2019 Conference Session Descriptions

Bresee – The changing recycling stream, or the “evolving ton”, has had a profound impact on recycling programs, participants, and particularly on recyclables processing contracts around the U.S. Understanding the what’s in our residential recycling stream is more important than ever. That said, there are still common misconceptions about which methodologies should be used for measuring the composition of the recyclables stream, the costs to perform them, as well as the cost impacts that poorly designed recyclables composition studies can have on contract pricing. This presentation will shed light on some of these concepts and share on-line tools that can help characterization studies more manageable and accurate.

Coupland – The Future of Solid Waste: More and more, elected officials and Municipal leaders talk about programs that move toward “Zero Waste”.  But do they truly understand what is needed to achieve that vision?  In this session, we will discuss emerging initiatives in the US, and how Municipalities can plan and position for long term success of their Recycling and Solid Waste programs in the future. 

Customer Service Help Desk – Following a brief overview from each panelist, the session will use an extensive Q&A to explore the following areas:

  • How is your program is structured and who is responsible for customer service requests and tracking?
  • What kind of data is being collected and how often is it analyzed to ensure good customer service?
  • Is outreach and education staff separate from customer service staff and/or do they receive the same training?
  • Is enforcement linked to customer service and if so, is it tracked in the same database, or is it kept in a separate system?
  • Are missed pick-ups and improper set-outs tracked in the same system – for example if a driver has a problem with a set-out that’s under electrical wires how is that information communicated to the customer? Is it in real time, or does the customer have to call-in to find out why items were not picked up at the end of the day?

Questions from the audience will also be welcome.

Dexter – This presentation reviews research that shows the trends for sea level in particular, as that is significant for the Bay counties; shows what the State of Maryland’s projections for sea level rise are currently; discusses what the impacts of both sea level rise and climatic change are likely to be for Maryland facilities; and reviews what MDE hopes the facility operators are doing to protect their facilities and get the job done despite these changes.  The main take-aways are that planning and preparation are the keys to surviving worsening weather:  If you had to fix something once before due to weather damage, you’re going to have to do it again, so A) be ready to do so; B) take a look at it to see if it can be reinforced or even redesigned so you won’t have to do it next time; C) After an event, take a close look at the place, see how it came through it, and what you might need to repair before the next one; and D) if you get clobbered by an event, ask for help, from your Roads Division, a neighboring county or facility, or the State. 

Filiaggi – The changing recycling markets are impacting everyone. While there is no quick fix, there are a variety of strategies that communities are using to mitigate the effects of the market downturn. In this session, we will take a look at the different ways that communities in Maryland and the surrounding states are adjusting and adapting to changes in the recycling markets.

Ford – Our climate is changing. We are seeing increases in global air and ocean temperatures, rising global sea levels, glaciers are melting, polar ice cover is shrinking, and changes in atmospheric and ocean circulation and regional weather patterns are changing.  All of these factors have serious implications in how we will approach solid waste management in the future.  Join us in a two-part discussion on how our industry is addressing climate change.  From making changes that reduce greenhouse gasses, to how we will be designing and managing our solid waste management facilities in the future.

Hellem – SM³ is an adhoc coalition of private and public sector organizations that are working together to improve the environment and create economic development and job creation opportunities in the State of Maryland by identifying and executing creative and innovative sustainable materials management projects and activities, through public and private sector voluntary collaborations, including the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) and other Maryland governmental entities. SM³’s mission is to identify and collaborate with a wide range of multi-sector companies and entities, along with their suppliers, and key public-sector leaders to design and implement materials management initiatives and projects for Maryland in a way that will foster the establishment of new materials management businesses in Maryland; conserve natural resources; meet State climate change goals for 2030 and beyond; and, embrace new and more effective measures of success. SM³ collaborates with and maintains close liaisons with 5 Maryland State Agencies being led by Secretary Ben Grumbles, MDE, that are addressing the implementation of Governor Hogan’s Executive Order addressing waste recovery and resource reduction. More information about SM³ can be found on its website: www.sustainablematerialsmanagmentmd.org.

Lee – What was once known as a ‘weather or natural anomaly’ appears now to becoming common. Accepting and promoting this theme now will bolster your operational planning, funding, and preparedness for natural disasters as we successfully manage our solid waste facilities. This 20-minute presentation reflects on past successes, improvement areas, lessons learned and creative operational means and methods. Preparedness comes in many forms. Our industry of managing waste covers many of the hot buttons, to include safety, security, hazardous conditions, contamination potential, remediation, methods of critical communications, regulators, funding, and the delivery of services. These skills should become ‘second nature’ in our ability to execute smooth operations during an impacting event.

McCormick – When Hurricane Irma struck Florida in the Fall of 2017 as a Category 4 hurricane – the first Cat 4 to strike the US in 15 years – it did more than $20 Billion in damage and left 67% of Floridians without power. As North America’s largest environmental services provider – and Florida’s – Waste Management’s pre-hurricane planning and post-storm execution were vital to returning us to full operations within 48 hours. We look forward to sharing our planning efforts, best practices and lessons learned.

Morris – Much of Maryland is vulnerable to rising sea levels as a result of climate change, with related increases in inland surface water and groundwater levels. In addition, the expected intensity of storm events across the eastern seaboard is expected to increase over the 21st century. As landfills are in-ground structures with long service lives and, potentially, even longer post-closure care periods, it is prudent to proactively consider potential impacts of climate change at the design stage. This presentation focuses on incorporating resilience to climate change into landfill designs, based on a case study in Dorchester County.

Shepherd – Changing weather patterns are causing an increase in frequency and intensity of hurricanes and rain events, an increased risk of forest fires, and an increased frequency of record-warm months in the mid-Atlantic region.  These changes will directly increase risk to waste management infrastructure and will lead to changes in waste composition and gas generation/quality.  To maintain consistent, effective, and compliant solid waste management, everyone in the industry must implement both short-term and long-term changes in landfill design, management, and operations to adapt to these changes. Recommendations include…

Landfill Gas – Recommend adjusting gas expansion schedules; expect more gas and more odor issues; debris from natural disasters may increase sulfur in your landfill gas.

Landfill Design – Look at changing precipitation numbers for Help model; design ponds and erosion control for bigger storms and more precipitation; plan for changes to settlement.

Morris – Much of Maryland is vulnerable to rising sea levels as a result of climate change, with related increases in inland surface water and groundwater levels.  In addition, the expected intensity of storm events across the eastern seaboard is expected to increase over the 21st century.  As landfills are in-ground structures with long service lives and, potentially, even longer post-closure care periods, it is prudent to proactively consider potential impacts of climate change at the design stage.  One focus of this panel discussion will be on incorporating resilience to climate change into landfill designs.

Walter – “Waste is a human invention” – Since the dawn of time, humans are the only life form that have ever wasted anything. Today we burn most of our ‘trash’ and then throw it in a glorified hole in the ground. In order to ensure the survival of our beautiful planet, tomorrow will have to look much different. Upwards of 75% of what we produce today could be recycled via traditional recycling and composting, and as manufacturers catch up, that number will only increase. It is on us to eliminate waste, and, through compost, revitalize our depleted soils. Getting valuable nutrients back into the soil and our food system.

Wilcom – How would you have reacted to a natural disaster in your County?  How would your job duties change as you responded?  How did expectations and plans mesh with the reality? Hear the lessons learned as Howard County’s Recycling Division led the debris removal process for the Memorial Day 2018 Flood Event from Main Street Ellicott City.