This spring delivered a whirlwind of devastating tornados that brought death, injuries and heartbreak to thousands of people across the Southeast, Midwest and even into Massachusetts.
Recovery, as difficult as it is, has begun. The twisted buildings, downed trees, mangled vehicles and infrastructure rubble is being cleared away before reconstruction can be started. The bulk of the debris is being landfilled, but more and more is being recycled in safe, responsible ways.
On Saturday, April 16 in Raleigh, North Carolina, a total of 28 confirmed tornadoes ripped through central North Carolina killing 24 people, injured hundreds, destroying or damaging thousands of homes and commercial buildings, and knocking down trees and power lines. Five of the tornadoes were listed as EF3, with wind speeds of 136 to 165 mph – the worst tornados the state has seen in more than 20 years.
The area in and around Raleigh was one of the hardest hit. As the state capital and second largest city in North Carolina, it has a population just over 400,000 and is known as “The City of Oaks.” The tornados killed or damaged many of the city’s famed oak trees.
“These tornados were pretty bad. So far we have removed over 200,000 cubic yards of debris from fallen trees from the streets,” said Chris McGee, street superintendent for the City of Raleigh, Department of Public Works. He explained how Raleigh prepared for, and then handled the event after the tornados passed through. ...read more
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Innovation is redefining the humble dumpster
The word “dumpster” has evolved to mean different things to different people. For our purposes let us understand it as a broad, generic term for an ever expanding universe of large trash receptacles lifted by mechanical means and dumped into vehicles. The word dumpster originated from the Dempster-Dumpster system of mechanically loading standard containers onto garbage trucks. It was patented by Dempster Brothers in 1937.
Today, a dumpster can refer to capacities of less than a cubic yard up to roll-off containers exceeding 100 cubic yards. They come in shapes and sizes only limited by the imaginations of their designers.
The more trash generated the more dumpsters we need and we apparently always need more. In 1960, the per capita generation of waste was 2.68 pounds per person per day, but by 2009 it grew to 4.34 pounds per person per day. 2010 per capita data waste volume has not yet been posted by EPA, but industry experts believe volume has flattened and somewhat decreased.
Waste Management, Inc. (WM) the largest solid waste collection company in North America, for example, reported its 2010 internal revenue growth from volume was negative 2.6 percent, although revenues increased by 6.1 percent.
The lingering recession is partially responsible for some volume fall off, but much of the reduction is due to more waste being transformed into useful or money-making commodities. “What we’ve seen is more of a move towards diversion. The amount of waste volume currently going to landfill has declined simply because there is more diversion going on,” said Wes Muir, spokesman for WM. “Whether or not it’s because of regulations, or because a company recognizes waste as a resource and wants to divert the material and cut down on disposal costs, it’s all coming under the label of eco-efficiency.”
Guy Senkowski, the owner of Poynette Iron Works in Poynette, Wisconsin, a manufacturer of a wide variety of dumpsters and related waste containers, and his two brothers started the business in 1996 in a 2,400 sq. ft. building refurbishing old dumpsters to extend their useful life. Today, Poynette has annual sales of $16 million, 70,000 sq. ft. of manufacturing space on a 13 acre complex, employs 68 and offers a menu of over 40 different product categories with hundreds of individual items. Poynette has built dumpsters as small as quarter-yard hoppers to as large as a 107 yard roll-off trailers. The company serves all types of customers – residential and commercial haulers, municipalities, specialized industrial applications and small and large retailers. ...read more