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Articles from 2019 In April


Advanced Disposal Tight-lipped Through WM Acquisition, Sees Revenue Growth for Q1 2019

Ponte Vedra, Fla.-based Advanced Disposal Services (ADS), which is being acquired by Waste Management (WM), released its first quarter 2019 results on April 30. The company did not hold its formerly planned earnings call on May 1, citing it will enter an "extended quiet period related to investor communications" until the WM transaction is closed.

In its quarterly earnings release, ADS reported revenue of $384 million for the three months ended March 31, 2019, versus $364.7 million in the same period in 2018. Net loss during the first quarter of 2019 was $6 million, or $0.07 per diluted share, and adjusted net income, which excludes certain gains and expenses, was $1.6 million, or $0.02 per diluted share.

"Although we announced a merger agreement with Waste Management, our operating philosophy is unchanged," said ADS CEO Richard Burke in a statement. "We remain focused on safely providing an excellent service experience for our customers, disciplined pricing that aligns with the quality service we provide and generating strong cash flow for our shareholders. Our first quarter results of price-led revenue growth, along with $72.5 million of cash generated from operations and $43.9 million of adjusted free cash flow, underscore our commitment to our strategy."

First quarter financial highlights include:

  • Revenue at $384 million, representing a 5.3 percent increase.
  • Achieved average yield of 4.1 percent.
  • Organic volume declined 0.3 percent, which included a 0.5 percent impact from one fewer workday in Q1 2019.
  • Year-over-year growth from acquisitions was 1.4 percent, as the company primarily benefited from the rollover impact of a vertically integrated acquisition in December 2018 and two new acquisitions in Q1 2019.
  • Net loss was $6 million, or $0.07 per diluted share.
  • Achieved adjusted EBITDA was $95 million, an increase of $0.9 million versus prior year levels as the company said it was able to overcome challenging wet winter weather conditions leading to a $2.5 million increase in leachate costs, the cycling of a prior year compressed natural gas tax credit of $1.8 million and a $2 million recycling headwind.
  • Cash provided by operating activities was $72.5 million during Q1 2019.
  • Adjusted free cash flow year-to-date was $43.9 million

“Consistent with the joint press release issued with Waste Management Inc. on April 15, 2019, regarding entry into a merger agreement pursuant to which a subsidiary of Waste Management will acquire all outstanding shares of Advanced Disposal for $33.15 per share in cash, we are reaffirming our 2019 revenue, adjusted EBITDA and adjusted free cash flow guidance,” said ADS in a statement. “The transaction, which was unanimously approved by the board of directors of both companies, is expected to close by the first quarter of 2020, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals and approvals by a majority of the holders of Advanced Disposal’s outstanding common shares.”

“In light of the pending transaction, we have elected to cease conducting quarterly earnings conference calls until transaction closing, although we will continue to provide a quarterly earnings release,” added ADS. “We will also enter into an extended quiet period related to investor communications and cease providing forward-looking guidance after this press release until the transaction is closed.”

During Waste Management's Q1 earnings call on April 25, President and CEO Jim Fish said WM expects to achieve more than $100 million in annual capital expenditure synergies from the acquisition. He added that the acquisition is expected to close in 2020, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals.

“We are enthusiastic about this catalyst for long-term value for our shareholders in 2020 and beyond,” said Fish during the call. “We believe we can leverage benefits of the investments we’re making in technology and people to achieve enhanced efficiency across the ADS network in the coming years. ADS has talented and dedicated employees, and we look forward to capitalizing on the strengths of both organizations.”

Waste Management Chief Financial Officer Devina Rankin added that WM is still in the early stages of determining its financial strategy for the acquisition.

“While the agreement is certainly exciting news, it’s just the first step in bringing the two companies together,” explained John Morris, WM's chief operating officer, during the call. “Over the coming months, we will assemble an integration planning team to determine how to best assemble our operations. Like our operations, the two companies’ cultures are very complementary—with a shared commitment to outstanding customer service, safety and operational excellence. We expect a smooth integration acquisition process for this acquisition. We will be ready to execute as soon as the deal closes.”

Michael E. Hoffman, managing director and group head of Diversified Industrials at Stifel, released a report noting ADS produced Q1 2019 results consistent with prior results of its three larger peers—strong price, better volumes plus some deals to offset weaker recycling and leave room to reaffirm fiscal year 2019 guidance.

“The price and volume trend would seem to put [ADS] on pace to be at the top end of its guidance despite the weaker recycling markets,” according to the report. “[ADS] will no longer provide any updates to its FY19 outlook beyond regularly reporting quarterly earnings. The next communication outside of proxy materials related to a shareholder vote on the pending merger with Waste Management should be in late July or early August.”

“While we think it is unlikely a competing bid is made for [ADS], the break-up fee alone is not sufficient to thwart an interested party, and never say never,” added Hoffman.

Need to Know

Republic Names Vander Ark President, Appoints Stuart COO

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Republic Services just announced that Jon Vander Ark has been named president of the company. As president, Vander Ark will be responsible for the company's ongoing transformation and continued growth. He will oversee operations, sales, marketing and business development and will continue reporting to Don Slager, chief executive officer.

In addition, Tim Stuart has been appointed chief operating officer (COO), succeeding Vander Ark.

Prior to this appointment, Vander Ark served as chief operating officer, developing greater rigor around safety, fleet readiness, labor effectiveness and route optimization, noted the company. He joined Republic Services in January 2013 as executive vice president (EVP), chief marketing officer, responsible for advancing the Republic Services brand, elevating the company's customer-centric service approach and introducing its Priority Based Selling technique and its Capture tablet-based pricing tool.

In 2016, Vander Ark assumed the role of EVP of operations, overseeing performance and financial results across the field organization. Prior to Republic, he served as a partner at McKinsey & Company's Detroit office, managing clients across a variety of industries, including transportation, logistics, manufacturing and consumer products. He received a bachelor's degree from Calvin College and a Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School.

Stuart, who will succeed Vander Ark as COO, has nearly 25 years in the industry. Starting as operations supervisor, Stuart has deep experience across of all aspects of business operations, according to the company. He joined Republic Services in 2006 as director of operations and has since held roles of increasing responsibility, including area president, vice president of customer experience, region vice president, region president and most recently EVP of operations.

During his tenure, Stuart pioneered the company's customer experience efforts, implementing service commitment methodologies and metrics, along with its use of Net Promoter Score as a key customer insight tool. Stuart received a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Alabama and an MBA from Florida Gulf Coast University.

As COO, Stuart will be responsible for continuing to operationalize the company's strategy and execute its business plan across field operations. In addition to leading the general management organization, he will have functional responsibility for safety, operations effectiveness, engineering, environmental compliance and fleet management. Stuart will continue reporting to Vander Ark.

"We've built a high-caliber executive leadership team through a commitment to leveraging composite strength and creating deliberate development plans for our people," said Slager in a statement. "Both Jon and Tim work effectively together and have delivered sustainable results for our customers and shareholders. They have built strong teams and remain focused on making Republic a place where the best people come to work. I'm looking forward to working closely with them in their new roles as we continue to strengthen The Republic Way and accelerate the company's growth over the coming years."

Need to Know

Waste Management of Hawaii, City of Honolulu to Pay in EPA Settlement

Hawaii County Council Advances Waste Reduction Resolution

Nearly 10 years ago, storms in Hawaii overwhelmed temporary pipes at the Waimanalo Gulch Landfill and sent water contaminated with trash into the ocean. Now, the city of Honolulu and Waste Management of Hawaii will have to pay $425,000 as part of a settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

According to a Hawaii News Now report, EPA said following the storms, medical waste washed up onto nearby beaches for weeks. As part of the agreement, the landfill must upgrade its stormwater drainage pipeline and conduct a number of facility upgrades.

In addition, the money from the settlement will be used to monitor and restore coral reefs off Leeward Oahu, noted the report.

Hawaii News Now has more details:

The city and Waste Management of Hawaii will pay $425,000 as a part of a settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency.

The EPA said that storms in December 2010 and January 2011 overwhelmed temporary pipes at the Waimanalo Gulch Landfill.

Flooding at the site sent water contaminated with trash into the ocean.

Read the full article here.

Need to Know

Concerns Abound Over NYC’s Looming Commercial Waste Zone Plan

Following years of anticipation and debate, a New York City Council bill to reform the city’s private waste collection industry is expected to be introduced this spring.

The commercial waste zone plan will ultimately divide the city into 20 zones, each served by three to five carters selected through a competitive process. This approach, the City of New York Department of Sanitation (DSNY) has maintained, will reduce truck traffic associated with commercial waste collection by more than 60 percent, or more than 18 million miles per year, while strengthening service standards and allowing for customer choice. Additionally, the commercial waste zones will help create a new regulatory framework that allows the city to achieve several additional program goals, DSNY has stated.

According to a Crain’s New York report, the new system would be the “most drastic overhaul of commercial waste collection since Mayor Rudy Guliani broke the Mafia’s grip on sector in the mid-1990s by establishing the Business Integrity Commission.” Smaller and midsized haulers, however, are concerned that commercial zones will stifle competition and lead to higher prices and poor service.

Crain's New York has more details:

Commercial trash hauling in New York is about to enter a whole new era.

After four years of study and debate, a plan to reform the private waste-collection industry, first proposed by Mayor Bill de Blasio and developed by the Department of Sanitation, is now headed toward a decisive step: a City Council bill that would attempt to create a workable system while introducing the most radical changes to the industry in a quarter-century.

To put it another way, a sector vital to the city's economic health, which has operated under free-market principles that sometimes encouraged a Wild West ethos, could become a model of order and efficiency—or collapse.

The legislation, being crafted by Antonio Reynoso, chairman of the sanitation committee, is based on a framework from the Sanitation Department. It is expected to be introduced this spring. In the meantime, the plan—to divide the city into zones served by a group of carters chosen through a competitive bidding process—has become a flash point of controversy for both supporters and detractors.

Read the full article here.

Mejia Bridges Gap Between Athens’ Customers and Operations Team

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Amanda Mejia, Athens Services’ government affairs manager, helped the company during the implementation of the largest commercial waste franchise in the United States, RecycLA in Los Angeles.

Mejia started out as a zone waste manager, supervising a team of recycling coordinators who conducted outreach and education to customers in Los Angeles. Shortly after the transition period ended, she was promoted to a government affairs liaison for the RecycLA contract, where she continues to support city staff and is a bridge between customers and Athens’ operations team.

In her free time, Mejia has taken on a number of philanthropic initiatives in her community.

“Amanda attributes her career and personal successes to her pay-it-forward mentality,” says Eric Romero, Mejia’s coworker. “She believes in giving back to her community and does so by volunteering and organizing philanthropic activities for youth in the Los Angeles area. Inspired by the young women attending underserved high schools in her community, Amanda founded Prom Dresses to Give. Nearly four years ago, she began with the simple thought to collect formal dresses, use her car trunk as storage and drive to high schools across Los Angeles to allow girls to select their special dress for prom. After the first year of collecting dresses, an overwhelming response from donors led to her creating a fun-filled community event that included a shopping experience for the young women to enjoy with their friends and family. Upcycling formal dresses from residents across Los Angeles, [the initiative] has collected approximately 400 dresses and served more than 250 high school students across Los Angeles. Through this organization, she hopes to inspire and encourage local giving among her peers, as well as the young women she serves.”

We recently sat down with Mejia, a 2019 Waste360 40 Under 40 award recipient, to discuss RecycLA and the issues surrounding that program, as well as Prom Dresses to Give and other philanthropic initiatives she is involved with.

Waste360: How did you begin your career in the waste and recycling industry?

Amanda Mejia: I started during the time Los Angeles approved the largest franchise in history, RecycLA. Prior to being employed at Athens, I was the former Eastside field deputy for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. My knowledge of RecycLA was very minimal, but I had a slight idea of the program. As a field deputy, I was well aware of an array of issues impacting the communities in our city, including trash and illegal dumping. I was not familiar with the industry, but as I was seeking opportunity for growth, I stumbled across the opportunity to support Athens during the transition of RecycLA. I was hired as a zone waste manager, leading a group of recycling coordinators who were responsible for transitioning new Athens RecycLA customers.

Waste360: Please discuss how you helped Athens adjust to the RecycLA program.

Amanda Mejia: The outreach implementation period of RecycLA was critical to the success of the program. As a former deputy to the mayor, I was well versed on community engagement. For Athens, this was a significant benefit since I not only had an understanding of community outreach, but I also was attuned to the other issues people were facing as it related to the city.

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My experience working with folks during transitions related to policy complemented the company’s current needs, especially given that the transition was a challenge as customers were not pleased with the rollout of the program. As a zone waste manager, I was in a position to shape our outreach efforts—training our top employees (recycling coordinators) to become field workers and to transition thousands of customers. As part of the transition, recycling coordinators were responsible for educating customers on the RecycLA program. Many customers expressed their frustration with the program and lack of knowledge of such a huge transition. In order to best serve our customers, our outreach team had to be well trained in approaching customers, answering questions and dealing with high-intensity situations such as refusals from customers who did not want to be part of the RecycLA program. My role contributed to ensuring the recycling coordinators had the support needed to best serve our customers during this challenging time.

Waste360: Describe your role as government affairs manager at Athens Services.

Amanda Mejia: As the government affairs (GA) manager, I essentially serve as the frontline worker representing Athens Services in the city of Los Angeles. My main role is to be the liaison for the council districts in our service zones—Athens works closely with seven council members. As GA manger, I am responsible for ensuring that our council offices have direct contact with Athens, which entails quick response times for their staff and their constituents. Additionally, I meet with council staff to discuss RecycLA-related questions and issues in depth so there is a mutual understanding of the ordinance. The council office staff serves as a great connect to the communities Athens services. Their insight and direction on key community and political groups has supported the advancement of our commitment to continue past the RecycLA transition.

Athens Services Twitter ImageAthens-Services-Truck.jpg

I am also involved with the implementation of community affairs, taking lead on connecting with key leaders in the community, business improvement district groups, the Chamber of Commerce, neighborhood councils, etc. With the support of the council, I have made countless connections and attended a number of meetings to introduce Athens into the communities we serve. Additionally, these meetings have served as an avenue to provide RecycLA-related information to customers, support the transition and build partnerships moving past the transition. There also have been opportunities to educate folks on RecycLA, clarify information for customers, answer pending questions and solve issues that customers may be dealing with at their properties. All of that has been extremely beneficial to building stronger relationships with our customers.

My role as GA manager is significantly important but also very unique. Meshing my former experience in the public sector with my private sector experience, I am better able to understand customers and, more importantly, work with them moving forward. Often times, I am approached by our customers in a state of shock. Many folks often believe that the private sector is not interested in their concerns or needs. So, approaching them with a listening ear makes a world of a difference, and it changes their perspective on how Athens Services operates.

Waste360: It was recently announced that some changes will be put into place for fees associated with RecycLA. What impact will those changes have on Athens and its customers?

Amanda Mejia: That is correct—the city and haulers have recently agreed on a few changes to be made to RecycLA. On our end, Athens took the initiative to do our best to work with customers during the transition. There were a couple of pieces of the contract that came into question during the transition—many of which were related to fees.

At Athens, our leadership worked closely with the outreach team to ensure that customers were charged fairly. We had regular conversations on the impacts certain fees were making on the participation levels of our customers as it pertained to recycling. Many of the changes being made to fees associated with RecycLA will have a positive impact on Athens customers. Prior to the changes, there were ancillary fees associated with recycling—scout fees and access fees—and the new changes being made to RecycLA are a positive step in the right direction for everyone. Customers will no longer have fees associated with their recycling services, and therefore will promote interest in participating in such services.

A number of customers expressed confusion and frustration with the access to recycling services. Although recycling was presented to customers at a “no charge,” distance and access fees proved otherwise when applied. This was a huge setback for the program, as hundreds of customers, if not thousands, refused recycling due to the ancillary fees. Multifamily units and businesses were not accepting recycling based on the ancillary fees; at times, the program became irrelevant to customers. Now, the conversation has changed, and customers are more willing to accept recycling services at no cost. Despite the changes made to the program, customers have continued to express their frustration as it relates to costs of the program. Nonetheless, this is a step in the right direction.

A rising challenge that both Athens and customers have come across relates to the lack of infrastructure in place for customers to access recycling or any additional services. A significant number of customers are not able to access more trash, recycling or organics services due to the limited space granted at their multifamily units or businesses. As we continue to build in the city, it’s going to be critical that we begin to implement waste services in our planning process.

Commercial Franchise Zones

I believe New York is trying to implement such a program. I think it would be extremely helpful if they gain insight from Los Angeles; for starters, dissecting the city’s infrastructure and accounting for all the customers that will be transitioned into the program. There needs to be an effective system that can document existing and new customers. One of the biggest challenges during the outreach phase was accountability. Being able to identify customers and track them through a system is critical to the success of the transition of the program and beyond. In addition, companies should have well-trained individuals who are ready to provide the upmost customer service.

Waste360: Please tell me about Prom Dresses to Give and how you started that event.

Amanda Mejia: This is where I kind of fell into the industry without knowing it. About four years ago when I was working in the mayor’s office, I was working with youth. My memory draws a blank, but for some reason I thought of the issue, “girls not being able to purchase a prom dress due to financial hardships.” My solution was to write a post on Facebook to call on all my social media friends to donate a formal gown to a girl who may need one for prom.

So, there I go, collecting dresses out of the trunk of my little Honda Civic. After my collection period, I would then use my current relationships with local schools to identify the need for dresses at each school. I coordinated with the principals and drove to the schools identified to meet with the girls in the classroom, so they could try on dresses and pick their prom dress. Not so flattering, I decided that after my first year of working on this project, there was a larger need, so I created an event. Born and raised in Boyle Heights [Los Angeles], I decided to work with a local organization (Puente Learning Center) to host a community event. This event is driven by community, so it was very important that I worked within the community I feel a part of. It’s also imperative to build a sense a community for others. That led me to our process for gathering dresses.

Prom Dresses to Give Facebook ImagePromDressestoGive-MejiaFacebook.jpg

As previously mentioned, the way in which we outreach to the public is via social media. A flyer is made for collection of the dresses, times for exchanges are scheduled and the storage is based out of my family’s home. Dresses do not have to be new—we’re recycling dresses, or you can say upcycling dresses from people who no longer need their dress but also don’t know where to donate them. Being new to the industry, I’ve learned that people don’t really know where to donate clothing. So, when it comes to formal gowns or prom dresses, people become excited to learn of our program. Sometimes dropping dresses off at a donation site does not bring gratification to someone. Through Prom Dresses to Give, what’s great is that we take photos of the girls as they take the dresses and a thank you card is written to the donor of the dress. People actually can see that their dress has been given to a deserving girl ready to enjoy in time for prom.

The success of the program goes to the community. I also must say we have now grown our sponsorships to include Athens Services and other local businesses. Over the years, with everyone’s support, we have been able to collect more than 600 dresses and given out more than 300 hundred dresses to girls throughout Los Angeles. 

Through Prom Dresses to Give, we hope to continue to inspire local giving throughout Los Angeles. Our motto is that “to generate giving in your community, it doesn’t take a million dollars. Something as simple as a dress can make a world of difference for someone who may not have anything to wear on such a memorable night.” Lastly, we want to encourage our recipients to give back by recycling their dresses to give to another girl the following year. Many of the girls have begun giving their dresses, and this has been the ultimate gift to our program—the cycle of giving.

Waste360: Can you discuss other philanthropic activities and organizations you are involved with?

Amanda Mejia: I am still involved with many organizations based in my hometown, the Eastside of Los Angeles. In addition, Athens has provided me the opportunity to extend my philanthropic work representing the company. The company is involved in giving back to the communities where we provide service, including participating in community outreach events, monetary or food donations, etc.

Two other yearly events that I participate in and hold close to my heart are the city of Los Angeles’ homeless count and EmBrase Foundation 5K.  Each year, the city goes out in communities across Los Angeles to count the homeless population. The accuracy of counting our most vulnerable population is critical to the funding that is given to the city so that we may find shelter for our homeless population. For this reason, I find it extremely important to participate each year. The second event, the EmBrase Foundation 5K, is a community foundation that is focused on giving scholarships to local youth attending college in addition to funding local arts and dance programs for youth at Plaza De La Raza.

Lastly, I enjoy mentoring our local youth. In my former position in the mayor’s office, I led the Mayor’s Youth Council, a group of high school students (specifically living in the Eastside) who volunteered to be advocates of their communities. Many of these students spent every weekend with me volunteering with established organizations that would host events. I still mentor a number of students who have now graduated and attend some of the most prestigious colleges. I am so proud of them all.

Waste360: What are some of the challenges you’ve faced through your career thus far?

Amanda Mejia: One of the biggest challenges that I have faced in my career—and sometimes refrain from speaking about it—is the fact that I look very young and often may not be perceived as a professional. It’s not so much a problem in the business aspect itself with coworkers, but it’s mainly been with customers/constituents.

The types of questions or comments I normally receive range from: “You are so young, what can you do for me?” “Oh, you look so young.” “Wow, you handled that very professionally, I’m impressed.” “I’ve probably been dealing with this issue longer than you’ve been alive.”

The only challenge or internal battle I have is the fact that I must accept that folks may not trust me when they initially see me/meet me. Presentation is key, especially when I am not able to meet everyone at a single meeting. It’s important that when I present to a group of people, I nail it.

I have learned from my experience of working in the city and now Athens that not everyone will “like” you—but I will find a way to work with you. Usually once folks understand my work ethic and I communicate my willingness to support their needs, they understand that age and years of experience is no longer a deal breaker. My passion to help others is shown through my work, effective communications skills and ability to solve problems.

Waste360: What kind of mark do you hope to leave on the industry?

Amanda Mejia: The kind of mark that I hope to leave on this industry is building communities through innovative relationships. This unique private-public partnership between the city of Los Angeles and Athens will not only prove that it is possible but also necessary. Imagine the resources and innovative ideas that may be implemented into communities when the private and public sector work together. You can see it now through the food recovery program where Athens is supporting local nonprofits to establish their programs by providing funds that are used to create long-lasting infrastructure or meet their current needs/modifications.

Recycling

As a former city employee, when you talk about building communities through innovative relationships, you’re talking about making connections where companies may not otherwise do so. When you have someone who has the experience of both private and public sector and is willing to utilize that experience to the best of their ability to find ways to make things happen for everyone, the odds of people not wanting to participate in such program are no longer against us. I understand that I may not be significantly impacting or increasing the number of recycling customers, but at the end of the day, I am working on issues impacting our day-to-day as a company—issues that are also related to the city and take both experiences to understand that many of these issues are more complex than people want to believe (i.e. homelessness encampments). Ultimately, the benefits of building relationships with the customer base and the city are critical to the success of the program for everyone.

Waste360: Outside of work, what do you like to do in your free time?

Amanda Mejia: I like to sleep [laughing]. I enjoy outdoor activities, hiking, running and attending art/food festivals. I will say that I am probably not a normal 29 year old; I don’t go out much, but Disneyland is my hangout. I appreciate being surrounded by community and people who are really empowered to make a difference in their personal and professional life. Whenever I am free, I support friends and volunteer at local events in the community.

When you’re in this type of field, I’ll be honest, sometimes you just want a break from talking to people. So, it’s nice to just be in silence.

Waste360: Do you have any advice for someone new looking to join the industry?

Amanda Mejia: You don’t necessarily need to be experienced to join the industry. You just need to be passionate and ambitious to learn the industry. At first, I had no clue what a “three-yarder” was. I knew what a bin was, but I didn’t know the sizes of the bins. I had no idea what service levels meant or how to balance services for trash, recycling and organics. So, if you don’t know the industry, this is a great opportunity for you. The industry has changed my lifestyle; I now carry around my own utensils and own a “cool,” reusable straw. I use reusable bags now when I go to the market. I feel great knowing that I am positively contributing to a better environment.

Although there has been a shift in learning new information, I have found an appreciation for learning in the workplace. The best place to learn a job is out in the field. My advice to anyone is if you’re new and looking for a new opportunity and growth, this industry provides you with an opportunity to learn, grow and not only impact your professional life but also your personal life.

NYC Mayor Appoints Noah Genel as BIC Commissioner and Chair

NYC City Council Could Vote on Waste Zoning Bill by End of October

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio just announced the appointment of Noah D. Genel as commissioner and chair of the Business Integrity Commission (BIC).

The news comes after former BIC Commissioner Daniel Brownell announced his resignation in March following months of news coverage and complaints from lawmakers that BIC had been too lax in its oversight of the city’s private trash collection industry. Brownell was appointed to lead the BIC by de Blasio in 2014. In a statement made earlier in March, de Blasio called Brownell’s resignation voluntary and said that he played “a big role in crafting legislation to protect the most vulnerable workers in the trade waste industry.”

According to the city, Genel is an experienced former prosecutor and has spent the last four years at BIC, most recently as acting commissioner and general counsel for the commission. He will draw on his two decades in the field to lead the agency’s efforts to eliminate organized crime and various forms of corruption in the trade waste industry and New York City’s public wholesale markets.

“Noah Genel is a dedicated public servant with a proven track record of fighting organized crime and corruption. As commissioner, he will ensure the trade waste industry is fair, workers are protected and our streets are safe,” said de Blasio in a statement.

Genel also will continue advancing BIC’s initiatives to improve pedestrian and worker safety in the trade waste industry, including joint traffic enforcement operations with the New York Police Department, registering trade waste unions with BIC and working with the City of New York Department of Sanitation and the City Council to enact commercial waste zones later this year.

“It is my honor to serve the city of New York as the commissioner and chair of BIC. BIC will continue to actively enforce its rules and regulations, working to keep the trade waste industry and public wholesale markets free of corruption. We will also pursue companies in the trade waste industry that are operating unsafely, keeping our city’s streets safe for everyone as part of the mayor’s Vision Zero plan,” said Genel in a statement.

“Noah Genel is an excellent choice to lead BIC in its critical mission regulating the private carting industry,” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso, chair of the Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste Management, in a statement. “BIC oversees an industry that is rife with unsafe labor practices, mistreatment of workers and poor environmental practices. At a time when we are moving toward comprehensive reform of the commercial sanitation system, it is more important than ever that we have a seasoned hand leading BIC. I want to congratulate Commissioner Genel, and I look forward to working closely with him in the coming months.”

Need to Know

Trimble, Cobalt Team to Sustainably Discard Old Fleet Mobility Hardware

Work Truck Magazine Twitter peoplenet-eld.PNG

Trimble announced it is teaming with Cobalt, an IT asset disposition company, to provide Trimble’s fleet mobility customers with the ability to dispose of older onboard equipment in an environmentally friendly way.

Through this effort, Trimble customers that upgrade to new devices in 2019 and 2020 will be able to ship their uninstalled Trimble equipment back to Cobalt free of charge, for safe and secure disposal of the hardware, recycling any components when possible.

The ELD mandate and the sunset of 3G CDMA wireless networks mean that our customers and fleets throughout the industry are upgrading devices in their trucks,” said Rick Ochsendorf, general manager for Trimble’s Transportation Mobility Division, in a statement. “Part of our mission is to make transportation greener and more efficient. Not only do our latest solutions allow customers to achieve this, but we are committed to helping them remove older Trimble equipment in a way that benefits the environment as well.”

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s most recent statistics, the United States generated an annual total of 3.09 million tons of obsolete electronic products. Working with Cobalt, Trimble customers can do their part to reduce this figure and to eliminate the time and challenge of disposing these products themselves.

“We are excited and proud to work with Trimble on this important initiative,” said Joey Fojtik, CEO of Cobalt, in a statement. “We recognize the problem of electronic waste and look forward to assisting Trimble and its fleet customers in their sustainability efforts.”

Need to Know

Suspected Cheating Causes DSNY to Annul Supervisors’ Exam

test taking

After the City of New York Department of Sanitation (DSNY) paid roughly 2,300 workers a day's salary to take a supervisors' exam on April 13, the city notified candidates that all scores were invalidated due to suspected cheating.

The New York Post reports that DSNY officials had learned that exam questions and answers had been stolen and widely distributed on the Internet. Now, the city’s Department of Investigation is looking into how the breach occurred and who is responsible, according to the report.

New York Post has more information:

The sanitation civil-service exam thrown out because of suspected cheating cost the city at least $1.2 million, the Post has learned.

The Sanitation Department spent $621,000 to pay some 2,300 workers a day’s salary for taking the supervisors’ exam on April 13.

And it spent $565,000 in overtime for workers filling in for the test-takers, said spokeswoman Belinda Mager.

Last Monday the city notified candidates that all of the scores were invalidated.

Read the full article here.

Digital Tool Helps Reduce Food Waste Caused by Meal Prepping

Meal prepping has become a popular approach to cooking for busy people who are trying to eat healthy and save time—allowing them to prepare whole meals ahead of schedule and portion them out for days ahead. While this can be a good approach to healthy eating and planning, it can be difficult to accurately portion meals and can end up leading to food waste.

Approximately 40 percent of all food in the U.S. never gets consumed, with most of that waste coming from households—more than the restaurant industry, grocery stores or any other single part of the supply chain. Food waste also is a significant portion of the nation’s waste management stream. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that food makes up 22 percent of the waste sent to landfills.

To combat the food waste meal prepping can cause, the Save the Food campaign established by the Ad Council and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), recently released a digital tool called the Meal Prep Mate that offers a different take on meal prepping. It is aimed at reducing the amount of food that is wasted by consumers in the U.S.

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“Whether you’re a novice or a pro, the easy-to-use digital tool can help avoid over-purchasing and over-preparing by building personalized shopping lists, portioning meals and making use of what’s already in the fridge,” says Cece Wedel, vice president, group campaign director at the Ad Council based in New York City.

The tool was created by Publicis.Sapient, a digital transformation partner that is part of the Publicis Groupe based in Paris.

“If you’re new to meal prep, we have a handy guide to walk you through approaching the task to make the most of your food, time and money,” says Andrea Spacht, sustainable food systems specialist at New York City-based NRDC. “We outline some basic principles that will help you plan better, store food so that it lasts longer and portion it appropriately so that you have the right amount of food for the week.”

Users can choose to build their own customized plan or use one of Meal Prep Mate’s existing plans, with vegan and vegetarian options available. Prebuilt plans match recipes that focus on building block components and reusing common ingredients, so shopping lists are less complicated and lead to less waste.

“Or you can build out your own plan by selecting how many people, how many days and which meals you want to prep for,” says Spacht. “You select the ingredients you’re using, and Meal Prep Mate gives you a shopping list with the appropriate weights, a guide for how to store your ingredients and suggestions for ways to use up any remaining ingredients that don’t make it into your meals.”

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It also provides a Waste-less Guide for how to best store and use up ingredients, as well as “remix meal” ideas to prevent home cooks from getting bored of their meals mid-week.

“We’ve done research that shows about 69 percent of residential food waste could have been eaten,” says Spacht. “Only 31 percent of what was discarded in our study was comprised of generally inedible parts like pits, bones and rinds. That means there are many million tons of food waste that could be avoided—on the order of 15 million to 20 million tons—if we could get all households on board with better planning, storing, portioning and using up the food they bring home.”

In April 2016, the Ad Council and NRDC partnered to launch the Save the Food Campaign, a national public service campaign to combat food waste from its largest source—people in their own homes. The initiative aims to raise awareness about the economic and environmental impacts of wasted food and encourage Americans to make simple lifestyle changes.

“We want consumers to know that small steps in our daily lives—from the grocery store to the kitchen—can add up to big savings. And we want to empower them take those steps,” says Wedel.

According to Spacht, preventing food waste is the most preferred means of managing waste.

“If we can prevent food from becoming waste in the first place, we don’t have to worry about processing it all,” she says.

Florida Recycler Aims to Outfit the World from Head to Toe

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Creating socioeconomic synergy by addressing the wealth and waste in the United States and the privation and need in developing nations has been the passion of philanthropist-entrepreneur Wayne Elsey for the last two decades.

Elsey's latest venture in that arena, Head2Toe Recycling, opened in Orlando, Fla., late last month. The company's modus operandi is collecting clothing, shoes and mobile devices and distributing them to small entrepreneurs in developing nations for reuse and recycling.

With Head2Toe, Elsey aims to capitalize on the international business relationships and the shipping infrastructure he has built over the past two decades via a handful of social enterprises and nonprofits dedicated to distributing footwear and clothing to people in poverty-plagued and natural disaster-stricken nations around the world.

Under Head2Toe's business model, the company invites individuals and businesses to send it unsorted clothing, accessories, shoes and cell phones in specially designed bags provided by Head2Toe. The company charges $15 for each bag to cover the cost of shipping the material to its Orlando facility. Head2Toe then separates the material and distributes it to the more than 4,000 micro-entrepreneurs in its network of businesses in Haiti, Pakistan and 21 other countries.

"We have been testing this model for several months," says Elsey. "Last month's hard launch was our official consumer launch. We will have a large presence and focus with Fortune 500 companies for their corporate social responsibility programs. This is a natural for companies that want their teams to do good."

Elsey is bullish about Head2Toe's business prospects and its volume targets, thanks to his long track record of distributing used footwear to developing nations and the business infrastructure he has built up around that.

"With our current strategy, we distribute millions of pounds of shoes per year, making us the industry leader," he says. "With the clothing industry so vast, our numbers could easily be 10 times that amount in clothing."

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s most recent statistics in its “Facts and Figures” report about materials waste and recycling issued last July, the amount of clothing and footwear waste generated in the United States in 2015 was 11.94 million tons. Of that total, 8.24 million tons (69 percent) was landfilled and 1.69 million tons (14.2 percent) was recycled. The remaining 2.01 million tons (16.8 percent) was combusted for energy recovery.

Elsey says he's optimistic that Head2Toe will make a sizable dent in the vast volume of clothing and footwear that gets landfilled in the United States.

Regarding the prospects of his venture and similar ones to make an impact on the 14.2 percent EPA recycling figure cited above, Elsey says, "I would love to say we could see that double in the next 20 years. It’s a process of education. That's the key to people making this happen. We have to make people aware of the benefits of recycling this material—and the ease of that process."

Jackie King, executive director of the Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association, says the textile recycling percentage in the United States has stagnated at around 15 percent for the last decade during which she and her group have been tracking the data. She says the key to getting that needle moving upward is educating both consumers and—crucially—government officials about how much of the material is being landfilled and how easy it is to reuse and recycle it.

"It's troubling to see that the recycling figure hasn't changed much," says King. "But I think we've been making inroads in how we're educating not just the public but also government entities, because they're in a unique position to be able to influence how people think about what they're throwing away and how much of it could be recycled or reused."

King says her group estimates that 81 pounds of clothing and household textiles per person is thrown away annually in the U.S., and only about 5 percent of that total has no potential for recycling or reuse for any of various reasons, including mildewing or contamination by oil or hazardous materials.

"The potential is clearly there for some huge gains because there is just so much that's being thrown away that could easily be reused or recycled," she says.