Recycling Product News July/August 2021, Volume 29, Number 5

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JULY/AUGUST 2021 recyclingproductnews.com

A QUANTUM LEAP FOR E-WASTE

QUANTUM LIFECYCLE PARTNERS IS TAKING ITAD AND E-WASTE RECYCLING TO THE NEXT LEVEL

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COVER STORY A QUANTUM LEAP FOR E-WASTE

30

THE LATEST ROBOTIC SORTERS ARE CAPABLE OF UP TO 70 PICKS PER MINUTE

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SCRAP UNIVERSITY IS ON A MISSION TO EMPOWER THE INDUSTRY

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ANAEROBIC DIGESTION IS A SOLUTION TO HELP FIGHT CLIMATE CHANGE


July/August 2021 | Volume 29, Number 5

FEATURES

DEPARTMENTS & SECTIONS

16

8

From the Editor

10

News Room

A quantum leap for e-waste

24

A truly closed loop for plastics packaging

30

Equipment roundup: robotic sorters

36

Scrap University is on a mission to empower the metal recycling industry through education

42

Disco Road facility demonstrates the benefits of anaerobic digestion

46

The case for a sustainable wood waste recycling industry across Canada

14 Spotlight 24

Plastics Recycling

30

Equipment Roundup

36

Metals Recycling

42

Organics Recycling

49 Safety 50

Last Word

54

Advertiser Index


JULY/AUGUST 2021 | VOLUME 29 • NUMBER 5 EDITOR Keith Barker kbarker@baumpub.com 604-291-9900 ext. 305 EDITOR IN CHIEF Kaitlyn Till ktill@baumpub.com 604-291-9900 ext. 330

ADVERTISING PRODUCTION MANAGER Tina Anderson production@baumpub.com 604-291-9900 ext. 222 DESIGN & PRODUCTION Morena Zanotto morena@baumpub.com 604-291-9900 ext. 325

DIGITAL EDITOR Slone Fox sfox@baumpub.com 604-291-9900 ext. 335 ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER/ VICE PRESIDENT OF SALES Sam Esmaili sam@baumpub.com 604-291-9900 ext. 110

PRESIDENT/PUBLISHER Ken Singer ksinger@baumpub.com 604-291-9900 ext. 226 VICE PRESIDENT/CONTROLLER Melvin Date Chong mdatechong@baumpub.com

FOUNDER Engelbert J. Baum

Published by: Baum Publications Ltd.

FROM THE COVER: GARY DIAMOND AT HIS ITAD FACILITY, BRAMPTON, ONTARIO Behind the scenes with the owner and founder of Quantum Lifecycle Partners, Canada’s largest ITAD

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and e-waste recycling company.

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One year subscription rates for others: Canada $33.50 + 1.68 GST = $35.18; U.S.A. $40; other countries $63.50. Single copies $6.00 + 0.30 GST = $6.30; outside Canada $7.00. All prices are in ­Canadian funds. Recycling Product News accepts no responsibility or liability for reported claims made by manufacturers and/or distributors for products or services; the views and opinions ­expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of Baum Publications Ltd. We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada. Copyright 2021 Baum Publications Ltd. No portion of this publication may be reproduced without permission of the publishers. Printed in Canada, on recycled paper, by Mitchell Press Ltd. ISSN 1715-7013. PUBLICATIONS MAIL AGREEMENT NO. 40069270.

WE’D LIKE TO HEAR FROM YOU Do you have a story, equipment or technology innovation, commentary or news that our readers in the recycling industry should know about? Drop us a line any time. Contact: Editor Keith Barker at kbarker@baumpub.com or 604-291-9900 ext. 305

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FROM THE EDITOR

AUTOMATION IS THE ANSWER TO MAKING COLLECTION SAFER

D

ecreasing injuries and fatalities by improving safety culture has long been one of the significant challenges facing the recycling and waste management industry. Currently, our safety record in North America indicates that our industry is holding steady as one of the most dangerous occupations, at number six. According to Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) statistics, 52 municipal solid waste industry workers were killed in 2020 in the United States and Canada, with nearly 70 percent occurring during collection operations – a number relatively unchanged from 2019 and the years preceding it. Since 2018, a total of at least 173 solid waste industry workers have been killed while on the job in the U.S. and Canada. On a positive note, another recent report from SWANA indicates a 50 percent drop in on-the-job industry fatalities for the first half of 2021, through June 25, compared to the previous three years. Still, this is hardly reassuring for the long term based on our overall track record. Seatbelts are absolutely mandatory everywhere, and almost all cars now have safety airbags. We certainly don’t allow our children to ride in the back of a pickup truck like they did when I was young – but collection workers are still required to ride on the outside of a moving vehicle, in traffic, at busy yards and in hazardous, confined areas to do their job. It seems ridiculous that this practice is still allowed. We know it results in death and serious injury every year and is the single most dangerous aspect of our industry by far. Not to mention the toll this job has on a worker’s body, including repeated jumping onto and off a moving truck and making hundreds of inconsistently weighted lifts per day. The discussion is ongoing on how to improve the safety culture of our industry, and there are many resources to guide and aid the development of sustainable, effective safety programs. We know there needs to be a significant behavioural shift, a building of sustainable safety culture and buy-in from everyone to make it work. But nothing is truly changing. Next year, if our track record over the last decade is any indication, we will have a similar amount of fatalities and injuries as we did this year.

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Collection workers are still required to ride on the outside of a moving vehicle, in traffic, at busy yards and in hazardous, confined areas to do their job. It seems ridiculous that this practice is still allowed. This just is not good enough, especially when there are alternatives. Technology, artificial intelligence and automation is the simple answer. Using automated arms for cart pickup everywhere will require great investment, changed regulations and a significant shift for our industry. But the fact is that anywhere this kind of technology is implemented, the deaths and injuries of “helpers” will cease entirely.

KEITH BARKER Editor kbarker@baumpub.com recyclingproductnews.com



NEWS ROOM

NEW MSW AND ORGANICS RECYCLING FACILITY IN SANTA BARBARA TO BOOST DIVERSION RATE BY 60 PERCENT

STAY CURRENT www.recyclingproductnews.com CONNECT WITH US

@RecyclingPN

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The Tajiguas landfill in Santa Barbara, California, recently held the grand opening of its new recycling and waste management facility. The new ReSource Center will allow the county to truck in and process its own municipal and organic waste, turning it into recyclables and renewable energy, rather than to landfill. The new ReSource Center brings in 600 to 700 tons of waste per day, including around 150 to 180 tons of recyclables, and is expected to boost the county’s diversion rate by 60 percent, to a total rate of 85 percent. The facility’s new MRF equipment and recycling technology was supplied by Van Dyk Recycling Solutions and includes size reducers for liberating bags, 3D trommels, anti-wrapping screens, air density separators, elliptical separators, 11 optical sorters to identify recyclables by composition, and a high-capacity baler from Bollegraaf Recycling Solutions. In addition to recyclables, the ReSource Center is also recovering organic material such as food scraps and other wet, heavy material which makes up around 40 to 45 percent of the county’s total waste generated. Once recovered, this waste is transferred up to the anaerobic digester on site, where it is dumped into heated tunnels and sealed airtight. It is then pumped with a mixture of 97 percent water and 3 percent cattle manure to start the digestion process. The natural bacteria in the manure breaks down the organic waste to produce methane gas. The methane gas is then harnessed to create renewable electricity that is sold back to Southern California’s primary electricity supply company. The electricity produced is enough to power the Resource Center itself, as well as about 1,000 to 1,200 homes.


CPP’S GOLDEN DESIGN RULES FOR PLASTIC PACKAGING SUPPORTED BY CANADIAN RETAILERS Twenty-one Canadian retail and consumer packaged goods companies are taking leadership by supporting the Golden Design Rules for Plastic Packaging recently released by the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) Coalition of Action on Plastic Waste. The consultation and implementation of the Golden Design Rules nationally is being led by the Canada Plastics Pact (CPP). According to the CPP, its nine Golden Design Rules provide a clear framework to drive innovation and scalable actions that will result in less plastic packaging overall, and plastic packaging that is easier to recycle, by 2025. The Golden Design Rules are voluntary, independent and time-bound commitments that outline specific design changes, aligned with globally recognized technical guidelines. Companies are each independently choosing to commit to individual rules based on which are most relevant to their packaging portfolios. The objectives of the Golden Design Rules are to eliminate unnecessary or challenging-to-recycle packaging, increase the recycling value for both packaging that is currently recycled at scale as well as packaging types that will be recycled at scale in the future, improve environmental performance of business-to-business packaging and improve consumer communications. The new rules include reducing the use of plastic overwraps like those used in multipacks, eliminating air space in flexible plastic packaging like snack bags and improving recyclability by using single-material plastics. The Canada Plastics Pact is engaging companies, experts and stakeholders across the plastics value chain to develop a set of voluntary guidelines that are aligned with the Golden Design Rules globally and tailored to Canada. In addition, the CPP and its partners will collaboratively develop a framework for companies to independently determine whether to commit to the Golden Design Rules, provide guidance, support, learning materials and programming for implementing them, and create reporting mechanisms to track progress.

EQT ACQUIRES COVANTA FOR $5.3 BILLION Covanta Holding Corporation has entered into a definitive agreement with EQT Infrastructure whereby EQT will acquire all shares of Covanta common stock for US$5.3 billion. Covanta will maintain its corporate headquarters in Morristown, New Jersey, and its management team is expected to remain in place. Annually, Covanta’s 40-plus facilities process approximately 21 million tons of waste from municipalities and businesses and convert it into renewable electricity to power over one million homes. Following the completion of the acquisition, EQT will work with Covanta’s management team to build its portfolio of assets to provide essential waste services to municipalities and commercial customers, as well as explore growth opportunities.

SCRAP UNIVERSITY CERTIFICATION TEACHES STUDENTS HOW TO ID AND UPGRADE METALS Kate Fraser and Brad Rudover founded Scrap University to empower the scrap metal recycling industry through education. This certificate program is an online, video-based training “boot camp” where individuals learn first about the basics of the scrap industry, scrapyard operation and terminology, and then how to identify and upgrade all types of scrap metals quickly and easily. For more on this story, turn to page 36.

JULY/AUGUST 2021 | recyclingproductnews.com

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NEWS ROOM

GFL FORMS RESOURCE RECOVERY ALLIANCE IN RESPONSE TO NEW EPR REGULATIONS IN ONTARIO GFL Environmental has formed the Resource Recovery Alliance (RRA), a producer responsibility organization, in response to the Ontario Government’s new extended producer responsibility (EPR) regulation requiring product and packaging producers to operate and finance the province’s residential curbside Blue Box collection program. GFL also entered into an agreement to acquire the Canadian Stewardship Services Alliance (CSSA), expected to close in the third quarter of 2021. Through the creation of the RRA, combined with the data and compliance assets of the CSSA, GFL says producers will have a partner that can leverage economies of scale, help keep them compliant and help meet their responsibilities under the consolidated Blue Box Program.

NEW STORMFISHER FACILITY PROVIDES SUSTAINABLE FOOD WASTE RECYCLING SOLUTIONS FOR ONTARIO

RECYCLING COUNCIL OF ALBERTA LAUNCHES PROVINCE’S FIRST COMPOSTING GUIDE FOR FARMERS The Recycling Council of Alberta (RCA) has released An Introductory Guide to On-Farm Composting for farmers, ranchers and landowners interested in learning more about the opportunities they have to build processing capacity for organics generated by municipalities and businesses. The project aims to connect urban and rural communities and reduce greenhouse gas emissions created by organic waste while building soil health. The guide also establishes basic information about setting up an on-farm composting operation, including the regulations to follow, and processes for managing organics. By applying compost, farmers can reduce the use of synthetic fertilizers, increase crop yields and improve overall soil quality.

StormFisher has expanded its operations with the addition of a $20 million resource recovery facility in Drumbo, Ontario, that will provide food waste recycling services to handle packaged organics and divert waste from landfills. According to the company, recent regulatory changes by the Ontario Government are supporting the growth of food waste recycling by easing the process of developing on-farm biogas systems. StormFisher’s facility will enable more municipalities, restaurants, grocery stores and food manufacturers to achieve their environmental goals by reducing food waste while simultaneously producing renewable energy and organic fertilizer. The facility will have the capacity to process over 100,000 tonnes of food waste per year.

MORE NEWS www.recyclingproductnews.com

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INDONESIA TO ESTABLISH 2 PERCENT MATERIALS CONTAMINATION THRESHOLD Following two years of advocating on behalf of the recycling industry with the Indonesian Government, the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) recently applauded the Ministry of Trade in Indonesia on their affirmation that pre-export inspected recycled commodities, specifically metals and paper, will be allowed to be imported into Indonesia with an up to 2 percent impurities threshold. In 2019, the Indonesian government stated that their impurities threshold would be 2 percent at the outset and transition to 0.5 percent in two years. ISRI and its members participated in a variety of advocacy efforts to solidify the continuance of the less restrictive regulation, which is expected to go into effect in September.


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SPOTLIGHT

SPOTLIGHT

INTRODUCTIONS & UPDATES

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NEW CRUSHERS FEATURE HIGHPERFORMANCE SCREENING

SBM has introduced three tracked models to its JAWMAX and REMAX lines of crushers, targeting the 40-ton mobile range. Ideal for applications processing materials ranging from concrete rubble to hard natural stone, these new 450 model crushing plants feature options to run as diesel-electric or fully electric. Both new 450 models feature a high-performance pre-screening unit that effectively separates contaminated or valuable material, which helps in reducing crusher wear while improving results in terms of quality and output, increasing previous model hourly capacity by about 50 tph. These plants are also designed for ease of transport, can be loaded and unloaded easily, are operational in just over five minutes and use multi-functional remote and intelligent controls.

CP Group

NON-WRAPPING, SELF-CLEANING OCC AUGER SCREEN DESIGNED FOR MRFS

CP Group’s new OCC Auger Screen is a patented machine to separate old corrugated cardboard (OCC) in MRFs. It separates mid- to large-sized material using a series of steel cantilevered tri-lobe augers to create a clean OCC fraction. According to CP, the OCC Auger Screen eliminates the need for presorting and can go directly after the infeed conveyor, providing the same benefit as a disc screen to separate material without wrapping. Units also feature self-cleaning shafts and a rotating screw that allows wrapping material to come off the opposite end. An additional benefit is that when placed in front of a traditional presort, material, including small hazardous items such as sharps, are screened out before any employees touch it.

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Cable hoist

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EXPANDED LINE OF DEMOUNTABLE PRODUCTS INCLUDES NEW CABLE HOIST

Stellar has released the SI-30/40 cable hoist, the newest addition to the manufacturer’s line of demountable products. The company says it has made numerous improvements to the standard cable hoist including hydraulic gear pumps, zinc-plated pins, improved cable routing and decreased shipping weight to increase payload. The SI-30/40 can handle containers ranging from 18 to 22 feet and has a lifting capacity of either 30,000 pounds or 40,000 pounds, based on either a single-axle or tandem-axle chassis. When mounted to a single rear-axle chassis the SI-30/40 becomes an ideal option for waste collection and other tasks for municipalities, offering excellent maneuverability in tight spaces. Other key features include counterbalance valves to prevent cylinder movement in case of pressure loss, an enclosed reeving cylinder which decreases the exposure to damaging debris, a dump cylinder mounted above and outside of frame rails for easier access and stability when dumping, and bronze bushings in the rollers and sheave for reduced friction during operation.


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Caterpillar’s new generation of primary and secondary pulverizers are engineered to deliver up to 52 percent faster cycle times, producing more tons per litre of fuel burned. The new line includes three new rotatable primary models – P318, P324 and P332 – which feature bi-directional 360-degree rotation, and three new fixed secondary models – P218, P224 and P232. Both pulverizer series are designed to fit 18- to 50-tonne machines and are ideal for demolishing and reducing concrete and other demolition materials with wide jaw openings that increase efficiency at any angle. The new design is built around the same SpeedBooster technology found in Cat multi-processors, which quickly closes the jaw when there is no load. When the jaw comes into contact with material, the SpeedBooster hydraulic valve automatically switches to power mode for maximum power, quickly shattering concrete. Other key features include: bolt-on wear components, protected hydraulic components and integrated asset tracking.

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JULY/AUGUST 2021 | recyclingproductnews.com

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COVER STORY

A QUANTUM LEAP

FOR E-WASTE BY KEITH BARKER, EDITOR


P

Gary Diamond, founder and President of Quantum Lifecycle Partners – Canada’s largest e-waste recycling company.


COVER STORY

T

here continue to be significant opportunities in the recovery of used electronics, on two fronts. Efficient e-waste recycling recovers valuable precious metals, non-ferrous, ferrous and plastics, for which demand is consistently strong. On the reuse side of the business, individuals and businesses continue to need more refurbished computers and laptops, especially since the start of the global pandemic, and the accompanying trend toward working from home and home schooling. Gary Diamond, originally from South Africa, recognized the opportunity in used electronics in 2010 when he founded Shift Recycling. In its early days, the company began as a partnership with Toronto scrap recycler Combined Metal Industries (CMI) which was looking to enter the e-waste recycling space, and grew to be one of the largest electronics recycling companies in Ontario. “I thought it was a great opportunity and an interesting space to get involved,” says Diamond. “We also then got into reuse and refurbishment of used electronics through a subsidiary company called Revolution Recycling. In 2019 we merged the operations of Shift and Revolution with GEEP Canada and, along with shareholders and partners CMI and the Giampaolo Group Inc., two of the largest scrap recyclers in Canada, we formed Quantum Lifecycle Partners LP.”

and ITAD sides equal each other out.” Diamond says the global pandemic has made the business, at times, unpredictable. Overall though, they have seen improved margins over the last year or two along with increased demand for refurbished electronics due to the demand from the increased number of people working and schooling remotely. On the e-waste recycling side of the business, which depends on volatile commodity markets, he says through most of the last year or so, gold, copper and ferrous have all been consistently strong overall. “The main commodity drivers of electronics are gold and copper,” he says. “Anything with a circuit board has precious metals in it.” He adds that particularly in LCD screens and rechargeable batteries there are also significant amounts of cobalt and lithium.

INTEGRATING GLOBAL OPERATIONS

Quantum has eight facilities in Canada: Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Brampton, Toronto, Barrie, Ottawa and Montreal, as well as a recently acquired former GEEP e-waste recycling facility in Costa Rica, making it the largest e-waste recycler in Canada, and one of the largest in North America, especially if including their ITAD business and recycling together. “We’re paring down on complicated processing throughout locations and centralizing it in Toronto, mostly due to the amount of volume available and our current capital infrastructure,” explains Diamond, who adds that they have made significant advancements with their shredding line at the Toronto facility where, this past spring, $2 milThe material we should be focusing lion was invested into the line. on is what actually still goes to “The GEEP processing technology was outdated,” he continues. “We shut down the use of that landfill. The government needs to technology in Edmonton and Barrie at GEEP’s regulate small-stream products, facilities, and are now sending product from there to Toronto for processing. It more than such as small domestic appliances. makes up for the logistics costs because of the Keeping that material out of landfill way we process it and maximize value through separation.” is our biggest opportunity. It is only In early 2021, GEEP’s e-waste recycling site there because of its low value. in Costa Rica was also integrated into Quantum Lifecycle. “This was really an opportunistic purchase, Gary Diamond, because it was part of the GEEP family. It was CEO and founder, Quantum Lifecycle Partners an orphaned operation, unsold mostly due to COVID, and it was just sitting there.” He says they were at a point where they had things nicely under control in Canada, and because having a facility in Central America was attractive to some of their OEM and corporate customers who may need He says there are really two sides to their business. service there, it was an easy decision. “On the end-of-life e-waste recycling side, we get supply “It’s very early days, but the nature of the material . . . in mostly from municipalities and OEMs, scrap, waste and teleCosta Rica is much older than in North America,” he says. communications companies,” he explains. “The other side is “They ‘sweat’ the asset much more and labour is much cheaper, ITAD (IT asset disposition), the reuse and refurbishment side of so we’re doing more things manually, versus through automaour business. Our customer base here includes large corporate tion as in North America. And, because they sweat the asset so and enterprise accounts to small to medium businesses. The much more, there is less reuse potential.” whole goal is to reuse and refurbish as much as possible.” He notes also that while the ITAD business is quite simiHe adds that overall the margins are better if you can reuse lar across North America, and globally, the recycling sector or refurbish something, rather than rip it apart and shred it for changes everywhere you go. “It is different between different recycling, but says the recycling side is much bigger in terms jurisdictions because it’s so heavily reliant or dependent on of volume and revenue. “The recycling operations require regulations,” he says. “The business model for recycling is very more space, more people and more capital. When it comes to a different from B.C. to Alberta, to Ontario to Costa Rica. contributing margin and profitability perspective, the recycling

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“It’s probably the most challenging aspect of our business,” he continues. “Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is done differently in different places and getting all systems consistent is probably still a long way away. “With the new EPR-based regulations in Ontario, the best part about it is it really does foster true competition. But, for e-waste, the actual targets that the government has set are too low. “The targets are lower than what the marketplace collects. There is more material in the system than you have obligated parties that are required to pay to recycle it.”

It is hard to differentiate yourself on the efficiency of the shredded side of things. It’s much easier to differentiate yourself by providing amazing customer experience and very efficient sortation to maximize reuse value. Gary Diamond

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THE QUANTUM PROCESS FOR ITAD AND E-WASTE RECYCLING

Upon receipt of used electronics at one of their facilities, Diamond says there’s a significant “triage” component. On the ITAD side, incoming potentially reusable product goes through a proprietary process using Quantum software to audit, image and wipe information from all assets. “What we’re trying to do is separate each lot to the asset level,” he explains. “It requires no significant capital infrastructure, other than the fact that our system has been 20 years in the making and it’s a very dialed-in system for traceability and data security. We have it to a point that we can maximize the value of the asset while destroying the data and provide traceability to our clients.” Sources of materials on the recycling side of Quantum’s business includes unusable electronics – fallout from the ITAD business – as well as material from their scrap recycling partners, municipalities, corporations and telecom companies. “We’re not receiving one skid at a time, we’re receiving tractor-trailer loads of bulk material. Everything gets touched, because we can’t shred anything without sorting out batteries and other contaminants in the stream. We use a combination of manually taking things apart and automated shredding and sortation systems. “At the end of the day, it’s about trying to make it as efficient as possible to create a sellable commodity,” he says. “The truth is for our process, if we control the infeed, we really can

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COVER STORY

The ITAD (IT asset disposition) side of Quantum’s business involves the reuse and refurbishment of used laptops and desktop computers sourced from large corporate and enterprise accounts, to small to medium businesses.

The initial triage component of Quantum’s business is extensive as incoming used electronics are either slated for refurbishment and reuse, or for shredding and recycling.

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get a very clean product on the back end without a lot of effort.” He adds that in 2020, through the pandemic, they processed 30,000 tons of e-waste in total. Their biggest output volume is ferrous metal and plastic, accounting for more than 50 percent of outgoing material, with plastics comprising about 30 percent of that amount. The most common plastic type they process in e-waste is HIPS (high-impact polystyrene) with the rest made up of many different types, and they also output significant amounts of glass and non-ferrous metals. Diamond notes as well that while many think about electronics as the fastest growing waste stream, it’s just not true. “It’s actually a shrinking stream,” he says. “The reason being is that there’s more products, but every product weighs a little bit less. This concept of ‘light weighting’ is a very real thing for us.” He continues, “The truth is it is hard to differentiate yourself on the efficiency of the shredded side of things. It’s much easier to differentiate yourself by providing amazing customer experience and very efficient sortation to maximize reuse value.”

CONTAMINATION IN THE STREAM

With respect to potentially hazardous items in their stream, such as lithium-ion rechargeable batteries, Diamond says part of the reason they just did the upgrade to their shredding line in Toronto is to add another level of sortation and safety. “Basically, what we did is we put a pre-shredder on the front of our line in order to open the product up in order to make sure that we’re not shredding batteries through our quad-shaft shredder – where that can really cause fires.”

Quantum’s first stage in this process is a manual, visual check by employees to sort out any batteries and other contaminants in their stream. He says batteries in the pre-shredder would be very unlikely to cause fires. After the pre-shredder, they have another person checking the line before material goes through their quad-shaft shredder. While the trend toward light weighting of consumer electronics is in many ways a good thing, for e-waste recyclers it results in a higher number of products with more batteries, making contamination levels higher, and recycling is more difficult overall. Over the next few years the expectation is that there’s going to be more product overall coming through, including more mobiles, more connected devices and more lithium-ion batteries. “You have to really manage the risk,” he says. “We set ourselves up for success. The process is never going to be perfect, but we are setting ourselves up to catch any issue, or any hazard in the stream. It’s a real challenge and the more you can identify it on the front end, the easier it is.”

NAVIGATING STANDARDS AND REGULATIONS

R2 is the main e-waste recycling standard used by Quantum, and employee Mike Godfrey is on the R2 technical advisory committee. “We are very supportive of high standards, because we do it right. We want to do it right,” says Diamond. “Stewardship aside, the government has a long way to go in order to determine the right structure that works for e-waste

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COVER STORY

Quantum has eight facilities in Canada and recently acquired the former GEEP e-waste recycling facility in Costa Rica, making it the largest e-waste recycler in Canada and one of the largest in North America.

management from a competition perspective and an economic perspective. “In Ontario they have a competitive EPR model where producers can have choice as to who they use, but the targets need to be set high enough that the marketplace is challenged. They just have to figure out what the targets need to be.” With respect to global shipping and illegal dumping, Diamond, when asked, says that it feels like a situation that is improving. “Most e-waste material gets recycled in Canada,” he says. “The material we should be focusing on is what actually goes to landfill. The government needs to regulate small-stream products, such as small domestic appliances. Keeping that material out of landfill is our biggest opportunity. It is only there because of its low value.” With respect to the latest rules governing global export and import of recycled commodities, the Basel Convention Plastic Waste Amendments put in place this past January are definitely having an impact on their business. “These new Basel rules mean you can’t ship plastic without an export permit,” says Diamond. “It’s a real challenge, and at the same time as COVID and the current global shipping challenges. “But the truth is, we’re starting to see more and more local solutions for plastics recycling. We are very encouraged by this. We need local solutions for plastics recycling, rather than just shipping it overseas, because it’s just not sustainable.” He adds, “Anything, like the Canada Plastics Pact, that’s going to promote local processing, local markets, is a good thing.”

THE YEAR AHEAD FOR QUANTUM

For Quantum going forward, a major priority in 2021 is continuing to navigate the realities of COVID-19 and shifting regulations in Ontario. “COVID is on everyone’s radar,” Diamond says. “With respect to the regulatory changes in

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Quantum’s refurbished laptops are in high demand, especially since the start of the global pandemic with the increase of athome workers and students.

Ontario, just navigating those will be a priority this year, on the recycling side.” Other priorities include continuing to standardize all their recycling operations, all their facilities and fully integrating the GEEP Costa Rica business. “We’re still in the middle of integrating the GEEP and SHIFT businesses. We still have big IT upgrades happening, to knock out in the next couple months, including HR policies and processes. It has taken us two full years to integrate businesses.” Growing the ITAD business is also a top priority. “Part of that is getting better at a couple of types of products,” Diamond says. ”Mobile devices and enterprise gear are really high up as a priority. We’re also really pushing to build out our e-commerce store. We really like the fundamentals and economics on the ITAD side. We have the process very dialed in and we’re looking to continue to grow it.” RPN


Model 4 The new model 4 E-Z log Baler is just what mid size scrap yards have been asking for! Priced right for any yard — small, mid size, or large! Like the Model 3, the NEW Model 4 has no set up time and a very low cost to operate. The one man operations are all handled from the newly designed cab. With the 400º rotation crane and a reach of 27’ adding the continuous rotation grapple, it makes loading the larger chamber a breeze. Taking your loose scrap to a highly sought after shreddable log.

— Cycles in under 2 minutes! — Produces up to 70 tons per day. — Fully portable in the closed position. — New seat design for more operator comfort.


PLASTICS RECYCLING

A TRULY CLOSED LOOP FOR PLASTICS PACKAGING MERLIN PLASTICS’ TONY MOUCACHEN IS PRIMED TO COLLABORATE WITH THE ENTIRE SUPPLY CHAIN TO DEVELOP A SUSTAINABLE CIRCULAR ECONOMY THAT WORKS BY KEITH BARKER, EDITOR

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he Canada Plastics Pact (CPP), established this past spring, is part of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Plastics Pact Network – the most ambitious action that has ever been taken by the global plastics industry to solve our worldwide plastic waste problem. For the first time, the CPP brings together the entire plastics industry supply chain in Canada – from producers to goods and packaging manufacturers and retailers, to collectors and recyclers – all with a shared vision of a circular economy for plastics in which all varieties stay in the economy and out of the environment. Because the packaging stream accounts for nearly 50 percent of all plastic waste produced in Canada, it is the immediate focus of the CPP’s collective efforts. Initial goals, aiming for 2025, are to not only have significantly less plastic packaging in the system overall, but also to make it more sustainable for recyclers to recover the packaging that does remain in our system. Among founding signatories from the recycling industry is Vancouver-based Merlin Plastics, Canada’s largest diversified plastics recycling company. According to founder and President Tony Moucachen, getting the design-for-recycling element figured out is the right place to start, and they are primed to collaborate with all stakeholders. Moucachen also believes that in order to achieve a truly circular economy, every business, organization and government entity that has a stake in the sector has to be involved in making collaborative decisions to help build a system, from the start, that will work for all parties.

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Loading the conveyor at Merlin’s Vancouver plastics recycling plant.

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PLASTICS RECYCLING

A HISTORY IN PLASTICS INNOVATION Merlin Plastics started in 1987 in a 2,000-square-foot warehouse in Delta, B.C., and now has over a million square feet of recycling operations between six plants: two in B.C., and one each in Alberta, Ontario, California and Oregon. “It was a very humble start-up,” explains Moucachen. “We started with two people. Since then we have built a team of skilled workers with a wide range of technical skills including mechanical, electrical and chemical skills. We have developed and patented some of our

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pre-washing processes, and were the first on the west coast of North America to get FDA approval for PET for use in food grade applications. We were also the first in Canada to receive an FDA approval for our high-density product, HDPE, for use in food grade applications.” Moucachen is pleased to work in an industry that is aligned with his environmental values. The baseline concept in Merlin’s business model is that packaging, regardless of whether it is plastics or not, should not end up in our natural environment. The model is also based around three core values: environmental, social and fiscal responsibility.

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“The question is, how do you achieve those goals?” he asks. “You achieve them by working with like-minded organizations throughout the value chain, and by building an in-house team of employees that is also like-minded in its approach. Our industry throughout the value chain needs to nurture a culture of collaboration.” “For any business to grow, its goals must be aligned with the goals of the community, which are responsible for driving government policy. Having the best team is critical, but working toward the same community goals is equally important.”


The Canada Plastics Pact is a vehicle that encourages people and corporations to make commitments, and it’s going to keep them accountable . . . It is my hope that all companies in the value chain will aspire to the same circular standard. Tony Moucachen, Founder and President, Merlin Plastics

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Merlin Plastics receives both rigid and flexible plastics, most commonly PET, HDPE, LDPE and PP.

ADAPTING TO A COMMUNITY’S NEEDS Most of Merlin’s incoming plastics volume comes from community collection programs. They also get material from IC&I sources and collectors. They receive both rigid and flexible plastics, most commonly numbers 1 (PET or Polyethylene Terephthalate), 2 (HDPE or high-density polyethylene), 4 (LDPE or low-density polyethylene) and 5 (PP or polypropylene). They don’t recycle #3 plastic (PVC or polyvinyl chloride). Moucachen says they respect each

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PLASTICS RECYCLING

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community’s decision on how they choose to collect material and how they choose to finance their collection efforts. To Merlin, how material is collected is a community decision, and one that is based on the size of the community, the resources they have in place and a variety of other factors. Merlin supports whatever collection decisions the community makes and will provide solutions to suit them. If the community has an economy of scale to sort the product themselves, then Merlin will buy the sorted material, and if they do not have that economy of scale to be able to do the sorting themselves, then Merlin can provide the sorting service to them. At the end of the day, Merlin’s fundamental aim is to ensure that discarded packaging does not end up in our natural environment.

MAKING THE CPP WORK FOR EVERYONE Among the Canada Plastics Pact’s initial actions is to establish a standard list

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of “problematic” packaging and then eliminate it. By 2025, for all packaging that remains in circulation, it will be designed for reuse, recycling or composting. In the next four years, members have also committed to the use of 30 percent recycled content in all new plastic packaging and to a 50 percent plastic packaging recycling or composting rate. For Moucachen, a key element that makes the pact truly significant is the collaboration among all stakeholders across the entire plastics supply chain, from massive retailers and packaging producers to recyclers and manufacturers, all striving toward the collective long-term goal of eliminating plastic waste entirely by establishing a sustainable circular economy. “At Merlin Plastics, we believe that everyone has a vital role to play and everyone has to play their part,” says Moucachen. “The Canada Plastics Pact is a vehicle that encourages people and corporations to make commitments, and it’s going to keep

recyclingproductnews.com | JULY/AUGUST 2021

them accountable. There have been quite a few corporations that have recently worked hard to make their packaging fully circular. It is my hope that all companies in the value chain will aspire to the same circular standard.” Moucachen says that there are three fundamental processes that will allow us to achieve the goal of a circular economy. “The foundation and first step in this process is making sure that the product and packaging is designed to be recycled,” he says. “The second step is to build the needed recycling infrastructure to collect and process the material and, lastly, you have to make sure the recycled product has a sustainable home and goes back into the economy. All of the stakeholders need to collaborate to make this a reality – industry players, government, recyclers, brand owners and the community. Effective corporate and government policy needs to be in place to encourage and reward the above behaviours. When I hear


people talking about mandating post-consumer content without addressing the first two steps, this is a concern. It has to be carried out in an orderly and systematic fashion so the building blocks are in place at each step of the development process. This all needs to be done with the least amount of disruption to the consumer so that it avoids unwanted inflationary pressure on the consumer. For example, if we enact minimum PCR laws, this will increase demand for PCR. But if the increase in demand for PCR is not met by a concurrent increase in recycling infrastructure capacity, then the demand will outstrip supply, increasing the price of the commodity. This will backfire on all of us as the increased costs will need to be passed on to consumers, creating an unwanted inflationary situation.” The question facing all stakeholders is, “How are we going to address plastic waste today?” Having representatives from the whole value chain collaborate together in good faith to achieve this goal is very appealing to Moucachen. He also agrees that the Plastics Pact is unique compared to anything that has come before it. “The CPP is different. I was pleased to join because I believe that there is a clear understanding from everybody in the value chain that it is time to get serious.” The time for talk is clearly past, and the CPP is taking real action. Most recently, the CPP released nine Golden Design Rules to provide a clear framework and guidance for producers, and aims to drive innovation and scalable actions toward the pact’s goals. This initiative already has the support of over 20 major retailers and consumer packaged goods companies – all committed to changing how they produce and use packaging. With the CPP now firmly in place and real work underway, it appears that we may actually be on our way toward a sustainable circular economy model for plastics that is collaborative, does not put all of the responsibility for materials recovery on recyclers like Merlin Plastics, and which works for the sustainability of the entire supply chain. RPN

Our industry throughout the value chain needs to nurture a culture of collaboration. Tony Moucachen

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EQUIPMENT ROUNDUP: ROBOTIC SORTERS

ROBOTIC SORTERS BY KEITH BARKER, EDITOR

A

rtificially intelligent robotic sorting technology is the future of centralized, data-driven recycling models. Generally paired with optical sorting technology for the best results, the latest robotic sorters are achieving (and starting to exceed) 70 picks per minute for mixed plastics and paper. They are also being used very effectively for C&D sorting, and they have great potential for other materials including metals, electronics, organics and glass. With contamination of end product being a number one concern for MRF operators due to rapidly changing, highly contaminated incoming streams on the one side, and shrunken global end markets such as China, coupled with underdeveloped domestic markets for many recovered materials, getting to the high purity levels required by today’s end markets is among the

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most significant challenges recyclers face. The use of artificially intelligent (AI) robotic sorting technology increases yield and recovery rates and improves quality of materials recovered – increasing its ability to compete with virgin product on the market. Also significant is the fact that human pickers, on average, cannot achieve anywhere close to 70 picks per hour, and they can be unreliable, become sick or get injured. We also know that in the very tough recycling facility work environment, there is a very high employee turnover rate. Robotic sorting helps to solve these issues as robots can work as much as required and pick reliably without being affected by dust, hazardous materials and other risk factors in recycling plants.


MACHINEX SAMURAI

Introduced in 2018, Machinex’ SamurAI is a four-articulation robot employing AI technology to identify materials for accurate, positive product recovery, or as a precise quality control function. The system’s AI operates according to a pre-determined order of task hierarchy to maximize financial return while continually improving and learning from operating experience to assure maximum recognition efficiency. According to Machinex, compared to a human sorter, which achieves an average of 35 picks per minute, the SamurAI can double this average by reaching up to 70 picks per minute. The SamurAI has also been designed to accommodate sorting conveyors with width up to 48 inches, while offering a modular design for multiple robot configurations. Machinex recently introduced two new high-tech products – MACH Vision and the Intell platform – both compatible for integration with SamurAI robotics as well as MACH Hyspec optical sorters and other high-tech systems for

Machinex SamurAI

MRFs. MACH Vision is a data acquisition station powered by AI, which can use a combination of field-proven technologies, such as infrared hyperspectral technology, visual recognition and metal detectors, to very accurately ana-

lyze fast moving material streams. The new Intell platform connects directly to all of the high-tech automated sorting equipment referenced above to provide real-time material stream data capture and analysis capabilities for operators.

WASTE ROBOTICS WAR

Waste Robotics WAR

Waste Robotics developed their WAR (Waste Autonomous Recycling) software to allow for multi-sensor scanning and real-time artificial intelligence analysis, including waste chemical composition and shape recognition. Used with robotic technology manufactured by FANUC, WAR computes grappling strategies and picking sequences in real time to perform robotic extraction of recyclable materials and provides the ability to unstack pieces piled on a line. WAR systems combine 2D and 3D colour and hyperspectral chemistry-of-object recognition with a vision system that is adaptable to conveyor widths, and it allows for the ability to put several robots on the same sorting line (with each additional robot adding about 20 percent increased efficiency on a given line, according to Waste Robotics). This technology integrates computer vision and deep learning algorithms with state-of-the-art robotics to enable smaller, more precise, safer and more profitable sorting in organics recovery, MRF applications and C&D recycling.

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EQUIPMENT ROUNDUP: ROBOTIC SORTERS

BOLLEGRAAF ROBB-AQC

Bollegraaf ROBB-AQC

Bollegraaf’s AI-powered RoBB-AQC is a fully automated robotic sorter designed to improve quality control sorting. According to Van Dyk Recycling Solutions, the North American distributor and product support for Bollegraaf, it is the first sorting robot to combine the accuracy of NIR detection with the adaptability of AI-powered learning, and as a final quality control step on a container line, one RoBB unit will recover up to 70 picks per minute – achieving higher productivity and better reliability than two human sorters. RoBB also uses a laser-guided system and cameras to detect the height of waste products, which, combined with NIR, enables precision sorting of recyclables by both material recognition and 3D detection. Designed with flexibility in mind, ROBB-AQC can be placed on top of existing sort lines with very minimal retrofit costs and minimal downtime. Material selection only requires the touch of a button, and ranges from PET, HDPE, LDPE, PS and PP to Tetra Pak, OCC or paper/cardboard of various shapes and sizes.

AMP ROBOTICS CLARITY

In 2021, AMP Robotics introduced an AI-powered material characterization software solution, called AMP Clarity, that enables the recognition and classification of recyclables that flow through different recovery stages of the recycling process. The company says this latest industry innovation serves as a breakthrough in the effort toward providing measurable transparency on the recyclables captured and missed during different recycling processes, as well as confirming the composition of recovered material bales destined for resale to end markets in the supply chain. AMP Clarity captures data on mixed plastics including PET, HDPE, LDPE, PP and PS; aluminum used beverage cans (UBCs); and fibre such as corrugated cardboard (OCC) and sorted residential paper and newsprint (SRPN). Material data is collected, classified and sub-classified so MRFs can see what recyclables are flowing through different stages of

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AMP Robotics Clarity

their operation. According to AMP, this monitoring can help prevent the loss of recyclables to landfill, diagnose gaps in processing efficiency, audit

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the composition of material streams and create certainty about final bale content and material quality for both buyers and sellers.


RECYCLEYE ROBOTICS

Recycleye Robotics

Japan-based FANUC, one of the world’s largest robotics manufacturers operating in a variety of sectors, recently began a partnership with artificial-intelligence specialist start-up Recycleye based out of the U.K. and France. Over the past year, Recycleye has combined its validated AI computer vision technology with FANUC’s experience in robotics manufacturing and automation to deploy and scale the Recycleye Robotics AI-powered robotic waste-picking system. FANUC’s engineers designed Recycleye Robotics to weigh 75 percent less than any existing robotic waste picker currently in the market, allowing for plug-and-play installation that eliminates traditional expensive retrofit costs. According to Recycleye, this system performs the physical tasks of identifying, picking and placing material at a rate of 55 per minute, automating traditionally manual operations and enabling facilities to double their total throughput.

BHS MAX-AI AQC-C

In 2019, Bulk Handling Systems (BHS) launched the Max-AI AQC-C, a solution consisting of the Max-AI VIS (Visual Identification System) which analyzes and reports material composition data to operators, and at least one collaborative robot (CoBot). CoBots are designed to work safely alongside people, which allows the AQC-C to be quickly and easily placed into existing MRFs. According to BHS, Max-AI technology identifies recyclables similar to the way a person does, directs both robotic and optical sorters, and collects and reports material characterization information. The Max-AI AQC (for Autonomous Quality Control) robotic sorter is ideal for placement at the last chance position on a line to identify and capture remaining recyclables before they exit the process, and/or works well in collaboration with a NRT SpydIR optical sorter to identify and remove non-fibre from mixed paper product upstream. In addition, the latest AQC-C solution can be installed in sort

BHS MAX-AI AQC-C

cabins, on narrow walkways and in other tight locations, and is easily scalable – al-

lowing for up to four robotic sorters to be added behind each Max-VIS system.

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EQUIPMENT ROUNDUP: ROBOTIC SORTERS

STEINERT UNISORT UNIBOT

The newly introduced UniSort Unibot from Steinert combines reliable sensor technology with modern robotics and AI-based recognition software, ensuring precise detection and a pure plastic fraction in the final sorting step. The UniSort Unibot relies on a combination of sensors made up of high-resolution NIR and colour cameras, and employs optimized detection software for fast data processing, even with high belt loads. This technology relies on the use of the AI-based Intelligent Object Identifier and employs a delta robot with a specially developed tool adapter that offers the fastest speeds and greatest accuracy in extremely small spaces. According to Steinert, the UniSort Unibot checks and simultaneously assesses the quality of material flows, which guarantees that the final product is of the best possible quality. It also creates an interface for digitally processing data, which makes it possible to react to the material flow immediately so that regulatory and customer-specific requirements can be met.

Steinert UniSort Unibot

EVERESTLABS 2.0

EverestLabs 2.0

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EverestLabs has released its most compact, high-recovery robot footprint cells for MRF applications, engineered to deliver up to 208 picks per minute, a 49 percent increase in object picks compared to legacy Delta robot solutions, according to the manufacturer. EverestLabs says their robot cells are successfully achieving an 85 percent or greater pick success rate – the highest to date for robots in production in MRFs – due to their innovative end-of-arm-tools, software and suction strength. These robot cells are also customizable, highly flexible and use automation, operational intelligence and ERP/ESG components powered by proprietary RecycleOS technology. These robotic cells also use patent pending software with low inference time and can accommodate various MRF belt configurations including slope, low overhead clearance, trough and chevroned MRF belts.


ZENROBOTICS FAST PICKER

The ZenRobotics Fast Picker, introduced in 2018, is a result of a decade-long experience in waste robotics and couples artificially intelligent software with high-speed picking. Designed to improve the efficiency of MRFs, the Fast Picker is ideal for lightweight material such as packaging (LWP) and dry mixed recyclables (DMR), and, according to ZenRobotics, in a three-arm configuration this technology can make up to 6,000 picks per hour. ZenRobotics’ Fast Picker allows for autonomous picking 24/7 and increases recovery while maintaining high purity in recyclables. It is easily integrated into side-streams, reject recovery lines and quality control after optical sorting. It features a robust and compact design and can be retrofitted to different conveyor widths, fitting most picking stations without additional modifications. ZenRobotics Fast Picker are powered by ZenbrAIn, a unique artificial intelligence software that both analyzes data and controls the robots.

ZenRobotics Fast Picker

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METALS RECYCLING

SCRAP UNIVERSITY IS ON A MISSION TO EMPOWER THE METAL RECYCLING INDUSTRY THROUGH EDUCATION BY KEITH BARKER, EDITOR Scrap University co-founders Kate Fraser and Brad Rudover.

T

he scrap metal recycling industry needs an education. Depending on where you are, the terminology behind best practices and regular processes and, specifically, the names used for the hundreds of different types of metal which end up in the scrapyard, is inconsistent. If employees, management and owners at a scrapyard do not know every single material that is coming through their yard, if there is no consistency in terminology between yards, between sellers and buyers, everywhere, profitability simply cannot be maximized. With these industry challenges in mind, Kate Fraser and Brad Rudover founded Scrap University in 2020 to empower the scrap metal recycling industry through education. Scrap University’s initial certificate program is an online, video-based training “boot camp” where individuals learn first about the basics of the scrap industry, scrapyard operation and terminology, and then how to identify and upgrade all types of scrap metals quickly and easily. Upon completion of the course, students are designated as a Certified Scrap Metal Professional (CSMP). Co-founders Fraser and Rudover, who met working at British Columbia’s Richmond Steel Recycling in the mid-2010s, are personally familiar with every facet of the scrap metal

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business – from running a yard to brokering sales. Rudover is currently a partner in Detroit Scrap Consulting Services Ltd., a brokerage in Vancouver, and is CARI’s former Director of the Board representing the B.C. region. His family also owned Berrick Trading Corp., a scrapyard in Detroit, Michigan, which is where he literally grew up in the industry. Fraser has worked in the scrap industry in B.C. for over 12 years, and has built up extensive experience and knowledge in logistics, dispatch, grading and pricing ferrous and non-ferrous material, and with all administrative, operations and management tasks required to run a scrapyard. After starting at ABC Recycling, Fraser went on to be the Operations Analyst for Richmond Steel Recycling (owned by Sims and Nucor). “I worked with both the internal operations team and Sims national shredder/MRP (material requirements planning) teams at understanding the shredder and MRP processes,” she recalls. “I can say with great pride that I understand the intricacies of running a shredder plant and can easily get swept up in conversations wherever anyone shows even a little interest. Eventually, my role grew to overseeing the entire facility. Working a 40-man crew to meet all operational needs was like completing a jigsaw puzzle each day, and was actually very rewarding.”


Fraser says that from the early days of her career, she began to understand that the names for types of scrap material were far from consistent. “At every yard, and even within one company, there are different names for the same material,” says Fraser. “And when you go into the industry association sites, or are looking it up online, they all have different names. It’s very ambiguous. “We’re building Scrap University to be an industry hub, a centre of learning, where you would go to get consistent information, all in one place, and to get your foundation on metals and scrapyard processes.” According to Rudover, even as someone who grew up in the industry, it was not easy to learn about all the different metals. “When you start looking throughout a whole organization, you find that almost everyone hardly knows anything about scrap metal. From the top to the bottom, the CEOs and GMs of the company, accounting, the documentation people, logistics people, the scale people, labourers and machine operators. “It was so apparent to us that we had all of these different people who only know this bit and that bit of information. If every single person doesn’t know scrap metal, you have to ask: what business are we in?

For the majority of the people in the scrap business, if you asked them how they make money, it is through upgrading. Every single one of our lessons (after the introductory modules) defines the metal, and shows how to upgrade it. Brad Rudover

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METALS RECYCLING

The Scrap University program is designed to benefit every person in a scrap recycling organization who is interested in expanding their scrap recycling knowledge base, from the buyers, drivers and labourers, to management and ownership.

“No one else has taken on this sort of mission to really help formalize our industry terminology,” continues Rudover. “You have all of these different people in the industry, but they are not speaking the same language. We’re trying to unify the language and knowledge that serves as a foundation for the entire industry.”

HOW SCRAP UNIVERSITY WORKS

The Scrap University program is designed to benefit every person in a scrap recycling organization, from the buyers, drivers and labourers, to management and ownership. The program is designed for individuals, or can be used by companies for as many employees as they have who are interested in expanding their scrap recycling knowledge base. Lessons are designed and delivered via video by scrap industry experts, with over 235 years of combined scrap knowledge and experience between all of the current Scrap U instructors. Rudover himself is the introductory instructor who runs new students through the basics of scrapyard operation and the basics of metals identification, such as the difference between ferrous and non-ferrous metals. After that, all of the CSMP training focuses on specific metals identification and upgrading. “Everybody in the business should know what the difference between ferrous and non-ferrous is, and know the different categories of all of it, and what metal they are dealing with,” says Fraser. “That’s the foundation of everything.” Upon purchase, users are granted lifetime access to the CSMP certificate program. The course involves eight different modules covering 99 topics with each topic averaging

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about five minutes long. There is a total of 8.5 hours of video-based training, supplemented by text and images. A CSMP certificate is awarded after a final exam consisting of 120 questions. “There’s a lot of information to retain,” says Rudover. “You can also download the textbooks and images so that you have them forever. You can use them in the yard as a resource to ID metals.” With so much information, and an aim to provide a lasting education for students, it has to be an extensive test. “Retention is our biggest thing,” emphasizes Fraser. “You need to put that hour aside, sit down, and go through the test. It’s a fairly simple test, but we need to know, to get a CSMP, that you’ve retained the information. Otherwise, it’s meaningless.” Both Fraser and Rudover also note that their course is best combined with in-yard training, especially when it comes to identifying metals. “In this business, you’ve got to learn all the different metals,” says Rudover. “I feel like you have to physically handle a metal to really lock it in. We’re not trying to downplay that side of the training. Our program for Scrap University goes hand in hand with existing training in place. Some companies may have a stronger training platform internally, so maybe their reliance on Scrap University will be a little bit less. Whereas, companies that don’t have any type of training, their reliance will be much greater.” Fraser adds that though people often ask how long the program takes, going through it quickly is not the point or intention. “The best way to do it is to do the online training, combined with in-the-yard training on actual metals,” she


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We’re building Scrap University to be an industry hub, a centre of learning, where you would go to get consistent information, all in one place, and to get your foundation on metals and scrapyard processes.

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Kate Fraser confirms. “If you want to, you can blow through it in a week. Are you going to retain that information? That’s the question. In any learning environment, it’s always good to have some practical application. “The time it takes is really going to depend on the purpose for the training,” she continues. “If you’re using it to onboard a new employee, then you could actually have them do a section upfront and then go out into the yard to supplement. But if you are working with somebody who is in the office, and you just want them to have an understanding of the metal products you have, that person could go through it in a week. You don’t have to be out there working in it, but it is always good to at least touch every metal, if possible. Then, when co-workers and people around you are talking about scrap metal, now you

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METALS RECYCLING know what they’re talking about. You know what your trade is.” According to Fraser, the program is also designed to be linear. Students first need to complete the program orientation, an introduction to scrap metal recycling, and then go through the other sections in segments, as presented. It also provides managers with a tool to analyze where an employee is at with knowledge and with the course overall. If an employee did not do well on one part of the course, management can see that clearly and work on it further if needed. “I really think that the management tool is almost as valuable as the program,” she continues. “Even for companies that already have training in place, this doesn’t necessarily have to be a replacement. They can run people through the program to see where they’re at.” Scrap University graduate Nick Snyder from United Metals Recycling, who completed his CSMP June 10 this year, commented, “I hope for a day where metal recycling is taught in universities across the nation.” Julian Samaniego from Merrillville Metal Recycling, another CSMP certified graduate who completed the program June 24, said, “I have a better understanding of ferrous and non-ferrous metals. I am looking forward to applying this knowledge every day at work.” According to Tracy Shaw, president & CEO of the Canadian Association of Recycling Industries, Scrap University fills an important role for the recycling industry. “Few people coming into our industry arrive with an understanding of scrap metal grades, and until now there were few options for formal training in scrap metal recycling. CSMP certification offers the foundational knowledge that those who have not grown up in the industry lack.”

GIVING BACK TO THE SCRAP INDUSTRY

Giving back to the scrap recycling industry is a big part of the motivation behind Scrap University. Rudover and Fraser agree that the industry has given them both so much through their careers. Scrap U gives back by helping the industry not only learn to identify all metals, and know its trade, but it outlines in plain terms how to then make money with that knowledge. “How you make money in the scrap business is through an upgrade,” says Rudover. “You want to try and buy low, sell high, that’s your practice. Let’s say you buy a dirty stainless, and then mixed within that dump of dirty stainless is some clean stainless. Or you buy 304 stainless and there’s some 316 stainless. That’s an upgrade because the price gap between 304 and 316 right now is about 25 cents per pound. “For the majority of the people in the scrap business, if you asked them how they make money, it is through upgrading. Every single one of our lessons (after the introductory modules) defines the metal and shows how to upgrade it.” He adds that if you don’t know your metals in the scrap recycling business, if everyone at a company does not know, then profitability will be missed. Catalytic converters are a great example. Nearly 20 years ago, Rudover says he wrote a manual on catalytic converters because he was frustrated. He remembers walking into one warehouse with catalytic converters stockpiles and asked as a test: “What’s that?” The response was that it was a “Cadillac converter.” “Nobody in the plant knew what it was exactly, but sure enough, some guy came and picked it up and gave us money for

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Hundreds of different types of metal end up in the scrapyard, but the terminology used to label each type is inconsistent across the industry.

it,” recalls Rudover. “That was the beginning of me taking an academic approach to catalytic converters, asking why wouldn’t we all share our information? He says if a scrap recycler makes mistakes identifying catalytic converters, there’s potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars at stake. “For an aftermarket converter, the composition of its catalyst has hardly any platinum plating or rhodium. Whereas an OEM converter has huge levels. Typically you’re paying $10 for an aftermarket converter, or maybe you’re selling it for $15. But for a Honda converter, they are worth more like $300. So just make one mistake in differentiating between those two, and you just lost money.” Scrap University will address this costly knowledge deficit with a dedicated course on catalytic converters to be introduced by 2022. On a smaller scale, not being able to identify metals can cost money at any scrapyard. Rudover continues, “You have no idea how many mistakes are made at the scale because those people are not educated on metals,” he continues. He was recently at a shredder yard in Vancouver where a little bit of aluminum showed up on the scale. It looked extra shiny, and in the scale house they just called it steel and sent it through the shredder. “I was waiting for that product on the non-ferrous side because of the value of it, but it went through the shredder. Is it going to shake out in the downstream and become Zorba? Sure. But its real value is lost. “That level of training is just not there for the most part. Even owners don’t always know what metals are coming into their yard,” he says. “We found this gigantic hole or a void, and we’re now bridging it with Scrap University.” RPN



ORGANICS RECYCLING

DISCO ROAD FACILITY DEMONSTRATES THE BENEFITS OF ANAEROBIC DIGESTION BY KEITH OLDEWURTEL

A

naerobic digestion (AD), the process by which bacteria breaks down organic matter without oxygen, and which is currently used worldwide to manage food waste, wastewater biosolids and animal manure, is also increasingly being recognized as a solution to help address the climate crisis. In a growing number of locations around the world, anaerobic digestion facilities divert food waste from landfills; lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, such as methane; and produce both green energy and valuable soil amendments. According to the USDA, between 30 and 40 percent of the U.S. food supply is lost as food waste, with almost 31 percent of all food waste being produced at the retail and consumer levels. In 2010, this amounted to approximately 133 billion pounds and $161 billion worth of food. Most of it ended up in landfills. With food

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waste in landfills being one of the largest contributors to methane emissions in the U.S., companies and government officials alike continue to search for methods to improve its diversion. On the legislative side, there are currently 52 bills in 18 states that sanction food waste policy. In the U.S., Vermont leads this movement with a “no landfill” law for organic waste. The change is happening slowly, however, and while food waste is of urgent concern in the U.S., Canada faces similar challenges in many jurisdictions, but overall, is further along in the transformation to a circular economy for organics. Currently, many provincial and municipal governments have moved forward with landfill disposal bans for municipal and/or commercial organics, including food waste – a first key step in making organics diversion successful.


In the control room at Disco Road.

On the tipping floor at the Disco Road AD facility in Toronto, which receives municipal source-separated organics five days a week.

The pre-treatment stage, including three trains of BTA Waste Pulpers and Grit Removal Systems which remove both the heavy and light fractions of inert and plastic residues.

BENEFITS OF ANAEROBIC DIGESTION AD technology provides municipalities with the ability to process large volumes of organic waste in relatively close proximity to the source of its origin. Through the natural decomposition process, food and organic waste produces methane, a greenhouse gas that traps heat at 85 times the rate of carbon dioxide. By diverting that material from landfill to an AD facility, methane can be converted into biogas, creating a green energy source that reduces GHG emissions and which can be used to replace or supplement existing energy sources at the facility where it is produced. The digestate from organic food waste at AD facilities is further transformed into valuable, nutrient-rich organic matter used to grow food and for other land-based applications.

By diverting food waste and other organic material from landfill to an AD facility, methane can be converted into biogas, creating a green energy source that reduces GHG emissions. It can be used to replace or supplement existing energy sources, and digestate is transformed into valuable, nutrient-rich organic matter used to grow food and can be used for other land-based applications.

BEST PRACTICES Organics and food waste programs involve complex planning and require extensive knowledge of the processing of municipal and commercial food and yard wastes, wastewater treatment, sludge concentration processes, thermal processes, product marketing and distribution, land application and energy recovery. There are three predominant AD technologies currently being used in the processing of municipal and commercial organics – wet, dry and plug flow technologies. Veolia is technology agnostic as the technology it selects is primarily based on

factors including the type of feedstock received from municipal and/or commercial sources, and desired output from the process to match end markets. It is important to note that AD facilities are entirely different from traditional waste materials handling facilities with respect to logistics, as they are complex with a focus on biology and chemistry. A critical component of an AD process is the pre-treatment of feedstocks. Municipal organic waste feedstock can have a high plastic content, especially if the collection JULY/AUGUST 2021 | recyclingproductnews.com

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ORGANICS RECYCLING

The Disco Road Organics Processing Facility, operated by Veolia North America and CCI Bioenergy, has been successfully processing SSO in an urban setting without odour or operational issues since 2014.

of food wastes is done using plastic bags. A pre-treatment system removes inert contaminants and other non-digestible elements. The remaining contaminant-free organic slurry is processed through an anaerobic digestion system by which, over a specific time period, it is converted to biogas and digester solids.

THE CASE IN TORONTO

In Toronto, the City is tackling the residential food waste issue with tremendous success. In 2014, the City expanded its Green Bin Program and built its second anaerobic digestion plant, called the Disco Road Organics Processing Facility (DROPF). Veolia North America, along with its technology partner CCI BioEnergy Inc., operates and maintains the facility which processes 75,000 metric tonnes of residential organic

AD technology provides municipalities the ability to process large volumes of organic waste in relatively close proximity to the source of its origin. Keith Oldewurtel, Executive VP and COO for the Municipal Water Division, Veolia North America

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waste generated annually – including food scraps, soiled paper, disposable diapers, feminine hygiene products and pet waste – into beneficial, valuable end products. The wet source-separated organics (SSO) from Toronto’s Green Bin curbside residential food waste collection program is delivered by long-body trailers for discharge in the enclosed tipping floor area. The plastic bagged SSO is then processed via Hydromechanical Pre-treatment System of wet pulpers, grit removal, organics suspension and conveyance. Material then proceeds to a wet AD process using technology engineered BTA International GmbH. The Disco Road facility receives SSO waste on a five-daya-week basis and provides seven-day-a-week processing to ensure stable AD process control. An average hourly throughput factor of 81.5 percent is achieved during a typical two eight-hour shifts per day. Dewatering of the digestate for cake trailer load-out occurs on a 24/7 schedule. Digestate solids are hauled away by a third party to a private composting facility for further end processing into organic Class AA compost for soil amendment. The AD biogas is used for heating the digestion tanks at Disco Road. The City of Toronto has indicated future plans to upgrade this biogas into RNG to help replace its existing energy sources. The Disco Road Organics Processing Facility has been successfully processing SSO in an urban setting without odour or operational issues through its entire operational history, and is considered a model for other municipal organics processing facilities.

OPTIONS IN ANAEROBIC DIGESTION

In addition to standalone AD facilities, organic food waste can also be processed at wastewater treatment facilities. As many wastewater treatment facilities already have anaerobic digesters, there is the potential to add more organics at underutilized facilities. This option is particularly attrac-


tive to communities seeking to leverage existing municipal infrastructure and is a good option for neighbouring communities to send their organic wastes for processing. The use of on-farm digesters is another option for processing municipal and commercial organic waste; however, this can only be done at much lower volumes, given regulatory constraints.

NON-OPERATIONAL ISSUES

A non-operational issue that is having an impact on the development of AD projects across North America is project delivery. Traditionally, AD projects are developed through public–private partnerships, commonly known as P3s. Traditional P3 models have been successful with social capital (hospitals, long-term-care facilities, etc.) and transportation projects. However, its application with municipal environmental infrastructure projects has become increasingly problematic due to issues such as risk allocation, increased bid costs (which have led to increased project costs), limited engagement in bid processes and other issues. As a result, project developers and municipalities are moving to a progressive design-build approach to increase collaboration, flexibility and transparency in the project development process. In this approach, the collaborative model engages the operations and maintenance provider up front in the design, construction and commissioning of an AD project delivery. This allows municipalities to focus on key project drivers such as control/risk sharing, costs, schedules, etc. and ensures that lifecycle asset management efficiencies are actively incorporated

into design and construction of the facility. It also enables accountability and competitive pricing to optimize project scope, schedule, cost and performance, and provides value-added benefits to the host communities. There are numerous examples of this approach currently being used across North America, and the trend is expected to continue.

A FOOD WASTE SOLUTION FOR THE FUTURE

Diverting all food waste and other organics from landfill is a massive challenge, but vitally important for reducing GHGs – especially methane – and helping to combat the climate crisis. At the municipal level, with ever-increasing demands to improve sustainability and resource efficiency across the board, options are needed for managing organic materials. Anaerobic Digestion technology is an available, proven and effective tool that can provide this option. It efficiently keeps organic waste from landfill while producing both sustainable energy and incredible benefits for agriculture. Anaerobic digestion must be part of the circular economy for organics going forward. The Disco Road Organics Processing Facility demonstrates that it can be done very successfully. KEITH OLDEWURTEL is executive vice president and COO for the Municipal Water Division at Veolia North America

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ORGANICS RECYCLING

THE CASE FOR A SUSTAINABLE WASTE WOOD RECYCLING INDUSTRY ACROSS CANADA BY MATT BRADFORD

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anada is primed to turn a corner on wood waste recycling. By doing so, it can make a positive and sustainable impact that benefits all waste wood producers and wood recycling facilitators. It’s an ambitious vision. According to Jim Donaldson, founder and CEO of the Canadian Wood Waste Recycling Business Group, it requires collaborative action from all levels of government in the form of effective policies and support. “The bottom line is that all post-consumer waste wood is a hundred percent recyclable,” he says. “Anything we can do to encourage and enable waste wood recycling brings positive economic, social and environmental outcomes.” The challenge, however, is that while players in the Canadian wood sector may be on board with finding new applications for their waste, for the most part they lack the means and financial incentives. Donaldson says regions like Metro-Vancouver, B.C., have implemented measures such as prohibitions on wood waste burning or landfilling to push the industry to wood waste recycling. However, other provinces still have a long way to go. “I would estimate that less than 18 percent of manufactured, post-consumer C&D (Construction and Demolition) wood waste is recycled in Ontario, which is a huge missed opportunity,” he says, adding that this is in spite of the fact that there’s no shortage of alternatives to landfilling wood waste. Three main reuse channels for wood waste include: Re-processing: The process of grinding, shredding, chipping, hammer-milling and/or screening used end-of-life wood into a reusable product format for sale into developing reuse markets. Currently, potential reuse markets include road or trail base,

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landfill cover, animal bedding, water conservation material, composting and many more. Remanufacturing: Using stationary or portable wood sawmill systems to remanufacture used or unwanted off-cuts, C&D wood waste, smaller mill-grade trees, bug-infested trees and other items destined for the landfill. Potential remanufactured wood product end markets include new building materials, furniture, flooring, roofing, beams and other construction products. Barn wood: Dismantling, collecting and repurposing barn wood material for retail applications such as building products, flooring, furniture and other consumer wood products. There is no one-size-fits-all national framework for wood recycling. Each jurisdiction has its own opportunities and reuse markets, as well as partners that must first be identified and engaged. For its part, the Canadian Wood Waste Recycling Business Group has numerous strategies and frameworks for establishing closed-loop recycling processes and is actively encouraging Canada’s federal, provincial and municipal governments to support the development of the Canadian wood recycling industry. “The process begins by going into a region and identifying how much wood waste is produced, how it can be repurposed, and who within the region can make it possible,” he explains. “At the end of the day, it’s a feasibility study that is needed first, with the ultimate goal of finding the most economic reuse market products for a given region, whether that’s animal bedding, construction materials or retail materials. Because there’s a reuse for everything, you just need to be willing to look and start the conversation.”


I would estimate that less than 18 percent of manufactured, post-consumer C&D wood waste is recycled in Ontario, which is a huge, missed opportunity. Jim Donaldson

A LONG WAY

TOGETHER Feasibility studies are definitely an essential step. Another is for governments at federal, provincial and municipal levels, to implement policies and incentives that spur wood waste recycling practices. “For wood recycling facilitators to make a sustainable business, they need to obtain a recycling tipping fee of around $55 per metric ton, and landfill wood waste disposal costs need to be around a minimum of $70 per metric ton,” explains Donaldson. “That way, it makes more financial sense to recycle waste wood materials into a reusable format and create a commodity value. “We have everything we need to do this, but we need to catch up, especially now as the mass timber industry is ramping up and creating all these reuse applications. More than that though, it’s our responsibility as tenants of this planet to make sure we’re making the best use of this completely reusable natural resource.”

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MATT BRADFORD is a writer for Wood Industry Magazine.

JULY/AUGUST 2021 | recyclingproductnews.com

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FEATURE PRODUCT

ACCENT WIRE TIE

NEW COMPACT ROTARY WIRE TIER ENGINEERED TO LOWER COST FOR TWO-RAM BALER OPERATIONS

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ccent Wire Tie has introduced the Accent R400 Wire Tier, a next-generation rotary tier engineered specifically to be installed or retrofitted on two-ram balers to deliver high performance for recycling and waste facilities. The R400 Wire Tier employs single rotary operation, using a high-efficiency, non-reciprocating four-twist knotting sequence, enabling operators to utilize less costly, finer-gauge baling wire without sacrificing safe operation and transport. This technology is engineered with a smaller footprint to accommodate different baler design obstacles for tier placement and is designed to be easier to maintain, with fewer moving parts and a quick-change patented removable parts cartridge – resulting in increased uptime and operational cost savings. Units are electrically powered, requiring 120/240 VAC-10 AMP single-phase and 24 DVC-120 Watts. Hydraulic power requirements are 12 gpm at 1,500 psi hydraulic flow. On July 1, Accent Wire Tie announced the acquisition of Cavert Wire Company, North America’s largest manufacturer

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of baling wire. According to Accent, this acquisition forms North America’s largest and most strategic supplier for all baling wire products and bale packaging equipment.


SAFETY

SWANA URGES HELPERS NOT TO RIDE ON STEPS WHEN TRUCKS ARE REVERSING FOLLOWING WORKER FATALITY

T

he Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) has reminded all solid waste and recycling collection workers that riding on the riding steps, or the back of the truck, when the truck is backing is very dangerous and can lead to serious injury or fatality. The warning followed a media report about an incident in Nassau Country, New York, in which a truck was backing onto a customer’s property when it was struck by a tractor trailer, resulting in the death of the solid waste collection employee who was riding on the back of the truck. “We are saddened by this worker’s tragic death, which likely would have been prevented if he had not been riding on the outside of the truck when the collision took place,” stated David Biderman, SWANA Executive Director and CEO. “One of the most important rules in the waste industry is not to be riding on the outside of the truck when the truck is going backwards. It violates the applicable ANSI standard and is simply an unsafe practice.”

JULY/AUGUST 2021 | recyclingproductnews.com

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LAST WORD

LAST WORD FOR SOIL HEALTH, IT’S TIME TO DO BETTER WITH COMPOST BY SUSAN ANTLER

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he take-away message from the Global Symposium on Soil Biodiversity, held this past April and hosted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), was very clear: “Act now to fight soil biodiversity loss or bear the consequences of ever-greater losses in the fertility of soil, of threat to global food supplies and food safety.” The rich diversity and interaction of the varied species of microbes, animals and insects that live in our soil contributes significantly to the functioning of all ecosystems. Primary agents of nutrient cycling, our soil species also help sequester carbon and modify soil’s physical structure and water regimes, increasing the amount and efficiency of nutrient delivery to plants, while also enhancing plant health and, in turn, human health.

Canada’s “aspirational” goal to reduce waste by 50 percent by 2040, almost 20 years from now and 50 years from reduction goals that were set in the early 1990s, is shameful. Declines in soil’s integrity are well-known. Thirty-three percent of our earth’s soils are already degraded, with estimates that if the current rate of degradation continues, we could run out of topsoil in only about 60 years. Dr. Rattan Lal, winner of the World Food Prize 2020 and Goodwill Ambassador of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture, a partner of the Compost Council of Canada, helped close the 2021 Global Symposium on Soil Biodiversity by stating: “This is the time for . . . the realization that the health of soil, plants, animals, people and the environment is one and indivisible.” Much like growing worries about how to manage climate change, there is an almost paralyzing uncertainty as to what can be done to help put the brakes on soil’s growing poverty.

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As individuals, so much is out of our control and yet, as the leaders of the waste management industry, we know that an undisputable beacon of hope exists within the component of the waste stream that still remains largely underappreciated – organic residuals. Compost’s organic matter is essential for soil’s biodiversity – providing food, shelter and the right living conditions. But it is not just about the microbes and other soil species. Their very ability to function yields great benefits for us – with healthier soils comes better water quality and quantity, improved local food security, better nutrition and human health, as well as the sequestering of carbon which helps cool our climate. Current diversion rates and insufficient infrastructure to manufacture the compost needed for our soils show that we are not doing enough. Canada’s “aspirational” goal to reduce waste by 50 percent by 2040, almost 20 years from now and 50 years from reduction goals that were set in the early 1990s, is shameful. We need to do better. Currently only one-third of our organic residuals are being recycled. The remainder is being landfilled and is responsible for methane emissions from “nuisance grounds,” which account for 20 percent of Canada’s national methane emissions. A recent Canadian Food Inspection Agency presentation acknowledged that 77 percent of Canada’s nitrous oxide emissions – the greenhouse gas which damages the ozone layer and is about 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide – are created through the use of inorganic, nitrogen-based fertilizers. Compost is simply a better way. It can optimize nutrient input into soil, providing better soil structure to help with their absorption by crops and within the soil, rather than promoting their escape into the air as nitrous oxide, run-off into surface water, or leachate into groundwater. We stand at a precipice. We either continue at a laissez-faire pace, using all the well-known excuses, or we say “not on our watch” and put our full force of efforts into recycling organics and composting. By using compost to help with the fight for healthy soil biodiversity, we can win this battle.

SUSAN ANTLER is the executive director of the Compost Council of Canada.


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