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April 2019

NERC’s Advisory Members

Distinguished Benefactors

Consumer Technology Association (CTA)



Sustaining Members

  • American Chemistry Council

  • American Forest and Paper Association

  • Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR)

  • Bag To Earth

  • Casella Resource Solutions

  • Coca-Cola Beverages Northeast, Inc.

  • Council of State Governments/Eastern Regional Conference

  • CURC

  • Dart Container

  • Glass Recycling Coalition

  • Good Point Recycling

  • Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI)

  • International Bottled Water Association

  • Interstate Refrigerant Recovery

  • Keep America Beautiful

  • Keurig Dr. Pepper

  • Marcal, A Soundview Paper Company

  • MRM

  • National Waste & Recycling Association


  • Organix Solutions

  • PaintCare

  • Re-TRAC

  • Recycling Partnership

  • Republic Services

  • Schaefer Systems International, Inc.

  • Sims Municipal Recycling

  • Steel Recycling Institute

  • Strategic Materials

  • Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council (SPLC)


  • US Composting Council (USCC)

  • Waste Management

A list of all the logos of our Sustaining Members can be found under Advisory Members

New & Renewing Memberships

New Sustaining Member

Renewing Sustaining Members

Advisory Member Spotlight - PaintCare


State Update


Advisory Member News

Of General Interest

New & Renewing Memberships

Membership is key to NERC's regional and national commitment to sustainable materials management. We are pleased to welcome its newest Sustaining Member,  PaintCare, and renewing renewing Sustaining Members Casella Resource Solutions, Dart Containers, and the Steel Recycling Institute (SRI).

Thank you to all our Advisory Members. To see a complete listing of NERC's Members and Supporters, as well as the benefits of membership, visit the NERC Advisory Membership web page.

The broad spectrum of interests represented by NERC's Advisory Members, Individual Supporters, and Board Members and their willingness to participate significantly contribute to the unique and important role that NERC plays in recycling in the region.

For more information, contact Lynn Rubinstein, Executive Director.

Advisory Member Spotlight - PaintCare

Even today, in most states in the nation, leftover paint is usually stored until a household hazardous waste (HHW) day is scheduled. However, according to Earth911, “Most hazardous waste is incinerated instead of recycled.” For the environmentally conscious consumer, such a solution seems very far from adequate, especially when it has been confirmed that paint can be recycled. In fact, Earth911 reports, “Using 1 gallon of recycled paint instead of new paint saves 100 kilowatt-hours of energy and keeps 115 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the air.”

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that as much as ten percent, or 78 million gallons, of architectural paint is left over every year.

Fortunately for the environment, in eight states and the District of Columbia an industry trade association has successfully addressed the prior lack of recycling opportunities for paint. In 2009, NERC Advisory Member American Coatings Association (ACA), a membership-based trade association of the paint manufacturing industry, created PaintCare as a three-year pilot program in Oregon.

“After successfully demonstrating that the industry can design and deliver a program for post-consumer paint management,” stated Marjaneh Zarrehparvar, executive director of PaintCare, “the Oregon program became permanent through legislation in July 2013.” By 2016, the PaintCare program spread to seven more states—California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Minnesota, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont—and the District of Columbia.

Nearly 10 years since passage of that first law in Oregon, the nine programs provide 1,772 conveniently located postconsumer paint drop-off sites for the public. Paint retail stores make up 76% of the sites. In PaintCare states, well over 90% of residents live within 15 miles of a drop-off location. Drop-off sites accept house paint and primers, stains, sealers, and clear coatings (e.g., shellac and varnish) but do not accept aerosols (spray cans), solvents, and products intended for industrial or non-architectural use. Recruiting and maintaining this large network of drop-off sites, along with transportation, processing, and public education, is funded by fees paid by consumers when they purchase new paint in their state.

The program has also managed paint from more than 4,144 household hazardous waste and paint collection events, 3,083 large volume direct picks-ups (from painting contractor and other entities with more than 200 gallons of accumulated paint) and held 169 PaintCare-operated paint drop-off events in underserved communities. The program is collecting about 593,000 gallons of postconsumer paint per month and has collected just over 34.1 million gallons since it started. The large majority is water (latex) based, and the remainder is oil and solvent-based paints.

 “PaintCare joined NERC because we value what the coalition does to convene likeminded organizations facing shared opportunities and challenges in the region,” stated Zarrehparvar. “By participating in NERC, we see the chance to educate consumers about the program and the benefits of the paint take-back laws.”

At NERC’s Fall 2018 Conference, PaintCare received the 2018 Environmental Sustainability Leadership Award. In accepting the award, Ms. Zarrehparvar stated, “We are honored to receive this award recognizing the hard work of our state managers, Laura Honis and John Hurd, and the commitment of our hundreds of retail partners and municipal household hazardous waste collection programs across New England. We also thank our partners in each state's oversight agencies, whose leadership has enabled the local PaintCare programs to grow and thrive.”


NERC’s Conference—Building Better Recycling Markets—Ignited Discussions!

The third in a series of events about recycling markets, NERC’s Spring Conference in Wilmington, Delaware, included two days of in-depth discussions about building domestic demand for post-consumer recycled paper, glass, and plastics. More than 100 people from 20 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada attended. 

The Conference began with a polypropylene roundtable discussion jointly hosted by NERC and Closed Loop Partners.  Stephanie Baker of KW Plastics, Ronald Chislow of Buckeye Polymers, Eadaoin Quinn of EFS Plastics, Tom Outerbridge of Sims Municipal Recycling, Chris Coady of The Recycling Partnership, and Bridget Croke and Jon Powell of Closed Loop Partners were featured in the discussions. 

New Castle County Executive, Matthew Meyer provided the welcoming remarks and Michael Hoffman of Stifel delivered the keynote address.  Mr. Hoffman presented about where the global and domestic recycling economies are headed.  Following Mr. Hoffman, was a panel discussion about understanding the material needs of paper, glass, and plastics manufacturers with Jordan Tony of More Recycling, Mark Nelson of Strategic Materials, and Johnny Gold of The Gold Group Recycling Consultants.  Other Conference presenters included:

  • Herb Northrop, AeroAggregates
  • Brian Hawkinson, AF&PA
  • Liz Bedard, Association of Plastics Recyclers (APR)
  • Scott Byrne, Carton Council
  • Bridget Croke, Closed Loop Partners
  • Eadaoin Quinn, EFS Plastics
  • Garth Hickle, Independent Consultant
  • Mark Reiter, ISRI
  • John Caturano, Nestlé Waters North America Inc.
  • Mike Smaha, Owens-Illinois
  • Cherish Changala Miller, Revolution Plastics
  • Resa Dimino, RRS
  • Will Sagar, Executive Director, SERDC
  • William Schlenger, Soundview Paper
  • Nick Jovich, Trigon Plastics

The Conference presentations are in the NERC website section on NERC’s website.  For more information about the NERC’s events, contact Mary Ann Remolador, Assistant Director and Events Organizer.

Registration Fully Booked for NERC’s Contracting Webinar

It is obvious by the response from so many people who registered for the NERC’s Practices for Solid Waste & Recycling Contracting Webinar, that learning how to develop strong municipal/regional contracts for solid waste and recycling services is a priority. The webinar, to be held on April 4, will include the following speakers:

The topics they will be discussing are:

  • Pitfalls being experienced,
  • Risk and reward,
  • Municipal control,
  • Good management,
  • Workforce stability,
  • Environmental protections,
  • Insuring fairness, and
  • Transparency in determining MRF fees and valuing each material cost on a per ton basis.

NERC will post the webinar recording on its website by April 5.  If you have any questions about the webinar, contact Mary Ann Remolador.

Edible Food Donation Webinar - April 25For more information, contact Terri Goldberg.

Athena Lee Bradley’s Role at NERC Changes

Athena Lee Bradley, NERC Projects Manager, a national expert on organics management, has transitioned to a part-time position at NERC. Athena has been with NERC for 11 years. She recently accepted a position with the Windham Solid Waste District (Vermont) as their Programs Manager and as a result she resigned from her full-time position with NERC.

We are delighted that she is continuing to work with us. She’ll be finishing up on NERC’s two USDA-funded organics projects: Implementing Food Waste, Organics, and Manure Management in Rural Maryland Communities and Implementing Rural Community Composting in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont.

State Electronics Challenge Annual Awards & Environmental Results

Congratulations to the 28 State Electronics Challenge (SEC) Partners that submitted annual reporting data and received individualized sustainability reports.  And 14 Partners are being recognized for their achievements with awards.  The cumulative results were among the most impressive ever. 

2018 Partner Environmental Benefits



Purchasing EPEAT® Products & Paper Use Reduction


Reuse & Recycling



Reduction In

How Much?

How Much?

Equivalent To


 energy symbol

Energy use

2,037,369 kWh







Electricity to power 133,390 U.S. households/ year

 greenhouse gas image

Greenhouse gas emissions


metric tons of carbon equivalents



tons of carbon equivalents

1,008,433 metric

tons of carbon equivalent


metric tons of carbon equivalents

Removing 2,808,645 cars from the road/year

 toxics symbol

Toxic materials, including lead & mercury

849 lbs.

653,143 lbs.

24,681 lbs.

678,673 lbs.

Weight of

135,735 bricks

 msw symbol

Municipal solid waste

94,771 lbs.

2,752,530 lbs.





Waste generated by 835 households/year


 hw symbol

Hazardous waste

850 lbs.

44,380 lbs.

227,315 lbs.

272,545 lbs.

Weight of 1,021 refrigerators

2018 Award Winners

SEC Partner


Lifecycle Phases

Borough of State College, Pennsylvania



Purchasing, Use, & End-of-Life Management

Centre County Recycling & Refuse Authority, Pennsylvania


Purchasing, Use, & End-of-Life Management

City of Corvallis, Oregon


Purchasing, Use, & End-of-Life Management

City of Fort Collins, Colorado


Purchasing, Use, & End-of-Life Management

City of La Crosse, Wisconsin


Purchasing Use, & End-of-Life Management

Providence School Department, Rhode Island


Purchasing, Use, & End-of-Life Management

New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)


Purchasing, Use, & End-of-Life Management

Regional Technology Coalition / State College, Pennslvania


Purchasing, Use, & End-of-Life Management

Ball State University, Indiana


Purchasing & End-of-Life Management

City of Columbia, South Carolina


Purchasing & End-of-Life Management

City & County of Denver, Colorado


Purchasing & End-of-Life Management

City of Keene, New Hampshire


Purchasing & Use

Maryland Department of Transportation


Purchasing & End-of-Life Management

Vermont Agency of Natural Resources


Purchasing & End-of-Life Management

Upper Merion Township, Pennsylvania



The environmental results and award winners are listed on the State Electronics Challenge website.

State Update


NYS DEC Updating New York State’s Solid Waste Management Plan

In 2010, the State developed and implemented Beyond Waste, its current Solid Waste Management Plan to guide materials management through 2020.  As 2020 approaches, DEC has launched an ambitious agenda of statewide stakeholder meetings to seek input from all sectors on ideas on where to focus for the future.  DEC is hosting these meetings with facilitated discussions designed to identify key materials management issues and a framework for a new plan addressing those issues for the next decade.  This is a collaborative effort in planning for maximum disposal diversion, addressing recycling challenges, optimizing organics potential, supporting our state’s solid waste management facility infrastructure, and ultimately protecting New York’s natural resources. The meetings ran through the end of March 2019. Comments and questions are welcome:

Advisory Member News

Casella Releases 2018 Sustainability Report

Casella’s 2018 Sustainability Report is available at The report begins by outlining the company’s vision for sustainable resource renewal (pp. 5-7). Our sustainability efforts in recycling (10-13), organics (16-19), and energy/landfills (20-23) may interest NERC members. We are proud of a recent milestone: we now capture over 1 million tons per year of recyclables and organics from the northeast’s disposal stream. We are also proud to announce a continued reduction in our greenhouse gas emission rate. We hope NERC members will check out the report and share their feedback with us! Please don’t hesitate to contact our sustainability department at

GAP System Installation a Success at NERC Region MRF

The WasteInsight™ Grading and Purity (GAP) System has been installed and continues to operate at a material recovery facility (MRF) in the NERC region. The GAP System is a cloud-based data management platform designed to collect and analyze mixed recyclables and bale composition audit data at various transaction points in the recycling chain. Its inaugural installation has been well-received by the MRF for the quality of the data collected, its ease-of-use and seamless integration with the facility’s existing workflow.

Developed by Orlando, Florida-based MSW Consultants, the GAP System seek to address the recent market changes towards more stringent contamination standards for post-consumer recyclables. The GAP System provides MRFs with online quantity, composition, and revenue tracking. Its reporting tools allow easy analyzing of the facility’s composition and contamination rates to inform management decisions and help communicate with suppliers.

The system implementation occurred in early February with a one-day training event provided by a WasteInsight staff member. The facility staff stated that the previous process of recording the weights and synchronizing the photos of each sample was a time-consuming component of the team’s auditing process. The GAP System provides an app for auditors to easily record the weights of the materials they are auditing, which syncs to the cloud where WasteInsight provides a full slate of data analytics and visualization tools. The GAP system also allows unlimited photographs to be taken to document the condition of each inbound load or sample. The MRF reported high satisfaction using the tablet computer provided for use of the GAP System, and has foregone the use of paper and digital camera for all future data recording.

As of the writing of this article, the MRF has recorded audit data from over 80 samples from both inbound loads, outbound bales, and residuals. The data collected in the GAP System shows that contamination from inbound loads is under 10% on average and the contamination rate of outbound baled materials range from 2% to 6%.

WasteInsight provides a customizable, cloud-based data management platform where audit data and photos are uploaded and accessible online. Analytical results are subsequently displayed numerically and graphically on WasteInsight with an array of unique metrics available to help clients generate and export relevant reports. Analytical tools available include: side-by-side material stream comparison, historical composition graphs over specified timeframes, material stream or baled contamination rates, top 10 materials by weight, etc. The system also integrates current and historical market pricing to calculate the value of the materials being audited.

WasteInsight and the GAP System have been developed by Orlando, Florida-based MSW Consultants.

To learn more about the GAP System visit our website to download the brochure or call us at 800.679.9220 x 88.

Of General Interest

Happy Anniversary, National Sword

This February marks the second anniversary of the National Sword campaign. Launched to attack smuggling, it was largely unnoticed in the United States. At WasteExpo in the spring of 2017, National Sword was mentioned in passing as something that could have an impact on plastics recycling. 

Five months later, in July, China’s government announced it was planning to ban imports of 24 types of recyclables. Mixed paper and mixed plastics were among the banned items. A draconian contamination limit of 0.3 percent would be applied to imported recyclables. This was a far more serious move. Eventually though, the government raised the contamination limit to 0.5 percent, still a significant barrier even for commercially generated recyclables.   

Mixed paper and mixed plastics are the heart of residential recycling programs. Panic hit the recycling community. Some programs were abandoned. Some recyclables were (and still are) sent to disposal facilities. Processors began demanding contract changes in order to avoid massive losses as they searched for new markets for those two mixed recyclables. In some cases, they were successful as their local government partners realized that it was better to share the pain than to see their processors bleed without relief.

Legislators also got into the act but did little harm in 2018. This year might be different as states consider a number of responses. Laws that encourage the development of increased domestic demand will be welcomed. Laws that punish the recycling industry or impose unrealistic requirements on recycling won’t be.

In one sense, this latest crisis is nothing new. Recycling markets have had six major downturns since the explosion of curbside programs in the late '80s. I’ve lost count of the number of “how do we save recycling?” meetings and conferences I have attended in my 40-some years in recycling. Twenty-one years ago, I was at the White House Conference on Recycling, called in response to an earlier crisis.

Just as happened in the first big crisis in 1990, entrepreneurs are smelling opportunity. Seventeen paper mills have announced expanded capacity for secondary fiber. Seven of those have specifically said they want to use residential mixed paper as a feedstock. Other expansions are rumored but not yet announced. Of course, it takes a while to site, permit and build a new facility or even to convert an existing machine from printed to packaging grade paper. But I expect that within two years, markets for recycled paper will be humming. 

Mixed plastics haven’t fared as well. However, the Chinese government has made it clear it will accept pellets or resin made from recycled plastics. While exports of recycled plastic to China have all but disappeared, pellet imports have gone up. The government seems to be happy with recycled plastics as long as they are processed elsewhere. In addition, new processing capacity in the United States has been announced, but none have specified that they want mixed plastics. 

The biggest uncertainty has been the willingness of the Chinese government to listen to the pleas of paper mills that are dependent on the strong fibers in used American-made paper boxes. Chinese manufacturers who need corrugated boxes in order to ship their products overseas have also voiced their concerns. At first, it appeared the government was indifferent. Now, it seems the government has found a way to ensure the mills will have the raw material supply they need so that manufacturers can have the boxes they need. Import permits for 2019 are up. However, a weakening Chinese economy is not helping old corrugated containers prices.

Clearly, American recyclers need to learn from this lesson. Traditional scrap and waste paper dealers know markets go up and down. They plan for bad times. Publicly-traded companies that operate materials recovery facilities seem to suffer from amnesia. They need to start planning for hard times. While they are making strides toward this in their new contract models, the test will come when markets are hot again. Will they remember the past or throw caution to the wind? Curbside programs need to start thinking long term, not short term. Focus on five-, 10- or 15-year market averages, not the price of the day.

I remain an optimist. Markets will rebound. Our domestic recycling industry will expand. But I wonder, two or three years from now, will we remember this crisis, or will we get giddy and be unprepared for the next market collapse?

*Coverage of the National Sword and the ban in the print, television and online media has not been very good. However, the trade press has proved to be a reliable source of solid data. I relied on the timeline of events published by Resource Recycling when writing this column.

Chaz Miller is a longtime veteran of the waste and recycling industry and an Ex Officio member of the NERC Board of Directors. He can be reached at