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December 2014

NERC’s Advisory Members

Distinguished Benefactors

Consumer Technology Association (CTA)

Panasonic

Samsung

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

  • Keep America Beautiful

  • Keurig Dr. Pepper

  • Marcal, A Soundview Paper Company

  • MRM

  • National Waste & Recycling Association

  • NEWMOA

  • 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)

  • TOMRA

  • US Composting Council (USCC)

  • Waste Management

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

MEMBERSHIP

Renewing Sustaining Member

  • Electronics Recycling Directory

Renewing Supporting Member

New Individual Supporter

  • Ruth Kaminski, Massachusetts

Member Spotlight - Metech Recycling

NERC NEWS

NEWLY POSTED

STATE UPDATES

Connecticut

Massachusetts

ADVISORY MEMBER UPDATES

OF GENERAL INTEREST

MEMBERSHIP

We are delighted to thank and welcome renewing Sustaining Member the Electronics Recycling Directory, and renewing Supporting Member the Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority, as well as our newest Individual Supporter - Ruth Kaminski, Massachusetts.

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.

With the addition of a new Director of Advisory Member Services, we are looking forward to a new and expanded membership program. 

Metech Recycling - Member Spotlight

Metech Recycling is an industry leader in recycling electronic scrap, providing electronics metech_logorecycling and asset recovery services for more than forty years. Metech is a founding member of the e-Stewards® certification program. The company has facilities in California, Colorado, Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Utah; all of its facilities are certified to both the R2 Standard and e-Stewards®. The company also operates locations in Europe and Asia, allowing for reuse, refurbishment and efficient extraction of precious metals and recyclable materials from electronic scrap while complying with global standards in clean secure environments.

Metech offers services to a wide market of large and small business, manufacturers, distributors, service providers, repair centers, governmental agencies, educational entities, and consumer groups, providing customized solutions to control product security, protect intellectual property, and mitigate environmental liability. Metech Recycling offers transport of materials for recycling, secure data destruction and certification, material tracking and reporting of computers, televisions, printers, fax, batteries, small appliances, telecom equipment, data center equipment, and most commercial electronic equipment, including biotech and medical devices, as well as tracking and certified destruction of obsolete products and excess inventory. It also partners with local community groups across the country to host electronics recycling collection events.

Metech Recycling prides itself in its investment in the more labor-intensive process of hand disassembling and separating electronic devices. This social commitment benefits communities through job creation. Its adherence to manual disassembly of electronics ensures both maximum material value and a high rate of “green” employment. Their employees sort, weigh, and disassemble electronic scrap into distinct material streams: precious metals, other metals, plastics, glass, circuit boards, and hazardous items (e.g. batteries). These commodities are sent to downstream partners for further recycling. Downstream vendors receiving hazardous e-waste are audited in person on a routine basis to determine initial and ongoing eligibility. Throughout its disassembly process, the company offers its clients transparent tracking and auditing for commodity recovery and recycling.

Metech also provides secure product destruction and recycling to protect brand identity or intellectual property to meet the needs of manufacturers and others. Its certified destruction services cover storage devices, including hard disks, flash drives, memory, media, and documentation. Secure destruction ensures that unauthorized products do not reach secondary markets, while also maximizing recovery value. Shredding data devices and providing detailed documentation protects their customer liability for identity or data theft.

Environmental Commitment

As a company certified to both e-Stewards® and R2, Metech Recycling ensures that its downstream partners do not transport toxic waste to other countries. The company tracks and reports all material shipments and rigorously audits downstream partners to guarantee components are returned to the manufacturing stream. More than 95% of all material received by Metech is responsibly diverted from landfills. Under the R2 and e-Stewards® certifications, its practices are subject to a third-party audit to ensure that the company maintains chain of custody for all the items it receives and distributes to downstream recyclers. Its environmental sustainability goes beyond responsible electronics recycling, however; the company also strives to reduce water and power use at all of its facilities.

According to David Quinn, Metech’s Business Development Manager, “our company’s value proposition is to ensure responsible recycling, provide transparency of process, and deliver a full accounting of materials. We strive to be environmentally responsible, create green jobs, be a good corporate neighbor, and remain profitable while meeting the needs of our customers. Support of organizations like the NERC and the Electronics Recycling Coordination Clearinghouse (ERCC), as well as partnerships with government agencies and our customers, helps us to promote the importance of responsible electronics recycling.”

NERC NEWS

NERC’s Fall Conference–The New Era of Recycling–Gets Rave Reviews!

Record attendance, outstanding speakers, seven recycling industry sessions, interesting exhibitors, networking breaks, a great venue, and generous sponsors all contributed to Full house for NERC conference Nov 5 2014NERC’s Fall Conference being an absolute success!   “NERC’s Fall Conference was outstanding,” said Brooke Nash, Branch Chief of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. “The speakers provided tremendous insights and analysis of where the recycling industry has come from, and where it is headed.  With dynamic discussions and thoughtful retrospectives on this ever-changing industry, I learned a lot and left the conference energized and full of ideas. It was a not-be-missed event!”

The event started with a thought-provoking and in-depth presentation on recycling markets by Dylan de Thomas of Resource Recycling, Inc. and Chaz Miller of the National Waste & Recycling Association. It continued with informative presentations and lively discussions on paper, plastics, glass, tires, organics, steel, and electronics recycling markets; as well as plenary seSal Murra of Pellet Patch_Pothole Demonstrationssions.  The day and a half conference included a total of 28 industry expert presenters and facilitators.  Mary T. O’Brien, Recycling Coordinator of the Windsor/Windham Counties Solid Waste Management District (Vermont) said, “The speakers were professionals from various industries who not only knew their material inside and out, but their presentations were interesting and valuable to conference attendees. I was able to get answers from knowledgeable industry representatives. I’m already looking forward to next year’s conference.”

NERC would like to thank all who played a role in the planning and delivery of the Conference. 

Sal Marra of Pellet Patch at NERC Conference – Demonstrating pothole filling with patch material made of recycled tires.

For more information about NERC’s events, contact Mary Ann Remolador, Assistant Director.

New Director of Advisory Member Services & Development Position Filled

Frank HoffmanNERC is delighted to welcome Frank Hoffman of Windsor, VT as its first Director of Advisory Member Services & Development.  With more than 120 applications from around the nation, Frank stood out as an ideal fit to expand NERC's Advisory Membership base, as well as to support Members and NERC becoming more directly engaged with each other.

Frank has worked in development and marketing for over twelve years in several industries including higher education, health care, and public broadcasting.   He was part of the founding staff of Vermont Public Radio, and has won numerous awards in media and development throughout his career.

Frank’ s expertise in multi-channel fundraising has helped many non-profits and educational institutions grow their constituent base and increase individual and corporate giving. He has worked for non-profits as a professional fundraiser in annual giving and planned giving. His multi-channel techniques and strategies have helped scores of institutions to achieve their goals. Frank uses technology to broaden reach and influence, and connect with donors on a personal level using persuasive and engaging communications.

Frank holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the Pennsylvania State University, and an MBA from West Virginia University. 

Reuse Marketplace Finds New Home in the Year to Come

The Reuse Marketplace is an online trading website for reusable items that NERC has been managing for the past two years.  In 2015, iWasteNot Systems will take over the management and upkeep of this valuable resource.  NERC is confident in iWasteNot’s ability to continue this reuse effort. As Norm Ruttan, Owner of iWasteNot Systems has always said, “One man’s trash is another’s treasure.”

Reuse Training & Toy Swap Event in New York State

Reuse: To reuse is to use an item again after it has been used—either for the same function or adapting a used item for a different function.

On Thursday, December 4, from 9 – 2 at the Cornell Cooperative Extension Association of Jefferson County (CCE) in Watertown, New York, a free training on Innovative Strategies & Best Management Practices for Implementing Reuse Opportunities will be offered. The event will serve as a gathering for decision makers, municipal staff, nonprofit organizations, community activists, schools, and others interested in sharing and learning about reuse programs and the role reuse plays in reducing waste and benefiting communities.

Topics for the training will include

  • Reuse program design & implementation
    • Ongoing (e.g., material exchanges, reuse sheds)
    • Special events (e.g., toy swaps)
    • Targeted materials: textiles, household goods, toys/children’s items, electronics, etc.
  • Establishing a Reuse Center
  • Public participation & outreach
  • Leveraging existing reuse opportunities and regional partnerships
  • Logistics, administration, staffing/volunteers
  • Budgeting, legal questions, and more!

This training will be a roundtable format with presenters and participants actively engaging in discussion.   For information about attending, contact Athena Lee Bradley, NERC.

Holiday Toy Swap

A “Holiday Toy Swap” will be held on Saturday, December 6, from 9 am until noon at the Cornell Cooperative Extension Association of Jefferson County (CCE) in Watertown. A toy swap provides an opportunity for people to donate and/or receive clean, gently used, toys, games, and working sports equipment. Winter clothing—boots, snow suits, & coats will also be accepted at the event.         

Sponsors for the training and Holiday Toy Swap include: the Development Authority of the North Country, Cornell University Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County, and Finger Lakes ReUse. This project is funded in part by grants from the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Utilities Programs & NYS Pollution Prevention Institute (NYSP2I).

For more information on these events, contact Athena Lee Bradley, Projects Manager.

Share your Thoughts & Organics Activities

NERC’s Organics Management Northeast Listserv presents an opportunity to share information about what’s happening with organics management. The listserv is free and open to anyone interested in advancing organics diversion in the Northeast.

Join the Listserv to share information, questions, ideas, and concerns on regulations and strategies for promoting organics diversion; updates on existing or upcoming related programs, projects, services, initiatives, goals, events; identifying ways to advance organics diversion through reduction, recovery, composting, and anaerobic digestion; and business development.

The listserv is hosted by Yahoo and a Yahoo email account is required of everyone interested in participating.

To join the listserv: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/OrganicsManagementNE/info

Contact Athena Lee Bradley, Projects Manager, for additional information or if you have questions on signing up for the Listserv.

NERC Presents to Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable on Electronics

Recently, NERC had the opportunity to present a webinar to the Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable about the State Electronics Challenge and the opportunity to save energy, resources, and money.  A recording of the presentation is posted their site. 

While the Roundtable has a Great Lakes focus, the webinar was attended by participants from around the country. 

The State Electronics Challenge has begun its 8th year of providing assistance and support to organizations around the United States.  It is supported by private sponsorship: Samsung, Panasonic, the Consumer Electronics Association, and R2/RIOS program.

For more information, contact Lynn Rubinstein, Program Manager.

NERC Blog Worth Repeating - UPSTREAM presents: The Politics of Extended Producer Responsibility: Moving Forward in Hard Times

NERC’s Blog Worth Repeating is by guest writer Ruth Gaulke, a Communications Specialist with Upstream. It was originally published by Upstream on August 29, 2014

On August 19, Matt Prindiville, UPSTREAM Associate Director, presented to the North American Hazardous Materials Management Association (NAHMMA) on The Politics of Extended Producer Responsibility: Moving Forward in Hard Times.

The presentation focused on the political realities behind the first two phases of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) legislation in the United States and posited a four point strategy for moving strong EPR legislation forward in rough political times.

Earlier efforts (2004 – 2010) yielded many strong EPR laws, despite intense industry opposition, for products including electronic waste, carpet, mercury-containing lamps and thermostats. Most of these laws were financed through producers internalizing the costs of the environmental management of products. Generally speaking, during this time, state legislatures were more progressive; state and local governments had more money; deregulation was not as widespread; and industry’s ability to categorize new bills as “job-killing regulations” were not as effective. There was also a higher degree of public concern on environmental issues. Nearly 60 EPR laws were passed setting the stage for shifting financial and management responsibility to producers and consumers. Today there are 92 EPR laws in 34 states, including the eight industry-managed container-deposit laws for beverage containers.

With all that success and momentum, EPR advocates now face more challenging circumstances because state legislatures are trending more conservative, and state and local governments have little to no money. There’s also a lower degree of public concern on environmental issues along with industries touting that these new regulations destroy jobs (instead of creating them), and corporate money coffers fund more state legislative races.

Since 2011, only 11 EPR laws were passed for products such as paint, mattresses, and batteries, but they were weaker (based on consumer-fees for financing) and required strong industry support. This trend is likely to continue unless conditions change.

What can we do to pass more and stronger EPR laws? How can we create these laws to serve the public and local governments and achieve real environmental and societal goals? How do we create programs that lower costs for local governments and sufficiently fund outreach and education; improve product design that focuses on a cradle-to-cradle (instead of cradle-to-grave) approach; and build better infrastructure to continually reuse and recycle the materials in our products and packaging?

Matt proposed four strategies to address those questions:

  1. Local governments need to be more organized and focused to pass state policy.
    • Use the Product Stewardship Council approach as a model and work out policy issues ahead of bill introduction.
    • Local governments need to ensure they have a daily State House presence to provide the ongoing pressure to pass new policy.
  2. Recommend strong local government and NGO collaboration where NGOs provide public campaign capacity and political muscle.
  3. Engage the public and the media because many people think recycling and waste issues have been solved. Messages must resonate with folks on a personal level and suggest ways in which they can “take action.”
  4. Identify businesses that will benefit and engage businesses that matter to state leaders and decision-makers. Sometimes, neutralizing opposition can be a strong approach to getting the result desired.

Ruth Gaulke is an experienced writer, editor, and communications professional who excels at helping organizations improve processes and deliver effective messages to both technical and non-technical audiences.UPSTREAM is a national environmental organization dedicated to creating a healthy, sustainable, and equitable society by addressing the root causes of waste. Its mission is to organize for product-focused environmental policies that advance sustainable production and consumption, and good governance.

NERC welcomes guest blog submissions. To inquire about submitting articles contact Athena Lee Bradley, Projects Manager. Disclaimer: Guest blogs represent the opinion of the writers and may not reflect the policy or position of the Northeast Recycling Council, Inc.

 NEWLY POSTED

NERC Annual Report of Accomplishments for FY 2014 Now Posted - Read All About it!

FY 2014 was particularly intensive for NERC, including the launch of a new website and logo, engaging in a strategic planning process, launch of a new listserv, applying for and receiving grants, and securing several ‘fee-for-service’ projects.  The strategic planning process occurred over a six month period, resulting in many decisions that were designed to help reframe and sustain NERC moving forward.  Among the decisions was to revise the mission statement, make a concerted effort to reach out to the business community and secure their engagement with NERC, and to move forward with the addition of a new full-time position dedicated to Advisory membership and development.

Staff accomplishments included several successful grant applications and bid submissions.  These included:

  • A grant from the USDA Rural Utilities Service to work in New York to promote reuse
  • An EPA Region 1 Healthy Communities grant to work with restaurants and sports venues in Vermont to establish compost programs
  • A grant from the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources to work with four schools to develop and enhance recycling and compost program
  • A two-year contract from the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources to work as a subcontractor with to the National Center for Electronic Recycling to run the statewide e-waste program
  • A contract from the Illinois Recycling Association to develop a guidance document and training course for recycling drop-off center operators
  • A contract from Baystate Textiles to help promote their textile recycling program in Connecticut
  • A contract from several New York towns to offer an organics management workshop.

The full report is available on the NERC website.  For more information, contact Lynn Rubinstein, Executive Director.

STATE UPDATES

CONNECTICUT

CT DEEP's New Recycling Program Manager

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP) has announced that Ms. Nisha Patel has joined the Waste Engineering and Enforcement Division (WEED) as Assistant Division Director effective October 31, 2014.   Ms. Patel has a civil engineering degree and a master's in business administration from UConn and is a licensed professional engineer in Connecticut.  Ms. Patel was promoted from her previous role as supervisor of the stormwater program in the department's Water Permitting and Enforcement Division, and she has been with the department for over 20 years. Ms. Patel's has excellent leadership, supervisory and project management experience, a vast understanding of environmental issues and ability to implement innovative solutions, and significant regulatory, policy and operational experience.  As Assistant Director Ms. Patel will be overseeing daily operations relating to implementation of the ongoing and developing sustainable material management programs and initiatives. 

MASSACHUSETTS

$2.9M in Grants for Recycling, Composting & Waste Reduction Awarded

$2.93 million in grants were recently awarded to 179 cities, towns, regional groups and non-profit organizations to increase the diversion, reuse, composting and recycling of materials in the solid waste stream.

"The Patrick Administration and our partners in the Legislature passed the Green Communities Act to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect the environment for the generations to come," said Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Maeve Vallely Bartlett. "Reducing waste by recycling and composting improves the health of our communities and the vitality of our businesses."

"Organics, paper, metals and plastic constitute more than 65 percent of the materials we throw away today, and the Commonwealth has made it a priority to recycle and compost at least half of that valuable material by 2020. These grants will help us meet this aggressive goal," said Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) Commissioner David W. Cash. "When we recycle these materials, we reduce the waste stream, save money on disposal costs, cut greenhouse gas emissions, create renewable energy, grow jobs and stimulate the economy."

The grants are funded through the Sustainable Materials Recovery Program (SMRP), which was created under the Green Communities Act and is administered by MDEP. The SMRP offers funding for recycling, composting, reuse and source reduction activities that will reduce the amount of waste disposed of in landfills and incinerators. Waste prevention and recycling reduces greenhouse gas emissions by capturing the embodied energy in every-day product and packaging waste and converting these sources into new products with a smaller carbon footprint.

Funds have been awarded in several categories, including start-up incentives for Pay-As-You-Throw (PAYT) programs, wheeled-carts for curbside collection of recyclables and kitchen food waste for composting, large containers for collection of target materials at municipal transfer stations, funding for local recycling enforcement coordinators, school recycling assistance programs, organics capacity building projects, innovative waste reduction projects and small-scale initiatives.

"These grants highlight Massachusetts' continued success at protecting the environment as we green up the bottom line," said Senator Marc R. Pacheco, Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. "I am pleased to see more resources dedicated to recycling, composting and waste reduction to allow more cities and towns to reuse resources, to save on waste disposal costs and to conserve landfill space."

"I would like to commend the Patrick Administration on their continued support of the environment," said Representative Anne Gobi, House Chair of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. "Promoting recycling is important to a sustainable future and these funds reach to all corners of Massachusetts."

During this SMRP funding round, a total of $856,760 has been allocated for 10 conditional grants that communities can use to implement PAYT. PAYT provides a fair and equitable system in which residents control what they pay for trash disposal by recycling and composting. The grants will be disbursed to assist with start-up costs, such as producing public education materials and purchasing PAYT bags and recycling bins.

Eight communities were awarded $845,863 in SMRP grants for the purchase of wheeled carts for the implementation or expansion of curbside single-stream or dual-stream recycling. The grant provides a $10- or $20-per-cart subsidy for the purchase of carts 65 gallons or larger. Carts make recycling more convenient for residents, producing higher recycling rates and less trash.

Fifteen communities will receive a total of $109,506 to expand their recycling programs to collect targeted materials at municipal recycling drop-off or transfer stations. Grants are for the purchase of roll-offs or compactors for the collection of source-separated wood, carpet, "rigid bulky" plastics, mattresses and source-separated food waste.

Four communities are expected to receive a total of $181,000 to support the hiring of local waste reduction enforcement coordinators to assist in enforcing mandatory recycling, compliance with single-stream recycling or compliance with existing PAYT programs.

In this funding round, 158 municipalities and regional entities are eligible for $161,250 in grants - ranging from $500 for communities under 5,000 residents up to $2,000 for communities larger than 50,000 residents - to purchase items such as recycling outreach and educational materials, compost bins, outdoor event recycling containers, school recycling bins, rain barrels and kitchen food scrap buckets.

More information about the grant program can be seen here: SMRP

MassDEP is responsible for ensuring clean air and water, safe management and recycling of solid and hazardous wastes, timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills, and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources.

ADVISORY MEMBER UPDATESFirst Connecticut Organics Recycling Conference & Trade Show - Dec. 16

The Connecticut Recyclers Coalition will host the first Connecticut Organics Recycling Conference & Trade Show featuring keynote speaker Nora Goldstein from BioCycle. The event will be held on Tuesday, December 16 from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Aqua Turf, Plantsville, CT. Connecticut's top regulator and three expert panels will discuss the State's organics recycling law and key issues to advancing the State’s organics recycling rates. 

Improving Quality: Reducing Curbside Contamination - Webinar Dec. 16

  • Tuesday, December 16, 2014 from 2:00 - 3:00 pm eastern 

How do local programs Improve Quality and Reduce Curbside Contamination? Join the Curbside Value Partnership and other municipal, MRF and marketing experts as they further define the issues and offer specific action items that you can implement right now. The cost is free, but your program can realize a real boost in value.

UNTHA Adds new Shredder

UNTHA shredding technology GmbH has a long-standing commitment to thorough productXR_next generation UNTHA testing and evaluation. This has paid off many times over the years, resulting in repeat business from customers. Not only are products thoroughly checked, all prototypes are also performance-tested under real-life conditions.

Recently, A.S.A. Abfall Services AG agreed to integrate the new XR3000 shredder into their operations. The company had had a positive experience with an earlier model, the XR2000, and was looking to upgrade. From June 2013 to May 2014, the new XR was incorporated into their operations. Results were successful and the machine is now fully integrated into their existing system operations in Himburg.

A.S.A. waste management is focused on individual customer needs and offers waste disposal concepts for municipalities, industry, trade and commercial enterprises and private customers. A wide range of wastes are disposed of, including hazardous materials, and the volume of waste may be large or small. Operations are demanding and require rugged equipment to handle the heavy and continuous loads. Fortunately, this is the kind of work the UNTHA pre-shredder XR3000R was built for.

Engineer Johann Handler, site manager A.S.A. Wiener Neustadt, comments on the new UNTHA  XR3000’s advantages, “"The rotor length of 3000 mm has proven to be optimal, especially when bulky waste material such as mattresses are being fed into the system,” he says. “The variability with regard to output grain size definitely speaks for the new XR3000R. The shredder is energy efficient (less than 4.0 kWh per metric ton) and requires little maintenance. Hydraulic maintenance is no longer required and there is a short knife change time. Compared to previous models, the XR3000R is considerably more resistant to extraneous materials and much quieter. The robust design--particularly regarding the thickness of the cutting chamber wall--and increased cutting power significantly contribute to the machine's reliability. Over the long run, we have found that reliable solutions tend to be the most cost effective solutions for our company, and UNTHA meets these needs."

To learn more about the new XR line, visit www.untha-america.com.

OF GENERAL INTEREST

Reuse at the Holidays – Do It!

Reuse is defined as the “use of a product more than once in its same form for the same or similar purpose.”[1] The economic value of recovered materials as reusable products (either as is, refurbished, repaired, or repurposed) can provide greater economic benefits to a community than recycling. Reuse allows the value of materials to stay within the community, rather than sending value to recycling businesses outside the community or immediate region. Reuse thrives in any community, whether rural, suburban, or urban.

By reusing usable and salvageable items, substantial decreases in solid waste generation and pollution can be achieved. For example, one ton of reused textiles saves more than 3 million gallons of water, 1,318 pounds of fertilizer, and 391 ounces of pesticides.[2]  Reusing and recycling the raw materials from end-of-life electronics conserves natural resources and avoids the air and water pollution, as well as greenhouse gas emissions that are caused by manufacturing new products.

Reuse encourages innovative, low cost, flexible, and local solutions to waste management.  Communities benefit from avoided landfilling and transportation costs associated with shipping waste or recyclables out of the area. Reduced waste and transportation also translate into reduced pollution. Reuse can help businesses and local economies by creating jobs for refurbishing and selling materials, providing revenues for non-profit organizations, benefitting schools, and helping to keep reusable items within the community. And, especially in low income communities, families benefit from opportunities to find free or low-cost, usable items.

Opportunities for reuse abound at the holidays:

  • Vintage is in—consider shopping at local consignment shops. Shopping at local reuse centers or thrift stores can offer surprising offerings, including attractive vintage clothing, jewelry boxes, vases, lunch boxes, games, and more. Reused items can often be repurposed to look like new. Creative clothing, jewelry, and other items can be repurposed from a host of used items.
  • Remember the less fortunate at this time of year by donating usable items to your favorite charity. From electronics to clothing, donation of useable items can help needy families have a more enjoyable holiday season. There are multitudes of opportunities for reuse. Local charities are available for donations of clothing, furniture, and other household items. Building reuse centers will accept usable building materials, tools, and hardware; many will also accept appliances.
  • Use old greeting cards to make gift tags. Cut out shapes, write a message on the blank side, make a hole in the tag, and attach with ribbon (used of course!) or yarn.  Attractive holiday gift boxes can also be made out of used greeting cards. There are loads of ideas for creative reuse of gift cards and wrapping paper.
  • Consider organizing a “Toy Swap” in your community. A toy swap provides an opportunity for people to donate and/or receive clean, gently used, toys, games, and working sports equipment. Winter clothing—boots, snow suits, & coats and other items can also be accepted such events. Toy swaps are perfect reuse events for the holidays!

 Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for the Coming Year from the NERC Staff!!