Environmental Services Update-November 2017
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.
Stericycle Class-Action Lawsuit:
A lawsuit originally filed in April 3, 2013 against medical waste disposal company Stericycle was recently granted nationwide consumer class status by a federal judge. According to Hagens Berman, the legal firm representing the plaintiffs in the case, the court granted preliminary approval of a $295 million settlement on Oct. 26, 2017. The suit charges the defendants with breach of contract and violations of consumer protection laws.
As per Hagens Berman’s website, the customers impacted by Stericycle’s gouging practices include a wide variety of businesses that produce regulated medical waste, including veterinary clinics, medical clinics, dental practices and medical labs across the country. The small companies who contracted with Stericycle claim the hazardous-waste disposal company defrauded them by improperly raising their rates automatically by as much as 18 percent, contrary to contract terms. These regular rate increases occurred as often as every six months, and were programmed into Stericycle’s billing software, according to the complaint.
Below is a recent email from Hagens Berman to Stericycle class members:
We are pleased to bring you the latest update in the class-action lawsuit against Stericycle. On Oct. 26, 2017, the court granted preliminary approval of a $295 million settlement. Official notices will begin going out in late November. Watch your mailbox for a postcard that will direct you to the settlement website, where you will be able to learn more about the settlement, including your expected recovery, if the settlement is granted final approval.
Class members do not need to file claims or contact us to be part of the class. Class members will get payments automatically through the mail, after the settlement is granted final approval and any appeals have been resolved.
A final approval hearing before the court is scheduled for Feb. 21, 2018.
For more information on the lawsuit, please visit:
Over the past several years, Edge has helped many Stericycle customers obtain refunds and rate reductions some of which included the rate increases alleged in the case.
Edge will continue to monitor this lawsuit for new developments and will contact Edge customers as appropriate.
Annual Recycling Reports:
Many local municipalities have implemented mandatory annual recycling reports for commercial customers in order to track the amount of waste material that is being recycled and in some case to apply for grants. It is hard to believe but we are closing in on the end of 2017 and the annual recycling reports will soon be due. As part of Edge’s service to our environmental services clients, Edge will help customers obtain the needed information and provide assistance to complete the associated forms.
The reports vary by municipality and range from being very simple to complex and are typically due early in the new year. Many of these reports have been implemented by municipalities to be in compliance with state requirements such as Pennsylvania’s Municipal Waste Planning, Recycling and Waste Reductions Act (Act 101).
Current Recycling Market Movers:
Baled cardboard (OCC – Old Corrugated Cardboard) prices have been on a roller coaster ride since April of 2016. After seeing a steady rise from a low of ($82.50/ton) in April 2016 to average highs of around ($155.00/ton) for the first 9 months of 2017, pricing dropped to ($97.50/ton) in September 2017 and remained low at ($100/ton) in October 2017.
The early 2017 upward trend: Improvements in the Chinese and general world economy were one of the driving forces since OCC pricing and the global GDP generally have a matching correlation. Paper mills across the world are processing record quantities of recovered material and the net effect was an increase in the prices.
The late 2017 drop: New import policies in China and other Asian countries are disrupting the U.S. and global recovered paper markets. China’s most recent ruling announced lower limits on the amount of contaminants allowed in bales of recycled material. In addition, China will no longer allow imports for their smaller mills and set new qualifications for traders.