Do schools have an obligation to recycle? For most of us schools are an integral part of our early life—teachers are our mentors, books our tools for exploring the world. Civic lessons teach us the importance of obeying laws and voting. Hands-on activities, such as recycling and picking-up after ourselves, help to make us conscientious and concerned adults.
Schools should inspire passion. Many of us grew up with the "Crying Indian" and its strong visual image against litter. It became our responsibility to pick up after ourselves and not just throw our trash on the ground. Schools reinforced this message, helping us to realize that we a can make a difference in our community—that we care about ourselves, our family, and our community. School recycling can inspire students to care about the planet, to examine the resources that we use to make our world sustainable, to look at the consequences of using resources and generating pollution and waste.
Schools help to shape the habits that we continue as adults. Students who participate in recycling now will have more of an incentive to carry on this "habit" as adults. We learn as children the benefits of recycling, how…
Check out the Free Northeast Regional Recycling Markets Database. The Recycling Markets Database is a valuable tool for helping residents, municipalities, and businesses in the Northeast find places that reuse, recycle, and compost materials they no longer need or want. The database provides free access to more than 1,400 reuse, recycling, and composting facilities and service providers.
Searching the Database is quick and easy. Users can search by material type, geography, or by business type (e.g., processor, hauler, broker, end-user). The Database offers 17 primary, searchable material categories, ranging from electronics to organics. Each primary category is subdivided into secondary material types to allow for refined searches, with more than 150 secondary material categories. From paper to pallets, cell phones to plastics, you'll find it listed on the Recycling Markets Database. Even outlets for "hard-to-recycle" items, such as mattresses, or unusual items like wine corks, or materials requiring special handling like solvents and paints, can be found on the database. Reuse and recycling markets for industrial by-products and other business-specific…
With funding from EPA, Region II and the Environmental Finance Center at Syracuse University, NERC will be holding two C&D Recycling Trainings for contractors, architects, and recycling and reuse specialists in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The trainings, to be held in September 2012, will be presented by WasteCap Resource Solutions. NERC is partnering with the Puerto Rico Recycling Partnership, the USGBC U.S. Caribbean Chapter, and the Autoridad de Desperdicios Solidos for the trainings.
According to the US EPA, solid waste management in this island community continues to be a challenge due to Puerto Rico's sensitive island ecosystem and limited disposal space. Puerto Rico residents have lower recycling rates and produce more waste than people living on the USA mainland. Much of Puerto Rico's solid waste goes to one of the 5,320 square mile Island's more than 25 landfills. According to EPA, "the…
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 recycling in the United States. Contact…
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 recently been created to oversee governance and implementation of the Plan.
Check out the "featured news" section on the RONA homepage for more information and updates. We welcome your input into the process!…
"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 the Documents…
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: