Category Archives: Waste Management

Returning to Work: Understanding the Domestic Jobs Impacts from Different Methods of Recycling Beverage Containers

Source: Clarissa Morawski and Jeffrey Morris, Container Recycling Institute, December 2011

While the recycling’s impact on jobs has been the subject of several studies in recent years, Returning to Work is the first report to take into account the vital importance of material quality, throughput quantities, processing dynamics and end-user needs to analyze the net gains in domestic jobs when beverage containers are recovered through recycling.

The project’s primary goals were to:
– Measure the impacts on domestic jobs from increased recycling of beverage containers through container deposit-return (CDR) programs compared to curbside recycling or landfill disposal.
– Provide transparent employment data for each level of the recycling or disposal process (i.e., collection, hauling, processing and recovery or landfill disposal).
– Identify aspects of the recycling process that yield substantial jobs growth when beverage container recycling grows.
– Provide a report describing how improved diversion boosts U.S. jobs.
– Create a simple model that estimates, on a state-by-state basis, jobs growth from the increased recovery and recycling of beverage containers.

The research identified jobs increases and jobs decreases for three recycling options: container deposit-return (CDR); single-family curbside collection (automated as well as manual); and enhanced curbside (curbside programs augmented by additional programs targeting away-from-home containers as well as households without access to curbside collection).

The project team gathered data and information from existing reports and articles, interviews with companies in the supply chain of beverage container manufacturing, and interviews with companies handling beverage container discards for recycling or disposal. This information yielded estimates for full-time-equivalent (FTE) jobs associated with beverage containers recycled as well as those lost to disposal. Jobs estimates were normalized on the basis of FTEs per 1,000 tons of PET, glass or aluminum containers handled.

The project team then used these estimates to create a user-friendly, Excel-based calculating tool called MIRJCalc, which stands for “Measuring the Impacts from Recycling on Jobs Calculator.”…

Occupational Injuries and Illnesses in the Solid Waste Industry: A Call for Action

Source: Olumide Adewale Olorunnishola, Andrea Kidd-Taylor, Lamont Byrd, NEW SOLUTIONS: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health, Volume 20, Number 2, 2010
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Work-related injuries and illnesses are multi-factorial and remain major problems of public health magnitude requiring the attention of all stakeholders in the solid waste industry. The objective of this article was to describe the patterns of occupational injury and illness (OII) reporting incidence among workers in a major private U. S. solid waste management company. A five-year (2003-2007) retrospective review of the corporate Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) logs 300/300A/301 was conducted and employee OII reports (n = 1895) were analyzed from 37 establishments across 11 different states. The OII reporting rates were compared to industry average.

Gauging Job Satisfaction for Waste Drivers

Source: Ken Baylor, Waste Age, May 01, 2010

What factors determine job satisfaction for waste industry drivers, and what leads them to quit?

In the context of a battered global economy, job satisfaction has been a major casualty. A recent report by The Conference Board revealed that job satisfaction generally is the lowest that it has been in decades. Another study by Dice Salary showed that nearly half of the workers claim that their employers do nothing to motivate them. Just as many employees think their boss is a jerk, and Career Vision found that about 65 percent are searching for new jobs. There are more disheartening statistics, but these should be enough to get an enlightened manager’s attention.

Actually, job satisfaction reports signaled a lot of room for improvement long before the economy sank. Unfortunately, some employers made matters worse by using the Great Recession to squeeze their labor costs for short-term gains, which could haunt them later. The problem was then exacerbated when the pressured workforce heard nightly news reports of climbing corporate profits and soaring top-level executive compensation.

Forty Years Since King: The Memphis Sanitation Strike

Source: James Lawson, Labor: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas, Vol. 5 no. 1, 2008
(subscription required)

April 4, 2008, marks forty years since the tumultuous battle for union rights in Memphis, in which an assassin took the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Coretta Scott King summed up her husband’s work in 1968 by saying, “He gave his life for the poor of the world, the garbage workers of Memphis and the peasants of Vietnam.” To honor and remember the importance of King and the Memphis strike, we reprint excerpts from Rev. James Lawson’s speech to the joint LAWCHA-Southwest Labor Studies Association conference held at the University of California-Santa Barbara.

Water Infrastructure Funding in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

Source: Claudia Copeland, Nicole T. Carter, Congressional Research Service, R40216, February 17, 2009

This report identifies funding for water infrastructure programs and projects contained in the legislation, including amounts in the House- and Senate-passed versions that preceded the conference agreement. Among the purposes identified in the legislation are preservation and creation of jobs and promotion of U.S. economic recovery, and investment in transportation, environmental protection, and other infrastructure that will provide long-term economic benefits. Under the legislation, additional appropriations are directed to a number of existing federal programs that either directly invest in water infrastructure projects or provide assistance to states and localities for such activities.

Light it Up

Source: Steven M. Hamilton, Waste Age, Vol. 40 no. 2, February 2009

How to develop a landfill gas-to-energy project.

With the growing emphasis on finding renewable sources of energy and decreasing the country’s dependence on foreign sources of energy, interest in landfill gas-to-energy (LFGE) projects is at an all-time high.

The first LFGE facility opened in 1977. During the past couple of decades, most LFGE projects have had to rely on alternative fuel tax credits or some other form of economic support beyond energy sale revenues to succeed. Today, there are the federal Section 45 tax credits and Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs), as well as state renewable portfolio standards (RPS), which increase the demand for and price of renewable energy, and programs that reward the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. All of these programs can enhance the value of landfill gas and its potential energy products.

Economic Recovery Funding for Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure

Source: Environmental Protection Agency, Water Headlines, February 19, 2009

The economic recovery plan signed by President Obama will create quality, sustainable jobs to help protect our country’s public health and our environment. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 specifically includes $7.22 billion for projects and programs administered by EPA. These programs will protect and promote both “green” jobs and a healthier environment. As part of the plan, the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund projects have been funded $4 billion for assistance to help communities with water quality and wastewater infrastructure needs and $2 billion for drinking water infrastructure needs. A portion of the funding is targeted towards green infrastructure, water and energy efficiency, and environmentally innovative projects. The Agency is developing grant guidance to assist states in managing the Recovery Act funding.Announcements of grants will be posted on the Web to ensure transparency. The state-by-state distributions for clean water and drinking water state revolving funds are also available on the Web.

Liquid Assets: The Story of Our Water Infrastructure

Source: Penn State Public Broadcasting, September 2008

Liquid Assets is a public media and outreach initiative that seeks to inform the nation about the critical role that our water infrastructure plays in protecting public health and promoting economic prosperity.

Combining a ninety-minute documentary with a community toolkit for facilitating local involvement, Liquid Assets explores the history, engineering, and political and economic challenges of our water infrastructure, and engages communities in local discussion about public water and wastewater issues.
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