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NERC Blog

A Case for Producer Responsibility

In the current system, manufacturers who profit from the sale of their wares have little incentive to make durable products or minimal, easily recycled packaging, or to incorporate recycled feedstock in their packaging. There is a bill in the Massachusetts House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee, H447, An Act Reducing Packaging Waste in the Commonwealth, that assigns a fee to packaging sold in Massachusetts. The fee is based on the product’s recyclability, recycled content, and cost to manage at end of life. It provides an incentive for more lean and thoughtful packaging design, and to create domestic markets for our recyclables. The proceeds provide funding for improved recycling infrastructure development, municipal solid waste relief and public enlightenment.

Food, Culture, and Loss

The world suffered a great loss with the death of Anthony Bourdain earlier this month. Through his television shows, interviews, books, and public speaking engagements, Bourdain provided us with a taste of a wider world. Bourdain spoke of food waste as “an issue that goes fundamentally against my instincts as a longtime working cook and chef, where we were taught from the very beginning that one just does not and cannot and must not waste food." In 2017, he produced WASTED! The Story of Food Waste.

Who Killed Recycling?

The harm to recycling has been inflicted by recycling’s friends, not its enemies. Is recycling dying? No. But to successfully sustain recycling programs and to spring back from the current market mess, we need to become realistic about the problems facing recycling. We need to start setting goals based on real-world analysis, not subjective wishfulness. We need to create a business atmosphere that encourages the development of viable manufacturing facilities that can be substantial recycling markets. Recycling can succeed if we acknowledge its costs, set realistic goals and design our programs to accommodate human behavior. Why not start now?

Make an Impact on World Environment Day 2018

It’s World Environment Day—“a global celebration of nature, a day to reconnect with the places that matter most to you.” It’s a fantastic opportunity to get involved in a cause and do something in your local community to help make a positive impact on our environment. According to organizers, World Environment Day is the UN's “most important day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment.”

Student Art as Message

“Our creative projects communicate a vital and urgent environmental truth: We need to sustain the planet that sustains all our lives now and for our future generations.”

Zoos, Aquariums, and Eco-Friendly Waste Management Programs

NERC Supporting Member Solus Group blogs on composting and other sustainability measures being embraced by leading zoos in the United States.

The Dangers of “Wishcycling”

As the impacts of China’s new import policies to reduce trash in the recyclables begin to impact our collection programs, you may be seeing a lot more articles about the health of recycling, both locally and across the globe. In many cases, these articles are communicating the same basic information: • Recycling contamination – or the percentage of trash mixed with recyclables – has increased and it’s jeopardizing the global recycling industry • Going forward, China will not purchase recyclables if there is just a fraction of trash mixed with the items • As a result, we all must focus our efforts on recycling the right items the right way

A Diversion Model for Rural America

As a part of its environmental sustainability efforts, West Nottingham Academy in Maryland has developed a partnership with Kilby Farm and Creamery. Kilby Farm serves as an outdoor classroom for WNA students and provides internship opportunities for students. The Farm also has a methane digester for processing manure from its 600-cow dairy operation. Last year, Kilby Farm started accepting all of the food waste and soiled napkins from the WNA Dining Services to feed into their methane digester. Students designed the food scrap collection program, developed promotion (with assistance from Kilby Farm), and provided training and ongoing monitoring of the food scrap collection. Once per week the ollected food scraps are transported by school staff and students to be tipped into the digester. Ultimately, the students involved with the school’s sustainability efforts are hoping to promote its Kilby Farm partnership as a model for food waste diversion for other rural and agricultural communities. NERC is working with the school through its USDA funded "Implementing Food Waste, Organics, and Manure Management in Rural Maryland Communities".

Worm Farming in NYS

The BioSoil Farm produces worm castings, potting soil and liquid nutrients at their facility in Glenville, New York. The workforce producing these products? One hundred and fifty thousand Night Crawlers living in low-rise bins on the farm. In communities of around 10,000 per bin, the worms are fed organic waste grain and compost from a farm in Vermont to create microbe rich castings.

Novel Networking at NERC’s Spring Workshop

An unexpected visitor arrives, seeking the knowledge of NERC Spring Workshop attendees. Afterward, both visitor and attendees praise the serendipity of the meeting.