Looking for ways to do things better-Recycling Today

2021-11-11 07:27:29 By : Mr. shunting T

Clearly Clean's recyclable plastic food trays contain post-industrial recycling content, and the goal is to end up using PCR.

When browsing the meat and poultry section of the grocery store, shoppers are likely to find polystyrene (PS) foam-one of the most common packaging materials. But a packaging company based in Ovigsburg, Pennsylvania is working hard to change this situation.

Clearly Clean Products LLC specializes in manufacturing recyclable polyethylene terephthalate (PET) food trays, many of which contain post-industrial recycling (PIR) ingredients. Packaging manufacturers want to see more brands switch from using PS foam, which is difficult to recycle, to PET pallets, which are easier to recycle and can be added to recycled content more easily. As some communities have banned the use of PS, this transition may become more likely. 

Many grocery stores in the United States have launched Clearly Clean PET food trays.

Jeff Maguire, managing partner of Clearly Clean, said: "If you go to a grocery store, look at poultry, and see a product in a transparent PET tray, it is very likely that it is one of our trays." "Yours. They may not be available in the store yet, but this illustrates the amount of growth available on the market. We have a huge opportunity to continue to grow."

Although most meat and poultry products are packaged in PS, Maguire believes that this situation may change in the future, especially as more brands promise to increase the use of recycled ingredients and make their packaging recyclable.

"We are working hard to meet our current needs and predict the needs we think will arise," he said.

Providing sustainable solutions was not the original reason Millard Wallace, managing partner of Maguire and Clearly Clean, started the business in 2008, but as the company has developed different packaging innovations over the years, it has become a core part of the business.

"Mill has always been a continuous inventor; he always figured out ways to do better," Maguire said.

Maguire's background is injection molding, Wallace's background is product development.

The company first released Peel-a-Tray, a paint tray with multiple built-in film liners. The pallet allows painters to use multiple colors without changing the pallet; they just peel off the film after use, leaving a clean pallet for another job. Maguire said the company understands that the film is food-grade, so it uses this information to make food-grade trays.

"A customer contacted us, hoping to introduce a food tray made of PET, which can eliminate the use of polystyrene foam as a food packaging tray," he said.

In response, the company developed a modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) tray that extends the shelf life of food by protecting food from oxygen and water without preservatives. Clearly Clean's MAP trays are completely recyclable and do not have film packaging. These trays and all other food trays that Clearly Clean now offers contain 35% to 50% PIR content. Although Maguire declined to comment specifically on how much PIR content the company uses each year, he said that this is a large amount.

"It is important for us to use all post-industrial materials as much as possible," he added.

Although the company does not dispose of its own waste internally, Clearly Clean plans to develop an extrusion plant to melt ground plastic into sheets for reuse in pallets.

According to Clearly Clean’s description of the MAP tray on its website, it includes a proprietary film that provides the cover material with a suitable bonding surface and necessary barrier properties. After use, consumers can peel off the protective lining to recycle the PET base of the pallet.

With its existence as a food tray manufacturer, Clearly Clean is also paying more and more attention to sustainability.

"When we first started in the paint tray business, [sustainability] was not our main concern," Wallace said. “When we arrived at the MAP pallet, we only focused on sustainability. We realized how much we can help the environment and the market’s demand for such products.”

The company also offers several other recyclable food pallets containing PIR ingredients, including vacuum skin packaging pallets and Roll Over-Wrap pallet production lines, which Clearly Clean says is its flagship product.

The company added that its Roll Over-Wrap pallets have received multiple comprehensive patents. According to Clearly Clean, the tray has a proprietary, patented curling edge, which provides a smooth surface for the outer packaging film and reduces leakage during production and transportation. 

In recent years, Clearly Clean has grown significantly, especially since the Roll Over-Wrap tray was launched in 2019. It had only 15 employees three years ago. In the past two years, it has been named the fastest-growing manufacturer by the Manufacturers and Employers Association of Northeast Pennsylvania. Today, Clearly Clean has approximately 230 employees and operates from nine locations in the United States, including manufacturing facilities, warehouses, and sales and administrative offices.

This year, Clearly Clean hopes to strengthen the "recyclability" statement on its packaging. The company will eventually use post-consumer recycling (PCR) content, but said the material does not yet meet its standards. To go one step further, Clearly Clean launched Eco Standard, a new business that will deploy customized We Go Eco machines in retail locations such as grocery stores to collect PET that can eventually be recycled and used in Clearly Clean products.

Lisa Grimes, marketing manager of Clearly Clean, said that Eco Standard will be a brand new company with its own team of employees, although some employees may eventually work for Clearly Clean and Eco Standard at the same time. "This will be a new company that will use one of our existing buildings at the beginning, and then scale it up," she added.

Grimes said that Eco Standard's We Go Eco machines include patent-pending technologies and processes that distinguish them from traditional reverse vending machines. These machines will be able to provide manufacturers and retailers with data about their recycling efforts. We Go Eco machines will be placed outside the store and will prompt consumers to recycle PET packaging, such as pallets and bottles. Grimes added that with the launch of the machine, more details will be announced. However, as of press time, the company is not ready to share how it will incentivize customers to return PET to the We Go Eco machine or how the machine will handle the PET.

The prototype of the We Go Eco machine will soon be launched at the test site and will eventually be expanded to numerous retail chains across the United States

"We were told that our We Go Eco machine will revolutionize recycling," Grimes said. "This is especially important as the Extended Producer Responsibility Policy is introduced. Ecological standards will provide manufacturers with simple options to meet these new requirements."

Once the material is discarded on the We Go Eco machine, Eco Standard will recycle the ground plastic for reuse.

Maguire said that in addition to the PIR content currently in use, Eco Standard will provide Clearly Clean with a "viable post-consumer content stream" for its products.

"The biggest problem with PCR at the moment is that it is difficult to find suitable materials that meet our strict standards," Maguire said. "Our goal is to absorb the flow of high-quality materials [through ecological standards], such as our pallets and any PET products with the We Go Eco label. We will bring them back and reuse them... as a manufacturer of collected materials , We need to do better. If we can collect it, we will use it. We realize the value of the materials we put on the market and we want them all to come back. This is the whole point of the ecological standard."

Clearly Clean also plans to continue to focus on developing recyclable PET packaging.

Wallace said: "PET is one of the most recyclable materials we can use in the food packaging industry. It also provides the best protection for clean production of products, so we are 100% focused on this."

The author is the executive editor of Recycling Today and can be reached at msmalley@gie.net.

Agilyx and its chemical recycling technology have been continuously developed since its establishment as a Plas2Fuel company in 2004.

Since Agilyx Corp. established Plas2Fuel in Longview, Washington in 2004, the company and its technology have continued to evolve. The past decade has been especially important for the company, as Tigard, Oregon-based Agilyx changed its name in 2010 and started commercial-scale production with its joint venture Regenyx in 2019, using its seventh-generation technology at its Tigard plant.

The company’s proprietary technology uses a reactor to break down used plastics into smaller molecules through pyrolysis (a process that uses heat in the absence of oxygen), which are then converted into gasified plastics. These gases are then cooled into liquid form and further processed into products.

Tim Stedman, CEO of Agilyx AS, the parent company of Agilyx Corp., Oslo, Norway, said: “Agilyx is the first company to prove that most unrecycled plastics are not only valuable but also recyclable on a commercial scale. s company."

Stedman came to Agilyx in August 2020. Before joining the company, he served as Senior Vice President of Strategy and Corporate Development at Trinseo, a global materials company focused on manufacturing plastics, latex and synthetic rubber. Prior to this position, Stedman served as the business director of the basic chemistry business at ExxonMobil for more than 20 years.

Stedman said Agilyx's technology was originally designed to convert non-recyclable mixed-use plastics into synthetic crude oil. However, he added, “Agilyx’s technical and chemical expertise has been improved for more than a decade to transform waste plastics into a variety of upgraded recycling products and materials: plastic intermediates and virgin plastics.”

Steadman said the company's mission is now as clear as it was when it was founded in 2004. "We want to make plastic a reusable resource and cycle," he said. "For this reason, we focus on developing new product pathways and plastic to chemical intermediates. The combination of our advanced recycling technology and raw material management system has brought a new cycle of life to plastic waste and supports multiple United Nations sustainable development goals. , Brand owners’ commitments, EU government policies and social trends.”

In addition to the pyrolysis process, Agilyx also uses two other proprietary systems for raw material preparation and plastic management through artificial intelligence (AI) models and tools.

"Since the company was founded, Agilyx has been working hard to develop pyrolysis technology, understand the complex chemistry of waste plastics, raw material supply chain issues and comprehensive solutions to achieve plastic recycling," Stedman said. "In our 17 years of evolution, many things have changed."

Agilyx's technology has developed to the seventh generation, and Stedman said that over time, the company has made significant improvements in "the design, functionality, and environmental management of our conversion system."

"In order to make chemical recycling or advanced recycling a reality, you need three things," he said. "You need to understand the raw materials and raw material technology, you need to understand the conversion, and then you need to understand the purification or separation technology at the back end of the conversion so that you can optimize it."

Stedman added that with its multi-generation technology, Agilyx has made improvements in all three areas.

He said that the company's conversion technology can accept raw materials of various pollution levels and physical forms of materials, thereby increasing the available material pool and reducing procurement costs. "This is something we can dial in chemistry because we use Cyclyx to understand the chemicals that enter through our raw material technology," Stedman added, referring to Cyclyx International LLC, whose joint venture in Portsmouth, New Hampshire is It was established with ExxonMobil earlier this year to develop a new supply chain to polymerize and pre-treat plastics after use. (For more information on Cyclyx, please see the sidebar below titled "Cyclyx seeks to utilize material flow".) Finally, we have been using artificial intelligence technology to improve and develop the back-end purification process. "

Although Agilyx has offices around the world, it currently has an advanced recycling facility in Tigard, which has been in operation since 2018 and is in preparation with global partners.

In 2019, Agilyx, an integrated producer of polystyrene (PS) and styrene monomers, and AmSty or Americas Styrenics LLC established a joint venture company called Regenyx, and the two companies have equal shares. Stedman said that at the time, Regenyx took over the assets of Agilyx's Tigard facility, which was undergoing operational adjustments to maximize efficiency and invest in R&D improvements.

He described the Tigard site, which is capable of processing 10 tons per day, as "the first commercial-scale closed-loop advanced recycling facility of its kind."

Stedman added: “We are able to convert the waste back to its original molecular level, thus realizing a true recycling and re-entry of the product into the value chain.”

The Regenyx website has passed the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC) Plus certification.

Stedman said that Agilyx is expanding the number of sites operating its technology through recent partnerships, including the second Regenyx site being developed with AmSty, and sites with Braskem, A.Eon, and Toyo Styrene.

He said: "Agilyx's core business model is to license its technology to partners. Last year, we announced many cooperations at different stages of development."

Stedman said that licensing is not always planned because Agilyx initially planned to own and operate the facility before realizing that it would limit the company's ability to drive change. He said that Agilyx signed technology licensing agreements with many partners last year. However, if it maintains its previous facility ownership model, "we may have been able to consider a" project. Licensing its technology also allows the company to "maximize synergy with existing assets," as it does in the next Regenyx project.

Tim Stedman, CEO of Agilyx AS, Agilyx's parent company, Agilyx headquartered in Oslo, Norway, stated that Agilyx established Cyclyx International in 2020 to leverage Agilyx's 16 years of expertise in chemical conversion of post-use plastics and four years of raw material procurement and supply. Chain Management Experience Company, Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

"Cyclyx is designed as an industry alliance composed of partners across the value chain," he said. "This alliance approach allows Cyclyx to work with companies, brands, waste service providers, and municipalities to act as a connector between large amounts of plastic waste that is currently not recycled to create innovative supply chain solutions."

Earlier this year, Exxon Mobil acquired a 25% stake in Cyclyx International. Cyclyx will polymerize and pre-treat plastic waste to meet the technical requirements of various recycling processes while ensuring reliable supply to customers.

Cyclyx is said to have a database containing more than 1,500 chemical characteristics of plastics after use. General Electric’s proprietary artificial intelligence, machine learning, predictive modeling and optimization tools further optimize its knowledge to help the company’s partners determine the materials that suit their needs.

According to a press release issued by Agilyx’s partnership with ExxonMobil, Cyclyx’s goal is to “change the current supply chain and help accelerate advanced recycling by connecting companies seeking plastic waste solutions with customers participating in recycling programs. The development of the industry". Announce.

Steadman said that mechanical recycling is addressing approximately 10% of the post-use plastics produced globally today. However, he said that treating Agilyx and other chemical recycling technologies as competing with mechanical recycling "is ignoring the view that 90% of materials are not resolved. This is what we are concerned about."

Stedman added that most of the remaining 90% are "very complex, heavily contaminated, and in most cases very mixed."

He continued, "The question is how do you unlock the usability and let it actually flow into the conversion system that can actually accept it," this is where Cyclyx comes in.

Cyclyx is a raw materials management company based in Portsmouth, providing the chemical properties of plastics, predictive modeling of the source of raw materials for product paths, customized raw material formulations, and customized supply chains.

“Due to the implementation of new regulations such as the Basel Convention and China’s National Sword Policy, the importance of developing domestic recycling and conversion opportunities has become even more important. These policies restrict waste exports and disrupt recyclers who rely on shipping waste overseas. . This is the opportunity for domestic material management systems and advanced recycling," Stedman said.

"We believe that Cyclyx can help fill an important missing link in the plastic recycling value chain, which is necessary to expand the scale of advanced recycling solutions," said Karen McGee, President of ExxonMobil Chemical Company, when announcing the partnership . "We agree with society's concerns about plastic waste, and our new joint venture is an important step in our efforts to develop advanced recycling technologies and methods to help meet the demand for certified recycled polymers."

In addition to providing end-of-life plastics to Agilyx's customers and ExxonMobil, Cyclyx also aims to provide other customers with raw material solutions for extensive recycling programs.

Companies that have signed contracts with the consortium include Reynolds Consumer Products; Casella Waste Systems, an operator of materials recycling facilities in Rutland, Vermont; MilliporeSigma, the American life sciences business of Merck KGaA in Darmstadt, Germany; and packaging manufacturer Sonoco, headquartered in Hartsville, South Carolina; INEOS Styrolution, headquartered in Frankfurt, Germany, is a styrene producer that has developed a series of products made from recycled post-consumer plastics and materials based on renewable raw materials; LyondellBasell is a virgin plastic and Chemical producer, headquartered in Houston and Rotterdam, promises to produce and sell 1 million tons of recycled and renewable polymers per year by 2030; Chevron Phillips Chemical Company announced that by 2030, its international sustainability and carbon certification (ISCC) Plus-certified Marlex Anew round polyethylene has an annual production plan of 1 billion pounds.

Reynolds' Hefty EnergyBag program helps to divert difficult-to-recycle plastics from landfills. Since the launch of the energy bag program in 2016, Hefty has transferred more than 1,500 tons of plastic from the landfill. Hefty's collaboration with Cyclyx aims to enhance the program and greatly expand its geographic reach and the amount of waste plastic collected.

As a member of Cyclyx, Reynolds stated that it will work with Cyclyx to use the lessons learned from the Hefty EnergyBag program to create various options for businesses, consumers and communities to collect used plastics and find the best way to recycle or recycle.

Stedman said AmSty and Agilyx are developing a new Regenyx facility, which will be located at AmSty's styrene production facility in St. James, Louisiana, capable of processing 50 to 100 tons per day. The feasibility study for the project started earlier this year, and as the progress continues, the timetable for construction and commissioning will be announced.

When the development of the facility was announced, Randy Pogue, President and CEO of AmSty, said: “Polystyrene is an ideal material for future recycling. Polystyrene products can not only provide sustainable advantages when fewer materials are required ( For example, a polystyrene foam cup contains 95% air), and polystyrene is particularly advantageous for advanced recycling because it can be "decompressed" back to its original liquid form, namely styrene monomer, using more energy than other polymers 40% less."

He continued: “As the global plastics industry turns to recycling to create value and increase accessibility, polystyrene becomes very attractive as a pioneer because of its inherent conversion advantages. AmSty is committed to making polystyrene through recycling. Styrene products are far away from landfills. We are pleased to expand our relationship with Agilyx in this new project to accelerate progress."

Braskem, a polyolefin and biopolymer producer based in Philadelphia, also launched a feasibility study in cooperation with Agilyx to explore the development and construction of advanced plastic recycling projects in North America.

The project aims to study an effective way to produce polypropylene (PP) using mixed-use plastics that are difficult to recycle, for applications such as food packaging, consumer products, and sanitary products.

When the partnership was announced in December 2020, Braskem America CEO Mark Nikolich stated: “As a leader in the North American polypropylene field, Braskem is committed to developing its raw material portfolio to utilize more sustainable sources of input and is currently evaluating various This transformation is driven by supply agreements and innovative projects. Our cooperation with Agilyx is just the latest example of Braskem’s efforts to more fully address the limited supply of plastic-derived propylene raw materials in today’s market."

The partnership of A.Eon Holdings Pty Ltd. is taking a different path. The company and Agilyx signed a memorandum of understanding to evaluate the use of Agilyx's technology to build a 50-tonne-per-day commercial-scale plastic energy facility in Melbourne, Australia, to convert mixed plastics into Agilyx synthetic crude oil (ASCO). A.Eon will use ASCO produced at the site to generate electricity for the Footscray Hospital project re-developed by the Victorian Government and local industries, and supply peak energy demand. Agilyx said that the initial focus of 50 tons per day was a starting point, and A.Eon could choose to develop other commercial-scale facilities in Australia.

Although Tigard's Regenyx plant is focused on PS, Agilyx says its conversion technology can handle a range of plastics, including mixed plastics. Stedman said that at the Tigard plant, Agilyx is testing other feed materials and recycling methods to expand its technology range.

"Agilyx has the technology to convert plastics to plastics, and can utilize various used plastic raw materials, including PET [polyethylene terephthalate], HDPE [high-density polyethylene], PVC [polyvinyl chloride], LDPE [Low-density polyethylene], PP, PS, PMMA [polymethyl methacrylate], etc.," Stedman said. "Our technology converts these polymers into a variety of commercial products, including styrene monomer, acrylic acid, propylene, naphtha, olefins, and fuels."

The company recently obtained a patent renewal for its process of decomposing used PS into its chemical structural unit styrene monomer. According to Agilyx’s press release, “The continuation of U.S. Patent No. 11,041,123 further confirms that Agilyx’s depolymerization technology extends to the decomposition of all waste plastic polymers into discrete monomers, not just polystyrene. This patent demonstrates Agilyx’s innovation The versatility of the product portfolio will continue to enhance its position as a leader in the depolymerization of waste plastics."

Agilyx Chief Technology Officer Chris Faulkner said: "The continuation of this patent demonstrates the robustness and versatility of Agilyx technology, rather than limiting our claims to polystyrene to styrene monomer." "Basically, we are. The process has not changed. We use the same technology on the same machine, but depending on the polymer, its operation may be slightly different. Recognizing that this technology is applicable to a wider range of polymers, this is how we improve waste An exciting advancement in plastic recycling rates and recycling missions."

Stedman stated that Agilyx's goal is to "achieve at least 1,500 tons of post-use plastic conversion per day by 2030", adding that the market is "very accepting" Agilyx's solutions and "competitive price points."

He continued: “The entire plastics value chain is under pressure from customers, consumers, and regulators. Products and processes need to be transformed and redesigned to create a more environmentally responsible life cycle, and this must be done immediately. Agilyx is well-positioned to implement and accelerate the necessary changes to make the circular economy a reality."

The author is the editor of Recycling Today. Email her dtoto@gie.net.

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is not a new concept in the United States. For example, 24 states have EPR legislation for end-of-life electronic products. Although Canada and some provinces in the European Union have established EPR for paper and plastic packaging, such legislation has not made progress in the United States until recently.

This summer, Maine and Oregon became the first states in the United States to pass packaging EPR laws. The legislatures of California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, and Vermont have also introduced similar legislation.

For more information about packaging EPR, please read "Who pays?"

In addition to the introduction of the packaging EPR bill called AB 842, California legislators also proposed bills targeting plastic packaging in various ways, and the associations representing the plastics industry and plastic recyclers specifically expressed their support.

This summer, the California legislature passed the AB 881 bill, which aims to ensure that only plastics that are actually recycled can be included in California's recycling goals. The bill was submitted to Governor Gavin Newsom for signature on September 8, but as of press time, the bill has not yet been enacted into law. (It was signed on October 5.)

According to a press release issued by Congresswoman Lorena Gonzalez, who drafted the legislation, a large part of the plastic from California is shipped overseas, where it may eventually be incinerated, dumped or landfilled.

The legislation applies to mixed plastics, "unless the mixture only includes certain plastics for separate recycling and meets other specific requirements, in which case the export will constitute a transfer through recycling."

The Washington-based American Chemistry Council (ACC) and the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) both expressed support for the bill.

"ACC and its member companies are committed to eliminating plastic waste in our environment," said Joshua Baca, vice president of ACC Plastics. "AB 881 supports this goal by setting a more accurate recycling rate baseline for the industry and the government to take further actions, including increasing opportunities for waste collection and recycling; supporting the deployment of advanced recycling technologies to improve the recycling of plastics; And support innovation in product and packaging design to improve recyclability and increase the use of recycled materials in new packaging."

Kara Pochiro of APR said: "This is what APR has always asked for, even before "National Sword."

It is often said that things that cannot be measured cannot be repaired. Measurement has always been a problem in residential recycling, especially plastics. California’s AB 881 and Maine and Oregon’s EPR legislation have the potential to increase the transparency of waste plastic packaging.

Ekman Group expands its influence in the waste paper trade by assuming calculable risks.

Ekman Group is a relatively new name in the recycling industry-the company has been engaged in the recycled paper trade as Ekman Recycling for the past 17 years-but it has been operating and trading various products for centuries.

The Ekman family founded this European-based steel and wood business company in 1663. After some diversification, the business was established as Ekman & Co. AB in 1802, focusing on the operation of sawmills and rolling mills. Ekman increased its involvement in the pulp and paper industry in the late 1800s and expanded its influence in the industry in the mid-1900s when it became a subsidiary of the Säfveån Group. Its pulp department remains Ekman's largest operating department.

Ekman Recycling is the company's recycled materials division, which focuses on trading recycled goods. Ekman developed Ekman Recycling when it acquired New Jersey-based KC International in 2004. This sector has grown substantially since it was established 17 years ago.

Executive Team: CEO Jan Svensson, Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice President of Pulp Michael Flynn, Executive Vice President of Paper and Packaging Peter Sandberg, Senior Vice President of Recycling Materials Frank Crowley, Director of European Recycling Materials Division Markus Ocklind and Managing Director of Bioenergy Ronnie Christensen

Location: The company is headquartered in Gothenburg, Sweden. It has U.S. offices in various departments in Appleton, Wisconsin; Auburn, Maine; Austintown, Ohio; Diamond Bar, California; Fort Lee, New Jersey; Miami; Virginia Beach, Virginia; Wall, New Jersey; and Xilin, Oregon. Outside the United States, Ekman has offices in Australia, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Poland, the Republic of Singapore, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey , United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and Vietnam.

Department: Pulp, Paper and Packaging, Recycled Materials, Bioenergy and Innovare

Currently, Ekman Recycling trades approximately 1.4 million tons of recycled paper annually.

Neil Cooper, vice president of marketing and finance at Ekman Recycling, said: "From a quantitative point of view, we are today four to five times larger than when we started this division through the acquisition of KC International." "Business started in the United States, and we are outside the United States. To develop business in places where it expands to Europe and the United Kingdom"

Markus Ocklind, director of Ekman's European Recycling Materials Department, said that the company's work culture promotes entrepreneurship, which also helps promote the company's development and diversification.

"There is a lot of freedom in our department," Oaklind said. "Of course, we have to comply with Ekman's rules and compliance, but we want to be very free in the way we do business locally."

Frank Crowley, senior vice president of recycled materials at Ekman Recycling, said the company has been through "conservative" but strategic investments that have been going on for centuries.

"One of our mantras is that if you do it with your own money, then Ekman might do it," Crowley said. "So, this is the way to think about opportunities. There are many thought processes and opportunities that are a little weird and one-sided. Ekman is very conservative overall and therefore persisted for so long. This doesn't mean you don't take risks. It means You have to think carefully about the opportunities you seized. So I think Ekman has done a very good job of observing opportunities very, very closely, rather than just jumping in with his feet."

Since Ekman has the expertise to sell finished paper products, the company decided to expand into the field of recycled materials in the early 2000s.

Cooper said that Ekman recognizes that if it goes into recycled materials, it can provide more services to paper mills. He said: "Our philosophy is that we can enter the factory, we can sell you wood pulp, we can sell you recycled paper, and according to your needs, we can also sell finished paper."

Ekman entered the field of recycled materials immediately after acquiring KC International in 2004. KC International is a waste paper trading company founded by Ken Choi in Beaverton, Oregon in 1976. Before Ekman acquired the company, Crowley worked as a partner of Choi at KC International for many years. He said that the trading company initially focused on selling waste paper to South Korea.

"Ken is one of those success stories. He came to the United States with less than $100 and worked at Willamette Falls Paper on the West Coast," Crowley added. "Ken asked for permission to leave the company and do his own thing. This was the beginning of KC International."

Crowley said that Ekman approached KC International's team regarding a possible acquisition. "We see a great opportunity for a company that understands the transaction-they live and breathe it," he said. "We are very suitable."

Cooper said that KC International is very suitable for Ekman's use of recycled materials.

"At the time it did complete our product portfolio," he said. "This is the right size. This is the right person. This is indeed the key to any acquisition-bringing in talent that fits your organizational culture."

Cooper added, "Without it, you will fail. KC is very suitable, and it turns out that they are a very good acquisition."

He said that Crowley has stayed in the company since the acquisition, and Crowley’s other business partner at KC International, Phil Epstein, had retired from Ekman several years ago. This fact proves the success of the acquisition. .

One of Ekman's motto is "Bring the world to your business". The company buys and sells materials all over the world.

Since the establishment of Ekman Recycling, Ekman must have been doing this. The company's offices in the United States and Europe trade almost all types of recycled paper, including mixed paper, old corrugated boxes (OCC), newsprint and various high-quality papers.

The company mainly buys scrap steel from the United States, Canada, Italy, and the United Kingdom, but occasionally also buys scrap from Spain, France, and Central and South American countries.

Cooper said that Ekman Recycling also trades post-industrial and post-consumer plastic waste, as well as some post-consumer aluminum and tin. In Europe, in addition to traditional recycled paper bags, the recycled materials department also sells substandard paper rolls.

Ekman Recycling sells recycled materials to buyers around the world, including the United States, Europe, Southeast Asia, South America, and Central America. Oaklind said Ekman has always prioritized selling products to "many markets."

He said: "Diversification is a big deal for our department-we are not so focused on one market."

Ekman also looks for ways to provide solutions to customers' problems, one of which is to understand customers in depth. Crowley said the company likes to work harder to understand customers. This includes visits to recycling facilities and paper mills.

"We put ourselves in facilities large and small and try to understand the complexity of what they need, and then we tailor solutions to their needs," Crowley said. "You provide them with solutions as if you are their partner, rather than treating them as a tool that can be used."

The company recently established a partnership with a European paper mill group by providing an additional service. The paper mill group was not sure what to do with its substandard paper rolls, so Ekman came up with a solution. Ekman proposes to store all priceless paper rolls and sell them only to markets approved by the paper mill.

In addition, Ekman has installed equipment and assigned some personnel in the paper mill to manage all of its waste. Ocklind said that this service can ensure that paper rolls that do not meet specifications are properly handled, and the factory does not need to worry about the difficulty of handling and managing its paper scraps. He added that the provision of these solutions will help increase the paper mill's trust in Ekman. The company also has the ability to pack waste paper from external sources at the factory.

"This is very unique, and usually this is not our regular business," Ocklind said of Ekman's cooperation with the paper mill group. "This takes things one step further-not only buying paper for them, but we also provide services."

Ekman's focus on recruiting experts has also helped it develop successfully throughout history. The main reason for the company's acquisition of KC International was the personnel involved in the trading business. Ocklind joined Ekman Recycling in 2015 to manage the recycled materials department in Europe because Ekman was impressed with his 20 years of experience in managing IL Recycling AB in Sweden.

"Marcus has run Sweden's largest recycling company for many years, and I know he has the tools and capabilities to do something," Crowley said. "Our employees are our greatest asset. This is why we have grown to the current scale in Europe. Marcus recognized this through his previous experience and cultivated a great team."

However, Crowley admits that recruitment in recent months has been more challenging. "There is a shortage of workers all over the world. When the government gives so many subsidies to not work, it is very difficult.... Finding people with expertise in our business is a huge challenge. Finding a salesperson may not be so much. It's difficult, but it's even more difficult to find a salesperson who understands waste paper.

In recent months, Ekman Recycling has been busy buying and selling recycled paper. Crowley said that this year "the demand for fiber is incredible." He said that Ekman suspects that demand has increased due to the Amazon effect. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020, more and more people have ordered packages online.

"During the COVID period, consumer demand has increased dramatically," Cooper said. "You can't spend your money on travel and entertainment. So, what do people do? They buy things. So this stimulates the huge growth of e-commerce. For e-commerce, you need packaging, which is recycled paper and bulk paper. The large user of this year.” However, the surge in packaging demand has had a knock-on effect in the transportation sector, and the demand for sea containers has increased this year.

Cooper added: "The increase in consumer spending-not only in the United States, but also in Europe-has created demand for export containers from China and Southeast Asia. It fills up ships and causes huge congestion in ports. This will cause backlogs, delays, and restrictions on ship space and container availability, so this is a huge impact of COVID."

As many traders worry about continued transportation restrictions this year, Ekman Recycling is working hard to ensure that its materials can find domestic buyers.

"I think we are facing the same problems as most other exporters," Cooper said. "It is difficult to find space for ships. It is very difficult to be able to deliver containers on the return date of the shipping company.

“Our navigation method is to keep in touch with as many shipping companies as possible and try to stay up-to-date to manage the ever-changing delivery dates,” he continued. "When you can't get export containers or shipping space, you also need to have domestic business to move tons of cargo."

Ekman expects that more waste paper will remain in the local market, and its domestic business in the United States and Europe will grow.

Ocklind added that having a diversified business helps Ekman Group perform well in a challenging season, with customers in many different markets. He said: "We try to sell products to many markets and provide this service to our suppliers."

The company hopes to continue to develop in the same way-taking planned risks and providing customers with a high level of service.

Cooper said: "Our philosophy is that we do business globally, but we support local companies in the markets where we operate. It is important that we provide value in the supply chain to all partners with whom we do business."

The author is the executive editor of Recycling Today and can be contacted at msmalley@gie.net.

After 24 months of rigorous industry research and development, UNTHA America launched a new two-shaft shredder ZR.

UNTHA America proudly introduced a new two-shaft shredder-ZR. Moreover, after 24 months of rigorous industry research and development (including prototype tests in Europe), this dual-axis machine is now expected to achieve the lowest life cycle cost (LCC) of waste, wood, electronics and metal crushing among similar products. .

The high-performance ZR is designed for multi-shift, continuous pre-shredding-even when dealing with difficult materials that some people consider economically impossible to shred.

The machine's low-speed, high-torque drive means that it can easily handle heavy-duty applications to achieve a high level of shredder and plant availability. The modular, quickly replaceable cutting table design is centered on versatility.

For example, ZR2400H is specially designed for high throughput when crushing various bulky garbage, C&I garbage, waste wood, MSW, mattresses, carpets, railway sleepers, bales and coils. As a static or mobile machine with tracks, the goal of this model is to reduce volume (90% when less than 12 inches), decompose materials for further processing, and produce alternative fuels. Therefore, the cutting system is very suitable for cement plants, biomass and energy recovery industry operators, material recovery facilities, sorting and waste treatment companies.

ZR2400W is the perfect metal scrap shredder. It is also good at processing electronic waste and white goods. Similarly, the goal is to achieve rough material breakdown (90% less than 12 inches) for downstream sorting, making it an ideal machine for metal processors, recyclers, and aluminum and metal manufacturers.

The independent bidirectional axis rotation of the ZR means that the powerful cutting machine grabs, cuts and releases the material forward and backward to achieve a machine action that is always shredding.

The two pre-shredders are also equipped with UNTHA Eco Power Drive with a water-cooled synchronous motor-an energy-saving concept that is known worldwide for its ability to reduce energy consumption by up to 75%.

"For ZR, we are talking about a reliable and value-for-money power unit," said Peter Streinik, UNTHA sales director. "Like all of our paper shredders, this innovation aims to achieve long service intervals, easy maintenance, safe operation and long uptime. But what really sets it apart from similar products is its low cost Deal with difficult materials.

"We believe this will open up a whole new world of crushing possibilities."

ZR is powerful and smart, and will be equipped with UNTHA GENIUS — a condition monitoring system, allowing operators to access the performance data of their shredder in real time from any device.

Hubert A. Schwarz, head of processing and process development at the Austrian tool company Schaufler, commented on the 12-month test of the ZR prototype during the machine development phase: “The most important advantage of ZR is its versatility-the device can crush large and Coarse non-ferrous metals and composite materials; fast, simple, and efficient cleaning and maintenance; low energy consumption compared with other manufacturers. After using ZR, we can save $82,000 in energy costs each year."