A look back at notable observations and insight from industry leaders and consumers.
"For far too long the climate impact of waste management has been overlooked. Now it’s clear that waste prevention, reuse and recycling are climate change solutions that need to be fully integrated into a low carbon economy."
— Mariel Vilella, Zero Waste Europe's Associate Director, regarding a report that found the benefits of solid waste management being obscured by misleading UN reporting.
"So why do we do it? Why do we litter our streets? Destroy our surroundings with a dirty eye sore? Allow others to stand or sit in our poorly disposed chewing gum? Unfortunately we cannot answer questions on the wonders of mankind, but what we can do is offer a solution to this sticky situation."
— Gumdrop LTD on its website, discussing the Gumdrop product that is cleaning up gum waste from streets. The little pink spheres are "bins" specifically for chewing gum. Once the gum container is full, it is taken and recycled into new products.
"We have waited a long time for our congressional leaders to make transportation infrastructure a national priority and it appears that it has been worth the wait."
— America's Infrastructure Alliance President Jeff Loveng regarding the recent congressional finalization of a $300 billion transportation bill. If passed, the bill will increase spending for roads and transit systems, directly affecting the waste industry.
"The scrap metal industry right now is absolutely getting killed. It’s not just Greer. It’s all small recyclers getting squeezed because of the worldwide drop-off in demand for scrap metal."
— Charles M. Ivey III, an attorney for B.P. Greer Recycling Inc., which filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy this week. Greer cites hard hits to the scrap metal industry as being responsible for the company's revenue decline.
"Although $50 million sounds like a significant amount, it goes to compensate more than 1,000 people for years of harm. For the community, what it signifies is the scope of harm. The court put a dollar amount on what they went through."
— Kim Ferraro, attorney for the Hoosier Environmental Council, on a decision to award $50 million to 1,025 Indiana plaintiffs as a result of a six-year lawsuit against VIM Recycling. For years, residents had complained of smoke, dust, and rotten odors from the site.
"We take pride in our ability to move between roles of emergency snow and normal collections. Normally, 48 hours after the last snowfall we are back to normal collection mode where customers are being serviced."
— NYC Department of Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia on the city's operations during heavy snowfall. Garcia told Waste Dive that after a winter storm, 2,400 sanitation staff switch to "snow function," operating spreaders and plows.