WIH Resource Group Completes Alternative Fuels Feasibility Study for the City of Loveland Colorado


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PHOENIX, AZ, NOVEMBER 15, 2017 – WIH RESOURCE GROUP, INC. (WRG) IS PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE THE SUCCESSFUL COMPLETION OF AN ALTERNATIVE FUELS STUDY ON BEHALF OF THE CITY OF LOVELAND, COLORADO

Image result for city of loveland public worksWIH Resource Group, and its subcontractor, Fuel Solutions, Inc. were retained by the City of Loveland, Colorado to conduct the Feasibility Study on behalf of the City of Loveland.  The WRG  project Team members provided the City with a tailored set of strategies and recommendations, including:

  • Specific cost-benefit analyses for each recommended alternative, including a Return On Investment (ROI) projection;
  • A description of the projected timing and additional costs related to those recommended conversions;
  • Key details regarding new infrastructure needed and its associated capital/operating costs;
  • A description of potential grant-funding resources, options and opportunities.
  • And various efficiency recommendations:  i.e. Fleet Information/Management software upgrades/alternatives; anti-idling and right-sizing policies, increased use of telematics, etc.

“The WIH Resource Group Team was highly professional and responsive in meeting the City of Loveland’s expectations regarding its Alternative Fuels Feasibility Study.  Staff and elected officials from the City of Loveland now have much greater knowledge and confidence in how to proceed with greening our fleet methodically, successfully, and with reduced risks.  WIH Resource Group met our needs completely.” – Mick Mercer, Internal Services Manager – Public Works Department, City of Loveland, Colorado

MESSAGE FROM WIH RESOURCE GROUP PRESIDENT, BOB WALLACE:

“I am very proud of our team and that the City of Loveland is pleased with the results of our project work for them.  Both Mick Mercer and Steve Kibler, and the rest of the City staff involved in the project, were very knowledgeable and helpful in providing key resources and responding to the WRG Team’s questions about the City’s fleet management, fleet maintenance, City policies, financials and its operations.  The City of Loveland is outstanding and we are honored to have them as a client” – Bob Wallace, President – WIH Resource Group, Inc.

ABOUT WIH RESOURCE GROUP, INC. (WRG)

WIH Resource Group is global leader providing of diversified environmental (waste and recycling), financial, expert witness services, transportation / logistics consulting solutions to its Clients throughout North America and internationally.

WRG provides solutions to complex challenges to its clients in the areas of environmental, alternative fuel fleet conversion studies, customer satisfaction surveys, fleet management matters, equipment and assets valuations, mergers & acquisitions (M&A), landfill gas management, renewable energy, waste & recycling collections, business process improvement, procurement services assistance, waste management operations, recycling processing, transfer stations, operational performance assessments (OPAs), recycling facilities (MRFs) studies, transportation and other feasibility and related financial analysis.

Formed in 2005, WRG’s Team consists of subject matter experts from the waste, recycling, alternative fuels, and transportation industries from both the public and private sectors.  WRG’s Team of experts have over 150 years of combined experience.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the rest of the Team of subject matter experts at WIH Resource Group.

For more information about WIH Resource Group’s diversified client services, and how we can best serve you, visit www.wihrg.com

Contact us today to see how we can best serve you at 480.241.9994 or admin@wihrg.com

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YOUR GLOBAL LEADER IN CONSULTING

Celebrating a decade in business, WIH Resource Group is a global provider of professional technical and management support services to a broad range of markets, including waste management, recycling, financials, transportation, M&A due diligence and support, alternative fuel fleet conversions, facilities, environmental, energy for private sector business and government clients.

WIH Resource Group is a leader in all of the key markets that it serves. WIH Resource Group provides a blend of global reach, local knowledge, innovation and technical excellence in delivering solutions that create, enhance and sustain the world’s built, natural and social environments.  WIH Resource Group serves clients in more than 175 key markets internationally.

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Top 10 Recycling Countries From Around the World


As disappointing as it is, in regards to recycling, the United States does not make the cut. At just a 34 percent success rate, the U.S. sends only 1/3 of its waste into the recycling pool—which is well below many other countries worldwide.

That stat got us thinking: What are the top recycling countries in the world? And, what traits do those successful recycling locations possess?

Austria sits with the highest recycling rate out of any country in the world: 63 percent of all waste is diverted from landfills. As recycling programs have evolved, Austria’s overall performance in terms of municipal solid waste recycling has been stable and at a very high level for the past decade, according to the European Environment Agency (EEA).

“Austria has a long tradition of diverting waste from landfills and has a long-established recycling system. Most of the MSW (municipal solid waste) generated in the country is either recycled or incinerated,” as published in the Municipal Waste Management Report released by the EEA.

Furthermore, according to the Austrian constitution, the municipal waste management responsibilities are divided between the federal and the provincial governments. In addition to a handful of federal waste ordinances, a pivotal leg of the waste legislation is the 2002 Act on waste management, which established the bar for the country’s waste management practices.

According to a report compiled by Planet Aid—an organization that unites communities to bring about worldwide environmental and social change—Germany isn’t too far behind Austria. Germany sends 62 percent of its waste through the close-loop process, keeping it from landfills. And, Taiwan is keeping pace, hitting the top margin with a 60 percent success rate of recycling.

However, in an alternative approach, the recycling effort of the Zaballeen people in Cairo, Egypt, reflects even greater success than the aforementioned locations. With a metropolitan comprised of 60,000 people, you may be surprised to discover that the word Zaballeen is Arabic for “garbage people.”

As told in the 2010 documentary, Garbage Dreams, recyclers collect the urban waste and gather income from reusing, sorting, and reselling the articles they collect. The system has no established official or contemporary recycling facilities or sanitation services, yet, 80 percent of everything that is gathered is recycled.

“The Zaballeen have created the world’s most effective resource recovery system…they are actually saving our Earth. From out of the trash, they lifted themselves out of poverty and have a solution to the world’s most pressing crisis,” said Garbage Dreams Director and Producer Mai Iskander, as reported by Tom White for the International Documentary Association.

Likewise setting the recycling bar high—though, comparatively, with an established industry—Brazil recently broke global records for its aluminum recycling.

In 2014, the country recycled 98.4 percent of consumable packaging—and has been the number one recycler of consumer packaging in the world since 2001. In 2014, that high percentage equated to 289,500 tons of aluminum beverage cans out of 294,200 tons that were available in the market.

The country’s effort was linked to the economy—which was in recession—and the high cost of energy. Aluminum recycling requires less energy than producing new aluminum, so the cost-effective model created a natural incentive for the community.

Following Austria, Germany and Taiwan on Planet Aid’s list: another top recycling country is Singapore, sending 59 percent of its trash to be reused and recycled. Next up: South Korea recycles 49 percent of tossed goods. The United Kingdom hits the 39 percent mark with that percentage going into recycling. Lastly, closing out our top ten are Italy – recycling 36 percent of its trash – and France following closely behind with 35 percent.

The aforementioned locations are the top ten recycling countries in the world for varying reasons with their own unique approaches to the processes. As it seems, in order to implement a high success rate for a nationwide recycling program, the community requires one or all of these qualities: organization—be it through legislation, industry, or entrepreneurs—incentive: a personal motive or financial necessity, and cultural habit-building practices.

To learn more about how WIH Resource Group can assist you in recycling, waste management, transportation and business improvement processes, contact us:  WIH Resource Group, Inc

Content Source: General Kinematics

Contact WIH Resource Group
For more information, Visit our website by CLICKING HERE and contact us today to see how we can best serve you by phone at 480.241.9994 or by e-mail at admin@wihrg.com

Visit our new website!   www.wihresourcegroup.com

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ABOUT WIH RESOURCE GROUP

Celebrating a decade in business, WIH Resource Group is a global provider of professional technical and management support services to a broad range of markets, including waste management, recycling, financials, transportation, M&A due diligence and support, alternative fuel fleet conversions, facilities, environmental, energy for private sector business and government clients.

WIH Resource Group is a leader in all of the key markets that it serves. WIH Resource Group provides a blend of global reach, local knowledge, innovation and technical excellence in delivering solutions that create, enhance and sustain the world’s built, natural and social environments.  WIH Resource Group serves clients in more than 175 key markets internationally.

WIH Website logo

More information on WIH Resource Group and its services can be found at www.wihrg.com.

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The Western States’ Plan for EV Charging Infrastructure – Lessons Learned and Things to Watch


On October 4, 2017, the Governors of a number of western states signed a memorandum of understanding (“MOU”) to lay the foundation for work on a regional electric vehicle (“EV”) infrastructure development plan called the Regional Electric Vehicle Plan for the West (“REV West Plan”). The MOU was initially entered by Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and New Mexico, and later Arizona. The MOU calls for the participating states to work cooperatively to establish policies that will support the development of EV charging stations along 11 major transportation corridors that link their states together, spanning a total of 5,000 miles. The MOU mainly focuses on interstate highway infrastructure including East-West Interstate 10, 40, 70 76, 80, 84, 86, 90, 94 and North-South Interstates 15 and 25.

The signatories to the MOU anticipate a future with much higher levels of EV usage. To support this greater EV usage, the MOU calls for efforts by the states to:

  1. Coordinate station locations, thereby maximizing use and minimizing inconsistency across charging station infrastructure;
  2. Develop practices and procedures that will encourage more people to adopt EVs, including addressing “range anxiety”;
  3. Develop operating standards for charging station uniformity;
  4. Explore ways to incorporate EV charging stations in the planning and development processes;
  5. Encourage automakers to stock a variety of EVs in participating states; and
  6. Collaborate on funding and finding opportunities for the network.

Building on the Experience of the West Coast Electric Highway

The concept of a regional EV charging network along corridors is not entirely new. In October 2013, the governments of California, Washington, Oregon and British Columbia signed an agreement called the “Pacific Coast Action Plan on Climate and Energy,” which included a commitment to transition the West Coast to clean modes of transportation. Part of this plan involved the creation of an electric highway, called the West Coast Electric Highway.  Specifically, the West Coast Electric Highway was intended to be an extensive network of DC fast-charging stations, also equipped with Level 2 chargers, located every 20 to 50 miles along the major north-south corridors along the West Coast, as well as other major roadways.

In 2014, the states of Oregon and Washington took the lead in installing the Pacific Northwest portion of the West Coast Electric Highway.  California then followed in 2015 and 2016 with two grant solicitations administered by the California Energy Commission, seeking to provide funding for private developers to install DC fast-charging stations along I-5 and Route 99 from Oregon border to Oceanside, as well as portion of U.S. Highway 101. To date, more than $20 million in funding has been issued for installation of 191 DC fast-charge sites and 123 Level 2 charge sites throughout California.
Things to Watch with the REV West Plan

The experience with the West Coast Electric Highway provides some lessons learned of relevance to the REV West Plan. Below is a list of key things to watch:

1. Political Support.
Strong political support will be crucial to carrying out the REV West Plan, especially because it will require efforts from numerous state agencies as well as the private sector. For example, in California, Governor Brown signed an executive order in 2012 to establish a long-term goal of bringing  1.5 million zero-emission vehicles to California’s roadways by 2025. This has galvanized the state and provided a target that all state agencies could work toward. The Governor’s office has continued to stay actively engaged with this effort, releasing an updated action plan as recently as last year to continue to drive and coordinate the efforts of all state agencies involved. Even so, 5 years have passed since the executive order was enacted, and while significant progress has been made on many fronts, the DC fast-charging corridors are just getting their infrastructure installed. It will take a similar level of consistent political will from the Governors of each of the signatories to the MOU to accomplish its goals.

2. Funding.
A second major issue is how the infrastructure will be funded. The West Coast Electric Highway used a public/private partnership model that leveraged public funds at the state and federal level with matching contributions made by private developers.  In building the Pacific Northwest portion of the West Coast Electric Highway, the states of Washington and Oregon used Federal funding for the majority of the equipment and installation costs, and in-kind funding provided by the developer — AeroVironment, Inc.  California used a similar model, awarding grant funding to developers and requiring matching contributions for the purchase and installation of DC fast-charging infrastructure along select corridors.

The MOU does not specify any funding model or level of funding to be allocated to the program. Statements from the Governor of Colorado indicate that some of Colorado’s funding will come from the $68.7 million Volkswagen diesel emission scandal settlement.  Like the West Coast Electric Highway, each state will need to decide on the level, source, and method of funding for the portion of the network to be installed in that state.

3. The Role of the Utilities.
Comprehensive EV infrastructure planning requires a decision about the proper role of the local electric utility. Various options exist, from a passive role where the utility just provides permitting for new charging stations, to an active role where the utility actually installs, owns and operates EV charging stations, to somewhere in between (i.e., utility administering EV charging incentives and rebates, etc.). In a number of states, utilities have sought approval to invest in new EV infrastructure to be owned and operated by the utility. Those requests have met with mixed results. In California, regulators approved plans for the state’s major utilities to own so-called “make ready” infrastructure (the distribution lines and equipment to bring energy from the grid to the place where the charging station is installed), but denied requests for the utilities to own the charging station equipment itself. This balance was struck to enable utilities to leverage their low cost of capital for building infrastructure while promoting the market for third party EV station operators and technologies.

For the REV West Plan states, questions remain as to if and to what extent the utilities should own the fast-charging stations and the make ready infrastructure. Resolving this question will tell us much about the future of the market for EV infrastructure in the REV West states.

In addition, utilities exert an enormous influence on EV infrastructure development through the electric rates that they administer. One of the key electric rate concepts for EV station developers is the concept of a demand charge. A demand charge is a special charge based on the customer’s peak energy consumption over a certain period of time. In contrast to an energy rate that merely charges a customer for the total amount of energy consumed over time, a demand charge charges a customer a special charge based on the level of their peak demand. This charge exists to compensate utilities for the purchasing of electricity needed to meet these peak periods.

Demand charges are often the largest single component of the operational cost of an EV charging stations. The REV West states should consider calling on the utilities to open proceedings at their respective regulatory commissions to set special demand charge rates applicable to EV charging.

4. Interoperability and technology.
To carry out a regional plan among various states for EV charging infrastructure requires seamless integration. Planners should coordinate on things like networking of stations for data gathering, monitoring, and interoperability. Above all, planners should remember the EV driver experience and avoid a situation where balkanized networks require different accounts and access cards when a driver crosses a state line.

In addition, as battery technology has rapidly improved, the current generation of EVs are being equipped with much larger battery systems (to enable them to travel longer on a single charge). These next-generation EVs will require higher-powered DC fast-chargers than the current generation of EVs. REV West planners should consider how best to accommodate future charging station needs in this rapidly changing industry. Planners should consider installing the highest-capacity EV station equipment on the market and building extra electric capacity into the connecting equipment to facilitate a future with much higher utilization than today.

The REV West plan is the latest sign that electrification of our nation’s transportation sector is underway. As this discussion shows, however, much work remains for the planners in the REV West states to ensure that the REV West plan achieves its goals. Success will likely lead future states to look at the REV West states as an example, perhaps encouraging them to build similar regional EV networks in other major regions like the midwest and east coast

CLICK HERE to check out WIH Resource Group’s Alternative Fuels & Fleet Conversion Services to help improve your business operations and financials.

Source: WIH Resource Group & Stoel Rives LLP

WIH Resource Group’s team of expert witness litigation support professionals have a track record of success. Whether you’re facing a valuation dispute, damage assessment, contract claim, employee matter, safety incident, personal injury, landfill gas issue, or other pending legal action, our experts are ready to assist you.

For more information, visit our website by CLICKING HERE and contact us today to see how we can best serve you by phone at 480.241.9994 or by e-mail at admin@wihrg.com

Visit our new website!   www.wihresourcegroup.com

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ABOUT WIH RESOURCE GROUP

Celebrating a decade in business, WIH Resource Group is a global provider of professional technical and management support services to a broad range of markets, including waste management, recycling, financials, transportation, M&A due diligence and support, alternative fuel fleet conversions, facilities, environmental, energy for private sector business and government clients.

WIH Resource Group is a leader in all of the key markets that it serves. WIH Resource Group provides a blend of global reach, local knowledge, innovation and technical excellence in delivering solutions that create, enhance and sustain the world’s built, natural and social environments.  WIH Resource Group serves clients in more than 175 key markets internationally.

WIH Website logo

More information on WIH Resource Group and its services can be found at www.wihrg.com.

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5 Ways Business Improvement Process (BIP) Services Can Help Your Business


“Business Improvement Process services can help your company streamline operations and increase its bottom line.  In a highly functional business, everyone – from the janitor to the CEO – work towards common goals.”  – Bob Wallace, President – WIH Resource Group

The purpose of a business improvement process (BIP) strategy is to evaluate and develop processes within a business that boost productivity and maximize profits. Many small to medium-sized businesses often regard them as an unnecessary expense, reserved only for the big corporations; however, every company—regardless of size or turnover—could benefit from making a formal assessment of their operations every once in a while.

If you’re thinking about investing in a process improvement strategy, but aren’t sure whether or not you can afford it, the following benefits may sway you in the right direction.

1 – Identifies Common Problem Areas

No business is perfect. Even Apple, the most valuable brand in the world, could make improvements. Having said that, there’s a reason why they’re at the top of their game: because they’re constantly refining their business model. Tech giants like Apple, Tesla and Microsoft spend phenomenal amounts of money on identifying and rectifying problems in order to streamline their operation. While the costs may seem great, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of a cure.

2 – Improves the Customer Experience

Contrary to popular belief the customer is not always right; however, they always think they’re right. Improving customer experience starts by studying their wants and needs, and then delivering a competitive advantage. Behind every genuine complaint is a broken business process. While polite customer service staff can help, they aren’t always a solution. Sometimes you need to look deeper in order to improve your company’s front-of-house.

3 – Reduces Response Time

When people pay for goods or services they not only expect to get their money’s worth, but also a delivery in a timely fashion. A satisfied customer will come back to you again and again. In fact, most businesses generate around 80 percent of their revenue from repeat business. If you aren’t seeing similar results, something could be wrong. By removing non-value-added tasks and re-structuring your organization, you could dramatically reduce response times without hindering quality. This will give you a major advantage over your competitors.

4 – Improves Asset Productivity

Assets are acquired for one reason only: to produce profits. Whether it’s staff, equipment, facilities, technology or any other form of intellectual property, few managers will measure how well these assets are performing. Process improvement methods for businesses will help you quantify this data in layman’s terms, showcasing what’s working, and most importantly, what’s not working. This information can then be used to implement beneficial changes.

5 – Drives Everyone Towards Common Goals

It’s surprising how many businesses start trading without knowing what they’re actually working towards. In a highly functional business, everybody – from the janitor to the CEO – will work towards common goals. You must define your mission statement in order to succeed. Part of process improvement is about identifying goals and ensuring everybody works towards them,.

At the very heart of it, good business isn’t just about profit margins, it’s also about providing a safe, secure and happy environment for your staff. If you’re eager to make improvements that work for everybody, devising a process improvement strategy could be the fastest and most effective way of generating results.

CLICK HERE to check out WIH Resource Group’s Operational Performance Assessment (OPA) Services to help improve your business operations and financials.

Source: WIH Resource Group

WIH Resource Group’s team of expert witness litigation support professionals have a track record of success. Whether you’re facing a valuation dispute, damage assessment, contract claim, employee matter, safety incident, personal injury, landfill gas issue, or other pending legal action, our experts are ready to assist you.

For more information, visit our website by CLICKING HERE and contact us today to see how we can best serve you by phone at 480.241.9994 or by e-mail at admin@wihrg.com

Visit our new website!   www.wihresourcegroup.com

wihwebsite

ABOUT WIH RESOURCE GROUP

Celebrating a decade in business, WIH Resource Group is a global provider of professional technical and management support services to a broad range of markets, including waste management, recycling, financials, transportation, M&A due diligence and support, alternative fuel fleet conversions, facilities, environmental, energy for private sector business and government clients.

WIH Resource Group is a leader in all of the key markets that it serves. WIH Resource Group provides a blend of global reach, local knowledge, innovation and technical excellence in delivering solutions that create, enhance and sustain the world’s built, natural and social environments.  WIH Resource Group serves clients in more than 175 key markets internationally.

WIH Website logo

More information on WIH Resource Group and its services can be found at www.wihrg.com.

Click on an image below to take you to WIH’s other sites!

Renewable Portfolio Standards drive the waste-to-energy industry


There is one single, constant driver that can propel the WTE industry forward or hold it back, and that’s renewable portfolio standards (RPS). These RPS’s are policies in 29 states and Washington, DC to increase renewable energy, usually from wind, solar, biomass, and sometimes landfill gas and municipal solid waste.

USA Renewables by State

How much capital is allocated to each of these sources depends on what “tier” within the RPS it is placed. Tier 1 generates more revenue than tier 2, allowing WTE technologies in this higher category to compete with solar and wind, which are the energy-producing forerunners right now. While biomass, biogas, and other WTE grew by 15% since 2008, wind grew by 65% in 2014 alone.

Then there is a market driver at the federal level: the Public Utility Regulatory Policy Act (PURPA). The law requires utilities to buy electricity from a qualified facility, but to only pay what it would cost the utility to produce that electricity.

“So they pay a relatively small amount, which rarely pencils out for renewable energy producers,” said Brian Lips, DSIRE project manager at North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center. “But the RPS places [renewable energy producers] in a position where they don’t have to compete with fossil fuels; rather they compete against other renewables.”

Sometimes biomass, one of the more widely used WTE sources, is in tier 1 on the RPS. But what counts as biomass gets tricky as there is no standard definition; so feedstocks under this umbrella vary but could include organic materials like trees, crops, and animal waste.

How Maryland pays out for trash-to-energy

One state standing out on the WTE front is Maryland, the only state in the country that places trash-burning incinerators in tier 1, according to Energy Justice Network Founder and Director Mike Ewall. This incentive drew New York-based Energy Answers International to Baltimore, where it got a permit in 2010 to build what would have been the largest incinerator in the country — one that environmentalists vehemently protested, arguing the emissions would threaten public health.

Just last week, following a long, hard fight between Energy Answers and its opponents, Maryland announced that the incinerator project is no longer valid, stating the permit became void after an extended construction delay.

Some states have left trash incineration out of the RPS altogether, such as New York, which only allows the burning of biomass. However, that state is subsidizing crop burning. “Rarely can you make it work to grow crops just to burn them; it’s too expensive. But New York and Iowa have burned grass and or trees for electricity,” said Ewall.

Meanwhile, commercial scale trash-burning incinerators seem to be fading from the landscape. One to be built in West Palm Beach will be the first such plant launched in 20 years, at least on a new site. Many others are shuttering or at risk of closing, with the number currently in operation having fallen under 80 for the first time in decades, largely because of their cost.

Introducing more energy sources to the playing field

In quest of new options, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia have put fossil fuels in their RPS, bringing a whole new category onto the playing field. “They are the first ones [and only ones] to do this,” said Ewall. He added that Ohio has put nuclear in their portfolio in addition to fossil fuels. And a fairly new industry direction is to pelletize trash and market it to existing boiler plants for energy.

Some of the growing options — and their price tags — are sparked by regulations mandating the amount of electricity that utilities must derive from renewable resources.

“In California where 50% of energy has to come from renewable sources, utilities may pay more. But in North Carolina where just 12.5%  has to be renewable, utilities have more bargaining power,” explained Lips.

The renewable energy market is particularly strong in New Jersey, and Hawaii has the most ambitious goal in the country: 100% renewable energy by 2045, he said. The island state has two motivators: outrageously high electricity rates as it burns imported oil, and its vast renewable energy resources.

How the Federal Clean Power Plan is driving state policies

More change may be on the horizon if EPA’s Clean Power Plan unfolds. It’s part of Obama’s push, claimed to curb greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel and coal-fired power plants, which would allow for natural gas and renewable energies such as biomass, incineration, and natural gas.

Analysts project this law will be a major market driver, and it’s already proving to be, at least in the natural gas front. There are about 300 proposals for gas-fired plants in the United States now, according to Ewall.

“Most were underway before EPA adopted the plan. But they were [further] fueled by the rule. So Clean Power would be a major driver to push for natural gas,” he said.

Source: Waste Dive

Published by WIH Resource Group

Visit our new website!   www.wihresourcegroup.com

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ABOUT WIH RESOURCE GROUP

Celebrating a decade in business, WIH Resource Group is a global provider of professional technical and management support services to a broad range of markets, including waste management, recycling, financials, transportation, M&A due diligence and support, alternative fuel fleet conversions, facilities, environmental, energy for private sector business and government clients.

WIH Resource Group is a leader in all of the key markets that it serves. WIH Resource Group provides a blend of global reach, local knowledge, innovation and technical excellence in delivering solutions that create, enhance and sustain the world’s built, natural and social environments.  WIH Resource Group serves clients in more than 175 key markets internationally.

WIH Website logo

More information on WIH Resource Group and its services can be found at www.wihrg.com.

Click on an image below to take you to WIH’s other sites!

How Banning Food Waste from Landfills Affects the Industry


As a way to reduce the amount of waste sent to its landfills, Maine legislators have begun looking for ways to require composting for food and other organic wastes.

Food Waste - WIH Resource GroupOriginally included in LD 1578, sponsored by Sen. Tom Saviello, (R-Wilton), a mandate required those producing more than one ton of food waste to divert it from landfills by sending it to a composting facility within 20 miles. But Maine officials will have to find other ways to divert food waste because the mandate was recently removed from the bill.

“It had nothing to do with the merits of the proposal itself. It was more political. There was fear that including a ‘mandate’ in the bill would make it difficult to pass, and would definitely prompt a veto,” says Sarah Lakeman, Sustainable Maine Project director for the Natural Resources Council of Maine. “This was an omnibus waste bill, so they took it out to preserve the rest of the bill that they had a better chance of passing. The committee also thinks that they can bring it back for consideration in 2017 as its own bill. The start date of the ban wasn’t until 2020 anyway, so even with the delay in enactment, it could still start at the same time or sooner.”

Although Maine may have to wait until next year to decide the fate of food waste, the idea behind the ban raises some questions within the waste and recycling industry.“The original intent was to urge the largest producers of food waste to stop wasting; which would in turn help spur development in composting infrastructure in Maine,” says Lakeman. “We have adequate infrastructure now, but we need to expand it to make it more cost effective for everyone to participate. Particularly by lowering or sharing in transportation costs, and decreasing the distance traveled to a composting facility.”

Michael Van Brunt, director of sustainability for Morristown, N.J.-based Covanta Energy, says that states look to these types of bans to reuse, recycle and repurpose food waste and other organics to generate clean energy and rich, fertile compost, instead of wasting it in landfills.

“Diverting food wastes from landfills will require an investment in infrastructure, suitable time to implement, and an appropriate regulatory system to ensure compliance,” he says. “However, local and state policies can provide the impetus to facilitate food waste diversion. States like Vermont, Connecticut, California and Massachusetts have all adopted policies aimed at increasing food waste diversion, focusing first, like the Maine proposal, on large generators of food wastes. The European Union’s Landfill Directive, which reduced the amount of biodegradable waste going to landfills, has significantly contributed to the growth of sustainable waste management: more recycling, composting and energy recovery, and far less landfilling.”

Van Brunt also says he thinks banning food waste from landfills would have a positive impact on the waste and recycling industry.

“The most common alternatives for landfilling food waste are composting and anaerobic digestion, both of which are considered recycling when the residues are reused as compost or fertilizer. Banning food waste from landfills may also have the impact of reducing waste and possibly encouraging food reuse programs, even better than recycling,” he says.

“There is also the added benefit of avoiding significant greenhouse gases that are generated when food waste biodegrades in landfills,” he adds. “Reducing the amount of food waste deposited in landfills can significantly reduce the generation of methane a highly potent greenhouse gas, 34 times more potent than CO2 over 100 years, and more than 80 times as potent over a shorter 20 year time frame. Methane is a short lived climate pollutant, increasingly a focus of international action to reduce GHGs. In fact, the White House announced a strategy to reduce methane emissions two years ago that specifically targeted diverting food wastes from landfills.”

Source: Waste360

Published by WIH Resource Group

ABOUT WIH RESOURCE GROUP

Celebrating a decade in business, WIH Resource Group is a global provider of professional technical and management support services to a broad range of markets, including waste management, recycling, financials, transportation, M&A due diligence and support, alternative fuel fleet conversions, facilities, environmental, energy for private sector business and government clients.

WIH Resource Group is a leader in all of the key markets that it serves. WIH Resource Group provides a blend of global reach, local knowledge, innovation and technical excellence in delivering solutions that create, enhance and sustain the world’s built, natural and social environments.  WIH Resource Group serves clients in more than 175 key markets internationally.

More information on WIH Resource Group and its services can be found at www.wihrg.com.

Click on an image below to take you to WIH’s other sites!

Five Commandments for Down Recycling Commodity Markets


The accumulated wisdom of scrap recycling veterans leads to five important rules to help cope with difficult market conditions.

By Brian Taylor, Editor – Recycling Today

 

 

 

Illustration: Matt Collins

 

Scrap recycling company owners and managers live in a workday world in which changes can occur suddenly or, conversely, in which a distressed market can linger far longer than what is tolerated in many other sectors.

Industry veterans, thus, are not greatly surprised when prices drop sharply and stay low for an extended period, and likewise they have seen previous stretches where material generation goes into an extended slump.

The ability for a company to survive an extended downturn takes not just experience and knowledge, industry veterans say, but also discipline and foresight.

An entire management book could be written based on the accumulated knowledge possessed by recyclers who have weathered three or more market downturns of the sort that have put some of their competitors into receivership.

For the purpose of trying to distill some of that same knowledge into a format that can fit into a magazine article, what follows are five rules or commandments that fit within any lengthier volume offering advice on how scrap recyclers can manage through turbulent times.

By no means do these five commandments (or, if you prefer, strong recommendations) tell recyclers everything they need to know about how to survive a downturn. However, based on the common threads that emerged in talking to recycling industry veterans, they offer a good place to start.

i. thou shalt not take on burdensome debt.

Business loans and good banking relationships are as integral to the scrap business as to any other industry or service sector. What scrap recyclers seem to overwhelmingly agree on, however, is that the volatile revenue stream inherent to recycling means that debt-to-equity ratios that might be acceptable in other sectors can be a recipe for insolvency in the scrap business.

“Historically, it has proven to be true that lulls in business are great times to make changes: equipmentwise, efficiencywise and even just a change in business direction.” – Keith Highiet, Modesto Junk Co.

When scrap prices plunge and scrap volumes diminish, the monthly revenue for a scrap firm changes dramatically.

Recycling company owners may not agree precisely on when it is suitable to take out a loan or how much debt is too much, but they are nearly unanimous on the idea that there is a line that should not be crossed.

Overall, for a business to achieve a certain scale, “debt is not avoidable,” says Kevin Gershowitz, a principal owner of Gershow Recycling, Medford, New York. “But many times, industry members don’t manage debt well,” he continues. “While too much debt is never a good idea [in any business sector], in a commodity business and in a weak market, too much debt is a death knell.”

Melvin Lipsitz of M. Lipsitz & Co. Ltd., Waco, Texas, offers a blunt assessment: “Debt is a bad thing anytime. Typically, the interest you pay on debt and the typical net margin of profit for this industry [mean] the cost of money, even at low interest rates, can dissolve profits.”

Nonferrous scrap recycler Mark Lewon of Utah Metal Works, Salt Lake City, says that among the many scrap firms that purchased auto shredders during the (largely) bull market from 2003 to 2013, those who financed their purchases likely have learned a hard lesson.

Lewon, who also currently serves as chair-elect of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), Washington, states, “The buildup in shredders was fueled by debt. Now few, if any, shredders get enough material to run more than a couple of days per week. If that amount of volume isn’t enough to cover the payments, there is going to be a problem.”

Industry veteran Albert Cozzi, currently a principal with Bellwood, Illinois-based Cozzi Recycling, expresses a cynical view toward lenders, commenting, “Banks will always lend you whatever you want, as long as you don’t need it.”

The distressing corollary to that, he says, is that “in this environment,” when recyclers may benefit from a loan to supplement slumping revenue, banks “are just not lending to commodity-related businesses.”

Lewon says, “Debt is a tool, but it is a dangerous tool in that if the calculations for servicing that debt are inaccurate, and if volumes or margins fall short, disaster ensues.

“The bottom line is that the less debt a company has going into difficult economic times, the better the chances of its survival,” he adds.

ii. know thy costs.

Making a concerted effort to understand where outbound dollars are going and whether they are being spent wisely is an endeavor that proves worthwhile far beyond the scrap recycling industry. This knowledge proves particularly critical in a scrap industry downturn, however, when it comes time to react quickly to new market dynamics.

Sources cite careful recordkeeping and industry experience as factors that help savvier operators fully understand how and where money is being spent. “Those operators or entities who have been through prior low cycles understand the basic rule of ‘know your costs,’ managing your costs and keeping your costs low,” Kevin Gershowitz says. “This rule also allows for greater profits during better markets. The experience factor is very important.”

Steven Safran, president of Chicago-based wire processing firm Safran Metals, advises, “You should be running the business the same in the good times and the bad times, not just waiting for the bad times to ask, ‘Oh, where can I cut my costs?’”

Kevin Gershowitz expresses the same thought, saying, “The only way to survive the wake-up call [of a tough market] is to eliminate waste and fat. In good markets, efficiency can wane and costs rise. It’s easy to keep paying. However, in bad markets, those players that consciously choose to survive deliberately review their costs, efficiencies and spending.”

Cozzi offers a similar perspective, saying, “I am a big believer that operationally, when things are good, you run things as if things were going to get bad. That way, when things do turn bad, you don’t have to make many operational changes.”

The hard work is in the details, Cozzi adds, remarking, “It is important to look at every line item on the income statement regularly to see where costs can be reduced. Also, it is important to look at every item on the balance sheet to see where cash can be squeezed out.”

“The less debt a company has going into difficult economic times, the better the chances of its survival.” Mark Lewon, Utah Metal Works

When a downturn hits, “Yes, you may have to change to adjust to volumes,” he says, “but whether things are good or bad, you have to look at your business every day and find ways to be more efficient and continually improve operations.”

John Tiziani, chief financial officer of Gershow Recycling, sums up this management principle by stating, “The companies that know every detail to their businesses survive in low markets and thrive in high markets.”

iii. thou shalt not overpay for material.

The adage “Scrap is bought, not sold” is one of the first phrases someone new to the industry learns, and the importance of the phrase is magnified when scrap buyers are operating in a declining or depressed market.

In bad times or good, prices paid for inbound material are likely the biggest numbers on the expenses side of the ledger, so avoiding overpaying is directly related to the “Know thy costs” commandment.

What veteran recyclers observe, however, is that overpaying can cause even more harm to a company’s balance sheet during bad times, and yet some company managers have a greater tendency to make this mistake in a market slump as they try to meet volume projections.

“Warren Buffet says, ‘You cannot buy market share; you can only rent it for a short period,” Cozzi says. He says the purchase of any grade from any supplier should be scrutinized as to whether it is contributing to profitability.

“Most scrap companies are looking at average cost of their purchases rather than incremental cost or marginal cost of both their feedstock and their operating expenses,” Cozzi says. “During good or bad times, the most important financial metric is contribution margin. Very often those marginal tons are providing negative contribution margin.”

Cozzi, who helped run Chicago-based Cozzi Iron & Metal before that family business was sold to Metal Management Inc. (now Sims Metal Management) in 1998, says maximizing volume may keep machinery active, but that does not necessarily make it the right approach.

“Whether our family ran one or 40 yards, we always did a sensitivity analysis for each yard to make assumptions [about] what price would provide what tonnage, and at what levels is contribution margin maximized. Generally, that answer is at a lower tonnage and lower price point.”

Safran says his family company has remained a modestly sized business in part because it follows this same logic, even during boom markets. “This is the reason Safran Metals has been lean over the years: If we’re looking to pick up new business, we want to pick up business that makes sense. We’re not just looking to pick up marginal business. And I’m guessing too many dealers pick up marginal business, and especially business where you also have to increase your overhead. If so, then you’re putting yourself in more of a risk situation.”

Elliott Gershowitz, a co-principal at Gershow Recycling, along with his brother Kevin, comments, “Don’t overpay for market share on the basis of more volume. You can make the same profit if not more sometimes just by widening your spread and working on lower volumes.”

Kevin Gershowitz elaborates, saying, “Overpaying for raw material is a contagious, infectious disease. The old adage of ‘Make it up in volume’ is just as false today as it was then.” He concludes, “One has to be smart when buying. One needs smart buyers when buying. Anyone can buy if they overpay.”

iv. thou shalt not neglect good people.

When a downturn hits and then lingers, it becomes exceedingly difficult for a company manager to avoid painful personnel decisions. The negative impacts are clear to the employees being laid off or terminated and can be nearly as traumatic for the managers who have to make and communicate these decisions to their employees.

More subtle but of great importance in the long term is the risk to a company’s future when employees who are critical to the workplace knowledge base, culture, morale and future productivity gains of a company are among those who are terminated or leave the company after a payroll cut.

When asked about cost cuts to avoid during difficult times, Keith Highiet of Modesto Junk Co., Modesto, California, says, “Neglecting equipment or losing good people are not options. There are other expenses that can be cut first.”

A recycling company that wishes to retain its key employees through a downturn may need to turn to reduced hours as a cost-cutting technique. “Reduced hours and having good supervision are the keys,” Lipsitz says.

Safran says, “I have never laid anybody off [because of business conditions], maybe because we’ve been lean and mean. The workers help me make money in the good times, and I look at it that I have to take care of them in the bad times. We may need to cut back on hours, but if you have good people, and you spend money training them, you look at what you have to do to keep key employees.”

Lewon says good communication prevents workers from either being blindsided by bad news or from failing to understand the seriousness of a market downturn. “Explain to your people exactly what is going on so that they are aware,” he comments.

Even with the best management practices, “I think that choices have to be made,” Lewon says, when it comes to adjusting personnel levels to meet market realities. “Don’t be afraid to let marginal employees go. Tell the good employees that you want to keep them and that you will work with them to help them make it.”

v. continue to invest in quality.

When scrap prices are low and volumes have slowed to a trickle, it is likely that cash flow conditions will be on the tight side of the spectrum as well. A combination of tight cash flow and a commitment to avoid burdensome debt would seem to make a downturn an unlikely time to invest in operations improvements. However, veteran recyclers warn that neglecting one’s equipment for any consi

derable amount of time is likely to yield negative results. Retaining a high level of quality in operations starts with equipment maintenance, recyclers seemed to unanimously agree. (See the sidebar “Always Maintain”)

Beyond that important rule, veteran recyclers also say a market slump can provide managers with available time to research new equipment, adding that they often encounter equipment makers eager to make a sale during a lull.

“Historically, it has proven to be true that lulls in business are great times to make changes: equipmentwise, efficiencywise and even just a change in business direction,” says Highiet.

“Often, equipment salespeople are willing to deal in order to make sales in tough times,” Lewon says. “For anyone with cash and a long-term view, sometimes difficult times can be a great time to buy equipment.”

Kevin Gershowitz, who has encountered the same circumstance, says, “Better deals can be had on certain equipment from those sellers in need of making sales.”

Yet more critical than saving a few dollars, he says, is preparing to be competitive in the long run. “More important than the savings on the investment is the ability to be ready to go when the markets recover,” he states.

Kevin Gershowitz also points to the importance of keeping in mind the extended research, purchase and installation timeline for such a project.

“The workers help me make money in the good times, and I look at it that I have to take care of them in the bad times.” – Steven Safran, Safran Metals

“On some scrap processing equipment, from investigation to contract to install, it can take over a year for new processing equipment to become operational. Installing now and being in the game when the market recovers is better than beginning to install when the market recovers and then begin operating when the market tanks again,” he comments.

The first quarter of 2016 has provided financial press headlines pertaining in particular to China’s economy and the woes of the global steel industry that may well help to prolong the difficulties in the commodities sector.

Recycling industry veterans are far from complacent, but they do profess a certain amount of faith that abiding by time-tested management principles will help make the slump bearable.

“This downturn is having real consequences,” Highiet says. However, he adds, “The ability and wherewithal to weather prior [slumps], from controlling costs to accepting smaller profit margins with reduced flows of scrap, are helpful to rely upon in the current environment.”

Kevin Gershowitz says, “The fixed costs of operating a scrap yard are real and very expensive. The percent of gross margin needed to cover costs increases as market pricing lowers. When pricing is high, margins are wide and just about any company or individual can generate profits. Low pricing is a different business skill set. As market pricing lowers, margins get squeezed and do not expand. This explains many of the closures we read about.”

Cozzi returns to the idea of veteran leadership as making a difference for some scrap companies. “I believe that people in the industry prior to 2000 do have an advantage over people who are more recent to the business. They have lived through the cycles of the commodities market and of the economy,” he states.

Whether the rest of 2016 brings with it low prices or rising prices, employees of scrap companies with veteran leaders are likely to hear from them with variations of these five commandments and other lessons learned from previous experience.

Author: The author is editor of Recycling Today, Brian Taylor

Source: Recycling Today

Published by WIH Resource Group

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