Weekly News Bulletin: Sep. 26-Oct. 2, 2012


Worrisome Increase in Waste Collection Deaths in 2011

The latest government statistics reveal that waste collection continues to be one of the most dangerous professions and it got worse in 2011. Work related fatalities for waste and recycling collection workers increased dramatically last year after having risen the year before that. 34 people were killed last year, up from 26 the year before. To put it in perspective, it equates to 41.2 deaths per 100,000 workers which makes waste collection the fourth most dangerous job after fishing, (121.2 deaths per 100,000), logging (102.4 deaths per 100,000) and aircraft piloting (57 deaths per 100,000). That is according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' latest annual report on workplace fatalities.

Waste collection workers face a number of hazards especially working around heavy equipment and on busy streets populated by increasingly distracted commuters. Not surprisingly, most of the deaths (19 or 56%) occurred on the road or around transportation equipment, and 6 (18%) involved contact with objects and equipment in general. About 3 deaths resulted from exposure to harmful substances...Read More »



Casella to Offer Shares, Sell Notes and Retire Debt

Casella Waste Systems (Rutland, VT) said it is planning a stock offering, notes offering and a tender offer to redeem older notes. The company launched a public offering of 10 million shares of its common stock which includes an option for underwriters to buy up to 1.5 million more shares for over-allotments. At a current stock price of $4.58 per share, that could translate into close to $53 million. The company also plans to offer $135 million of 7.75 percent senior subordinated notes, due in 2019. The notes, which are being offered in a private placement to institutional buyers, will be used to refinance senior second lien notes due in 2014, of which $180 million are outstanding.

Last month, the company announced plans to cut expenses by $6.5 million per year by realigning operations and reducing its workforce after cutting its earnings estimates for the year, citing continuing waste volume declines and weak recycling commodity pricing...Read More »



ReCommunity Opens Tucson Recycling Facility

ReCommunity (Charlotte, NC) has opened a new $7 million single-stream recycling facility in Tuscon, AZ. The plant will employ 80 workers once it begins operating at full capacity. It adds to company facilities in nearby Phoenix and Scottsdale. All told, the company has 36 facilities operating in 13 states with more than 1500 employees...Read More »



Balcones Opens $25 Million Single-Stream MRF in Austin, Texas

Balcones Resources Inc. (Austin, TX) has opened a new $25 million single-stream recycling facility in Austin, TX. The facility, which sits on a 10-acre parcel in the northeastern part of the city, will process 25 tons of materials per hour and is designed to expand in concert with the city's needs. By next month the facility will be handling 60 percent of the city's residential recyclables for which it now has a 20-year contract. The company already processes a significant amount of the commercially generated recyclables in the city. The highly-automated plant features the latest in patented screening, optical and controls technology, manufactured by Bulk Handling Systems, Eugene, OR. "We want this facility to serve as a model for the rest of the country, just as Austin is leading the way with its zero-waste efforts. It is our privilege to play a part," said Balcones CEO Kerry Getter...Read More »



Johnson Controls Opens Battery Recycling Plant

Johnson Controls, Inc. (Milwaukee, WI) has opened a $150 million facility for recycling automotive batteries in Florence, SC. The plant currently employs about 200 and is expected to generate another 1,000 indirect jobs in the area as it begins to recycle 132,000 metric tons of batteries per year, or the equivalent of more than 14 million batteries. The facility occupies 36 acres of a 685-acre site, the balance of which has been permanently set aside for preservation through a conservation easement...Read More »



Surrey, BC Looks to Build Canada's Largest Organic Biofuel Facility

The City of Surrey, BC, near Vancouver, plans to build a $68 million, 80,000 ton-per-year organic biofuel facility, which will make it the largest such facility in Canada, and perhaps the most expensive. The Government of Canada will contribute up to $16.9 million, 25 percent of the project cost with the remaining $50.7 million to come from an as yet to be selected private partner who will design, build, finance, and operate the facility under a long-term agreement. The city, which collects waste from about 100,000 homes, hopes the facility will help them achieve a regional 70 percent waste diversion target by 2015. The facility will process residential and commercial kitchen and yard waste into compressed natural gas (CNG) which will be used to power the city's fleet of CNG waste trucks...Read More »



Swisher Hygiene Could Get Delisted, Nasdaq Warns

Swisher Hygiene (Charlotte, NC), an industrial hygiene company with waste disposal operations in Florida, is in danger of being delisted from the Nasdaq stock exchange. The company said it received a letter from Nasdaq saying that the delisting would be the result of failing to file timely annual and quarterly reports with regulators. A month ago, Steven Berrard, the long-time lieutenant of company chairman H. Wayne Huizenga, stepped down as president amid a finding of improper accounting practices which earlier in the year resulted in the firing of the company's chief financial officer and two other employees. "We are disappointed that the review process remains ongoing, and we continue to be in non-compliance with Nasdaq," said Thomas Byrne, interim chief executive. In May, Swisher said an audit committee report could result in a restatement of results for three quarters in 2011. The restatement could mean $3.8 million in increases to net loss before income taxes for the periods. For the quarter that ended Sept. 30, 2011, Swisher reported a loss of $3.76 million on revenue of $67.2 million. Swisher owns Fort Lauderdale-based Choice Environmental Services...Read More »



Sonoco Recycling Invests $2 Million in North Carolina Facility

Sonoco Recycling LLC (Hartsville, SC) is investing $2 million to upgrade the Onslow County materials recovery facility (MRF) in Jacksonville, NC. Sonoco Recycling annually collects more than 3 million tons of recyclable materials, operates 6 MRFs and serves more than 125 communities, mostly in the southeast...Read More »



Waste Management Pays Seattle $1.24 Million over Strike

Waste Management Inc. (Houston, TX) agreed to pay the City of Seattle $1.24 million to cover missed waste and recycling collection during an eight-day worker strike that began July 25. The settlement, which will be credited to residential and commercial customers affected by the strike, stems from penalties defined in the contract between the hauler and the city. Usually, those provisions are not enforced, but Seattle pressed its position and was pleased with the result which it touted in a press release issued by the city's mayor Mike McGinn. The outcome is likely to embolden other municipalities to enforce similar penalties should worker-strikes or similar disruptions occur. "This was the longest garbage strike in the city's history, and thousands of residents and businesses were inconvenienced," McGinn said. "The good news is that our contract with Waste Management provided for substantial performance penalties for a strike lasting more than seven days -- and we were able to use that provision to help bring an end to the strike...Read More »


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