Waste is a perpetual and eternal problem

Waste is a Perpetual and Eternal Problem 

We all agree that waste has become a Herculean issue.

We do it every day — throw garbage in the waste basket (if we recycle we should have no waste basket), send it to a garbage dump (an evil necessity) or to the waste-to-energy facility (best available technology for now), and send hazardous and regulated waste to a regulated landfill (not a good thing at all).

Waste, easily thrown away, is a very complex issue that is not so easily dealt with in its travel to its final destination, the landfill, which should be avoided at all costs. Waste has been around as long as man, but we are only at the inception of the desire to create a zero waste society. A great accomplishment — when we accomplish it.

We see that waste problems, garbage, C&D, hazardous and regulated; they are quickly escalating with population growth. When it comes to waste, are we and the companies we deal with overwhelmed because technologies are not developed and used (most important word) fast enough? Are we a society of “throw it in a landfill” the easiest and cheapest way, especially with hazardous and regulated wastes? Why do we take waste from one Superfund Site and eventually create another? Does someone know the answer?

Companies are obligated by federal laws. If a public company, they are mandated by federal laws and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to deal with hazardous and regulated waste to eliminate the creation of future liabilities that their stockholders and, inevitably, us taxpayers will be forced to bear the burden of the costly financial clean-up.

I live in New York City. Sandy put my power out for five days, nothing compared to the havoc and devastation that it caused on the waterfronts of the outer boroughs. Gov. Andrew Cuomo stated that hurricanes are becoming a way of life and we must start to protect ourselves.

When power was on and I was able to get back into my office, I received a call from the largest asbestos litigation law firms in New York, asking how much and where did I think the asbestos was in homes and buildings that had been destroyed by Sandy. I figure once he knew the answer, he would contact the home and building owners to tell them they were exposed to asbestos and his firm could get them compensation (pre-ambulance chasing). I put him off to Mark Drozdov, knowledgeable asbestos consultant.

That afternoon I read an article in Waste Connections stating that Steve Last, waste management engineer and expert on landfills, said the region affected by Sandy has the largest concentrations of old abandon landfill sites in the world. Because of the amount of moisture and erosion created by Sandy, landfills could start to emit methane and explode causing injury and death.

Now you have to ask yourself, if the aforementioned is correct, what happens to the hazardous waste and regulated wastes, such as asbestos, when these landfills explode?

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