A group that has been working for years to set up and promulgate voluntary and sustainable management of materials certification called SWEEP, short for Solid Waste Environmental Excellence Performance Standard, recently added new participants to its ever-growing pilot program.
As COVID-19 has slowed some progress for SWEEP, pilot participants will work throughout the certification requirements cycle and help the organization refine its criteria, certification tools and processes. Other municipal participants include Lincoln, Nebraska; Keene, New Hampshire; El Paso, Texas; and Spokane, Washington.
Two of these new pilot participants – one a city, Pittsburg, Calif., And the other a business partner, Mt. Diablo Resource Recovery (MDRR) – are located near the San Francisco Bay Area. SWEEP program associate Sam Yeoman stressed the importance of the proximity of the two registrations, given the reciprocity inherent in certification.
Pittsburg’s Director of Environmental Affairs Laura Wright compared the early adoption of SWEEP by Pittsburg and the MDRR to the early days of the US Green Building Council’s LEED certification for buildings. “As LEED showed us a long time ago, in the beginning, when a lot of people didn’t know it, it was exhibiting things you hadn’t thought of,” Wright said.
SWEEP’s assessment areas include aspects of sustainable materials management policy, waste generation and prevention, solid waste collection, and post-collection recovery and disposal. From a jurisdiction’s perspective, Wright considers the SWEEP opportunity to be a great way to establish a ‘self-check’ or baseline of your effectiveness in sustainable practices and diversion, and whether the recycling and other community programs really work. .
“This will really tell me: what have we been doing in California since we passed the 1989 recycling law, and where we’re going.” [SB 1383] with organics in the future, ”said Wright, adding that the assessment will also help inform Pittsburg’s work with the MDDR.
MDRR is only the second private sector participant after Waste Management. “Actionable information is really what we want. We want to be able to use it as a diagnostic tool for performance or improvement, and to learn more about new ideas and best practices that we can integrate into our organization and through our partnership with the city ”, a said Kish Rajan, MDRR administrative director. .
Rajan sees himself as one of the first to adopt the standard, although it is labor intensive, as a clear way to validate environmental goals and achieve return on investment: “These are not just words. what we say about engagement; we support these commitments with concrete actions and real efforts to maximize the performance of our organization. “
More updates from across the country:
Local reports surfaced again this week of insufficient staff availability disrupting garbage and recycling collection. Augusta, Georgia; Gray, Georgia and Newport News, Virginia, are among those who have recently seen delayed pickups. In the Smyrna, Tennessee area, Waste Management is reducing the pickup frequency to every other week due to limited staff availability.
New York City closed its comment period this week for a proposed rule regarding the requirement for waste management plans in certain residential buildings. This rule is, in part, designed to alleviate the unsightly, obstructive, rodent-attracting piles of trash bags that pile up on curbs outside buildings. A related hearing gathered participation from the Brooklyn and Manhattan Solid Waste Advisory Boards and the Center for Zero Waste Design. Representatives broadly supported the goals of the rule and called for the rule to apply to a wider range of building sizes.
Cleveland opened its selective recycling program for registrations this week, with the goal of restarting the recycling service by the end of the year. The city has been without this service since last year and has assessed recommendations for the future of the program from a consultant report released earlier this year. (New 5 Cleveland)
Jacksonville, Florida has spent nearly $ 45,000 on overtime for workers, helping the city catch up on recycling and garbage collection. (WKOV)
Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson is advocating that the city’s upcoming budget allow more staff to be hired in the sanitation department following pickup delays caused by labor shortages. Garbage and recycling truck drivers earn between $ 1.50 and $ 14.50 less than their private counterparts, according to the Dallas newspaper. (The morning news from Dallas)
More than 100 Washington, DC firefighters responded to a multi-alarm fire that broke out at a city waste transfer station on Thursday. (WTOP)
Rochester, New York, has started a city composting pilot program, allowing residents to receive a bucket and other items to collect leftover food at home and then take them to drop-off sites. (Democrat & Chronicle)
Sanitation trucks in Columbia, South Carolina now feature designer packaging with messages encouraging residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19. (ABC Colombia)