Walsall, United Kingdom-based F.W. Thomas deals in used trucks, trailers and spare parts on a global basis. In the course of its work, some of the vehicles it handles are in such poor condition they are ready to be broken down for parts. Company co-owner Bill Thomas says the machine he deploys to handle that job is his Sennebogen 830 E series material handler.

F.W. Thomas purchased the handler from Stoke-on-Trent, U.K.-based E.H. Hassell & Sons in April 2016, buying a model that is equipped with a 168-kilowatt Tier 4 emissions standards diesel engine. The 830 also has a mobile undercarriage with all-wheel drive and joystick steering, and a 14-meter (46-foot)-long boom with a reversing mechanism, and a quick-changer for attachments.

According to Sennebogen, the model is “tailored to the customer’s requirements, [and] the driver can easily change between the different attachments.”

Says Bill Thomas, “No other manufacturer can offer me such a machine.” He says attachments at his location need to be changed often, especially when dismantling truck trailers. In that process, all reusable parts and non-metallic components are first removed from the end-of-life trailer. With the scrap metal shears attached, things like tires and axles are removed, and the chassis is separated from the truck bed. The reusable parts can then be processed separately.

Next, a sorting grab is attached, and the Sennebogen 830 E starts to strip down the truck bed. Wooden planking is removed before the scrap metal shears are put back on to cut up the steel frame. Being able to switch between attachments quickly and efficiently is thus important, according to Sennebogen and its customer. F.W. Thomas also has a multi-shell grab, a load hook and other attachments available for use on site.

Bill Thomas identifies as another crucial feature the Sennebogen Maxcab cab, which can be elevated by 2.7 meters (8.9 feet). The elevated position is especially useful when material needs to be loaded into containers or trucks, according to Thomas. For this task, the driver has an unobstructed view of the work area and can position cumbersome parts easily, say the two firms.

“The Sennebogen 830’s robust design, the good hydraulic power and reliable service from sales partner E. H. Hassel have us convinced” the company made the correct purchase, says Bill Thomas.

Metals and electronics recycling firm Sims Metal Management has published an updated sustainability report tilted “One Sims Many Faces.” The report from the company, which has corporate offices in both Rye, New York, and in Australia, provides information on its environmental, social and corporate governance activity in its fiscal year 2018 (FY18) and progress toward Sims Metal Management’s 2020 global sustainability goals.

“At Sims, sustainability is, and will continue to be, a cornerstone of our corporate strategy,” says Alistair Field, CEO of the company. “Not only is it a guiding principle for our company, but it is also at the heart of our business model. I’m proud of the progress we’ve made, and through our contributions to the circular economy we will continue to work toward shaping a more sustainable world,” he states.

Sims says it established its first set of long-term sustainability goals in FY09 with targets for energy, water and waste reduction. The company says it met and exceeded those targets as FY15 approached. The 2020 targets (normalized against production volume) include a 10 percent reduction in fuel consumption, a 10 percent reduction in the consumption of electricity, and a move toward five percent renewable energy. Other targets include a 10 percent reduction in water consumption, a 10 percent reduction in waste generation, and a 100 percent ban on the idling of mobile equipment in Sims yards.

“Sustainability and corporate social responsibility are fully integrated into Sims’ business strategy and culture,” says Elise Gautier, group chief risk and compliance officer for Sims. “Our core business is the closed-loop circular flow of materials, and we are universally recognized as an international leader in the transformation of discarded consumer products into valuable secondary resources.”

Sims Metal Management operates more than 250 recycling facilities, with operations in 18 countries and more than 5,000 employees globally.

Colorado residents produced a record 9.3 million tons of waste in 2017 while the recycling rate remained at a stagnant 12 percent, according to the second annual Colorado State of Recycling report recently released by the nonprofit Eco-Cycle and the Colorado Public Interest Research Group (CoPIRG). The Bolder, Colorado-based Eco-Cycle is one of the nation’s oldest and largest nonprofit recyclers, while CoPIRG, based in Denver, is a non-profit, non-partisan, public interest advocacy group with thousands of dues members across the state.

According to the report, each Colorado resident, on average, throws away nearly eight pounds of trash per day, or more than 1.45 tons per year. That’s more than eight million tons piling into landfills every year, making it one of the most wasteful states in the country, according to the report.

“Colorado is headed in the wrong direction— we’re producing more trash each year and not improving our recycling rate,” the study says.

Researchers say nearly 95 percent of that waste could be recycled or composted. Each year, Colorado throws away nearly $265 million worth of recyclable material, the report says. Of the material placed in a landfill last year, 32 percent could have been recycled, 37 percent could have been composted, and 26 percent could have been reused or recycled through specialized programs for textiles, electronics, construction materials and other bulky materials, according to the study. More than 40 percent of the state’s waste is construction and industrial materials.

A major problem the state faces is funding, the report says. Colorado charges a fee of $1.17 on every ton of waste sent to landfills, in addition to the price charged by the landfill. Of that fee, $0.46 per ton goes to support recycling programs and grants. That’s a far cry from other states such as Ohio and Wisconsin, which allocate between $2 and $7 per ton to recycling.

The report is meant to lay out four priority actions that the new state governor, Jared Polis, can take in the first 100 days of his administration “to make Colorado a recycling hub for the Rocky Mountain region.” Recommended actions include:

The state has a goal of achieving a recycling rate of 28 percent by 2021, which would keep an additional 1.5 million tons of waste out of landfills annually.

The city of Montgomery, Alabama, plans to reopen its material recovery facility (MRF) after it has been idled for about two years. Infinitus Energy closed the MRF in October 2015 after it served as a mixed waste processing facility for about two years. 

Chris Conway, director of public works in Montgomery, says the facility had previously been operated by I-REP (Infinitus Renewable Energy Park). However, a decline in the market for recycled commodities had forced I-REP into bankruptcy, and Conway says the city retained ownership of the facility. So, the city purchased the facility in 2017, seeking to reopen it. 

“Once we knew we would be owners, we embarked upon a formal request for proposals process,” Conway says. “We probably talked to 30 to 40 different firms on various ideas and thoughts about what the facility could do.” 

Eventually, he says the city of Montgomery decided to partner with RePower South, North Charleston, South Carolina, which specializes in recycling and recovery. The partnership was initially announced in June 2018.  

The city entered into a 25-year contract with RePower South, and Conway says RePower South will mainly be focused on turning municipal solid waste (MSW) into refuse-derived fuel (RDF), which can be sold as a coal alternative. Scott Montgomery, principal at RePower South, says the company plans to sell RDF to cement kilns or paper mills.

“[The city] will take everything from a residential standpoint to the facility,” Conway adds. “They’ll sort through that, extract marketable commodities and take components they can use for RDF.” 

Through the partnership, Conway says the city hopes to divert up to 50 percent of waste from being landfilled. He notes that through the contract agreement, the city will be guaranteed at least 20 percent diversion rates. 

Conway says RePower South invested about $7 million into the facility, updating equipment and adding new shredders. He says the company is also making modifications to the tipping floor. 

Montgomery adds that the facility is expected to begin collecting MSW from the city in mid-December 2018 and will have a second shift running by January 2019.

Montgomery says the new recycling plant will be able to accept all MSW currently collected by Montgomery’s sanitation crews, and it plans to separate materials that could be recycled. He adds that the facility won’t accept C&D, medical waste or hazardous waste. 

While the facility will start as a way to introduce recycling for residential customers, Conway says he hopes it can also expand business to commercial customers in the future. “At the moment, there’s no commercial recycling component planned,” he says. “We’re hopeful that some [community education] can help us get into partnerships with businesses, schools, etc., to add their collection of recyclables.” 

The association president highlights the need for full, quota-free tariff exemptions for Canada, Mexico.

Aluminum Association President and CEO Heidi Brock gave a testimony at the U.S. International Trade Commission, highlighting the need for quota-free tariff exemptions for Canada and Mexico as part of the renegotiated U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The comments were made as part of the USITC’s hearing titled, “United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement: Likely Impact on the U.S. Economy and Specific Industry Sectors.”

According to the Aluminum Association, more than $220 billion worth of aluminum has crossed the U.S. border going into or out of Canada and Mexico since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) took effect. In 2017, nearly 50 percent of all aluminum flowing into or out of the United States either originated from or was headed to a NAFTA trading partner. The association reports that Canada is a major source of primary aluminum for the United States, which has helped to drive investments in mid- and downstream sectors that make up 97 percent of all U.S. aluminum industry jobs. 

“The [USMCA] simply cannot work as intended for the aluminum industry and our customers with tariffs – or quotas to limit access to supply – in place,” Brock said in her statement to USITC. “Full, quota-free exemptions for Canada and Mexico from aluminum tariffs as part of this agreement will benefit the U.S. aluminum industry and the hundreds of thousands of American workers who depend on its success. The U.S. aluminum industry faces an acute and persistent issue of illegally subsidized Chinese aluminum overcapacity in the market, but tariff or quota actions against countries like Canada and Mexico that operate as market economies do not address the China challenge and instead harm the overall competitiveness of the region.”

Additionally, the Aluminum Association expressed its concerns about the U.S. Commerce Department’s Section 232 tariff exclusion process and indicated that the industry will continue to assess the possible impact of changes to automotive rules of origin. Brock told USITC that the industry approved of its efforts in the USMCA to address transshipment and illegal duty evasion, as well as new provisions addressing state-owned enterprises.

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“From the beginning, we have supported a modernized North American trade agreement, and USMCA achieves that in important ways,” Brock said in the hearing. “However, we urge the president to resolve the Section 232 tariffs on aluminum imports for our neighbors to ensure free movement of aluminum and aluminum products within North America.”

The Aluminum Association recently launched an online advocacy campaign to encourage the Trump administration to “Get Tough on China, Not Canada.” Click here to learn more about the campaign and to participate.

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