Daily Digest: SWANA Safety Summit gets emotional, new 2030 food waste estimates
In the Daily Digest, the Waste Dive team rounds up insights and moments from around the industry you may have missed.
SAFETY SUMMIT GETS REAL
At yesterday's WasteCon Safety Summit, Wendylee Fisher, assistant administrator of Tennessee OSHA, began by examining factors that led to a few recent local accidents and how those situations resulted in citations. A key takeaway was that many organizations have policies and procedures in place for safety awareness and training, but they often aren't followed closely enough. Ultimately, Fisher said "It's part of your job, as the employer, to figure out how you're going to fix [safety issues]."
The moderator then opened up the floor for questions. One that stuck out, since technology is normally associated with increased safety, was whether she had noticed a decrease in incidents in cities with automated collection vehicles. Fisher said after looking at industry fatalities in Tennessee from 2012 to 2018 she wasn't aware of any correlation.
Five SWANA Safety Ambassadors then took the stage for the usual questions, but an emotional closing comment captured everyone's attention. Eddie Anderson, a general manager at Stringfellow, illustrated how even the most seasoned members of the industry aren't immune to dangers. He recounted a story of a young man that he knew from his hometown whose father drove a garbage truck on a small, private route. The man grew up riding in the truck from age three or four, then after graduating from junior college, his father bought him a truck to start his own collection business.
Anderson recalled the accident, which happened in the middle of winter in poor weather: "One day … he went to help his father finish his route. The boy had been raised in the garbage business all of his life … he had seen safety every day. He knows what he's supposed to do. They're picking up garbage off a dock. He gets behind the truck to show his father to come on back to approach the dock. The father hit a patch of ice, couldn't stop the truck [and] cut the boy in half. He knew not to be there. But he was worried about the time [and] he was there. He's dead. That's it."
IN OTHER NEWS
Report: Food waste could be one-third higher by 2030 — The Guardian & VOA
A new report from Boston Consulting Group has projected the annual amount of global food waste could rise from 1.6 billion to 2.5 billion tons by 2030. This would cost an estimated $1.5 trillion. While much of this is tied to expected increases in population, and higher rates of consumption in developing countries, the report also points out multiple ways to stem the trend. The authors outline what they claim to be a $700 billion solution to this issue via 13 initiatives that address five key drivers of the challenge.
California town walks back curbside inspections — The Mercury News
Following backlash from residents, the Fairfax Town Council has paused plans for a curbside recycling cart inspection program to address contamination. The audit of 500 households would be funded by a $20,000 county grant and performed by Envirolutions Consulting. Privacy was the main concern among residents, as it often is in the growing number of municipalities that have begun pursuing similar programs to clean up their streams.
St. Paul organized collection plan causing consternation — Star Tribune
Resident complaints are on the rise ahead of the October 1 launch for a new organized collection system in St. Paul, Minnesota. Reports are coming in about properties being mistakenly classified as the wrong size, rigid pricing structures and other issues. Some residents are hoping to get the issue up for a vote on the ballot this fall, and city council members have expressed frustration, but officials are asking for patience until the rollout is complete.
McLennan County, Texas officials say no to resolution opposing Axtell-area landfill — Waco Tribune-Herald
On Tuesday, county commissioners failed to pass a resolution to formally oppose Waco's proposed landfill. During the session, opponents voiced concerns over safety and environmental hazards posed by a new facility. But the commissioners said they could not oppose the project on legal grounds. The city of Waco approved the land purchase and filed environmental applications for the project on July 31. Since the site sits mostly within Waco's jurisdiction, other surrounding counties have said they lack the legal grounds to go against the project.
Taiwan to set scrap import limits — Resource Recycling
After seeing scrap plastic imports more than double for the first half of 2018 YoY, and recovered fiber imports also increase, the Taiwan Environmental Protection Agency has drafted new rules to crack down on a largely unregulated system. This would include only allowing companies to import "waste plastics that originate from their own overseas production processes and waste paper that is non-bleached kraft paper, corrugated paper or cardboard." Import licenses will also now be required. This is the latest in a string of Southeast Asian countries to curtail its scrap imports after China's own significant move in 2017.
SEEN & HEARD
ON THE AGENDA
Today marks the second full day of events at WasteCon in Nashville. Be sure to check out the complete schedule here. All times CDT.
- The first-ever MRF Summit, co-hosted by ISRI and SWANA, kicked off this morning and continues throughout the day. Follow Cole Rosengren for Twitter updates today and stay tuned for more coverage tomorrow.
- The Waste Dive team will be at a conference networking reception in downtown Nashville that starts at 7:30. Come find us!
Do you have events or webinars that should be on our agenda this week? Email [email protected]