Newsletter of the Canadian Association of Recycling Industries
Volume 17, No. 3, March 2012
President’s Message | Business Opportunities | Fast Facts
CARI continuously strives to keep its members informed of issues and events pertinent to our industry as a whole, and to the well-being of the individuals who work in it. For many reasons, ours is a dangerous industry. That’s why CARI, with the help of ISRI, developed an industry-specific Health and Safety Manual. It’s why we send members safety bulletins, include safety tips in our newsletters, and invite speakers to address various safety concerns at our chapter meetings and conferences.
Some of you will recall at last year’s fall chapter meetings we had speakers from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) present on orphaned source radioactive material in scrap. The 2011 Japanese tsunami and subsequent Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster have brought the issue of radioactive material back into the spotlight. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has drafted a “Code of Conduct on the Transboundary Movement of Radioactive Material Inadvertently Incorporated into Scrap Metal and Semi-finished Products of the Metal Recycling Industries” that they expect to finalize by the summer. CARI staff met with CNSC representatives to discuss the implications of this non-binding code. The code restricts the movement of material with concentrations of radioactivity above a certain levelregardless of its source. One more reason recyclers should have the equipment to identify radioactive material.
While the CNSC provides an excellent program for the safe disposal of orphaned sources, CARI again noted that NORM is much more likely to be a concern. There is no national program for its proper disposal, but recyclers have options for disposing of NORM. The Calgary-based company NORMCAN operates a licensed decontamination and interim storage facility for NORM materials. At present, there are only three licensed facilities in Canada where NORM material may be disposed of: CCS Silverberry Landfill in Fort St. John, B.C.; CCS Salt Cavern in Unity, SK; and Plains Environmental Salt Cavern in Melville, SK. Currently the cost for disposal of NORM is down to the recycler, but with the equipment to test material from the oil and gas industry before buying it, a recycler could add the cost of NORM disposal into the seller’s contract.
Radiation may not be our industry’s most immediate safety concern, but it cannot be ignored. Late last month an orphaned source inadvertently included in a load of stainless-steel scrap was melted in a Finnish steel factory. Because of the nature of the source, the contamination was mostly limited to the slag and the radiation level was picked up by detectors screening the slag pots. However, four workers had low-level exposure inhalation of radioactive dust.
Events like this demonstrate the importance of having and maintaining the equipment to identify radioactive sources. It can happen here too; last week a portable gauge was discovered in a load of scrap at a Montreal yard. Screening material before it is delivered to a mill is essential for economic reasons as well as for safety; aside from the new IAEA agreement, we are all familiar with the Canadian Steel Producers’ Association’s zero-tolerance policy for radiation in scrap. But in the end, it’s about keeping us safe, keeping the public safe, and keeping our environment safe. It’s simply good business sense.
Bertrand Van Dorpe
The Consolidated Group’s Prime Real Estate Holdings Inc. has two properties for sale that have been zoned for recycling:
- 17.37-acre property in Oshawa, Ontario, near Highway 401; includes a 411,000 sq.ft. building.
- 16.57-acre property in Mississauga, Ontario near the QEW with CN Rail access; includes two buildings, a warehouse (336,100 sq.ft), and administrative building (25,700 sq.ft).
For more information about these properties contact Dennis Andrews at (416) 743-2576 or email dennisconsolidatedgroup [at] gmail.com.
- “Issues in International Trade Law: Restricting Exports of Electronic Waste,” a U.S. Congressional Research Service (CRS) report focused on the push for legislation restricting e-waste exports, has concluded that such restrictions would be inconsistent with current trade agreements and “could be susceptible to challenge before a WTO panel.” Restrictions such as a partial or total ban on e-waste exports, an e-waste export licensing system, or a quota on e-waste exports may violate articles with the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. ISRI’s president Robin Wiener said the report confirms that an export ban bill would “take us backward by violating our trade obligations” and that such measures would not put an end to irresponsible recycling.
- In a study commissioned by a major aluminum recycler, researchers at MIT and the Rochester Institute of Technology have found that the more aluminum is recycled, the more impurities accumulate in the material. Contaminants such as paint and labels or other metals are currently manageable with existing separation methods for products such as engine blocks, which can tolerate slight levels of impurity. However, these impurities will cause a problem for electronic circuits and aerospace markets that require highly pure recycled aluminum. Separation systems can be set up to manage the accumulated contamination, but they are difficult to retrofit. The report recommended these systems be added to new plants in anticipation of their need.
- Preliminary data of the 2011 U.S. scrap industry indicates strong, positive growth. According to ISRI, the scrap industry grew to $100 billionup almost 30% from 2010and processed 134 million tonnes of recyclables last year. In addition, the volume of processed scrap increased by 14% from 2010 and the value of exported scrap increased by 32% to $39.2 billion. ISRI will release a revised report in April.
- The Vermont House of Representatives will soon vote on a bill that would ban recyclable materials from landfills. Under the bill, batteries would be banned immediately; recyclable plastic and glass containers, cardboard, paper would be banned by July 1, 2015; yard waste by July 1, 2016; and organic materials by July 1, 2020. The bill prevents private haulers from charging extra for handling recycling materials and public garbage collection will have to include receptacles for recycled materials.
- Recyclebank, a reward points program for consumers who make environmentally responsible choices, has launched a new iPhone app meant to increase the recycling of polypropylene. The app helps consumers find the nearest location that accepts this common plastic and awards points to consumers who recycle it. Although polypropylene is accepted in 48% of U.S. municipalities, currently less than 5% is collected for recycling.
- According to the Steel Recycling Institute (SRI), the overall recycling rate for steel has returned to historic levels. In 2010, the North American steel recycling rate was at 88%, down from 103% in 2009. The SRI said the higher rate was the result of an excess of collection and reduced production due to the recession. Demand for steel scrap is increasing as the economy begins to recover and production and consumption levels get back into balance.
- Indiana’s Recycling Market Development Program plans to give out $500,000 to help companies buy equipment for business recycling projects. The grant money was raised by a per-ton fee on solid waste disposal at Indiana landfills. Grants ranging from $25,000 to $200,000 (with a required 50 percent match) will be issued to businesses that will reduce solid waste disposal and increase the use of recycled materials. Businesses have until June 11 to apply for the grants and the money will be issued in August.
- Responding to rising metal theft, several U.S. states are considering legislation restricting metal recyclers from making cash purchases for copper. Alabama, Kentucky, Missouri and Nebraska have all recently introduced bills mandating payment by cheque for copper purchases over a certain amount. Nebraska and Alabama will further bar dealers from purchasing or receiving manhole covers or sewer grates without proof of ownership or authorization from the city. Kentucky’s bill will require recyclers to register with the Kentucky Public Protection Cabinet and be subject to a background check, while Missouri will require recyclers to register with Scrap Theft Alert (www.ScrapTheftAlert.com).