NWRA Aims for Big Gains on Industry Safety

NWRA Aims for Big Gains on Industry Safety

Calls on Local Governments to Request Use of Automated Collection and Other Technological Safety Innovations in New Collection Contracts

Arlington, VA – The National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) urges local officials to include requirements for technology like automated collection when soliciting bids or proposals for waste and recycling collection. Technology, like automated collection, improves efficiencies in waste and recycling collection and reduces injuries. Drivers do not need to leave the vehicle or lift heavy containers.

“In order to make real progress in reducing fatalities in our industry, we need big wins and major changes. Just doing more of the same—safety manuals, safety meetings, rhetoric and finger-pointing—will not get us to where we need to be.

“We need to take a cue from other industries, such as mining, that have embraced technology resulting in drastically reduced fatality rates. We are experiencing fatalities within large companies with stellar safety programs and at smaller companies that have fewer resources. What we are doing is not working. We have little control over issues such as distracted driving by motorists, so we need to use the technology we have available to shield our workers from hazards. It is safety 101. If you cannot eliminate the hazard, install an engineering control that separates the hazard from the person.

“Automated pickup is a real solution that should be aggressively implemented where feasible. Other technologies and methods that serve as real engineering controls should also be incorporated. We need big wins, we need them now and we need to get serious if we actually want to change the safety trajectory of our industry,” said NWRA President and CEO Darrell Smith.

NWRA will send a letter to local officials urging wider adoption of technology like automated collection in waste collection. The use of automated pickup has expanded over the last decade. As automation is more deeply integrated in society, NWRA believes that technological solutions like automated pickup can improve safety in the waste and recycling industry.


The National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) represents the private sector waste and recycling services industry. Association members conduct business in all 50 states and include companies that manage waste, recycling and medical waste, equipment manufacturers and distributors, and a variety of other service providers. For more information about NWRA, please visit www.wasterecycling.org.

Brandon Wright
National Waste and Recycling Association