New Supporting Member
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, as well articles of General Interest and guest blogs 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 thank ECOvanta for renewing its Sustaining Membership in NERC, and to welcome a new Supporting Member—the New York State Association for Reduction, Reuse and Recycling (NYSAR3).
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. NERC has more than 40 Advisory Members and Individual Supporters. To see a complete listing and the benefits of membership, visit the NERC Advisory Membership web page.
The broad spectrum of interests represented by NERC’s Advisory Members, its 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.
If your community or business wants to start or has just started managing organics, it’s obvious that understanding the technical aspects of processing the raw material is essential to creating good finished compost. What isn’t so obvious is the need to recognize and address issues before they happen and immediately as they arise. Successful organics management requires strong planning and decision making skills.
At NERC’s Spring Workshop—Managing Organics in Urban and Rural Areas—we will balance the technical sessions with practical strategies for managing facilities in urban and rural places, i.e., case studies on siting and permitting, storm water management, and pile management and odor control, as well as hands-on activities designed to solve common problems at organics facilities. Also included in the agenda is a Q&A session with organics experts.
Workshop Dates: April 15 – 16, 2014
Location: Haraseeket Inn, Freeport, Maine
Sponsorship & Exhibitor Space Available
For more information, contact Mary Ann Remolador, NERC’s Assistant Director & Events Organizer.
NERC is in need of lanyards for name tags for both its 2014 Workshop and Conference. Instead of going out and buying new ones, we prefer to reuse someone’s surplus or off-spec ones. If you have lanyards you no longer need or know of someone who does, please contact Mary Ann Remolador, NERC’s Assistant Director & Events Organizer.
Need a resolution you can stick to in 2014? Join the State Electronics Challenge! The Challenge makes buying green office equipment, using it efficiently, and recycling it responsibly simple and straightforward.
The Challenge is a free program open to local, regional and state governments, including all K-12 schools, colleges and universities, and non-profit organizations. It provides access to tools, resources, and technical assistance, and it documents the success of participating programs. Program participants receive annual sustainability reports that detail their reductions in energy use, GHGs, and waste. Exemplary programs are acknowledged through the Challenge’s awards and recognition program.
To learn more about the State Electronics Challenge, register for an introductory webinar. The webinar is being offered twice:
Do you ‘love’ NERC? Appreciate the resources and expertise that it offers? Agree with its mission? Well, if you’re a person and not an organization or company, you can step forward and become an Individual Supporter; We look forward to having you join us!
Well, NERC is still far behind Lady Gaga on the number of people “Liking” us on our NERC Facebook page….but, there’s always hope! 59,394,524 “Likes” is a lot, but perhaps you can help us by getting your work associates, friends, children, dogs, etc. to “Like” us on our Facebook page!
NERC's Blog Worth Repeating was posted on the NERC Blog on January 14, 2014. It’s a guest article courtesy of Michael Tully, Safety & Health Manager and Jacob Levenson, Sustainability and Communications Coordinator of Poly Recovery.
In August 1955, Life Magazine revealed a cover story entitled “Throwaway Living.” Inside this article the term "throw-away society" was coined to describe the new trend of plastic products that promised to minimize the time housewives spent accomplishing their daily chores. Why spend valuable time washing and reusing household objects like plates and silverware when they can be inexpensively made of plastic and disposed of after use?
With this began a plastic revolution that quickly infiltrated every part of our day-to-day lives. Many things have changed in the past 50 plus years; women now account for 47% of the workforce and improvements in technology has led the way for companies like Apple, Google and Microsoft to totally reshape the way we live and communicate. One thing that has not changed is the increasing trend of becoming a throwaway society. In the last fifty plus years we have seen an explosion of products created with a one-use life span. Counter intuitively these single use products are manufactured from plastic, a material made to last thousands of years. Replacing glass milk bottles with HDPE plastic jugs or glass soda bottles with PET plastic bottles was only the beginning. Stop and think about the plastic products you use in your daily life and how many of those products are thrown away after each use. It is estimated that today Americans discard approximately 33.6 million tons of plastic each year. 6.5 percent is recycled, 7.7 percent is combusted in waste-to-energy facilities and the remainder eventually ends up in giant landfills buried under ground.
Worse than landfills is when plastic waste ends up in the ocean like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Plastic in the ocean photo degrades into smaller and smaller pieces until they are mistaken for food and eaten by our sea life. Plastic more than any other material has shaped modern society and the thought of completely removing plastic from our lives is preposterous. An equally preposterous thought is that we as humans are the only organisms on earth to produce non-biodegradable waste. Looking back on our accomplishments as a species, this is not one to be proud of. The plastic we manufacture today will last for the next thousand years. Each day new products flood the market often touting the ease of use for consumers, just use and throw away. Need that initial pick me up in the morning? Just throw in that disposable k-cup and within 30 seconds you'll have that piping hot cup of joe. Got a little food caught in that molar? Grab a flosser where a piece of plastic holds the floss before it is conveniently thrown away after use.
Consumers are slowly beginning to hold business responsible for the traceability of their waste and in turn companies have begun using materials that are easily recyclable. Growing up, my parents taught me to consider my actions and what the ultimate cost of that action is. Our society as a whole should take a long hard look at the long-term cost of the convenience of plastic and make the determination of its worth in the end. Businesses need to take a closer look at the products they manufacture; what recycled products they can use in their process and how they can produce a product and it's packaging so that it's easily recyclable for the consumer. With effort from both the manufacturer and the consumer, it is possible to have a responsible use of plastic for convenience.
Poly Recovery, is a full service recycling company located in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
NERC welcomes Guest Blog submissions.
To inquire about submitting an article, contact Athena Lee Bradley, Projects Manager.
Disclaimer: Guest blog’s represent the opinion of the writer and may not reflect the policy or position of the Northeast Recycling Council, Inc.
The Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse (TPCH) elected David Westcott of the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection as its new chairperson of the Executive Committee, following the resignation as chair of Ron Ohta of the California Department of Toxic Substances Control. Ron Ohta will continue to serve on the Executive Committee as a Member at Large. Also serving on the Executive Committee are Kathleen Hennings, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Vice-Chair; and Peter Pettit, New York Department of Environmental Conservation, Members at Large. The Executive Committee is charged with administrative and policy oversight of the TPCH.
For more information on TPCH, contact Patty Dillon, TPCH Program Manager.
The Maine Department of Environmental Protection has issued the fourth annual report, Implementation of Product Stewardship in Maine and is seeking comments from the public. Comments received will be appended to the report and submitted to the Legislature. Comment deadline is February 15, 2014. Please submit comments related to the report to:
17 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0017
A new law, signed by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on December 18, 2013, requires thermostat manufacturers to establish a program to collect and recycle mercury-containing thermostats at no cost to consumers. The law requires the implementation of a statewide thermostat product stewardship program to ensure that hazardous mercury is properly handled, preventing potential adverse health effects and damage to the environment. Homeowners and contractors will now have more convenient opportunities for the safe drop-off and recycling of out-of-service mercury thermostats.
In New York State it is illegal to dispose of mercury thermostats in the trash.
Elemental mercury is found in switches in many older wall-mounted thermostats used to regulate room temperature. If these switches are tampered with or accidentally broken, the mercury can be released, leading to adverse health effects when inhaled or absorbed through the skin. Exposure can also occur when mercury thermostats are improperly discarded into the solid waste stream, ultimately ending up in landfills or at municipal waste combustion facilities, where mercury can be released to the environment.
Beginning July 1, 2014, thermostat manufacturers are required to establish a system for the collection, transport, recycling, disposal and proper management of out-of-service mercury thermostats, and also conduct education and outreach to consumers, thermostat wholesalers, contractors and contractor associations regarding the mercury thermostat collection program. Contractors that replace mercury thermostats or demolish buildings, including those who receive state funding to do so, are required to bring mercury thermostats to collection sites. The statewide goal for calendar year 2015 is to collect 15,500 out-of-service mercury thermostats. For calendar years 2016 through 2023, collection goals will be established by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (Department), with input provided by various stakeholder groups. The Department is also responsible for program oversight and information dissemination, including maintaining lists of program participants to be posted on its website.
Pursuant to the law, thermostat manufacturers must offer all thermostat wholesalers in the state mercury thermostat collection containers. Thermostat wholesalers are prohibited from selling thermostats unless they participate as collection sites and wholesalers and retailers are prohibited from offering for sale or distributing thermostats unless the manufacturer of such thermostats is listed on the Department's website. Manufacturers must also provide collection containers and handling information to all thermostat retailers, qualified contractors and qualified local government authorities that request one. There will be no cost to participate in the program, and consumers may not be charged a fee for disposing of mercury thermostats. For more information regarding the Mercury Thermostat Collection Act, please visit the Department’s website.
ADVISORY MEMBER NEWS
e-cycleNYC, a residential electronics recycling program launched in November 2013, by the New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY), Electronic Recyclers International (ERI) and proactive manufacturers, has enrolled its 100th building.
After the first pickup on November 1st from North Shore Towers in Queens, 99 more New York City apartment buildings have enrolled in e-cycleNYC.
According to DSNY Sanitation Commissioner, John J. Doherty, “e-cycleNYC represents the most innovative and comprehensive electronics recycling service offered in the nation. We’re very pleased to see the quick adoption of this program by buildings around the City.”
e-cycleNYC is a public-private partnership between the DSNY and ERI. It is free for NYC taxpayers and participating buildings because it is fully funded by electronics manufacturers.
The program provides on-site pick up of unwanted electronics, including all TVs, monitors, computers, laptops, small servers, printers/scanners, tablets/e-readers, mobile phones, MP3 players, VCRs/DVRs/DVD players, video game consoles, cable/satellite box, fax machines, keyboards, computer mice and hard drives.
“It’s a privilege for ERI to provide a program that offers responsible, effective recycling of electronic waste for New York City residents,” said John Shegerian, Chairman and CEO of ERI. “Working with the City and proactive manufacturers, we are preventing unwanted electronics – the fastest growing hazardous waste stream in the world today – from ending up in landfills. That the program continues to grow in leaps and bounds is particularly gratifying.”
Buildings with at least 10 units are eligible to enroll in e-cycleNYC. Depending on the size and type of building, a variety of service options are available, including storage bins, room cleanouts, and outdoor electronics recycling events. To sign up, or learn more, visit the e-cycleNYC website.
Electronic Recyclers International (ERI), the world’s largest privately held recycler of electronic waste, is R2 and e-Stewards certified to de-manufacture and recycle every type of electronic waste in an environmentally friendly manner. For more information about e-waste recycling and ERI, call 1-800-884-8466 or visit www.electronicrecyclers.com.