Welcome to 2012! Have you made any resolutions yet? So many of us make promises to ourselves at this time of year. Sometimes they pan out -- and sometimes they are forgotten by February.
The waste and recycling industry seems to have its own set of resolutions, the pursuit of which plays out over years rather than every January 1st. Some of this resolve stems from a desire to remain relevant, viable and profitable as public attitudes toward what we throw away change. Some of it is guided by a higher sense of purpose and a desire to best serve the environment. And some of it is anticipating problems that haven’t been thought of yet.
Falling under that last banner is News Editor Allan Gerlat’s cover story, “When Things Fall Apart,” highlighting three major disasters from the last decade – the Joplin, Mo., tornado, Hurricane Katrina and the Sept. 11 attack on the Pentagon – and showing how waste handlers in each situation were forced to adapt to those unimaginable circumstances. If you have not resolved to put in place a comprehensive disaster plan, this piece will make you a believer.
Another way our industry has resolved to evolve is in its handling of landfill gas. What was once an unwanted and detrimental byproduct of the landfilling of waste has now become a valued energy resource. In “The Rise of Landfill Gas to Energy” by contributing author Michael Fickes, this technology is explored and highlighted. Let us also resolve to implement this technology wherever possible.
We should also resolve to confront the hazard of improperly disposed sharps in municipal solid waste and recyclables. Contributing author Christine Lederer lays out the case in “To the Point.” With more and more people injecting medication at home, stricter disposal policies are needed to minimize the exposure of waste handlers to this danger.
Have your own resolutions to suggest? Please share them with me at [email protected].
Happy New Year!
P.S. – We are approaching the end of the entry period for Waste Age’s Equipment Color and Design Contest. If you have a truck, container, sweeper or other piece of private or municipal waste equipment that you think looks especially stunning, please send photos and descriptions to [email protected]. Submissions will be accepted through the end of Jan. You could be featured in an upcoming issue!