David Biderman Writes About His Findings While Traveling
Because I travel frequently, I spend a lot of time in airports and Amtrak stations. Recently, I have gotten into the habit of looking in the recycling containers to see whether people are recycling properly. As you might imagine, they are not.
Often, the contents of the recycling container do not differ much from what’s in the trash. The recycling contains abundant amounts of food waste and lots of coffee cups. The trash bin usually has some soda cans and water bottles, and both containers are often filled with a wide variety of plastic.
China National Sword has highlighted the problems we have with our domestic residential recycling systems in both the United States and Canada. Based on my anecdotal research, the contamination issues in public spaces equal or exceed those on the residential side.
What to do? As with residential recycling, better education is needed. We need better signage about what should and shouldn’t be placed in the recycling container. Asking people to empty water bottles and soda cans before placing them in the container would be helpful. Placing the recycling bins in more prominent locations would also be useful.
SWANA will continue to play a leadership role with EPA and other stakeholders concerning how we should respond to the challenges and opportunities associated with preserving domestic recycling programs. Perhaps the airports, train stations, and bus terminals that millions of Americans and Canadians pass through every day need to be part of the conversation.
San Francisco International Airport has already taken the first step by becoming the first airport to ban plastic water bottles. SWANA is excited to see what other hubs join the movement.
David Biderman, Executive Director and CEO of SWANA
David Biderman is the Executive Director and CEO of the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA), and has been a leader in the waste industry for more than 20 years. Mr. Biderman joined SWANA in April 2015 after 18 years with the National Waste & Recycling Association, where he was their General Counsel, Vice President for Government Affairs and Safety Director. Mr. Biderman is the former industry lobbyist in New York City and is very passionate about safety. Mr. Biderman was the recipient of Preco’s Safety in Motion award for 2016, given to an individual who is making a difference on safety. He has provided safety and compliance training to thousands of workers throughout the United States and Canada. Prior to entering the waste industry, Mr. Biderman was an attorney at the Washington DC law firm Steptoe & Johnson, where he specialized in environmental and transportation law. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and Johns Hopkins University.