By Carol Brzozowski of MSW Management

December 14, 2015

 

 

OSHA points out that while recycling is good for the environment, it can be dangerous for workers. Certain materials in the waste stream directly pose hazards to workers. Additional hazards include:

  1. Vehicle traffic
  2. Moving machine parts
  3. Unexpected machine startup
  4. Lifting injuries
  5. Slips, trips, and falls

There have been six baler-related deaths or injuries at recycling or waste management facilities nationwide since 2000, according to OSHA. In the latest, a worker at a Winter Garden, FL, recycling operation was killed while trying to clear a jam in a massive cardboard compactor and bundling machine.

The Changing Wastestream Complicates the Situation

“An increase in small cardboard is noticeable as consumers are increasingly ordering online and have goods shipped to their house,” says Rutger Zweers, Stadler USA sales director, who adds that material composition strongly changes per location, city, or state.
“Newspaper is dropping fast due to online news sources; this is the biggest driving factor for planning future systems,” explains Brian Schellati, director of business development for VAN DYK Recycling Solutions. “We see a slight increase happening with office-type paper as more home offices become established, but this is very gradual.”

Schellati also notes a “definite increase” in cardboard due to more online shopping, “but at a much slower rate than the decline of newsprint.”

Other materials are consistent but can fluctuate depending on the economy.

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