THE PAST MONTH HAS MARKED A BUSY and newsworthy time for the solid waste industry. Less than a week after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the Oneida-Herkimer case, the industry gathered in Atlanta for WasteExpo 2007. Given the recent flurry of activity, I thought I would do my best Larry King impersonation, and, as the talk-show host and celebrity shoe-shiner used to do in his old USA Today column, touch briefly on several items.
Obviously, the big news in the industry these days is the Supreme Court's ruling that upholds flow control laws passed by Oneida and Herkimer counties in New York. In this issue, Waste Age provides two points of coverage: Barry Shanoff's column on p. 14 and the cover story, which begins on p. 24.
Now, we'd like to hear what you have to say about the decision and its possible ramifications for solid waste management. Please send your “Letter to the Editor” by e-mailing it to [email protected]. We would like to publish a collection of your responses in an upcoming issue of the magazine. And, for that matter, I would like to strongly encourage such letters on any topic. We love to hear from our readers; your input helps us do our jobs better.
We hear a lot these days about the growing e-waste stream. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently released a report that quantifies the issue. According to the study, titled “Management of Electronic Waste in the United States,” between 1.9 to 2.2 million tons of electronics became obsolete in 2005. Of that total, only about 350,000 tons were recycled; the rest were “primarily discarded in landfills.”
Other tidbits: Approximately 50 percent of all the electronics sold in this country from 1980 through 2004 are still in use, and about 9 percent are in storage. The remainder have either been recycled or discarded.
To view the report, visit www.epa.gov/epaoswer/hazwaste/recycle/ecycling/manage.htm.
Finally, at WasteExpo, I was struck by the continued and growing prominence of safety as an issue in the industry. It is heartening to see. Seriously, in a business as dangerous as solid waste management, can there be a more important topic? (To read about NSWMA's new safety video, which premiered at the show, turn to p. 10.) This is a topic that we want to cover heavily, and we welcome any story ideas that you want to pass along.
Perhaps that wasn't the greatest Larry King impersonation. To better emulate the man, I should have written one sentence on each topic — or interviewed the father of Anna Nicole Smith's baby.
The author is the editor of Waste Age