Disaster Debris Management

Prepare your business for severe weather events and natural disasters.

Hurricane Ike - Texas Clean up Every day a business is closed could mean thousands in lost revenue. How prepared is your business to manage delays in supplies and services following a major weather event or disaster? What’s your plan to recover? Does your plan match up with your vendor partners’ plan? Having a disaster recovery plan will help to minimize the physical and collateral damage to your business caused by these types of events.

Delays in garbage collection can be a hindrance in getting your business back on its feet. With national haulers, it may be 3-6 weeks before normal garbage and recycling collection resumes following a severe weather event such as an earthquake, tornado, hurricane or snow storm. Many times it’s the local independent operators who are first on the scene removing debris in the wake of such events, not held back by a corporate chain of command or union, ‘red tape.’ Garbage collectors are literally called upon to, ‘pick up the pieces,’ following major disasters and they play a unique roll in disaster management.  They are first responders helping to clear roadways for emergency and utility crews and may be working 24 hour shifts during disaster recovery.

Last year’s hurricane Sandy taught city officials on the eastern seaboard that even with preparation, coordinating and executing clean-up can take weeks if not months. New York estimated debris at more than 390,000 tons during the initial clean up of the event.  In New Jersey, the amount reached 6.5 million cubic yards of debris, most of which was vegetation.  In addition to thousands of damaged vehicles, 115,000 containers of hazardous waste were collected and required special disposal. It was a monumental task that required help from waste haulers, recyclers and landfill operators in and outside the affected areas. (Waste 360)

Of special concern are damaged items not typically part of the waste stream. Storms like Sandy created asbestos contaminated debris, influxes in electronic waste, food spoilage, hazardous waste, appliances and damaged automobiles. In the aftermath of a disaster, recyclers may not want you to dispose of recyclables as normal due to contamination and other factors. A recent 6.1 earthquake near California’s Napa County created massive amounts of broken glass from wineries and other businesses. Immediately following the event, a local glass recycler issued a warning to businesses not to put broken wine bottles into their regular glass recycle containers but into the regular waste bin. (City of Napa)

For some businesses, disruptions in supply chain logistics and continuity can significantly affect production and can cause some businesses to come to a grinding halt. Depending on your business size and needs, having a recovery plan can help minimize the affects of these types of disruptions.

Quick Recovery Strategies:

–          Decide how employees will communicate, where they will go and how they will keep doing their jobs. Determine off-site meeting places, designate team leaders to be responsible for handling specific tasks such as garbage and debris collection. An employee disaster plan will help minimize confusion following a major event. (CSOonline.com)

–          Businesses will need an IT recovery plan. When data is compromised or unable to function following a major disaster it can be devastating as some data is vital to the operation of your business. A plan for backing up data and restoration of data should be in place. Prior to a storm, employees should save or back up all work and surge protectors should be standard in every office to protect all equipment. (Ready.gov)

–          Having strong vendor partnerships with businesses that have their own disaster recovery plans and can provide flexible or alternative solutions and service options to help during the recovery phase.

National Waste Associates helps businesses get back on their feet after a disaster. Our strong relationships with our haulers and our volume of business mean our requests get priority. Our nationwide network of haulers includes both national and local independent operators. Often times it’s the independent operators we work with that are able to resume service more quickly and assist us with specific needs upon request.  We have disaster management plans in place to make sure the clients we serve receive up-to-the-minute information regarding debris removal, garbage collection and help with hazardous waste items following a major event. For more information about our waste and recycling management solutions please call 1-888-692-5005 or email sales@nationalwaste.com.