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Reflections on NERC and Recycling

Tom Houska, Senior District Manager for the Delmarva Peninsula at Waste Management, Inc, takes a moment to reflect on NERC and recycling.

Here's what Tom has to say:

When did you first become involved with NERC and how long were you actively involved?
I became involved with NERC in the early 1990's. I was actively involved for about 15 years (+/-).

How did you first get involved with NERC?
I was working for the Delaware Solid Waste Authority (DSWA) – the agency representing the State of Delaware on NERC. My boss, N.C. Vasuki, appointed me to the Committee.

What were you "doing" then, and what you're doing now?
At DSWA I had several roles throughout my 16 year tenure. When I retired from the DSWA five years ago I was the Chief of Administration. I was responsible for financial forecasting, regulations and compliance, strategic planning, recycling operations, political liaison, marketing and public information. When I left DSWA I took a position with Waste Management, Inc. - Senior District Manager for the Delmarva Peninsula. I am still in that position today.


Forget the Travel Mug…Eat the Cup!

The coffee of the near future may be coming to you in an edible cup made out of pastry. Drink your coffee and eat the pastry! And, since there is no dish to wash, it saves on water too.

The edible coffee cup was created by Venezuelan designer Enrique Luis Sardi for Italian coffee company Lavazza.

Coming to your local coffee shop soon! (or, at least the nearest Starbucks!)

via PSFK:

Thoughts about NERC and Recycling

Mike Giuranna, Solid Waste Specialist, with EPA Region 3 Office of Materials Management, continues our series of guest blogs by people who have been influential in NERC's 25 year history.

Here's what he has to say:

When did you first become involved with NERC and how long were you actively involved?
In 1997 when I moved into Solid Waste Program with EPA, Region III in Philadelphia.

How did you first get involved with NERC?
Attended a NERC meeting, I believe in Atlantic City, NJ. Was also involved with an EPA Grant to NERC.

What were you "doing" then, and what you're doing now?
Working with EPA, Region III in Solid Waste, landfills and recycling /composting, and I'm still doing the same thing.

What are some of your fondest memories of NERC?
The meetings, some of the discussions on Solid Waste topics, networking with NERC staff and State and local solid waste people were always interesting.

What do you consider to be NERC's greatest…

Take Another Look At Recycling

Many businesses have been recycling for years.Their recycling infrastructure was developed when the decision was first made to recycle—the recycling bins are in place, staff knows they are expected to recycle, the recycling bins get emptied, and the recycling hauler takesthe materials away. The job is done! Now it's two, five, or ten, years later and the recycling program doesn't seem as effective as it did in the beginning. The recycling tonnages haven't increased and the trash tonnages may be the same or have increased. What went wrong?

Review, Analyze, Revise

recycling 8-14-2012 aRecycling programs like other programs need to be reviewed, analyzed, and revised. Many changes occur over time that we may not be aware of because we're focused on our primary work. Examples of some of these changes are: new business practices that may generate different waste material or increased waste, staff turnover or downsizing, complacency, etc. Making the time each year to evaluate the recycling program will allow businesses to make the necessary changes in the program to accommodate…

Vietnam – Source reduction, reuse, recycling . . .

Morning rush hour in Hanoi

Traditional lifestyles co-exist with the modern - Hanoi

Vietnam is a complex country – communism and capitalism working hand-in-hand. According to the BBC, Vietnam intends to be a "developed nation" by 2020. As a developing nation, traditional lifestyles are evident side-by-side with economic growth.

On a trip to Vietnam in July 2012, I kept an eye out for examples of recycling and recycling containers. Perhaps not surprisingly, very few recycling containers, lots of source reduction, re-use, and recycling,…

Amazing Recycled Art

At the recent U.N. Conference of Sustainable Development, beautiful works of recycled art were displayed. They are made out of discarded plastic bottles on the Botafongo beach and are illuminated from the inside at night.

See more photos of the amazing works of art.

The Recycler: Mobile Recycling Robot by Don Jones was recently on display in Pittsburgh Three River Arts Festival.

See more of these fascinating scrap robots at a Robotic Showcase.

Continuing Reflections on NERC & Recycling

Cynthia L. Greene, Manager of US EPA New England, Energy and Climate Unit, continues our series of guest blogs by people who have been influential in NERC's history.

When did you first become involved with NERC and how long were you actively involved?
1990 to 2006

How did you first get involved with NERC?
On a paper recycling study and as a grant project officer.

What were you "doing" then, and what you're doing now?
I was the team leader for solid waste at EPA New England and managing all of the solid waste grant dollars. I now am the manager of the Energy and Climate Unit at EPA New England.

What are some of your fondest memories of NERC?
NERC quarterly meetings and the fruitful exchange between the states, working with the Direct Marketing Association and the Post Office on recycling, the ground breaking work on determining the economic benefits of recycling, and the venture forums.

What do you consider to be NERC's greatest strengths? Greatest achievements?
The dedicated and creative staff and members. ONP - newspaper publishers'…

Recycling Notes of Traveling NERC Staff

I'm sure professionals in a lot of fields take pictures relating to their jobs while on vacation. I know I do! I have always found examples of trash, recycling, and composting in other parts of our country or the world to be interesting.

I had the privilege of recently spending six days in the City of Vancouver, British Columbia. While walking around I noticed that paper set out for curbside collection was placed in plastic bags, while hard recyclables went in the blue box. Reading about the program, I discovered that Vancouver's Blue Box Recycling Program was implemented City-wide in 1990 and now provides service to over 100,000 households. Residents are provided a blue box (for metal, glass and plastic containers), a reusable yellow bag (for mixed paper products) and a reusable blue bag (for newsprint). Residents sort their recyclable materials into the appropriate bag or box and on collection day, set them out for collection. Using reusable bags is undoubtedly a way to hold down costs associated with recycling bin purchases.

More Illuminating Reflections on NERC & Recycling

As we recognize NERC's 25thanniversary, we are continuing our series of guest blogs by people who have been influential in NERC's history. Connie Saulter, was NERC's second Executive Director.

Here's what she has to say.

First of all, I would like to say Congratulations to everyone who has been involved in the Northeast Recycling Council since its inception. That NERC is celebrating its 25th Anniversary speaks volumes to a dedicated number of individuals and agencies who maintained a strong vision of the importance of a public/private partnership toward solid waste/recycling initiatives.

When did you first become involved with NERC and how long were you actively involved?

I joined NERC in the fall of 1990, when NERC consisted of just Shelley Dresser [NERC's 1st Executive Director] and me, and we worked from Shelley's home. When I left in the summer of 1995, NERC had real offices in downtown Brattleboro and four full-time staff.

How did you first get involved in NERC?


I put it on the Curb

…Where does it go?

I've been in the recycling field for more than 20 years and still get asked that question. As an occasional article for the NERC Blog I thought I would showcase companies in the Northeast that use recycled materials in the manufacturing of new products.

EARTHTEC is a company headquartered in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. EARTHTEC manufactures clothing out of recycled PET bottles. The company has manufacturing facilities around the world, including Portsmouth.


"We build cool clothes that go easy on the planet.
We are outdoor people. Our favorite place is Earth... We're into green.
We eat technical. We breathe comfort. We live fashion.
Our team is made up of apparel industry vets with endless passion for building products made only from cutting-edge…