Recycling Product News Logo

Keeping on top of safety in today's MRF environment - Focus New York

Collaboration and technology are helping New York City in the fight against waste

According to a New York contamination attorney​, direct contact to the surface and subsurface toxins in the soil and water can cause residents to suffer serious health problems, including numerous forms of cancer.
According to a New York contamination attorney​, direct contact to the surface and subsurface toxins in the soil and water can cause residents to suffer serious health problems, including numerous forms of cancer.

Waste management has made recent headlines in New York this summer with the state's largest illegal dumping bust in history as well as a new lawsuit on behalf of 80 Bethpage residents alleging that contaminants from the Northrop Grumman Company's former dumpsite have led to specific medical injuries and death.  

According to a New York contamination attorney, direct contact to the surface and subsurface toxins in the soil and water can cause residents to suffer serious health problems, including numerous forms of cancer.   

Reportedly, the investigation uncovered multiple illegal dumping sites and led to various companies facing charges. One of the dumpsites discovered was next to community soccer fields that were located near a middle school in Brentwood. The discovery of the dumpsite was pinpointed after dump trucks were seen dumping debris and has caused New York City to take action. The city has set goals to reduce waste by 90 percent by 2030.

Taking steps to fight waste
Through an exhibition display at The Center for Architecture in New York City, Designing Waste: Strategies for a Zero Waste City, multiple groups are collaborating to come up with solutions to minimize waste. The groups include building operators, architects, and planners, all of whom are striving to understand how the city is currently managing waste. They are coming to together to develop ideas on how to reduce waste through recycling efforts.  The Zero Waste system is an integrated approach to better manage how materials are being separated, handled, collected and stored, with the goal being to achieve zero waste.

With its mission to keep New York healthy, safe and clean, the New York Department of Sanitation, DSNY, has become proactive in responding to New York's pressing need to make the city strong and safe. The department is working to engage residents and all stakeholders in hopes to make waste operations more efficient and effective. Sanitation is dangerous work and with 10,000 employees, the department hopes to create a strong culture for both the employees and the public.

As part of the Zero Waste initiative, and with as much as one-third of organic waste being thrown away daily, the city is working to create opportunities for New Yorkers to conveniently dispose of these materials so they can be used as a nutrient-rich soil-enhancement or as a valuable energy source. Currently, New York is collecting more metal than is recyclable, along with more paper, plastic, and glass than at any time in the last decade.

DSNY continues to work with recycling vendors to ensure that the materials collected can be used for other means, such as in the development of new products.

Using Recycling Programs to Fight Waste
New York is working very hard to increase the rate of participation in curbside recycling programs. With a rate of about 50%, they are committed to increasing the participation to 60% through its recently launched organics collection program. The program serves 3.5 million New Yorkers and is the most extensive program in the United States. At its core, the program is achieving a massive outreach through educational events and by offering incentives for those who participate. For those who do not have access to curbside collection, the initiative has a food scrap drop off program and hopes to have 150 food scrap drop off sites by the end of the year.

With new import restrictions on recyclable products on behalf of China, programs across the country are facing financial pressure. DSNY continues to work with recycling vendors to ensure that the materials collected can be used for other means, such as in the development of new products. Despite the market pressures, decades of investment in its recycling processing infrastructure has better prepared DSNY for minimizing waste.

DSNY also works closely with school and other partners in hopes to increase recycling rates across the city. More than 60,000 students have been reached through the Zero Waste Schools program, which is designed to deter all recyclable and compostable waste in participating schools. In addition, a new program, Zero Waste Pledge Schools, will be launched as a voluntary expansion of the Zero Waste Schools program. DSNY has worked with the NTC Housing Authority with a focus on both outreach and education to increase the use of newly available recycling infrastructure.

There has been significant progress in establishing commercial waste collection zones with the help of DSNY. Goals have been set to make the zones safer, fairer, and maintainable for those who work in the industry and for the people who live in New York City. There has been a huge number of meetings with various stakeholders with the hopes of improving efficiency in truck route mileage and to raise awareness of waste standards and how the industry can be safer.

Creating Efforts to Fight Food Waste
Multiple organizations throughout New York are working to combat food waste. The state is booming with creative individuals and institutions working to address food waste in innovative ways to protect the environment and reduce hunger. The state has partnered with the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) to create the Food Waste Reduction and Diversion Reimbursement Program. The program is focused on diverting food waste in the landfills by offering large businesses, municipalities, and nonprofit organizations a reimbursement on the purchase of equipment and technology that supports the goal of reducing landfill waste.

Among many others, Excess NYC is making a difference in diverting food from landfills by repurposing it to feed the hungry or by sending it to a local compost. They are working with small businesses to educate and implement ways to change their food waste disposal practices.

New York will continue to pursue partnerships that share the same goal and will work to expand the Zero Waste Program. The goal is to work together and integrate technology to make the city a safer, more sustainable and resourceful place to live.

Howard Raphaelson is a partner at Raphaelson Levine Law Firm in Manhatten New York.

More from Plastics Recycling

Politicians need to tackle plastics pollution, according to Friends of the Earth poll

As we approach the 2019 Canadian federal election, Friends of the Earth Canada has a message for politicians. According to the organization, the electorate wants action to stop plastics pollution: 86% of Canadians want politicians to take more action on plastics as a way of reducing climate harmful greenhouse gases. And 8 out 10 Canadians will support politicians to ban production and use of single-use disposable plastic containers and packaging.

Foam Cycle EPS recycling system is growing in popularity

Foam Cycle is the first patent pending foam (aka. Styrofoam) collection and processing system specifically designed to be placed outdoors. It began as a test project in 2016 under a public-private partnership agreement between Foam Cycle and the Sussex County MUA, in New Jersey, which owns and operates a 250 acre on site landfill and recycling drop off collection center. 

​FCC's new single-stream facility in Houston revitalizing neighbourhood while cleaning up contaminated stream

Running since March of this year, FCC Environmental Services has opened up a new single stream plant in Houston, TX. The plant will accept residential single stream material from throughout Houston for a minimum of 15 years. FCC has also made the city the new home of their U.S. corporate headquarters, settling into the East Houston community. The district has embraced the recycling facility as a welcome investment in an underdeveloped part of town. FCC has employed many local citizens at the site, including some from a second-chance labor provider, to really make themselves part of the local landscape.

Coperion to display enhanced extruders for plastics recycling at K 2019

In keeping with the show motto "Making more out of your plastics", Coperion will present their enhanced ZSK Mc18 twin screw extruders at K 2019, being held from16-23, October, in Düsseldorf, Germany. The company says their latest, redesigned models are loaded with numerous new features that optimize convenience and handling while minimizing downtimes and energy use. 

BASF ChemCycling process uses post-consumer plastic waste to produce virgin grade material

ChemCycling is the name of a new pilot project, being undertaken in partnership with Mondi, the global packaging and paper group, and COROOS, a food-industry supplier, by which Germany-based chemical producer BASF is further developing their process for the chemical recycling of plastic waste. Plastic waste that is difficult to recycle, such as mixed or contaminated plastics, is converted into a pyrolysis oil through thermochemical processes. This secondary raw material can be used as input in BASF's production process, thereby partly replacing fossil resources, to manufacture numerous chemical products. 

Subscribe to our free newsletter

Get our newsletter

Learn more

On the trail of Canada’s first robotic sorters

The first robotic sorting systems in Canada were installed in the Fall of 2018 by Machinex, at the Sani-Éco MRF in Granby, Quebec, and soon after, at the Chatham-Kent Recycling MRF in Merlin, Ontario. At both facilities Machinex installed a double robotic sorting system, using two SamurAI robotic sorting units placed in succession on a single line. This summer, Machinex installed three more robotic sorting units at a MRF in Toronto and one machine at a MRF in Winnipeg.

STEINERT's K 2019 focus is on latest technology for sorting black plastics into pure grades

According to Germany-based Steinert, everyone involved in the plastics industry is concerned with strict legislation and a social sense of responsibility for recovering plastics. Black plastics represent a particular challenge because they cannot be detected with the optical sorting technology found in standard recycling plants. STEINERT technology allows black plastics to be sorted from the general waste stream into pure grades. This enables plastic-processing companies to respond to the new challenges of the circular economy in a cost-effective manner and to be equipped for all the processes involved in plastic recovery and processing in equal measure.

K 2019 - Lindner focuses on system solutions in plastics recycling

Three years have passed since the last K, the world's premier fair for the plastics and rubber industry, and everything has changed. Apart from the media attacks on plastic products, the industry also has other challenges to overcome, such as China's import ban on plastic waste and constantly increasing recycling quotas entering into force. 

Government of Canada invests in solutions to recycle fibreglass boats

The Government of Canada says it is dedicated to protecting Canada's land and waterways from plastic waste and marine litter. According to a recent press release, there are currently few options for recycling and disposing of boats made of fibreglass. As a result, most of these boats end up in a landfill, or worse, abandoned on land or in the water. 

Digitalization to drive circular economy according to German waste association

"Digitalization will significantly change today's circular economy," according to Naemi Denz, the Managing Director of the Waste Treatment and Recycling Association in the German Engineering Federation (VDMA). Denz says that digitally transmitted information, for example, will ensure that secondary raw materials can be designed with even greater precision. This topic will be among many at IFAT 2020, set for Germany in May, 2020.

Ettlinger to present latest ERF continuous melt filter for plastics recycling at K 2019

Ettlinger, a member of the Maag Group, will take advantage of the upcoming K 2019 in Germany this October to unveil the company's brand new ERF 1000 high performance melt filter for very high throughputs in recycling applications for plastic materials. The company will present it's new technology at Stand A04 in Hall 9, during this year's K 2019, the world's largest trade fair focused on plastics and rubber.

Subscribe to our free magazine

Get Our Magazine

Paper or Digital delivered monthly to you

Subscribe or Renew Learn more

Alliance to End Plastic Waste appoints Jacob Duer as president and CEO

The Alliance to End Plastic Waste has announced that Jacob Duer will serve as the inaugural President and CEO of the newly formed not-for-profit, effective October 1.  Duer joins the AEPW from the United Nations, where he most recently served as a Program Director for the UN Environment Programme.

Renewable energy project aims to raise Santa Barbara diversion rate above 85%

Santa Barbara County, California has buried about 200,000 tons of annual trash in its Tajiguas Landfill since 1967. The landfill was on track to hit its capacity in about six years from now, until the announcement of a renewable energy project that is expected to extend its life by an additional decade. 

Bace granted disruptive patent for IntelliBACE baler and compactor monitoring technology

This past spring, BACE, LLC announced the launch of the first-ever, fully-integrated Ecosystem for balers and compactors, powered by the IntelliBACE Platform. This August, BACE announced issuance by the United States Patent and Trade Office (USPTO) of US Patent No.: US 10,377,518, which protects the IntelliBACE Platform.

Dallas Zoo partners with Kimberly-Clark Professional to keep nitrile gloves out of landfills

For staffers at the Dallas Zoo, nitrile gloves from Kimberly-Clark Professional help ensure quality and safety when they care and feed for more than 2,000 animals at the zoo. Through Kimberly-Clark's RightCycle Program, the zoo also has expanded the overall impact of its sustainability efforts by providing a safe, renewable way to dispose of these gloves.

Plastics industry applauds Ontario government move to producer responsibility for packaging, paper and plastics

The Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA) and its members applaud today's announcement by the Honourable Jeff Yurek, Ontario's Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks, directing the transition of Ontario's Blue Box residential recycling program to a producer responsibility model by 2025. Today, the Blue Box program is funded equally by municipalities and industry. Once the transition is complete, industry will manage 100% of the costs of the Blue Box system alleviating this burden from municipal taxpayers.

An eye on optical sorting

In June, RPN had the opportunity to visit Canada's only turnkey MRF technology provider, Machinex, at the company's headquarters in Plessisville, Quebec. The company is very busy, with multiple MRF design/installation and retrofit projects across Canada currently and through 2020 - which will mark Machinex' 50th anniversary in manufacturing.

Subscribe to our free newsletter

Get our newsletter

Learn more

US objects to new global rules to better control exports of contaminated and mixed plastic waste

The US is the sole member of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) -- the group of 36 developed nations, that has chosen to object to the adoption of recently agreed Basel Convention trade controls to ensure that plastic wastes that are dirty and mixed and thus difficult to recycle can only be exported with the prior permission of the importing country.

CPIA responds to plastic bag ban announcement by Sobeys

The Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA), along with Canada's plastics industry, agrees that plastic and other waste in the environment is unacceptable. Plastic however also delivers significant societal benefits, including energy, greenhouse gas and resource savings, and innovations that improve health care, reduce food spoilage, and improve quality of life.  

Why is the switch to biobased plastics so slow?

Global awareness of climate change and pollution is increasing, but finding ways to halt our dependence on fossil fuels and plastics is proving extremely difficult. One possible solution is to shift away from petrochemicals towards a biobased feedstock to make plastics, but how realistic is this proposal? IDTechEx uncovers the factors influencing adoption of biobased polymers in their report, "Biobased Polymers 2018-2023: A Technology and Market Perspective".

​Republic Services' new Texas MRF putting community education at the forefront

Republic Services is tackling head-on the crisis of overly contaminated waste streams in today's MRFs. With current residential contamination levels reaching as high as 30% or more, it is critical that processors send a clear message to the community about what is accepted in the recycling program, while also employing the most advanced, flexible technology on the market to separate this evolving stream.

Editor in the field: From the factory floor to the MRF – in Quebec

June 12-13, Machinex and the Carton Council of Canada invited Recycling Product News to Quebec. The first stop was a tour of the Machinex manufacturing facility and HQ in Plessisville, about 2 hours East of Montreal. Secondly, the Carton Council of Canada and Machinex hosted customers and press for a tour of Sani-Éco's MRF in Granby, Quebec where Machinex recently installed the company's latest Mach Hyspec optical sorting technology, along with a pair of SamurAI robotic sorting units for handling both cartons and PET/HDPE plastic. 

Subscribe to our free magazine

Get Our Magazine

Paper or Digital delivered monthly to you

Subscribe or Renew Learn more