Renewing Sustaining Member
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NERC's mission is to advance an environmentally sustainable economy by promoting source and toxicity reduction, recycling, and the purchasing of environmentally preferable products and services.
State and Advisory Member Updates are provided as submissions to NERC and may not reflect the policy or position of the Northeast Recycling Council, Inc.NERC is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
We are delighted to welcome Sharp Electronics as a renewing Sustaining Member, and the Centre County (PA) Solid Waste Authority as a new Supporting Member. Thank you! Especially in this troubled fiscal time, this demonstration of support for NERC is appreciated.
A hallmark of NERC is the strength of multi-stakeholder involvement and problem solving. This is a direct result of the active participation and support of NERC’s Advisory Members.
To see a listing of Advisory Members and the benefits of membership, visit the NERC Advisory Membership web page.
The broad spectrum of interests represented by NERC’s Advisory Members and Board Members and their willingness to participate significantly contribute to the unique and important role that NERC plays in recycling in the region.
NERC held a two-part webinar series on the Power of Purchasing in March. The well-attended events included more than 100 people at each of the two webinars from 19 states and Canada. Attendees included state agencies, city and county offices, national parks, non-profit organizations, and consultants.
Speakers for the webinars included the following experts:
Thank you to everyone who helped NERC spread the word about the webinars to your colleagues.
For more information, contact Mary Ann Remolador of NERC.
NERC has been awarded a 3-year grant from the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program. SARE is a USDA competitive grants program supporting agriculture that is profitable, environmentally sound, and good for communities. The project -Marketing On-farm Compost for Sustainability & Economic Viability - will work with on-farm compost operations in Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and New Hampshire.
Twenty farm operations and state agencies have signed on as project “team members” to work with NERC to develop and implement the project. Through the project, NERC will provide free field day/workshops for farmers and agricultural specialists, a Compost Marketing Toolkit, and technical assistance with developing and implementing compost marketing plans.
Organics - including yard trimmings and food scraps - comprise more than 25 percent of the waste stream. Farm compost operations can play a valuable role in helping to divert these materials from disposal. Farmers often compost for on-farm use, however selling the product off-farm presents challenges that comparatively few have successfully navigated. Regulatory requirements and marketing needs are just a few of the barriers that farmers face. Demand for compost products is on the rise, presenting a viable value-added product for farmers.
NERC, along with project Team Members, will provide the tools to help farmers: 1) explore composting as a value-added product to support their current business operation; 2) understand the importance of quality control and compost recipe develop; 3) learn how to acquire the necessary permits to operate and market compost in their state; 4) explore potential feedstocks and pricing structures; 5) develop marketing and sales strategies to effectively meet local and regional demand; and 6) develop and implement a compost marketing plan.
For more information contact Athena Lee Bradley, NERC Projects Manager.
NERC recently completed a project that promoted the procurement of “green computers” by public and private sector institutional purchasers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, and other EPA Region 3 states. The project promoted the use of the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT®), a procurement tool launched in 2006 by the Green Electronics Council that identifies computer products that meet specified environmental performance criteria. The NERC project was funded by a grant from EPA Region 3.
Through the grant, NERC launched an outreach campaign targeting institutional purchasers that included teleconferences, direct contact, technical assistance, and presentations to target audiences. Resources were developed for purchasers and information technology staff about EPEAT, including a Fact Sheet, PowerPoint presentations, model procurement language, and calculations of the environmental benefits of purchasing EPEAT registered computer products. A web page dedicated to the green procurement of computers was developed and posted on the NERC website.
NERC’s outreach campaign reached almost 500 individuals in state and local government, businesses, and colleges and universities in Region 3. While it is difficult to measure the direct impact of this outreach on specific procurements, NERC is confident that its efforts raised the level of awareness about EPEAT, and in some cases influenced purchasing decisions and the incorporation of EPEAT into procurement specifications.
A report on the project has been posted on the NERC website. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) are highlighted in this report as organizations that have embraced EPEAT. These two organizations purchased over 56,000 EPEAT registered computer units in 2008. The environmental impact of this procurement, included greenhouse gas reductions equivalent to removing 2,454 passenger cars from the road and energy reductions equivalent to the electricity to power 1,620 households for a year.
Middletown, Connecticut has the honor of being the 30th State Electronics Challenge Partner. The State Electronics Challenge (SEC) is a voluntary program that encourages state, regional, and local governments, including schools, colleges, universities, and other public entities to:
Government agencies and organizations participate as "Partners" in the program. The SEC provides Partners with resources and technical assistance for improving electronics management practices, and offers annual recognition to Partners that have achieved specific goals.
To date, thirty government entities – with more than 40,000 employees - have signed on as SEC Partners, making a commitment to improve the environmental footprint of their computer assets. For the current list of Partners, visit http://stateelectronicschallenge.net/current_partners.html.
By becoming a Partner, you will be demonstrating environmental leadership in your state, region, and the nation. Your actions as a Partner will have significant environmental impact. For example, for every 1,000 “green” computers you purchase and recycle, you
Partner-Only Resources. The SEC will help you to implement the life cycle practices that you choose.
The development and piloting of the State Electronics Challenge has been made possible by a grant to the Northeast Recycling Council, Inc. from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Students throughout the state will learn on Saturday, March 14, who the winners are in the Maine Recycles Video Contest (MRVC). They’ll gather at the Maine State Museum to celebrate their accomplishments at an awards ceremony being held in their honor. The MRVC will award prizes and share some of the most promising work developed during its 2008 competition. The winners along with their families and teachers will have a chance to enjoy the humor (and sarcasm!) used in telling the recycling story. The basic theme of the 30 second videos is to encourage residents to recycle more and throw away less. The videos will then become part of the outreach efforts of the Maine Recycles project and be distributed to the various media outlets across Maine.
The MRVC is an event sponsored by the Maine Recycles Steering Committee, a group of state and regional government organizations and business members working together to promote the value of recycling to Maine residents and businesses. Any student attending a Maine college, high school or middle school can compete in this contest, regardless of age. The challenge to create a 30-second video that can be broadcast as a public service announcement promoting recycling. Now in its second year, the MRVC has already experienced a 40% increase in participation.
This year’s prize winners were chosen by members of the steering committee and associates and included a ‘People’s Choice’ winner, which was selected by visitors to the Time Warner’s ‘your town’s cable’ website. Judges selected from among 127 original entries submitted by students representing 35 schools across the state. Cash prizes include $500 for the first place video, along with a $1,000 technology grant being given to the supporting school. Two second place winners each will receive $500. The middle school videos are judged in a separate category and receive $500 for first place and $500 to the supporting school. One second place video will win $250.
The finalists include:
Middle school videos were judged in their own category. Prizes will be awarded to:
Semi-finalists included videos created by students at Bangor High School and Oxford Hills Technical School.
The Maine State Planning Office Waste Management and Recycling Program receives requests throughout the year from municipal recycling programs asking for financial assistance with education. To address some of those needs, the Maine Recycles Toolkit was created with downloadable resources that can be modified to be community-specific. Now for a limited time, SPO is offering support in the form of matching funds to help with recycling education and outreach and to promote toolkit use. Individual municipalities and regional programs are eligible. The deadline is March 27.
On March 4th the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) hosted its ever popular Organics Recycling Summit for the 9th year drawing a record breaking attendance of over 235 professionals!
Participants interested in diverting food waste and managing organics descended upon the Devens Common Center to hear speakers highlight topics such as the growing practice of carbon credit trading and what types of agricultural projects may be eligible now and in the future; Utilizing compost for storm water and erosion control; green roof applications; school and municipal food waste programs and interactive roundtables on financing and MassDEP regulatory updates.
Participants also visited the exhibit hall, which featured 20 vendors specializing in composting equipment, compostable products and emerging technologies for managing food waste.
MassDEP was especially pleased to feature Commissioner Doug Petersen from the Department of Agricultural Resources and Commissioner Laurie Burt from MassDEP as Keynote speakers. Commissioner Petersen outlined collaborative efforts between the DAR and DEP including increased support for farms that provide capacity for composting including the development of training opportunities to improve compost site management. Commissioner Burt invited attendees to advance food waste diversion opportunities by participating in stakeholder meetings being conducted as part of the new Solid Waste Master Plan revision.
Attendees were invited to attend open houses at Brick Ends Farm in Hamilton and Groundscapes Express in Wrentham on March 5th. These facilities provided equipment demonstrations, displayed their finished products and talked about their general operating practices.
Presentations from the Summit will be made available soon. F
On March 12, 2009, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) and the Massachusetts Food Association (MFA), a trade association representing over 500 supermarkets and grocery stores, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for targeted reduction in the distribution of grocery bags in Massachusetts supermarkets. It is estimated that over 1.5 billion plastic bags are distributed annually by supermarkets across the state.
Under the MOU, Massachusetts supermarkets have volunteered to work toward the following goals:
MassDEP commits to:
MassDEP Commissioner Laurie Burt and MFA President Chris Flynn took part in the signing of the MOU. Representatives from major supermarket chains were also on-hand for the historic event as well as numerous television and media outlets.
MassDEP and MFA have worked collaboratively over the last 10 years on other voluntary waste reduction initiatives, including the Supermarket Organics Recycling Network (SORN) in which over 200 supermarkets participate in food scrap diversion, cardboard, and shrink film/plastic recycling and food donation.
MassDEP is hopeful that the Green Communities Act, signed into law June 2008, may provide a source of funding for recycling and waste reduction initiatives in FY2010. Under Section 32 of the Act, 50% of the revenue from Tier II renewable energy credits received by certain waste-to-energy facilities will be available for recycling programs approved by the Department.
MassDEP has issued draft regulations that define how Waste-to-Energy facilities become eligible for the waste-to-energy credits and how the funds for recycling programs will be managed and spent.
The recycling programs envisioned in the draft regulations will extend to municipalities, businesses, non-profits, and state agencies, and will cover waste reduction, recycling, and market development initiatives.
We are preparing to draft the annual grant solicitation for the Sustainable Materials Recovery Program which will reflect the goals and objectives to be presented in the new Solid Waste Master Plan. MassDEP plans to provide further information and to solicit input on the SMRP at regional meetings this spring.
We expect to issue our FY2010 grant solicitation this summer and will hold grant workshops across the state at that time.
The Commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) issued a final written finding pursuant to Environmental Conservation Law 27-2107(8) to determine whether non-mercury alternatives are available for five mercury-containing products. The five products are sphygmomanometers, thermometers (except mercury body/fever thermometers which were banned in January 1, 2005), wetted reed relays, flame sensors, and thermostats (except those used by the blind or visually impaired).
The final finding, entitled Commissioner’s Final Written Finding on Non-mercury Alternatives to Certain Mercury-containing Products, may be viewed on the NYSDEC website. This final finding states that non-mercury alternatives are comparable in price to, are as effective in performance as, and are as accurate and precise as mercury sphygmomanometers; therefore, mercury sphygmomanometers may no longer be sold in NYS. Mercury thermometers, mercury wetted reed relays, mercury flame sensors, and mercury thermostats may continue to be sold in NYS since these devices are necessary in certain circumstances according to the final finding. NYSDEC urges users of these products to purchase non-mercury alternatives whenever possible. The final finding becomes effective April 17, 2009 which is 30 days after the notice, which summarizes the final finding, appeared in New York State’s Environmental Notice Bulletin (March 18, 2009).
The Rockland County (New York) Solid Waste Management Authority (the Authority) has appointed Anna Roppolo, a Stony Point resident, as its new Executive Director, to fill the vacancy left when previous Executive Director Andrew T. Lehman resigned in October 2007. Ms. Roppolo has been Comptroller of the Authority since 2005, and in that capacity has been responsible for all areas of finance related to budget and bonding, personnel administration, contract negotiation and facility operation.
During the past year, Ms. Roppolo has also served unofficially as the de facto Executive Director, and successfully assumed responsibility for the daily decisions related to the Authority’s business in all areas of administration.
The Authority is an environmental agency established in 1991. It owns and operates recycling, yard waste, household hazardous waste, and composting facilities as well as transfer stations that handle municipal solid waste. Additionally, the Authority fulfills its environmental mission through outreach and education with an onsite interactive recycling museum visited by thousands of school children and a native plants and home composting demonstration garden, as well as participating in environmental outreach programs in coordination with Rockland County environmental committees, nonprofits and grassroots groups, and the annual Keep Rockland Beautiful Great American CleanUp.