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Disaster Preparedness and Clean-up

Due to the inevitability of Hurricane Sandy coming our way, it seems appropriate to keep this blog entry short and remind folks about NERC's document — "After the Disaster: A Guide for Residents and Small Businesses About Managing Debris Waste" — available for free download from the NERC website.

The document has pre-disaster tips for everything from brush clearing to toxic materials storage. The document also includes a wide range of clean-up information, including tips on drying out money, photos, appliances, and how to deal with mold.

Be safe!

Some Words from NERC's Founder

Shelley Dresser, NERC's founder and first Executive Director, continues our series of guest blogs by people who have been influential in NERC's 25 year history with some interesting notes on NERC's early history.

Here's what she says:

It is hard to imagine that NERC is 25 years old.

Shelley Dresser photoNERC was conceived at the Solid Waste Conference at the Penta Hotel in New York, during a conversation I had with Bernard Melewski, Counsel, NYS Commission on SolidWaste. As a garbage barge floated around NYC on a 112 day expedition, attempting to find a home for trash it was carrying, it became clear that a solution oriented approach to solid waste management was necessary. With Maurice Hinchey, a legislator from New York and the chairman of the Council of State Governments environment committee, I had all the support I needed to begin this endeavor.


Launching Innovation: Transforming Materials Management in CT

The CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) hosted a series of three Summits as part of their Solid Waste Management Plan and Climate Change Action Plan strategies. The idea for the events grew out of a Roundtable discussion which took place on January 18, 2012 with Northeast environmental and economic development commissioners. The Roundtable set the stage for exploring how 21st century waste management could unlock the value of the materials economy.

The last Summit was held on October 4, 2012 and focused on moving the "transformative materials management journey" from learning and ideas to action.

Presenters included:

  • Commissioner Daniel C. Esty
  • Geri Weiss, EPA New England
  • Kerrin O'Brien, Michigan Recycling Coalition
  • DEEP Deputy Commissioner Macky McCleary to share highlights on the Governor's Recycling Working Group findings
  • David T. Hudson, Strategic Materials, Inc.
  • Lynn Rubinstein, Northeast Recycling Council, Inc.
  • Kristin…

America’s Most Recycled Material

Steel Recycling Institute logoThe Steel Recycling Institute knows all about steel. It acts as an informational and technical resource for steel recycling and the life cycle impact and sustainability of steel products, including containers, construction, and automotive. SRI provides a wealth of information for the solid waste industry, government, businesses, and the steel product consumer. Be sure to check out SRI's website, it contains a lot of recycling resources.

A lot of people don't know that steel is North America's most recycled material. More steel is recycled annually than paper, plastic, aluminum, glass and copper combined. Steel scrap is an essential raw material in making new steel.

SRI is a long time NERC Advisory Member and provides funding for NERC's Blog and social marketing project, as well as NERC Conferences.

National Standards Certifications Board Update

In February 2012, a National Standards Certification Board convened to oversee governance and implementation of the Recycling Organizations of North America(RONA) "Plan for National Standards for Certifying Sustainable Resource Management Training Programs and Professionals (the Plan)." The process was initiated by RONA and the California Resource Recovery Association (CRRA), who collaborated on a federally-funded project to develop new resource management curriculum and a certification process.

Nine candidates were selected to serve on the NSC Board, including NERC staff, Athena Lee Bradley. The Board holds monthly conference calls and met at the recent Resource Recycling Conference in Austin. Board members also invited Conference attendees to an informational luncheon; additionally, Board chair, John Frederick, spoke about the national standard for professional certification programs on a Conference panel.

Why National Standards for Recycling Professionals?

The growth in communities, programs, and businesses striving for sustainability has created a demand for qualified staff trained in recycling, sustainable…

Garlic & Arts - A Zero-Waste Event

It's that time of year again when several solid waste professionals in the Southern Vermont/Western Massachusetts area volunteer at a zero waste event.

The North Quabbin Garlic & Arts Festival, held the last weekend in September, has been a zero waste event for six years. The all-volunteer coordinating committee made a commitment to recycle at its event inception 14 years ago. Some 10,000 people converge on a small farming community in the outskirts of Orange, Massachusetts to enjoy local entertainment, a variety of foods (with lots of garlic!), hundreds of booths (from artists to farm products), workshops, a family stage, and more.

I began volunteering at the event eight years ago. Event organizers decided to implement compost collection and they were looking for a coordinator. Resourceful event volunteers built low cost wooden "green stations" for recycling, compost, and trash collection. These functional and inexpensive bins have changed over the years as we learned how best to "educate" participants. Five stations are set up around the event—three in the food vendor area and two in…