In the Daily Digest, the Waste Dive team rounds up insights and moments you may have missed.
CASELLA'S UPSTATE PLAY
Vermont-based Casella Waste Systems recently announced the acquisition of two companies in Rochester, New York that have now put it over M&A targets for 2018.
On Aug. 31, the company finalized deals to purchase the assets of Youngblood Disposal Enterprises of Western New York and its wholly owned subsidiaries, along with Silvarole Transfer and select assets of Silvarole Trucking. Both offer roll-off collection services in the region and Silvarole operates a 950 ton-per-day transfer station. Combined, the two are estimated to generate around $30 million in annualized revenues.
Following previous deals in Massachusetts, Vermont and New York during early 2018, Casella has now acquired nearly $50 million in annualized revenues. During the company's latest earnings call in August, CEO John Casella said the company was "actively working on acquiring several businesses with combined annual revenues of over $40 million" so it's possible there could be more to come.
In other upstate news, Casella has also received approval from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to increase annual permitted capacity at the Clinton County landfill from 175,000 to 250,000 tons. Casella operates the site under a 25-year agreement with the county and has previously described it as a model of community relations.
With the company's Southbridge landfill expected to close in Massachusetts this year, and varying degrees of opposition to proposed capacity expansions in New Hampshire and Vermont, New York is now key to Casella's future landfill plans. The company is currently handling an estimated 2.2 million tons of material per year at five sites in the state. Factoring in the Clinton expansion, unutilized permitted capacity at the Chemung County landfill and plans for more transfer out of New England, that figure can be expected to grow soon.
IN OTHER NEWS
Battle lines draw on Basel plastic proposal
Earlier this summer, Norway submitted a proposal to shift plastic waste and scrap into a new category of the Basel Convention that would effectively place it within the scope of action. While the U.S. isn't a party to the convention, this would technically affect the international scrap trade for companies exporting material abroad. Because of that, ISRI has come out strongly against the idea and said it will be "working aggressively through multiple channels to prevent these proposals from moving forward."
The association's official position is as follows: "ISRI believes that the implications of adopting Europe's definition would completely discredit the vital role recycling plays in the international economy. Adopting Norway's plastics proposal would do more to discourage plastics recycling than it would help curb plastic waste in the oceans, and we believe recycling is part of the solution, not the problem."
The proposal was reported to the Open-ended Working Group of the Basel Convention's 11th Meeting in Geneva this week, with no conclusive action taken. The #BreakFreeFromPlastic, which supports the proposal as a way to ease the burden of marine debris on developing countries, put out its own release after the meeting that claimed "growing support" from a number of countries. China was the largest among them. The EU, Canada, Japan and Australia were cited as some of the main opponents.
No further action is expected until the 14th Meeting of Conference of the Parties of the Basel Convention in April 2019.
Privatization "sabotage" in Georgia? — The Telegraph
Macon-Bibb County Commissioner Al Tillman is accusing Solid Waste Director Kevin Barkley of previously trying to sabotage Advanced Disposal's efforts to stabilize collection issues in an effort to stave off further privatization. Advanced took over collection of refuse and some yard waste in 2016. County staff handle recycling, extra yard waste and bulk debris. The county is now considering whether to contract with Advanced for additional services. Tillman presented documentation to back up his claims, including signatures from 19 anonymous employees in the solid waste department, though says Barkley has since reversed course. Advanced and other local officials dispute these claims.
Portland aims to be "the cleanest" when it comes to litter — The Oregonian
Mayor Ted Wheeler of Portland, Oregon announced plans to crack down on litter in his city, calling the issue urgent, and pledged to make it "the cleanest and most livable city in the United States." While Wheeler said details will be forthcoming, he promised this "will not be about homeless camp movement" and rather will focus on adding new bins to downtown areas. That will need to involve coordination with a complex array of business districts, transit authorities and city agencies. Depending on how far Wheeler's administration wants to go, it can find many examples of ambitious litter programs around the country in cities such as Los Angeles and Philadelphia.
New York City's largest state park will be built on two landfills — Brownsville Patch
Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently announced plans for a 407-acre state park along Jamaica Bay, named after historic former politician Shirley Chisholm, that will open fully in 2019. The land is home to the former Pennsylvania Avenue Landfill and Fountain Avenue Landfill, both given to the National Park Service in 1974. New York City's Department of Environmental Protection oversaw a $235 million remediation of the sites in 2002, and they have since become a natural habitat for local wildlife with no public access. This follows ongoing plans to fully open the 2,200-acre Freshkills Park — home to the former Fresh Kills Landfill — on Staten Island.
China's plastic pollution moonshot — South China Morning Post
Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences are working on a new type of plastic for use in bags, cutlery and other related items that could dissolve into non-toxic compounds within 10 days when introduced to water. This is done by adding water-soluble and hydrolysable compounds to a biodegradable polyester. That material can break down to form acids, water and oxygen "in a similar process to the way that substances such as sugar dissolve." One of the project's main engineers has already filed a patent application for the material and claims that China could start producing an estimated 75,000 metric tons of it per year in the near future.
ON THE AGENDA
The Ocean Cleanup is launching its long awaited "System 001" marine debris collection system tomorrow at 3 p.m. EDT from the San Francisco Bay toward the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch." Charismatic young founder Boyan Slat has been getting press for years now, along with some skepticism from various corners of the scientific community, so the success of this first project will be key to the organization's future plans.
In exactly two weeks, we will launch our first cleanup system from San Francisco, into the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. We would like you to join us for this milestone, either in person or online. For schedule, viewing spots and the livestream, visit: https://t.co/1BtgT8VOAz— The Ocean Cleanup (@TheOceanCleanup) August 25, 2018
Do you have events or webinars that should be on our agenda this week? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.