Happy Friday, everyone. It's been a busy week with lots of news and developments, including an exclusive interview with an executive from Waste Management, and taking a closer look at what happens to recycling in a community when a MRF suddenly closes.
Let's dive in.
Stories that drove the week
Waste Dive talked to Waste Management's head of recycling, Brent Bell, in an exclusive interview.
- Bell said the company would "always have a certain percentage of temp employees," in part because of how demanding working as a MRF sorter is. "It's not a job meant for everybody," he said.
- He also said that if sending material to landfill were more expensive, it's likely that diversion would increase. "I think obviously if those rates were higher, recycling programs, we'd get more diversion and more impact from that," Bell said.
Bell and Waste Dive Reporter Cole Rosengren also discussed finding new commodity markets "post-China," how glass markets are faring in the Northeast and what a carbon tax could mean for the company. It's an interview you won't want to miss.
A 'dirty MRF' in Virginia shut down its recycling operations, citing the low cost of commodities.
- Van der Linde Recycling, outside Charlottesville, VA suddenly stopped processing household waste early this month. The company's owner said the choice was made because of the "bleak" commodities market.
- The closure has left many area residents without any recycling options.
County Waste and Time Disposal, two regional companies in the area, are taking steps to fill in the gaps. County Waste, for example, is beginning to offer curbside recycling to customers in the counties surrounding Charlottesville, and Time Disposal has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on new trucks and carts.
A Republic Services driver in Missouri died after a train collided with the truck he was driving.
- According to a police report, the crash happened after Kenneth L. Simpson, the driver, failed to yield to the train. This is the second fatal garbage truck crash involving a train in just over two months.
- Republic Services that the entire company was feeling "great sadness" after learning Simpson did not make it home safely to his family. Republic said the company was cooperating with local police.
These kinds of events are tragic but can, in some cases, be avoidable. Sometimes in the industry, fatal incidents are associated with smaller haulers, but instances like this are a reminder that best practices for safety apply to everybody and every company.
Casella Waste Systems suffered a defeat at the ballot box in New Hampshire.
- Residents of Bethlehem, NH voted down two proposals that would have allowed the company to expand a landfill by over 50%.
- The 100-acre, 20-year host community agreement would have paid out $53.7 million to the town.
This is not the first time residents in the town voted against expansion. In 2012, there was an agreement reached. In 2017, after acquiring more land, Casella reintroduced the idea, which residents also voted down. The company has already said it will continue to pursue expansion.
The latest in M&A
- Clean Earth Inc. acquired MKC Enterprises, a hazardous and non-hazardous waste management service. Acquest International L.P. served as an exclusive financial advisor for Clean Earth.
Did we miss a merger or an acquisition? Let us know by emailing [email protected]
How are Chinese import policies playing out across the U.S.?
The pace of news on local effects remained steady this week, with reports from at least 10 states. One of the more notable stories is Sacramento's plans to spend more than $800,000 on education and enforcement in an effort to knock its contamination rate down from 25% to 10%. Oregon's Department of Environmental Quality is now reporting 19 disposal concurrences as of March 14, and estimates that more than 7,100 tons of recyclable material was disposed through the end of February.
Smaller effects were also reported from Arkansas, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Ohio and Utah. Minnesota also reported effects, though has fared better due to existing local markets.
Do you know more? Get in touch with us.
You can follow all of this information on our 50 state tracker page. Tips and feedback are highly appreciated.
Other stories from the week...
- Baltimore officially voted to ban polystyrene foam food containers.
- Waste Pro could see its contract with Summerville, SC cut.
- Canada's environment minister is calling on world leaders to make plastic waste a global issue.
- The Solid Waste Association of North America surpassed 10,000 members.
- A man, who had stopped his vehicle for a garbage truck, was seriously injured when another garbage truck struck his vehicle.