Recently while reading Waste Advantage Magazine we came across an article titled, From the Experts: Educating the Public written by John Paglia, III. It’s a great article in regards to using technology to be more efficient at what we do as well as to help create a cleaner environment. One of the paragraphs that really caught our attention is:
If everything in our industry is changing to become more efficient, I believe so should the way we operate. With the implementation of single-stream recycling, this has diverted tonnage to landfills, but that tonnage still has to go somewhere and it just doesn’t disappear because it is “being recycled”. We need to not be afraid to educate the public and make recommendations that create a savings for all of us on all levels. As an example, I have seen municipalities who have had 2x week pickup for residential services. In the latest RFPs they added 1x week single-stream recycling. So for the same amount of waste that was being picked up 2x week, they are requesting another pickup during the week essentially running a truck 52 weeks in the year because “they want to go green and recycle”. What about the carbon footprint our trucks leave by adding this extra service level per week? The hauler is now burning more oil, fuel (natural gas or diesel), DEF fluid, tires, brakes, etc. Essentially, in my opinion, doing a worse job for our world by deploying more trucks to pick up a commodity that then has to be processed at a multi-million dollar facility that continues to leave a carbon footprint to “go green”. If you request the bid spec to reduce to 1x week MSW and 1x week RCY, they look at you like your stealing something from them, although many parts of the country have adopted these practices and are successful in creating routing efficiencies and balancing, keeping the customer’s request in perspective.