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Articles from 2006 In August

U.S. Composting Council seeks award nominees

The U.S. Composting Council is accepting nominations for a range of awards recognizing individual and facility achievements, including the Clean Water Award and Composter of the Year. For information on award categories and nomination forms, visit www.compostingcouncil.org.

Heil Environmental sells truck equipment division

On Wednesday, Chattanooga, Tenn.-based Heil Environmental announced that it has sold its truck equipment business, consisting of the Heil Truck Equipment Group and Heil South distributorship to Truck Bodies and Equipment International (TBEI), a portfolio company of Kirtland Capital Partners based in Eden Prairie, Minn. In a press release, Heil characterized the sale as a means to focus the company’s full attention on its core refuse business.

The sale primarily involves Heil’s 204,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Tishomingo, Miss., the Heil South sales and service facility in Austell, Ga., and the use of certain intellectual property. Both facilities will continue to operate with a name change. Heil and TBEI say they will fill existing orders and honor current warranties.

Terms of the sale were not disclosed.

Georgia targets litter

On Tuesday, Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue announced that the state is launching a new three-pronged program to tackle litter. Employing the tagline “Litter. It Costs You,” the campaign will focus on education, enforcement and eradication. The announcement came during the two-day Governor’s Litter Summit, which was created to raise awareness about littering and illegal dumping, to provide training for law enforcement officials and to showcase communities and organizations with successful anti-litter programs.

“Litter is ugly, it costs money to clean up and gives the impression that we are not proud of our communities,” said Perdue in a press release. “We need to make a commitment that we care about our how our state looks. We are going to start early with Georgia’s youngest citizens. We’ll harness their enthusiasm to fight litter and then encourage their parents and grandparents to be good examples, too.”

In addition to educational and community outreach components, the campaign will include television advertisements, a Web site, and a mascot, the “Brown Trasher,” inspired by the Brown Thrasher, Georgia’s state bird.

Indianapolis attempts to save recycling program

A yearlong initiative announced today by Indianapolis officials is a last ditch effort to save the city’s struggling recycling program. According to the Indianapolis Star, the new public awareness program entreats residents to leave recyclables in curbside bins, rather than throwing them away with the trash. Marion County, which encompasses the city, is also considering a mandatory pay-as-you-throw incentive in which recycling would be free. Only 12 percent of the roughly 255,000 households within Marion County participate in the existing voluntary curbside recycling program.

The city nearly cancelled the recycling program last year, but the resulting public outcry and a 20 percent increase in recyclables saved it from the chopping block. Nevertheless, Indianapolis officials say they need to see much greater participation to justify the program’s continued existence.

California reaches goal of reducing landfill waste by 50 percent

According to preliminary data released on Thursday, the state of California has achieved its goal of diverting 50 percent of its solid waste from landfills. According to the L.A. Times, this meets the goal set in 1989, when state legislators passed a landmark law requiring communities to establish waste management plans for businesses and residents.

State officials attributed their success to ambitious recycling programs. In 2005 the state recycled 88 million tons of solid waste for a 52 percent recycling rate, up from 76 million tons or 48 percent in 2004. As a result of the high recycling rate, the state has not opened a new landfill in over a decade.

EPA recognizes Blacksburg, Va. as charter member of new initiative

On Tuesday, Blacksburg, Va. became the first municipality to join the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Partnership for Environmental Priorities (NPEP). According to an EPA press release, the partnership challenges businesses and manufacturers to become more environmentally aware and to adopt a resource conservation ethic that results in less waste, more recycling and more environmentally-sound products.

One NPEP goal is to reduce the use or release of 31 “priority chemicals” targeted for their high toxicity and penchant for accumulating in living organisms. By partnering with NPEP communities, the EPA hopes to reduce the use or release of four million pounds of priority chemicals by 2011.

Among Blacksburg’s other NPEP initiatives: reducing the use of lead balancing weights on town vehicles, raising community awareness of the need to recycle rechargeable batteries, and encouraging property managers to recycle fluorescent light bulbs, which contain significant amounts of mercury.

SWANA endorses RISE Act, but suggests amendments

In a letter sent to U.S. Senator James Jeffords, I-VT, the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) announced its support for the Recycling Investment Saves Energy (RISE) Act, but urged that Jeffords’ bill be revised to include financial incentives targeted at local governments and to broaden the bill’s scope to include composting equipment.

“The ability to finance recycling programs plays an integral role in meeting waste reduction and recovery goals,” wrote SWANA Executive Director and CEO, John H. Skinner, Ph.D., in the letter. “We believe financial incentives should be extended to all members of the recycling community and incentives created for the recycling of a range of materials that would otherwise be sent for disposal.”

Those materials include compostable solids, which make up nearly a third of the waste stream but are recycled at a rate of less than 10 percent, well below the rate of recyclables currently eligible for financial incentives under RISE.

In addition, the act’s accelerated depreciation provisions provide no financial incentive to recycling programs operated by municipalities and other governmental organizations that do not pay federal income tax. In the letter, SWANA suggests instead that equipment suppliers get the tax credits or accelerated depreciation, lowering the cost of equipment for the agencies that use it.

WASTECON early registration closes Friday

August 18 is the deadline to receive the early bird registration rate for WASTECON, the annual solid waste conference hosted by the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA). Early registrants save $100 off the regular cost of registration.

This year’s conference will be held Sept. 19-21 in Charlotte, N.C. For more information, visit www.wastecon.org.

The end of the beginning in the New Orleans landfill dispute

In the latest chapter of an ongoing drama, a federal court judge in New Orleans denied Waste Management’s request for an injunction to keep the controversial Chef Menteur landfill open. According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the injunction was sought after New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin issued an order to close the site by Tuesday morning. The landfill has been a primary repository of debris from Hurricane Katrina. Following the ruling, the gates of the landfill were locked.

In a statement released after the court decision, Waste Management claimed the closure would slow New Orleans’ recovery from Katrina and announced its intention to revive the site through other means. The company has already filed a formal application for the necessary conditional use permit. Prospects for the application are dim, however, as it must be approved by the City Council, which is unanimously opposed to the facility.