I recently attended a conference for the solid waste and recycling industries. Many subjects were discussed, from food waste composting to geostatistical plume interpolation to handling disasters. I may know the basics of some of these things, but I admit I had to look up the geostatistical plume interpolation description.
All this information collecting really had me thinking about the many changes this world is going through. Like it or not, you have to accept that things do change. Some changes and opportunities in recycling are fascinating. Is zero waste in our future? Many companies are working towards that end.
The floods that Cedar Rapids experienced in 2008 caused a huge change in that city, but along with that were learning opportunities. Those opportunities were passed on to others to help the rest of us plan for disaster. One attendee told everyone not to say we need to do something “if” it happens, but “when” it happens. It is only a matter of time before some kind of disaster strikes your area. If you’ve been lucky enough not to experience a major disaster, count yourself lucky. I do.
Cedar Rapids disaster assistance personnel received different information on what they could and couldn’t do from many entities. As flood waters receded, FEMA, other federal agencies, EPA and emergency services all gave advice, but it seemed none of them agreed. The local landfill had to deal with destruction from 10 square miles of flood-affected area. No one was prepared for everything that was thrown at them, especially 478,000 ton of debris to manage.
Changes came about for many other service areas based on their experiences. Can you ever be totally prepared for the changes that come in your life? Probably not, but every step you take to prepare yourself will make those changes a little easier to make.
A flood, a tornado, a fire — any disaster would require a lot of thought and problem solving strategies. How do you make sure hazardous wastes are handled properly? Where will appliances be taken? Where will you find the manpower necessary? All these things are in plans by emergency management personnel, but does your business have written plans for disaster? Are your employees aware of these plans? Do you have a disaster plan for your home?
So many opportunities are available for a person to plan for a disaster. Use them. Type “disaster planning” into your web browser, and you’ll find many sources. Be prepared.
Information provided by Lois Powers, administrator, Boone County Landfill, Recycling Center, Health and Sanitation, Keep Boone County Beautiful.