The RecycleAmp Blog

Recycling thoughts and ridiculousness from John Thier

3 Steps To Not Getting Crushed By Falling Nylon Prices

fallingmarket1
Don’t be this guy

Here’s what top waste sales teams do in falling markets:

1) Have Options: While it is often not a good idea to change purchasers in a falling market, the only thing that keeps your current purchaser from collapsing prices completely is the knowledge that you have other good options.  We see a good target as having at least 5 good purchasers competing for each material.

2) Know The Market: Waste purchasers spend their days making deals for materials, so they usually have more pricing information.  Waste sales teams should combat this by regularly bidding out at least small amounts of materials, having conversations with partner companies in other industries that sell similar waste, and paying close attention to index pricing information.

3) Work With Your Purchasers: When prices are dropping, it’s best to talk about pricing with your purchasers early and often.  If you don’t, your purchaser will likely lose money in the short term, then drop their prices significantly to make that money back…and more.  Being willing to drop prices earlier usually leads to smaller and shorter price decreases in the long run.

If you’re interested in learning more about pricing, or discussing waste stream management and corporate sustainability tools, please reach out to us:

855-444-4AMP
hello@RecycleAmp.com
www.RecycleAmp.com/go

Posted by on

5 Questions: SCS Global Services

scs_global_services

The next installment of our “5 Questions” series introduces us to SCS Global Services.  I was introduced to SCS a few months ago by a mutual customer.  After a quick conversation with the SCS folks, I realized that they offered a great service with some innovative principles for recycling and sustainability.  Lawrence Nussbaum at SCS was kind enough to sit in the hot seat and answer…5 questions!

 

1) What is the core mission of SCS?

SCS Global Services’ mission is to establish and implement programs that recognize the outstanding achievements of companies, institutions, and organizations that meet the highest levels of performance in environmental protection, social responsibility, product safety, and quality.  We stimulate continuous improvement on the path toward sustainability through a number of third party certification programs and independent verification of environmental claims dealing with certified recycled content, indoor air quality, Life Cycle Assessment, responsible sourcing, and a host of other issues.

 

2) How does environmental certification help companies?

Environmental certification helps companies evaluate how they measure up to state of the art sustainability standards, provides an opportunity to make continual improvements, and, most importantly, offers a vehicle for validating and communicating their achievements in the marketplace.  It allows companies to demonstrate advancement in their industry, opens access to new market opportunities, improves processes and efficiencies, maintains and strengthens supplier relations, and services their customers evolving needs.

 

3)  What is one thing most companies don’t know about environmental accounting?

The trend in sustainability accounting is toward the use of comprehensive Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to evaluate the environmental impacts associated with all the stages of a product’s life, from raw material extraction, through processing, manufacture, distribution, use, repair/maintenance, to end of life (disposal or recycling).  LCA can help a company compile a thorough inventory of inputs and outputs, such as energy, materials, and waste, and use that information to evaluate potential impacts and make informed decisions.  LCA based marketing tools such as Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) or Environmentally Preferable Product (EPP) claims can help communicate the results of LCA work to better inform customers about the environmental impacts of a particular product.  Many companies don’t have the expertise in-house to conduct LCAs and rely on outside companies, such as SCS Global Services, to conduct these analyses; all companies can benefit from independently validated LCA results.

 

4) What are the top 3 things most companies can do to better meet environmental certifications?

1.  Conduct self-evaluations:  Companies should conduct internal audits to assess where they are on the path to sustainability related to relevant industry standards.  This allows improvements to be made in advance of and in preparation for certification.  By the time the certification auditor arrives on site, a company should have a general sense of their strengths and weaknesses related to the specific certification program.  Score cards for suppliers, customized software packages, internal review procedures, and review of relevant records are some of the tools a company can use to accomplish this.

2.  Designate the right team:  Establishing a Senior Sustainability Manager or Director and creating a task force or work team across divisions will help make sure that the certification is being implemented throughout the company, the right information is being collected from and disseminated to the appropriate staff, the appropriate expertise is secured to assist in the process, and implementation is being managed and tracked.

3. Track information:  Environmental and sustainability metrics should be consistently tracked and available. This includes things such as supplier information, energy use, waste streams, transportation, and other relevant indicators.

 

5)   Tell us a success story about a company using environmental certification to improve their business.

Packaging 2.0 Inc., located in Jamestown, RI, manufactures thermoformed plastic packaging made from post-consumer recycled materials.  The company engaged SCS Global Services in 2013 to obtain ‘Recycled Content’ certification, verifying their claim of 100% post-consumer recycled PETE content.  As a result of the company’s dedication, they were able to secure a supply contract with Whole Foods Market to provide their 100% recycled PETE deli containers, branded as ‘number1package™,’ to 50 Whole Foods location, assisting Whole Foods with their goal of using environmentally responsible packaging.

Posted by on

5 Questions: Russell Bennett of The Opus One Group

opus1

This is the first post in a new RecycleAmp blog series called “5 Questions.”  We’ll be asking experts from around the recycling industry a few questions about anything and everything.

Russell Bennett has been involved in the recycling industry in a variety of capacities for many years, including his current position at Tandus.  He also currently works as a corporate culture and professional development consultant at the Opus One Group.  If you have an interest in corporate culture consulting, be sure to visit the Opus One website here.

1) What is the core mission of the Opus One Group?

Our mission is to educate companies in optimizing their greatest asset…their people.  We then facilitate any desired changes and are on site to nurture the growth of the leadership group and staff.

2) How does corporate culture consulting help businesses?

If the leadership feels there is a need to change the culture, we identify strengths and weaknesses and then help create shifts in thinking.  This has to happen before actual physical changes will be seen.

3) I know that your faith is deeply important to you. How do you think that faith in the workplace affects corporate culture?

My faith is important and typically drives things like work ethics, values and energy.  The Opus One Group believes that everyone has some type of belief system.  Sometimes in the workplace, leaders are hesitant to acknowledge and honor their employees spiritual side, which really causes more harm than if it is embraced and honored.  The diversity that is present in the workplace can and should be seen as a positive, not something we sweep under the rug.

4) What are almost all businesses doing wrong from a business culture standpoint?

Their assumption that it is too difficult to change, and that the existing culture got them this far, so why try to improve it.  Most companies have some sort of ongoing process improvement program, why should the “people” part of the company not be given the same amount of attention?

5) What are 2-3 of the most important tangible steps most businesses can take to improve their corporate culture?

I would say Listen, Learn and Invest.

Listen to employees at all levels.  This can be done through reviews, surveys, and relationships.

Learn from these opportunities and determine what is needed to grow this asset.

Invest in the training, support and coaching of the people then watch as the return on that investment manifests itself through higher retention rates, lower absentee rates and increased performance.

Posted by on

Southeast Survives Snow and Earthquake, Braces for Plague of Locusts (and Emails)

Email-Pile

We’re still alive and kicking here in Dalton, Georgia.  And so (presumably) are you!  Mother Nature did a pretty good job of shutting down the southeast between another snow storm and a 4.1 magnitude earthquake and aftershock that stretched from Georgia to South Carolina.  Most of the carpet and recycling world here in Dalton completely shut down from Tuesday to Thursday.  After the snow storm and earthquakes, some folks down this way were joking that the only logical next step was a plague of Locusts.  Most everyone in Dalton is plagued by one thing today — a swarm of emails.  After three days of closings last week, us carpet and recycling folks are all back at work and making up for lost time, and that means lots of emails to send.  Here’s to clear skies, warm weather, and less cluttered inboxes over the next few weeks.  How long until summer?

Posted by on

Carpet and Recycling Industry in Georgia Braces for Snowpocalypse 2.0

APTOPIX Winter Weather Georgia
Two weeks ago: Winter 1, Atlanta 0

After being gridlocked by winter storm Leon two weeks ago, the city of Atlanta and surrounding areas are doing everything possible to prepare for the 1-3 inches of snow currently expected over Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.  Mostly, the “preparations” involve canceling absolutely everything on the schedule.  The general consensus is that north Georgia is shut down and might as well not exist until Thursday.

For the recycling community, this means that if you are planning on any meetings, calls, or shipments from companies in Atlanta — good luck.  I’ve had 4 meetings rescheduled to next week already.  And before our friends in the north snicker too much at prospect of Georgia shutting down for a measly 3 inches, the simple fact is that snow removal trucks are almost non-existent in Georgia, most people don’t have 4-wheel drive cars, and no one knows how to drive in the snow down here.

The forecast:

snowacc

Stay safe out there folks.

Posted by on

Wanted: Your Clear Film and Shrink Wrap Scrap

stretchfilm

Do you have a plant that uses clear film or shrink wrap?  A RecycleAmp customer is looking to purchase that material at the following prices.  Paper labels are not a big issue for them, the big issue is the coloring of the wrap.

LLDPE (stretch) and LDPE (clear smooth)

$0.22/lb for clear
$0.18/lb for mild color
$0.08/lb for strong color

Price does depend on shipping from location.  Drop trailers available.  Can take baled or un-baled depending on location.  Interested?  Email John@RecycleAmp.com

Posted by on

Welcome to RecycleAmp’s New Home!

recycleamphomebypassdalton

Check out RecycleAmp’s new digs that we promised back in November.  We are renting space just south of Dalton from Cavalor USA.  Upgrades include larger warehouse and office space, and easier access to I-75.  We’re right off of the Dalton bypass south of town and just seconds from I-75.

Our new address is:

3529 Corporate Dr
Dalton, GA 30721

Accounting and samples can still be mailed to the Elk St Address as well.

Posted by on

Why PET is harder to recycle than Nylon

persymbol

 

This post is a continuation of my series from the 10th annual CARE Entrepreneur Meeting, held on October 23rd.  For much more from the meeting, visit the RecycleAmp blog.  The information in this post is from a presentation on PET given at the CARE meeting.  For more information on CARE, visit their website.

1) Price: Prime PET is worth considerably less than PET (~$0.80/lb for PET vs ~$1.30/lb for Nylon) so using recycled materials as an alternative for prime requires a lower price point for recycled PET.

2) Nylon is in high demand for injection molding, thus raising the price of recycled Nylon.

3) Recycled Nylon is more tolerant of Calcium and other polymers.

4) PET has no engineered resin molding applications and cannot be easily molded into parts.

5) PET has a high sensitivity to moisture relative to Nylon.

6) PET loses important properties, particularly IV during re-extrusion.

7) PET must undergo the expensive process of crystallization to restore these properties.

Bottom line: reprocessing PET into a recycled resin/pellet costs more than those pellets are worth…for now.  Thus, the primary option for recycling post consumer PET carpet is still tearing it into fiber for the shoddy market.  Stay tuned for a look at future possible PET technologies.

Posted by on

RecycleAmp Fully Acquired By John Thier

DALTON, GA — I’m excited to share the news that I have agreed to purchase all of RecycleAmp.

For two years, I have focused on building technology tools to help companies maximize the value of their recyclable industrial waste.  This purchase gives RecycleAmp the independence we need to serve our existing and future customers to the best of our ability.  It also ensures that the nerds are now firmly and permanently in control here at RecycleAmp.

I am incredibly thankful for our time spent growing with the team at Renuco.  I can say with certainty that RecycleAmp would not exist without their partnership.  Moving forward, we will continue to work closely with Renuco when it makes sense for both companies.

With this purchase come some exciting changes at RecycleAmp.  I’ll be handing over most of my technical responsibilities to two extremely talented developers who have helped build some of our most important products.  We’ll also be relocating to a new and larger facility here in Dalton, GA.

The recycling world is filled with incredible opportunity.  We’re looking forward to working with our customers to deliver technology that dramatically increases their returns.

Posted by on

PP Thread Prices Reach $0.40’s

ppthreads

The recycling market in and around Dalton, GA is in a constant state of change.  Exactly how it is changing is a story for another day, but the changes are doing some crazy things to PP prices.  We have been following some interesting results of a Price Checker for PP thread waste that was sent out last week.  The threads are mixed color, 100% PP, and primarily bailed–it’s good material for making PP post industrial repro.  We’ve seen multiple bids above $0.40/lb for this material, which usually trades in the mid to high $0.30’s.  Moral of the story — if you have PP, Dalton is the place to sell it right now.

Posted by on

CARE Presentation Notes Part 3: Get Your Own Email Address


This post is for folks who use an @gmail.com, @hotmail.com, @yahoo.com, etc email address for business purposed.  I’ll be posting more notes from the presentation on the RecycleAmp blog over the next few days.  Click here for part 1, and here for part 2 of my notes.

Having your own email address, like [your name]@[your company].com is an easy way to present a more professional image to customers and suppliers.  Simply contact your web host  (see part 2 for how to get a web host) and tell them that you want to set up your own email addresses.  It’s a 20 minute process and they can automatically forward your emails to your personal email account.

It’s that simple!

Posted by on

Video Break: What Polymer Is This Wingsuit?

Ok, I’ll be honest, this post has nothing to do with the polymer type of the wingsuit. We’ll occasionally (often) take a break from recycling stuff on the RecycleAmp blog and just have a little fun. Enjoy the video and be sure to watch until at least 1:19.

Posted by on

What is the “PET Problem?”

This post is a continuation of my series from the 10th annual CARE Entrepreneur Meeting, held on October 23rd.  For much more from the meeting, visit the RecycleAmp blog.

The “PET Problem” is, in my opinion, the single largest issue facing post consumer carpet recycling in the US.  Carpet is primarily composed of three polymer types — polyester (PET), polypropylene (PP), and nylon (PA).  PP and nylon are more valuable than PET.  Prime PET is cheap enough that creating a repro PET pellet is not currently viable.  The primary use of post consumer PET is in making shoddy for nonwoven paddings, but there is not enough demand to keep up with the supply.  Therefore, much of the PET carpet that is pulled up has to be landfilled by collectors.

The problem facing post consumer recyclers is that a higher and higher percentages of pulled-up (recovered) post consumer carpet is polyester.  This is due to two factors:

1) PET carpet is cheaper to produce so more and more builders are using it, particularly in lower cost housing and apartments.

2) PET is not as durable as PP or nylon, so it needs to be pulled up (collected) more frequently.

Estimates from collectors at the CARE meeting suggested that approximately 30% of post consumer carpet pulled up is polyester, and that that number is rapidly rising.

What are possible solutions to the PET Problem?  We’ll have much more on the RecycleAmp blog soon.

Posted by on

CARE Presentation Notes Part 1: Why Technology is Important to Recyclers

The great team at the Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE) was kind enough to ask me to give a presentation on technology at their 2013 CARE Entrepreneur Meeting, held in Atlanta, GA on October 23rd.  I had a great time and I am especially grateful to Dr. Bob Peoples, CARE’s Executive Director, for giving me the opportunity to meet so many great folks in recycling.  My presentation was titled Technology for Recycling Businesses (in 600 seconds).

Why technology is important for collectors and recyclers:

–More and more buyers are using Google to find sellers.  If you don’t have a website, buyers will get frustrated and they will have trouble finding your proper contact information.

–Think of your technology as your company’s digital storefront.  If you have a bad looking website or use an @hotmail, @gmail, @yahoo, etc email address, customers will get a negative impression from your digital storefront before they ever have contact with your business.

–Presentation matters.  The best products in the world, presented poorly, won’t be appealing to consumers.

–Fortunately, there are a few simple technology tools that can dramatically improve your company’s digital presence and the presentation of your products/company to potential customers.

Stay tuned for an overview of those tools, coming to the RecycleAmp blog sometime soon.

Posted by on

CARE Meeting Notes: What is CARE?

The Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE) held their 10th annual Entrepreneur Meeting in Atlanta on October 23rd.  I was lucky enough to attend and I’ll be writing a few notes from the meeting for the RecycleAmp blog over the next few days.  The Entrepreneur Meeting was a great opportunity for me to catch up with some familiar friends as well as meet many new ones.  This post contains some thoughts on what I learned at the meeting about CARE.  For info on CARE directly from the source, check out their About Us page.

According to CARE’s website, this mission of CARE is “to advance market-based solutions that increase landfill diversion and recycling of post-consumer carpet, encourage design for recyclability and meet meaningful goals as approved by the CARE Board of Directors.”  This mission was on clear display at the Entrepreneur Meeting.

Successful post consumer carpet recycling requires a few key players.  First, carpet collectors  pull the carpet up from residential and commercial locations, or collect carpet from landfills.  The collectors often segregate the carpet by polymer type.  Then recyclers (processors) take the collected carpet and process it into a fluff, trying to get out as much dirt and contaminants as possible.  The fluff is then used in various applications, including as shoddy or to make pads (usually PET), as feedstock for repro by recyclers and compounders, or for some other application.  Often times one company acts as a collector and processor.  From Long Island Carpet Recovery to Wellman, the Entrepreneur Meeting was attended by all types of members of the recycling process I just described.

CARE works hard to help their entrepreneurs (collectors) in many ways–one of them being the annual Entrepreneur Meeting.  The meeting featured a session entirely dedicated to letting the carpet collectors say what they have for sale and the recyclers say what they are interested in purchasing.  It seems like CARE does an awesome job throughout the year providing entrepreneurs with as many connections to purchasers as possible.

Another crucial function of CARE is serving as the stewardship organization administering the California Carpet Stewardship Program (AB 2398).  California AB 2398 is a State Law in California that taxes carpet producers for each yard they sell in California and then distributes those funds to carpet recyclers based on the amount and type of material they recycle.  Care administers the funds to post consumer carpet recyclers in California.  Read more about this service here.

Further, CARE leads new initiatives in recycling, such as their effort to find new ways to recycle and use post consumer PET.  Lastly, CARE also provides reporting on the progress of post consumer recycling goals.

Bottom line: CARE is crucial to organizing and brining together the various players in post consumer recycling.  Stay tuned for much more on the 2013 CARE Entrepreneur Meeting coming soon.

Posted by on