WasteExpo 2015 got underway with a busy conference program on Monday. The third annual Investor Summit featured 16 sessions including company presentations and panel discussions. Education tracks on fleet & equipment technology, recycling/resource recovery, hauling, business development and concurrent tracks on composting and organics all filled the day.
Here are some key takeaways from the first day of WasteExpo.
The recent unexpected collapse in oil prices is putting the squeeze on the recycling industry.
As a result of crashing crude prices, it’s cheaper for plastics companies to use new or virgin materials than recycled stuff. Prices are so low for recycled plastics and glass bottles that companies such as Waste Management (WM) or local governments have to pay to have it hauled away. It’s a simple issue of supply and demand.
In a section of the job-hungry South Bronx zoned for heavy manufacturing—a mere minute or two from the Major Deegan Expressway and the RFK (Triborough) Bridge—sits a trash-transfer station. At the state-of-the-art facility, which like all such stations is enclosed to minimize odors, optical-sorting equipment and workers pull recyclable material from regular garbage so as little waste as possible ends up in landfills. Its 120 employees are paid well above minimum wage and earn promotions if they perform well. Some hail from a program that steers defendants from the criminal-justice system into productive employment.
In short, the transfer station is located exactly where it’s supposed to be, hires the people who need jobs the most, pays well and helps the environment.
Keurig Green Mountain made $4.7 billion in revenue last year. Much of that money came thanks to K-Cups, the coffee-in-a-pod system invented by cofounder John Sylvan. The product is everywhere. And its waste is, too, thanks to the fact that the cups are almost impossible to recycle.
Laborers, legislators, industry officials and Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration came out in opposing camps Friday during a marathon hearing on a “waste equity” that’s making its second go-round in the City Council.
The bill, Intro. 495, seeks to reduce the amount of waste shipped to overburdened areas of the city by 18 percent and cap the waste in other areas at 5 percent. The bill is something of a retread of legislation that originally was proposed under the Bloomberg administration but met a quiet death.
While the solid-waste industry and its labor unions are often at odds about work rules and wages, both agree a City Council bill designed to reduce how much material a transfer station can receive is a really bad idea.
This bill, Intro 495, seeks to cap the percentage of the city’s waste that can be handled in any one community district. That may sound appealing, but it will have many adverse impacts.
Waste-to-energy firm Covanta Energy Corp. and Clean Energy Fuels Corp. opened a compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station in Newark, N.J., to serve waste and recycling trucks in northern New Jersey and New York City.