The upgrades include lower noise levels, increased uptime and enhanced operator comfort.
Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE), which has North American offices in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, says it has upgraded its zero-emissions, low-noise L20 and L25 Electric compact wheel loaders with enhanced uptime, versatility and operator comfort in mind. Small Articulating Loader
All North American customers will receive the updated L25 and L20 Electric models.
The updates include increasing the maximum speed to 12.4 mph, the option to include a parallel linkage that delivers high breakout torque in various applications, additional operator-friendly features and improved charging.
“As the first commercially available, fully electric wheel loaders on the market, the L25 Electric and L20 Electric were already unique,” Volvo CE Electromobility Product Manager Lars Arnold says. “These upgrades take them to another level with improved comfort, productivity and uptime.”
Both the L20 and L25 offer zero exhaust emissions, lower noise and similar performance compared with diesel equivalents.
The upgrades include lower noise levels inside and outside the cab because designers added a new hydraulic pump, relocating the main control valve from the cab to the front frame.
Additionally, operators in colder climates might appreciate the new programmable cab heater option, which allows them to choose the times and days of the week when they would like to step into a prewarmed, defrosted cab.
Operator comfort also is enhanced by a more ergonomic joystick with the latest design on the market.
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A new electric parking brake improves uptime with hill-hold functionality, a convenient automatic feature for operators working on inclines or rough terrain. The new spring-applied, hydraulic-released wet-disc brake, which replaces the disc brake in the old model, eliminates related maintenance costs and machine downtime.
The time it takes to achieve a full charge has been reduced to six hours with the 6-kilowatt (kW) on-board charger if used with a 240-volt socket or Level 2 public charging station. Speedier charging is available with optional off-board 11.6 kW- or 17.4 kW-DC fast chargers. When this is combined with the newly launched electric machine management application, customers can boost uptime by keeping track of charging status, battery level and location to help manage the charging process more efficiently.
Curious customers also can configure and get a quote on a wheel loader from Volvo CE.
Volvo CE recently launched an online tool that allows customers to configure an electric machine to their liking and see the suggested retail price.
The L25 Electric compact wheel loader was unveiled in 2019, and customer shipments began in Europe in the spring of 2020 and in North America this past summer. Volvo CE began accepting orders for the L20 Electric earlier this year, and North American deliveries start soon.
Plastics recycling experts discuss the challenges facing chemical recycling and how transparency could address them.
Chemical recycling continues to be a controversial topic among industry professionals, both in its potential and its public image. During the 2022 Paper & Plastics Recycling Conference hosted by the Recycling Today Media Group Oct. 19-20 in Chicago, experts discussed obstacles facing chemical recycling and how the industry can overcome them.
“I feel like there's a lot of confusion around the whole chemical recycling landscape,” said session moderator Kim Holmes, principal consultant for 4R Sustainability Inc., an Oregon-based consulting firm specializing in circularity. “It became clear that there needs to be a discussion around how we make people feel more comfortable and accepting of chemical recycling.”
Holmes led the conversation with Laura Thompson, program director of the Recycled Material Standard for GreenBlue, Charlottesville, Virginia; Holli Alexander, strategic initiatives manager for Eastman, Kingsport, Tennessee; and Robert Flores, vice president of sustainability for Berry Global, Evansville, Indiana.
Three obstacles hinder chemical recycling’s image and could potentially limit its growth, the panelists said, including trouble understanding the various terms and processes that go into chemical recycling, its public image and its image with lawmakers.
Flores said people don’t like the term “chemical,” which makes the process sound negative. Confusion and misunderstanding about the process itself also have created pushback from environmental groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a nonprofit environmental advocacy group based in New York.
Earlier this year, the NRDC accused companies such as Brightmark of “greenwashing” chemical recycling and said the process emits toxic chemicals and greenhouse gases, creating hazardous waste, polluting waterways and burdening nearby communities.
“The most vocal thing is around incineration,” Thompson said. “[Opponents] will say ‘Oh, you're burning plastic, and you're converting fuel to energy.’ We just don't look at it that way. We see it as one of the tools in the toolbox to help advance the circularity of plastics.”
Another obstacle chemical recycling faces is that it’s still a relatively new concept in recycling. Alexander said regulations in place do not have terms like "chemical recycling" that would recognize the process. As a result, this makes it tough for politicians and the general public to understand the process.
“It's complicated right now,” Alexander said. “Historically, mechanical recycling was the only mechanism that we had to recycle these materials.”
The panelists said the primary way the industry can curb these misunderstandings and biases about chemical recycling is by increasing company transparency and community education. By doing so, companies can help communities better understand chemical recycling, its impacts on the environment and how companies are managing any problem materials produced from the process.
Alexander said Eastman commissioned a waste and emissions study of its two chemical recycling processes. "We've really tried to engage deeply into the two different technologies where we're playing so we understand what can happen, and we're doing everything we can to manage to make sure that we're not creating things that are not beneficial, or anything that we do create that will be a contaminant that we can manage it effectively."
Another way to increase transparency is to increase the traceability of the materials destined for chemical recycling. One such method is called mass balance.
"In short, the mass balance process is an accounting process," Thompson said. "[Y]ou just think about balancing your materials in and out and how you're going to account for those downstream claims. It's more like math than science.
According to the American Chemistry Council, a mass balance approach measures the amount of used plastic that enters advanced recycling processes and ensures that claims of recycled content in the resultant product do not exceed that amount. Mass balance has previously been successful in developing high levels of transparency and consumer trust for other materials, such as paper and renewable energy.
“The standards do create that full transparency,” Thompson said. “[It accounts for] when is it allowed, how is it allowed, how is it measured and how is it defined. That's truly the role of the standards. To create that transparency and accountability.”
Panelists also discussed how monitoring the material that goes into the chemical recycling process allows a company to control the stream. If there is material a company is concerned about, it can remove it quickly through efficient material sortation and preparation.
The panelists agreed that companies should increase their efforts to reach out to the communities where they operate facilities. This includes engaging with the community on what the facility does, how it manages materials and what benefits the company provides to the area.
"We have a key focus on making sure that we are a valued member of the community, that we are offering good employment options, [that] we're creating a safe environment for the citizens and our workers,” Alexander said of a recent retrofit Eastman did of an existing gasification asset in Kingsport.
Alexander added that as the company continues to look for additional areas to build methanolysis facilities, Eastman is considering the demographics of those communities. "We're trying to figure out where we can go and put in a facility to make sure that we are not going to create additional burdens on communities that shouldn't have to bear that," she says.
Despite the obstacles in the way of chemical recycling, the panelists agreed that its role will only grow in the future.
“I think we'll continue to see significant growth both on the mechanical side and the advanced recycling side,” Flores said. “So, I think any application where mechanical is suitable, mechanical recycling will be there [and] we'll continue to see that growth. We are [also] seeing more EPR [extended producer responsibility] recycled-content mandates, and I think that'll drive the demand and the growth in the chemical recycling as well as having more of these commercial scale facilities.”
Tom Joyce, managing director and capital market strategist at MUFG, says to expect a recovery to occur in the second half of 2023.
In his Oct. 19 keynote presentation at the Paper & Plastics Recycling Conference, Tom Joyce, managing director and capital market strategist at MUFG Bank Ltd., apologized for delivering what he described as “not the most optimistic outlook,” adding, “It’s hard to be constructive if the low point is in the first half of 2023.” He warned attendees that a “difficult six months” still lay ahead from a macroeconomic standpoint.
“We will get through this period,” Joyce said, adding that while it will not be on par with the 2008 economic collapse, it will be “a difficult time in the market and the economy.”
Joyce stressed that the situation is not unique to the United States, pointing to a “massive synchronized inflation problem” globally. “Everywhere I go, inflation is a problem, and labor shortages are a problem.”
He added all 90 of the world’s central banks are engaging in policy tightening to address inflation. “This has never happened in my 27 years on Wall Street.”
“Nearly every major economy in the world is decelerating at the same time,” Joyce said, adding that Russia and China are exceptions. Such a global deceleration happened in 2016 and during the U.S.-China trade war of 2018. “But it's happening more powerfully right now. And that is a very difficult environment to be in.”
The combination of synchronized policy tightening and synchronized deceleration is leading to a desynchronized sell-off in markets globally, Joyce said, noting that everything but the U.S. dollar and energy commodities have traded negatively this year.
“When the dollar goes on these little strengthening runs, it’s not really good for the global economy,” he said. “And, eventually, it kind of feeds back to the U.S. and it's not entirely positive.”
Joyce said that while the stock market typically has a 20 percent correction every two years, that is not typical in the investment-grade bond market. “In 50 years, that number has been negative only four times—only four times—and we've never had a double-digit negative year. And this year, that market is down 20 percent.”
Much of the economic turmoil has been fueled by global supply-side shocks that started in 2018 with the U.S.-China trade war, the COVID-19 crisis in 2022 and the Russia-Ukraine crisis that began this February. “We had three major shocks to the global economy back to back, and global supply chains all began to change throughout each of these individual crises,” Joyce said.
Regarding the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, while it is fairly contained from a military perspective, he said, it has evolved into a larger geoeconomic war between Russia and the West that has driven energy prices higher and forced Europe to change its energy policy, reducing its natural gas dependency on Russia from 40 percent to 9 percent in just eight months.
“Russia is losing this war on the ground, and that has implications for all of us in this room,” Joyce said. “Russia is too weak to win this war, which has been a surprise, and they are too strong to lose it. Capitulation is not an option. It is highly, highly unlikely. And, so, I think we should expect for this to go a little longer rather than shorter, get a little worse before it gets better.”
Joyce said that within three to six months, the maximum impact of the global monetary tightening will be felt, giving way to a desynchronized global recovery in the second half of 2023 that will see Europe and the U.K. taking longer to realize than the U.S.
“I think the data is pretty obvious that Europe and U.K. are entering recession now, right now as we speak in early Q4, but will roll into Q1 and maybe extend a bit longer into Q2 and beyond or just be very weak in the beyond,” he said. “And the United States and the global economy sort of head into that zip code sometime over the next six to nine months.
“The next recession is probably going to be a little long and deep in Europe in the U.K. Nothing like ’08-’09, but uncomfortably long with a shallow recovery,” Joyce continued. “But the one in the U.S. and probably the one globally, we think it will be short and moderate in size—less than a 1 percent contraction, maybe a half a point contraction, in the U.S. economy.”
He said the U.S. is more resilient than most countries in the world in terms of the factors affecting the economy currently given that the country is energy- and food-independent and exports are only 11 percent of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP), whereas in Germany, the world’s fourth-largest economy, international trade is 40 percent of its GDP, leaving it exposed to Russia and China.
“It will get better in the second half of 2023 in our base-case view, but we have more difficult months ahead. The geopolitical situation is likely to get a fair bit worse, the economy, we think, is going to get a little bit worse and then recover.”
The Recycling Today Media Group hosted the Paper & Plastics Recycling Conference Oct. 19-20 in Chicago.
The Paper Stock Industries chapter of ISRI hosted a panel with OCC and mixed paper recyclers to discuss the changing recycling streams, transportation challenges and global outlook.
The Paper Stock Industries chapter of the Washington-based Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries hosted a commodity-focused panel on old corrugated containers (OCC) and mixed paper at the 2022 Paper & Plastics Recycling Conference in Chicago on Oct. 20.
The panel, moderated by Pratt Recycling President Shawn State, was an opportunity for those in the industry who deal in OCC and mixed paper to discuss challenges they’ve faced, particularly since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.
Speakers included John Grinnell, vice president and general manager of Delaware, Ohio-based Greif; Jeff Ryalls, vice president of recycled fibers at Foxborough, Massachusetts-based International Forest Products; and Evan Barrett, director of recycling commodity sales at Ontario-based GFL Environmental Inc.
The discussion began with panelists discussing the changes they’ve made to their respective businesses to navigate the changing market versus 90 days ago. As the market has shifted at such a rapid pace, the panelists agreed going back 90 days is like going back two or three years in previous markets before the pandemic.
“These are the kinds of times that test the economics of recycling, and paper is such a wonderful success story in terms of creating a circular economy and a very vibrant recycling industry,” Grinnell said. “For us, what we really have to focus on the basics and making sure that we’re being aggressive in finding the opportunities to take costs out of the process so we can make sure that fiber continues to flow.”
Grinnell said it’s been difficult on supplier relationships when, after two years of robust pricing, the market looks radically different, adding that Greif has been forthright and willing to have those “difficult discussions to make sure the fiber keeps moving.”
“I think anybody that’s in the paper recycling business, it’s not been quite as fun to look at our month-end results here in the last couple months as it was before that,” he said. “We’ve got to keep it in perspective. Ours is an inherently cyclical industry. We’re in it for the long haul.”
Ryalls said a change at International Forest Products has been transitioning from an export focus to the domestic market then back to export, adjusting with the changing market.
“Over the last 90 days, a lot of those things that we set up within the last couple years, we’ve had to reverse and pivot back to export,” he said. “Fortunately, we have a manufacturing business and we have a trading business, so we’re able to pivot quickly. But, over the last 90 days we’ve been exporting significantly more than we had been the past couple years.”
Barrett said the changes have presented an opportunity for those in the industry to diversify.
“This is an opportunity to take a look at how our supply is moving, where it’s going, and why it’s going,” he said. “It’s kind of easy to breeze over these things when the markets are tremendous and fiber is flowing everywhere. But, when it comes to situations like this, it exposes our weaknesses and where we can improve and do better.
PPRC 2022: Mill buyers discuss supply challenges in current market
Grinnell said that over the last year and a half, most of the equipment that fell out of the market during the pandemic has now come back. He said what’s on the road is not quite back to the level seen in 2019, “but we’re most of the way back at this point.”
“[I] definitely see that situation getting better in terms of what we’ve done to try to deal with the inflation and fuel,” he said. “Some of the challenges with equipment are still there. We’ve tried to narrow the freight circles. We’ve been a lot more aggressive in trying to look for opportunities to line up backhauls and make sure that we’re really utilizing the equipment as effectively as we can—making sure we understand where we’ve got underweight loads and addressing those loads to just get the most efficiency we can because there’s nothing we can do about the fuel cost.”
Ryalls said International Forest Products also has faced transportation issues, but more so on the driver retention side, as well as high fuel costs. The company has increased wages to retain drivers and bring new drivers into its fleets, implemented shorter routes so drivers can be home every night and have reworked stop charges and detention charges so drivers are compensated when there is a delay.
“We’ve been successful in getting our fleet back to where we want it,” he said. “We have it at a healthy level and we’re seeing the market starting to soften, so that’s really good.”
Barrett agreed with his fellow panelists when it comes to freight, describing the situation as “another one of those pain points [where] the pressure was building, building, building and then when it came to the extreme, we had to reset and let the dust settle and find the normal.”
“We’re all just sort of doing our best,” he said. “But it’s certainly better than it was.”
State noted Pratt also has had to increase wages to retain drivers and said it’s gotten easier to find and hire drivers.
The challenges with transportation have not just been on the domestic side. Exporting recovered paper overseas had been problematic for much of the pandemic and remains an issue to this day.
“Historically, we were always able to get export bookings easily,” Ryalls said. “During this three-year global supply chain crisis, the carriers have really dictated to us where we could go, from which coasts we could get books, where’s availability. We’re really basing our sales overseas on where we could effectively ship to.
He said it’s no longer about shipping to a customer with which you have a great working relationship or where you can get the best price, but more about if there is an available booking to the supplier and if, ultimately, they can get the material to the customer.
“That’s been just a big shift in the industry,” Ryalls said.
He added that the industry is starting to see some relief on the export side, particularly over the past 60 to 90 days, but said in the end it will come from supply and demand. “It’s not for the faint of heart trying to get these containers loaded each week and service the accounts and service the customers,” he said. “It’s extremely difficult.”
Curbside recycling is yet another aspect of the industry that has changed since the onset of the pandemic with the material stream evolving with consumer habits. As e-commerce rose exponentially in 2020 and 2021, more OCC was found in recycling streams, but Barrett said now the changes are coming from a push from consumers to see more sustainable packaging.
“I think the stream was evolving even prior to COVID,” he said. “The common conversation that you hear…is that containers are shrinking. We’re getting into more of the one-use packaging and we’re seeing the whole food industry change. … The composition is changing and we and everyone else are doing our best to keep up with it.”
One of the more noticeable changes to the municipal recycling stream is the increase in white paper grades. As people have transitioned to more remote work, white paper that typically would appear in commercial streams is showing up in curbside bins and ending up in bales of mixed paper.
“We’re seeing a lot more of that,” Barrett said. “I think we’re going to need more time to be able to speak on exactly where the levels are and what’s happening. … We’re not through it yet. We’re still in the postpandemic era and we are collecting data as fast as we can, but we’re adapting.”
When it comes to the commercial side of the business, Grinnell confirmed Barrett’s observation of increasing volume of white grades appearing in the municipal stream. “Things that were dependent on people being in the office we continue to be deeply challenged in terms of supply,” he said.
Ryalls though, said grocery volumes are fairly stagnant and consistent with very little variability month over month, but that there have been major swings in retail volumes on the inbound side.
State then posed to the panel what he called the “age-old question” of how the industry can improve education around single-stream recycling, saying it’s something everyone in the industry struggles with as they look for ways to boost the quality of material coming through the stream.
“Everything,” Barrett said. “[It’s] a simple answer.”
He explained that recyclers often are bookended in the circular economy by consumers who want recycled packaging and brands who listen to consumers. “But then it puts us in the middle, and we have a one-way valve right now, especially any of those who deal in the municipal sector,” Barrett said.
“There will be times when things get tough and things get rough and we don’t want to damage the image of recycling or do anything to rattle the cage, but there are realities along with this,” he continued. “If we do want to take a linear economy and make it a circle, that means these two points that were once on each end now become a link in the chain.
“We need to start bringing the economics of recycling into the conversation when we educate.”
Hiab’s Multilift Ultima 24S hookloader and Multilift Futura FTR12 skiploader will aid in Forge’s waste management services.
Forge Recycling, Leeds, U.K., has bolstered its 30-vehicle fleet with two new pieces of load handling equipment provided by Malmo, Sweden-based Hiab.
A company that provides waste management and recycling services, Forge says it has invested in Hiab’s Ultima 24S hookloader—fitted to a DAF CF truck—and a Futura FTR12 skiploader, which will be fitted to a DAF LF truck.
Forge says it expects the FTR12 skiploader to bolster its in-demand domestic skip service, while the 24S hookloader will support its waste management operation for commercial clients.
“We first purchased a piece of Hiab kit in 2017, and in the years that followed we have gone on to buy a further five pieces from them, which I think speaks for itself,” Forge Managing Director Harvey Mills says. “The product quality, high-spec features and value for money are simply undeniable and unmatched.”
According to Hiab, the Multilift Ultima 24S hookloader is a sliding hooklift with 24-ton capacity for four-axle trucks. Hiab’s Sequence Performance technology enables automatic sequence control via a single lever movement for loading, unloading and tipping.
The company says its Multilift Futura FTR12 skiploader ensures durability, professional aesthetics, top performance and safe, simple and efficient operation.
Wheel Loader Equipment “Harvey and the Forge Recycling team are incredibly valued customers of ours and we’re delighted to see their business thriving and our equipment being able to support that journey,” says Dek Butler, Multilift specialist for Hiab U.K. “The Multilift range offers more than powerful lifters. It is a collection of equipment built to perform swiftly and precisely, using the latest smart technology to exceed safety standards and productivity expectations.”