BC gets “Unplugged”
On October 1, 2011, British Columbians were able to begin recycling their used or broken small appliances at over 100 convenient drop-off locations through a new and unique program called Unplugged, the Small Appliance Recycling Program. Unplugged will divert approximately two million small appliances previously destined for the landfill.
Introduced by the Canadian Electrical Stewardship Association (CESA), Unplugged is the first small appliance recycling program of its kind in Canada and the only government-approved small appliance recycling program in BC. The program will accept more than 120 small appliance types for recycling, ranging from toasters and electric toothbrushes to countertop microwaves and vacuum cleaners.
After an appliance is brought to a drop-off location, it’s transported to processors in Western Canada and separated into different materials which are then recycled. Metals will be smelted down and recycled into other metal products, while plastics and glass will be sorted and sold or reused in various manufacturing processes. CESA has partnered with B.C.-based Product Care Association (PCA) to set up and operate Unplugged throughout the province.
“We are happy to have the support of a wide number of retailers, municipalities, and manufacturers who see the importance of the Unplugged program,” says Mark Kurschner, president of PCA. Unplugged will be fully funded by a recycling fee applied to new products brought into the province.
Plastic to fuel technology deal
On July 29, 2011, Thorold, Ontario-based JBI, Inc. announced that it has entered into an agreement with Rock-Tenn Company (NYSE: RKT) to convert mill byproduct waste into fuel using JBI’s Plastic2OilTM technology. Under the agreement, JBI has an exclusive ten-year license with a renewal option to build and operate Plastic2Oil processors at RockTenn facilities to process RockTenn’s waste plastic at paper mills and material recovery facilities (MRFs) and to mine and process plastic from RockTenn’s plastic-filled monofill sites.
RockTenn’s paper mills and MRFs currently produce thousands of tonnes of plastic per day. To handle this waste stream, RockTenn has been storing this byproduct in company-owned plastic-only monofill sites for several years. The agreement gives JBI the exclusive rights to mine plastic from these sites.
JBI’s Founder & CEO John Bordynuik said, “RockTenn currently has sites that can support clusters of processors. In preparation for this agreement, we have designed our processors to be modular ‘plug and play’ to allow rapid deployment across RockTenn’s locations.”
BC E-waste plan
Abbott Canada has submitted a draft stewardship plan for electronic and electrical medical devices and equipment in the Province of British Columbia. This plan anticipates a launch date of July 1, 2012 and proposes actions and targets for five years (2012-2016) in accordance with the requirements of the BC Recycling Regulation. The public consultation period for the plan closed September 30, 2011.
The stewardship plan is available at www.abbott.ca
Criminal charges for e-waste exporter
In September 2011 after 30 months of investigations, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and EPA Criminal Investigation Division handed down multiple criminal charges against two executives of Executive Recycling Inc., a Denver, Colorado electronics recycling firm. The government first became aware of the alleged violations following an investigation by the Basel Action Network (BAN), a Seattle-based organization dedicated to combating toxic trade. The investigation became highly publicized after BAN worked with CBS’s 60 Minutes news magazine in an episode entitled “The Wasteland.” It is the first instance that criminal charges have been brought against an e-waste exporter in the United States.
In 2007 and 2008, BAN volunteers photographed 21 sea-going containers at Executive Recycling’s loading docks that they subsequently tracked across the world, with most ending up in China. BAN then alerted the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and 60 Minutes, and together the groups documented US businesses posing as responsible electronics recyclers but who instead were simply shipping e-waste to developing countries where it was processed in toxic, highly polluting operations. The resulting 60 Minutes episode has since become one of the most popular and award winning in the program’s history.
According to the federal grand jury indictment, Executive Recycling was responsible for at least 300 exports, including shipments of more than 100,000 toxic cathode ray tubes that netted the company $1.8 million. Executive’s CEO Brandon Richter, together with Tor Olson, Vice President of Operations, were indicted on 16 separate counts including wire and mail fraud, environmental crimes, exportation contrary to law, and destruction, alteration, or falsification of records.
For a copy of the indictment, visit www.ban.org/Library/Executive_Indictment.pdf To view CBS’s 60 Minutes Episode, The Wasteland, visit http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=5274959n
Composting Council annual conference
The 21st annual National Compost Conference proved to be another success, bringing together organics recycling and compost advocates from coast-to-coast-and-beyond to the wonderful province of Prince Edward Island. To experience the full potential that compost has been able to realize to-date, the Compost Council of Canada’s conference started with tours in Halifax, visits to the compost trials at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College and Jost Vineyards where compost is used. Added to this were PEI visits to the ADI International (PEI) Compost Facility in Brookfield, Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada’s Crops & Livestock Research Station in Harrington and the Oyster Bed Compost Facility, a 300 cattle feedlot, organic farm in Oyster Bed Bridge. Two additional days filled with program updates, research findings and the all-important networking enabled the compost industry to focus on their accomplishments to-date and work for the future.
Conference proceedings may be available through contacting The Compost Council of Canada at 1-877-571-GROW(4769).