Daily Digest: Cracking the code on contamination, Maryland tightens WTE regulations
In the Daily Digest, the Waste Dive team rounds up insights and moments from around the industry you may have missed.
At yesterday’s WasteCon “Fighting Contamination" workshop, representatives from The Recycling Partnership, Waste Management, Keep America Beautiful and the Southeast Recycling Development Council had attendees brainstorm ways to reduce contamination in their local areas.
One theme that stuck out was public education and the challenge of getting people to change their behavior. The Recycling Partnership advocated for a simplified marketing approach that used a more “direct ask” (e.g., a poster with bold letters saying “Don’t bag your recycling”) to initiate one change at a time instead of listing off multiple steps for people to take. Keep America Beautiful emphasized the need for consistency in education.
After the introduction, attendees were asked to discuss different scenarios in breakout groups. One scenario involved a "fairly dense" city of 50,000 homes with cart-based collection using a private hauler. The resulting discussion centered on curbside tagging programs and the challenges in communities that lack the political capital to reject carts if they don't meet contamination standards. Another exercise asked the groups to design a flyer, handout or similar communications tool to help motivate consumers to recycle right. One participant from Fort Smith, Arkansas said the city's usage of infographics or other visual aids were far more successful than plain text.
Some participants shared frustrations about how recycling didn't even exist in their communities, while others got into more detail about their programs, saying the industry needs to push cultural change to get people to recycle right. As one participant said, to many nods of agreement, "As soon as one person puts a coffee cup in [the recycling bin], everyone puts a coffee cup in."
The Recycling Partnership's Cody Marshall ended the workshop with a challenge to those that received scholarships to attend. He asked them to implement tools and strategies they'd learned in their local communities, measure the effects and share the findings during a follow-up webinar in December.
IN OTHER NEWS
Maryland looks to tighten WTE emission standards — The Baltimore Sun
After years of discussion, Maryland's Department of the Environment is proposing new rules that will affect two major WTE facilities starting in May 2019. Baltimore's BRESCO, operated by Wheelabrator, wouldn't be allowed to exceed 150 parts per million of nitrogen oxide within a 24-hour period. The Montgomery County Resource Recovery Facility, operated by Covanta, would have to meet a more stringent 10 parts per million standard because it's a newer facility. Both would also have to meet separate 30-day period standards starting in May 2020. The BRESCO facility has attracted significant attention from environmental groups in recent years, with the aim of having it shut down. Wheelabrator will also be required to conduct a study next year about installing further pollution controls.
Local officials suggest temporarily closing Jefferson Parish landfill to address smell — WVUE
Discussions continue about what is causing odor issues at the New Orleans landfill — some believe it's liquid industrial waste — and how best to fix the problem. The Jefferson Parish Council has asked for a feasibility study about potentially closing the site, but the parish president is concerned about how disruptive it could be for local operations and where waste would go in the meantime. One of many other proposed solutions would be to install more gas capture technology.
Rumpke worker suffers minor burns, possibly from hot sauce — Cincinnati Enquirer
A Rumpke driver working his residential collection route in Norwood, Ohio was treated for minor burns yesterday afternoon after being sprayed by an unknown substance that is now believed to be hot sauce. Firefighters arrived to find him getting hosed down by a resident. While he wanted to complete the route, the driver was treated for skin irritation at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. A HAZMAT team tested the truck, finding no hazardous substances, and Rumpke will be conducting its own examination.
Falcons successfully scaring off seagulls at upstate NY landfills — WHEC
American Falconry Services is making a name for itself at two major landfills by helping them abate the never-ending presence of hungry seagulls. This is seen as a more natural method than shooting the gulls, for example. The mere presence of these larger birds has helped Seneca Meadows, a Waste Connections operation, reduce its seagull population from about 50,000 to 1,000. Waste Management's nearby High Acres landfill also utilizes the company's services.
Africa's first WTE facility opens in Ethiopia — CNN
The first modern WTE combustion facility in Africa has officially opened for business in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. What is being called the "Reppie" site is being run by Cambridge Industries and was financed by the Ethiopian government. China National Electric Engineering and Danish engineering firm Ramboll led the $120 million construction project. The plant has capacity to process more than 1,500 tons per day, about 80% of the city's output, and will also create energy for an estimated 30% of local households. This comes a little more than a year after a landslide killed 113 people in a local dump site.
ON THE AGENDA
Today marks the first full day of events at WasteCon in Nashville. Here are some of the few sessions where you can expect to see Waste Dive, but be sure to check out the full schedule here. All times CDT.
- 12 pm "Jam Session: Battling the Marine Debris Blues Featuring Jenna Jambeck"
- 2 pm "Keynote: A Conversation with Ron Mittelstaedt, Waste Connections CEO"
- 3 pm "The State of Safety in the Solid Waste Industry"
- 4:30 pm "The Power of Women in Waste"
Do you have events or webinars that should be on our agenda this week? Email [email protected]