Renewing Supporting Members
Membership is key to NERC's regional and national commitment to sustainable materials management. We would like to welcome renewing Supporting Members Addison County Solid Waste Management District (ACSWMD), Vermont, the Materials Innovation & Recycling Authority (MIRA), Connecticut, Oak Ridge Waste and Recycling, the Southeastern Connecticut Regional Resource Recovery Authority (SCRRRA), and the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC).
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.
NERC will host the third webinar in its Packaging EPR series on December 5, 1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. (Eastern Time). There is no fee to participate.
The webinar will focus on European Packaging EPR programs—how the different programs are structured, the program costs and revenues, and how they are working. The webinar presenters—Clarissa Morawski, Managing Director of Reloop Platform & Victor Bell, US Managing Director of Environmental Packaging International—are experts about the programs and NERC is delighted to be able to share their expertise with you.
Register Here. If you are unable to attend the webinar, the recording and presentations will be available on NERC’s website by the afternoon of December 6.
Contact Mary Ann Remolador, if you have any questions.
The Northeast Recycling Council (NERC) last night presented its 2019 Environmental Sustainability Leadership Awards. Three outstanding programs in the Northeast were recognized. Each of the winners was selected for its particularly high level of environmental achievement that supports NERCs mission. Awards were presented to:
“This is the third year of NERC’s Environmental Sustainability Leadership Awards and we were once again impressed by the quality of the projects submitted for consideration,” commented Robert Isner of Connecticut, NERC Board Vice President.
The Delaware River & Bay Authority’s (DBRA) Regional Environmental Leadership & Enhanced Recycling Program – winner of the Advisory Member award: The DBRA is a bi-state governmental agency that operates the Delaware Memorial Bridge, the Cape May-Lewes Ferry System and five regional airports. Recently, the Authority:
Al Fralinger, Environmental Compliance & Safety Manager of the Delaware River and Bay Authority accepted the award.
Danvers, Massachusetts Recycling Contamination Reduction Campaign – winner of the public sector award: The Town of Danvers worked with its hauler – JRM - to retrain its curbside recycling residents about what to recycle. They updated their outreach and educational materials and created a “Danvers DPW Recycling Guide” to educate residents on proper recycling, updated their website, sent out a press release, and ran a social media campaign.
In July, 2019, JRM stickered and left contaminated recycling loads at the curb. DPW staff followed JRM’s recycling truck and left the “Danvers DPW Recycling Guide” with the resident. The sticker program identified 1,200 residences that had contaminated recycling bins. Numbers dropped significantly after the first week and had decreased by 90% at month’s end. There were only 7 repeat violations in July.
Not only did residents get the message about what not to recycle, but about what they should recycle. In July, they had a recycling rate of 30% compared to a rate of 26% from April to June. Gail Bernard, Program Coordinator, Department of Public Works, accepted the award.
The Armstrong Ceilings Recycling Program – winner of the public sector award: The Armstrong® Ceilings Recycling Program is the first and longest-running recycling program in the ceilings industry. Since its inception in 1998, the closed-loop program, which takes back discarded ceiling panels from renovation and demolition projects and upcycles them into new ceiling panels, has diverted more than 200 million square feet of used ceiling materials away from landfills.
By reclaiming the old ceilings and using them to manufacture new ceiling products, the Ceilings Recycling Program has saved over one million tons of virgin raw materials and prevented 100,000 tons of construction waste from being deposited in landfills. In the 11-state NERC region, it has diverted more than 40 million square feet of used ceiling materials, saving 220,000 tons of virgin raw materials and preventing 20,000 tons of construction waste disposal.
The reclaimed ceilings are used to make new ceiling panels in a closed-loop manufacturing process. The new panels are designated as Ceiling-2-Ceiling™ items and contain the highest level of post-consumer recycled content in the ceilings industry. Christopher Swentner, Recycling Coordinator for the program accepted the award.
Long-time staff member Athena Lee Bradley is no longer with NERC She leaves NERC with an impressive history of achievements in organics management and food waste reduction. Stepping in to complete the current USDA Rural Utilities Service Grant on Community Composting project is Cindy Sterling.
Cindy has been managing and coordinating federal and state grant awards for 25 years; assisting non-profit organizations provide environmental education programs and municipalities to implement pollution prevention programs in the Northeast. She has been a regional and national spokesperson promoting the 4R’s (reduce, reuse, recycle, refuse) within rural communities since 1992. Her experience includes networking with state, regional, and national affiliations on legislative issues, expanding regional composting programs, increasing opportunities to collect universal and hazardous wastes, and increasing public awareness of waste disposal alternatives. The focus of her work is to develop hands-on training programs.
NERC’s Spring 2020 Conference will be held on April 20 – 21 at the Sheraton Hartford South Hotel in Rocky Hill, Connecticut. In preparation for this event and all of NERC’s Conferences, we form an Agenda Planning Committee (APC) to work with NERC staff to define the Conference theme, develop an agenda, and identify potential speakers. The APC is made up of NERC’s Board of Directors (or others from their agencies) and Advisory Members.
NERC would like to thank the following volunteers that make up its Spring ’20 Conference APC:
NERC Board of Directors
Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection
Delaware Solid Waste Authority
Maine Department of Environmental Protection
Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
Ex Officio Board Member
NERC Advisory Members
Association of Plastics Recyclers
Fiber Box Association
Keurig Dr. Pepper
For NERC Board of Directors and Advisory Members who are interested in joining the Spring APC, contact Mary Ann Remolador, NERC’s Assistant Director & Events Organizer.
The REMADE Institute "is partnership with industry, academia and national labs, [to] enable early stage applied research and development of technologies that could dramatically reduce the embodied energy and carbon emissions associated with industrial-scale materials production and processing." Its efforts include funding for innovative research projects that support the recycling industry.
NERC joins the ranks of some of the leading organizations in the U.S. that support recycling market development as an affiliate member of REMADE.
Following on its inaugural blended commodity value report published in August, NERC has again surveyed publically-owned MRFs in a 10-state region and has published the results. The report covers the period of July 1- September 30, 2019.
Last year, in partnership with the Northeast Waste Management Officials’ Association (NEWMOA), NERC formed a Regional Recycling Markets Development Committee. The Committee determined that having regional information about the value of recyclable commodities would be extremely helpful for assessing regional market trends and would serve as an educational tool for promoting improved residential recycling and participation. North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality has been doing a similar survey for many years. The results have been invaluable to recyclers, MRFs, and also municipalities and state agencies. NERC anticipates the same benefits in our region and will conduct the survey, and report results and trends, on a quarterly basis.
The Updated Blended Commodity Values in the Northeast report shows a significant drop in the value of a ton of materials marketed by MRFs in the region.
Fourteen (14) publically-owned MRFs provided the average value of each commodity for the previous quarter (July – September 2019). These values were then combined into a weighted average to reflect the average value per ton for recyclables marketed in the region. Among the respondents were single stream, dual stream, and source separated MRFs.
The results were:
These figures show a significant decrease in value from the previous quarter (April – June, 2019)
For more information, contact Lynn Rubinstein, NERC.
NERC, in collaboration with the Northeast Waste Management Officials’ Association (NEWMOA) have published a new fact sheet about Extended Producer Responsibility for Packaging and Paper Products: The Basics.
This new resource is part of a join initiative to provide an unbiased educational basis for conversation and decision-making about Extended Producer Responsibility for Packaging and Paper Products (EPR for PPP). The original request for such information came from the Northeast Committee on the Environment (NECOE). This fact sheet is designed to communicate basic information about this complex topic. In early 2020, a detailed white paper on the topic will be published
With continuing announcements about new paper recycling capacity, and updated information about capacity, input, and opening dates, it was time to update NERC's recycled paper capacity report. The most recent report can be downloaded here.
A first of its kind webinar was offered by NERC and the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) in November - New AASHTO Specification 294R - Recycled content in drainage pipes.
Using plastic drainage pipes in public road and infrastructure projects is a common practice, but until recently they haven’t contained post-consumer recycled content. But, now they can! Recently AASHTO revised the specification for corrugated HDPE pipe – AASHTO M294 – to allow plastic drainage pipes to be produced using post-consumer recycled content and still meet the rigorous 100 year service life requirements.
Plastic drainage pipes are often made of HDPE plastic (otherwise known as #2). For years, corrugated HDPE pipe made with recycled resins were limited to applications outside the public right-of-way, i.e. agricultural drainage and private storm drainage applications. Several pipe manufacturers are now offering this product with post-consumer recycled (PCR) content that is manufactured to AASHTO M294 standards and is being audit by AASHTO’s National Transportation Product Evaluation Program (NTPEP).
The speakers were:
The recording, PowerPoint presentations, and handout are available for free download:
For more information, contact Lynn Rubinstein, NERC.
In June 2017, NERC and its sister organization, the Northeast Waste Management Officials' Association (NEWMOA), entered into a Joint Strategic Action Plan. The venture has been extremely successful, with many webinars, new resources and documents, and workshops. The boards of both organizations have adopted an updated Plan, that includes priorities and specific projects to address those priorities.
To celebrate America Recycles Day, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) announced $3.6 million in Sustainable Materials Recovery Program (SMRP) grants to 54 communities, regional groups and non-profit organizations to increase the diversion, reuse, composting and recycling of materials in the solid waste stream.
“On America Recycles Day, and throughout the year, our administration is partnering with communities and other organizations to invest in programs that will encourage recycling and waste reduction efforts,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Reducing waste by composting, reuse and recycling improves the health of our communities and the vitality of our business sector.”
“The Sustainable Materials Recovery Program grants highlight our administration’s continued efforts to protect the environment and the public health, and support community sustainability,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “This program supports the important local work that will reduce the waste stream, while cutting greenhouse gas emissions and preserving our natural resources.”
During the second round of 2019 SMRP funding, 54 communities and groups will receive grants ranging from $3,000 to $300,000 for a total of $3,651,412 statewide. 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, large containers for collection of target materials at municipal transfer stations, school recycling assistance programs and innovative waste reduction projects.
“Through this grant program, the Baker-Polito Administration is proud to work with communities and nonprofits across the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect the environment for the generations to come,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “The Commonwealth has an aggressive goal of reducing the waste stream by 80 percent by 2050, and programs like this will help us reach that goal and improve the health of our communities.”
The SMRP grant program was created under the Green Communities Act and is administered by the MassDEP. 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.
“Organics, paper, metals and plastic constitute more than 65 percent of the materials we throw away today, and those materials are not waste, but a valuable commodity that should be reused and recycled,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “When we repurpose these materials, we reduce the waste stream, save money on disposal costs, create renewable energy and stimulate the economy.”
During this SMRP funding round, a total of $1.96 million has been allocated for 12 conditional grants that communities can use to implement Pay-As-You-Throw (PAYT) programs or upgrade existing PAYT to 35-gallon standardized carts. PAYT provides a fair and equitable system in which residents control what they pay for trash disposal by recycling and composting.
A mattress recycling incentive, now in its fifth year, will award $643,002 to 22 communities across the state. This grant will pay for the cost of recycling residential mattresses that are collected and recycled by one of four mattress recycling companies on Massachusetts state contract. Recycling is a preferred management method since mattresses are bulky and costly to dispose of in landfills and incinerators.
Seven communities were awarded a total of $682,980 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-, $15- or $20-per-cart subsidy for the purchase of carts 64 gallons or larger.
Nineteen communities will receive a total of $136,000 to expand their recycling programs to collect targeted materials at municipal recycling drop-off or transfer stations or increase the efficiency of recycling cardboard with compactors that densify material and reduce hauling costs. Grants are for the purchase of roll-offs or compactors for the collection of source-separated recyclables, glass, single-stream recyclables and “bulky rigid” plastics. Six municipalities will receive funding for a “swap shed” for the storage of reusable home goods and furnishings dropped off by residents for others to take.
Also funded was an Education and Enforcement Coordinator (EEC) for the Town of Dalton. This grant item will enable Dalton to hire an EEC to enforce their newly adopted private waste hauler regulations, which require haulers servicing residential households to provide trash and recycling as a bundled service at a rate that reflects the cost of both services. This ensures that those households not served by the municipality are provided with recycling services.
The Island Grown Initiative, a non-profit on Martha’s Vineyard, was awarded $43,000 to expand their food waste composting operations from the current 120 tons of food waste per year to 720 tons. The funds will help meet the growing demand for greater food waste recovery on the island.
The Keep Massachusetts Beautiful non-profit was awarded $51,000 to develop a statewide network of presenters and educators to conduct hundreds of presentations across the state promoting MassDEP’s Recycle Smart MA education initiative.
“I am thrilled that a community in my district was selected for a Sustainable Materials Recovery Program grant. Combating our climate crisis is a priority to me, and our towns’ ability to recycle and dispose of waste responsibly is one small way to accomplish this goal,” said Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). “With this funding, totaling more than $200,000, Holliston will have the means to continue its commitment to providing a safe and clean community for all of its residents.”
“I am glad to see the release of this grant funding under the administration’s work with the SMRP, particularly to the towns of Phillipston, Ware, and Monson,” said State Senator Anne Gobi (D-Spencer), House Chairwoman of the Joint Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. “Supporting solid waste reduction initiatives is key to ensuring that we reach our recycling and reuse goals, and these awards help our area towns work toward achieving those markers with a smaller financial burden.”
“Recycling plays a pivotal role in protecting our environment,” said State Senator Dean Tran (R-Fitchburg). “Implementing ways, including the incorporation of appliances to avoid the use of disposal trays, is a sound use of grant money.”
“This funding will work to ensure that Holliston has the tools it needs to move forward with thoughtful, sustainable waste management,”said State Representative Carolyn Dykema (D-Holliston). “I welcome this opportunity for state and local partners to work together to meet the needs of our community while making progress toward our shared environmental goals.”
“I am very happy that two towns in my district have taken advantage of these grants,” said State Representative Sheila Harrington (R-Groton). “Both Pepperell and Townsend are taking a great step toward a sustainable recycling program.”
A list of the municipalities, regional groups and non-profit organizations that have been awarded a grant, as well as more information about the SMRP program, can be seen here.
During the first round of SMRP funding announced in October, the Baker-Polito Administration awarded more than $2.9 million in grants to 262 communities and solid waste districts to help pay for new recycling bins and carts, public education and outreach, collection of difficult-to-recycle items and implement recycling programs at municipal buildings, schools and public spaces.
Advisory Member Updates
As recycling enthusiasts celebrate America Recycles Day this November 15, the Carton Council of North America will also be celebrating 10 years of carton recycling. Formed in 2009, the group has worked with countless stakeholders to grow household access to food and beverage carton recycling to nearly 61%, representing a 238% increase in 10 years.
Back in 2009, only 18% of U.S. households had access to carton recycling. Now, carton recycling programs exist in 49 states, with more than 71 million U.S. homes able to recycle cartons in curbside or drop-off programs. With a look ahead, the Carton Council has set its ambitions for the future. This includes increasing household access to 75% and raising the carton recycling rate to 25% by 2025. The curbside carton recycling rate for cartons currently sits around 16%, which is a 166% increase from 2009 when the rate stood at just 6%.
“Since forming, we’ve seen a big increase in products being packaged in cartons,” said Jason Pelz, VP of Recycling Projects for the Carton Council. “This means more cartons have the potential to enter the recycling stream. We’re hard at work to ensure those cartons do not end up in landfills and can be turned into new products.”
Progress has been achieved in large part due to the public-private relationships established at all levels throughout the recycling supply chain. Additionally, the Carton Council recognizes that recycling happens at the local level and is especially grateful to those who recognize the value in carton recycling. Some carton recycling champion communities include Napa City and Napa County, CA; the City of San Diego and San Diego County, CA; Fort Collins, CO; Brookfield, CT; Central Virginia, which includes 13 localities in the Richmond area; Northern Cook County, IL; Anoka County, MN; Becker County, MN; Minneapolis, MN; and New York, NY.
“As product packaging changes, the recycling market needs to adapt to fit growing needs,” said Lydia Campbell, Recycling Program Specialist, Anoka County Public Health & Environmental Services. “The work that the Carton Council has done accomplishes just that. Cartons are a popular packaging style, and incorporating them into curbside recycling programs is an obvious choice. It’s a substantial material stream, and our residents are happy that they can participate and keep more resources out of landfills.”
Look for more information from the Carton Council in 2020 on plans for working toward the new 2025 recycling targets.
Of General Interest
According to a 2018 industry survey, more than 27% of material recovery facilities (MRFs) have glass clean-up equipment. The Glass Recycling Coalition (GRC), a collaborative glass recycling organization, is launching the MRF Glass Certification to recognize effective programs.
"The long-term goal is to encourage and produce quality glass products that are viable in the glass container market or other beneficial reuse applications and not in a landfill," said Tom Outerbridge, Manager Sims Municipal Recycling.
The free certification program recognizes MRFs with additional equipment and operational procedures to clean up glass in both single- and dual-stream systems that are producing more marketable and higher quality glass.
GRC’s website currently hosts an interactive map showing MRFs, glass processors, and end-markets across the country. GRC certified MRFs will be noted on this map along with public recognition of this certification through traditional and social media.
The glass certification criteria are judged on current infrastructure and a glass purity measure. An independent committee will score certification levels into gold, silver, and bronze certifications. MRFs holding this certification will have a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
According to the GRC, glass is endlessly recyclable and residents view it as a core recyclable. The organization believes this certification will highlight the importance of MRFs role in successful glass recycling.
Learn more about the Glass Recycling Coalition and apply for MRF Glass Certification at www.glassrecycles.org.