Daily Digest: China's effects on RecycLA, Phoenix's creative driver apprenticeships
In the Daily Digest, the Waste Dive team rounds up insights and moments from around the industry you may have missed.
QUESTIONING RECYCLA RESULTS
News about the RecycLA franchise program in Los Angeles, the largest and most ambitious of its kind, has been sparse after months of intense local scrutiny that culminated in a lengthy February council committee hearing. Cleaner fleets are out servicing routes, complaints are said to be down and pounds of food rescued are up.
Since the program is still only a little more than six months into full implementation, and planned infrastructure investments are still in the works, it's been too soon to know whether RecycLA is achieving its environmental aims.
Now, in light of ongoing stories about market challenges in California due to China's import restrictions, council members are asking for more information. An August 22 motion filed by Mitchell Englander (a critic of the program) and Nury Martinez (chair of the committee behind the marathon hearing) has given LA Sanitation 30 days to report back on "China’s recycling ban and the effect, if any, that it has had on the RecycLA Program, the private solid waste collection firms and their recycling of materials; including its cost impact on their operations and how these firms are dealing with limited recycling markets."
The motion questions whether any material has been sent to landfills and how the city might help develop new end markets. LASAN's response will provide useful insight about cost effects in what has otherwise been a fairly opaque local market compared to others in the state. City officials in New York will surely also be watching as they finalize a proposal, set to be released in September, for bringing a zone system to the five boroughs.
Waste Dive will be watching as well, and welcomes any insights you may have into how RecycLA has been going so far — good, bad or otherwise — to help inform our future coverage.
IN OTHER NEWS
Louisiana garbage truck driver dies after collision with train — WBRZ
A driver in Gonzales, Louisiana died after trying to cross a track and failing to see an oncoming train on Friday morning. Innovative Waste Systems driver Willie Hall was turning the vehicle and had to back up to widen the turn when his vehicle was struck by the train, authorities say. The train was going 47 mph and sounded its horn 30 seconds before impact. No one on the train was injured.
Republic Services signs new five year contract with union in Atlanta, Georgia — PR Newswire
The company announced on Friday that it reached an agreement with Teamsters Local 728 workers after a one-day strike in which 120 of them walked off the job earlier this month. Details of the agreement, ratified in a vote by employees, were not released. There were no repercussions for employees who participated in the strike.
Phoenix, Arizona offers apprenticeship program for sanitation workers — AZ Central
The city began a pilot program last year and now has its first five official participants for the Solid Waste Equipment Operator Apprenticeship. The program is an intensive, year-long paid course in driving commercial collection vehicles that targets veterans, women and youth. One goal is to reduce turnover and help keep employees working for the city instead of switching to a private hauler. Once hired, these drivers will earn a starting rate of $22 per hour.
Darien, Connecticut to begin new composting program — Chron
So far, around 70 people have showed interest and will be able to participate in the program by purchasing a kit for $25. The kit includes a countertop pail, storage bin and a roll of compostable bags. Program participants must drop off material at a local recycling center as there is no curbside service. Otherwise, Darien's waste is currently sent to a Wheelabrator WTE facility in Bridgeport.
ABC Disposal recycling lawsuit continues in Massachusetts — South Coast Today
Local service provider ABC Disposal isn't giving up in its effort to obtain more money from the city of New Bedford for recycling service and has countersued the city as part of an ongoing dispute. The city maintains that a major shift in recycling markets isn't enough to invoke force majeure, but the company disagrees and is seeking an additional $378,000 for services rendered this year. ABC is also seeking approval to terminate its contract early if desired. This case has broader implications for other municipalities serviced by ABC in the region, as well as other service providers.
UK plastic bag charge set to increase to 10 pence from 5 pence — Sky News
After showing an 86% drop in bag usage at the largest British supermarkets since the initial fee in 2015, U.K. officials may increase the fee in an effort to further reduce plastics in the waste stream. The new measure — set for discussion next week — will likely include smaller shops as the previous scheme only affected companies with more than 250 employees.
SEEN & HEARD
Decomposition time of garbage is longer than you think pic.twitter.com/YEtEComzmH— Business Insider (@businessinsider) August 27, 2018
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