National Waste & Recycling Association

The National Waste & Recycling Association is the trade association that represents the private sector solid waste and recycling industry. Visit and learn more the Association at wasterecycling.org.

Begin with the Bin is a public education resource developed by the National Waste & Recycling Association.

The National Waste & Recycling Association is located at:
4301 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20008
T: 800-424-2869, 202-244-4700
F: 202-966-4824
E: info@wasterecycling.org
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To use our contact form and to subscribe to our free publications, click here.
Media: Jessica Mayorga at 202-364-3706 or jmayorga@wasterecycling.org.

Begin with the Bin

Begin with the Bin is a public education resource developed by the National Waste & Recycling Association. The site offers information and resources related to the waste and recycling industries. Visit and learn more at beginwiththebin.org.

Be Safe Around Garbage Trucks

 

Slow Down to Get Around is a national safety campaign focused on reminding motorists to drive more carefully near waste and recycling collection vehicles. Motorists are often distracted while driving and frequently crash into collection employees or vehicles—sometimes with fatal consequences for both the collection employees and the people in the vehicle.

What can you do?

Contact your local legislator -- this link will help you determine who represents you locally. Laws that protect waste and recycling workers are passed at the state level. These laws exist in Alabama, Florida, Michigan, West Virginia, and Wisconsin, but we believe that these workers should be protected everywhere. Please do what you can to support the men and women who keep our communities clean and healthy.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has endorsed the campaign and partnered with the National Waste & Recycling Association to develop materials, including this flyer on safety around garbage trucks.

The Slow Down to Get Around program was developed by the National Waste & Recycling Association with Rumpke Consolidated, a waste hauler, and the McNeilus Companies, which manufactures garbage trucks. The partnership was spurred after two tragic accidents that resulted in the death of one Rumpke employee and severe injuries to a second. Both accidents were due to distracted driving.

Two-thirds of Americans won’t slow down around garbage trucks, survey finds

Nearly 40 percent are tempted to dangerously speed around them

March 23, 2015

WASHINGTON — A new survey suggests that although most Americans encounter garbage trucks on the road each week, only a third of people slow down near them while nearly 40 percent are actually tempted to speed around them.

The survey also found that most Americans believe that police officers and firefighters have deadlier jobs despite the fact the waste and recycling collectors have higher fatality rates than these other public service professions, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data.

“Americans need to know that when working around inattentive motorists, collecting waste and recyclables can be dangerous," said Sharon H. Kneiss, president and CEO of the National Waste & Recycling Association. “Drivers need to slow down to get around garbage trucks.”

Despite the very risky behavior of the general driving public, research shows that they strongly support doing something about the problem. Eighty-five percent agree with the statement: “I am in favor of laws protecting garbage collectors on this country’s roadways.” Once they are informed of the BLS data on fatalities, 90 percent are in favor, with nearly half (48 percent) strongly in favor.

“NWRA is making strides in various states to make these laws a reality. The Association’s Slow Down to Get Around campaign has promoted legislation to protect waste workers in the field,” said Kneiss. “Through education and increased penalties for distracted drivers and careless drivers, the SDTGA movement will make it safer for the industry’s workers to get their jobs done in American communities. “

Visit this link to learn more.

Additional major findings of the survey include:

  • Less than one-in-ten (8%) Americans believes that garbage collection has the highest fatality rate among the four professions listed. (46% selected firefighting, 43% chose police work, and 3% think paramedic work has the highest fatality rate).
  • Garbage trucks ARE noticed. Nearly nine-in-ten (88%) see garbage trucks on the road at least once a week, and one-in-six (16%) Americans see garbage trucks on the road every day.
  • Americans are tempted to speed around garbage trucks more than any other kind of service vehicle, with nearly two in five (38%) admitting this. Distant second is a school bus (8%), followed by a police car and fire truck (both 3%), an ambulance (2%), and other service vehicles (8%). Men are more likely than women to admit to being tempted to speed around garbage trucks they encounter on the road (42% vs. 34%, respectively).
  • This disregard extends to slowing down around garbage trucks. Only about one-third (32%) of Americans slow down around garbage trucks. Far more Americans hit the brakes around ambulances (77%), police cars (76%), fire trucks (72%), and school buses (69%).
  • A majority (85%) of Americans are in favor of laws protecting garbage collectors, with one-third (33%) strongly agreeing with the statement “I am in favor of laws protecting garbage collectors on this country’s roadways” BEFORE being told garbage collection has the highest fatality rate.
    • AFTER they’re told, 90% indicated they were in favor of laws protecting garbage collectors, with over two-in-five (48%) now strongly agreeing with the statement

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of the National Waste & Recycling Association from Nov. 11-13, 2014, among 2,012 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey results and methodology, including weighting variables, please go to this link.

Take action

To contact your local legislator – this link will help you determine who represents you locally. Slow Down to Get Around laws currently exist in Alabama, Florida, Michigan, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Efforts to enact laws are pending in several states.