Scrap Collector: Recycling cuts; latest worker fatality
Plus: M&A news from Santek and Meridian, corporate recycling developments and the unseen e-waste nightmare lurking behind this holiday season.
Welcome to Scrap Collector, Waste Dive's Friday round-up of insights and stories you may have missed during the week.
RECYCLING CHANGES CONTINUE TO RIPPLE
Waste Divers will be well-acquainted by now with our 50-state tracker page: an ever-unfurling list of stories big and small about the China import ban's impact on U.S. recycling. A few new updates:
- Manteca, California is undergoing one of the state's most dramatic program shifts yet: residents will now be able to recycle only clean cardboard, plastics #1-2 and California Redemption Value containers. The Manteca Bulletin has more.
- With contract cycles coming up and existing ordinances being enforced, bigger cities are starting to feel the pressure — Savannah, for instance, will go from earning $15 per ton for its recyclables to paying Pratt Recycling to process materials, according to the Savannah Morning News.
- A growing number of municipalities are getting into the glass cutting business — or, more precisely, removing glass from their recycling programs in the face of rising overall costs. The Plain Dealer reports that Akron is the latest large city to put glass on the chopping block.
- As seen recently in New York, dual-stream recycling is experiencing a small resurgence. Here are two fresh examples out of New Jersey and Missouri.
Check out the state page for more updates, and be sure to get in touch with any news or tips on recycling shifts playing out in your community.
IN OTHER NEWS
Waste Management worker killed in a crash — 12News
A Monday evening crash in Orange, Texas left a 28-year-old Waste Management employee dead, according to local police. The sanitation worker, identified as Derrick Cane of Beaumont, was struck by a driver while completing his route. He later died from his injuries at a local hospital.
The 18-year-old driver, who was brought to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries, hasn't been charged by police. The accident remains under investigation.
Cane's death is the latest in a string of recent industry fatalities: 21-year-old Waste Pro worker Demont'e Harris of Palm Beach and 28-year-old Cleveland waste collection employee D'Shane Wilcox were both killed on the job earlier this month. In addition, the Texas Department of Public Safety is currently investigating a Thursday collision involving three Jefferson County dump trucks.
As the year draws to a close, let's reflect on the true backbone of the industry: the workers who spend their days (and nights) making sure our communities are safe and trash-free. Our deepest condolences — and thanks — to the families of the deceased.
Meridian Waste Services acquires two Tennessee landfills — Press Release
In a deal advised by Capstone Headwaters, Meridian has picked up Knoxville Landfills LLC and its C&D sites in Knox County. The "consistent volume being driven by the region's solid economic outlook" — a sunny forecast Meridian expects to continue — makes the deal particularly lucrative.
Santek Waste Services makes Texas acquisition — Press Release
KingsPoint Capital has facilitated the sale of Texas company MAT & Recycling to a division of Santek Waste. The Houston-area company, which opened nearly two years ago, will add a transfer station to Santek's growing Texas footprint.
Johnson & Johnson joins How2Recycle — Press Release
How2Recycle announced Thursday the addition of Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. to its list of participating brands. The company will be placing the How2Recycle label on many of its baby products, where we're assuming it'll instruct parents on how to recycle the baby with the bathwater.
Coca-Cola awards $500,000 grant to Southeast Recycling Development Council (SERDC) — Press Release
The grant aims to unlock "new material supply that is currently being landfilled" by helping SERDC facilitate infrastructure expansion and education throughout 11 Southeast states. Eligible projects include recycling carts, material recovery facility (MRF) upgrades, recycling trucks and transfer station construction.
The (e-waste) nightmare before Christmas — Mashable
Here's a nice cautionary tale for the holidays: those adorable gadgets and gizmos your equally adorable kids will be unwrapping next month? Turns out they cost a lot more than sticker price. Discarded toys — and the batteries and circuits they’re composed of — are being added en masse to the world's rapidly expanding pile of e-waste, where they're starting fires, emitting deadly fumes and exacerbating climate change. High costs and lack of facilities are sending many materials straight to landfills, and while some parts do get recycled, the e-waste recycling process can release toxic by-products that the World Health Organization has deemed a serious health risk — especially for those aforementioned adorable kids. So, yeah, we can't win.
This horrifying pile of broken toys, like any monster worth its weight, is only getting bigger: the U.S. toy industry bumped its annual sales by 2% over the past year to a whopping $11.6 billion. And we haven't even hit the Christmas rush.
AROUND THE WORLD
Germany releases 5-point plan to combat plastic pollution — DW
Germany is gearing up for the war on plastic: Environment Minister Svenja Schulze announced Monday a plan for tackling plastic waste domestically and beyond. The proposal includes five key steps:
Avoid unnecessary products and packaging,
Make more environmentally friendly packaging and products,
Increase recycling and recycling stations,
Prevent plastics from mixing with organic waste, and
Intensify efforts to limit plastic waste in oceans.
"With these measures, we are reversing the trend in the use of plastics," Schulze said in a statement. "We produce far too much plastic in our consumer and throwaway society."
While Germany is widely recognized as a global leader in recycling, the efficacy of its sophisticated bottle and can return scheme has been disputed: the Pfand system, critics point out, doesn't give manufacturers incentives to go green. Schulze's statement acknowledges the beating heart of plastic pollution: a culture of rampant, entrenched consumption.
SEEN & HEARD
Charleston, South Carolina just became the latest major city to approve a plastic bag ban. See which other places are tackling Americans' plastic bag consumption pic.twitter.com/0uyEdXdazf— CBS News (@CBSNews) November 28, 2018
Wouldn't Aquaman's arch-nemesis really be Plastic Man— Jamie McKelvie (@McKelvie) November 28, 2018