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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 Curbside Value Partnership as a renewing Sustaining Member and Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority as a renewing Supporting Member – as well as two new Supporting Members: Untha-America and Ombligo. Thank you!
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.
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.
New Conference & Event Format for NERC
As you know, for several years NERC has held two conferences a year – March and October. They have been 2-day conferences. In recent years, we have observed that permission to travel is becoming more and more difficult for NERC members and other constituents. At the same time, we have been hearing a desire for more focused educational opportunities. After careful deliberation, the NERC Board has determined to change the way it delivers these semi-annual events.
Beginning in March 2009, the following changes will be implemented.
The spring event will be a one-day workshop rather than a two-day conference. In 2009, the workshop will take place on March 17, at the Hotel Northampton in Massachusetts. The topic will be environmentally preferable purchasing. The preliminary agenda for this event will be posted in December on the NERC website. The NERC Board Meeting will take place on March 18.
Save the Dates: March 17-18, 2009
The fall event will be a conference, but shorter than the current format. Depending on how topics and opportunities evolve, it will either be a one-day conference on October 27, at the Hotel Northampton, followed by a half-day workshop (on October 28), or the conference will be a day-and a half long. The Board Meeting will take place in the afternoon of October 28. The social hour and Advisory Member Luncheon will take place on October 27.
Mark Your Calendar: October 27-28, 2009
Please let us know if you are interested in organizing a workshop with us. We also welcome your suggestions for workshop and conference topics.
Contact Mary Ann Remolador, NERC’s Assistant Director and Conference/Workshop Coordinator, for more information.
Food waste diversion from special events is a frequently overlooked opportunity for significant waste diversion. Waste audits that NERC conducted through a USDA-funded project, demonstrated that more than one pound per person of food waste is generated at special events. At each of these events, food and serving packaging averaged 41% of the waste by weight. Food waste diversion requires specific planning, training, and end-markets. It presents unique challenges, including concerns about odors and rodents, public perception, and the difficulty of finding a hauler and a processor to accept the material. Food vendors are resistant to changing to compostable flatware, plates, packaging, and napkins, and the public have to be educated to segregate its waste. Event organizers can be reluctant to take on new tasks.
NERC received funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to conduct a demonstration project focusing on special event food waste diversion and developing solutions to the challenges that it presents. The project includes conducting one pilot in each of four states: Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont. The pilots will demonstrate different methodologies for designing and implementing diversion programs for pre- and post-consumer food, as well as compostable flatware, plates, packaging, and napkins.
Last spring, NERC collaborated with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, and Hallsmith Sysco to conduct food waste management assessments and pilot composting projects at two regional Hallsmith Sysco Food Shows. Hallsmith-Sysco, the largest foodservice distributor in New England holds regional Food Shows where food and other product distributors display merchandise and provide samples to potential customers. One event was held at the Radisson in Manchester, New Hampshire and the other event at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston. The Food Shows typically feature around 170 booths, most of which are food distributors. Approximately 1,500 people attend the Shows. More than 4,555 pounds of food and paper wastes were collected for composting at the two pilot events. Nearly 1,700 pounds of usable food and paper products was collected for distribution to the needy.
In July NERC conducted a food waste assessment and vendor survey at SolarFest held in Tinmouth, Vermont. This three day event features two stages for musical and theatric performances, 65 workshops on renewable energy, conservation, and other environmental issues, and more than 100 renewable energy and sustainability exhibitors. Eight food vendors offer a wide variety of food and beverages. The event organizers already recycle and have a good volunteer group ready to take on composting at next year’s event. Event food vendors already use predominately paper for serving and were open to switching any noncompostable items to paper or biodegradable plastic. This will allow the event to focus on collecting a two-stream system of compostables and recyclables.
With assistance from K.C. Alexander, Organics Recycling Specialist with the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection and C.J. May, Yale University’s Recycling Coordinator, NERC conducted a food waste assessment and vendor survey at a recent Yale football game. Football games generate huge volumes of compostable food and paper wastes, as well as recyclables. Yale has a fairly extensive recycling program throughout campus, including recycling bins around the Yale bowl and grounds. Yale recycling staff circulates during and after the games to collect beverage containers and cardboard. Pilots for food waste diversion on campus have also begun.
As typical at college campuses, food waste is generated at the various pre-game functions (starting several hours before the game), from student and community tailgating to the 5 to 10 (or more) hospitality tents. These tents can feature full course meals, wine, beer, and more. Concession booths and VIP areas during the actual game also offer a wide range of food items. Much of the concession food is pre-cooked in one location. The site manager was very open to composting leftover prepared food. The hospitality tents would also lend themselves to composting. Some of the tents already donate unserved food to charity. Composting of served food would be relatively easy to capture.
Draft food waste management plans have been developed for the Hallsmith Sysco Food Shows. Plans are in progress for the SolarFest event and Yale Football game, with the goal of holding pilot food waste diversion and composting at all events next year.
For more information contact Athena Lee Bradley, Projects Manager, NERC.
NERC’s Fiscal Year 2008 Annual Report is now available. It chronicles the organization’s accomplishments and efforts during the year; including details on the 16 projects staff undertook during that period. For more information, contact Lynn Rubinstein, NERC Executive Director.
SEC Partner List Swells
Two more Partners have joined the ranks of public sector entities committed to improving the way they purchase, use, and manage obsolete computers. SUNY New Paltz and the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection have both signed up as State Electronics Challenge Partners.
The State Electronics Challenge (SEC) is a voluntary program that encourages state, regional, and local governments, including schools, colleges, universities, and other public entities in the Northeast, to:
Towns, agencies, and organizations participate as "Partners" in the program. The SEC provides Partners with resources and free technical assistance for improving electronics management practices, and offers annual recognition to Partners that have achieved specific goals.
Brenda Grober Named “Recycler of the Year”
The New York State Association for Reduction, Reuse and Recycling (NYSAR3), the trade association that represents the recycling industry, has named Empire State Development employee (and NERC Board Member) Brenda Grober the “Recycler of the Year.” Ms. Grober was selected for her work at ESD to promote the growth of market-based recycling, which delivers both environmental and economic development benefits to New York State communities.
The “Recycler of the Year” award goes to an NYSAR3 member who has worked tirelessly for recycling and waste reduction in New York State. Ms. Grober was nominated by her co-workers who said on the nomination form, “[h]aving been in the field for nearly 20 years, she is a walking encyclopedia of information on recycling markets.”
Ms. Grober has developed world-class expertise on pollution prevention and glass and paper recycling. She has assisted many companies throughout New York State through ESD’s Environmental Investment Program (EIP). Specifically, Ms. Grober’s management of EIP projects has helped 185 companies divert 393,000 tons of materials from disposal to recycling, generating $11.6 million in economic benefits to the state of New York. She also led the team that developed ESD’s new online recycling market information database.
Ms. Grober, an employee of ESD for 19 years, has been with the agency’s Environmental Services Units since its inception in 1989. Her regional assignments include the Mohawk Valley and North Country, where she has assisted many glass recycling and recycled-content paper manufacturers and dairy industry operations. In addition, she has been on the NERC Board of Directors for five years, including serving as its President for two of those years.
The New York State Environmental Conservation (DEC) Officers from each of DEC’s nine regions participated in an undercover investigation to enforce provisions of the state’s Returnable Container Act, also known as the NYS Bottle Bill. Officers visited stores of all sizes that sell redeemable bottles and cans. Violations were issued to those store owners or operators that were not complying with the Bottle Bill provisions such as refusing to redeem cans or bottles when, legally, the store was required to do so. Since being enacted in 1982 the Bottle Bill has been a tremendous success in, not only reducing litter, but by facilitating the recycling of billions of containers.
The Law Enforcement Officers investigated 652 retail outlets statewide in an effort to educate and ensure compliance with New York’s Bottle Bill. The detail took place on Oct. 29, 2008, and resulted in 127 notices issued for a variety of violations of the state’s Bottle Bill.
Recycling, banning, and diverting plastic film waste seems like an old topic now but back in 2004, it was new territory for Americans. Across the globe, numerous countries and large cities were banning plastic bags outright or levying user taxes. In Rhode Island, RI Resource Recovery Corporation (RIRRC) was looking to solve its burgeoning plastic bag litter problem without burdening the populace. Together with the Rhode Island Food Dealers Association, RIRRC introduced a highly successful plastic film recycling program that was the first of its kind in the United States.
At NERCs fall conference in October, Sarah Kite, Director of Recycling Services for RIRRC, presented a case study outlining the research, strategies, and tactics of the program and provided a legislative update.
As plastic bag bans and taxes grew in popularity among local governments, so did the publicity of their efforts. Some legislators in the Rhode Island General Assembly have become increasingly receptive to similar legislation for the Ocean State as a complement to the successful recycling effort.
Kite noted that RIRRC will endorse efforts in 2009 to add a “plastax” as well as a reusable bag instant rebate.
“Public opinion has changed dramatically since 2004 about the plastic bags issue, as it has for a host of environmental protection issues,” said Kite. “This is an ideal time for Rhode Island to incentivie both consumers and retailers to adopt more reusable behaviors.”
Sharp Electronics Corporation has announced that it is creating a nationwide electronics recycling program to provide free, convenient consumer recycling of Sharp Electronics televisions and other consumer audio and video products. The program will kick off in several states in November, and is slated to expand to all 50 states with many hundreds more sites, over next three years. Panasonic and Toshiba products will also be accepted at these locations.
“In all aspects of our business, we continuously seek ways to reduce impact on the environment,” said Doug Koshima, chairman and CEO, Sharp Electronics Corporation. “Working through the MRM venture, Sharp, Panasonic Corporation of North America and Toshiba America Consumer Products, are working to create an electronics recycling program that achieves the dual objectives of being easy and convenient for consumers, while offering the industry a path to efficient, environmentally sound recycling.”
Sharp’s recycling program will utilize the infrastructure being developed by the Electronics Manufacturers Recycling Management Company (MRM). A joint venture between Panasonic, Sharp Electronics and Toshiba, MRM was established in September of 2007 to efficiently manage collection and recycling programs in the United States for electronics manufacturers.
Beginning in November, there will be more than 160 sites in 10 states where consumers can drop off Sharp brand televisions and other Sharp consumer audio and video electronics products for free recycling. Along with MRM, Sharp will continue its expansion until its services cover all 50 states. Sharp will also accept consumer drop-off of Sharp televisions and consumer electronics products for recycling at its headquarters in Mahwah, NJ. A complete list of locations where Sharp products can be recycled is available on the MRM website.
The program being developed by MRM aims to bring the electronic product manufacturing community together into a unified voluntary national program to address America’s e-waste recycling needs. The program will utilize the larger volumes achieved through working with other manufacturers to maximize efficient collection and recycling.
Classroom Course: The next classroom course is scheduled for January 29, 2009 and will be Recycling 420 – Train the Trainer. It will be held at Penn State – Abington.
Online Courses: For those students looking for re-certification credits, the online courses count towards re-certification. Currently you can receive 1.2 Continuing Education Credits (CEU’s) by taking all three of the online courses.
Introduction to Recycling (Recycling 100) is a six hour course, worth 0.6 CEU’s, is a great overview of recycling and composting not to mention the Resource Library which has enough reference materials and links to answers for most if not all of your questions.
Backyard Composting Basics (Recycling 200) is a three hour course, worth 0.3 CEU’s, covers subjects such as “Determining your composting needs, What to compost, Building a pile” and more. There is even an optional unit on holding a Composting Bin Distribution program.
Collection Techniques & Options (Recycling 310) is a three hour course, worth 0.3 CEU’s, discusses collection theory, establishing a collection program, and even includes a section on the principals of routing.
PROP is working on its fourth online course. The next course will be about “Special Materials” and will be worth 0.2 CEU’s. PROP expects to have this course ready by the end of February or early March 2009.
The 2009 PROP Conference is scheduled for July 29-31 at the Hilton Scranton & Conference Center in Scranton PA. The layout of the exhibit hall should be posted by the end of the month so those Exhibitors looking to secure their booth before the end of the year can pick their spot.
Also remember that with PROP’s change in the membership structure, booth and/or registration is part of the upper levels of membership, and you can save money by upping your membership level to the next level.
PROP will be assembling a new committee - “Business and Industry” - to focus on the needs of private business and industrial bases organizations who want to place emphasis on recycling and other environmental issues. If you would like to be part of this progressive group, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.