Environmental Services Update-February 2018
Edge Insights’ experts are constantly monitoring the Environmental Services industry in order to help ensure the best possible pricing and contract terms for our clients. The following report lists some of the recent news in the Environmental Services industry.
Earth Day 2018
The first Earth Day was on April 22, 1970. On that day, approximately 20 million Americans from all walks of life took action against the negative impacts of 150 years of industrial development and launched the modern environmental movement. Earth Day events now take place in 193 countries and are coordinated by the Earth Day Network.
Earth Day is a day of political action and civic participation. People march, sign petitions, meet with their elected officials, plant trees, and clean up their towns and roads. Corporations and governments make pledges and publicize new sustainability measures.
Earth Day Network’s 2018 theme is Building a Single Use Plastics Free World. The focus will be to change people’s attitudes and behaviors about plastic in order to bring about a significant reduction in plastic pollution.
Here are a few things that you can do to take part (reduce, refuse, reuse, recycle):
- -Use reusable water containers instead of plastic water bottles
- -Rinse and recycle plastic items labeled as #1 through #7 recyclables
- -Use reusable shopping bags or recycle plastic bags at your local grocery store
- -Avoid using plastic dishes, glasses, silverware
- -Refuse straws at restaurants if they will not be used
- -Reuse restaurant food containers for food storage
- -Get others involved at home, work, school, etc.
- -Visit iwanttoberecycled.org for information about recycling programs in your area
- -Visit earthday.org for a wealth of knowledge about the Earth Day movement.
If everyone does their part, Earth Day 2018 efforts will be a great step toward reducing plastic pollution. Every little bit helps.
Over the last few years, many vendors and municipalities have implemented single stream recycling programs. These programs were created to make recycling easier by allowing many recyclable materials to be placed in a single container. Single stream recycling has made recycling easier but has also created a side effect known as “wishful recycling”. While trying to keep materials out of landfills and reducing the need for new raw materials, people are placing anything they think could or should be able to be recycled into their single stream containers.
Unfortunately, placing inappropriate items into the single stream container can cause issues at the processing center know as a materials recovery facility or MRF (pronounced murf). It can cause normally recyclable items to be contaminated and diverted to a landfill, cause hazardous conditions for MRF workers or cause an equipment jam that shuts down the entire process.
As example, shrink-wrap or garden hose can cause equipment jams and a temporary shutdown of entire processing lines while batteries, light bulbs, cleaning solvents, syringes, and e-waste can cause hazardous conditions for sorters.
The purpose of a MRF is to receive, separate and prepare single stream recyclable materials for marketing to end-user manufactures. At a MRF, recycled materials go through a complex process with conveyors, manual and optical sorters, spinning disks, magnets, screens, etc. If you never saw a MFR in operation, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5nmNKVNCBw to see a state of the art facility located near Reading, PA in operation.
Below is a list of items that typically can be recycled in the single stream container:
- -Flattened cardboard
- -Corrugated cardboard, cereal boxes, shoe boxes, etc. (unsoiled and no food waste)
- -Metal cans
- -steel, tin, aluminum – rinsed with little or no food waste
- -Plastic Bottles and containers #1-5 and 7 (some items with #6)
- -Milk, water, detergent, shampoo – rinsed with little or no contents
- -Lids should be removed but can be placed in the recycling
- -Brown paper bags, non-confidential office paper, newspaper, magazines (unsoiled)
- -Paper cardboard, dairy and juice containers
- -Lids should be removed and the containers rinsed with little or no contents
- -Glass containers (some recyclers will not accept glass)
- -Soda, beer, etc. – rinsed with no contents or lids
Below is a list of items that typically cannot be recycled in the single stream container:
- -Food waste or food contaminated containers
- -Liquids in containers
- -Plastic bags, plastic wrap, aluminum foil
- -Styrofoam cups and containers (even with #6), foam packaging and peanuts
- -Ceramics, dishes, drinking glasses, light bulbs, broken glass bottles
- -Household items, diapers
- -E-waste like monitors, computers, mice
- -Syringes, sharps, medical waste
- -Garden hoses, Christmas lights
- -Hazardous materials
It is a good idea to check with your local recycler to get a list of what is accepted. Why not make it an Earth Day 2018 initiative to review recycling habits at your home and facility.
The bottom line is to ‘Recycle Often, Recycle Right’ with ‘Quality over Quantity’.
At Edge, we constantly monitor the market for ways to help our customers improve their sustainability efforts and reduce costs.
Please feel free to reach out to our experts should you have any questions related to the above articles or the environmental services industry.