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A Word About Recycling with Ollie Maier

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Today, taking items for a recent Resource Recycling newsletter, I will say a few words about a variety of items happening in several states. I'll start off with Texas, naturally. There, an article talked about three new processing sites to recover and pelletize plastic film to come on-line in 2020.

I find the Texas-based Avangard Innovative company plans to build one plant in Houston, another in Nevada and a third in Mexico. These plants, costing about $30 million each, will have a yearly capability to process close to 100 million pounds. The company, headquartered in Houston, already operates a processing plant there which handles 48 million pounds per year of LDPE film.

Going next to California, I find their lawmakers recently passed a bill requiring the use of recycled plastic in beverage containers. — Coca-Cola and Pepsi are already using some recycled plastic in their beverage containers. There, the producers of most plastic beverage containers sold in the state will need to include at least 10% recycled plastic in all their product line by 2021, increasing to 50% by 2030. Interesting enough, the draft of the original bill required 100% recycled content by 2035, which was lowered to 75% by 2030, ending up at 50% by 2030.

One of the reasons for lowering the requirements was some did not feel there would be enough recycled plastic bottles to meet the bill’s requirements. And in glass bottles, California statutes already require that bottle manufacturers must incorporate at least 35% post-consumer glass cullet, or 25% if the cullet is mixed color.

Now to Colorado, where the article started with: “Nothing is truly recycled until it is processed back into a usable good. Collecting, sorting and processing commodities are for naught without a company or process to reshape and re-manufacture the recovered materials into goods.”

Thus Colorado, with a rapidly growing population and increasing curbside recycling is looking to help build markets locally. Colorado’s current recycling rate is 17.2%, but the state’s goal is 28% by 2020. And part of their problem is many commodities have to be trucked large distances to be processed and remade. To help solve this problem, over the past decade, municipalities, nonprofit entities, materials recovery facilities (MRFs) and private businesses have been the recipients of a total of almost $25 million in Recycling Resources Economic Opportunity (RREO) grant funding.

Next to Ohio, where President Trump will tour Pratt Industries’ 100% recycled containerboard mill in Wapakoneta. This paper mill has been under construction since late 2017. Since it is an Australian-owned manufacturing facility, he will be joined by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. The plant, with a startup later this year, will handle 425,000 tons per year of recovered fiber, including mixed paper, corrugated cardboard and double-lined kraft paper. This mill is the fifth Pratt 100% recycled paper mill in the U.S.

Till next week, do have a great one...

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Ollie is a local citizen concerned with the environment and helping others. A retired Air Force fighter and instructor pilot, he is a graduate of Leadership San Marcos and received his degrees at Texas State University where he worked on staff before totally retiring. For questions or comments, he invites you to call him at 512-353-7432.or email omaier@txstate.edu.

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