With new guidelines in place to safely integrate back to regular society after being in quarantine for months due to COVID-19, Americans are beginning to leave the comfort of their homes and return to the workforce. For some industries, there is no noticeable change, however, as these businesses have remained open throughout the pandemic. Particularly, the waste industry has had its employees on the frontlines as an essential part of everyday life.
Most Common Changes in The Waste Industry
It has been difficult for waste management services to maintain the health and safety of their clients, environment, and staff during COVID-19. The stream of waste has seen many changes in order to comply with state and federal guidelines regarding pandemic practices. What’s more, this industry has been significantly impacted by the decrease in business waste as many Americans have been staying at home while businesses closed their doors during the height of the pandemic.
To understand just how deeply COVID-19 has affected the waste industry, the Environmental Research & Education Foundation (EREF), alongside the National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA), conducted a survey on almost 400 individuals in these essential businesses. Among the various areas and establishments that waste haulers visit, government agencies and academic institutions saw the most substantial changes, as these places have shut down and transitioned to remote work.
What are waste industry leaders and staff most worried about?
When asked about their concerns regarding the industry, both short and long term worries consisted of staffing issues, supplies, and contract renewal. Surprisingly, these economical concerns seemed to outweigh personal concerns regarding health and exposure to the virus while on the job. However, these health concerns were heavily voiced by municipal employees. Management has tried to accommodate for these concerns by implementing social distancing guidelines as well as additional cleaning and sanitation measures. Any jobs that can be done remotely have made the transition to a work from home environment to further eliminate the risk of exposure among staff.
While waste streams have seen a significant increase in residential waste, commercial waste management services have experienced a significant decrease in their clientele. With these impacts, waste haulers have been perhaps the most affected service providers during COVID-19. With declines in volume in commercial waste service and increased residential waste volume, plus declines in staff, contracts, and revenue, the waste industry is working hard to adapt to these changes. As America continues to open back up, waste streams will continue to change. Waste management providers are taking steps to be prepared for future changes, and are doing everything they can to be ready for whatever the new “normal” will look like in the workplace.
At Alternative Waste Solutions, we have stayed compliant with state and federal guidelines and have worked to maintain a safe environment for our employees and staff. We have continued to serve our community through COVID-19, and are ready to help our local businesses reopen their doors to the public. If you need waste management services for your company, give us a call today! 678-401-6887