Goodbye Landfill, Hello to Green $$ and Real Sustainability and Goodbye to “lip service recycling” – RCR blowing the myth of recycling for recycling sake that does not benefit the community or the environment!RCR Challenges the Status Quo with Real Cash and a Real Environmental Conscience translated into No Green GuiltReCycled Refuse International Ltd, a 24-year old Jersey, Channel Islands UK company, is no stranger to bold innovation. For its entire history and through their numerous subsidiaries RCR has designed and built award-winning environmental solutions in Europe and Asia providing ultra-green, Kyoto-compliant environmental systems to cities and entire governments.
With its own suite of environmental technologies coupled with selected specialty suppliers, RCR’s Recursive Recycling program can extract almost $100 of recycling profit from every ton of Municipal Solid Waste. In this process, the entire municipal waste stream, whether bagged domestic and commercial waste or the boxes or bags of segregated recyclates, including yard clippings and food and other organic waste, is sanitized and size reduced and separated into seven separate streams. These recyclate streams are then further treated and subjected to processes using world-beating proprietary technologies to enhance their individual values all without leaving the recycling facility. The result is that more than 98% of waste is turned into clean, marketable commodities with minimum transportation and handling. There’s no more need for land grabbing landfills and a big negative turns into a big positive.
A component of the bagged waste that has always presented the waste industry with problems is the fragments of brick, concrete and stone and shards of broken pottery and glass always found in bagged waste. Apart from possibly dealing with these materials in a C&D recovery facility (if one exists locally), there is little practical use for this material that can make up as much as 10% of total waste stream by weight and it also has the potential to contaminate the other valuable components in the waste stream. RCR has the solution where it size reduces the fragments and using a proprietary process reduces them to below 10 microns in size. Regular cement is similarly micronized and on a ratio of 80:20 the two components are dry-mixed to produce a range of 60 fully EU approved products. These are widely used throughout Europe in many signature and flagship projects. The huge volumes of C&D waste can also be selectively addressed to produce a range of products which are lighter than competitive cement or concrete based materials and remarkably five time stronger than the regular cement-based cousins manufactured and marketed today.
Because RCR’s innovation makes sense and is capable of extracting as much as $100 per ton of waste that passes through their Recursive Recycling facilities, private and international finance has taken notice in a big way. RCR has partnered with some of the world’s leading financial institutions to develop an infrastructure investment program based on the globally accepted Public Private Partnership (PPP) mechanism to privately finance on a limited recourse project finance basis their Recursive Recycling facilities throughout the world and in targeted areas of North America.
Through the accepted Request for Information (RF!) and Request for Proposals (RFP) and public tender, public procurement or solicitation processes municipalities around the world are seeking solutions as their existing waste arrangements come up for review or renewal, and also to address or mitigate the mounting cost and environmental legislation and rising recycling targets and the public’s aversion to the creation of additional landfills which by necessity are land-hungry and environmentally polluting.
RCR has been active for close to two decades in assisting in policy forming and making so that responsible municipalities are aware of the options available to them and they no longer need to go for the usual solution of landfill, incineration or lip-service recycling. None of which are responsible or sustainable solutions today where the continued ravaging and exploitation of the planet’s precious resources will lead to environmental bankruptcy.
RCR’s response to these public tender initiatives are the submission of proposals whereby the same municipalities are being asked to put up a minimum amount of garbage but no public funds. If they don’t have enough garbage themselves, they are encouraged to partner with a neighbor. Typically, the RCR proposal offers a fully financially and performance related bonding to the project and a transparent profit sharing mechanism accepted as a component of the PPP mechanism whereby after a modest deduction for RCR’s internal rate of return on their risk capital, the remaining profits from the Recursive Recycling facility are shared equally with the municipality. They are asked to pay the same tipping fee as they would normally be paying to landfill the waste but the waste is not dumped into a landfill cell but on the tipping floor of an RCR facility.
The monthly costs of collection and disposal of waste continues at the same levels. However, the RCR profit sharing mechanism provides for transparency, the municipality’s ability to be represented on the executive board of directors of the project company, and following audit of the financial accounts of the Recursive Recycling facility at the end of each financial year, the profits are audited, the RCR IRR is deducted, and the remainder of the profit is equally divided and 50% is paid to the municipality. It is this payment that is, or could be, a very significant revenue source of income or the authority and can substantially offset the overall combined cost of collection and disposal. These costs do not go down and inevitably through inflation adjustment mechanisms built into the service provider’s contracts, annually increase. It is accepted that volumes of waste generation and populations are linked and grow together, these correlate to higher collection and disposal volumes that are usually contracted to third parties on a volume related basis.
It is therefore a dead certainty that the cost of collection and disposal of waste is set to increase annually and because of the nature of the beast there can be no cost cuttings or reduction of service. Over the last twenty or so years the cost of raw materials have kept pace with inflation or materials that have an oil base, such as plastics have seen significant hikes in their cost. 10,500 barrels of oil are needed for 1,000 tons of plastics and we have seen a seven-fold cost increase in that raw material. RCR recovers recyclates such as metals, glass and clean inert materials that are in essence all raw materials; the majority of which have also increased in value and will continue to do so.
The RCR profit share mechanism guarantees that the municipality shares with those market factors and as volumes grow and raw material values increase, so the components of the waste stream increase in volume and value and 50% of those gains translate directly to profits paid to the municipality on an arm’s length profit share agreement. The profit share therefore is naturally and directly linked to raw material sales prices of recyclates as they leave the RCR facility in a sanitized and reusable state, so some adjustments over time to the predicted municipal savings are made annually and the predicted profit share in any one year may fluctuate according to those price movements.
This profit share is returned to the people. The municipality is the elected representative of the electorate who are the people. The aggregated savings over the first twelve years of an RCR facility’s operation can be a very significant and indeed a large sum of money that is hard to ignore by hard-pressed municipalities juggling their costs to make their budgets balance. Often difficult decisions on policing, schooling, fire service and the public pension obligation are all sectors that are subjected to cost cutting scrutiny.
Because the RCR process treats and processes all bagged waste, yard waste and the segregated collection of recyclables (and all of the materials from any State regulated Beverage Container Return Deposit Scheme) in exactly the same manner, all of these materials are therefore sanitized, delabelled and delacquered and treated at the RCR facility. It is usually the case that these containers soiled and food and beverage residues are often sold for nominal value to China and elsewhere thus denying the community the opportunity to capture their true market value. Furthermore, as a real benefit to the community, the prevailing obligation on the domestic or commercial waste generator to be diligent in their recycling efforts are softened. In essence all waste is treated and every recyclable capable of being of value is extracted post treatment and is sold by the facility. Inevitably a high proportion of recyclates are consigned to the bagged waste through absent-mindedness, laziness or just the “not me let the other guy do it” ethos.
The RCR process engages every member of the community in recycling, recovery and reuse and adopts the strict criteria of the proximity principal of dealing with the waste as close as possible to where it has been generated. The process does not discriminate it simply treats everything and therefore the community’s residents are engaged in recycling efforts even though they are potentially passive in this regard or completely involuntary. But the bottom line is that all waste is subject to an exacting process that automatically treats and recovers the recyclables, even those commingled in bagged waste and instead of being landfilled are safely and profitably recovered for resale.
Just imagine if every member of the community was diligent in their recycling efforts. What would that entail? Each container, irrespective of its base material, would require washing, ridding it of food or beverage residues, and placing them in a clean state (or as clean as they can make it with the prevalence for self-adhesive labels being almost impossible to remove), in a recyclables box. The effect of this would be significantly increased volumes of recyclates – that translates into tons of materials – that need to be collected separately at a huge cost. (Previously they lurked as commingled waste in the bags of garbage collected each week). In addition water usage would increase as rinsing, washing and cleaning took place. How many times is a faucet left running while you rinse crockery after every meal? Water shortages could result and bans on irrigation, car washing would be brought in. Quality of life within the community would go down as the water use was limited or restricted and costs would inevitably go up. So what does it achieve in the end? A feel good factor that is quickly dissipated through higher collection costs that each diligent recycler would receive each month and higher water costs and restrictions or reduction of the quality of life. In essence voluntary recycling supporters are unnecessarily but inevitably penalized financially for their diligence.
The RCR solution does not penalize anyone. It treats all waste with minimal water use (all process water is recycled for reuse) and automatically and mechanically recovers all recyclates in a better condition than it would ever be possible from the most diligent of individual waste recyclers or participators in the community recycling program. It does not miss a thing. Nothing of value is unwittingly landfilled with the resulting loss of value to the community. No unhealthy material recovery facilities with bag splitting and manual picking of recyclates from unsanitized waste. The result is that all the value is captured and materials leave the facility at premium values (whereas soiled recyclates achieve notoriously a fraction of their potential sale value) and the profits are not exported to China but captured in the RCR facility for the participation and benefit of the very waste generators who contributed to that income stream.
If one assesses the financial impact of this 100% diligence and application to home recycling then just assume that everyone spends only two and a half minutes a day on washing recyclates per household. Translated that is the equivalent of over 15 hours a year. In the US there are more than 105 million households. That is almost 1.6 billion hours. Factor in the average basis labor rate of say $12 an hour and you have a cost (albeit theoretical) that is borne by the tax payer equivalent to more than $19 billion a year for the benefit of the waste industry who will in all probability, not thank you for it. Inevitably they will claim quality issues or lack or market capacity or poor world commodity prices as a reason for ultimately landfilling your carefully and diligently washed and segregated recyclable. They will then invoice the community for the additional cost of landfilling having already increased their invoice for the greater volume of segregated recyclates that they will have had to collect, Those higher collection costs and the additional landfilling costs are then reflected in your monthly utility bill. The waste generator who is a diligent participator in the community recycling initiative is therefore paying twice for what is an exercise in pure financial futility. Is that either reasonable or sustainable or even fair? Is it an acceptable form of service and practice? No way.. we hear you say! Justifiably correct.
Projected to cost upwards to, and sometimes more than, $200 million per facility, RCR is putting its money where its mouth is. It carries the known risks and absolves every community from any risk associated with landfill management or waste disposal and ensures that the community achieves the highest attainable recycling targets, the highest rate of diversion of waste from landfill and creates opportunities for the manufacture of green energy sources such as renewable electricity and ethanol. The company plans to vigorously pursue RFQ and RFP initiatives advanced by States, Counties, Cities, Towns and Municipalities to establish a minimum of ten fully operational sites within the US by 2013.
RCR’s research specialists indicate that every 500,000 tons of waste landfilled equates to almost $50 million of attainable recyclates. Proven green technologies, that have hundreds of reference sites around the world, can now generate lots of green—a welcome thought at a time when there’s a not enough money for schools, extra police, adequate fire, low cost medical treatment and other areas of need. The Recursive Recycling initiative positively and proactively helps municipalities to balance their hard-pressed budgets and make the tax dollars really work and ensure that they are spent to improve the quality of life and service to the community.
Not only can communities save enormous piles of tax dollars, the RCR mechanism additionally provides a guaranteed profit share from the recycling venture that is sent directly back to the budget of the public authority. It is doubtful that there are many cities with so much cash lying around that they can afford not to take advantage of this opportunity. Add to that the benefits of sustainable long-term employment at the RCR facility; reduction in garbage truck miles; reduction in highway congestion from overloaded garbage trucks; the removal of out of state garbage disposal to manipulate state recycling or landfill diversion targets; the improvement of air quality; the elimination or serious reduction in greenhouse gasses from the landfill; the reduction in raw material extraction and conversion with the associated energy use reductions, and finally the cessation of unnecessary sterilization of huge tracts of farming land that become home to millions of tons of garbage that represents billions of dollars of wasted resource. The list goes on an on and on!
RCR sees the challenge for elected leaders as being able to reject the status quo and embrace innovation. Sooner or later these changes are bound to take place anyway. Presented with a program with no requirement for public spending, tremendous cost savings and a big chunk of the profits, it will be difficult for elected officials to allow continuation of current practices much longer. Some are trapped by the terms of contracts that continue, but when they come up for review or renewal there should be no excuse for elected officials not to widen their horizon and seek or solicit the implementation of alternative technological solutions to land-hungry or environmentally damaging and unacceptable habits or historic so called “solutions” of landfilling or incineration of waste. It is no longer a costly collection and disposal problem it is a valuable resource from which they should extract profits without risk so that the community can benefit.
It’s never been easier to make the right decision for the future and the environment—especially since RCR is offering to pay for it.
Recursive Recycling from RCR—rethinking how we deal with waste.