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The Plague of Uncertainty: The Pandemic’s Unpredictable Impacts on Recycling and Its Markets

Today's guest blog is authored by NERC Board Member Chaz Miller. The original posting can be found here.

At the end of January, I spoke on recycling markets at the Connecticut Recyclers Coalition Annual Conference. I never uttered the word “pandemic”. So much for my predictive abilities.

In spite of that, they asked me to do a webinar at the end of this month on the pandemic’s impact on recycling markets. Much of its impact on the industry is well known. Residential trash and recyclables are up, commercial trash and recyclables are down. Because businesses, as a whole, generate more of both, overall waste and recycling generation are down. Due to social distancing and other requirements, MRF workers are being separated and line speed has slowed. Worker shortages have been…

Is Disposable Dishware Safer?

Today's guest blog was authored by Alex Freid of the Post Landfill Action Network (PLAN). The original post can be found here.

Dining on College Campuses During the COVID-19 Pandemic

About a month ago, we announced that we were going to host a digital discussion for campus sustainability staff called “Zero Waste Strategic Planning During COVID-19”. We framed the conversation as a space to come together to discuss the following questions:

  • “How do we maintain momentum towards zero waste goals while campuses aren’t active?”
  • “How can we use this time while students aren’t physically on campus to map out long-term strategies for our programs and projects when we get back?”

In the sign-up form, we asked staff to share what their projects currently look like while they are working from home, and what concerns they have about ongoing zero waste efforts. In total, over 250 campus staff signed up, causing us to schedule…

Natural Gas: Bridge or Anchor?

This week's NERC guest blog is courtesy of As You Sow, a leading shareowner advocacy organization and a proponent of sustainable investing. The original post can be found here.

By Lila Holzman and Daniel Stewart

“We have been talking about, for the last few years, gas as the bridge… There is an inevitability about bridges, which is that sooner or later you get to the end of the bridge."⁠ — Adnan Amin, International Renewable Energy Agency

The window of opportunity to prevent catastrophic climate change

In My Opinion: It’s time for recycled-content mandates

Today's guest blog is authored by Clarissa Morawski, managing director of the Reloop Platform. The post was originally published in Resource Recycling Magazine.

Accelerating the transition to a circular economy has become a high priority for major companies and governments around the globe.

The goal is to keep materials in the economy for as long as possible and then to recover them to be reused and recycled into new materials and products. This necessitates strong and consistent demand for recycled materials and depends on manufacturers integrating secondary materials (instead of virgin) into their new products and packaging.

For nearly two decades, the dominant market for many of the world’s recycled materials was China. In 2016 alone, Chinese manufacturers and recyclers imported 7.3 million metric tons of waste plastics (valued at $3.7 billion) from developed countries, including the EU, Japan, the U.K., the…

CDC Issues COVID Guidance for Recyclers

Responding to a request from NERC Advisory Member the National Waste and Recycling Association, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published guidance to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 among waste collectors and recyclers.