Recycling Works

The newsletter of DPPEA's Recycling Business Assistance Center
Vol. 3, No. 1, February 1997

Index this issue . . .

North Carolina Mirror Waste to "Bedazzle" European Markets

Each year 10,000 tons of mirror waste are generated by six mirror manufacturers in the state of North Carolina, and another 6,000 tons are generated in southern Virginia. Until recently all this tonnage was being placed in landfills. The Recycling Business Assistance Center, the Hazardous Waste Section of the NC Division of Waste Management, and Internat Glass Recycling of Montreal, Canada, approached the mirror manufacturers about the possibilities for diverting this problematic waste from North Carolina landfills.

European Destinations

Internat Glass is in the business of exporting glass cullet out of North American ports to destinations in Europe. There it is recycled into a variety of products including decorative tile.

Internat targets cullet that has no market or has difficulty finding a viable market and is looking for automotive, clear, tinted, and mirror plate as well as mixed cullet. It can be in a non-processed, semi-processed, or processed state or furnace-ready. Internat's entire operation is focused on establishing volume sources and managing the cullet from its generation point to its final destination.

Joe Paparo, President of Internat Glass, states that the company's goal "is to obtain the participation of all the mirror manufacturers in the region, as well as other selected niche markets."

After the transportation logistics are worked out, the first shipment of North Carolina mirror cullet is scheduled to leave Georgetown, S.C., for Europe in late January 1997. The cullet is being trucked to the Georgetown port where it is aggregated until a quantity sufficient for shipment is accumulated.

Currently Carolina Mirror and Gardner Mirror of North Wilkesboro and Lenoir Mirror of Lenoir are participating in the venture. Other North Carolina mirror companies may join later in 1997.

At this time, Internat operates out of three U.S. locations in the Northeast and will be adding two southeastern sites in 1997. In the past year, the company has handled over 50,000 tons of cullet, and its 1997 projections exceed 100,000 tons. Over the long term, Internat would like to establish benificiating plants in North America and market the cullet locally and internationally.

For more information about Internat Glass, contact Joe Paparo at 514-881-2430.

RBAC Surveys NC Plastic Companies on Use of Recycled Feedstock

As part of a second grant awarded through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) Jobs-Through- Recycling Initiative, the Recycling Business Assistance Center (RBAC) recently completed a survey of North Carolina plastics manufacturers and processors to identify potential candidates that could convert from virgin to recycled materials as feedstock in their manufacturing process. In addition to questions concerning feedstock conversion, respondents were asked about having their waste used as feedstock, the challenges relating to recycling that face this industry, and their need for business and technical assistance to expand or introduce the use of recycled material.

The survey was developed by RBAC and Polymer Extension Program (PEP) staff with assistance from the Clean Washington Center. With 66 of the 80 respondents directly involved in the manufacturing and processing of plastics, the compiled results reflect those 66 responses. (These results should be not be considered conclusive as there was no follow-up to ensure that the respondents represent a random sampling of the industry.)

Plastics - A Robust and Diverse Industry in North Carolina

Almost 80 percent of the 66 respondent companies are growing, with 65 percent indicating that they plan to expand in the near future. There are, however, barriers to expansion. Capital needs was by far the most common barrier: it was mentioned by 26 of the 31 companies (84 percent) that responded to the question.

The survey found that among the 66 respondents that manufacture or process plastics (and four of the 66 did not list the resins they use), all the primary resins (No. 1 through No. 7 and ABS) were fairly well represented. Each resin was listed by at least 17 companies (27 percent). As expected, many manufactures or processors used multiple resins. The resin listed most was HDPE (29), while ABS was listed the least.

Recycled Feedstock Use - Current Status

More than two thirds of the respondent companies are currently using recycled feedstock. It was not clear if the recycled material is post-industrial (their own waste or another firm's), or post-consumer; however it appears from certain responses that the majority is post-industrial. According to over 90 percent of the 43 companies that responded to this question, the main reason for using recycled material(s) is decreased material cost, while almost a third identified available local feedstock as a reason. Twenty-nine companies, including some that were using recycled feedstock, listed the following barriers to using recycled resin(s):

Future Activities

The respondents showed interest in workshops on feedstock conversion, with 45 companies responding to the question on possible workshop topics. Over half of the respondents to this question believe that a workshop on securing dependable sources of high-quality recycled material would be beneficial. Other popular potential topics include new technological aspects of converting to recycled material(s), material property aspects of converting to recycled material(s), and marketing products made from recycled material. Many of these topics reflect the barriers to using recycled materials listed earlier.

As mentioned, these results may not be representative of the entire plastics manufacturing and processing industry in the state. However, they do confirm the need for technical assistance in the use of recycled materials as feedstock and in finding sources of consistently high-quality feedstock. Also, because many companies are concerned that recycled feedstock will not meet mandated specifications or standards, more research is needed in this area to ensure that accurate information is disseminated.

For a copy of the entire report or to discuss the possibilities of feedstock conversion, please contact the RBAC at (919) 715-6500 or 800-763-6794.

RBAC Solicits Proposals for C&D Debris Grant Cycle

By Diane Minor, RBAC Waste Reduction Associate

The North Carolina Business Assistance Center (RBAC) of the North Carolina Division of Pollution Prevention and Environmental Assistance (DPPEA) is accepting proposals for the 1997 Construction and Demolition (C&D) Debris Grant Cycle. The purpose of this grant cycle is to reduce the flow of C&D debris to disposal facilities throught the development of infrastructure and end use markets to help North Carolina achieve its goal of reducing solid waste by 40 percent by June 30, 2001. DPPEA has committed $120,000 from the Solid Waste Management Trust Fund for this grant cycle.

Any viable project to reduce the flow of C&D waste to disposal facilities is eligible for funding. The following are examples of eligible projects:

High Priority Projects

Projects that result in a sustainable, well-documented diversion or potential diversion of large amounts of C&D waste from the waste stream will receive highest priority. In the case of R&D projects, potential diversion as a result of the project implementation should be documented. Other funding criteria include need, feasibility, planning/cost-effectiveness, quality of proposal, and transferability of project.

Applicants may request any amount of funding up to a maximum of $60,000 and must provide a cash match equiuvalent to 10 percent of their grant request. Applicants from both public and private (profit and non-profit) sectors are eligible under the grant cycle.

Proposals must be postmarked no later than Friday, February 28, 1997.

Contact John Nelms or Diane Minor at (800) 763-0136 or (919) 715-6500 to receive a copy of the request for proposal.

Study Confirms Recycling Significance to North Carolina Economy

By Matt Ewadinger, RBAC Market Development Specialist

A recent study prepared by the Southern States Energy Board and Roy F. Weston, Inc., for the Southern States Waste Management Coalition (SSWMC) reported that nearly 140,000 people are employed by the recycling industry in a 13-state region of the South.

From information extrapolated from a previous study, The Impact of Recycling on Jobs in North Carolina (see Recycling Works, Vol. 1, No. 2), the SSWMC study also reports that approximately 67,600 of those employees are dedicated to recycling. Additionally, approximately $18.5 billion in value was added to materials collected for recycling through processing and manufacturing in those states; $1.175 billion of that total represented value added in North Carolina.

Quantitative Information Need

The SSWMC report, The Economic Benefits of Recycling in the Southern States, was prepared in response to a need for quantitative information about the economic activity of the recycling industry in the southern region of the U.S. The study is a comprehensive analysis of economic activity associated with recycling and covers a wide range of materials, processes, and geographic areas.

Recycling firms were identified in each of the states, and the number of people employed by the firms was obtained through labor statistics and, in the case of North Carolina, from the results of a survey of recycling firms in the state.

Value Added Determined

The value added to the materials collected for recycling was determined by assuming a zero value for the recyclable materials at the time of collection. The materials were then tracked through processing and manufacturing to the next stage of economic activity after the materials had achieved virgin equivalency. Nationally published prices for the materials were averaged over an 18-month period to determine value added. The $18.5 billion in value added to recyclables represent an estimated 4.9 percent of the total value added by the manufacturing sector of the region.

Only 13 of the 18 states and territories within the SSWMC region were included in this study because of a lack of employment data. These states and territories are Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia.

This new study confirms the findings of independent studies conducted here in North Carolina and in Florida and closely reflects the results of a similar study undertaken in the northeast. Although the findings are only a first step in determining the economic benefits derived from recycling, the numbers suggest that recycling provides much more than environmental benefits.

For more information on the "Economic Benefits of Recycling in the Southern States" report, contact the Southern States Energy Board at (770) 242-7712.

"Value Added" Can Include Many Steps

By Matt Ewadinger, RBAC Market Development Specialist

A series of articles published in the August 3, 1995, issue of The Philadelphia Inquirerby Mark Jaffe documented the many steps that items collected from a curbside recycling program in suburban Philadelphia took before they became a new product. Whether it is a Ragu spaghetti sauce jar resurfacing as a Taster's Choice coffee jar on the island of Guam or a chili can reincarnated as part of a steel girder spanning I-90 in Albany, New York, "value added" takes place at many stops and varied locations.

A PETE Journey

The most circuitous route, however, was taken by a PETE Barq Root Beer bottle to which many substantive changes were made at a variety of locations.

First Stop: Johnsonville, TN

The first stop was at the local material recovery facility in Pennsylvania where the bottle was sorted and baled. It was then shipped to Wellman, Inc., in Johnsonville, Tennessee.

Second Stop: Marion, SC

At the Wellman facility, the bale was broken apart, ground, flaked, washed and dried and then shipped to Wellman's plant in Marion, South Carolina, where the flake was extruded into rough yarn, combed, bathed, rolled, and steamed.

The PETE emerged looking like crimped silk ribbon. The ribbon was then stretched and sheared into 2-1/4 inch fibers that resembled cotton when baled.

Third Stop: Dyersburg, TN

At this point, the bales were shipped to the Dyersburg Textile Company in Tennessee where they were broken apart, blended, and fluffed into fibers. The fibers were then woven into ropes that were sent to the spinning room. There they were made into yarn and eventually into tubes of cloth. The tubes were then dyed, split, and "napped" to give the fuzzy finish on a fleece jacket.

Fourth Stop: Manti, UT

At this point the fashionable "Ecospun" material was shipped to Manti, Utah, where it was cut and sewn into Patagonia hiking vests.

Fifth Stop: Ventura, CA

The vests were then shipped to Patagonia's warehouse in Ventura, California,

Sixth Stop: New York City

And finally the vests were shipped to a Patagonia retail store in New York City where they sold for $74.69.

Rumor has it that the jacket was bought by George Costanza for a rock-climbing expedition ... but that's a different story.

EPA Publishes Financing Guide for Recycling Businesses

The recently published Financing Guide for Recycling Businesses: Investment Forums, Meetings and Networks is designed to help recycling businesses and entrepreneurs identify and obtain the capital needed for growth. Commissioned by the Recycling Advisory Council of the National Recycling Coalition and sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Guide is authored by David Kirkpatrick of KirkWorks

Recycling Resource

The Guide was developed as a resource for recycling entrepreneurs and economic developers who work to foster the recycling industry. It presents new strategies that have been developed to make capital markets work more efficiently for small companies in general and recycling companies specifically. Although not intended to serve as a stand-alone business financing manual, the Guide does provide references to several excellent publications that effectively serve that purpose.

Contents Summary

Entrepreneurs and economic developers can utilize portfolio approaches to meet business financing needs. As this Guide explains, these approaches can include thorough business planning, SCORs and other financial structures, and investment forums and networks. Other sources that have an important role include banks, recycling loan funds, and governmental finance programs. Together, these strategies and resources can assure that sufficient capital allows the recycling industry to sustain its growth and innovation.

To receive a copy of the Guide, call the RCRA Superfund Hotline at 1 (800) 424-9346 and ask for document #530-R-96-012.

Update: NCDOT Recycling Efforts

By Peiffer Brandt, RBAC Waste Reduction Associate, and Marie Casey, NCDOT Resource Conservation Engineer

NCDOT's Wake County Project will incorporate post-industrial shingles into asphalt pavement.

During fiscal year 1996 (July 1, 1995 - June 30, 1996), the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) undertook new programs and expanded its recycling and solid waste management efforts. The types of materials incorporated into these recycling projects would normally contribute to the consumer and industrial waste materials requiring disposal.

Roadside Applications

NCDOT is continuing the use of yard waste, sewage sludge, and municipal solid waste for landscaping applications. For FY 1996, the following materials were used in NCDOT roadside applications:

Fly Ash in Cement and Grading Applications

The Department allows substitution of fly ash for up to 20 percent by weight of portland cement in all classes of concrete. The fly ash particles, which are up to 10 to 15 times finer than portland cement, benefit the concrete by filling pores; improving its quality; and increasing its durability against freezing, thawing, and chemical attacks. Fly ash also makes fresh concrete easier to work with and improves the long-term strength of hardened concrete. Fly ash can also be used as fill. Recently, a private developer in Halifax County placed 27,000 cubic yards of fly ash onto NCDOT's right of way to bring the adjacent property up to grade with the highway.

Wake County Pilot Project

The NCDOT developed a recycling pilot project to include as many recycled products and solid waste materials as feasible. The Wake County project contains items such as asphalt shingle waste mixed in with asphalt pavement; fly ash used in the core of sign posts; recycled plastic guardrail offset blocks; recycled plastic shoulder and edge drain pipes; recyclable plastic flexible delineators; recycled plastic right-of-way fence posts; and scrap tire material used in a guardrail mat, expansion joint material, and as a soil amendment.


The practice of utilizing recycled products in the highway industry has proven to have merit over the past several years, and the Department has made a significant contribution by developing uses for many waste materials. Also, Department personal have learned a great deal about finding suitable applications for these materials and reducing the amount of waste generated. It is apparent that utilizing solid waste/recycled products reduces cost in some operations. For other materials, increased cost, long-term performance, environmental impacts, and availability of continuous supplies are concerns that will continue to be evaluated.

For more information on NCDOT's recycling activities, contact Marie Casey, Resource Conservation Engineer, at (919) 250-4128.

North Carolina Market Prices for Recyclables

Prices current as of January 21, 1997


Western Region

Central Region

Eastern Region


Aluminum Cans, lb loose



$0.53 lb/baled

Steel Cans, gross ton baled





PETE, lb baled




HDPE, lb baled





Newsprint, ton baled




Corrugated, ton baled




Office, ton baled




Magazines, ton baled




Mixed, ton baled





Clear, ton crushed




Brown, ton crushed




Green, ton crushed




*Denotes that magazines are included with mixed paper.

**Denotes that magazines are included with newsprint.

Note: The prices listed above are compiled by the RBAC and are for reference only. These prices are not firm quotes. RBAC obtained pricing information from buyers within each category and developed a pricing range.

Call (919) 715-6500 or 1-800-763-0136 for free technical assistance and information about preventing, reducing, and recycling waste.

RBAC is on the NET!! Visit us at