King County transfer station mattress recycling update
King County Solid Waste Division (SWD) is planning to pilot mattress collection and recycling in 2017 at one or more transfer stations to better understand the quantities and costs of mattress recycling, and internal procedures for handling them. With favorable pilot results, SWD would seek public bids for permanent mattress recycling services to start in the first quarter of 2018 at its Bow Lake, Shoreline and Enumclaw transfer stations and other stations as space and operations allow in the future.
Metro Vancouver seeks mattress EPR law
In June, the Metro Vancouver, B.C. solid waste advisory board agreed to write a letter to the British Columbia Minister of Environment "requesting an amendment to the B.C. Recycling Regulation to require the implementation of an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) program for mattresses and other bulky furniture by 2017."
The board's zero waste committee memo highlighted the urgent need for a mattress and furniture EPR program "as changes to commodity markets have reduced the economic viability of local recycling businesses and may result in the requirement to landfill potentially recyclable mattresses. Lack of an EPR program increases the potential for illegal dumping of these products and transfers costs to municipalities."
The memo notes that one of the three private mattress recycling companies in the region, Recyc-Mattress, stopped accepting mattresses in May 2016. Phase two of the Canada-wide Action Plan for EPR has a 2017 implementation goal for furniture, carpet, textiles, and construction and demolition materials. (via PSI newsletter).
U.K. mattress recycling report
The National Bed Federation, the trade association representing bed manufacturers and their component suppliers in the United Kingdom and Ireland, published its second report on the state of mattress recycling/re-use in the U.K. (2016 End of Life Mattress Report). The “stresses and strains on mattress recycling” identified include: costs of collecting and dismantling still comparing unfavorably to landfill costs; companies struggling to address employee health and safety and other compliance issues; finding markets for recovered materials. The web publication letsrecycle.com covered the report, noting the closure of several recyclers which is blamed on “a drop in steel prices – reducing market opportunities for springs which make up around 50 percent of mattress components – coupled with an increase in the cost of insurance for mattress recycling due to risks such as fire.”
Threadcycle 2016: Reducing clothing waste locally
Every year in King County and Seattle, an estimated 40,000 tons of clothes, shoes and linens are disposed of by area residents and businesses. Up to 95 percent of the clothes, shoes and linens thrown in the garbage could have been reused or recycled.
Spring 2016 marked the return of the Threadcycle campaign, which was started in 2015 by King County and Seattle Public Utilities with the goal of educating Seattle and King County residents that all clothes, shoes and linens can be given for reuse or recycling, nearly regardless of condition.
Since used clothing collectors are the trusted authority on what items are acceptable for donation, Threadcycle again partnered with nine of the area’s largest collectors, from Northwest Center to Goodwill, to help spread the word locally through a three-month spring campaign from March to May. The 2016 campaign used social media, earned media, and a paid advertising campaign, along with communications from collectors and local cities. And this year we saw a marked increase in visits to the Threadcycle website, and expanded reach through social media and paid advertising. Five of the nine participating collector organizations reported that, during the campaign period, they received more clothes shoes and linens than during the same period the previous year.
On an international level, clothing waste issues remain a hot topic in the media. Interested readers are encouraged to learn more about how Vancouver, B.C. may be banning textiles from the landfills, why East Africa wants to ban the imports of second-hand clothing and textiles and how an Indian entrepreneur is making money from old American sheets, napkins and table cloths.
King County grant program targets commercial food waste
The King County Solid Waste Division has awarded grants to two businesses and one city that are trying new ways of reducing food waste.
Each year, an estimated 85,000 tons of food waste is disposed by restaurants, grocery stores and other commercial enterprises in King County. The King County Solid Waste Division is partnering with three organizations to explore innovative ways of reducing food waste, and diverting it from the landfill.
King County has provided four, $30,000 grants for pilot projects that could result in new approaches to reducing food waste from commercial sources throughout the county. The projects range from assessing the feasibility for a high-tech process that converts food scraps into energy and liquid fertilizer, to assisting restaurants, farmers markets and other generators in establishing food waste recycling programs and use waste-reduction best practices.
Learn more about the grant projects.
Seattle Public Utilities Paving with RAS at North Transfer Station
Seattle Public Utilities used 5 percent recycled asphalt shingles (RAS) in the mix of approximately 2,000 tons of asphalt pavement placed at its new North Transfer Station, which is currently under construction and scheduled to open this fall. Not only will the new transfer station separate multiple waste streams, including recyclables and green waste, it will also have used a variety of recycled materials, including RAS, in its construction.
Update: California Carpet Stewardship
Since California is the only state with a law requiring carpet manufacturers to implement a program to advance recycling of spent carpet, here’s an update for readers on some of the developments in that state’s carpet stewardship program so far in 2016. The Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE) is the carpet manufacturers’ designated stewardship organization implementing the program. CalRecycle is the state agency that provides oversight and enforcement for California’s Carpet Stewardship Law.
CARE has launched the California Council on Carpet Recycling, an 18-member advisory group whose goal is to provide guidance to CARE on California’s recycling efforts. The group is made up of carpet retailers and installers; collectors, haulers and processors of used carpet; manufacturers of products made from carpet; NGOs; and local government agencies.
The organization has also awarded grants totaling approximately $2 million to nine projects that will use carpet waste generated in California. The goal of the grants is to establish new facilities or expand capacity at existing facilities.
In September, there were several significant developments with the California Carpet Stewardship Program. First, CARE notified CalRecycle of its plan to increase the carpet assessment in California to 25 cents per square yard, effective January 1, 2017 so that enough funds to make the necessary subsidy payments to carpet recyclers. Second, based on the findings of independent audits conducted on the 2015 Annual Report and reports from previous years, CalRecycle has determined that “several key components of the 2015 Annual Report, and previous annual reports, are noncompliant...” The agency has directed its Waste Evaluation and Enforcement Branch to “…verify these findings and other potential violations of the statute and regulations and, if warranted, consider action(s) including but not limited to imposition of civil penalties, a compliance schedule, or other options to achieve compliance.” In justification of this course of action, CalRecycle has stated that there has not been the required continuous meaningful improvement called for by the Carpet Stewardship Law, and that the recycled output rate has actually fallen from 12 to 10 percent between 2014 and 2015. Find the 2015 Annual Report, Stakeholder Comments, and related documents (Public Notice).
CARE has submitted to CalRecycle its California Carpet Stewardship Plan 2017-2021. Written stakeholder comments on the new plan are due November 14, 2016, and a public meeting on the plan will be held on December 20, 2016. The current California Carpet Stewardship Plan will expire on December 31, 2016.
Carpet industry Voluntary Stewardship (VPS) Program extended
Recycling Today reported that the Carpet and Rug Institute and CARE announced they are extending funding through 2017 for their VPS Program – a market-based program designed to accept and manage all applicable post-consumer carpet, regardless of polymer type or primary materials or construction. The program provides financial assistance to qualified U.S. sorters who divert post-consumer carpet. The program is not available in states or municipalities that have Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) laws or regulations for post-consumer carpet. Participating carpet processors agree not to support EPR-type regulation during the term of their participation and for 18-months after receiving the last payment from the VPS Program. Read more from Recycling Today. Learn more about VPS.