Daily Digest: DSNY driver kills pedestrian amid chaotic week of US crashes
Plus, Trump seizes on ocean plastic as the latest example of international unfairness and more in our daily roundup.
In the Daily Digest, the Waste Dive team rounds up insights and moments you may have missed.
WEEK OF CRASHES AROUND THE COUNTRY
A driver for New York's Department of Sanitation (DSNY) was arrested on Oct. 11 after fatally striking a pedestrian in Brooklyn, according to the New York Daily News. The city employee was charged with failure to yield and failure to exercise due care after he drove the wrong way down a one-way street and hit a pedestrian in the crosswalk. The 37-year-old man later died on the scene.
According to ABC 7, surveillance video shows the driver attempting to turn his truck around after the incident — to make it appear as if he was following traffic. The city agency released the following statement in response: "Sanitation Worker Aaron Gilchrist, who has been with the DSNY since December 2005, has been suspended. We continue to cooperate fully with the NYPD. In addition, a DSNY safety investigation is also underway."
Amid a tense and often politicized climate around waste safety in the city, this has yielded much less public commentary than usual. Council Member Robert Cornegy, Jr., who is backing a bill to change the city's commercial waste industry without a zoning system, released a statement calling this incident “a reminder that we must continue working to increase safety in both the public and private sector."
Elsewhere in the country this week, there were multiple reminders of how quickly situations can go wrong with collection vehicles due to operator error, mechanical failure or outside forces.
- Oct. 7: A County Waste truck T-boned a car in Wilmington, North Carolina. The impact pushed the car into another lane of traffic, where it then struck a third vehicle. WECT reports the driver of that first car died as a result, and details of the incident are under investigation.
- Oct. 8: An Advanced Disposal Services truck crashed into the Uniontown City Police Station in Pennsylvania. The Herald-Standard reports the unoccupied vehicle rolled down a hill and caused "tens of thousands of dollars" worth of property damage. No one was injured at the station, due in part to low foot traffic for the Monday holiday.
- Oct. 9: A bicyclist riding outside of Wilmington was thrown in front of a Waste Industries truck after hitting a rough patch of pavement. WECT reports he died on the scene and no charges have been filed.
- Oct. 11: A pick-up truck was struck by an unidentified collection vehicle in Rockwell, Iowa early in the morning when the two entered an intersection at the same time. The pick-up driver died on the scene. KIMT reports he was not wearing a seatbelt.
- Oct. 11: A 5-year-old girl riding her bike in Hawaii's Aliamanu Military Reservation was killed in front of her home by a West Oahu Aggregate collection vehicle. KITV reports that the truck had a back-up camera and the helper was spotting the driver. The Honolulu Police Department is conducting an investigation.
“The uptick in fatal accidents so far this month reminds me, unfortunately, of October 2017, when the industry experienced a significant increase in the fatal incidents, according to SWANA’s data," wrote CEO David Biderman, who informed Waste Dive of the latter two incidents after this article was initially published, via email.
IN OTHER NEWS
Tomorrow is the first international E-Waste Day — Waste Dive
Trump signs Save Our Seas Act, weighs in on marine debris — Alaska Public Media & The Japan Times
President Trump signed the Save Our Seas Act on Thursday in an Oval Office press event that included co-sponsors Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I. The bill reauthorizes five years of funding for marine debris programs, allows governors to obtain funding by declaring a "severe marine debris event” as they would a national emergency and sets broader international promises. While signing the bill, Trump had plenty to say about how this fits into his worldview of the U.S. being disadvantaged by other countries.
“A vast, tremendous, unthinkable amount of garbage is floating into our coast. In particular along the West Coast. And we’re charged with removing it, which is a very unfair situation,” he said, according to Alaska Public Media. The Japan Times reports Trump promised to respond "very strongly" and "do everything I can to stop other nations from making our oceans into their landfills.”
Lakeshore Recycling expands into Wisconsin — Waste360
The GFL-Waste Industries deal may have taken up most of the oxygen this week, but Illinois-based Lakeshore Recycling Systems also announced a move of its own. The company's acquisition of Royal Container Service will expand its footprint into the southern Wisconsin market. This brings 50 employees, 25 trucks, 1,000 roll-off containers and three facilities (including one of the only automated C&D recycling plants in Wisconsin) and an estimated 100,000 tons of guaranteed material into the company's portfolio. Lakeshore has been actively growing in the region recently both through new business and acquisitions.
Dynamic Lifecycle Innovations officially opens new facility — Press Release & E-Scrap News
The Wisconsin-based company, formerly known as Dynamic Recycling, has debuted a new 140,000-square-foot materials recovery and processing facility next to its existing operations in Onalaska. This will allow the electronics recycling and IT asset disposition company to "expand its processing capabilities for complex materials, including electronic, precious metal, non-ferrous, and non-metal materials." The $19 million project, which includes more than $5 million in new equipment, was subsidized in part by state bonds and tax credits. Gov. Scott Walker toured the company's original facility last summer to mark the occasion.
SEEN & HEARD
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