Washington state lawmakers consider catalytic converter theft regulations - Recycling Today

2022-04-02 07:28:11 By : Mr. Kevin Sun

Both Senate and House committees will vote on two bills related to catalytic converter thefts in the state.

Lawmakers in Washington state are scheduled to vote on two bills related to catalytic converter theft. According to a report from The Seattle Times, a spike in catalytic converter thefts in the state have prompted state lawmakers to address the issue. The Seattle Times reports that there were 241 reported catalytic converter thefts for the first half of 2021.

Washington Senate Bill 5495, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Wilson and introduced Dec. 6, 2021, would add precious metals to a list of transactions that scrap metal businesses must record. Washington House Bill 1815, sponsored by Rep. Cindy Ryu and introduced Jan. 6, would create a task force to review state laws related to catalytic converter theft and develop recommendations for the future. It also would establish a pilot project through the Washington State Patrol to put identifying information on people’s catalytic converters so they can be tracked. Both bills are scheduled for committee votes Jan. 27.

Some industry proponents expressed opposition to SB 5495 during a Jan. 25 public hearing, including the Washington-based Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI). Holly Chisa, representing ISRI’s Pacific Northwest Chapter as a lobbyist, said that it is already illegal under current law for scrap yards to purchase stolen material. She said scrap yard operators are required to document purchases of personal metal property and maintain those records for five years. Chisa added that she prefers HB 1815 to SB 5495.

Production in China tapers off, but rest of world recovers from slack in 2020.

The Brussels-based World Steel Association (Worldsteel) says the nations reporting figures to it produced some 1.95 billion metric tons of steel in 2021, representing a 3.7 increase in output from the prior year.

The uptick occurred despite China, which makes about half the world’s steel, scaling back its output by 3 percent last year. While China may have reached peak steel output associated with its rapid urbanization and transportation buildout, steel producers in other nations experienced double-digit boosts in output associated with a rebound from COVID-19 and related restrictions in 2020.

The world’s next three largest producers after China—India, Japan and the United States—each experienced output increases from 15 percent to 19 percent. The European Union also witnessed an output rise of more than 15 percent.

Turkey, a prominent buyer of ferrous scrap on the world stage, saw its steel output rise by more than 12 percent in 2021 compared with the year before. Another ferrous scrap importing nation, Pakistan, enjoyed a nearly 40 percent rise in steel output.

Nations with more modest increases in steel production included Russia (6.1 percent), South Korea (5.2 percent) and the United Kingdom (3.9 percent). Only a few nations joined China by logging decreased output, including Indonesia (-2.9 percent), Iran (-1.8 percent) and Malaysia (-1.8 percent).

Pennsylvania-based firm says it has installed one furnace in Ohio and anticipates additional expansion.

Bridgeville, Pennsylvania-based Universal Stainless & Alloy Products Inc. says it has installed a new remelt furnace at its North Jackson, Ohio, plant, and it intends to add two more furnaces as part of a capital expansion program.

“Through our capital investment in 2021, we successfully added a new vacuum arc remelting (VAR) furnace in our North Jackson facility, which has been installed, commissioned and integrated into our operations,” says Universal board Chair, President and CEO Dennis Oates in a statement accompanying the firm’s most recent earnings report.

“We have also added an 18-ton vacuum induction melting (VIM) crucible, which expands our vacuum induction melting capacity to support the growth of premium alloy products, and improves the efficiency of our melt operations,” the CEO adds. “The VIM crucible is in the final stage of commissioning.”

Oates continues, “As part of our strategic plan for 2022, we are pleased to announce that our board has now authorized the acquisition of two additional VAR furnaces to further support our growth and efficiency and expand our product applications.”

In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing on its website, Universal Stainless lists its “key raw materials” as “carbon and stainless scrap metal and alloys, primarily consisting of nickel, chrome, molybdenum and copper. Scrap metal is primarily generated by industrial sources and is purchased through a number of scrap brokers and processors.” A conflict minerals statement signed by the company also lists tungsten scrap as a raw material.

In 2021, the company’s net sales figure of $155.9 million was down 13.2 percent compared with $179.7 million in 2020. However, Universal Stainless had a net loss of $19 million in 2020; it improved on that considerably in 2021 with a net loss of less than $760,000.

Looking ahead, Oates comments, “As 2021 came to a close and 2022 begins, we see our markets coming back and, through our operational initiatives, we are in a much stronger position than one year ago. While supply chain and other issues will continue to present challenges, we remain determined to make further progress in the coming year and take full advantage of our recovering markets, especially aerospace.”

Packaging firm expands PET recycling capacity in Luxembourg.

Plymouth, Michigan-based Plastipak, which makes plastic containers, says it has completed a “major investment to significantly expand its PET recycling capacity” at its manufacturing site in Bascharage, Luxembourg.

The original PET recycling facility in Luxembourg opened in 2008. The new expansion, says the firm, increases annual production capacity at the plant by 136 percent.  The installation and commissioning of the expansion took 12 months, says Plastipak.

The recycling facility is co-located with a Plastipak preform and container manufacturing facility that converts washed rPET flakes originating from post-consumer bottles into food-grade recycled PET (rPET) pellets. 

The rPET produced at the site is converted into new preforms and containers produced at the Bascharage facility, which principally serves the German and Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg) food and beverage markets. Plastipak has additional recycling facilities in France, the United Kingdom and the United States and is building a new recycling facility at its plant in Toledo, Spain.

“This latest investment to increase our capacity in rPET production actively demonstrates Plastipak’s long-term commitment to bottle-to-bottle recycling and our leadership in the PET circular economy,” says Pedro Martins, executive managing director of Plastipak’s European division. “Plastipak is the leading producer of food-grade rPET in Europe, with the majority of the post-consumer recycled material we use in Europe produced in-house.”

“Plastipak began producing post-consumer recycled resins for packaging customers in 1989 and has had many expansions in North America and Europe since then,” says said Dave Stajninger, Plastipak’s Global recycling Business Manager. “We are excited to continue supporting our global packaging customers in achieving their sustainability goals.”

Plastipak describes itself as a major convertor of recycled PET, which represents 27 percent of the total resin consumed in Plastipak’s European sites in 2020. In Bascharage, the proportion of recycled resin consumed in 2020 was 45.3 percent.

The companies will help the organization divert a minimum of 25,000 metric tons of plastics from entering the ocean by the end of 2025.

NextWave Plastics, New York, has announced that Shinola, a handcrafted goods store in Detroit, and Veritiv Corp., a packaging company based in Cleveland, are joining the consortium of worldwide businesses committed to scaling the use of ocean-bound plastics by developing the first global network of ocean-bound plastics supply chains. 

According to a news release from NextWave, the addition of Shinola and Veritiv marks 11 companies it is collaborating with to divert a minimum of 25,000 metric tons of plastics from entering the ocean by the end of 2025. 

Shinola and Veritiv join NextWave as the consortium recently celebrated four years since its launch. In that time, NextWave says its member companies have diverted 2,316 metric tons of plastic from entering the ocean. 2021 saw a 98 percent increase in annual diversion over 2020. 

Shinola marks the second luxury goods retailer to join the NextWave consortium. In 2021, Shinola debuted its Detrola Sea Creatures Collection on World Oceans Day. As the brand’s first foray into recycled goods, each Sea Creatures watch features a case and strap crafted from #Tide Ocean Material granules and yarn made from 100-percent-ocean-bound plastics. 

“We are thrilled to join NextWave Plastics and a collective of brands paving the way for new sustainable practices through the use of ocean-bound plastic,” says Brandon Little, vice president of product design at Shinola. “With the help of NextWave and its partners, we hope to set the benchmark for luxury consumer products in the modern world.” 

Veritiv joins NextWave after years of work with founding member Dell Technologies on sustainable packaging solutions, including the IT industry’s first ocean-bound plastic packaging. As a NextWave member, Veritiv says it seeks to expand the use of recycled ocean-bound plastic to additional packaging applications and offer this sustainable material option to other customers seeking alternatives to virgin plastic packaging.

“We are excited to join the NextWave Plastics consortium,” says Susan Salyer, senior vice president and chief compliance and sustainability officer for Veritiv. “Together, we can help create healthier, safer and more sustainable communities through the expertise of our diverse team. At Veritiv, sustainability is not simply a value-add or a premium solution. It is a core responsibility to collaborate with our customers and suppliers to offer and deliver sustainable and innovative solutions.” 

NextWave recently launched its Social Responsibility Framework, a guide for organizations to provide for the social responsibility of all ocean-bound plastic collectors. 

The organization says about 20 million individyals around the globe collect plastic, including plastic that would otherwise end up in the ocean, and are responsible for 60 percent of the world’s recycling. The framework equips brands and organizations with the tools they need to ensure these collectors achieve safe working conditions, inclusion and equitable pay and livelihoods, NextWave says.