify regulatory inconsistency in terms of labelling and definitions, address a lack of infrastructure funding and the reality of lab-testing standards and in-field testing, and to work toward adjusting regulations where necessary. Similar to the Compost Council of Canada, support for this plan can be found amongst both organics recycling facilities and brand owners who are experienced with the process of introducing certified compostable products and packaging into the marketplace. In addition, Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks has commissioned the development of an independent testing protocol to evaluate how certified compostable products and packaging are processed in aerobic and anaerobic processing conditions. This work is now underway with a 2021 year-end target date for completion. Right now, all of the above are “dots on the map.” The action to connect the dots has yet to be fully taken. But, each day the weaknesses in the current system remain unchecked, it creates real-life problems for the organics recycling facilities where frustration due to contamination abounds. Add to this misguided initiatives underway such as Natural Resources Canada investing millions of dollars in “bioproducts” to develop “biodegradable” face masks, which they envision to be processed by organics recycling facilities, but which bear no relationship in reality to a compostable item. And the problems escalate. It is imperative that the “luxury” of time be replaced with a collective urgency to fix what is broken. When this happens, it will allow compost and organics recycling facilities to efficiently deliver their full benefits and support of a sustainable future. SUSAN ANTLER is the executive director of the Compost Council
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