In Ohio, the Lawrence-Scioto Solid Waste Management Authority is proudly publicizing the news that the district is on track to break last year’s recycling record of four million pounds of material collected.
District administrators are reporting that through the first half of 2014, area residents worked to recycle two million pounds, putting them in a place where exceeding last year’s waste recycling level is very possible.
The increase in recycling is attributed to a program where recycling containers are placed throughout Lawrence and Scioto Counties. The special recycling containers allow residents to easily dispose of recyclable items. The container program started in 2006 with twenty nine containers and now has nearly ninety containers placed throughout thirty four locations. Due to resident demand, six additional containers were placed in 2014 – yet another factor in the county’s recycling surge.
Another benefit to the program is that residents can bring mixed recycling to the drop off locations without any need to separate waste materials. This adds another level of ease and convenience. Currently, the district accepts Paper and cardboard, metal, glass, and plastics.
Finally, the district implemented a “Caught Green Handed” contest where individuals and groups can win a prize bag which includes a t-shirt and a gift card for their recycling efforts. Those “caught” recycling also have their photo taken and are featured in the local newspaper for helping to encourage recycling and improving the quality of life for all residents.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Regardless of the size of your community, waste recycling rates improve when you make the process easier, more accessible, and convenient. If your municipality’s rate is lower than you’d like, take a look at how difficult the recycling process is for residents. A few simple changes to how recycling collection happens can make a big difference in the amount you collect in year.
Walmart, the largest retailer in the United States, recently entered a guilty plea to violating the Clean Water Act. Walmart was found guilty on six counts and issued fines in excess of one hundred and ten million dollars. The charges stem from illegal dumping of pesticides, fertilizers, and bleach into public water and sewer systems in addition to other environmental violations. The retailer was also found guilty of violating the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act for illegally mixing and reselling pesticides at their recycling facility.
The legal action was originally started by the state of California after an inspector of the San Diego Department of Health witnessed an employee of Walmart illegally dispose of bleach by dumping it into an open sewer drain. This instance, along with several others, were enough to determine that the retail giant was not complying with regulations designed to ensure the public’s safety in terms of handling, disposing, and storing hazardous and toxic materials and waste.
While the financial penalties barely dent the company’s finances, the outcome of the legal case ensures that new employee training programs for managing toxic materials are established and followed. In addition, the company has created a new division to ensure compliance on environmental regulations and safeguarding the safety of their employees and the communities their stores serve.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Whether you’re a corporate giant like Walmart, or a small-town, Mom and Pop style business, compliance with federal and state regulations when hazardous waste in concerned is a necessity! Do your employees know the proper ways to manage and dispose of cleaning solutions, fertilizers, pesticides, motor oil, antifreeze, or any of the other substances classified as toxic? If you’re not sure, it’s time to get the facts and schedule some training. Not only will you be doing the best for the environment of your community, but you’ll also avoid financial penalties and damaging your company’s reputation.
The University of Maryland athletics department has recently joined the Big Ten and as a result more people have been attending sporting events. However, this boost in exposure for attending sporting events has also resulted in an increase in waste generation.
University leaders are now launching a “Drive to Zero Waste” strategic plan, an initiative that involves Athletics, Dining Services, and Facilities Management. The plan is to divert ninety percent of generated solid waste from landfill disposal to food waste composting and better recycling options. The new program will be launched at the University’s Byrd Stadium.
In addition to educating attendees of the sporting events about the importance of waste recycling and composting, new waste-sorting stations will be placed throughout the athletic facilities. The stations are expected to reduce the amount of waste heading for the trash. While much of the University campus is already engaged in recycling of paper, plastic, and cans, collecting food scraps and organic waste for composting is new. Time and resources have been built into the zero waste plan to allow for people to fully understand the importance of composting and learn how to change their habits. Some changes, like removing all plastic condiment packets and replacing them with condiment dispensers will create an immediate reduction in trash with minimal disruption.
Attendance at sporting events is up twenty five percent this year, and included in those numbers are staff members who will be stationed around the new recycling and composting bins to help explain to fans how their waste materials should be properly disposed of.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Habits aren’t always easy to change, and they certainly don’t happen overnight! If you’re looking to reduce your waste disposal costs and increase your waste recycling rates, it’s important that you take the time to educate your employees and customers about where their waste materials belong. If you put in the time and effort in training, you’ll be rewarded by reducing the amount of trash you send to the landfill each week.
A full scale, state wide ban on plastic bans is becoming another step closer to reality in the state of California. The state Senate recently passed its plastic bag ban bill and has now sent the legislation to the governor. If the governor signs the bill, it will be the first such law to severely restrict the use of single use plastic shopping bags in the United States.
The Senate bill, SB 270, was passed with a 22-15 vote and followed the approval from the California state Assembly. California Governor Jerry Brown has a deadline of September 30, 2014 to sign the bill into law which was sponsored by Californians Against Waste.
In enacted, the bill would prohibit drugstores, convenience stores, and grocery stores from the use of single-use plastic bags. The law would begin in July of 2015 with a gradual phase-in time. Stores that typically provide plastic bags would have the options of using paper bags, reusable bags of a durable construction or bags that are considered compostable.
Californians Against Waste reports that there are currently one hundred and twenty four cities and counties in California have enacted laws restricting or eliminating the distribution of plastic bags. These municipalities account for thirty five percent of the population of the state.
Cities and towns that have had the bans in place have reported overwhelming success in terms of reduction of municipal solid waste being sent to landfills as well as the amount of trash and litter found on streets and parking lots.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Regardless of where your business is located, if you’re spending money to purchase plastic bags or responsible for disposing of them, it’s time to start thinking about alternative solutions. Every time an item is placed in a landfill, someone has to pay. Providing longer-lasting solutions allows everyone to reduce their waste and save in the long run.
The Ford Motor Company recently announced that its Oakville, Ontario, assembly plant had succeeded in achieving the zero waste-to-landfill designation. This success now makes the global automotive maker completely free of its reliance on landfills for waste disposal at all Canadian manufacturing locations.
The Oakville location is Ford’s largest Canadian facility with nearly five and a half million square feet. As a result of going landfill free, the plant recycled nearly two thousand metric tons of wood, paper, cardboard, and plastic that were generated as a result of vehicle assembly as well as office and management use. This saved more than five thousand cubic meters of space in landfills and over thirty two million liters of water.
With the zero waste success at the Oakville facility, Ford can now claim it has twenty one facilities around the world that have attained zero waste-to-landfill designation. Ford is on schedule for achieving its strategic waste management target of reducing landfill waste disposal by forty percent per vehicle produced. This is Ford’s second strategic waste recycling goal; between 2007 and 2011 the company launched it’s first waste recycling plan and was successful in reducing waste by forty percent per vehicle during that time.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Regardless of the size or business sector of your company, if you’re looking to cut waste disposal costs and support environmentally-forward practices in your community, developing a plan to increase waste recycling is the way to go. Start small, monitor your progress, and increase recycling initiatives and incentives over a pre-determined schedule. In time, you may discover that your business can claim “landfill free” status by making different choices about how to best recycle and re-use the waste you generate.
Global office supplies retailers, Staples Inc., has long had a very successful business to consumer recycling program for unwanted or unusable electronics. Now, the company is launching a new initiative designed for businesses for all sizes looking to safely and securely dispose of e-waste.
The Framingham, Massachusetts based Staples has formed a partnership with Fresco, California based Electronic Recyclers International Inc. to create the Staples Advantage Technology Recycling Service. The new service will allow for businesses of all sizes to easily recycle electronics waste including items such as cell phones, munti-function printers and copiers, tele-communication equipment, computer equipment and peripheries such as keyboards through a simple, three step process.
Utilizing the Staples Advantage website, businesses can now order specialized recycling boxes for their unwanted electronics items, ship the items to Staples using a special label, and then, once items have been received, be sent a recycling certificate ensuring that items have been safely and properly recycled using standards set by the Basel Action Network for responsible e-waste recycling.
The benefits of recycling through the Technology Recycling Service includes environmental compliance and guaranteed data destruction by trained professionals at Electronics Recyclers International.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Regardless of your company’s size, electronics waste can take up a significant amount of space – and can be very difficult to recycle or dispose of properly. If you’re finding that old computers, telephone equipment, and other peripherals are taking up space, it might be worth your time to exploring e-waste recycling options.Whether it’s a national program like Staples Advantage, or a local collection set up by your local transfer station or town hall, you’ll be able to reclaim office space while being environmentally responsible when you dispose of e-waste in an approved and safe manner.
International beverage provider PepsiCo. is partnering with environmental non-profit, The Nature Conservancy to launch a program designed to promote and increase the rate of recycling for beverage containers while also protecting sources of drinking water.
Envisioned as a five year program, “Recycle for Nature” is expected to save in excess of one billion gallons of water while also protecting the drinking water supplies needed by over thirty five million people in five key geographic areas throughout the United States. PepsiCo. will provide the Nature Conservancy with approximately one million dollars in funding for each of the five years of the program. In addition, increased financial incentives have also been put in place for every percentage point the national recycling rate increases for beverage bottles.
A key focus of the program is to provide more recycling bins in key beverage buying locations such as gas stations and convenience stories. Bottled water, various brands of soda, fruit juices, and other specialty drinks are popular single-serve items in these quick stop locations that are visited by all segments of the population throughout the country.
In a recent national survey conducted by Pepsi, eighty one percent of survey participants indicated that they would like to recycle more at retail locations if waste recycling bins were readily available both inside as well as outside. It is estimated that only twelve percent of current retail locations have clearly marked and easy to find recycling containers.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Regardless of your business, the easier you make it for employers and customers to recycling, the higher your waste recycling rate will be. Make a plan to periodically investigate the recycling options you’re company provides. Your solution to saving money could be as simple as a few strategically placed recycling containers.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has formalized a settlement with paint company, T.C. Dunham of Yonkers, New York, concerning the company’s violations of federal laws pertaining to hazard waste and toxic materials. Inspectors from the EPA discovered T.C. Dunham was responsible improperly stored and labeled hazardous materials. As a result of the agreement, the paint company will need to comply with all hazardous waste requirements and pay a fine of ninety thousand dollars.
During a routine inspection, EPA inspectors discovered an excess of one hundred metal drums of oil-based paint, lacquers, and paint solvents that were corroded and leaking. Many of the containers were unlabeled and undocumented and were found in outdoor locations beyond the immediate business area. The condition of the storage containers posed a significant environmental and human health threat and were well beyond the acceptable standard set by federal regulation.
Federal toxic and hazardous waste law requires that designated chemicals be stored in an established manner to ensure the public’s health and to minimize damage to the environment. Facilities that store, handle, or dispose of hazardous waste are required to train staff about the dangers of toxic materials and how to properly manage them to reduce danger. It’s also essential that staff be able to identify which substances are considered hazardous and know of the approved ways for waste disposal. In addition, hazardous materials such as paint and paint solvents can contribute to an increased risk for fire or explosion – possibly endangering the lives of emergency service responders as well as unknowing nearby residents and businesses.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Most businesses, and homes, have some degree of hazardous chemicals: paints and solvents, pesticides, motor oil are common. To ensure your safety, make sure you store these in a location that complies with the directions provided on the label. However, if your business deals in much larger quantities, it’s imperative that you stay up to date with your state and federal regulations for handling, storage, and disposal. Failure to do so not only places your employees and community at risk, but can also cost you “green” in big fines and penalties!
Government officials in Phoenix, Arizona have recently launched two new, recycling-incentive municipal waste and yard waste collection programs designed to save both the city and taxpayers money.
The first program for residents is being publicized as “Save As You Reduce and Recycle.” The initiative provides residential inhabitants the opportunity to save three dollars each month on their waste disposal bill if they cut-back from the standard, large trash container to a medium-sized cart. The program is designed to have residents become more aware of what materials can be recycled and what materials should be placed in the trash. Studies have shown that that many items placed in trash bins could be recycled but aren’t. The program is currently only available to those residents with curbside trash and recycling pick up as provided by the city.
The second program is being called the “Green Organics Curbside Collection” initiative, which offers residents, for a fee of five dollars per month, a large container for organic yard waste. This option will provide residents with a convenient way to properly dispose of grass clippings, branches, garden scraps, tree leaves, and other yard materials in an easy, convenient manner. The program will be implemented gradually throughout select neighborhoods to gauge effectiveness.
The two new programs are a part of the city’s strategic waste diversion plan, Reimagine Phoenix, which outlines steps for the city to reach a forty percent waste diversion rate by the year 2020.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Whether you’re trying to improve your recycling rate at home, at your business or in your community, it’s important to try creative, new solutions and involve every person. If everyone does their part, and has a vested interest in saving money and adopting sustainable practices, then your waste reduction and recycling plans have a much better chance of success.
Government officials from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania recently announced that the city has succeeding in surpassing its seventy percent municipal waste diversion goal rate for the second year in a row.
Based on data in the city’s 2014 Philadelphia Greenworks Progress Report, nearly all municipal solid waste is being diverted from landfills as a result of aggressively utilizing waste to energy conversion and waste recycling programs.
Philadelphia residents and businesses surpassed the Greenworks goal of seventy percent diversion of waste for the first time in 2012 with a seventy-three percent rate. Prior to the Greenworks strategic waste reduction goal, the city’s diversion rate was fifty three percent. Improvements in recycling rates were seen across all target areas and business sectors.
Of all the municipal solid waste collected, recycling accounted for half of what was diverted, or a little less than one and a half millions tons. Twenty three percent, or slightly over six hundred million tons, was used in waste to energy conversion. Of all collected waste in the city, nine percent was from residential collection, eighteen percent was from construction and demolition (C&D) projects, and seventy three percent was from commercial or industrial sources.
Residential recycling in Philadelphia brought in a record-setting one hundred and twenty two thousand tons, bringing curbside recycling in the city up to a twenty one percent rate.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Targeting where and how you want to improve your company’s recycling rate is a smart way reduce waste and disposal fees. Whether your business is large or small, looking at the waste generated by each office, department, or person can help you to uncover ways to cut back. Think creatively, collaborate with other, and before you know it you’ll be going green and saving green every month!