SWANA has collected and submitted orders for cloth face coverings on behalf of the entire U.S. solid waste and recycling industry to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). HHS, along with other federal partners, are providing cloth face coverings at no cost to essential critical infrastructure workers in the United States. SWANA was asked to assist in the distribution by promoting the program and collecting orders.
SWANA submitted more than 1,540 orders totaling over 2.4 million facial coverings on behalf of solid waste and recycling professionals across the United States. The face coverings will be going to public and private sector workers in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Companies and agencies who placed orders should expect to receive the facial coverings by mid-August.
“SWANA is proud to provide this important service to this great industry, which continues to work hard on a daily basis, collecting, processing, and disposing of solid waste and recyclables,” stated David Biderman, SWANA Executive Director and CEO. “The facial coverings to be provided by the federal government are an important supplement to the personal protective equipment (PPE) that front-line workers and others in the industry and at local governments are using to protect themselves from COVID-19. We look forward to additional collaborative opportunities with federal officials and others, including providing PPE and other materials,” Biderman added.
Numerous municipalities, national solid waste companies, small and medium-sized haulers, and organizations that support the industry took advantage of the free face coverings and placed orders to help protect their employees and the public. Many states and local governments are requiring or recommending facial coverings for essential workers. The face coverings are 100% cotton and contain silver and copper, which FEMA says may help kill or stop the growth of viruses and germs.
“We are very thankful for SWANA’s support in keeping our men and women safe during these challenging times,” said Michael Fernandez, Director of the Miami-Dade County Department of Solid Waste Management (DSWM). “DSWM was able to order 5,000 masks as a result of SWANA’s ongoing efforts during the pandemic. This order will help keep DSWM’s men and women safe while continuing to provide uninterrupted waste and recycling collection services to over 340,000 household customers and serve the disposal needs of approximately 1.7 million tons. I’m very proud of being a SWANA Member, Director of SWANA’s Collections and Transfer Technical Division, and part of the Board of Directors for SWANA’s Florida Sunshine Chapter.”
The solid waste and recycling industry is a critical and essential part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As businesses start to reopen, it is as important as ever to keep essential workers protected and safe.