Office of RECYCLING
                                United States
                                Environmental Protection
                          Solid Waste
                          and Emergency Response
          April 1999  •
JTR  Grantee  Series
New York
       ew York provides technical and financial assistance to recycling organizations
       through its Office of Recycling Market Development (ORMD). Started in
       1987, ORMD originally concentrated on assisting municipalities with market-
      I ing their recyclables, but the agency
soon began focusing on improving the recycling
industry and assisting businesses with waste pre-
vention. ORMD is housed in the New York
Department of Economic Development, where
staff have developed expertise in recycling mar-
kets for a variety of materials including industrial
byproducts, wood,  glass, and plastics.
A 1994 Jobs Through Recycling (JTR) grant
enabled ORMD to develop and complete several
long-term projects, which helped establish a
thriving recycling marketplace in New York State.
ORMD selected target materials by examining
the state's recycling market dynamics. The agency
identified four materials with high recycling
growth potential: recovered paper, paper sludge,
wood, and plastics. ORMD initiated the follow-
ing projects for these materials:
• Developing community and industry partner-
  ships to demonstrate cost-effective means for
  collecting wastepaper while ensuring fiber
  quality to paper  mills.

• Helping paper mills identify recycling options
  for the sludge generated by the recycling

• Developing facilities that manufacture pallets,
  furniture, and flooring from wood recovered
  from New York's commercial and industrial

• Providing technical assistance to help plastics
  processors, reclaimers, and manufacturers
  efficiently produce and use postconsumer
  resin feedstocks.
  Grant Type:  RBAC

  Office Awarded:
  Mew York State Office of
  ^Recycling Market
- Project Partners:
 ^American Plastics Council
~ Empire State Center for
   Recycling Enterprise
*" Madison County, New York
~~ New York State Energy
 ~  Research and Development
 - Procter and Gamble
- Schenectady County, New York

  Year Awarded:  1994

~ Funding:
-^1$   500,000 in EPA funding
*- 4   604,583 in state funding
  -$ 1,104,583 in total funding

  Materials Targeted:
  Paper, Paper mill sludge,
   Wood, Plastics

  Contact Information:
  Linda Jacobs
  New York State Department of
   Economic Development
~ Office of Recycling Market
; ... Development
\: One Commerce Plaza
[. Albany, New York 12245
!  Phone: 518486-6292
                                   ) Printed on paper that contains at least 30 percent postconsumer fiber.

•  Recovered paper. ORMD researched
   opportunities for recycling three
   types of recovered paper: boxboard,
   residential mixed paper, and office
   paper. These studies also examined
   the economic feasability of source
   separating boxboard. The boxboard
   studies located a tissue manufacturer
   willing to incorporate local boxboard
   feedstock into its manufacturing

•  Paper mill sludge. ORMD helped a
   business negotiate a beneficial use
   determination with die state's
   Department of Environmental
   Conservation that allowed the use of
   paper mill sludge for a broader range
   of industrial applications. The agency
   also funded research that identified
   cost-effective sludge processing and
   manufacturing practices, reuse
   options for sludge, and markets for
   absorbents made from sludge.

•  Wood. ORMD's partner, Empire
   State  Center for Recycling Enterprise
   Development (ESCRED), provided
   business planning and development
   assistance to strengthen the states
   wood recycling market. Specifically,
   ESCRED helped establish Big City
   Forest, a wood products remanufac-
   turer, and supported the company's
   growth and development with work-
   force  training assistance, production
   planning, and product marketing
   assistance. Although the project expe-
   rienced a successful start, due to a
   variety of circumstances the enter-
   prise is no longer in operation.

•  Plastics. ORMD conducted a plastics
   optimization project, examining plas-
   tics reprocessing systems and helping
   New York plastics recyclers imple-
   ment cost-cutting tactics previously
  developed by die American Plastics
  Council. The agency conducted
  onsite assessments at 18 community
  collection programs, handlers,
  reclaimers, and recycled product
  manufacturers and developed cost-
  cutting implementation plans for
  each. To promote durable plastics
  recycling, the agency conducted mar-
  ket research, facilitated links between
  buyers and suppliers, and initiated a
  research and development partner-
  ship widi private industry.

• Limited staffing resources.
  Addressing the recycling challenges
  facing New York businesses required
  a detailed understanding of certain
  recycling market segments, industrial
  processes, and materials. ORMD
  staff specialized in particular
  ORMD approached recycling
    from an economic rather
       than environmental
    perspective. The agency
     demonstrated that the
 recycling market presented a
  strong business opportunity
  for enterprising companies.
  commodities, such as wood or plas-
  tics, and continually researched new
  developments with these materials.
  Projects requiring more technical
  knowledge than ORMD possessed
  were outsourced to qualified

  Volatile nature of recycling markets.
  The prices of recyclables, like that of
  many commodities, vary greatly from
  year to year.  ORMD conducted
  detailed annual assessments of New
  York's recycling markets to track
  market dynamics and adjusted its
  yearly project priorities accordingly.
•  Geographically large service area. In
   order to cover a relatively large geo-
   graphic area, ORMD established a
   number of regional offices to supple-
   ment its Albany, New York, head-
   quarters. Regional personnel were
   better able to visit assisted businesses
   to learn about their needs.

•  Set goals and measure performance.
   For each project, ORMD defined
   measures of success (with regard to
   employment, capacity, capital  invest-
   ment, and other indicators) that were
   focused and ambitious. Before start-
   ing new projects, ORMD negotiated
   performance criteria with contractors
   and wrote these measures into their
   contracts. The agency required con-
   tractors to periodically report on
   their progress toward these goals,
   which eliminated surprises at the
   projects completion.

•  Partner with small business assis-
   tance centers and technical and
   business  schools. Leverage existing
   business assistance providers to
   secure product development services
   for new recycling businesses.
   These providers can free up agency
   resources normally spent addressing
   the special needs of startup

•  Recycling enterprises should take
   one step  at a time to build a sus-
   tainable customer base. Advise com-
   panies to look into niche markets
   that provide high profit margins.
   Startup recycling businesses should
   not focus on their sources of supply
   but rather on the market potential
   for their finished product. It also is
   important to develop a product line
   that keeps materials moving, avoid-
   ing warehousing costs from a build-
   up of inventory.

During the grant period, ORMD pro-
vided a range of technical and financial
assistance to community recycling pro-
grams, reclaimers, and recyclers. Staff
worked to identify barriers to accepting
recycled feedstock and provided hands-
on expertise to cover technical skill gaps
at New York businesses.
     For each project, ORMD
       defined measures of
        success that were
     focused and ambitious.
ORMD approached recycling from an
economic rather than environmental
perspective. The agency demonstrated
that the recycling market presented a
strong business opportunity for enter-
prising companies. This fact, combined
with the agency's insistence on provid-
ing direct, expert financial and technical
assistance, helped build solid business
relationships that led to the adoption of
new recycling technology and processes
in New York.
Specific accomplishments include:
• Established three joint ventures
  between New York communities,
  commercial establishments, and
  paper mills to implement cost-
  efficient wastepaper recovery
  programs. These joint ventures con-
  tributed to an increase in the utiliza-
  tion of postconsumer wastepaper in
  New York by 50 tons per day.

• Worked with the New York State
  Energy and Research and
  Development Authority
  (NYSERDA) to identify beneficial
  uses for paper mill sludge to lower
  disposal costs for struggling New
  York paper mills. ORMD and
  NYSERDA helped three companies
  convert the material into useful
  products such as animal bedding
  and industrial absorbents.

• Developed and recommended
  process and technology changes at
  1 8 firms participating in the plastics
  optimization project. The project's
  cost-optimization tactics  included
  developing long-term sales and
   supply contracts, auto-sorting plastic
   bottles by resin or color, and bulk
   shipment of postconsumer flake or
   pellet. The agency helped implement
   its cost-optimization recommenda-
   tions at seven companies,  four of
   which increased their utilization of
   postconsumer resin feedstocks.

New York provides ORMD relatively
stable annual funding through its
Environmental Protection Fund. In the
coming years, ORMD will continue to
support projects that capitalize on the
economic development opportunities
associated with reuse, reduction, and
Increasingly, ORMD is working with
the National Institute of Standards and
Technology's Manufacturing Extension
Partnerships (MEPs). MEPs provide
small and medium-sized manufacturers
access to a nationwide network of man-
ufacturing and business specialists and
resources. MEPs are eligible to receive
agency funding through a competitive
selection process.
                                        Full-Time Equivalents Created:
                                        Technical Assistance:
                                        Amount of Capital Invested:
                                             512 businesses assisted
                                             $5.34 million
                                       Volume of New Capacity Created:
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 "With ORMD's assistance,  our business has grown

General Manager, wTe Recycling Corporation

"^j" "IT "T~ "TTe Recycling Corporation launched its polyethylene terephalate
  \  ^/^  / (PET)  recycling operation in Albany, New York, in 1990. The
    %^% /   P'51111 generates PET pellets and flake for the production of a range
     V   Y    of products including nonfood and beverage bottles, food packag-
ing, clamshell-style containers, point-of-purchase displays, strapping, and engi-
neered resins for injection molding parts or sheet extrusion. In the early 1990s, the
plant's major supply stream came from bottle deposit programs. Plastic from com-
munity collection programs provided a much-needed opportunity to increase
capacity utilization at the plant.
One of the major obstacles to accepting
recovered PET from community   __
programs was the high rate of
polyvinyl chloride (PVC) cont-
amination, which dramatically
reduced the quality of wTe's finished pellets and flake. PET and PVC are visually
indistinguishable from one another and share many of the same physical proper-
ties. Without PVC detection equipment, it was extremely difficult for wTe to sep-
arate the two materials. JTR funding allowed ORMD to help die city of Albany
lease PVC detection and sorting equipment to wTe. Using x-rays and precision air
jets, the new equipment removes approximately 90 percent of the contaminants
 from  the company's PET stream.
 By securing PVC detection equipment from the city of Albany, wTe was able to
 increase its capacity utilization to 67 percent and decrease its marginal costs. wTe
 accepted nearly 2 million pounds of recycled plastics from  curbside collection pro-
 grams in the first 4 months of 1998 alone. The added capacity enabled wTe to
 hire 7 new employees, and die company plans to hire an additional 14 employees.
 Finally, the added capacity generated a $600,000 increase in the company's annual
 budget (not including raw materials purchased).
 Without ORMD's assistance, wTe would not have accepted recyclables from com-
 munity recycling programs as soon as it did. By leasing the equipment, wTe was
 able to compete with other plastics processors that were already accepting low-cost
 plastics from curbside programs.
                                                               • Beneficial Uses of Paper Mill
                                                                 Residuals for New York State's
                                                                 Recycled-Paper Milk BES
                                                                 Technologies, 1995. Provides an
                                                                 overview of the waste treatment
                                                                 and management practices of
                                                                 New York's paper recycling
                                                                 industry including technologies
                                                                 to beneficially reuse mill residu-
                                                                 als and the technical, regulatory,
                                                                 and economic barriers to that	
• Plastics Recycling Cost Optimiza-
  tion Project. R.W. Beck in
  association with Bottom Line
  Consulting, 1998. This report
  validates several strategies to
  reduce plastics recycling system
  costs, improve recycled plastics
  quality, and increase recycled
  plastics use in products.
• Wood Pallet Exchange Business
':: Opportunity. Adirondack North
  Country Association, 1997- This
  report asserts there is a strong
  opportunity for the establishment
 -7 of a financially stable pallet
  repair and exchange  operation
  in northern New York.
• Schenectady County Boxboard
  Recycling Project. Schenectady
  County Recycling Program,
  1997. This document analyzes
  the cost of sorting and processing
  boxboard  by the Schenectady
  County Recycling Program.
• Bonded Insulation—CCNB
  (Boxboard) Testing Project: Final
  Report,  1996. This report ana-
  lyzes the technical and economic
  feasibility of using boxboard as a
  substitute for old newspapers to
  manufacture cellulose insulation.
• Various fact sheets describing
  ORMD's  projects and services.