The Terrible Ten

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registers 25,081 total current, “significant” hazardous waste violations as of August 28, 2018 across the country. These are the ten states with the most violations registered last week.

A list of the ten U.S. states with the highest number of  significant hazardous waste violations

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registers 25,081 total current, “significant” hazardous waste violations as of August 28, 2018 across the country.  Significant violations can range from improper temporary storage of hazardous waste, transporting hazardous waste without a permit, illegal dumping/disposal of hazardous waste, to name a few.  Penalties can include jail time and fines in the tens of thousands of dollars.  Violators include businesses, colleges and universities, hospitals, government operations and any other non-residential waste generators.

Improper disposal of lamps

The ten states with the greatest number of current, “significant” hazardous waste violations are (totals as of Sept. 28):

10.  Alabama     680

9.  Pennsylvania     685

8.  Kentucky     765

7.  Maryland     872

6.  Louisiana     1607

5.  Texas     1733

4.  Missouri     1804

3.  Washington     2068

2.  Ohio     2244

 1.  West Virginia     3308

The ten states with the greatest number of total current hazardous waste violations are:

10.       Illinois     3235

9.         Pennsylvania     3344

8.         Ohio     3574

7.         New York     3813

6.         Louisiana     4165

5.         California     4399

4.         Washington     4707

3.         Missouri     4732

2.         Texas     4912

1.         West Virginia     5270

The EPA defines hazardous waste as a waste with properties that make it dangerous or capable of having a harmful effect on human health or the environment.  And though there are many industrial waste products that fall into this category, there are a large number of “everyday” materials that are hazardous, too.  Burned-out fluorescent bulbs, batteries (alkaline and rechargeable), lighting ballasts and thermostats are some of the common items that are also considered hazardous waste.  TerraCycle’s Regulated Waste division offers options for the safe recycling and disposal of fluorescent bulbs, batteries, ballasts, medical sharps to keep businesses of every size EPA-compliant.

And in case you were wondering, the Top Ten states with the least number of significant EPA hazardous waste violations this week are:

10.       Kansas     81

9.         Rhode Island     73

8.         Maine     62

7.         Florida     60

6.         Arizona     59

5.         Vermont     53

4.         South Dakota     51

3.         Nevada      40

2.         Minnesota      39

1.         Delaware     23

The EPA reports that one out of every ten hazardous waste violations is related to the mismanagement of universal waste like batteries, mercury-containing components and lamps.  Unmarked or improperly marked universal waste containment and improper universal waste storage are two of the three most common violations.  Utilizing an EasyPak container for smaller quantities or a BulbEater 3® for larger quantities can prevent storage issues.

Colorado State Prison System Uses BulbEater to Recycle Lamps

Correctional facilities face a number of unique challenges unheard of in other large, multiuse properties.  Combining living space, industrial operations and heightened security needs puts lighting at a priority.  Burned-out fluorescent lamps are not just a nuisance but can be a life-threatening situation.  For that reason, correctional facility managers must stay ahead of lamp replacement.  Most will seek to replace lamps before the end of their practical lifecycle which can often result in the need to dispose of hundreds, if not thousands of lamps at a time.

The EPA requires that correctional facilities recycle all spent mercury-containing lamps.  With linear and U-bend fluorescent lamps in such great numbers at these facilities, it is important to understand how to remain compliant.  Failure to do so can result in violations and fines that could have been easily prevented.

“Correctional facilities are no different than any other non-residential fluorescent lamp user to the EPA,” explains Joe Day, Account Manager at TerraCycle Regulated Waste.  “The rules governing hazardous waste apply, just the same.  They must recycle all fluorescent lamps, as well as any other mercury-containing lamps.”

A facility will fall into one of three waste generator categories, based on the amount of total hazardous waste they generate per month.

  • Very Small Quantity Generators (VSQGs) generate 100 kilograms or less per month of hazardous waste or one kilogram or less per month of acutely hazardous waste.
  • Small Quantity Generators (SQGs) generate more than 100 kilograms, but less than 1,000 kilograms of hazardous waste per month.
  • Large Quantity Generators (LQGs) generate 1,000 kilograms per month or more of hazardous waste or more than one kilogram per month of acutely hazardous waste.

The materials that are considered ‘hazardous waste’ include fluorescent and mercury-containing lamps, paint, insecticides and fertilizers, batteries, and cleaning supplies.  Keeping these waste products in storage, on-site until pick up by a registered hazardous waste hauler is not uncommon, but must follow the federal guidelines.

For fluorescent lamps, that means storing in a way that prevents accidental breakage of the lamps and potential contamination by the release of the mercury contained in the lamps.  To achieve this, some larger facilities use a drum-top lamp crusher like the Bulb Eater 3®.  A lamp crusher is a device that crushes the glass tube of the fluorescent lamp in a vacuum system that captures the mercury before it can be released into the atmosphere.  The crushing of the lamps compacts the waste volume by as much as 80%, making storage much more manageable.  With a capacity of approximately 1350 T8 fluorescent lamps per 55-gallon steel drum, storage space is well controlled by lamp crushing.

BulbEater3
BulbEater 3 with U-Bend/CFL chute attachment

“Our combined efforts will truly make a difference not only with complying with local regulations, but also with being good stewards for the environment.”  States Dave Bechtle, Colorado Department of Corrections.  Colorado purchased Bulb Eater 3® units in 2017 for all nine state penitentiaries.

For specialty lighting, like safety-sealed fluorescent lamps, drum-top bulb crushing is not appropriate.  To properly dispose of these types of lamps, a facility can purchase EasyPak self-sealing containers or PalletPak containers for larger quantities.  It is very important to note that the EPA requires that any spent lamps being stored at a facility until shipping is able to be efficiently facilitated must be kept in containers that prevent the accidental breakage and can capture any mercury, should there be accidental release.  Corrugated boxes or fiber drums used as storage must either be lined with plastic or contain an integrated seal, like EasyPak boxes.

Drum-top crushing is not approved in all states, so it is important to speak to a lamp recycling specialist to determine the best practices in your region.  Understanding how many lamps per month or year a facility is generating will make it easy to create a recycling plan that fulfills EPA compliance standards and meets the needs of the property—both in safety and security.

Illegal disposal of fluorescent lamps can be a costly mistake

Fluorescent lamps
Fluorescent lamps illegally dumped

In 1976, the federal government passed the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).  The act has been amended several times, giving the EPA definitions and guidelines that provide them the ability to take action against facilities and businesses that fail to meet regulations for the health and safety of people and the environment.  An important subsection of the RCRA regulations addresses the handling of waste, and more specifically, regulated waste.

According to EPA records, over the last two years hundreds of companies and facilities have been fined for failing to comply with the EPA’s rules on the handling of universal waste.  Fines typically range from $3,000 to $9,000, but some have been recorded as high as tens of thousands for substantial violators. A check of the inspection records for several states and regions indicates that cited violators were not limited to large universal waste producers or any specific industry.  From small, public schools to major corporations, any facility that utilizes fluorescent lighting can find themselves in trouble if their universal waste is not properly managed.

According to the Cornell Law School, the EPA has the authority to inspect and levy fines for failure to properly handle hazardous waste under Code of Federal Regulations (40 CFR Part 273, Subpart A – General).  Fluorescent lamps, batteries, pesticides and mercury-containing equipment are specifically defined as “Universal Waste” by the EPA, and are subject to heightened scrutiny because of the potential danger to the environment when not properly disposed of or recycled.

For example according to the EPA’s Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO) website, two universities in the Upstate region of South Carolina were recently fined in excess of $12,000 combined for RCRA violations.  A retail chain store in Kentucky was fined $3,750 by their state DEP when the federal EPA recorded the violation.  Additionally, the management team at that Kentucky store was required to attend an Enforcement Conference with the EPA.  But perhaps the most notable financial penalty for improper disposal of hazardous and universal waste in the last year is the $27.84 Million Home Depot agreed to pay to California.

Fortunately, fines and citations are easily preventable, if you work with a registered, reputable hazardous waste handler.  A certified universal waste recycler can provide facility management with a clear record of their waste’s proper handling and will provide a Certificate of Recycling Compliance for future reference.  Having an understanding of your recycler’s downstream procedures can be the difference between an uneventful inspection and a disciplinary action.

The most recent federal budget slashes the EPA funding by 23%, causing a large reduction in staff.  This might mean more pressure on inspectors to find actionable violations.  With less direct budgetary funding, it could also mean the EPA will be looking to increase the financial impact of fines and violations to help defray the cost of other important programs.  It becomes all the more important for a business or facility to have the necessary documentation of compliance.

EasyPak
TerraCycle EasyPak fluorescent lamp recycling box

 

Depending on the amount of universal waste a facility is producing, there are good options for EPA-compliance.  A smaller facility that isn’t producing much hazardous waste, say 100 kilograms (220 lbs.) or less a month, is considered a very small quantity generator (VSQG).  Setting up a box and store program for their fluorescent lamps, like an EasyPakTM box, will most likely be enough to remain compliant.

A mid-sized or larger facility could fall into either the small quantity generator (SQG) or large quantity generator (LQG) category.  Depending on a number of factors, such as the number of waste lamps generated each month and available storage space, a facility might consider a drum-top bulb crusher like the BulbEater3L® for their compliance needs (check local regulations for approval).  For very large quantities of waste lamps, a facility can set up a bulk pick-up to clear their property of potentially hazardous lamps.

The key is to get ahead of the violations before the EPA comes to inspect a facility.  No manager wants to have to spend money on a fine, plus find themselves under greater scrutiny when a situation is easily preventable.  The solutions cost a fraction of the fines the EPA can levy and prevent the embarrassment of citation.

Air Cycle Highlights Many Accomplishments This Year

Did you know that the national lamp recycling rate in the commercial and industrial sectors is at only 30%? At Air Cycle, we make it our goal to provide easy, time-saving, and affordable solutions for corporate waste recycling to help increase those recycling numbers. In 2017, we were able to expand our reach and continue to help our customers. Below are a few of things that we accomplished in 2017 that will work to increase national recycling rates:

New Product Launch

Bulb Eater 3LThis year, Air Cycle released a new addition into our bulb crusher family of products: The Bulb Eater 3L (BE3L). With a more compact size, the BE3L packs the same powerful technology that our Bulb Eater users rave about. This product makes it easier for businesses to be environmentally conscious while saving time, money and space!

The Bulb Eater 3L has many of the features of the award-winning Bulb Eater® 3, but is offered at a reduced cost and is the perfect solution for those wanting to save money while reducing labor and recycling costs.

Expanding services to the UK

new UK DistributorYou may remember hearing about our trip across the pond recently. 2017 brought on new products and also new expansions. Air Cycle has now partnered with JARSHIRE Waste & Recycling to provide businesses in the UK with our top of the line recycling products and services.

To date, Air Cycle’s simple, sustainable solutions are available in nine (9) countries across the globe. To learn more about our international programs or find out if our services are available in your country, visit us online.

Continued Focus on Waste Reduction Worldwide

Air Cycle continues to add daily to its worldwide focus of universal waste reduction totals more than ever! Currently, we are proud to share the following savings to our environment:
• 5,052,257 acres of water kept pure
• 252,613 grams of hazardous mercury recycled
• 2,565,296 lbs of batteries recycled
• 7,300,321 lbs of ballasts recycled

As we embark on a new year, Air Cycle looks forward to increasing those numbers and making more of an impact helping other companies reach their sustainability goals.

TerraCycle

TerracycleOur biggest news of the year is that we have proudly joined forces with TerraCycle! Headquartered in Trenton, NJ, TerraCycle is the global leader in collecting and repurposing hard-to-recycle waste. Operating in over 20 countries, engaging over 60 million people, and recycling billions of pieces of waste through various innovative platforms, TerraCycle is focused on Eliminating the Idea of Waste®

Through the acquisition of the Air Cycle assets, TerraCycle makes its entry into the universal waste market—the company’s first “regulated” waste market. We are excited to begin this new venture with TerraCycle and provide our clients with new recycling solutions!

We thank each and every one of our clients for their continued support and shared goals of improving the efficiencies of recycling programs in their organizations. To learn how you can save time, money, and valuable storage space with our services in 2018, contact us!

The Deadline for Scheduling your Bulk Pickup is here!

The last day to schedule your end of year pick up is quickly approaching! For the most efficient end of year bulk pickup cycle, we request that you schedule your last bulk pickup of the year as soon as you can.

Don’t wait until the month is over, schedule your pickup now!

 

How does nationwide bulk waste pickup work to increase efficiency at my facility?

Our bulk pickup services provide a cost-effective solution for facilities that recycle a large amount of universal waste. Our program takes care of waste including fluorescent lamps (crushed or not), ballasts, batteries, and electronic waste. And our flexible scheduling allows us to coordinate a pickup date that works best for you.

Your packaged waste is picked up and delivered to one of our certified recycling partners. The waste is then recycled, and you’ll receive a Certificate of Recycling to confirm proper handling and processing. Our online recycling reports allow anyone who has utilized bulk pickup recycling services to receive detailed information about their facility’s recycling progress. Each report details specifically what types of waste were recycled, the amount recycled, and the date processed. These reports are available online 24/7 and are perfect for facility management reviews, “green” marketing initiatives, and more.

 

Schedule your final bulk pickup of 2017 online or by phone at (800) 909-9709.

 

 

If this is your first time using the convenient universal waste recycling services from TerraCycle Regulated Waste, LLC (Formerly Air Cycle Corporation), call (800) 909-9709 to request a quote and see if your facility is a good fit for our Nationwide Bulk Pickup recycling services. Learn more about our simple, sustainable waste recycling solutions online at aircycle.com!

Prepare Your Budget for the Upcoming Fiscal Year

Are you planning your budget for the next fiscal year? Don’t forget about your corporate universal waste recycling program!

As the end of the fiscal year approaches, you may be wondering how you can appropriately disperse funds in the coming year. Spend your budget in a way that isn’t wasteful and will benefit your company as a whole.

Air Cycle offers companies simple, sustainable solutions that allow you to comply with Universal Waste regulations. Here are three of our solutions you may want to consider this year:

  1. Bulk Pick Up

For facilities over 150,000 square feet, bulk pickups provide a cost-effective solution for recycling large amounts of universal waste. Do you have fluorescent lamps, ballasts, batteries, and electronic waste you need removed? Our service area covers all 48 lower states.

Your packaged waste is picked up and delivered to one of our permitted recycling partners. Once the waste is recycled, you’ll receive a Certificate of Recycling to confirm proper handling and processing.

 

  1. The Bulb Eater 3

If saving money and creating a safer work environment are important to you, consider our Bulb Eater machines. The Bulb Eater 3 (and Bulb Eater 3L, created especially for smaller facilities) reduces risk and liability associated with improper disposal and reduces labor by up to 20 hours per 1,000 lamps. Why not make lamp recycling fun, while also saving money.

 

  1. EasyPak with Vapor Shield

We’ve proven that our EasyPak boxes beat out the competition. Not only are they incredibly easy to use, they’re also designed for simple compliance. Select your containers online, fill them according to the instructions listed, and send them back to us. Once you’re done, you can reorder boxes, or better yet, enroll in our Auto Reorder program. Your order history, Certificates of Recycling and recycling reports are readily available on-line.

 

At Air Cycle, we believe that recycling should be easy, not difficult or time consuming. That’s why we offer some of the easiest, most effective recycling programs in the world. Contact us today to learn more about our solutions: 800.909.9709.

Air Cycle Helped Improve Big Lake’s Household Hazardous Waste Management Program

The Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) facility of Riley County, Kansas partnered with Air Cycle Corporation to improve the program’s efficiency, while reducing the cost of spent fluorescent and HID lamps recycling.  Follow this account of the process that lead to our solution.


The Problem

Because the Big Lake HHW facility services 11 total counties in the area, fluorescent lamps quickly add up. Since lamps are lightweight and bulky, they take a disproportionate amount of space in the HHW facility storage area, as well as in the truck transporting it to the recycling facility. Fluorescent lamps represented 7.6% of the waste generated in Kansas, making Air Cycle’s Bulb Eater a perfect fit for Household Hazardous Waste programs. When Steve Oliver took over the HHW program, the facility had a large number of fluorescent lamps that had accumulated over a nearly 12-month period. He estimated that approximately 9,700 lamps of all shapes and sizes were being stored.

 

The Solution

The Riley County personnel purchased the Bulb Eater 3L model, which allowed them to process straight, circular, u-bent, and compact fluorescent lamps. It took Big Lake HHW personnel a total of 14.5 hours over the course of four days to complete the task of crushing the one-year spent lamp backlog. The completed project generated nine full drums and one partial drum of waste. Big Lake officials also tracked the amount and types of lamps placed in each drum and the resulting weight.

 

Impact

Over 14.5 hours, 9,268 total lamps were processed. When factoring the labor required to package, label, palletize the lamps to prepare them for shipment, and the recycling cost savings of transporting intact lamps versus crushed lamps, county officials estimated their savings to be $4,265.00 or about 50%, which allowed them to reduce the fees charged to users of their HHW programs by 50%.


To learn more about how Air Cycle helped Big Lake Regional HHW implement new processes that improved the program’s efficiencies and reduced cost, download our case study.

 

Air Cycle is committed to improving the efficiencies of  your recycling programs. Save time, money, and valuable storage space with our services. Contact us for a free review your current recycling program or for help with starting a new plan. Visit aircycle.com or call 800.909.9709 to speak with a recycling specialist about how we can help you.

Generate Savings and Brag About Your Sustainable Practices

Has your company been considering incorporating green initiatives into its business practices? Do you already have a Universal Waste program in place but looking for an easier and more cost-effective way to deal with fluorescent lamps? Air Cycle has many universal waste recycling options to help your company get started!

Here are some benefits of partnering with Air Cycle for your universal waste recycling:

  1. Our Broad Spectrum of Products and Services

Contact us to learn more about our products and services and we’ll help you decide which is the best fit for your facility. Our lineup includes:

  • The Bulb Eater Series (3, 3L),
  • EasyPak,
  • Bulk Pickup,
  • Total Program Management, and
  • Our Brand New Bulb Eater Services Program.
  1. You Minimize Costs

If you generate a large amount of Universal Waste, buying recycling services “in bulk” is usually cheaper. However, if you calculate the labor involved in packaging, labeling, and preparing the waste for shipment, are you really saving money? Let us help you design a program that truly minimizes cost.

  1. Ensure Compliance

Regulations vary from state to state. Our services ensure your company’s compliance with these laws. Learn more about that here.

  1. Brag About Your Commitment to Sustainable Practices

By using our services, you have access to recycling reports, tracking, and recycling certificates to help your company publicize your sustainable practices. Air Cycle Corporation is committed to providing the best recycling services possible, and Online Recycling Reports provides you with the means to brag about you contributions to a better environment.

 

For more information on how Air Cycle can help your company implement new green initiatives and the benefits of making these changes, download our Whitepaper: “Corporate Universal Waste Recycling: Ensuring Compliance, Generating Savings.

 

Air Cycle is committed to making your recycling programs easy to run and cost efficient. Contact us to start your plan today. Visit aircycle.com or call 800.909.9709 to speak with a recycling specialist about how we can help you go green.

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With our new Bulb Eater Services Program, you can save time and money using our supplied award-winning Bulb Eater and be environmentally friendly at the same time! Perfect for schools, hotels, office buildings, or facilities with over 200,000 square feet of lighted space, our new Bulb Eater Services Program cuts expenses without breaking the bank.

Continue reading “Should your Facility Consider the New Bulb Eater Services Program?”

Save Money with Our New Bulb Eater Services Program

We are pleased to announce the introduction of our Bulb Eater Services Program. A program designed for any facility, regardless of size, that includes the use of a Bulb Eater 3 or our new Bulb Eater 3L!

Continue reading “Save Money with Our New Bulb Eater Services Program”