Local government officials looking to boost recycling rates in their jurisdictions may have a new weapon in their fight to do so. Earlier this year, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the audit and investigative arm of the U.S. Congress, released a report featuring the oh-so-punchy title, “Additional Efforts Could Increase Municipal Recycling.” The nearly 50-page report was requested by U.S. Sens. Tom Carper, D-Del.; Barack Obama, D-Ill.; Olympia Snowe, D-Maine; and Ron Wyden, D-Ore.
As part of their legwork for the report, GAO investigators interviewed 11 recycling coordinators about practices in their cities. The coordinators urged making recycling as easy as possible for residents by offering both curbside collection service and community drop-off locations. They also recommended giving residents a financial incentive to recycle and conducting significant public education efforts.
The stakeholders and other recycling stakeholders interviewed also would like to see some recycling policies implemented at the federal level, such as a national bottle bill allowing consumers to return beverage containers in exchange for money and a law requiring manufacturers to establish systems permitting consumers to return and recycle used items.
Waste Age will have a more in-depth analysis of the study in the Trends section of an upcoming edition.
This spring is turning out to be a newsworthy one in terms of industry-related legislative and judicial developments. In February, a federal judge dealt New Jersey a setback in its attempt to regulate controversial rail-yard waste-handling facilities. Currently, federal law exempts the sites from state and local oversight; NSWMA and SWANA are among the organizations seeking to end that exemption.
Waste Age is covering this important decision in two ways. First, this month's lead Tip Off story examines industry reaction to the ruling and documents the various ways that industry members are seeking to do away with the exemption. Also, in the April issue of our magazine, Legal Editor Barry Shanoff's monthly column will present an in-depth look at the judge's ruling.
Waste Age has some important personnel news that we'd like to share with our readers. Steven Averett has been promoted to managing editor. Steven, who has been with our magazine for more than a year now, will continue to oversee the Trends section, in addition to his expanded duties. Also, Chris Carlson, who spent some time with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, has joined our staff as an associate editor and will be writing our Tip Off news section. All you newsmakers should be hearing from him soon.
The author is the editor of Waste Age