Solid Waste & Recycling


Hurricane Katrina may benefit waste companies

Analysts believe Hurricane Katrina -- so destructive to people, property, and other businesses -- presents a large ...

Analysts believe Hurricane Katrina — so destructive to people, property, and other businesses — presents a large business opportunity for waste services companies. At present the companies are relocating their local staff and assessing damage to facilities, and will have to replace equipment and repair damaged facilities. But when cleanup begins of the affected areas of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, waste haulers are likely to see a significant spike in waste at landfills, both from debris and new construction. (The area damaged by the storm is estimated to be approximately the size of Great Britain.)

A report from Reuters states that analysts believe that environmental services companies could see a more immediate boost as their expertise will be needed in flood-ravaged areas. Analysts have also cautioned that rainfall on landfills could take time to extract. But over the long term, waste recycling and disposal firms stand to benefit from increased volumes. Cleanup in Florida from four hurricanes added a two to three percent increase in disposal volumes at many waste companies last year. Waste Management Inc. alone saw approximately $100 million in hurricane-related revenue in 2004.

A manager at Waste Management states that the companies employees and customers have been hit hard in the affected areas, since the company services all of New Orleans and owns the landfill in the area.

"We have set up various relief efforts to support our employees and other victims," said the manager, responding to questions from Solid Waste & Recycling magazine. "Bill Clinton and George Bush Sr. thanked Wal-Mart and WM for our efforts in the cleanup in a news conference. We are currently assessing our landfill, districts and equipment. Also, we have set up an Employee Relief Fund and a Red Cross Relief Fund for employees to contribute donations."

In an effort to aid in the Katrina crisis, Allied Waste has also created an employee relief fund with a $1.1 million initial commitment, including a $100,000 commitment by CEO John Zillmer. The company has also deployed corporate and field leaders to aid in operational cleanup efforts in the area, and has sent roll-off trucks and more than 800 containers to the Gulf Coast.

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