Daily Digest: Industry fire epidemic, Memphis, Tennessee sanitation workers honored
In the Daily Digest, the Waste Dive team rounds up insights and moments from around the industry you may have missed.
Correction: The source of one statistic, and the timeframe for another, have been updated below.
LET'S TALK ABOUT FIRE SAFETY
Today marks the final day of WASTECON. It's been an enriching week full of great sessions with speakers from all sides of the industry. At Wednesday's "Safety Zone" presentations, speakers highlighted trends affecting many industry players, including the increase of fires in waste storage areas.
Ryan Fogelman of Fire Rover said fires are on the rise. According to a recent California Products Stewardship Council survey, 83% of waste and recycling facilities reported some type of fire incident in the past two years. He also pointed out that paper fires have increased in 2018, and indicated that increased stockpiling of material due to China's import ban may be the reason. Fogelman said 40% of waste and recycling facilities had a fire in the past 12 months, a figure likely to increase by the year's end. As of June, fires have increased by 77% YoY.
Insurance companies are catching on to this trend as well, with some threatening to drop coverage if facility managers can't find a way to reduce risk, he said. With fire risks expected to increase in the near-term — whether it be from stockpiling, lithium ion batteries or other factors — this trend will only become more expensive without the right precautions.
IN OTHER NEWS
SWANA honors historic Memphis, Tennessee sanitation workers — Press Release
Memphis Department of Public Works employees Elmore Nickelberry and Cleophus Smith, known for their participation in the historic 1968 sanitation strike, were honored for more than 50 years of service at SWANA's annual awards ceremony. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated while in the city to stand with these workers, and his "I Am a Man" message continues to drive activism today. This applies to the waste industry as well, where conditions have markedly improved over the decades but still have much room for improvement.
Sanitation worker killed in Arkansas, another struck in Alabama — Baxter Bulletin & Trussville Tribune
A Methvin Sanitation worker died after being struck by a container he was emptying at the Calico Rock Public School in Calico Rock, Arkansas. Exact details of the incident are still unknown, as he was found unconscious by a school employee.
That same morning, according to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, an unidentified worker was struck by a vehicle in Pinson, Alabama. The worker was reportedly alert and taken to UAB Hospital for treatment.
Kroger to stop plastic bag usage by 2025 — CNN
The retail grocery giant — which owns stores such as Harris Teeter, Fred Meyer and Ralphs — said yesterday that it plans to switch to reusable bags at nearly 2,800 locations by 2025. By 2020, the company hopes to reduce its landfill use by 90% as part of a broader sustainability policy. The news comes after Walmart recently announced similar sustainability goals.
Fort Wayne, Indiana rules Red River Waste Solutions not in breach of contract — The Journal Gazette
City officials said Tuesday they don't feel the company met the legal threshold for a material default and will not pursue legal action through the court system. Instead, the company will be required to address a list of action items to rectify what residents say has been a very poor service record. Those items include increased recruiting efforts, data analysis and partnerships with other local vendors to alleviate service interruptions.
Call2Recycle shares 10-best battery recycling states — Call2Recycle
The consumer recycling business said its top performing states were Vermont, Delaware, Tennessee, Minnesota, New Hampshire, California, Pennsylvania, Washington, Maryland and Texas. According to the company, it recycled eight million pounds of batteries in the U.S. last year. Vermont led the way, with 134,500 pounds recycled, likely due to the state's first-in-the-nation battery stewardship law.
SEEN & HEARD
LCSWMA CEO Jim Warner was honored today with the Robert L. Lawrence Distinguished Service Award at @SWANA’s #WASTECON. This award is not given every year and represents the highest accolade SWANA can bestow on a member. Jim, who has been CEO 22 yrs, will retire this year. pic.twitter.com/rOHYnVNRYa— LCSWMA (@LCSWMA) August 22, 2018
ON THE AGENDA
WasteCon winds down today with morning sessions on "big data," sustainable business parks and the future of recycling. Stay tuned for our coverage in the days ahead. If you're not down in Nashville and are looking to learn something new here is another option:
- Webinar: Sustainability in the Built Environment: Why Materials Matter? 1 pm EST
The latest in the EPA's Sustainable Material Management series "will introduce the importance of using and reusing materials in the most productive and sustainable way over their entire life cycles to help address the material and resource needs in the built environment." Free registration here.
Do you have events or webinars that should be on our agenda this week? Email [email protected]