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The owners and operators of landfills throughout the country have made concerted efforts over the years to improve the image of their facilities within the surrounding communities. Well, some disposal sites are simultaneously building reputations as good neighbors while providing nearby areas with electricity derived from solar energy.

In "Catching Some Rays", contributing writer Nancy Mann Jackson has the story of four landfills that feature solar panels on closed areas of the sites to harness the sun's power. The industry's efforts in solar energy haven't been limited strictly to landfills: This past spring, Waste Pro USA opened an office building in Bradenton, Fla., that is powered primarily by the photovoltaic modules that adorn its roof.

As Bruce Parker, president and CEO of the National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA), told Jackson in "Catching Some Rays," installing solar energy systems at landfills is no financial walk in the park. Still, it's heartening to see those sites and Waste Pro join in the push to expand the use of renewable energy — and when it's practical, hopefully more industry members will do the same.

  • The solid waste industry recently got some news indicating that its increased focus on safety efforts may be paying off: work-related fatalities declined by approximately 40 percent in 2009 when compared with the year before. See "Safety Success" on p. 10 for a summary of the statistics and then turn to the NSWMA's David Biderman's column ("Fatal Subtraction") for an analysis of the numbers.

  • I am pleased to announce that Waste Age Managing Editor Steven Averett and freelance artist Lori Fredricks recently won a national gold award from the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE) in the "Humorous, Fun" category for Haul Talk, which appears each month on the last page of the issue. Furthermore, Chaz Miller won a bronze national award from the ASBPE for his Circular File column. National ASBPE awards are very hard to come by, and Steven, Lori and Chaz deserve a hearty round of congratulations. It's a real pleasure to work with such talented writers.

  • Know of a student that has an idea for a short film about the solid waste industry? He or she could win a $3,000 scholarship. Check out the details.

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TAGS: Solar Safety