Organizations respond to King County mattress recycling request for information (RFI)
King County Solid Waste Division (SWD) received three responses to its recent RFI on transfer station mattress recycling services from mattress recyclers in Washington, Oregon and California, and will use the information gathered to inform decision-making over the coming year. SWD continues to evaluate how best to maximize mattress recycling, including potentially at county transfer stations.
UPSTREAM developing furniture stewardship policy that includes mattresses
UPSTREAM is developing a furniture stewardship policy that would include mattresses. The project will establish an extended producer responsibility (EPR) policy to address the coming wave of unwanted couches contaminated with flame retardants, and, pressure furniture manufacturers to discontinue the use of toxic flame retardants. EPR “ensures that the costs of end-of-use management are borne by producers and consumers, rather than externalized onto society as a whole.”
Strong demand for mattress recycling
The Mattress Recycling Council’s (MRC) Connecticut stewardship program, Bye Bye Mattress, recycled 20,000 mattresses in their first three months of operation, May through July 2015. Read more about the Connecticut program.
In advance of the California MRC program beginning in 2016, St. Vincent de Paul Society of Lane County opened a second Northern California mattress recycling facility. The Daily Democrat quoted St. Vincent’s operations manager at the new location as saying “I cannot tell you how much I can’t keep the landfills serviced. They are so packed with mattresses, that they’re calling me and begging me to pick them up...So we’re just constantly bringing mattresses in.” Read more.
MattressRecycling.ca keeps recycling, even after destructive fire
The Vancouver, B.C. mattress recycling facility for MattressRecycling.ca (MRCA) unfortunately burned to the ground in a May 2015 fire. MRCA’s founder, Fabio Scaldaferri, has participated to the two LinkUp mattress recycling summits held over the last couple of years and spoke at the Washington State Recycling Association annual conference in 2013. MRCA, which has been recycling mattresses since 2011, quickly found a new space nearby to remain operational and continues to service customers even while crowdfunding new equipment purchases. Read more.
King County Road Services Division expanded use of recycled asphalt shingles in 2015
King County Road Services Division (KCRSD) is advancing its use of recycled asphalt shingles (RAS) in hot mix asphalt by using the material on roads paved as part of the county overlay program. Contractor Miles Resources used asphalt containing RAS to pave a total of 4.15 miles on sections of 276th Avenue Southeast and Southeast Auburn-Black Diamond Road. These roads have higher volumes of traffic than the road on which KCRSD first tested the use of RAS between 2009 and 2012, indicating the agency’s increasing confidence that the material performs well. The mix of materials for these roads, which totaled 10,170 tons, included 3 percent RAS and 15 percent reclaimed asphalt pavement. The amount of asphalt shingles diverted from landfills and used in the roads amounts to 305 tons.
City of Tacoma installs equipment for RAS use at asphalt plant, plans for shingles recycling
The City of Tacoma has completed an installation of equipment and plant retrofits needed at its municipally-owned asphalt facility to enable production of asphalt mixes containing RAS and RAP. With this new equipment, which was purchased with support from a grant from the Department of Ecology, the City is now producing asphalt containing 3 percent RAS and 10 percentRAP for use in City paving. And with new funding for paving recently passed by Tacoma voters, the City is poised to ramp up production of RAS-containing pavement in the coming years. Recycled shingles used in asphalt production at the plant are currently supplied by a contracted vendor but the City is exploring ways it can close the loop more directly and process shingles taken to the City-operated refuse facility. Tacoma’s Plant Manager is also exploring options for successful deployment of warm mix production technology in combination with RAP and RAS to further reduce environmental impacts of asphalt production and increase cost savings for the City.
Lifecycle assessment of use of RAS in warm mix at NCAT test track
The results of a lifecycle assessment (LCA) of the energy and climate impacts of various asphalt mixes tested as part of the “Green Group” of the National Center for Asphalt Technology (NCAT) Test Track Fifth Cycle (2012-15) demonstrates that the use of RAS in paving can deliver significant environmental benefits. The Green Group Test Track included a section testing the use of RAS (5 percent of mix) and Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement in a warm mix asphalt.
The LCA report, available here, concludes that using RAS and reclaimed asphalt pavement to replace virgin aggregates and binder in asphalt mixes can reduce both the energy consumed and CO2 produced during raw material extraction and processing. The use of recycled materials in a warm mix application can deliver additional energy savings and reduce CO2 production.
The performance results of the Green Group Test Track sections are expected to be published by the end of the year.
Threadcycle Spanish outreach: A collaboration with the Facilitadores
After successfully launching Threadcycle, a campaign to educate King County residents that clothes, shoes and linens can be given for reuse or recycling in ANY condition except wet, in March 2015, King County and Seattle Public Utilities brought the campaign to a significant segment of King County’s multicultural residents: the Spanish-speaking Hispanic/Latino community.
Threadcycle partnered with Recicla más and the Facilitadores de Reciclaje (Recycling Facilitators – Community Educators) to get feedback on how to best deliver the Threadcycle message to the Spanish-speaking community. The collaboration resulted in Threadcycle being integrated in the Facilitadores community outreach.
The Facilitadores have participated in a variety of community events and workshops, resulting in nearly 300 brochures distributed in Spanish. Kits demonstrating the textile recycling process were developed in Spanish and have become a key part of the Facilitadores’ community education outreach.
The response from the public has shown that the King County Spanish-speaking Hispanic/Latino community has great interest in learning more about textile recycling. Recicla más incorporated Threadcycle into its media outreach strategy to help amplify Threadcycle messaging through broad media outreach. This includes Facilitadores conducting a 10- to 15- minute interview at El Rey 1360 AM radio station and in-language Spanish social media content shared on the KUNS Univision Seattle Spanish Facebook page.
New documentary exposes negative impacts of fast fashion
A new documentary film, “The True Cost,” is bringing audiences the untold story of the serious human and environmental costs of clothing production, particularly fast fashion, in a time when clothing costs are decreasing. Fast fashion delivers designer products to a mass market at relatively low prices. “The True Cost” suggests viewers consider who and what are bearing the costs of cheap clothing production, when the consumer appears to be paying less and less of those costs. Evidence is presented showing those costs are being borne by low-level production workers and their families, the environment, and some economies. The movie also touches on the impacts of the significant quantities of used clothing and other used textile products that are exported from the United States and other Western countries to developing countries. The movie is available through Netflix and Amazon Prime. Learn more about The True Cost.
Seattle start-up brings new fiber technology to market
Evrnu, a Seattle based start-up, has made it its business to recycle textile and apparel waste, developing a technology for creating high quality textile fiber through the continual renewal of garment waste.
According to the company, compared to other fiber alternatives, Evrnu provides a significant reduction in negative environmental damage by leveraging waste and managing use of natural resources, without compromising quality or apparel design. Early adopter apparel brands and retailers are scheduled to pilot the technology in 2016 when production capacity becomes available.
Update of Washington State University compost demonstration trials in King County
Washington State University is in the second year of the Snohomish County Agricultural Compost Research and Outreach Project in King County. This program, supported King County Solid Waste Division, is partnering with seven King County farms to demonstrate the use of commercially produced compost on local crops. Potential benefits of the use of compost include: improved yield, increased profits, increased water holding capacity, decreased erosion, reduced dependence on fertilizers, and improved soil quality.
Participating farmers surveyed reported “improved water retention during the summer and porosity during the winter,” “increased organic matter,” “mostly weed suppression and water retention this fall.” The project will also include a cost-benefit analysis which will compare compost use to standard practices. Decision-making tools will be developed that will help the farmer in the decision whether to use compost.
New carpet recycling company opens in Tacoma
The owners of Recovery 1, Inc., a Tacoma-based construction and demolition recycling company, have announced the opening of a new company dedicated to recycling carpet and carpet pad. Carpet Processing & Recycling, LLC (CP&R), located in the old Tacoma Recycling building on South Tacoma Way, plans to begin accepting carpet and pad in January 2016. Over five years of research and development have resulted in CP&R developing a proprietary technology for processing carpet that achieves a high-degree of separation of the constituent materials of reclaimed carpet. The processed materials will go to markets for use as raw materials in making new products.
CalRecycle finds CARE non-compliant with state carpet stewardship law
Based on the 2014 Annual Report of the California Carpet Stewardship Plan, CalRecycle has found Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE), the plan’s stewardship organization, non-compliant in implementing its carpet stewardship program in California.
The program was established in response to a 2010 state law that requires carpet manufacturers to submit a stewardship plan and implement that plan to increase the amount of post-consumer carpet that is diverted from landfills and recycled into secondary products, or managed consistent with the state’s waste management hierarchy:
- Source reduction,
- Recycling and composting,
- Environmentally safe transformation, and
- Environmentally safe land disposal.
CalRecycle found CARE noncompliant because the program was not showing “continuous and meaningful improvement,” “consumers purchasing carpet do not have reasonable access to recycling services in all counties,” “education and outreach are lacking,” “CARE is not responding to market changes in a timely manner,” and the carpet assessment paid by consumers, being the same for all types of carpet, does not create an incentive for green design of carpet products.
CalRecycle has accepted CARE has submitted to CalRecycle two addenda to the Carpet Stewardship Plan to address deficiencies in the program and the key findings. Addendum #1, which was approved by CalRecycle, makes several changes to the program’s incentives, increases the per square yard assessment on carpet, increases in-state staffing and support, and establishes a reserve fund for program stability. Addendum #2, to establish a grant program, has received partial conditional approval. CARE is expected to submit at least one more addendum before the Nov. 30 deadline. Read CARE’s Annual Report to California Department of Resources, Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle), California Carpet Stewardship Plan, January 2014 – December 2014 and learn more.
Shaw closes one reclaimed carpet processing facility in Georgia and opens another
Shaw Industries Group, Inc. has shuttered its Evergreen Augusta carpet recycling facility and opened a new one in Ringgold, Ga.—Evergreen Ringgold. The company is processing both nylon and polyester carpet, with materials going to carpet-to-energy and waste-to-energy markets, and other recycling markets, such as those for engineered plastics. The Evergreen Augusta facility depolymerized nylon-6 from reclaimed carpet, converting it into caprolactam, which can be used to make new carpet fiber. The company abandoned that approach, in part, due to the economic effects of lower oil prices—that virgin plastics became relatively cheaper to use. The new plant will pelletize nylon-6 for engineered plastics markets. Read more from Floor Daily.
Floor Focus reports on challenges and opportunities for reclaimed carpet
The August/September issue of Floor Focus Magazine includes an excellent article by Executive Editor Darius Helm that provides an update on CARE (including its Voluntary Stewardship Program), describes challenges in current markets for recycled nylon, makes a case for upcycling carpet-derived fiber, and reports about and editorializes upon the proposed tactic of back-labeling carpet by fiber type. Read Carpet Reclamation Update: Demand for recycled fibers continues to fall.