SWANA NEWS: This is NOT Your Typical WASTECON

SWANA’s WASTECON® 2019 explores the Pathway to Innovation October 21–24.

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This is not your typical WASTECON®. We have re-engineered WASTECON into an executive leadership summit. We will be looking at leadership and management concepts through the lens of municipal solid waste management. SWANA’s WASTECON 2019 will help you and your team plan a sustainable future for your community.

Here are just five reasons to attend the NEW WASTECON in Phoenix, Ariz., October 21–24.

Ms1909 8 2Future-Focused and Innovative
WASTECON will provide a place for you to delve into leadership topics. Executives who want to lean into the pace of change, navigate disruption, and seize opportunities in our sector must be agile, innovative, and results-driven. You’ll hear from leaders such as Jon Vander Ark, President of Republic Services Inc.; Peter Wright, Assistant Administrator of the EPA Office of Land and Emergency Management; and new voices like Rebecca Ryan, Resident Futurist at the Alliance for Innovation, and Taimur Burki, Waste and Recycling Manager at Intel, about how they’re creating their own “Pathway to Innovation.”

Ms1909 8 3Recycling Opportunities
You genuinely care for your community and its residents. You want to make your city better by finding ways to provide workforce and economic development. The recent challenges in the recycling and materials management sector can be a gateway for transforming these challenges into opportunities—requiring innovation and investments from the public and private sectors.

At WASTECON, you’ll have the opportunity to hear about how Phoenix has “reimagined” its resource management plans to create new jobs and new businesses for the region.

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Advanced Solutions
We know that you need new capital sources to fund your projects. At WASTECON, we have brought together a variety of funding partners who want to speak with you. We are holding special funding sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon. In addition, you’ll find solutions from more than 150 exhibitors who are waiting to help you do your job better in WASTECON’s Exhibit Hall. View unique products, processes, and services that showcase industry innovation and new technology.

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SWANA’s Safety Summit
How do we make our workplace safer? One way is to work to create better focus. The practice of mindfulness can help all of us be more focused, reduce stress, and ultimately create a safer work environment. At WASTECON, you’ll have the ability to explore mindfulness practices for yourself and your team.

Our focus on safety continues each day with our Safety Summit programming. Be sure to also stop by the Safety Zone in the exhibit hall.

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Networking and Team-Building Opportunities
WASTECON provides dedicated time and a forum to talk about how to apply what you’re learning back at the office or solid waste site. Special team building activities and events will help the members of your team create authentic bonds.

Be sure to participate in these exciting events:

  • Golf Tournament
  • Tours
  • Mindfulness Experiences
  • WASTECON Exhibit Hall Activities
  • Wednesday Night Networking Event
  • 2019 International Road-E-O on October 25, 2019

WASTECON® 2019 gives attendees the opportunity to not only learn new information, but also to experience it all in one place. From networking events to training and educational tours, WASTECON offers everything needed to succeed. Join SWANA in Phoenix, Arizona, October 21–24, to experience it all. Register with promo code PB100 to receive $100 off. For more information and to register, visit WASTECON.org.


SWANA Records 30 Solid Waste Worker Fatalities in 2019

Pushes to raise awareness of worker safety

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SWANA has identified at least 30 solid waste worker fatalities in 2019 in the United States and Canada. These tragic deaths make it clear that more work remains to be done to improve industry safety and is why SWANA supported national Safe + Sound Week, August 12–18, 2019.

An average of more than four worker fatalities have occurred each month this year through July 31. Collection remains the deadliest aspect of the job, with 19 people killed. Of those deaths, 31% were single vehicle crashes and 26% were the result of a worker being struck by their own vehicle.

Post-collection safety remains a concern as well, with seven on-the-job fatalities at landfills, three at MRFs, and one at a transfer station. Even when not on the road, being struck by another vehicle or heavy equipment was the most common cause of death.

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“SWANA strongly supports OSHA’s Safe + Sound Week and urges industry employers and employees to take advantage of the safety resources provided by OSHA,” stated David Biderman, SWANA’s Executive Director and CEO. He added, “Solid waste collection is the fifth most dangerous job in the United States; we need to reduce the frequency of incidents involving our workers and vehicles.”

Texas has had the most worker deaths this year, with five as of July 31. January and June were the worst months, both seeing seven deaths each. The average age of the victim when known was 49 years old.

Fortunately, the solid waste industry is not alone in its fight to eradicate worker fatalities. The third annual OSHA Safe + Sound Week brings together more than 1,800 participants and 220 partners, including SWANA, to help raise awareness about workers’ health and safety. SWANA believes every workplace should have a safety and health program that includes management leadership, worker participation, and a systematic approach to finding and fixing hazards.

Solid waste employers can help make real change this year by participating in a local event, developing a safety and health program, engaging with SWANA Chapter Safety Ambassadors and encouraging employees to take the SWANA Safety Pledge to show their commitment.

SWANA’s efforts to improve industry safety will continue at the 7th SWANA Safety Summit taking place at WASTECON® 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona, October 21–24, 2019.

For more information on SWANA’s safety programs, visit swana.org/safety.


SWANA Announces Winners of 2019 Safety Awards

Safety Award Winners Recognized at WASTECON® 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona

SWANA is excited to announce the 2019 SWANA Safety Award recipients chosen by the SWANA Safety Committee. These awards recognize those who have demonstrated a profound commitment to improving employee safety through communication, best practices, training, and policies. Two organizations are honored this year with the Biggest Safety Improvement Award and the Best Safety Innovation Award.

2019 Safety Award Winners

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The Best Safety Innovation Award goes to the City of San Antonio, Solid Waste Management Department for fully implementing a Safety Management System that challenged convention, created synergies, and engaged employees at all levels and functions. These efforts reduced accidents by 47% and injuries by 50%, with a lost work-day rate reduction of 28%.

“The men and women of the City of San Antonio’s Solid Waste Management Department serve more than 358,000 households weekly and are routinely faced with high risk conditions,” says Walter Barrett, Solid Waste Manager at the City of San Antonio, Solid Waste Management Department. “Through the implementation of a Safety Management System, the department strives to mitigate and eliminate these risks and provide a safer work environment that ensures our employees go home to their families in the same condition as when they arrived at work. Their commitment to safety guided us on the journey to obtaining an ISO 45001 Safety Certification and making San Antonio the first municipality in the world to achieve this accomplishment. Our thanks to SWANA for its role in this challenge and to our entire team whose dedication and innovation propels the continual improvement in achieving a sustained reduction in accidents and injuries.”

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The Biggest Safety Improvement Award goes to Lakeshore Recycling Systems (LRS) for continued success in increasing transparency and two-way communication among employees and management, reducing incidents by over 50% from the previous year. LRS is headquartered in Morton Grove, Illinois, and serves the Chicagoland area with more than 720 full time employees.

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”Lakeshore is proud to be recognized by SWANA for our continued dedication to the Live Safety philosophy,” says John Sliwicki, Vice President of Risk Management at Lakeshore Recycling Systems and SWANA Illinois Chapter Safety Ambassador. “This belief is at the heart of our core values and guides our decision making at every level. Our efforts and commitment have finally started to be evidenced in the overall reduction of incidents and claim spend. These metrics provide further support that our culture is blossoming, and we are headed in the right direction.”

SWANA is also recognizing another organization for their innovation and improvement by awarding an Honorable Mention to City of Casper Regional Landfill in Casper, Wyoming, for its merit in both categories.

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The winners of the SWANA Safety Awards will be recognized at WASTECON in Phoenix, Arizona.

SWANA would like to thank Autocar, New Way, Otto, and PRECO for sponsoring this year’s SWANA Safety Awards.


Resetting Curbside Recycling Programs in the Wake of China

Jeremy O’Brien, P.E., Director of Applied Research, SWANA

On August 11, 2019, KVOA News reported that the city of Tucson will change recycling collection services provided to its residents from a weekly to an every-other-week basis. Making this change, which will occur on September 30, will allow the city to keep its solid waste rates unchanged despite the cost and revenue impacts of the China National Sword policy.

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Switching to an every-other-week collection service is one of the options that is reviewed in a newly-released report of SWANA’s Applied Research Foundation (ARF) entitled, “Resetting Curbside Recycling Programs in the Wake of China.”

The ARF’s Recycling Group Subscribers, listed in the table, identified the need to provide solid waste managers with up-to-date information and guidance on how to reset curbside recycling programs in the wake of the China National Sword policy implemented in January 2018.

China’s National Sword policy banned the import of several recyclable materials from all countries, including mixed paper and mixed plastics, on January 1, 2018, and reduced the level of contamination in scrap and recyclable materials not banned to 0.5% effective March 1, 2018. China also imposed tariffs on many recyclables specifically from the United States including cardboard, other recovered fiber, metals, and plastics in August 2018.

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Because China was a major purchaser of recyclable materials from North America and around the world, the China National Sword policy resulted in a significant reduction in demand for these materials and the prices paid for them. In addition, the extremely low new contamination limit of 0.5% forced managers at many materials recovery facilities (MRFs) that processed recyclables collected through municipal recycling programs to add labor and equipment and lower processing speeds in order to address the new contamination limit.

The ARF report provides a number of important observations and insights regarding the impacts of the China National Sword Policy on curbside recycling programs and the resets that can be made to address them.

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About 65 million households in the US are provided with curbside recycling services. Collectively, these programs divert about 9 million tons of recyclables from disposal each year.

The China National Sword Policy has resulted in about a 50% reduction in the revenues received from the sale of recyclables recovered through curbside recycling. This represents a reduction of over $400 million per year. The major recycling markets that have been impacted by the China National Sword Policy have been mixed paper, mixed plastics, and corrugated containers.

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An analysis of the collection and processing costs and current revenues associated with curbside recycling programs indicates that these programs cost homeowners about $7.00 per household per month when recyclables are collected on a weekly basis. The impact of the China National Sword policy on MRF recycling revenues and processing costs is estimated to account for $0.75 per household per month or about 11% of this cost.

Certain resets to curbside recycling programs can result in cost savings that will more than offset the cost increase resulting from the China National Sword policy. These include the switching of recyclables collection from a weekly to a bi-weekly basis, as is being done in Tucson, and the switching of glass recycling from curbside collection to drop-off center recycling.

Contamination/residue levels at MRFs typically range between 15 and 25% and are costing curbside recycling programs over $1 billion per year on a national basis when additional collection and processing costs associated with contamination are considered. While contamination has not been caused by the China National Sword Policy, the need to clean up recyclable streams has been highlighted by the new restrictions.

The full report, “Resetting Curbside Recycling Programs in the Wake of China,” is currently only available to SWANA ARF subscribers. SWANA members receive free access to ARF industry reports one year after publication. The report can be accessed before the year is up by joining ARF as an organization. For more information on the SWANA Applied Research Foundation, contact Jeremy K. O’Brien, P.E., Director of Applied Research at SWANA at jobrien@swana.org, or 704-906-7269.


SWANA Announces Dates, Locations for Highly Anticipated Solid Waste & Recycling Conferences

SWANA’s Biggest Conferences in 2019, 2020, and 2021

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SWANA announces dates for its biggest conferences: WASTECON® 2019, SWANApalooza 2020, and WASTECON® 2021. Mark your calendars for these leading industry events:

  • WASTECON 2019, Phoenix Convention Center – Phoenix, AZ, October 21–24, 2019
  • SWANApalooza 2020, Westin Peachtree Plaza – Atlanta, GA, March 23–26, 2020
  • WASTECON 2020, Gaylord Texan – Dallas, TX, December 7–10, 2020
  • S.O.A.R. 2021, Kansas City Convention Center – Kansas City, MO, April 12–15, 2021
  • WASTECON 2021, Gaylord Palms – Orlando, FL November 1–4, 2021

SWANA’s WASTECON helps public sector solid waste leaders and their teams plan sustainable futures for their communities. WASTECON has been retooled into an enlightening and engaging executive-level event. The conference has been curated especially for solid waste leaders to immerse themselves in the latest executive topics. Each solid waste leader contributes to this diverse learning and networking experience that makes this a truly unique industry event.

SWANApalooza is SWANA’s leading technical conference for professionals to explore environmental solutions for integrated solid waste management. SWANApalooza brings attendees the latest news and technology in the industry, as well as training onsite, tours of local facilities, and networking with top industry leaders. Starting in 2020, SWANApalooza will also be incorporating municipal waste-to-energy operational issues, technology, and research initiatives in its programming.

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“SWANA’s national events provide new, innovative, and timely education and information year after year,” says David Biderman, SWANA CEO and Executive Director. “They provide terrific networking and learning opportunities, and there is truly something for everyone. By moving WASTECON to the Fall, we expect to attract even more exhibitors and attendees, as some industry leaders have been unable to attend WASTECON in recent years due to conflicts.”

This year, WASTECON 2019: Pathway to Innovation will be held in Phoenix, Ariz., October 21–24, featuring an Exhibit Hall showcasing industry innovation and new technology, the SWANA Training and Exam Center, and a Safety Summit.


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The SWANA Young Professionals(YP) group continues to grow and expand across the country. SWANA YPmembers have been busy this past year speaking at SWANA events, leading teams, mentoring students and making strides in every aspectof the industry. With more than morethan 1,000 YPs, their accomplishments are certainly something to be very proud of.

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MEET LAURA HENNEMANN, VICE PRESIDENT, MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS, STRATEGIC MATERIALS
Laura Hennemann joined the Young Professionals in June 2019 after sponsoring two students to attend WASTECON in 2018. These students, from the Florida International University American Academy of Environmental Engineers & Scientists, were able to attend and compete in the student design competition.

“I just joined SWANA YP network and the communication among the community of membership is welcoming, professional, and insightful,” says Hennemann.

Hennemann has been very involved in the industry. She is an Executive Board Member of Glass Recycling Foundation, Upcyclers Network Advisory Council Member, Member of the Glass Recycling Coalition, and Glass Packaging Institute Communications Team Member.

Hennemann has presented at WasteExpo 2018, Resource Recycling 2018, Sustainable Packaging Coalition Conference 2019, and Glass Recycling Coalition’s “Breakthrough Opportunities in Glass Recycling” webinar, and will speak at U.S. Green Building Council’s GreenBuild 2019. Hennemann presented on the importance of glass recycling to the entire value chain and collaborated in presentations with MRFs who successfully process glass to help debunk some common myths regarding glass recycling. She has been able to share the importance of using recycled glass in manufacturing new glass packaging. At GreenBuild this year, Hennemann will be presenting with Waste Management, discussing the current state of recycling and focusing on opportunities for recovered glass in spite of the current trend to discontinue collection and handling.

“The importance of being involved in SWANA is unmatched,” says Hennemann. “From my experience, it’s welcoming and engaged. It’s professional. I believe it is human nature to genuinely want to help each other and do the right thing when it comes to environmental stewardship. SWANA allows for the discussions and collaboration to better help connect the dots across the U.S. for what’s working for some and where challenges still exist for others. Glass in the stream is a piece of that puzzle.”

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