Solid waste facilities run at a frenetic pace. With high incoming volumes and demanding space constraints, efficiency is of the utmost importance. So when the team at Polk County Solid Waste Management in Minnesota saw an opportunity to ease the burden on its operators while simultaneously streamlining production, they jumped at the chance.
Not satisfied with how the county’s existing payloaders and excavators were performing at handling incoming waste, the team from Polk County Solid Waste Management partnered with a coalition of local municipal solid waste facilities in northern Minnesota to find a better solution.
Polk County participates in a regional integrated solid waste management program that includes the adjoining counties of Beltrami, Clearwater, Hubbard, Mahnomen and Norman.
Polk and Beltrami Counties, along with the four other adjacent counties, applied for, and were awarded, a capital assistance grant through the state of Minnesota to upgrade their respective waste facilities. That grant allocated funds for new equipment purchases, and the counties joined together to maximize their purchasing power.
In 2017, the teams began testing various machines from different suppliers. According to Polk Country Solid Waste Management Operations Manager Ron Larson, when operators got the chance to demo the Sennebogen material handler 818 E-Series provided by RMS-Road Machinery and Supplies in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, they knew they found the right fit.
“The selling points were it’s a very smooth-running machine. It’s super quiet, and we really liked that aspect of it because it’s running inside a building. We use it to load a feed hopper, it’s stockpiling waste for us and it’s loading walking floor trucks on a daily basis. We found that it’s just a really nice machine to run. We tested two other machines and we found out that the Sennebogen was just a great fit for us,” Larson says.
According to Larson, Polk County Solid Waste Management took ownership of the Sennebogen material handler 818 E-Series in September 2017 and started using the machine on-site in January 2018. Nearby Beltrami County Transfer Station also took ownership of one 818 E-Series in the fall of 2017. Polk County Transfer Station and the Polk County Landfill each got one 818 E-Series in spring 2018. In total, three new 818 E-Series Sennebogens were purchased in addition to a preowned E-Series for the landfill.
After outfitting the Sennebogen with a Rotobec clamshell bucket, the team was ready to put the machine into action. According to Larson, the difference became immediately apparent.
“This is the first material handler Polk County has owned,” Larson says. “We’ve had excavators and payloaders before, and this machine is different. It gives the operator the capability of just sitting in one spot and doing quarter turns to handle the material instead of having to completely rotate the machine 360 degrees or otherwise move it. It’s much more efficient. It can go from a pile of waste directly to a hopper with limited movement. This also equates to enhanced safety since you’re limiting your required movement.”
Greater efficiency was pivotal for the team at Polk County since the machine is tasked with managing a heavy workload. The facility runs the material handler seven hours per day, five days a week to process approximately 900 to 1,000 tons per week.
Larson says that despite the stresses the facility puts on the machine, the E-Series has proven extremely durable. He notes that for the routine maintenance that is required, most service can be done directly from the ground or from points that are easy to access from the top of the equipment.
Beyond greater efficiency, better safety and streamlined maintenance, Larson says the functionality of the Sennebogen material handlers is more seamless than any machine his operators have used. This translates to greater control and more comfort for the team’s personnel.
“These machines have a short learning curve. Our guys had run other equipment before, but the movement was limited—you couldn’t do much,” he says. “However, once they got into this machine, the motion was so fluid and you could even elevate the cab when you needed to so you could see what was going on better. Beyond that, within 10 or 15 minutes, you essentially had the motion of it down and understood how it handled. It’s been a very good machine for us.”
For more information on Sennebogen’s material handlers for waste: https://sennebogen-na.com/ industries/waste/
NYC passes Commercial Waste Zones bill
After more than six years of planning, the New York City Council has passed the Commercial Waste Zones bill (Intro 1574) that would create at least 20 different zones and designate a select number of private waste haulers to provide services in each.
The Transform Don’t Trash NYC coalition says the new policy will reform the city’s existing private trash hauling industry while raising the sector’s transparency, accountability and quality of service to small businesses. Opponents, however, say the bill may lead to a near-monopoly in the industry that could have severe consequences for dozens of the city's private carters.
Council Member Antonio Reynoso sponsored the legislation, which passed Oct. 30. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio signed it into law Nov. 20.
"We are making private sanitation a good job again," says Sean T. Campbell, president of Teamsters Local 813 and member of the Transform Don’t Trash coalition. "For years, private sanitation workers have testified at city council hearings and protested in the streets for legislation to hold their employers accountable. ... Commercial waste zones will overhaul private sanitation to reward the good companies and force the bad companies to shape up."
The legislation will create a competitive bid to assign private carters to specific zones, with no more than three carters designated to a zone. Private carters will need to meet baseline standards to be eligible for a zone and their proposals will be judged based on their plans to improve safety, recycling, pollution and job quality.
The carters will be chosen through a competitive bidding process starting early next year with a request for proposals. Contracts are set to be awarded in 2021, according to a roadmap of the plan released by New York’s Department of Sanitation (DSNY) last year.
DSNY says the law will cut private garbage truck traffic by more than half across the city, set standards for waste facilities and worker protections, and create stronger requirements for low-polluting waste trucks.
DSNY says more than 90 private carting companies currently operate throughout the city. New Yorkers for Responsible Waste Management Inc. (NYRWM), however, disputes that number, claiming it is outdated and industry consolidation has brought the number closer to 35.
Local carters handle more than 12,000 tons of waste per night, or more than 4 million tons of solid waste annually, says NYRWM. One block can see over a hundred private garbage trucks in a single night, according to Transform Don’t Trash NYC. NYRWM says the industry employs more than 3,000 people.
New York’s private carting industry has been involved in numerous controversial reports and allegations throughout the years, including traffic crashes and other safety violations, eventually spurring the recent government oversight.
The bill's passage is controversial, as private hauling businesses worry “dozens of companies could be forced out of business,” according to an advocacy website. Other grievances include businesses losing choices, potential price spikes, a lack of competition and the creation of a city-controlled bureaucracy.
Kendall Christiansen, the executive director of NYRWM, says the bill exaggerates the potential benefits of the industry overhaul. For example, he says the 500 packer trucks operating in the city make up less than 0.1 percent of total trucks operating in the city every day, creating minimal impact on the environment.
Christiansen adds that three of the four largest unions representing the industry's employees—Local 108 of the Mason Tenders, Local 339 of IUJAT and Local 890 of LYFE—have all expressed opposition to the bill.
The National Waste and Recycling Association (NWRA) has also been outspoken about its opposition to the bill in the past.
“As we move from the legislative process to implementation and administration of the new commercial waste zone collection system that was opposed by NWRA, many unresolved issues remain,” says Steve Changaris, vice president of NWRA’s Northeast region, in a statement.
Waste Pro announces promotions within company’s leadership
Waste Pro, Longwood, Florida, announced it has promoted five of its top leaders across its 10-state footprint. West Coast Regional Vice President Keith Banasiak is assuming the role of senior vice president; Director of Human Resources Shannon Early is now vice president of human resources; Southwest Florida Regional Maintenance Manager David Kutschinski is now vice president of fleet and maintenance; Athens, Georgia Division Manager Jerry Harrison is now divisional vice president of Georgia; and Will Howard, production manager of Waste Pro’s Ocala, Florida, recycling center, is now vice president of recycling for the company.
Banasiak leads one of Waste Pro’s largest regions. With more than 20 years in the waste industry, he also is chairman emeritus of Florida-based Keep Lee County Beautiful and Keep Manatee Beautiful.
Early has more than 20 years of experience in human resources. She joined Waste Pro’s corporate office in 2011 as manager of training and human resources before being promoted to director of human resources in 2013.
Kutschinski joined Waste Pro as regional maintenance manager in 2015. He has 27 years of management in the waste industry and specializes in fleet operations.
Harrison has been with Waste Pro as Athens division manager since 2014, managing a team of dozens to serve thousands of Waste Pro customers.
Howard joined Waste Pro’s Ocala materials recovery facility in 2015, supervising the processing workflow of materials through the recycling facility. He was a member of Waste Pro’s inaugural Leadership Initiative. class, which is a mentorship program designed to develop a vibrant second generation of young leaders. In addition, he is a recognized recycling industry expert and often serves as Waste Pro’s spokesperson for recycling-related issues.
EREF releases analysis on national landfill tipping fees
Municipal solid waste (MSW) landfill tipping fees in the U.S. continue to rise, with fees increasing from 2018 to 2019 by $2.74—a 5.2 percent increase, according to new research from the Environmental Research & Education Foundation (EREF).
The EREF Data & Policy Program’s recently released 2019 Landfill Tip Fee Data report found the national average MSW tip fee is now $55.36 per ton.
EREF says it maintains a database of MSW landfills across the U.S. from which it draws samples for analysis of tipping fees. For its most recent report, the organization says it contacted landfill owners and asked them to provide gate rate information for MSW disposal, supplemented by current website information on fees.
The report is a culmination of data obtained from 392 landfills categorized as large, medium or small based on accepted tonnage. Of the landfills providing information, approximately:
- 15 percent were large, accepting more than 390,000 tons per year.
- 44 percent were medium, accepting between 65,000 and 390,000 tons per year.
- 41 percent were small, accepting less than 65,000 tons per year.
The small landfills reported accepting an average of 26,150 tons per year, while medium landfills and large landfills accepted 163,010 tons per year and 831,480 tons per year, respectively.
The overall national average tip fee increased from $52.62 per ton in 2018 to $55.36 per ton in 2019. EREF also compiled data by geographic region and found the Pacific region of the U.S. has the highest tipping fee in the nation at an average of $73.03 per ton. This rose by $4.57 per ton compared with 2018 rates.
The South Central region has the lowest tipping fee at an average of $40.92 per ton, which is $6.12 higher than in 2018.
The Mountains/Plains region of the U.S. saw the largest annual increase in its tipping fees, rising $7.14, or 16.4 percent, from 2018 to an average of $50.71 this year.
Compared with 2018, average regional tip fees increased in all regions except for the Northeast, where tip fees decreased by 1.3 percent (-$0.86), in part due to the closure of landfills that previously had high tip fees due to limited remaining capacity, EREF says.
Four-year trends in average tip fees show a continued increase in the national average MSW tip fee with an average year-over-year increase of 3.5 percent from 2016 through 2018. Tip fees in the Northeast and Pacific remain notably higher than the rest of the U.S., with the Pacific region having the highest tip fees for the second year in a row. The Mountains/Plains region surpassed the Midwest for the third highest regional tip fees in 2019. The Southeast and South Central continued to be the least expensive regions for MSW landfill disposal.
On a state-basis, MSW landfill tipping fees vary substantially. Average state tipping fees range from $29.82 (Kentucky, Southeast region) to $154.92 (Alaska, Pacific region) per ton of MSW. A tip fee is not provided for Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont, as facilities or tip fees for MSW could not be identified.
States with active MSW waste-to-energy (WTE) facilities continue to have higher tipping fees than those without, EREF says. The average MSW landfill tip fee was $59.93 per ton for states with WTE in 2019. In states without WTE, the average MSW tip fee was $53.58 per ton.
For 2019, the difference was less pronounced than in years past due to large tip fee increases in many states without active WTE facilities. Nationally, landfilling was 12 percent more expensive in WTE states, equivalent to $6.34 per ton higher. Comparatively, in 2018, tip fees in states with WTE were 28 percent higher (+$13.89 per ton) than states without WTE. The relationship between WTE use and landfill tip fee suggests that MSW landfill fees continue to indicate, in part, if market conditions are suitable for the use of WTE for MSW management, EREF concludes.
EREF’s national average tip fees are calculated as an average of all observations. However, because the amount of MSW landfilled in each state varies due to factors such as total waste generation, fractional recovery for recycling and/or composting and interstate transport, EREF calculated a weighted average national tip fee for 2019 based on the relative amount of MSW disposed of via landfilling in each state and the average tip fee for each state.
Results indicated a tonnage-weighted average tip fee of $52.08 for 2019, which is $3.27 less than the unweighted national average. EREF says this difference suggests MSW may be disproportionately sent to landfills in states with lower tip fees--a practice which is recognized through interstate hauling of landfilled MSW. EREF says it also observed this trend in the 2018 data, where the tonnage weighted average national tip fee was $50.08, or $2.54 less than the unweighted national average of $52.62 per ton. Year-to-year change for each of the calculated averages was roughly 4 percent, suggesting that while interstate transport may allow for lower tip fees to be paid, it does not insulate against the overall national trend of increasing MSW tip fees, EREF says.
In addition to collecting MSW tip fee data, EREF also gathered tip fee information for construction and demolition (C&D) wastes deposited in MSW landfills. Of the special wastes accepted at MSW landfills in the U.S., EREF says C&D wastes are most common: C&D waste is accepted at MSW landfills in 41 states and comprises roughly 12 percent of the landfilled stream on average.
Of the 392 landfills providing MSW tip fee data, 241 also had a posted gate rate for C&D materials disposed of at the landfill. The national average tip fee for C&D waste in 2019 was not statistically different from the MSW tip fee at $54.04 per ton for C&D compared with $55.36 for MSW. Although over half of landfills (57 percent) set the same tip fee for MSW and C&D materials, this pricing strategy was not uniform. C&D tip fees were priced lower than MSW at 27 percent of sites. At the remaining 16 percent of MSW landfills, the cost to dispose of a ton of C&D material was higher than for MSW.
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