York facility first in U.S. to transform plastic waste into innovative concrete additive

CRDC Global’s new facility, which processes raw plastics into construction materials, opened in October at 390 Eberts Lane, York. PHOTO/PROVIDED

York will be the site of a new factory capable of converting difficult-to-recycle plastic waste into a new concrete additive known as RESIN8, CRDC Global announced Friday.

CRDC Global’s site lists it as “a disruptive building materials company that creates apricating value from the world’s plastic waste.” Since its founding in 2018, CRDC has rapidly scaled operations from Costa Rica to the U.S., South Africa, United Kingdom, Australia, Mexico, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and Samoa.

CRDC will have the support of the Alliance to End Plastic Waste (Alliance). The first in the U.S. and second in the world, this 14,000-square foot production plant uses a process that transforms York’s unwanted plastic waste into RESIN8 at a rate of approximately one ton of plastic per hour.

The collaboration allows CRDC to expand its footprint in North America. It will also scale up its existing production plant in Costa Rica. The two facilities combined will be able to process nearly 24,000 metric tons of plastic waste per year. Accepted will be all types of mixed plastic waste that would have been sent to landfill or be incinerated to instead produce RESIN8.

RESIN8 is suitable for numerous applications including concrete blocks and pavers, pre-cast concrete, ready-mix concrete, mortars, and hot mix asphalt. The resultant material is up to 15% lighter or stronger depending on its usage, with up to 20% better insultation properties than traditional concrete. RESIN8 has been used by Habitat for Humanity to build social housing in Latin America.

“We need the sort of innovation that CRDC brings, and we welcome any solution that makes our city more sustainable,” City of York Mayor Michael Helfrich said. “I’m very proud of how our York community has embraced CRDC’s presence and has already started bringing their plastic waste directly to the factory.

“To facilitate the collection of this plastic waste, I’m pleased to announce that we’re establishing three sites for the collection of plastics in different areas of York.”

Any type of plastic waste (resins 1-7) can be accepted as raw material and transformed into RESIN8, due to CRDC’s unique approach. The building material was designed by and for the construction industry and has been tested extensively and shown to enhance the integrity of concrete and asphalt. A viable commercial solution for unwanted plastic waste is thus created, keeping it out of landfills and the environment.

CRDC CEO Donald Thomson said the specific benefits of RESIN8 in concrete include improvements to insulation, strength, and fire resistance as well as reduction of weight.

“The greatest appeal of RESIN8 lies in its ability to provide both an environmental benefit and commercial benefit,” he said. “So, while we’re helping to clean up plastic waste, we’re also providing a product that stands on its own in terms of its performance and commercial viability.

“RESIN8 has a positive impact on both the plastics and the construction industries as a functional example of zero waste. We spent years on research and development to ensure we have a process that can be rapidly scaled.”

A global non-profit organization with a mission to end plastics waste in the environment, the alliance has supported since last year the scaling up of CRDC Global’s operations in the U.S. and Costa Rica.

“The alliance believes that plastic waste is a resource with value that can be unlocked with the right technologies and solutions,” said Steve Sikra, Vice President and Head of the Americas at the alliance. “RESIN8 is one such example with the potential to be replicated globally. From the time we began working with CRDC Global, they have made tremendous strides in improving their process and perfecting their new technology. We are proud to be journeying with them to scale up technology around the world.”

Marc Forman, President of Georgia-Pacific Recycling, a partner of CRDC Global, said it’s important innovative solutions like RESIN8 move forward to help improve reuse of plastic waste and that Georgia-Pacific is pleased to play a supporting role.

“At Georgia-Pacific, we actively engage in continuous improvement and exploration of innovative solutions that benefit society as part of our business strategy and success measures,” he said. “Our partnership with CRDC Global to provide logistical support and plastic feedback for their operations is a great example of how we do that.”

Pennsylvania American Water to buy Butler wastewater system for $231.5M

Hershey-based Pennsylvania American Water, a subsidiary of American Water, has signed an agreement with the Butler Area Sewer Authority to purchase its wastewater system for $231.5 million.

The system serves nearly 15,000 customers over 32.5 square miles, including the City of Butler; Butler and Center townships; East Butler borough; parts of Connoquenessing borough and Summit and Oakland townships; and a small portion of Penn Township.

Pennsylvania American Water already provides drinking water to approximately 19,500 customers in the region.

As part of the agreement, the utility will offer jobs to all of Butler Area Sewer Authority’s employees; maintain the existing operations center for at least 10 years; take over the authority’s planned capital improvement projects utilizing qualified Butler-area contractors; and adopt the authority’s rates at closing with a minimum 1-year rate freeze.

Pennsylvania American Water will make necessary treatment and collection system upgrades to improve the wastewater system, expected to total more than $75 million.

Once approvals from regulators are received, the transaction is expected to close by the end of next year.

“We are pleased that BASA and other community leaders recognized the value we provide to our water customers and are entrusting us with the future ownership of their wastewater system,” Pennsylvania American Water President Mike Doran said in a release. “… Pennsylvania American Water is well positioned to step in and assume responsibility for the community’s wastewater needs by using the existing expertise of current employees, leveraged by the resources we can provide as the commonwealth’s largest water and wastewater utility.”

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

York County Solid Waste Authority’s new budget raises tipping fee

Under the York County Solid Waste Authority’s newly approved 2023 budget, the tipping fee (cost of disposal) for processible municipal solid waste at the York County Resource Recovery Center will climb 2.8%, from $70 per ton to $72 per ton.

The minimum fee to dispose of waste will be $20 for up to 540 pounds.

“Under this increase, the cost of waste disposal alone for an average York County household will be approximately $1.52 per week,” a 4-cent increase, Dave Vollero, authority executive director, said in a release.

“This is based on an average household waste generation rate of 1.1 tons of trash per year. The household annual average cost to York County residents for waste collection and disposal services is approximately $310 a year, of which just $79 accounts for the disposal portion of those fees.”

The authority said the jump in the tipping fee is a response to rising operational costs and is below most cost-of-living indices.

Three revenue streams support the authority’s operations: the tipping fee at the York County Resource Recovery Center, the sale of metals from combustion ash and the sale of electricity generated by the facility.

In addition to the recovery center, those operations include the Small Load Drop-off Facility, the Recycling Drop-off Center, the Education Center, the York County Sanitary Landfill/Hopewell Area Recreation Complex, electronics recycling and community outreach efforts, and other programs aimed at waste reduction and recycling.

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

Armstrong World Industries takes step to reduce waste

Armstrong World Industries Inc.’s plant in Macon, Georgia, is joining forces with Irving Consumer Products to reduce both companies’ environmental footprints.

In the second quarter of this year, Irving’s Macon facility will start diverting its tissue fiber waste to Armstrong’s mineral fiber plant, reducing Armstrong’s need to source and purchase recycled newsprint as an input raw material for its ceilings.

Through this collaboration, Armstrong and Irving expect to divert more than 3,500 tons of fiber waste each year from landfills, supporting their sustainability goals.

“This partnership is a win-win, and a great example of companies working together at a local level to help solve a global problem while improving our own processes,” Armstrong’s Macon Plant Manager William Woolard said in a release.

Armstrong, headquartered in Lancaster, designs and manufactures commercial and residential ceiling, wall and suspension systems. It reported $1.1 billion in revenue in 2021.

With 400-plus employees, the Macon ceiling tile plant is one of Armstrong’s largest mineral fiber facilities. Irving’s household tissue products manufacturing plant in Macon has a workforce of more than 320 people.

Since 1999, Armstrong has been using recycled paper as a raw material and recycling old ceiling tiles into its manufacturing process through the Armstrong Ceiling Recycling Program. Over the years, more than 200 million square feet of used ceiling materials have been diverted from landfills.

Harsco Corp.’s environmental services accounted for 82% of its revenue in 2020

Camp Hill-based industrial services company Harsco Corp. now generates 82% of its revenue from environmentally focused segments, the company announced in its 2020 sustainability report.

The global company provides solutions for industrial and specialty waste streams and for the rail sector through its four subsidiaries: Clean Earth, Harsco Environmental, Harsco Rail and Harsco Industrial.

In Harsco’s second annual environmental, social and governance report, released this week, the company reported that it derived 82% of its annual revenue from environmental solutions, compared to 62% three years ago.

“As the largest company supporting the world’s steelmakers with slag and scrap recycling and as a leader in hazardous and nonhazardous waste management in the United States, we have a responsibility to sustainably treat industrial and specialty waste, and we remain committed to doing so,” said Nicholas Grasberger, chairman and CEO of Harsco.

Harsco’s environmental services expanded last year with the acquisition of medical waste services company Stericycle’s environmental solutions (ESOL) business.

The Stericycle acquisition is the company’s largest to date and accounts for 2% of Harsco’s environmental services growth. Grasberger said that as a result of the recent acquisition, Harsco created its Clean Earth Division, one of the largest hazardous waste treatment and recycling companies in the country.

“Since our last report, we have focused on capturing the value of our combined waste management businesses, scaling our unique and innovative recycling solutions, growing our portfolio of applied products and environmental solutions to steel and aluminum mills globally and responsibly enhancing our manufacturing and supply chain processes in our rail business,” he said.

The report also found that over 75% of waste and byproduct material processed by Harsco was recycled or repurposed – 94% by its Clean Earth division.

Across Clean Earth and Harsco Environmental divisions, Harsco launched 29 new environmental solutions last year, an increase of nearly 32% from 2019.

For 2021, Harsco Environmental plans to increase its proportion of mill services, rebalance its portfolio to be more environmentally focused and grow its applied products and SteelPhalt roadmaking products businesses.

The new Clean Earth department, meanwhile, is set to focus on organized growth opportunities and add treatment capabilities at existing transfer, storage and disposal facilities.