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.
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 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!
Tractor Supply Company, also known as Del’s Feed and Farm Supply Stores, in the state of Washington, recently reached a settlement with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the company’s violations of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act. The violations cited involved the company’s failure to document and report the storage of propane. As a result of the citations, Tractor Supply is now required to pay a $134,400 fine and improve their storage, training, and reporting procedures.
Propane is often referred to as liquefied petroleum gas or LPG. While propane is typically non-toxic, it is colorless, odorless until the signifying odor is added, and highly flammable – it is because of this, that it is a monitored and regulated substance from the EPA’s Pesticides and Toxic Substances division. Any business selling, using, or storing propane in commercial quantities is required to maintain accurate storage and inventory records to protect employees and communities from explosion risks, fires, and accidental chemical releases.
The Emergency Planning & Community Right-to-Know Act requires businesses to provide an inventory of regulated chemicals to the State Emergency Response Commission and their local fire department. Local emergency service responders need this information in the even of a fire, earthquake, or other emergency involving the business or the surrounding area. Tractor Supply Company did not report that several of its facilities were used for storing an excess of 10,000 lbs. of propane which could cause a significant danger to employees, nearby residents, and emergency personnel.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: If your business uses, sells, or stores any chemicals, it’s well worth your time to make sure you are following your state and federal laws for reporting and storage. Information about which chemicals are regulated can be obtained from you regional EPA office. If you’re uncertain about the hazardous nature of a chemical, be sure to do some investigating first – it can save you from fines and expensive legal fees!
Every time your employees generate a piece of waste, they are faced with a decision: Do they throw it into the trash or into a recycling container? The choices your employees make will have a considerable impact on your business’ waste disposal and waste recycling rates.
Getting employees to make the right choices about what should be recycled and what should be disposed of in the trash is essential to keeping disposal costs downs and recycling rates up. Because of this, education is a key factor in the recycling process. Employees must know what should be recycled and the proper way in which to do it.
Why is employee education so important?
1) Recycling innovations and program are always improving and changing and employees should be periodically informed about what materials should be placed in recycling bin and what is considered garbage.
2) Employees are busy doing their jobs and might not always remember the recycling program rules. Clear signage around bins can help.
3) Employee participation will be more consistent is the importance of recycling is routinely stressed and the outcomes communicated.
4) Education helps to ensure a higher quality of recyclable materials being collected and less mistakes being made.
Make employee recycling education a part of every workweek. With social media, websites, flyers and break room announcements, and email, it’s easy to communicate waste reduction and waste recycling goals across all levels of your business. The investment of time, money, and effort required for having a business recycling plan will be returned in the money saved on disposal fees.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Whether your business is a small shop with a handful of people or a larger enterprise with dozens of employees, recycling rates can be improved if you think creatively and stay consistent in your effort. For ever new recycling program, be sure to track your results to gauge effectiveness and cost savings. In no time you’ll be saving green and going green!
Known as the “City of Brotherly Love,” Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is hoping its residential and business residents will “show some love” for recycling as the City implements an incentive-based recycling rewards system in order to reach its goal of a twenty five percent waste recycling diversion rate by 2015. Currently, the curbside recycling rate in Philadelphia is a little more than twenty one percent.
The city is growing its partnership with Recyclebank Rewards, a New York City-based company that it has worked with since 2010 to develop the Philadelphia Recycling Rewards incentive program. Participants in the recycling rewards program can receive both financial and educational awards. Participants in the Philadelphia Recycling Rewards program have received almost three million worth of rewards points since 2011.
Starting in 2009, Philadelphia has improved its recycling rate each year from slightly below seventy five thousand to one hundred and twenty five thousand in 2014. Over the five year period, the city avoided over nine million dollars in waste disposal costs and generated additional revenue through recycling.
In addition, Philadelphia public and private schools are members of Recyclebank’s program “Green Schools,” which provides grant money to implement student-focused projects that benefit the environment in both the community and at school.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: If your business or municipality is finding itself “stuck” trying to boost waste recycling rates, try offering an incentive or another form of friendly competition to see who can have the best results with waste reduction. Whether it’s a financial incentive to a department that saves the most money on waste disposal costs, discounts at the company dining hall or a premium parking spot to individuals who develop effective cost-saving ideas, or a special “thank-you” lunch when company-wide environmental goals are met, you may find that that even small rewards to participants can have lasting effects!