Twenty people attended our October meeting, held in the august Weymouth Town Council hearing room. Mayor Kay welcomed the Board and associates.
Dan Peters and Patti Howard provided details on accessing Covanta SEMASS' mercury Material Separation Plan incentives. The MSP has been in effect since 2000. Changes were made effective Jan, 1, 2013 to incentivize more mercury recovery. Keepmercuryfromrising.org is still online, Universal Waste Shed and mercury recycling support are still offered. The rebate program replaces the exchange program, and covers compact fluorescent lamps, thermometers, switches, and blood pressure cuffs. SEMASS is also doing new outreach for WWTPs to replace flowmeters and pumps with non-mercury models.
Rebates are only available for SEMASS long term contract towns, and may be used to offset SSRC membership dues, sharps collection costs, etc. If the material is sent to Complete Recycling Solutions, the devices are itemized on their bill to SEMASS. (Other vendors don't /won't itemize. Count must be reported to DEP.) The Cape has collected $5,229 in rebates.
SEMASS will send out a mailer this fall giving towns the information about rebate eligibility, and request who should receive the funds. Recipients will need to provide a W-9 form. Annual payments will be made in January based on CRS item counts.
SEMASS has provided Fire Departments with mercury management instructions to avoid situations like the incident in Rockland, where a broken thermometer became a costly fiasco. All FDs received laminated instructions last spring, which Patti will share to post on the SSRC website.
When mercury is "loose", it is considered a hazardous waste. When still confined inside a product, it is "universal waste", which is much less costly to manage. In case of a mercury release (i.e. broken thermometer), a reclamation company (i.e. CRS) should go to the site. Cost will be covered by SEMASS.
MassRecycle will be scheduling trainings for all personnel who manage mercury, regardless of disposal contract status.
To reduce delivery and fuel costs (and greenhouse gas emissions), please request boxes and buckets for bulbs at time of pickup, not separate trip.
The Director distributed the bill text and her September testimony relating to S379, which repeals the container deposit law, puts a 1¢ fee on most beverage containers, and directs half of the estimated $ 34million/year raised to a municipal grant fund. The board discussed ramifications, cost to municipalities. It was noted that the Kingston Boy Scouts collect deposit containers, get mostly nondeposit containers. Mr. Brown moved that the SSRC oppose S379, Mr. Wyatt seconded, AIF. The Director has sent a letter to the Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy Committee expressing the Board's opposition.
HHW RFP- The Board instructed the Director to start now, award at December meeting. Review committee: Randy Sylvester, Kevin Cafferty. (NB: at the time of the meeting, it was thought that we were in our final contract extension. It turns out we have one more extension. PSC will provide a proposal in time for our November meeting).
Joseph J. Lambert, 69, a 20-year resident of Marshfield, lost a valiant fight with Alzheimers last month. A Viet Nam veteran Army medic, Joseph retired from MassDEP a few years ago after serving for fifteen years. The leadership Joseph provided in implementing Pay As You Throw / SMART programs has cut municipal waste by thousands of tons, and reduced costs to municipal budgets by millions. Many of us remembered him fondly at his memorial service last month.
Read his obituary here.
$2.47 million in grants were awarded to 136 cities, towns, regional groups and non-profits to increase the diversion, reuse, composting and recycling of discarded materials last month. The “Sustainable Material Recovery Program” grants are funded by Renewable Energy Credits from the state’s 6 energy-from-waste facilities, including Covanta SEMASS in Rochester. The fourteen SSRC member towns, and the SSRC itself, received $460,000 of those awards. (see list below).
$162,000 of the grant money will fund food waste collection and composting projects in Salem, Newton, Manchester and Randolph. “With approximately 25 percent of our waste stream made up of food waste and organics, we need to pull that material out of landfills and incinerators and compost it or generate clean energy through anaerobic digestion," MassDEP Commissioner Kenneth Kimmell said. "When we tap into the energy value of food waste, we reduce local governments' costs of waste disposal, cut air emissions and harness innovative new energy sources."
Another $535,905 will fund eight conditional grants to implement a SMART (Save Money and Reduce Trash) system, aka Pay As You Throw, for curbside trash collection, four of which are for SSRC member towns. The grants will be disbursed to assist with start-up costs, such as producing public education materials, and purchasing SMART bags and recycling bins.
Four communities are expected to receive a total of $85,000 to support the hiring of local waste reduction enforcement coordinators, including the Town of Abington.
Grant awards to SSRC members are as follows:
The SSRC plans to use its funds to produce one or two informational videos about why and how residents can reduce the amount of waste products they dispose.
Last week MassRecycle recognized the outstanding achievements of about 2 dozen individuals, municipalities, businesses and organizations in promoting recycling and waste reduction in the Commonwealth at its 18th Awards Ceremony, held at the grand and green Hanover Theater in Worcester.
Among those honored were Hingham High School, for its comprehensive zero waste efforts, and the Chairs of the Joint Committee on the Environment, Rep. Anne Gobi and Senator Marc Pacheco, for their active promotion of waste and greenhouse gas reduction measures.
PLYMOUTH —They are on track to save nearly $145,000 per year, have nearly doubled the rate of personal recycling, and in two months will transition to a more convenient, curbside pickup system. ...
The program – which is managed by the North Carolina-based firm WasteZero as part of its trash metering service, began July 1. Between then and Oct. 1, Plymouth residents threw away 1,877 tons of municipal solid waste at town-operated transfer stations, compared with 3,061 tons in the same three-month period one-year earlier.
Where'd the rest of the trash go? Largely into the recycling containers at the town's transfer stations, which accepts a wide variety of recycling materials from glass to various plastics to paper and cardboard. ...
Between decreased tipping fees for solid waste that the town has to pay, and increased revenue from the sale of a higher volume of recyclables, Plymouth has saved $36,000 during the first three months of operation. ...
"The program is really still in its infancy," DPW Director Jonathan Beder said. "We still have to roll out the curbside piece, and then, I believe, more residents will start to see what a phenomenal program it is and realize the cost benefits and convenience it offers."
There are already more residents signed up for municipal solid waste services this year than last, but Beder hopes to see more....
.... "ABC will start getting the carts out in November and hope to be using CNG (compressed natural gas) trucks to make the pickups starting in January."
Beder says the town also plans to offer a food waste collection system shortly after that – something the state is beginning to push – and dispose of that waste by anaerobic digestion, which produces a fuel referred to as biogas.
"We're off to a fantastic start," Beder says, "but we are a long way from the finish line."
Scituate's 7th grade class learned where their used water goes, whence their electricity and consumer products come, and what happens to their trash and recycling on a Halloween field trip to their town's WWTP, wind turbine, solar array, and transfer station. Eight groups of 30 students each rotated through the recycling area over 3 hours, where Janine Delaney and I did our "song and dance", complete with costumes.
After the students poked around the recycling area, we started each presentation with one of our radio ads the SRSC produced with WATD a few years ago (You may recall that the SSRC did several fun and informative ads, here's the whole collection)
Holding up a plastic bottle and an aluminum can, I delved further into the destructive, energy-intense nature of manufacturing consumer products from raw materials, starting with the aluminum can (4:1 bauxite:aluminum, caustic soda, aka lye, and toxic byproducts, high heat and pressure to extract and purify), then plastic (crude oil, gas, toxic chemicals), and finally paper, using a log in one hand and a small bag with various types of recyclable paper in the other (more about that here).
The point: Mother Nature (my costumed persona) hates waste; natural processes find uses for all waste materials. It is much gentler and less wasteful to make products from products than from raw materials.
The 2000 TPY of paper, cardboard, bottles and containers that Scituate recycles saves a lot of resources, reduces energy use and greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing and disposal, saves the town about $200K/year in disposal costs, and earns enough money from their value to pay a town employee.
Janine then discussed what happened to the recyclable material after it leaves the transfer station, including a description of the MRF sorting process, baling, selling to manufacturers in the US and overseas, etc. She showed them a map of towns that is color coded by per household waste generation. The students noted that Scituate (a PAYT town) is on the lower end. She explained how PAYT works to reduce waste and encourage recycling, the composition of disposed waste using a cool graphic with a trash truck , and expounded on textile recycling- most people still don't know that donation bins will recycle items in any condition, ripped, stained, out of style, stuffed animals, sheets, shoes, etc. It all has value.
We finished up with another radio ad, which hits even closer to home in Scituate now than when we produced it. Some groups even applauded!
Thanks to Gates Intermediate School math teacher Adam Culbert for coordinating this inspiring learning experience.
By Morgan True, Enterprise Staff Writer Posted Sep 21, 2013
ROCKLAND —A Rogers Middle School student brought a broken mercury thermometer to class in a plastic bag Friday morning after his two little sisters had broken it the previous night, according to the family and fire officials.
A state hazardous materials team was called in after the 12-year-old boy presented the broken thermometer to his science teacher, said Rockland Fire Chief Scott Duffey.
When it evaporates, mercury produces a poison that is dangerous even at low levels.
Students in the immediate area were quarantined in their classrooms until a hazardous materials team determined there were no traces of mercury in the school, Duffey said.
The boy’s house on Old Market Road was later evacuated by fire officials and the Hazmat team when unsafe levels of mercury were discovered there.
Most boards of health or health departments operate thermometer exchanges, and many communities have hazardous waste bays where they can be deposited.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sets the permissible levels of mercury extremely low because of its toxicity, especially to children and pregnant women.
A Hazmat team will assess the mercury levels when a spill happens, and, in some cases, clean it themselves. If the mercury has spread, a private company that specializes in handling mercury is required. That was the case at the home on Old Market Road.
The state charges homeowners or whoever is deemed responsible an average of $2,500 for the cleanup. Private company rates start at $4,000, Mieth said.
The Red Cross of Eastern Massachusetts responded to help the family, providing them with money for clothing, shoes and food. The family plans to stay with friends until the mess can be cleaned and they can return home.
“I didn’t even realize we had mercury thermometers in the house,” said Rebeca Portela, 15, the eldest daughter, who was home sick Friday. “I can’t believe it turned into this huge deal.”
New Bedford Waste Services, LLC (NBWS), a sister company of ABC Disposal Service, Inc., and WERC-2, Inc. located in Pocasset have received their Permit Modification by the Mass DEP for the NBWS existing transfer station in Rochester.
The new 94,000 Sq, Ft. Zero Waste Solutions, LLC solar powered facility will be built at Rochester Environmental Park, an MSW and Construction & Demolition transfer station in Rochester, MA. The facility will accept Residential & Commercial MSW, Construction & Demolition Debris, Single Stream, Co-Mingled & Source Separated Recyclables.
The facility will utilize the WERC-2 process to make the ECO-TAC fuel briquette. ECO-TAC is a fuel briquette that does not absorb water, so it can be stored outside. It provides high BTU value with dramatically reduced emissions & particulates. ECO-TAC will be marketed to Biomass & Coal plants outside of Massachusetts.
Zero Waste Solutions, LLC plans to begin construction this month, and open in the summer of 2014.
The Director met with a working group of over a dozen stakeholders, organized by MassRecycle to refine the SSRC's proposed Universal Recycling Bill, H765. Regina Hanson of MHOA was there, and recommended amending Ch. 590, 410 regulations (housing, sanitary codes). Need flexibility, retain some local authority. Provide template bylaw, such as Hingham's. Haulers would like more uniformity. Another working group meeting is being scheduled for later this month.
At MassRecycle's Annual Awards Celebration last week, MR President Meg Morris opened the event with details about how MR is coordinating stakeholders to optimize this bill, and acknowledged the SSRC.
The Director did a presentation with John Fischer (MassDEP) in plenary session last month about Universal Recycling bill at the SWANA SNE Conference late last month too. There were bout 60 solid waste professionals in attendance.
Here’s a hot tip from the Recycle-MA listserv: HSP33 is a state contract that includes sharps boxes.
According to my counterpart in Franklin County, Jan Ameen, these are very good prices. Both vendors sell several sizes of sharps containers.
(posted last January) "MulchFest 2013 is almost here! This weekend, join us and Treecycle by bringing your Christmas tree to MulchFest!
Saturday, January 12
Sunday, January 13
10:00 am - 2:00 pm
Over 80 locations citywide: 35 chipping sites, 45 drop-off sites
NYC Parks needs mulch to nourish plantings, parks, and greenstreets across the city. Mulch can be used in your backyard for your own garden, or you can take the mulch and create a winter “bed” for a street tree on your block!
It’s easier than ever! Remember to remove all lights and decorations before bringing the tree to a MulchFest site.
MulchFest is brought to you each year by NYC Parks in partnership with GreeNYC and the Department of Sanitation. For more information and a list of sites in your borough, visit our MulchFest page. MulchFest is supported again this year by Hot 97 and Cabot Cheese.
Treecycle and help NYC grow!"
"While I suspect some of you think I have been back here dozing off, I assure you things around here have been HAPPENING! One thing that has been a lot of fun has been the amount of time I have been able to spend out on the road developing new business and visiting existing accounts. Over the past month or so, I have had a chance to visit many towns and had an opportunity to visit THREE of Schnitzer’s Northeast’s scrap metal recycling yards among other vendors.
You will note that the three major grades of paper have not changed this month on the Yellow Sheet. While this may make you believe that the market is plugging along without major swings, nothing could be further from the truth. As we have rolled into October, the market for fibers has heated up once again. In my opinion, this is a result of exporters finally seeing the end to the so-called Chinese “Green Fence”. While I have long talked about the issues in the markets that this quality initiative has created for better AND worse, I am honestly of the camp that believes that in the end, it will be a good thing for the industry. It is fundamentally important that material produced by recycling plants remains a better quality than it had been allowed to become pre-2013. Of course, we all know that is mostly directed at single stream processors and most drop-off facilities produce a premium product, but that does not matter. … Pricing, perception and true sustainability are at stake here.
The plastics markets remain steady this month with little movement. HD Natural demand remains high while increased PET recycling capacity has held that price up as well. HD Color has also increased a few pennies per lb.
Oh, but I did want to mention what a bummer 1-7 plastic is. While more and more towns have started baling 1-7 plastics to increase operational efficiency, pricing for the material has suffered. I blame the processors that sort the stuff out. To me it appears they believe that relatively few buyers are out in the market looking to buy the grade and sort it out and they may be right. The poor pricing is also tied to the “Green Fence” issues in China but unlike as in the fiber grades, we have not seen this pricing rebound yet.
Scrap Metal has continued its forward and backwards dance with a step back in the past month or so. Pricing has fallen $20/GT for delivered/containerized and bulk picked-up tons. Indeed though, interesting things are happening in the scrap world reflecting export/domestic tension and geographically we are in a good position to benefit from it. I suspect prices will be back up in short order.
Tin cans remain steady this month, with little movement on pricing. Heavy, 40,000 lb. loads are going in the $210-$220/GT range, just to give you a sense of it. Call for load specific pricing.
Perhaps the most exciting thing that has been happening in the aluminum can market for us in recent times (nope, it is not the price) has been an effort to get Alcoa to accept our often less than 40,000 lb. loads of cans. While some facilities are able to produce such heavy loads, most are not. Recently, we have been working with Alcoa to accept lower weight but same high quality loads and it has been going very well. …