NEW HAVEN November 18, 2019 — All American Waste has been selected for the 2019 Best of New Haven Award in the Waste Management Service category by the New Haven Award Program.
Each year, the New Haven Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the New Haven area a great place to live, work and play.
Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2019 New Haven Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the New Haven Award Program and data provided by third parties.
I am sure many of you, given the nature of your employment,
are seen as the resident recycling expert at any summer picnic, family
gathering, or kids sports event. I know I am. More than ever “RECYCLING” is the
subject of everyday conversation and concern, sparked by a deepening concern by
the general public regarding the environment, along with the considerable
shifts in recycling markets worldwide turning the recycling business model on
its head! Headlines about recycling are everywhere, and my goal is to arm you
with some real answers from our industry leader’s perspective regarding the
present and future of recycling in our business and in our communities and
dispel some commonly held, misleading ideas.
Here are some of the questions and answers.
Is it true that we don’t recycle anymore because China
stopped taking the stuff?
No, none of our companies have changed our policies
regarding handling of recyclables. We have found different markets for all the
recycling commodities, although they are at much different prices than they
once were. In some cases, we are even paying to ensure that material we collect
as recyclables are being recycled or
reused. We have also invested in our facilities to deal with the increased
contamination we have seen in the recycling stream.
What did China do that ruined the recycling market so much?
China enacted a policy called the “National Sword” on January
1, 2018. This policy essentially made it impossible to import recyclables from
outside of China into the country. This was a major problem as China previously
purchased 70% of the recyclables generated in the United States and an even
higher percentage from the United States coastal states. The domestic and
global market for recyclables became flooded with material causing the prices
for the commodities to plummet.
Why did the cost of recycling go up so much?
The cost of recycling to the customer- whether a
municipality, an individual resident, or a commercial customer- did not rise
because costs went up, but rather because the value of the recycling stream
fell and that value was used to offset much of the cost to the customer.
How much did the recycling values drop?
The market for recyclables fell to the lowest levels we have
ever seen. Cardboard once sold for $175/ ton dropping to $25/ ton while
newspaper once fetched over $100/ ton and now can cost upwards of $50/ton to
ensure that it goes to a recycler. The prices are end market prices that do not
account for costs to collect, process, package and market the materials.
Is it even worth recycling if it may cost as much as
Yes, for many reasons:
While we are experiencing one of the most
challenging environments we have seen for recycling, commodity pricing is
cyclical and historically we have seen recovery from other challenging times.
Especially in the northeast, there is a finite
space for final disposal capacity. Right now, about 30% of the materials we
discard will never see a burnplant or landfill rather they are processed
through local recycling infrastructure to be used in new products. Practically
speaking, the disposal capacity just does not exist to handle these materials
if they were no longer put through the recycling infrastructure. Abandoning
recycling would cause pricing to skyrocket on all waste streams.
Recycling is an investment in the future of our
environment. There is value in ensuring that materials are used and reused as
many times as possible until we truly must dispose of them.
How do things get better for recycling?
Markets need to develop around the world, especially in the
United States to handle these materials. On the positive side of the story many
shuttered old paper mills are being purchased, revamped and reopened throughout
the United States to take advantage of the supply domestically. The domestic
development of these markets may provide the type of stability and opportunity
in recycling like the discovery of natural gas did for the energy markets in
the United States and would lead to a much more stable and sustainable
recycling model for decades to come.
What can I do?
Recycle right, and encourage your friends and family to do
the same. Since recycling became mainstream in 1994, the recycling stream has
gradually become dirtier and dirtier. Much of this contamination (as we call it
in the industry) comes from good intentioned customers seeking to recycle as
much as possible and putting non-recyclables (contamination) in the recycling
bin because it feels good to think you are recycling. The truth is that this
“wishful recycling” contaminates the whole stream and makes it harder to sort
out and market the right recyclables. There is a great resource at http://www.recyclect.com/
which shows you “what’s in and what’s out” of your recycling bin. This will not
only improve the quality of our materials that we market, but more importantly
it will keep our fellow teammates safer at our recycling facilities.
You can also encourage your local communities and
politicians to support the local recycling infrastructure and the value it
brings to all communities. Recycling and the accompanying services provide for
all our families and protect the environment for generations to come. We must
ensure that uninformed politicians and public officials do not make uneducated
and shortsighted decisions that could be detrimental to the future of
Komal Charania joined EREF in March 2017. She graduated with honors in May 2018 with a degree from North Carolina State University in Environmental Engineering. At EREF, she worked on the State of Practice of Landfill Leachate Management and Treatment in the U.S. project (see description below) within the Data and Policy program. This involved gathering available leachate quality and quantity data in order to get a better understanding of the state of leachate generation, treatment, and management in the United States. In February 2018, she attended GWMS with EREF and presented a poster on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in landfills.
This past weekend the Motor Transport Association of Connecticut (MTAC) hosted its annual Truck Driving Championships at the FedEx Freight Facility in Windsor Locks. All American Waste proudly sent drivers Scott Stoeckle Sr. (AAW- New Milford) and Irving Martinez Jr. (AAW- New Haven) to represent our company this year! Both of these drivers did a great job in all aspects of the competition and were both very close to placing in their division!
Many thanks to the friends, family and other drivers that came to show support!
We recently sponsored the Housatonic Resource Recovery Authority’s (HRRA) 11th Annual Recycling Billboard Contest. The theme this year was Reduce Reuse Recycle, as students created billboards to help promote and educate the public about reducing, reusing and recycling. Congratulations to all the winners! To see more winners and honorable mentions, visit HRRA’s Billboard Contest 2018 page.
The Stratford Historic District organized a cleanup event which our very own John Ortiz participated in and gave out All American Waste sweatshirts to volunteers on April 21, 2018, cleaning up streets in Bridgeport, CT. Along with 11 students participating from Sacred Heart University and other volunteers, we were able to fill 25 bags of trash and help make the neighborhood cleaner. Thank you to the Stratford Historic District for organizing the event, John Ortiz and to all the volunteers who made it a great success!
On Saturday, April 21, two All American Waste drivers, Phill Zabo and “Zak” Zollie Hyman, along with Gary Hoefling and Ken Vallera, participated in the Town of Hamden’s Earth Day event. We brought a front load and a side load truck to the “touch-a-truck” part of the event, which was held at Hamden High School. The event ran from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. where we met with and talked with any and all visitors that stopped by our trucks, including the Town of Hamden’s Recycling coordinator, Haley Starvaggi. Thank you to everyone who made this a fun and successful event!
Our Commitment to Employee Wellness By Mike Lauro – Human Resources
All American Waste has a deep commitment to the wellness of our employees. In addition to providing great health insurance benefits, we have a wellness committee, a safety team, and a commitment to technology that is for the benefit of each and every employee.
Our wellness committee runs programs throughout the year to teach our team about healthy living. Throughout the summer, we host healthy picnics at each of our sites teaching individuals the benefits of making the right choices when deciding what to eat. This healthy eating translated into our fall “Biggest Loser” competition. As a company, we lost 802 pounds in six weeks of competition! Our employees loved it and we will be running the program again continuing the message of healthy living.
While our wellness committee teaches us about how to live a healthier lifestyle, our safety team is committed to the wellness of employees on the job. The team analyzes any potential job hazards and what we can do to mitigate them to keep our employees in top shape. Looking at employee safety and wellness is what brings technology to our industry. While in years past you would see our workers lifting heavy trash cans and recycling bins that lead to injuries, we now use automated hydraulic systems operated by a joystick so employees can have less strain and prevent injuries.
We continually strive to make our employees safer on the job and are even launching a “Safety Boot Program” where we will provide our safety sensitive employees with a Safety Boot allowance each year to help reduce the risk of injuries. Another step forward for the health and safety of our employees!
Whether it is creating programs for the health of our employees or preventing injuries with technology, All American Waste is committed to our team’s wellness.
The Connecticut River Watershed Council’s (CRWC) 20th Annual Source To Sea Cleanup was held this past Friday and Saturday, September 23-24. From their website www.ctriver.org: “The Source to Sea Cleanup is an annual trash cleanup of the Connecticut River system – rivers, streams and banks, parks, boat launches, trails and more. Each fall, thousands of volunteers of all ages and abilities head out to places of their choice all along the four-state watershed (NH, VT, MA, CT) to clean the Connecticut River and its tributaries on foot or by boat.”
All American Waste was a sponsor and also assembled a group of volunteers to help with the event. The group included employees and their friends and families, totaling 38 volunteers of all ages, from throughout the state meeting at the Barnes Boat Launch on S River Street in Enfield, CT. From there the group split up to clean the surrounding area along the Connecticut River. Some went on kayaks to access harder to reach areas, some went down the street to Parsons Road, while others spread out to clean other areas along the river. The combined effort brought in over 2.5 tons of waste along the river in our location alone, including a couch, mattress, chairs and tires, along with many bags of trash.
Make sure to vote for your favorite photos from the event at CT River Photo Contest 2016 starting at noon on Monday, October 3 and running through noon on Tuesday, October 11. You can vote for each photo once a day so make sure to vote for your favorites. Thank you to all the volunteers who helped make this event a success and we hope to see even more volunteers next year!