Q: As we assess the benefits of recycling and economic benefits and the contribution it makes to resource sustainability critical to our infrastructure, what modeling assessments are the panel aware of? The webinar started by mentioning "system" and "tracking flows". With computational technologies and data bases we have today, tools such as: Systems Dynamics Modeling, Material Flow Analysis, Computational General Equilibrium Modeling, Discrete & Continuous Hybrid Component Modeling, etc. - one can track sustainable circulation of materials in each stage of its use: 1) extraction, 2) use in production, 3) final consumption, 4) waste generation, and 5) waste management [landfill, recycling, WTE, etc.] Models allow use to look at both material (resource) flows and monetary flows. The models can be scaled from the community level, to regional, national or global levels. It allows us to look at international flows of resources, the impact of market prices, and different flow drivers.
A: EPA Office of Research and Development does look at the lifecycle analysis and currently is working with a model that we would be glad to discuss with you. Please contact with Barbara Alfano at firstname.lastname@example.org or Wes Ingwersen at email@example.com and we can share more information with you.
A: EPA's Waste Reduction Model (WARM) can provide some of the informaiton mentioned: https://www.epa.gov/warm. On the same website, you can also access the Recycled Content (ReCon) tool, which focuses on the benefits of incorporating recycled content into manufacturing and procurement processes.
Q: What about e-waste recycling?
A: EPA has a number of resources on our webpage at https://www.epa.gov/smm-electronics
A: EPA's Waste Reduction Model (WARM) can provide some of the informaiton mentioned: https://www.epa.gov/warm has recently updated the e-waste estimates. I encourage you to take a look to find the environmental benefit of diverting e-waste from the landfill.
Q: Do we have any idea as to when the market may rebound?
A: Everything I read, everyone I talk to, says markets probably won't recover next year but begin to recover the year after (2021).
Q:Does anyone know of any grants for building a new MRF or any tax incentives ?
A: NC does provide grants to private recycling businesses. NC also operates a property tax exemption for recycling.
NC has provided grant funding to local governments for compacting containers for delivery to MRFs, utilizing a HUB and Spoke model.
A: South Carolina does not provide grant funding to businesses. South Carolina does have several tax incentives on recycling, but it is my understanding they were written for one specific company with very specific requirements and thresholds not easily met.
A: Alabama does not have tax incentives for recycling/MRF development. Our grants program provides for local government processing and facilities but not a MRF in the traditional sense.
Q: Does Compacting recyclables at Convenience Center drop off centers reduce processing expense? If so; please highlight examples (AL,TN,SC)
A: There are some cost benefits for doing so. Increased material capture and efficiency of convenience center operations.
A: Currently, South Carolina has 41 transfer stations. Most do not manage any recyclables. The transfer stations that do - for the most part - simply load the recyclables on to another truck that transfers the material to a MRF. SC is surveying our transfer stations and will be delighted to provide more information. The most common benefit of compaction - as mentioned on the webinar - is lower transportation costs.
A: Compaction for transportation is done in situations where commodities are to be taken out of state for further processing. Dollar figures of savings are not currently available publicly nor does the state (AL) require reporting to determine associated costs.
A: In Tennessee we have counties that use compactor receivers that densify recyclables for transportation to MRFs. Compacting saves in logistics costs (# of pulls, staff time involved in the extra pulls, fuel, etc) which (in my opinion) saves more than any uptick in processing costs. Compaction provides a more efficient approach to uncompacted dumpsters that may be segregated. The problems that may occur with compaction is if glass is mixed with fiber that breaks and will cause/provide contamination. This can be avoided by taking glass separately. There is also some issue that may come when the material shape may be altered (aluminum cans become flat for example) that might interfere with some sorting processes causing commodities to sort into wrong factions which would be considered contamination and run up the price. Sorting systems are designed to sort based on physical characteristics like shape, size, and dimensions. Anything that can interfere with this can cause some increase in cost but as noted previously, it is likely less than the transportation/logistics cost savings from compaction.