Within Elemental Impact's (Ei) Recycling Refinement
platform, a Total Materials Management Approach - evaluating the entire materials stream in one cost / revenue center- is used. The stated objective is true zero waste with a strong focus on ultimate material
destination and the remaining "trash" within the stream. Materials
with solid end markets (e.g. aluminum, mixed paper, certain plastics) subsidize
more challenging streams generated in operations.
Ei Chair Scott Seydel @ MRF
Until recently zero waste measurement was quantified as diversion
rates from the landfill without final destination consideration. Known
for high levels of contamination, single-stream recycling - often the only
recycling option available for the corporate community - results in a high
percentage of recyclable items landfill destined. Thus, “true recycling rates”
are often inflated with single-stream recycling programs.
Note effective single-stream MRF – material recovery
facilities – separation is limited by the contamination in the delivered
material. Published reports substantiate curbside single-recycling programs often
contain significant contaminates, which may then contaminate the corporate
recycling delivered to the MRF.
Materials Recycling Template (S-SMRT) targets moderate material generators
whose current recycling option is single-stream recycling. Grounded in on-site material
source-separation and baling, the S-SMRT is developing a city-wide material
recovery template with Atlanta serving as the pilot city.
When evaluating recycling programs, organizations generally prepare
a business case or cost-benefit analysis to ensure there is a reasonable ROI –
return on investment – for the particular material stream. Hard-to-recycle items or those with little to
no ROI are landfill destined without further consideration.
S-SMRT epitomizes a common Ei phrase:
Ei is a creator, an incubator.
Ei determines what could be done that is not being done and gets it done.
Ei brings the possible out of impossible.
Ei identifies pioneers and creates heroes.
In simplistic terms, S-SMRT encompasses the Total Material Management Approach with the following steps:
Generators source-separate material on-site and compact into mini bales.
Hauler collects bales for transport to the recycling center.
Recycling center associates track material received by type | generator, re-bale into standard sized bales, and store in a tractor trailer by material type until full.
Hauler sells material directly to a manufacturing | recycling end destination and pays rebates to generators based on their respective percentage of the load sold.
Ei oversees the system to ensure the entire value chain makes a reasonable profit.
Financial template success is grounded in two factors: CLEAN MATERIAL & VOLUME.The template tagline is:
Contamination is a Mistake!
Ei Partner M-PASS Environmental serves as the S-SMRT hauler and intends to create a turnkey option for the next tier of template pioneers. With M-PASS associates baling the material there is strong control over the quality of material sent to the recycling center.
When the Georgia World Congress Center joined the S-SMRT in spring 2014, the template immediately expanded beyond plastic film to total materials - a HUGE fourth step in template development.
The June Atlanta Ei Partner Tours were designed as a two-day experiential strategy session for further template development. Local end market destinations Novelis and Pratt Industries hosted the first tours day. Ei Partner Novelis - the world's largest aluminum manufacturer - has an aluminum recycling plant less than 100 miles from Atlanta.
Ei Partners ready to tour the Novelis recycling plant
On the second day tours Tim Trefzer, GWCC director of sustainability, welcomed the Ei Partners to the GWCC for a presentation of successes to date, including the 2013 "Greenest" Final Four hosted at the Georgia Dome. A back-of-house tour of recycling practices in-place followed the formal presentation.
Novelis is the Atlanta Falcons recycling partner and key to S-SMRT success. Due to contamination levels at the local MRF aluminum generated at the Georgia Dome (30,000+ aluminum beer bottles at a Falcons home game) does not meet Novelis aluminum quality standards. With their ambitious 80% recycled content goal, Novelis is "hungry" for clean aluminum and a strong S-SMRT partner.
The VERY first aluminum baled at the GWCC
With clean material addressed, the volume is achieved through expanding template pioneers to a second tier, followed by additional tiers. Cindy Jackson, Georgia Tech recycling & waste director, attended the Atlanta Ei Partner Tours and is ready for the template business case.
Ei Partner Keter Environmental Services holds the waste & recycling contracts for three Class A Atlanta malls. The intent is for the three malls to join the S-SMRT as template pioneers in early 2015.
Invitations to additional template pioneers - all prominent industry leaders - are slated for early 2015.
For a S-SMRT work-in-progress overview, visit the following ZWA Blog articles:
Ei Team @ GA Dome to
scout material @ a Falcons game
The S-SMRT website page lists the stellar Ei Team
comprised of Lead Pioneers, Infrastructure and End Market Partners.
With an initial focus on the high value materials -
aluminum, mixed paper and certain plastics, the S-SMRT is destined to generate
profit for participates. These profits are designated to cover costs associated
with challenging material streams such as food waste.
M-PASS Lorraine White
"picking the bowl" for food waste
Back-of-the-house (pre-consumer) food waste industry
practices were perfected by early zero waste pioneers. Front-of-the-house
(post-consumer) food waste remains a recycling frontier for two main reasons:
1> necessary shift in consumer-facing packaging to create clean food waste
streams and 2> consumer responsibility for food waste disposal.
S-SMRT profit is earmarked to cover the expense of implementing a post-consumer food waste collection program at pioneer facilities with foodservice operations. Anticipated program costs include shifting to compostable food & beverage packaging, purchasing or modifying existing collection bins, recycling station signage, and an employee training system.
Once food waste is addressed, the game plan is to evaluate remaining trash and work within the supply chain for solutions. Supply chain engagement is critical to achieving true zero waste. The ZWA Blog article, Supply Chain Critical to Zero Waste Success, introduces the supply chain role in successful recycling programs along with solid examples.
A Total Materials Management Approach to recycling programs is a journey well on its path. Yet challenges abound for the Ei Team to unravel into success. Stay tuned for tales from the adventure!