JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2021 recyclingproductnews.com
RAM IRON & METAL BUILDING ON GROWTH AND READY FOR THE CHALLENGES AHEAD
THE CURRENT STATE OF GLASS RECYCLING EQUIPMENT ROUNDUP: OPTICAL SORTERS PUBLICATIONS MAIL AGREEMENT NO. 40069270
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COVER STORY: RAM IRON & METAL IS BUILDING ON GROWTH AND READY FOR THE CHALLENGES AHEAD
EQUIPMENT ROUNDUP: OPTICAL SORTERS
UNLOCKING C&D REVENUE AT ADAMO DEMOLITION
INSIDE A STRATEGIC MATERIALS GLASS RECYCLING PLANT
January/February 2021 | Volume 29, Number 1
DEPARTMENTS & SECTIONS
Ram Iron & Metal is building on growth and ready for the challenges ahead
From the Editor
Ferrous markets start 2021 in full swing
The state of glass recycling in North America
The optical sorting revolution
Unlocking C&D revenue: Adamo Demolitionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s switch from excavators to material handlers and focus on extracting metal from debris is paying dividends
Building the road map for C&D
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2021 | VOLUME 29 • NUMBER 1 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
DESIGN & PRODUCTION Morena Zanotto firstname.lastname@example.org 604-291-9900 ext. 325
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FROM THE COVER: ANDY RACCO, RAM IRON & METAL Standing in front of new production thermal break aluminum extrusion-baled material.
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PRESIDENT/PUBLISHER Ken Singer email@example.com 604-291-9900 ext. 226 VICE PRESIDENT/CONTROLLER Melvin Date Chong firstname.lastname@example.org FOUNDER Engelbert J. Baum
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FROM THE EDITOR
DON’T LOOK BACK. WELL, MAYBE A LITTLE.
ost of us are happy to see 2020 in the rear-view mirror. Overall, the waste management and recycling industry, an essential service, was not hit nearly as hard as many by the new realities of the pandemic, but it was certainly hit hard. The year saw huge impacts on collection programs, with regional cancellations especially high in the U.S., and significant operational and fiscal changes for recyclers. Domestically, waste streams have shifted significantly in makeup, while internationally the shipping industry has greatly increased rates. There were also double-digit declines for many GDPs recorded as of the year’s second quarter, and global markets from China and India to Vietnam and Turkey continue to tighten quality requirements and expand import bans, especially affecting recovered fibre and plastics. Largely due to the pandemic, 2020 was also characterized by increased volumes of single-use hard-to-recycle plastics, including PPE and other medical waste, as well as increased residential curbside volumes coupled with decreased commercial volumes overall, which equates to increased contamination levels as well as reduced profit margins for MRFs and other recyclers. This past year saw a tremendous amount of M&A activity in North America, especially starting in the third quarter, including WM’s US $4.6 billion acquisition of Advanced Disposal. Other industry leaders like GFL, Republic and Waste Connections reported similar activity. While this indicates overall industry growth, it was undoubtedly a very hard year for many rural, smaller, private recyclers and businesses. Positives to be found in 2020 include record-high recycled material commodity prices to round out the year, and continuing through January – for OCC, mixed paper, Natural HDPE, aluminum and ferrous, just to name a few. (For more on the current state of ferrous markets, which are currently booming, see our commodity report this issue from ISRI’s Chief Economist, Joe Pickard.) Another positive development through this past year was the intensified focus on the fight against global plastics pollution, including initiatives such as the introduction of the Save Our Seas 2.0 Act in December by the outgoing U.S. administration. The U.S. Plastics Pact was also introduced in 2020, a collaboration led by The Recycling Partnership, World Wildlife Fund and Ellen MacArthur Foundation. This pact aims to ensure that plastics in the U.S. never become waste by eliminating what is unnecessary; innovating to ensure that manufactured plastics are reusable, recyclable or compostable; and by increasing the recirculation of plastic-based products and items to keep them in the economy and out of the environment. A diverse group of stakeholders, including industry associations APR, ISRI, the U.S. Composting Council and SWANA, as well as many other associations, NGOs, retailers and large corporations, including Walmart and Coca-Cola, have signed on to the commitment.
recyclingproductnews.com | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2021
In Canada, the Trudeau government introduced the Strategy on Zero Plastic Waste meant to lay out a concrete vision for a circular economy for plastics. This includes a two-phase action plan that is being jointly implemented by federal, provincial and municipal governments with the overall goal to achieve zero plastic waste by 2030. The plan is ambitious, although some will say it is not nearly enough, but at least the plan is in place and some action is being taken nationwide. Key elements include a ban on harmful single-use plastic items, as well as significant investment in projects and infrastructure for plastics recycling across the country. Going forward, the New Basel Convention Rules on Plastic Waste Exports came into effect as of January 1. The amendment, focused on curbing the transboundary movement of mixed plastics, including e-waste plastics, is a positive development for decreasing global pollution. It also greatly deters continued, unregulated dumping of potentially hazardous waste, especially in developing countries where it results in severe consequences for workers and the environment. However, the Basel Convention plastics amendment has also resulted in significant market confusion. Acceptable contamination rates for shipments are as yet unclear, and the new rules have left many international buyers without a source of plastic scrap and recyclers without viable end markets. Meanwhile the U.S., which has never ratified the original Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal since it was introduced in 1989, and Canada which is a signatory, reportedly made a deal this past fall that will allow the continued export of mixed plastics from Canada to the U.S. Potentially, this will allow exporters in both countries to ship contaminated mixed plastic material to foreign shores for unregulated processing, from American soil, and by so doing violate terms of the treaty. All of this movement on the plastics recycling and pollution prevention front, at the very least, puts the conversation well ahead of where it was before the pandemic. Hopefully this focus continues through 2021 and the rest of the decade, and at the same time, recyclers and buyers can continue to adapt quickly and find ways to build and re-establish sustainable, healthy domestic and global markets for mixed plastics.
KEITH BARKER Editor firstname.lastname@example.org recyclingproductnews.com
LATEST MRF FROM MACHINEX DESIGNED TO MEET RECYCLING NEEDS IN RURAL AREAS
M STAY CURRENT www.recyclingproductnews.com CONNECT WITH US
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achinex has commissioned a new residential and commercial single-stream system at Marquette County, Michigan, specifically designed to face challenges and needs of rural area recycling. “Simply, we saw an opportunity to improve recycling not only in Marquette County, but the Upper Peninsula as a whole,” commented Brad Austin, director of operations at Marquette County Solid Waste Management Authority. “The challenges of rural area recycling needed to be addressed in a more regional frame of mind. People in Upper Michigan want to recycle, however recycling capacity and education was lacking in many parts of the region. This facility is designed to process recyclables from the entire region and the hope is that with this new infrastructure and solid education in place, participation in recycling will increase across the entire territory.” The new MRF is a highly automated system with the capacity to sort 10,000 to 15,000 tons per year, and is equipped with a back scraping drum to ensure a constant height of input material, MACH OCC screen for cardboard sorting, fines screen to separate glass, MACH ballistic to separate containers from glass and paper, a magnet to sort ferrous metals, as well as a Machinex II-Ram baler. Outside of North America, Machinex has also been very busy. The company recently announced the first SamurAI sorting robots in Europe, to be installed in 2021, with three sold to the Veolia Group for their site of Portes-lès-Valence, France. According to Machinex, the SamurAI robots will be incorporated in a new sorting system that will allow the extension of setpoints, with performance guarantees. First, a single robot will be installed on the reject line to recover recycling materials, while a double robot will be placed on a split channel conveyor to control the quality of light PET and PE/PP. Machinex was also recently selected as the preferred bidder to deliver the most advanced MRF of its kind in the U.K. The facility, operated by Sherbourne Recycling Limited, Coventry, will be able to treat up to 175,000 tonnes of mixed dry recyclables a year and is planned to be operational by 2023.
DELTA 9 AND EMTERRA ENVIRONMENTAL PARTNER TO CREATE SUSTAINABLE RECYCLING PROGRAM FOR CANNABIS INDUSTRY
elta 9 has partnered with Emterra Environmental and a number of leading Canadian cannabis producers to create a sustainable recycling program for cannabis packaging and disposable vape pens, as well as a landfill diversion program for vape cartridges that will help the Canadian cannabis industry transition to a circular economy. Customers can bring their empty cannabis containers, packaging, disposable vapes and vape cartridges to any Delta 9 retail location and deposit these materials in boxes labelled FLOWER – Recycling or VAPES – Landfill Diversion. Customers are encouraged to place their vape cartridges into plastic bags before putting them into the landfill diversion box. Vape pens can be placed in the box as is. Once the FLOWER recycling box is filled, it will be picked up and delivered to ReVital Polymers’ plastics recycling facility in Sarnia, Ontario, where post-consumer plastics are processed into engineered resin products. All of the waste in the program will be responsibly processed within Canada. There will be no shipping of waste to developing countries. First, the plastics are sorted into individual types so they can be processed. They are then washed to remove any impurities, labels or adhesives, shredded into small pieces and extruded into pellets. These pellets are used to make a range of plastic products including automotive parts, consumer products packaging and future cannabis packaging. For vape pens and cartridges, the best solution that currently exists is to ensure that the pen is recycled with other electrical and electronic equipment and that cartridges are diverted from landfill. With the new partnership, vape pens will be separated from cartridges for processing at Emterra Environmental’s electronics recycling facility. The vape pens will then be processed to recover the battery, plastic and metal. The cartridges are managed as a special waste and are sent to an energy-from-waste facility for processing.
PARAMOUNT PALLET OPENS LARGEST PALLET RECYCLING FACILITY IN CANADA
aramount Pallet, the largest full-service pallet solutions company in Canada, has moved its Toronto plant location to a new, larger space in Whitby, Ontario, to accommodate continued business growth. The new facility boasts 185,000 square feet of indoor production and warehouse space, 32-foot ceilings, and 34 dock doors, allowing for storage of large inventories of pallets in a clean and dry environment, and capability to repair and recycle more than five million pallets per year. “We’re truly excited about our new flagship facility in Whitby,” says Paramount Pallet’s President, Mark Sura. “We’re especially pleased that it is considered the largest pallet recycling facility in Canada.”
FERROUS MARKETS START 2021 IN FULL SWING Following an extremely challenging 2020 and the massive public health and global economic damage inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the recent resurgence in North American steel and ferrous scrap markets has been quite remarkable. For more on the current state of ferrous commodity markets, see our focus from ISRI’s Joe Pickard, page 22.
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2021 | recyclingproductnews.com
SHRED-TECH IS EXCLUSIVE DISTRIBUTOR FOR PRONAR SHREDDERS IN NORTH AMERICA
S LI-CYCLE EXPANSION INCLUDES LARGEST CAPACITY LITHIUM-ION BATTERY RECYCLING FACILITY IN NORTH AMERICA AND ADDS FOCUS ON ELECTRIC BUSES
i-Cycle Corp., the Ontario-based lithium-ion battery recycling specialist, recently announced that its Rochester, New York, Spoke 2 facility is fully operational, with capacity to process up to 5,000 tonnes of spent lithium-ion batteries per year. This makes the Rochester facility the largest in North America and brings the company’s total recycling capacity to 10,000 tonnes per year. Based out of Mississauga, Ontario, Li-Cycle has been named a winner of a 2021 BIG Innovation Award, presented by Business Intelligence Group, for their technology and process which recycles all types of lithium-ion batteries. The recovery rate is ≥95 percent of all battery-grade materials found in Li-ion batteries, including lithium, cobalt and nickel. Li-Cycle recently completed a battery recycling pilot with New Flyer Industries Canada ULC and New Flyer of America, subsidiaries of NFI Group, processing 45 end-of-life lithium-ion electric bus battery modules totaling 3,200 pounds. The batteries will be processed and turned into black mass (a mixture of lithium, nickel, cobalt and copper) to produce critical, battery-grade materials and other materials that can be returned to the economy. “We are thrilled to team up with New Flyer to help spearhead the closed-loop resource recovery of electric bus batteries,” said Li-Cycle CCO Kunal Phalpher. “As of 2019, approximately 425,000 of the world’s buses are electric. By recycling thousands of pounds of lithium-ion batteries, we’re serving the dual purpose of reducing hazardous waste, while recovering critical materials so they can be reintroduced into the supply chain.”
recyclingproductnews.com | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2021
hred-Tech recently announced their North American strategic dealer agreement with Pronar, the recycling machinery manufacturer based out of Narew, Poland. Shred-Tech is now the exclusive distributor for Pronar’s singleand double-shaft slow-speed primary shredders. Pronar sells over 5,500 machines annually, making them among the top selling brands in Poland with over 50 percent market share, and actively invests in the dynamic development of their recycling product lines. Shred-Tech says this has allowed them to expand their product portfolio with new models, offering innovative solutions to existing designs and ensuring the highest value per dollar. Pronar also provides a range of mobile trommel screens, mobile stackers, and high-speed single- and double-shaft shredders.
RIOS AND R2 FORM E-WASTE ALLIANCE
he Recycling Industry Operating Standard (RIOS), which is managed by the Global Recycling Standards Organization (GRSO), has formed an alliance with the R2 Certification program, developed by Sustainable Electronic Recycling International (SERI). This alliance will allow the organizations to work closely together to improve electronic waste training and education programs, streamline the certification process for companies seeking both R2 and RIOS certification, lower the overall cost of certification, and support the responsible recycling, reuse, and repair of electronics and electronic scrap. As part of the new alliance, all companies that are pursuing or are currently certified to R2 will receive membership at 50 percent of the normal rate, which includes the RIOS Implementation Guide, access to all RIOS training programs, as well as all of the other membership benefits. Additionally, GRSO and SERI will collaborate to develop QEHS management system training that is specific to those companies seeking R2 certification. The RIOS standard will also now be publicly available for free to anyone, regardless of their R2 affiliation. Finally, RIOS and R2 staff and leadership will collaborate to find ways to streamline the audit experience for companies seeking R2 and RIOS certification.
GREENTEC PARTNERSHIP TO IMPROVE CELLPHONE RECYCLING EFFORTS IN ALBERTA
ntario-based electronics recycler Greentec has partnered with the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) Recycle My Cell program and Alberta Recycling Management Authority (ARMA) to provide Albertans with additional access to safe and secure cellphone collection and recycling. A new pilot program in the province, managed by ARMA, will provide consumers with access to a depot collection system for cellphone recycling, in addition to the current return-to-retail Recycle My Cell program which has operated in Alberta since 2011.
A LONG WAY
MEDICAL WASTE MANAGEMENT SECTOR SEES MULTIBILLION-DOLLAR OPPORTUNITY FROM PANDEMIC
rost & Sullivanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s recent analysis, Growth Opportunities in the Medical Waste Management Market in North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific, Forecast to 2024, finds that the increase in hospital visits due to COVID-19, aging population and medical visits are key factors driving the medical waste management market in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific. In these regions, this expanding market is estimated to garner revenue of $5.24 billion by 2024 from $4.02 billion in 2019 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.4 percent. With the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, the market experienced a slight reduction in 2020 growth, but is anticipated to rebound from 2021 onward.
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JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2021 | recyclingproductnews.com
INTRODUCTIONS & UPDATES
MOBILE HOGMAG EDDY CURRENT SEPARATORS
The new mobile HogMag Eddy Current Separator (model THM ECS-2000) from Ecohog incorporates a 22-pole high-gauss eddy current separator (ECS) with a fully mobile crawler track chassis. It includes a vibe pan feeder, drum magnet separator and 3-fraction stockpiling discharge conveyors for maximum processing capacity and efficiency. According to Ecohog, this unit enables waste processors to easily separate and recover valuable non-ferrous metals from a range of waste types including scrap metal, SRF/RDF, C&D waste, MSW, biomass and skip waste. These machines are designed as an ideal downstream replacement for existing static eddy current separators and to work in tandem with mobile shredders, screeners and trommels. The mobile THM ECS-2000 is available in North America through Ontario-based ELV Select.
VOLVO CONSTRUCTION EQUIPMENT
Volvo CE has launched the all-new compact EW200E material handler aimed at the light waste handling segment. The larger version â&#x20AC;&#x201D; the EW240E material handler â&#x20AC;&#x201D; has also been updated with a longer boom. The EW200E material handler weighs 22.6 tons and is powered by a Volvo D6J 6-litre Tier 4 Final engine that provides 173 hp (129 kW), and has three boom and arm configurations. The straight boom can be fitted with either a 13-foot gooseneck arm or an 11foot 6-inch sorting arm, giving the EW200E a maximum reach of 33 feet and a maximum lifting capacity of 25,600 pounds. The updated 26-ton EW240E material handler now has a 23foot 9-inch straight boom, which is over two feet longer than the previous model. When combined with the existing 16-foot 5-inch gooseneck arm, the new total reach is over 39 feet.
New RF80 and the RF80R feeder stackers are the largest and most productive in this category from McCloskey International. Designed for versatility, the RF80 feeder stacker facilitates the handling and stockpiling of materials including C&D waste, compost, topsoil, aggregates, sand and gravel. All materials can be fed into the large feed hopper using wheel loaders and excavators, while variable speed prevents material from building up, allowing for more controlled flow of material. Both the RF80 and the radial RF80R stackers are designed for low-level rear feeding, making them more accessible for various loader sizes and in applications where space is constrained. The track mobility of the RF80 ensures the machine is versatile onsite, and when moving site-to-site, the RF80 can be compacted for transport on a low loader, reducing costs and logistics.
MATERIAL HANDLER LINEUP EXPANDED WITH COMPACT MODEL
recyclingproductnews.com | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2021
HIGH-PRODUCTION AND VERSATILE FEEDER STACKERS
NEW WHEEL-MOUNTED SCREENER ADDED TO RECYCLING RANGE
EDGE Innovate’s EDGE SM186 wheel-mounted screener is designed for the most difficult and demanding of applications including recycling, soils, aggregates, compost and demolition waste. With increased throughput, high efficiency and quality end products, the EDGE SM186 mobile screen incorporates a robust 18- x 6-foot (5.4- x 1.75-m) two-deck screen with interchangeable flip flow and conventional scalper bottom decks. According to EDGE Innovate, this flexibility combined with numerous screen media options and configurations allows the SM186 to process a wide range of materials and to tackle screening applications that other conventional screens cannot.
DIGITAL TOOL MADE FOR RCP BUYERS AND SELLERS
DIGITAL SYSTEM FOR RCP
The merQbiz orders and claims management solution is designed to provide a transformative digital tool for recovered paper (RCP) buyers and sellers. An industry-first and powered by the company’s BaleVision quality assessment and analytics platform, the system is designed to facilitate clear communication, both internally at the mill and externally with suppliers. merQbiz’s orders management technology is designed to extend ERP functionality with bale quality analysis and supplier performance by integrating various data inputs from purchasing, suppliers, transportation and quality to deliver insights and help drive decision making. An RCP intake team can easily upload key order and delivery information complete with release and order numbers, release date, mill location, paper grade, price per ton, delivered tons, shipping details and supplier information, as well as bale photos. JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2021 | recyclingproductnews.com
RAM IRON & METAL IS
BUILDING ON GROWTH AND READY FOR THE CHALLENGES AHEAD BY KEITH BARKER, EDITOR
ANDY RACCO AND FRANK RUFFOLO AT RAM IRON & METAL IN ONTARIO, IN FRONT OF THEIR HARRIS SHEAR-TOP FERROUS BALER AND LIEBHERR MATERIAL HANDLER WITH MAGNET GRAPPLE.
AM Iron & Metal Inc. is a family owned and operated scrap metal recycler based in Toronto (North York) with additional yards in nearby Vaughan and Welland, Ontario. Founded by Emilio Racco in a garage at their family home in 1984, the business evolved into a small scrapyard and two-truck operation in the early 1990s. When Emilio’s three sons fully committed to joining the family business in the late 1990s, the company’s growth accelerated. Paul Racco and his two brothers, Peter and Andy, had completed their University studies and joined their father’s business full time. Since then, the company has expanded to include a fleet of more than 30 trucks, three recycling centres and about 100 employees. Currently, Paul is the president, Peter is VP of Logistics, Andy is VP of Non-Ferrous and Emilio Racco continues as the patriarch. At their North York and Welland recycling facilities, RAM Iron & Metal processes both ferrous and non-ferrous materials, and is open to industry, dealers and the public. Overall, Andy Racco says they maintain a consistent balance between ferrous and non-ferrous capacity. At the nine-acre North York main recycling centre they run one of the largest shear-top ferrous balers in North America, made by Harris, along with shears and torch cutting. “The facility in Welland has received several upgrades over the past year,” explains Racco. “We’ve made significant improvements to processing capacity, customer experience and environmentally responsible infrastructure. We’ll further enhance the capabilities of the facility through the installation of a new stationary shear.” RAM Iron & Metal’s new shear, supplied by ATM Recycling Systems, is scheduled to be up and running before the summer.
It’s a very competitive market out there, so we’re always looking for opportunities to reduce logistics costs, allowing us to be more competitive. We aggressively look for ways to lean down our processing costs and explore areas to eliminate redundancy. Andy Racco VP of Non-Ferrous, Ram Iron & Metal, Inc.
At their Vaughan facility in Concord, Ontario, the focus is strictly non-ferrous, and the site only services industrial and dealer clients. At this third facility, Racco says they process non-ferrous material utilizing an experienced professional team operating heavy equipment including shears and balers. “Everything coming out of our non-ferrous facility is millready,” he says. “We have a wide range of industrial clients, including auto (Tier one and Tier two), aerospace and energy.” All of their industrial accounts are serviced by RAM Iron & Metal–owned vehicles. “We continuously elevate our service
recyclingproductnews.com | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2021
effectiveness by implementing the latest GPS advancements and route efficiency software. We are well-equipped to service our customers in the most efficient way possible.” Racco continues, “It’s a very competitive market out there, so we’re always looking for opportunities to reduce logistics costs, allowing us to be more competitive. We aggressively look for ways to [lower] our processing costs and explore areas to eliminate redundancy. It’s one of the key areas where we can differentiate ourselves and hopefully that advantage turns into additional market share.”
According to Frank Ruffolo, RAM Iron & Metal’s sales and marketing director, “We are customer-obsessed. We want to provide exceptional customer satisfaction, highlighted by the way our partnerships continue to grow, and we have attained high service level grades. Our Google rating is 4.6 stars, which is among the highest in the industry.” Both Racco and Ruffolo emphasize that RAM Iron & Metal’s success is really driven by the fact that they maintain a continuous flow of material into their facilities, which relies on their solid ongoing relationships with customers, whether it be an industrial or an institutional client, or a scrap dealer. “Our company business goals are to grow organically, and in an ethical manner,” says Racco. “We like to grow with our customers and identify opportunities that make sense. We’re not out there buying up other companies to grow our market share. We’re firming up our relationships. We’re investing in our facilities and training our personnel. We’re always on top of our equipment and increasing our safety protocols as well.” Racco explains that they maintain and grow their customer base through both education and transparency. This involves teaching their customers about the scrap metal recycling process overall. “Straight from their waste generation all the way through to the mill or foundry, if we can help improve or streamline our
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RAM IRON & METAL OPERATES THREE YARDS IN ONTARIO WHERE THEY MAINTAIN A GOOD BALANCE BETWEEN FERROUS AND NON-FERROUS CAPACITY.
customers’ process through education, we know that makes us a better partner and it provides more profits for customers. Our business is really about helping companies turn industrial recyclable material into profits.”
THE ENVIRONMENTAL PRIORITY
Over the last decade, RAM Iron & Metal has remained focused on their environmental responsibilities, by reducing harmful impact and how it’s presented to their customer base. “We’re a recycling facility,” says Ruffolo. “What that means is, it’s our responsibility to meet the needs of our industrial accounts and avoid releasing toxins into our communities.” One of RAM’s strategies for minimizing their environmental footprint is the use of the latest technology in catch basins and fluid drainage systems for processing automotive and machinery lubricants. For ELV (end-of-life vehicle) drainage, they use two SEDA systems. All oils, fluids and drippings from processed scrap vehicles are segregated and responsibly managed. According to Ruffolo, “Specifically, when we’re talking about protecting the environment, we’re hiring experts and collaborating with external environmental experts to continuously upgrade our practices and proficiency. We also work very closely with government to consistently test our environmental processes. It’s very important for us to be recognized for both our ISO Quality and ISO Environmental certifications, as it provides instant credibility to new potential partners. Moreover, it provides a sense of pride to our entire organization, as all employees have contributed.” He says this is very important not only to RAM Iron & Metal as a business, but also to their customers. “Through our ISO certifications, we were able to polish our best practices,” Racco adds. To mitigate their environmental footprint, they not only need to deal with their own facility, but educate their client base on how to reduce at the source. “The question is, how can we start decreasing the harmful fluids coming into our yard by recycling them at the source?
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COVER STORY “It’s the education of do’s and don’ts,” he continues. “Sometimes it’s as simple as reinforcing that metal containers, such as paint and aerosol cans, cannot contain liquids when they come to us. Companies need to divert those products to the proper waste management partner. By recycling their fluids on site, it can increase their profits two-fold. If they recycle and reuse expensive lubricants at the source, there will be additional payment from mills, as the final product is cleaner and not contaminated.”
SAFETY AND COMMUNITY
A key aspect of RAM Iron & Metal’s core values is their attention to higher levels of safety in their operations. “We’ve increased our safety network here by adding a full-time health and safety manager, who visits all three sites, throughout the day. In addition, RAM Iron & Metal continuously educates employees while reinforcing safety ideals to their partners and customers. “Safety always comes first.” Racco says it really comes down to having the right safety policies in place. “We do our best to reduce lost days and accidents. We’ve been fortunate to avoid any serious employee accidents up to this point.” “Right from the start, when an employee is hired, they cannot step into the workplace until they’ve passed our robust safety training. It’s an extensive protocol covering many potentially harmful situations with direction on how to act and whom to inform. There’s a reinforcement of the safety training within the first week, and then at the one- and three-month marks, and that’s just with our human resources team. Beyond this, our on-site supervisors consistently provide safety reminders during daily duties.” With respect to community involvement, according to Racco, it’s a huge pillar of their culture. “The reason why we want to be successful is so we can give back to the community. We wholeheartedly believe in that. We donate on a regular basis to the community, from sponsoring local teams to larger charities, and we support our clients with their charity and fundraising causes. “Being a family run business, we’ve always valued community and supporting others,” he continues. “Philanthropy has always been a prominent piece of our father Emilio’s vision, and he’s made sure that we carry it forward.”
ADAPTATION IS THE NAME OF THE GAME
At the beginning of the global pandemic in the spring of 2020, like everybody else, Racco says they had a lot of discussion on how to handle the situation. “At the end of the day, we the leadership team had trust in our people, and we had trust that they were going to press forward and that we were going to work together to overcome challenges. We knew that we had great teams on the ground, and they are a very dedicated, resilient team. We did have to pivot toward new opportunities. We also had to work differently. With less physical contact, we had to incorporate new digital tools.” He continues, “We increased our communication to promote more teamwork and that improved our agility. It helped us to maximize the opportunities we identified in the market. At the end of the day, we believe that it strengthened our culture and our engagement within the organization. Through everyone’s commitment and perseverance we’ve also been blessed to increase our client base, and our recycling capacity has increased. We’re very proud of these accomplishments.” The COVID-19 pandemic has taught RAM Iron & Metal to adapt quickly. “We see a road map with obstacles and hurdles that we’ll have to overcome within our business plan. Adaptation will be
recyclingproductnews.com | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2021
TOP ROW: FRANK RUFFOLO WITH PETER AND PAUL RACCO. BOTTOM ROW: EMILIO AND ANDY RACCO.
the behaviour needed to successfully navigate business for the next five years.” As for the current volatility of global export markets, Racco says it has not had a significant effect on their business as they prefer to stay domestic as much as possible. “However, we do participate in the export market to stay competitive. We feel our strength is our nimbleness to decipher the ferrous and non-ferrous categories and focus on most favourable opportunities. We follow commodity pricing trends closely and determine our strategy based on market dynamics.” Other than their Welland, Ontario, facility enhancements in 2021, Racco says going forward their main focus will be to continue to do right by their people and clients. “This will be achieved by upskilling employee competencies, which will enable them to make smart, independent decisions that will allow RAM and our business partners to thrive.” “As mentioned earlier, we are customer-obsessed, and we hope to continue to increase our customer satisfaction rating, thus increasing our client referrals. We believe that nothing is stronger than a current client referral to a potential partner.” RPN
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FERROUS MARKETS START 2021 IN FULL SWING BY JOE PICKARD
ollowing an extremely challenging 2020 and the massive public health and global economic damage inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the recent resurgence in North American steel and ferrous scrap markets has been quite remarkable. In mid-January, Fastmarkets reported their U.S. hot-rolled coil price index reached a 60-year high of $1,160 per short ton. Ferrous scrap prices have followed steel prices higher, with reported January price increases ranging anywhere from $60 to $120 per gross ton depending on individual scrap grades and regional market conditions, adding to Decemberâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s price gains. Several factors contributed to the strong start to the year including improved demand from manufacturers, diminished competition from steel imports, depleted steel and scrap inventories, and the corresponding need for restocking. As a result, ferrous scrap market participants were reporting business conditions in December and January were some of best they had seen in recent years.
However, the economic, manufacturing and commodity market rebound has started to show signs of slowing amid the spread of new COVID-19 strains and the uneven rollout of vaccinations. Scrap recyclers in particular continue to face a range of challenges including difficult labour market conditions, transportation and logistical bottlenecks, and potentially higher regulatory costs and trade restrictions. For ferrous scrap market participants, these challenges are contributing to an increasingly unpredictable outlook in the near term even as the overall forecast for 2021 remains largely positive.
STEEL PRODUCTION DOWN IN 2020, BUT RAMPING BACK UP
According to the latest figures from World Steel Association, global steel production decreased 0.9 percent in 2020 to 1.86 billion metric tons, but the trends in regional steel production diverged significantly. For instance, World Steel reports Chinese steel output increased 5.2 percent in 2020 to a record 1.053 billion tons as Chinaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s share of global crude steel production rose to 56.5 percent last year. In contrast, steel production in the United States declined 17.2 percent in 2020 to 72.7 million tons while Canadian steel production contracted 14.1 percent to 11.1 million tons. Of note, steel production in Turkey, a key importer of ferrous scrap, increased 6.0 percent in 2020 to reach 35.8 million tons. A key feature in the North American steel market last year was decreased import competition. According to preliminary estimates from the U.S. Commerce Department and American Iron and Steel Institute, total and finished U.S. steel imports in 2020 came in at 22.6 million net tons and 16.1 million net tons, down 19.1 percent and 23.4 percent, respectively, from 2019. The volatility in North American steel production, capacity utilization, and imports in 2020 was also reflected in major economic and manufacturing reports. In the United States, for example, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reports U.S. real
DEC-19 JAN-20 FEB-20 MAR-20 APR-20 MAY-20 JUN-20 JUL-20 AUG-20 SEP-20 OCT-20 NOV-20 DEC-20
Monthly U.S. Producer Price Index for Ferrous Scrap. Sources: St. Louis Fed, Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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GDP plunged 31.4 percent lower in the second quarter followed by a record 33.4 percent increase in the third quarter. The months-long shutdown in most of the developed economies in early 2020 resulted in shortages of manufactured goods and raw materials, followed by considerable pent-up demand and rising prices as global supply chains were impacted. According to IHS Markit’s latest Composite PMI report, “significant supply chain delays, raw material shortages and evidence of stockpiling at goods producers pushed input prices up [in January]. The rate of cost inflation was the fastest since April 2018, with firms raising output charges at the sharpest pace since July 2008 in an effort to partially pass on higher cost burdens to clients.” The recent recovery in pricing across the supply chain has contributed to improved profitability for some of the major North American steel producers. Nucor Corp. reports their consolidated net earnings increased to $398.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2020, up from net earnings of $193.4 million for the third quarter of 2020 and $107.8 million for the fourth quarter of 2019.
Several factors contributed to the strong start to the year including improved demand from manufacturers, diminished competition from steel imports, depleted steel and scrap inventories, and the corresponding need for restocking. Joe Pickard Chief Economist and Director of Commodities, ISRI
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RESILIENT GLOBAL FERROUS SCRAP DEMAND
For ferrous scrap recyclers, improving domestic steel mill demand in late 2020 was accompanied by relatively healthy shipments overseas. In contrast to most other major recycled commodities, demand for U.S. ferrous scrap exports edged up in 2020 thanks in large part to better trading volumes with Turkey, Mexico, and other key markets. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. International Trade Commission, U.S. ferrous scrap exports to Turkey rose to nearly 3.9 million metric tons during Jan–Nov 2020, an 11.1 percent increase as compared to the corresponding period in 2019.
2021 OUTLOOK LARGELY POSITIVE, DESPITE RISKS
U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell recently warned: “The COVID-19 pandemic is causing tremendous human and economic hardship across the United States and around the world. The pace of the recovery in economic activity and employment has moderated in recent months, with weakness concentrated in the sectors most adversely affected by the pandemic.” Yet despite continued uncertainty surrounding the COVID pandemic, most
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COMMODITY FOCUS economic forecasters are still projecting better days ahead in 2021, which should bode well for steel and ferrous scrap metal demand. The IMF projects the global economy will grow 5.5 percent in 2021, including a 6.3 percent increase in emerging and developing economies. In addition, the Fund projects global trade flows will rebound from a 9.6 percent contraction in 2020 to an 8.1 percent gain this year. Commodity prices are expected to benefit from the advances in economic growth and trade flows: “Reflecting the projected global recovery, oil prices are expected to rise in 2021 just over 20 percent from the low base for 2020. . .non-oil commodity prices are also expected to increase with those of metals, in particular, projected to accelerate strongly in 2021.”
JOE PICKARD is the Chief Economist and Director of Commodities at the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) located in Washington, D.C.
Chinese steel output increased 5.2 percent in 2020 to a record 1.053 billion tons, as China’s share of global crude steel production rose to 56.5 percent. Steel production in the United States declined 17.2 percent in 2020 to 72.7 million tons, while Canadian steel production contracted 14.1 percent to 11.1 million tons. World Steel Association
U.S. Ferrous Scrap Exports (ex- stainless and alloy steel scrap) by Major Destination (Metric tons). Source: Census Bureau/U.S. International Trade Commission.
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INSIDE A STRATEGIC MATERIALS GLASS RECYCLING FACILITY, ONE OF CLOSE TO 50 IN NORTH AMERICA. PHOTOS BY NIALL DAVID PHOTOGRAPHY
MRF TECH TALK THE STATE OF GLASS RECYCLING IN NORTH AMERICA BY KEITH BARKER, EDITOR
trategic Materials is the largest dedicated glass recycling company in North America, and one of the largest in the world. The company, based out of Texas, operates close to 50 plants total, including two glass recycling plants in Brampton and Guelph, Ontario, and another plastic and film recycling plant in Brampton, Ontario. “Comparing to other glass processors in North America, we’re by far the biggest,” says Curt Bucey, executive VP and chief commercial officer for Strategic Materials. “I think the next biggest on the blue box side of things might have three plants.” According to Bucey, there are not a lot of MRFs or other recyclers which are dedicated to recovering high volumes of used glass for resale in either Canada or the U.S. “The equipment required to do this is expensive and it’s specialized and it takes space,” he says. “Most MRFs don’t have enough volume to justify doing it. We’re a consolidator of smaller plants in some cases, building a big enough volume to justify putting in the expensive equipment that we use.”
BEHIND THE GLASS RECYCLING PROCESS
At Strategic Materials their process for recycling glass varies between different plants, depending on the type of glass coming in from MRFs or other suppliers. Three mix is a large part of their incoming volumes (single-stream coming from curbside pickup originally) which is highly variable in quality, colour and size. “Our process is largely a function of the supply we get,” explains Bucey. “Some MRFs break material down smaller, some leave it
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bigger, and there is lots of variability in the amount of shredded paper and other contamination mixed in. If there’s not a lot of ‘policing’ on what goes in the blue box, then we tend to get more contamination.” For mixed glass from single-stream collection, Strategic Materials runs it through a pre-processor. Bucey says they haven’t always had to pre-process mixed material, but as contamination in their incoming stream has become increasingly significant, they needed to cut down on the variability of their input. “The pre-processor step basically means we take a highly variable input and try to knock it down to a more controlled material. It runs through vacuums and air knives, air blowers and suction working in conjunction, and is basically the process of separating lights from heavies – largely shredded paper from ceramics.” Following the pre-processing step, they run material through robust metal sorting, screening and optical sorting by colour. He says screens are absolutely an important part of their process, at the front and middle. “We’ve used vibratory screens and trommel screens. Trommel screens tend to break the material. We try not to pick up and drop material, but rather shake it down the line with vibratory screens.” When they get plate glass, window glass, or other homogeneous material, it can skip the preprocessor. “We don’t need to go through a preprocessor when the variability of the product is not there. If it’s all clean plate or all green bottles, in some cases we don’t have to run it through optical sorting because it’s already clean. For plate glass, for example, we use very little optical sorting. It’s just crushing, screening and removing metal contaminants.”
He says where the crushing stage comes into their process also depends on the type of glass. At Strategic Materials, they use three types of crushers: hammer mills, vertical shaft crushers and roll crushers. “You don’t want a whole bottle to go through an optical sorter,” continues Bucey. “So, before we hit the optical sortation, we’re going through a crushing step to get pieces to the size the machines can look at. Some glass recyclers screen first and crush later, some crush first and screen later. It depends on the material.”
THE MARKET PRICE FOR RECOVERED GLASS
When it comes to commodity prices for resaleable cullet made from recovered glass, Bucey says it varies greatly between regions. “Every region is different and the amount of distance that the material has to travel to get to an end market is different, and we have customers that will pay more for the material if it has to travel a lot further,” explains Bucey. “Overall, the commodity pricing trend for glass has not been negative. The price point for our finished glass material has been pretty stable, and it’s probably the most stable overall of all recyclable materials. We don’t have fluctuations due to China, or the wild swings that the paper, plastic or aluminum industries have.” Bucey continues, “Glass has been relatively consistent year over year. That’s one of the strong advantages of glass is that we don’t see lots of disruptions in price. The price that we pay for material is probably equally stable but that’s hidden a little bit. “What has happened is that we’ve tied the price of glass to the
Decision-makers need to reach out further down the supply chain and understand directly from glass processors what their needs and challenges are. If they reach out to the glass container industry, or to the fibreglass industry, all of them are going to say, ‘we don't want less material, we want more.’ Curt Bucey Executive VP and Chief Commercial Officer, Strategic Materials amount of contamination on the inbound side. So, while the base price per glass may not have changed, the amount of garbage or contamination in there over the last 10 years has gone up. As the amount of contamination in inbound glass goes up, the end price goes down. At times, we hear people say, ‘glass pricing is
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TECHNOLOGY negative,’ but really it’s not the glass pricing, it’s just the amount of garbage in the glass that has gone up.” He says as far as end markets go, theirs are mostly domestic (within North America). “We do ship material offshore and there is a demand for it. There are much higher quality standards offshore, so it’s not as easy to do,” he explains. “The reality is for us, the demand in Canada and the U.S. is far larger than the amount of material we have.” He says that by far their biggest end market is the container industry, and their second largest is fibreglass. Beyond those two very large markets, other end markets, including abrasives and foam glass, are relatively small.
KNOW YOUR INBOUND Real-time measurement of inbound material can help MRFs in dealing with their respective cities, as it provides a basis from which to let the city know that they are not living up to their commitment on reducing contamination at the point of collection.
GLASS RECYCLING ADVICE FOR MRFS
According to Bucey, one of the major things many MRFs are missing is real-time measurement of their inbound material. “If a MRF is having problems with material coming in from one route or two routes, or one area of the city, they don’t really have a way of knowing. The way they commonly do it is through an audit. An audit is okay for being an indicator, but an audit won’t tell you that one particular area of the city is good on Monday and bad on Friday.” He says for those MRFs doing an audit once every six months, they are generally making an assumption that the day they are doing the audit is representative of all the other days in that period, but this is not necessarily accurate. Audits typically aren’t done, for example, at busy times of the year like after the holidays where there can be very high variability in the stream relative to other periods. “We measure every load coming in and we know in real-time where there’s a variation,” he says. “We know the difference from Supplier A and B, but we also know the variation that Supplier A has over a period of a week, month and a year.” He says real-time measurement of inbound material can help MRFs in dealing with their respective cities, as it provides a basis from which to let the city know that they are not living up to their commitment on reducing contamination at the point of collection. In cases where a MRF is operating inefficiently, Strategic Materials can go in and help by pointing out areas where they’re not being as effective as they could be. “We have MRFs around the nation that are supplying us with 7 to 10 percent garbage, and we have other MRFs that are supplying us with 30 to 50 percent garbage,” says Bucey. “In some cases, it’s pretty easy to remedy. We send a guy in and he tells them what isn’t working.” Sometimes, he says, MRFs don’t have their glass recycling system turned on at all, or they just need to change their baghouse filters, for example. “It’s the simple stuff that makes a difference, and just like with anything, there are good operators, average operators, and there are poor operators. Even a good operator can miss some things.” The price Strategic Materials pays for glass is primarily based on quality, which they measure daily. “We give every MRF we work with a matrix that says, ‘If you’re at zero percent garbage and zero percent in undersized, here’s your price. If you’re at one percent here’s your price, if you’re at 30 percent here’s your price,’ and so on. So, they have a matrix, we show them where they are and we say, ‘If you do this and do that, you'll probably go from 30 to 25 percent, or even 20 percent, and we can show them the change in price we pay for the material. “If a MRF is doing 1,000 tons per month and that change in
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TECHNOLOGY price is 10 dollars per ton (as a random number) that’s $10,000 times 12 months: $120,000. Then that piece of equipment that we’re recommending the MRF install for $70,000 now has less than a year payback.” “Quite honestly, we can do the job with our preprocessor, but what is being missed is that we’re spending money to transport mixed material from the MRFs to our plants to do something that they could be doing on site, and they could be getting a higher price for their material. Why ship garbage around? We would rather have 95 percent clean glass coming in because then our plants run better.” For Bucey, it’s simply about going into a MRF and letting them know there’s better systems out there, or letting them know the difference between a cheap fix and the resulting yield, compared to the more expensive fix, with its greater yield and shorter ROI.
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Bucey adds that even if an operator is running a single-stream MRF without glass recovery, they are still going to have glass at the very front of their line. “You’re still going to have a glass breaker and you’re still going to have a screen,” he says. “All materials are run through, and anything like coffee cups or other contamination will hit the crusher and then fall through a screen, out as residue. If you add glass processing in, in many cases all you have to do is beef up the screen a little bit, which does not cost a lot. “The only time that this doesn’t work is when the MRFs that are supposed to be at a certain amount of tons per hour try to flood their system by reducing the angle on their star screens. This allows contamination further down the system, and is just poor operation versus knowing what these systems are designed to do.”
GLASS RECYCLING ADVICE FOR CITIES
With respect to the collection of materials, cities should consider that the difference between a drop-off program and curbside collection is significant, and it does impact the glass recycling industry. “There have been some cities that have looked at eliminating curbside and going to a drop-off program,” he says. “We discourage that. I think part
and municipalities should verify their information, and not count on information from third parties. “They should reach directly out and ask to have some discussions with an established glass recycler to get a balanced explanation about what is going on in the industry, and then make the decision.” Bucey estimates that in 90 percent of incidences when a city does decide to cancel their glass recycling program, they’re making a decision based on faulty information, which may or may not have been passed around from city to city. “Decision-makers need to reach out further down the supply chain and understand directly from glass processors what their needs and challenges are. Could they use more material? If they reach out to the glass container industry, or to the fibreglass industry, all of them are going to say, ‘we don’t want less material, we want more.’” RPN
MIXED-COLOUR GLASS ENTERS AN OPTICAL UNIT FOR IDENTIFICATION AND SORTING.
of their decision is based on the economics I talked about earlier. But MRFs and cities really need to understand the economics from our perspective. “Drop-off programs are good for cities that don’t have a curbside pickup in place, or rural areas. When a city goes from curbside to drop-off, the volume goes down by up to 99 percent. It’s a huge drop-off. Could it recover over time? It grows back a little every year, but it would take forever to get back to curbside volumes. Where curbside pickup is already in existence, I support keeping it.” Bucey adds that they also hear stories about cities taking glass out of their recycling stream entirely, and in most cases, it’s done because the city decision-makers haven’t reached out and tried to really understand the big picture with respect to glass recycling. If cities decide to go this route, Bucey says “Typically, their phone starts ringing like crazy from citizens asking why they can’t recycle their glass.” In one recent survey, they found that basically in every category that was measured, glass has the highest positive rating by consumers for recycling of any material. He emphasizes that one of the messages he’s working to spread to decision-makers is that if they are thinking of altering their glass recycling program, they should reach out to a glass recycler first. Cities, counties
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THE OPTICAL SORTING REVOLUTION
TOMRA'S OPTICAL SORTER ON A CONTAINER LINE FOLLOWING AN ELLIPTICAL SCREEN.
STAYING AHEAD OF CONTAMINATION AND RAPIDLY CHANGING STREAMS AT THE MRF BY KEITH BARKER, EDITOR
ntil recently, optical sorters for the recycling industry have been used mostly in plastics and metal applications. Over the last several years, this technology, integrated with artificial intelligence, sophisticated monitoring and control systems, robotics and increasingly high-speed conveyors, is also making its way more into fibre, glass, cartons, organics, e-scrap and C&D recycling applications. All of these streams are changing fast, and continuously, and optical sorting is doing a very good job of keeping up. In fact, the growing breadth of options and the speed with which optical sorting technology is advancing is remarkable.
A LONG WAY FROM JUST PLASTICS
“Historically, if we look back 15 to 20 years ago, the main purpose of optical sorters in MRFs was for the extraction and purification of plastics,” says Jonathan Ménard, VP sales and strategic positioning at Quebec-based Machinex, the only Canadian manufacturer of optical sorters. “As of six or seven years ago, we started seeing more requests for automation on fibre streams. Now we’re in a position to quality control fibre by ejecting rigid film, metal and cardboard, OCC or we can shoot positively on the fibre (pull it out of the stream) to maximize purity.
recyclingproductnews.com | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2021
Machinex uses hyperspectral camera technology in their optical units, which is different compared to more traditional optical sensor technology (sometimes referred to as multipoint). “The hyperspectral camera sees the full spectrum, providing improved detection of new packaging, and it identifies material with very high accuracy and flexibility, resulting in enhanced recovery and purity of output,” says Ménard. In 2019, Machinex updated their MACH Hyspec optical sorting system with a new design of the ejection hood, and much improved access to the interior of their machine, so operators are afforded easy, safe access for repairs and cleaning. The machine opens up to full standing height for operator entry, features an internal guard rail system and uses a pivoting lighting system and ejection nozzle bar, facilitating cleaning, bulb changes and other maintenance. “The feedback we have received from our customers is that this improvement has reduced by about 50 percent, their cleaning and maintenance time required,” says Ménard. Going forward, there are big advances to come in the very near future for the Mach Hyspec optical sorting system. “We are working on three developments that will improve different aspects of our machine. The first is the addition of our AI technology within
the optical units, which will enhance recovery and purity rates. The second is a more user-friendly HMI interface, which will increase the adjustment flexibility of the technology for customers and lead to more autonomy in their operations. The third development is the integration of a new dashboard, consisting of a platform that will collect and exchange data within a specific piece of equipment to a full system. This data exchange platform along with the machine’s interconnectivity will allow the MRF of the future to become a reality.”
Mark Neitzey, Director of Sales at Van Dyk Recycling Solutions, a long-time North American distributor for Sweden-based recycling equipment manufacturer TOMRA, says that when we are discussing optical sorting, we would be remiss if we didn’t start by mentioning that any optical sorter (regardless of brand) is only effective if material is properly fed to it. “Developments in mechanical technology for an optical sorter have a huge impact on the future improvements of an optical sorter’s accuracy and speed,” begins Neitzey. “There have been several advancements in mechanical and air technology to improve the way material is evenly spread in a single layout on an acceleration conveyor that is feeding an optical sorter. Our Deft Air / Air booster is designed to allow an optical sorter’s feeding conveyor to operate up to two times faster while stabilizing light materials (like film and light sheet paper) on the conveyor.” Neitzey also emphasizes the importance of disk spreaders to provide an even, consistent feed of material as well as elliptical (or ballistic) separators, which are the perfect clean up and preparation device prior to optical sorting. Outside of mechanical components, he says many of the latest optical sorting systems use a combination of detection technologies for very high levels of accuracy and flexibility. Detection devices including NIR (near-infrared) spectrometers, visual cameras, laser object detection and metal sensors, by working together, can recognize virtually any and all materials in the average MRF’s incoming mixed stream. For Neitzey, one of the most impressive recent advances they have seen is Deep LAIser laser object detection. “It acts as an assistant to the NIR scanner and really allows the optical sorter to see any and all objects in the stream and make better sorting decisions,” he explains. “This includes black objects and organics. This helps make cleaner end products specifically.”
KEEPING UP WITH PACKAGING TRENDS
For Felix Hottenstein, sales director, MSS Optical Sorters, a division of California-based CP Group, the projection is that the overall accuracy and speed of conventional optical sorters will continue to improve, but only marginally, especially for the majority of standard plastic containers in MRFs (PE, PET, PP). However, he says that because optical sorters have the capability to provide a much more selective sort, they will start to replace mechanical sorting equipment, such as disc screens, more and more. “Because brand owners are continuing to push their packaging developments towards new materials, packaging types and shapes (flexible plastic packaging being among the most prominent) as well as new labels, coatings and colours (NIR-detectable black plastics are one of the hottest topics in the industry right now), MSS is continuing to improve our existing NIR, colour, shape, AI-based and metal sorting technologies to keep up with those trends,” says Hottenstein. Multiple new features on both their FiberMax (designed
The greatest advancements are realized through the optimization of the three critical parameters of system functions: to present material properly, allow for the highest level of detection, and offer the best sorting action. Parker Pruett Sales Manager, Recycling, Redwave Solutions
specifically for fibre streams) and PlasticMax optical sorters are designed to provide significant benefits to recyclers facing rapidly shifting inbound streams. “Our new patented MaxSelect sequential scanning technology provides a very high combination of scan rate, number of utilized wavelengths and UV/VIS/NIR wavelength range (400–2,500nm). “We have also integrated ClearLight technology that provides the best signal-to-noise ratio of any optical sorter in the industry, because MSS doesn’t use gratings or light beam splitters,” Hottenstein continues. “High pixel resolution provides high sorting efficiency even for small packaging such as pill bottles.”
OPTIMIZING THE SYSTEM WITH DATA CAPTURE
The latest in optical sorting based on machine learning and artificial intelligence from Austria-based manufacturer Redwave is 2i. Different types of sensors, including NIR, camera, XRF and multi-sensor systems, are linked together for high-level material and colour recognition. According to Parker Pruett, sales manager recycling at Redwave Solutions US LLC, “Our sensor fusion technology combines near-infrared sensors, RGB cameras and all-metal detectors in one machine for improved sorting results.” Another significant recent advance from Redwave, she says, is the “mate” process monitoring and control system designed to provide artificial intelligence support and optimization to all Redwave optical sorters, as well as entire recycling plants and MRF systems. “Our new mate is the first program to measure qualities and to record and evaluate information during production,” says Pruett. “The data can not only be used as a source of information and for monitoring purposes, but also to ensure optimum system and sorting operation. Communication between the sorting machines takes place in real time and cross-platform monitoring makes the flow of information easy to manage.” Redwave mate is designed to increase system availability, and optimize both sorting rates and final quality, for applications in plastics, paper, glass and metals recycling. “This not only guarantees an optimal performance of the plant, but also ensures the highest possible quality of recycled materials. In addition, service life of individual machines can be significantly extended, as both overloads and under-capacities are avoided.” JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2021 | recyclingproductnews.com
MACHINEX MACH HYSPEC OPTICAL SORTER AT THE GFL MRF IN WINNIPEG.
MAXIMUM AI CHANGING THE GAME
In 2020, NRT, part of Bulk Handling Systems (BHS), based in Oregon, launched their NRT ColorPlus with Max-AI, designed with the flexibility to change targeted material types and allow MRF operators to quickly and easily adjust to both market and material fluctuations. According to NRT, their latest vision systems with AI provide operators with valuable, real-time data on both system efficiency and on the ever-changing composition of materials in the recovery stream. With this information operators can more quickly respond to changing trends to optimize plant performance. NRT ColorPlus with Max-AI uses a high-resolution RGB line scan sensor to identify and sort recyclables by colour. When combined with Max-AI technology the system can make additional sorts that are not widely possible currently. For example, in fibre applications, according to BHS CEO Steve Miller, ColorPlus precisely targets brown OCC while Max-AI targets all OCC and boxboard of various colours. This results in higher recovery and purity of both paper and OCC, with lower product loss and decreased labour. The combination of proven colour detection and the added layer of AI ensures the ultimate removal of non-spec fibre. “From the beginning we realized MAX was a game changer, not just for robotic sorters, but really for the industry on a system-wide level,” comments BHS CEO Steve Miller. “We continue to integrate MAX into more of our equipment and intelligent system controls.
SECURITY AGAINST OBSOLESCENCE
For France-based Pellenc ST, the latest product innovation on their proven Mistral+ optical sorter line is their CNS (Central Nervous System) a new electronic and software platform designed to integrate future sensors and technologies. “In the context of rapidly changing regulations that have an impact on quality and sorting requirements, a main challenge facing our customers is that of securing their investment against obsolescence,” says Eric Westerhoff, Marketing Director at Pellenc ST. “Upgradability is the legacy of the Mistral+ and Pellenc ST has decided to take that concept to the next level by introducing the CNS.” Westerhoff says this new sorting engine further reinforces
recyclingproductnews.com | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2021
the Mistral + lineup’s upgradability, enabling recyclers to keep their system up to date at all times. “A CNS retrofit opens up new possibilities in terms of sorting. It features a new material classification software called Advanced Classification. This new technology makes it possible to separate more complex materials, such as PET bottles and trays, or better distinguish paper and cardboard.” Options available for Mistral+ optical sorters include: vision spectroscopy to sort by colour, NIR/VIS combined to sort by material and colour, an inductive sensor to recover metals, and the latest option called Profile Detection. “Profile Detection will eliminate the loss of carbon black objects or inert materials invisible in the near-infrared spectrum, and improve the purity of recovered fractions in negative sorting. In practice, this will detect black plastic films in a paper stream or sort carbon black contaminants in a PET or PE fraction.”
FLEXIBILITY AND THE POWER TO ADAPT
According to Germany-based manufacturer Sesotec, the efficiency and flexibility of their latest optical sorting system, VARISORT+ is what sets it apart. “A key advantage of the VARISORT+ system is its flexibility, allowing for the combination of up to three sensors, NIR combined with sensors for colour and shape, and for metal,” says Nikolas Wolf, Regional Sales Manager Sorting Recycling America for Sesotec. “The flexible system configuration of VARISORT+ can be adjusted according to the quality of the input material or degree of contamination.” He adds that the unit’s optional tri-shaft construction enables simultaneous sorting into three material fractions, and flexibility is further enhanced as these machines are designed to accommodate a wide range of conveyor belts. Wolf says VARISORT+ also provides low maintenance and cleaning requirements along with high-level accuracy at throughputs to eight tons per hour, and with rejection accuracy up to 99 percent, it also ensures fractions achieve the highest degree of purity, even with poor-quality input. “The latest model can also be equipped with innovative new FLASH technology for optimal colour recognition, which can efficiently detect bottles made with additives and PET, and retroactive sensor upgrades are available at any time.” RPN
Experience Matters It’s harder than ever to get clean paper. But we’ve been successfully sorting paper on the front end with optical sorters since 2005. 600 opticals installed, over 70 locations using them on paper sorting applications. Why have we been so successful? Because we know it’s not JUST about the optical. The proper application of other frontend equipment is critical to every optical’s success. We focus on the whole operation, so you make the most of your ﬁber line. It’s harder than ever to get clean paper, so you need a supplier who knows what’s going to work.
That’s why experience matters.
Van Dyk Recycling Solutions 203.967.1100 | vdrs.com | email@example.com
FOR ACCURACY, SPEED AND VERSATILITY
MSS CIRRUS FIBERMAX
The MSS CIRRUS FiberMax optical sorter is designed specifically for either the removal of cardboard from newspaper or mixed paper streams, or to positively sort out targeted paper grades. A 1,000-feet-per-minute highspeed acceleration conveyor enables proper material distribution, which results in minimal collateral damage, allows for high throughput, and uses the latest generation NIR, colour and metal detection sensors in conjunction with a patented PrecisionFlow eject hood. CIRRUS FiberMax, and PlasticMax for plastics sorting, use patented MaxSelect sequential scanning technology that provides high combination of scan rate, number of utilized wavelengths and UV/VIS/NIR wavelength range.
NRT SPYDIR WITH MAX-AI
The combination of NRT’s patented optical technology with the artificial intelligence (AI) and vision system of BHS’ Max-AI has created smarter optical sorters with new layers of advanced detection and high-speed scanning. NRT’s SpydIR with Max-AI uses near infrared light (NIR) to identify materials by type in the same way a human does. NRT SpydIR detection can quickly and reliably identify fibre, PET and a range of paper, plastics and other materials, while Max-AI, using a camera and neural network-based technology can identify, for example, if PET is a thermoform tray or if HDPE is food grade.
MACHINEX MACH HYSPEC
REDWAVE REDWAVE 2I
In 2020, TOMRA launched Autosort which combines the company’s latest optical and artificial intelligence technology in one compact unit. Autosort includes Laser Object Detection (LOD) and Deep LAIser technologies that recognize objects that aren’t seen by traditional NIR scanners. Residue objects that would typically go undetected, possibly ending up in a commodity stream, are now recognized and ejected. Autosort also incorporates TOMRA SharpEye technology with an improved light source and sharper lenses to make imaging very clear, as well as GAIN, which combines the power of AI with NIR technology to gather and store data on prescribed sorting tasks to boost accuracy.
Machinex’ MACH Hyspec optical sorter uses a highspeed, short-wave infrared (SWIR) hyperspectral detection system to sort different types of material, from plastics and fibre to cartons and wood. This technology uses colour recognition and metal detection, and the new generation includes revised maintenance and access features which result in a 50 percent reduction in cleaning and maintenance time required, with the added benefit of improving aesthetics, ergonomics and general safety for operators. Key highlights of MACH Hyspec optical sorters include 3D volumetric detection depth up to 430 mm, MACH fast detection and analysis, and a static acquisition system with no moving parts for reliability and stability.
recyclingproductnews.com | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2021
SESOTEC’s newly redesigned sorting system for recycling plastic bottles and trays, VARISORT+ is designed for high efficiency, even when working at material throughput of up to eight tons per hour. VARISORT+ detects and separates plastic types, colours and shapes, as well as metals and foreign objects, with accuracy and reliability. The VARISORT+ has been optimized for reliable system availability, quick cleaning and easy maintenance, and with a rejection accuracy of up to 99 percent it ensures that sorting fractions achieve the highest degrees of purity. VARISORT+ systems also allow for the combination of up to three sensors: near infrared, colour/shape, and metal, and it can also be equipped with innovative new FLASH technology for optimal colour recognition.
REDWAVE 2i, based on machine learning and artificial intelligence, uses Sensor Fusion technology which combines near-infrared sensors, RGB cameras and all-metal detectors in one machine for improved sorting results for a variety of recyclable materials. This machine’s adaptable and expandable design enables up to 4-channel sorting with just one machine and easy progression from a two-way to three-way system. Other key features include: real-time monitoring, easy maintenance, optimized energy consumption and 24/7 remote maintenance access. The 2i system is also now available with the “mate” control system, which provides artificially intelligent support, measuring material qualities, recording and evaluating information during production.
6 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2021 | recyclingproductnews.com
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NEW PLASTICS WASTE AMENDMENTS ARE IN EFFECT IN CANADA FIND OUT HOW YOU WILL BE IMPACTED
n January 1st, 2021, the Basel Convention’s plastics waste amendments became effective in Canada. These new rules arising from the amendments place controls on certain types of plastic waste shipped between Convention Parties. This will make global trade in plastic waste more transparent while also ensuring that its management is safer for human health and the environment. The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal is the most comprehensive global environmental treaty on hazardous and other wastes. The Convention was put in place to control the international movement of hazardous waste; including materials such as used lead acid batteries, waste pickle liquor, and used chemicals to name a few. It aims to protect human health and the environment from the potential negative impact of the generation, management, international movement and disposal of hazardous wastes and other waste (for example waste collected from households and nonhazardous plastic waste). The Convention has been in effect since 1992, and the Government of Canada is an original signatory. The plastic waste amendments put in place controls on the international movement of plastic wastes that have limited recycling options or are more difficult to recycle; including dirty or contaminated plastics (for example: residues remaining in containers, or presence of other wastes collected from households), halogenated plastics, as well as plastic waste consisting of more than one polymer. For a list of plastic wastes subject to the amendments, please visit the Basel Convention’s Plastics Amendments question and answer page. It is important for Canadian exporters, and those shipping out of Canadian ports to note that many types of plastic wastes require a permit for export to countries that are a Party to the Basel Convention. These new amendments do not affect shipments between Canada and the United States, as the new requirements do not apply to plastic waste, or household waste trade between the two nations. However, this is only the case if the final destination of the shipment is either Canada or the United States. These changes will likely have impacts on everyone involved in the supply chain, including on collectors or processors who may have to adjust how materials are collected, sorted, and processed to find markets. Canada implements the Basel Convention’s plastic waste amendments through the Export and Import of Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Recyclable Materials Regulations (the Regulations). Under the Regulations, controls have been in place for years for exports of plastic waste to specific countries.
While the Basel Convention’s plastic waste amendments introduce new controls on plastic waste exports to much of the world, many of Canada’s existing export markets already have stringent import restrictions in place. In some countries, for example China, India, Malaysia and Vietnam, all plastic wastes are prohibited for import if they do not meet specific requirements. Canada requires permits for exports of plastic waste to those countries that control certain wastes under domestic Regulations. These provisions will continue to apply and evolve as additional countries implement further rules and prohibitions. If you export plastic waste for recycling or final disposal, or if you are an exporter of other scrap materials, including plastic, paper, or e-waste, you may be subject to Canada’s Regulations, and a valid export or transit permit may be required. Even if the plastic waste you plan to export is not commonly considered hazardous in Canada, the regulations may still apply. To determine whether plastic or other waste/ recyclable shipments require a permit from Canada for export or transit, exporters are advised to consult sections 1.1 and 2.1 of the Regulations, review the Basel Convention plastic waste definitions, and understand the rules for the country of destination. In addition, exporters are advised to ensure that proposed buyers or recyclers hold valid import permits for the country of destination, and are authorised to manage the specific types of wastes/recyclables. A permit to export from, or transit wastes through Canada, can be applied for online via the Canadian Notice and Movement Tracking System (CNMTS). Once you have received the permit, you can go online to generate, print, and submit movement documents through the CNMTS portal. This portal can also be used for movement documents used for interprovincial movements of hazardous wastes or hazardous recyclable materials within Canada. Utilizing the CNMTS will flag errors and missing data, identify areas of potential non-compliance, and is consistent with the Transport of Dangerous Goods (TDG) shipping document. Environment & Climate Change Canada intends to make the use of electronic movement documents mandatory in the fourth quarter of 2021. For more information, visit Environment & Climate Change Canada online at www.canada.ca/hazardouswaste or send your questions to ec.notification.ec@ canada.ca.
UNLOCKING C&D REVENUE ADAMO DEMOLITION’S SWITCH FROM EXCAVATORS TO MATERIAL HANDLERS AND FOCUS ON EXTRACTING METAL FROM DEBRIS IS PAYING DIVIDENDS
ichard Adamo and his team still feel a little irked that they did not bring purpose-built material handlers into their demolition business sooner than they did. Adamo is the third-generation president of the Detroit-based Adamo Group, which has been active in the demolition industry, in both the United States and Canada, for over 50 years. Adamo still shakes his head ruefully at the days before he began building his fleet of material handlers to extract scrap metal from demolition debris. With new material handlers from SENNEBOGEN, he says he has created a valuable new revenue stream, increased loading and logistics efficiency, and has even improved relations with landfill operators.
Like most demolition contractors, Adamo was accustomed to using specially equipped long-reach excavators to tear down structures and then machines with a grapple followed up to pick through and load debris for disposal. In 2004 the firm first experimented with attaching a magnet to an excavator to pull out rebar and other ferrous scrap from piles of rubble. “We were floored by the amount of scrap we were recovering,” Adamo recalls. At the time, he had a team working on an automotive factory project, with a large volume of metal in the structures. There was no doubt that metal recovery would add significantly in revenue to Adamo’s bottom line. “All this material we’ve been sending to the landfill, picked as clean as you can get it. How could we have missed this for so long?” A short time later, Adamo took advantage of an opportunity to acquire a used material handler and decided to “give it a shot at maging their site.” (Maging is an industry term for the practice of running a magnet through mixed debris to pick out metal.) Maintaining that machine proved to be problematic; however, it demonstrated the advantages of replacing excavators with purpose-built material handlers. It was now just a question of finding the right material handler for their application. This is when Michigan-based Alta Equipment connected Adamo with its SENNEBOGEN lineup of purpose-built material handlers. Adamo had two priorities in mind when he first saw the 821: mobility and dealer support. With projects scattered across the continent, the ability to transport equipment efficiently is a key point in planning. Larger sites also call for machines that travel quickly between work zones under their own power. Additionally, as with any major project, reliability through long operating shifts is essential to meet deadlines.
recyclingproductnews.com | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2021
“SENNEBOGEN made a great decision when they partnered up with Alta,” says Adamo. “The dealer support is through the roof. We have had no issues with downtime or parts availability. We rely on factory-certified technicians for all our equipment service. Alta works well with our dealers in other regions to give us a strong support network. We used to have our own certified mechanics on our staff but they could only take it so far before they had to call the dealer. Now Alta supplies the techs as we need them through an on-site labour agreement.”
MOBILITY, PRODUCTIVITY, RELIABILITY AND EXPANSION
Adamo purchased an 825 M soon after seeing his first 821, then larger 830 M models were added for new projects. “I’m pretty critical of equipment,” he says. “Our excavators were challenging at times to move. The 825 is night and day better.” He adds that each of these models, up to the 830, can simply drive themselves on and off a lowboy to transport with greater ease. Recently, Adamo was recognized by the National Demolition Association (NDA) for its work in Detroit to clear the city’s blight of abandoned homes. At the peak of the program, Adamo took down over 1,400 homes in less than three months. Adamo describes that program as a unique project. “Each house is a job. It calls for significant resources for continual management. We had to move quickly and we able to get it done with no complaints from the neighbours.” “The effortless way the wheeled material handler works running on solid tires are certainly less troublesome than tracks to maintain,” continues Adamo. “We leave the magnet on it rather than using an orange-peel grapple. This way, we avoid contam-
VALUABLE METAL, FORMERLY UNREALIZED REVENUE FOR ADAMO DEMOLITION, IS NOW BEING RECOVERED.
inating the various types of ferrous scrap in each load. Our biggest maintenance items, in fact, are the magnets. The way we use them to sweep through piles means the ‘whips’ get frayed and need repairs. But there have been no major issues with our SENNEBOGENs, just routine preventive maintenance at the regular intervals.” Adamo’s fleet was expanded recently to include even larger material handlers. A SENNEBOGEN 840 M was acquired for a power plant project in Ohio, where barge loading operations required a heavier machine with longer reach. The laydown area is located near the barge facility, a considerable distance from the demolished structures on the site. Using a 67-inch lifting magnet, the 840 loads off-road trucks with the recovered material, which delivers the scrap to the laydown area. Once enough material is accumulated, the 840 is driven to the river to fill the barge. When it’s not loading trucks or barges, their new 840 continues maging out debris piles. According to Adamo, thanks to the unit’s elevating Maxcab, his operators also appreciate the visibility they get, looking into the barges. Their maging application gets unexpected kudos from landfill operators. As Adamo explains, the concrete material from their projects is commonly used as “hard fill” to cover the service roads in landfill sites. However, scrap metals mixed into the waste frequently takes a toll in flat tires for trucks on those roadways. Since Adamo began cleaning metals from the debris it ships out, complaints about flats have gone down appreciably. “Our biggest accomplishment, really, is segregating the metal to recycle,” says Adamo. “We were among the first to use the magnets for sweeping and cleaning the piles. We are now getting paid for material that otherwise would have been a cost for tipping fees at the dump.”
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LAST WORD BUILDING THE ROAD MAP FOR C&D BY WILLIAM TURLEY
he year 2020 was of course a difficult period for C&D recyclers (and most everyone else) with the coronavirus causing the slowdown or even shutdown of construction sites throughout North America. This meant C&D recycling facilities ended up with a reduced infeed of material to process. This was obviously quite concerning to C&D recyclers. The Construction & Demolition Recycling Association (CDRA) organized a regular, recurring Zoom call with more than a dozen recyclers across the U.S. and Canada to discuss workarounds and solutions to effects of the pandemic on our the industry. These calls were summarized and shared, and from that the CDRA developed guidelines for its members to use to open their plants (more on that below).
The retail and commercial building sector, which can generate a lot of C&D material, is pulling back in many parts of the U.S. and Canada. Eventually, in 2020, incoming volumes picked back up because construction activity was allowed to resume. Reportedly C&D facilities are currently receiving debris at levels around 70 to 80 percent compared to pre-Covid, and some are doing even better. But this may be a temporary situation. Several CDRA members have reported that the return uptick of incoming material volumes was due to ongoing construction projects starting back up again – a good thing. However, in many but not all regions it was noted that once those projects were completed, there weren’t a lot of new projects starting up. Developers were taking a break to see how the economy would recover, and how that would affect building usage. This future slowdown view is backed up by the AIA Billing Index (ABI), which tracks architectural billings for non-residential construction. This is a reliable 9- to 12-month indicator for future construction activity because an architect is needed to design the structure first. In 2020, not unexpectedly, the monthly index was negative, and the last available ABI report in November 2020 was even more gloomy, retreating further from the October report.
recyclingproductnews.com | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2021
Fortunately, residential construction is going gangbusters because mortgage money is priced low, and many are looking to either get a new house for the new normal of working from home, or to improve their current abode. Construction waste from that sector is still being generated in many parts of North America, and the National Association of Home Builders is optimistic in its forecast that this will continue. However, the retail and commercial building sector, which can generate a lot of C&D material, is pulling back in many parts of the U.S. and Canada. In addition, commercial office construction has slowed significantly as more companies are finding out that it is cheaper to let employees work from home. When the pandemic started and recycling plants began to shut down, no one knew what the proper way to operate would be in order to follow U.S. CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines or provincial mandates in Canada. It became necessary to figure out how to maintain social distancing, not only on picking lines, but for break rooms and everywhere else. Hence, the way in which recycling facilities are run overall has undergone a transformation since a year ago. Everything is nearly all paperless, such as when a truck rolls into the plant and gets weighed, and then weighed again after either picking up or dropping off a load. Paper is used a lot less to record those transactions and to pay for them. Truck drivers now get out of their trucks as little possible. Steps like these and others were documented by the CDRA early on in the pandemic, and made available to its members. There were pages and pages of suggestions, guidelines and tips to move forward. And like the rest of society, C&D recycling operators have learned to adapt and deal with the restrictions the coronavirus has put on us all. Yet it remains that C&D recycling, like all solid waste, is heavily regulated – though virtually all governmental bodies support the goal of more recycling. To help them achieve that, the CDRA has put out a Recycling Roadmap which provides state and provincial, and other local governments, with guidelines, suggestions and case studies to increase recycling. This is available to all CDRA members and governmental bodies in Canada and the U.S. Still, even with solid guidelines like these, C&D recycling will be a challenging sector to navigate in 2021.
WILLIAM TURLEY is Executive Director of the C&D Recycling Association.
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