EIA Announces Changes

Proving that no one is immune to the effects of industry consolidations, the nation's largest group of private sector waste professionals, Washington, D.C.-based Environmental Industry Associations (EIA) announced several changes to its organization.

Starting in May, President and CEO Bruce Parker will take on the additional duties of acting executive vice president for the National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA), one of the two core groups under the EIA. "My job will be to rebuild our membership program and to be the primary liaison with the publicly held companies," he says.

Chaz Miller, NSWMA's senior manager for recycling and waste services, will be the acting director of state programs. "Chaz will coordinate the association's three regional offices to ensure program continuity," Parker says.

In one of the more significant moves, Parker also announced a new group incorporating membership, marketing, education, meetings and website development under the leadership of Jack Legler, executive vice president of EIA's Waste Equipment Technology Association (WASTEC).

"We are creating an association-wide Membership and Marketing Services group rather than having those functions exist separately and redundantly," says Parker, who adds that these services can best be provided "centrally." He also says he sees new member services being added each year.

EIA also announced the promotion of David Biderman to its general counsel and Jenny Heumann to the association's manager of public affairs.

"The move is part of our ongoing effort to streamline in order to serve members as cost-effectively as possible," Parker says. "We are not restructuring or changing our core services that members need and demand."

EIA also has strengthened the board of trustees and added two national company seats, one for Allied Waste Industries, Scottsdale, Ariz., and one for Republic Services Inc., Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

The "massive consolidations" in the industry are pressuring the EIA to become more efficient, Parker says. "We are doing exactly what our members have been doing in their own businesses."

CHICAGO - The stakes were high in Chicago when Mayor Richard Daley announced the city's Blue Bag recycling program in 1993. Chicago then spent $60 million preparing four recycling and transfer stations, and $8 million on advertising and public education by the time the program officially started in December 1995, according to Bill Abolt, acting commissioner of the City of Chicago Department of Environment.

"We had to make a major investment over the last several years," he says. "We've been able to do it within our existing budget."

Has it been worth it? To date, approximately 25 percent of Chicago's household waste is recycled, according to Jessica Rio, spokesperson for the department.

The Blue Bag program's simplicity is what makes it productive, Abolt says. The program calls for the 750,000 households that receive city garbage service to place recyclables in three blue bags: one for paper, one for containers and one for yard waste. The bags then are collected at the curbside with the rest of the waste and taken to a transfer station. About 20 percent of the households participated in the beginning. Today, it's more than a third.

To further increase program participation, Abolt says the city now is spending about $1.5 million a year on publicity. Chicago also is distributing a CD-ROM tour of a sorting station to local schools and has set up paper recycling bins at Chicago Transit Authority stations.

Chicago also has set higher standards for its recycling stations, Abolt continues. The stations are rewarded if the city recycles more than 25 percent of its household waste, and penalized if it doesn't, he says.

"It's not out of the question to say next year we'll be over 30 percent," Abolt says. "We want to get more people out there putting out more bags, and we don't care where they come from as long as we get more of them."