I said it—the "Z" word!
For me, special events are a perfect opportunity for introducing the topic of zero waste in a community. Special events present a microcosm of our society. People gather, they do activities together, and they generate a lot of waste. Special events present an opportunity for hands-on education about composting and zero waste. Recycling and composting can be successfully implemented at virtually any type of special event. Now is the time to begin planning for implementing zero waste at a special event. Take advantage of this year's event to conduct a waste assessment, introduce the concept to event organizers, food vendors, and volunteers, and get a handle on necessary tasks for successful implementation.
Implementing a "zero waste" or "near zero" event seems like an impossible task to many event organizers. Sure, events frequently offer recycling, a very laudable undertaking. However, taking that next step—to implement collection of compostables—just seems…
The other morning Michael Alexander (formerly from NERC, NRC, and now president of Recycle Away) stopped into NERC's office in downtown Brattleboro, Vermont. He was lugging a hefty book of National Recycling Coalition (NRC) records from the late 1980s. He wanted to know if we had any ideas on what to do with it. Fortunately I had read recently about the "U.S. Recycling Archives project."
This neat project was started by Neil Seldman, president of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR), Dan Knapp, co-founder of Urban Ore, and others. The project is housed at the University of Illinois-Springfield.
The University will act as a repository for documents, videos, tapes, and books relating to the recycling movement. According to the ILSR website, "the archives will allow for future historical research and models for citizen and community based initiatives in the environmental and economic development sectors."
The U.S. Recycling Archives project is seeking documents, graphics and anything else relating to the history of…
Currently there is no national professional certification standard to support state or provincial training programs for the recycling and resource management industry. Cities, institutions, and businesses are increasingly adopting sustainability, resource management, and/or zero waste policies. A trained and qualified workforce is best suited to meet the needs of a changing world, where budgets for recycling professionals are limited and programs are geared toward "cost efficiencies."
The Recycling Organizations of North America (RONA) has set out to change this with its recent adoption of "The Plan for National Standards for Certifying Sustainable Resource Management Training Programs and Professionals." 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.
A National Standards Certification Board has…
"C&D" wastes are generated every day around the planet—from new construction to demolition projects. While much of the C&D waste gets recycled, a significant portion still ends up in our landfills. And, markets for C&D material vary widely around the Northeast and the rest of the country.
Through its "Toward Zero Waste as a Practical Strategy in the Construction and Demolition Industry" project, NERC has worked with WasteCap Resource Solutions to provide training on C&D recycling and waste reduction. WasteCap offers construction and demolition waste management services, including planning, technical, and educational assistance.
According to WasteCap, construction and demolition debris amounts to 40% of our nation's municipal solid waste (60% MSW @ 250 million tons: 40% CD @ 170 million tons). Several of the "landfill top ten" are materials generated by construction and demolition projects. These include:
- Untreated wood (13%)
- Asphalt roofing shingles (6%)
- Cardboard (4%)
- Metals (4%)
For the average construction and demolition job, just recycling wood; cardboard; metal;…
Follow NERC on Facebook & Twitter
Be sure to keep up with all the happenings at NERC on our Facebook page. Please press the "Like" icon to make us popular! You can also connect with NERC on Twitter: @NERecycling. Thanks to the support of the American Chemistry Council and Steel Recycling Institute in helping to launch NERC's social marketing program.
NERC's Email Bulletin and NERC in the News are two ways to keep up with NERC projects, as well as information on NERC State Members and Advisory Members. While at NERC's website, be sure to check out…
Founded in 1987, NERC is celebrating its silver anniversary in 2012. Looking back, it seems to have been a constant whirlwind of innovation, success, and collaboration. A unique organization, NERC can boast of its leadership in regional strategies that support environmental and economic sustainability through source reduction, recycling, environmentally preferable purchasing, and recycling market development. NERC has demonstrated its leadership with its projects and has broken new ground in a number of important areas.
As an organization, NERC conducts projects that influence policy and affect change through research, technical assistance, demonstration projects, and education.
Among NERC's many accomplishments since its 20th anniversary are: