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Articles from 2006 In September

Dell launches free computer recycling

Beginning Friday, Dell will launch a free program to collect and recycle its legacy products. According to a company press release, Dell owners simply need to register their PCs and peripherals at www.dell4me.com/recycling. They will then be issued a printable pre-paid shipping label for home pick-up of the equipment by DHL.

"We want to make recycling easy and free for consumers, and are committed to recycling what we make and sell," said Eric Gates, Dell’s worldwide manager of asset recovery services, in the release.

Dell currently operates similar recycling programs in Canada and Europe. Since 2004, it has offered free recycling of a competitor’s equipment with the purchase of a new Dell system. The company has stated that it actively endorses manufacturer responsibility for the recycling and disposal of electronic products.

Supreme Court agrees to review flow control case

The U.S. Supreme Court will review the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit’s decision in the United Haulers Association v. Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Management Authority (N.Y.) case.

In that decision, which was issued earlier this year, the appeals court ruled that the authority's ordinances requiring haulers to take trash to a publicly owned and operated landfill did not violate the dormant Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. While the court declined to decide whether the ordinances “impose a differential burden on interstate commerce,” it did decide that any burden imposed “is not clearly excessive in relation to the local benefits conferred by the ordinances.”

The appeals court decision contrasts with the rulings in other flow control cases, including the recent decision in NSWMA v. Daviess County, Ky., which industry sources believed could help propel the case to the Supreme Court. Unlike in the landmark C&A Carbone v. Clarkstown case, in which the Supreme Court struck down a Clarkstown, N.Y., law requiring all waste generated to be processed at a privately owned transfer station, Daviess County granted nonexclusive franchise agreements only to haulers that disposed of collected waste at the county's landfill or transfer station.

The United Haulers case could be the lynchpin in deciding the constitutionality of waste flow control. According to NSWMA General Counsel David Biderman, briefs in the case will be presented this fall and the case will be argued before the Supreme Court in January. A decision is expected in the spring.

“NSWMA is very pleased that the Supreme Court will be reviewing this decision, and we are hopeful they will overturn it,” Biderman says.

Waste Age will feature a complete story on the Supreme Court’s decision to hear the case in the Tip Off section of its October issue.

New director appointed to Clean Harbors board

Today, Norwell, Mass.-based Clean Harbors named Gene Banucci to its board of directors. Banucci is chairman and founder of ATMI, a supplier of specialty materials to the worldwide semiconductor industry.

"We are delighted to welcome to our board a leader and innovator with the breadth of experience of Dr. Banucci,” said Alan S. McKim, chairman and chief executive officer of Clean Harbors, in a press release. “Gene's experience in materials and materials handling and his successful record as an accomplished business executive make him ideally suited to help guide Clean Harbors."

Detroit to resume bulk trash pickup

After eliminating monthly bulk trash pickup due to budgetary constraints, Detroit plans to restore bulk collection on a quarterly basis beginning Oct. 1. According to the Detroit Free Press, the move was a response to fears that eliminating the service would compromise public health and lead to a spike in illegal dumping. Sanitation workers will collect large items (up to one cubic yard, the size of a large refrigerator) from residents four times a year.

EPA issues guidelines for recycling of foundry sand

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has published “The State Toolkit for Developing Beneficial Reuse Programs for Foundry Sand,” which is designed to help create markets for the millions of tons of waste sand produced by the U.S. foundry industry each year. The sand is used to form molds for cast metal and then discarded, consuming valuable natural resources and landfill space.

According to EPA, the waste sand is not hazardous and could be used in roadbeds, construction fill and cement manufacturing. However, market and regulatory hurdles imposed by many states prevent all but 10 percent of this discarded sand from being reused.

The toolkit can be obtained for free online at www.epa.gov/sectors/metalcasting/foundry.html.

Toronto to get into the landfill business

The Toronto city council is on the verge of purchasing the Green Lane landfill site near St. Thomas, Ontario for an estimated $500 million. According to a report in the Toronto Sun, the purchase would provide the city with a repository for its solid waste for 20 to 23 years. It would be the first landfill owned and operated by the city of Toronto.

The move is, in part, a response to recent pressure from Michigan, which has long sought ways to limit the trash imported from Toronto and other parts of Ontario. A recent Michigan ban on sewage sludge from Toronto (which would also be deposited at the Green Lane site) and an agreement phasing out residential trash exports to the state have forced Toronto to find new ways to deal with its garbage.

The city had looked at leasing the Green Lane site, but determined that buying it was the most economical option in the long term.

International Conference on Solid Waste Technology issues call for papers

Organizers of the 22nd International Conference on Solid Waste Technology, being held March 18-21 in Philadelphia, have issued a call for papers. Abstracts are welcome on a broad range of solid waste topics. For a complete list of suggested subjects and further details, visit http://muse.widener.edu/%7Esxw0004/call.html or contact Conference Chair Ronald L. Mersky at solid.waste@widener.edu.

Florida county to generate energy by vaporizing solid waste

Officials in St. Lucie County, Fla. announced that they have green-lighted a $425 million-dollar facility designed to vaporize landfill waste and wastewater sludge using arcs of plasma. According to an article in USA Today, the process yields a clean-burning gas, an inert slag useful in road construction and very little else. Atlanta-based Geoplasma, which is funding and building the facility, promises it will generate 120 megawatts of electricity a day and run cleaner than natural gas-based plants.

Though plasma-arc gassifcation technology has been used in two small plants in Japan, the 100,000-square-foot Florida facility will be the first of its kind in the United States and the largest implementation of the technology in the world. Geoplasma claims the plant will vaporize 3,000 tons of garbage a day, which would empty St. Lucie’s 4.3-million-ton landfill in 18 years.

NTEA Convention and Work Truck Show open registration

On Sept. 29, the National Truck and Equipment Association will open online registration for its 43rd annual convention, held in conjunction with The Work Truck Show 2007. The shows will be held March 7-9 at the Indiana Convention Center and RCA Dome in Indianapolis. Early-bird discounts are available through Jan. 12. For more information, visit www.ntea.com.