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Articles from 2006 In July

Waste Management announces 4 percent earnings drop in second quarter

In second quarter results announced today, Houston-based Waste Management’s net income fell to $417 million, or 76 cents per share, from $527 million, or 92 cents a share, one year ago. During the same period, revenue rose 4 percent to $3.41 billion.

North Carolina House and Senate close to compromise on landfill moratorium

On Thursday, the North Carolina House of Representatives passed a 12-month moratorium on landfill construction in the state. This follows closely upon the Senate’s passage of a similar 18-month moratorium earlier this month. Both are intended to give the state time to assess the environmental and socio-economic risks posed by a number of landfill projects pending in the state.

According to published reports, the Senate will likely approve the 12-month moratorium proposed by the House.

Republic Services announces 10 percent climb in quarterly earnings

According to results released Wednesday, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Republic Services’ net income rose to $70.8 million, or 52 cents per share, in the second quarter, from $64.4 million, or 44 cents per share, a year ago. During the same period, revenue rose 8.5 percent to $779.8 million.

SWANA announces 2006 scholarship winners

On Monday, the Solid Waste Association of North America announced the 2006 winners in its Grant H. Flint Scholarship Awards Program. Open to SWANA student members and children or grandchildren of SWANA members, the program awards stipends to college juniors and seniors.

“SWANA is honored to recognize this year’s scholarship winners,” said John H. Skinner, Ph. D., SWANA Executive Director and CEO. “These individuals represent the next generation of SWANA members and should be commended for their dedication to sound environmental practices in the solid waste industry. SWANA wishes them the best of luck as they pursue higher education.”

This year’s winners:

Category 1: $1,000 each to graduating seniors

- Maura Weisenbach, daughter of Dan Weisenbach, of SWANA’s Ohio Chapter, will attend Ohio State University.

- Kathryn Dane, daughter of Charles Dane, of Va., will attend The College of William and Mary.

- Douglas Hartwell, son of John Hartwell, of Neb., will attend Iowa State University.

Category 2: $1,000 to incoming college juniors and seniors

- Steven David Pytlar, son of Theodore Pytlar, of the New York Chapter, attends Boston University.

Category 3: There were no graduate student candidates this year.

Study reports 6.4 percent increase in North American collection of rechargeable batteries

The nonprofit Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC) announced Thursday that during the first six months of 2006, a total of 2.4 million pounds of rechargeable batteries were collected in the United States and Canada through the group’s Call2Recycle program. According to an RBRC press release, that figure marks a 6.4 percent increase over the same period last year. RBRC attributes this growth to greater retailer participation in the program, successful promotions, increased environmental awareness and California’s recently instituted Rechargeable Battery Recycling Act.

New York announces sweeping new trash plan

A comprehensive overhaul to New York’s trash plan, introduced by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and overwhelmingly approved Wednesday night by the New York City Council, is designed to change the way solid waste is handled in the city while bolstering participation in recycling and composting efforts.

According to a New York Times, the 20-year plan includes spending an estimated $360 million to build four marine transport stations to handle the trash loads for each of the city’s boroughs. Presently the majority of the city’s daily 12,000-ton trash load is trucked to independent transfer stations all around the city. The new transport stations would dramatically reduce that traffic and essentially make each borough responsible for handling its own waste. They will also shift much of the out-of-state waste flow off of trucks and onto rail and barge transport. Pending legislative approval, additional plans call for a new recycling center on Pier 52 in Manhattan’s Hudson River Park.

The city will establish an independent office of recycling outreach and education to oversee many of the proposed changes, according to the Times. These include installing recycling bins in subways, parks and other pedestrian-heavy areas; adding soft plastics to the items allowed in curbside bins; and drafting e-waste legislation that will facilitate recycling of the city’s discarded electronics. Further, under the new plan, green waste must be deposited in biodegradable paper bags, landscapers are required to compost their trimmings, and a pilot composting program on Staten Island will be expanded.

EPA revises recycling standards for cathode ray tubes

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it is streamlining the federal hazardous waste management requirements for recyclable cathode ray tubes (CRT) and CRT glass, most commonly found in TVs and computer monitors. According to the new provisions, used but unbroken CRTs are not regulated as hazardous waste unless CRT recyclers and collectors store them for more than one year. The EPA says the low risk of lead releases from unbroken CRTs justifies these simplified standards. The move is intended to clarify the proper method of CRT disposal for businesses and organizations that are often confused about what to do with their outdated equipment.

"A discarded CRT represents an opportunity lost," said EPA Assistant Administrator Susan Bodine in a press release. "This rule will help encourage the reuse and recycling of CRTs, which puts these resources back to productive use, rather than into the nation's landfills."

U.S. Senate approves bills aimed at curbing Canadian trash

Last week, the U.S. Senate approved two Homeland Security bills that would substantially hinder trash trucks entering the country from Canada. The first of the two bills introduced by Senators Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin of Michigan would charge trucks from north of the border an estimated $420 (U.S.) fee per truckload of solid waste, with the ultimate goal of curbing the 350 truckloads of Canadian waste that enter the country every day. Much of that waste is produced by the city of Toronto and winds up in Michigan landfills.

According to an Associated Press report, the second provision would require U.S. Customs and Border Protection to review its screening process for municipal solid waste. A Department of Homeland Security report issued in March berated U.S. Customs for its lax inspections of incoming waste loads, resulting in the unhindered import of significant amounts of medical waste and illegal materials. Barring a major overhaul of the screening process, the bill would empower Homeland Security to eventually stop trash trucks from entering the U.S. altogether.

"In addition to improved screening of trash for security threats, the steep inspection fees are an important step toward making it unprofitable for Canada to dump its trash in Michigan," Stabenow said in a press release.

The measures now move on for consideration in the U.S. House of Representatives.

California passes legislation regulating home-generated medical waste

Earlier today, the California Legislature passed Senate Bill 1305, an amendment to The Medical Waste Management Act that requires the proper disposal of home-generated sharps (including syringes, needles and lancets). According to Genetic Engineering News, the new law, which takes effect Sept. 1, 2008, encourages the use of mail-back programs to ensure that hazardous medical waste is properly handled and does not wind up in regular waste streams where it could endanger waste handlers.