Each day, the Waste Dive team rounds up news, insights and moments from around the industry you may have missed in our Daily Digest.
Quarterly earnings season has officially wrapped, with few surprises. The economy has been good for container and landfill volumes, the labor market remains tight and recycling is still one of the most significant headwinds that any of the five publicly traded service providers are facing.
While all involved now expect to take multi-million dollar hits on the recycling side this year — in many cases far worse than projected — executives and financial analysts sounded more at ease than prior quarters.
Perhaps it's because the full realities of China's shut-off have set in more than a year after it was first announced, or quarterly comps will start to get easier at the end of this year, or the fact that so far it appears some customers are willing to pay significantly more for the service. Whatever it may be, all involved sounded increasingly confident that recycling losses would taper off in 2019 and beyond.
As outlined in multiple calls — and evidenced by the lack of direct involvement on this topic by many state agencies or the EPA — much of this will still depend on how municipal governments choose to respond. Waste Management, Republic Services and Casella Waste Systems all described ongoing efforts to renegotiate municipal terms as soon as possible. Whether all of these local governments are willing, or able, to pay escalating rates remains one of the greatest variables beyond whatever happens in the markets.
Though based on the confident tone in Q2 calls, executives expect they will eventually come around to the new normal one way or another.
IN OTHER NEWS
President Trump signs H.R. 2353 — White House
Last week's signing of the "Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act" is being touted as a potential boon for industry recruitment. Reauthorizing what is commonly referred to as the Perkins Act has been described as a top legislative priority for the NWRA, which hailed the decision. SWANA is also supportive of the move. The law's $1.2 billion in annual funding for state job training programs is expected to help ease the industry's ongoing driver and mechanic shortage.
Collection truck hits pole in Detroit suburb killing driver — WWJ
On Friday morning, a driver was killed after suffering an apparent medical emergency that caused him to lose control of the vehicle and hit a utility pole in Warren, Michigan. The exact health issue that caused the accident is still unknown. WWJ's photo indicates this was a GFL Environmental truck.
Pilot curbside organics program begins in Ohio — The Athens News
In a moving echoing other recent curbside composting initiatives in the Midwest, Athens, Ohio began its study of whether a full-on curbside organics collection program would be feasible for the city. For now, 265 households may place organics in small buckets alongside their regular trash and recycling bins.
Bike-share bikes pile up at Dallas recycling center — NBC DFW
After the city voted on changes to its bike-share regulations that would charge yearly fees per bike, the Chinese company ofo ended local operations and sent its distinctive yellow bikes to a CMC recycling facility. Mayor Mike Rawlings' office called this "terribly wasteful." Local governments are struggling to adapt to new dockless bike-share companies, but one study suggests that integration into the local transportation system should be part of the long-term strategy.
Dow Chemical CEO addresses plastic waste issue — CNBC
In a recent interview with Jim Cramer, CEO Jim Fitterling recognized the growing public pressure around plastic waste while also promising a solution. "We do have a plastic waste problem, though, and at this point in time, I've never seen the industry more aligned about tackling that problem," he said. Fitterling said industry leaders have been "working on a very big initiative" to help improve problems arising from plastic waste, though he didn't get into specifics. He also speculated that rising aluminum costs might push packaged goods companies to increase the amount of plastic they use in their products.
UK coffee cup recycling on the rise — Waste Management World
Veolia expects to recycle 120 million coffee cups in the U.K. next year after announcing plans for in-store collection with major retailers Costa, Starbucks, McDonald’s and Caffè Nero in 2017. The French service provider is one of multiple in the U.K. that have pitched in to address a disposable item that has gained cultural attention overseas on par with the discussion around plastic bags or straws in the U.S.
SEEN & HEARD
Apparently some people get grossed out when I talk about the flavor profile of soggy pizza boxes paired with cigarette butts covered in Harbor muck. If you can't appreciate a casserole of old newspapers, wood chips, and soggy Lays bags, we can't be friends. pic.twitter.com/8IdToZsNfF— Mr. Trash Wheel (@MrTrashWheel) August 3, 2018
ON THE AGENDA
- New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to take comments on Intro 157, a long-contested proposal to reduce private transfer station capacity, at 4:00 p.m.
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