Monday, March 29, 1993

Steel Cans part of Washington, D.C.’s Expanding Curbside Recycing Program

Through curbside, commercial/institutional and drop off recycling, more than 5,000 tons of steel cans were removed from Washington, D.C.’s solid waste stream in 1992.

Implemented in 1989, the curbside program has grown in phases to include more households place recyclable containers, including steel, aluminum, glass and plastic, into blue bags. The residents also tie cardboard, newspaper and magazines into bundles and place them into green recycling bins. Both the bags and the bins are set at the curbside once a week, the same day garbage is collected.

City businesses are also required to separate steel and aluminum cans, glass and plastic containers, newspaper and office paper from their solid waste. It is estimated that 70 percent of the city’s solid waste stream is produced by local commercial establishments and businesses. Although businesses may have private haulers handle their recyclables, city recycling officials provide technical support.

“We are very excited our local businesses and commercial establishments are recycling,” said Evelyn Shields, the city’s recycling program manager. “What’s particularly great is that we’ve gone beyond container recycling - like one gallon steel cans - and are recycling appliances and other materials. Last summer, we worked with PepCo., the city’s electric company, on a project to collect white goods and bulk waste. We collected nearly 1,000 refrigerators and air
conditioners and 130 freezers for recycling.”

Collected recyclables are delivered to Georgetown Paperstock, where they are placed on a conveyor belt and the steel cans are magnetically removed. The steel cans are baled and shipped weekly to AMG Resources Corporation, a detinning facility in Sparrow’s Point, Maryland.

Thursday, March 18, 1993

SEMASS Creates Power to Recycle

Many Massachusetts residents are changing their solid waste into electricity. That change is giving them even more power - the power to recycle virtually all their steel cans.

About 40 communities in southeastern Massachusetts (including cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard) ship their solid waste to the SEMASS resource recovery facility.

Municipal solid waste is delivered directly to the facility’s tipping floor via train or truck. Recyclable and bulky materials are removed, and the remaining solid waste is loaded onto a conveyor belt and passed through shredders which reduce it to a size of six inches or less.

About 75 percent of the steel scrap is then magnetically removed and loaded onto a separate conveyor belt. The belt feeds the steel cans and scrap directly into trucks, which deliver the scrap to regional secondary processors and steel mills. Approximately 100,000 tons of steel scrap have been recovered for recycling since the facility opened in 1989.

The remaining 25 percent of the ferrous scrap that enters the boilers falls to the bottom of the incinerator system. The steel cans, scrap, and nonferrous metals, along with a byproduct of the incineration process (ash) is collect and conveyed to the facility’s ash processing plant where steel cans and scrap are magnetically recovered for recycling.

Because steel is magnetically separated, participation in this recycling effort is virtually 100 percent. In addition, many of the communities separate steel cans from he solid waste stream through residential recycling programs.

The steel cans, scrap and nonferrous metals recovered from the post-combustion process are taken to regional secondary processors.

SEMASS is owned by the SEMASS Partnership, a group of subsidiaries of Energy Answers Corporation, ESI Energy, inc., Bechtel Group, Inc., and Stephens, Inc., and managed by SEMASS Corporation, a subsidiary of Energy Answers Corporation.

Friday, March 5, 1993

Rhode Island Studies Recycling

In the fall of 1991, a study focusing on a pilot recycling program of additional plastics in the town of Lincoln, Rhode Island addressed the effectiveness of public education. Researchers hoped to learn not only how effective public education is, but also how participation rates increase with the addition of other materials.

“Public education is a critical component of any recycling program,” said Terri Bisson, recycling program manger for Ocean State Cleanup and Recycling. “This is something as a state we do a lot of, and something we’ll continue to do more of in the future.”

The study was performed by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, the Rhode Island Solid Waste Management Corporation and the town of Lincoln. Some of the study’s findings focused on other materials in Lincoln’s program, including steel cans.

Specifically, over a four week period, researchers analyzed the recycling or “capture” rates of recyclable materials from five percent of the Lincoln households participating in the study. To determine the capture rate, the collective weight of one type of recyclable material found in the households’ recycling bins was compared to the weight of the same type of recyclable material found in the households’ municipal solid waste.

Approximately 118 pounds of steel cans were collected for recycling from these households. Further analysis of their municipal solid waste indicated that this figure, 118 pounds, represented a capture rate for steel cans of nearly 79 percent.

After the distribution of a flyer about plastics, the quantity of steel cans collected in the following four weeks rose by 19 pounds, an increase of approximately 16 percent. Capture rates were not analyzed in the following four weeks.

In the study, similar statistics were kept for other recyclable materials in the community’s program.

“Emphasizing the recyclability of a particular material can often lead to an increase in the recycling rates of other materials. In the course of educating residents about one material, you remind them about the recycling program going on in their community,” said Bisson. “You can periodically remind residents that the program exists by keeping the instructions out there, by reminding them through flyers to maintain the quality of their recyclables; rinse the cans, remove the caps and son on.”

Lincoln is entering its fourth year of recycling. Some 6,000 households place steel and aluminum cans, glass containers, and plastic milk jugs and soda bottles into recycling bins. Newspaper is placed into a paper shopping bag and set on top of the bin. The recyclables are collected once per week, the same day as garbage.