New & Renewing Memberships
Membership is key to NERC's regional and national commitment to sustainable materials management. We are delighted to welcome renewing Sustaining Members - the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA), Bag to Earth, Keurig Green Mountain, and Strategic Materials. NERC also has a new Supporting Member - the Delaware River & Bay Authority, as well as a renewing Supporting Member - 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.
It’s time to make your plans and register for NERC’s Spring Workshop— Markets or Bust. The Workshop will be held on April 3rd at the Sheraton Baltimore Washington Airport Hotel in the Baltimore area, Maryland.
Key topics to be presented at the Workshop are:
The Workshop is intended for young and mature professionals who are interested in understanding current recycling market issues and effective recycling market development techniques.
For more details about sessions, speakers, and schedule go to the Preliminary Agenda.
Contact Mary Ann Remolador, NERC’s Assistant Director and Event Organizer, if you have any questions related to the Workshop.
On February 22, 2 - 3:30 eastern, the Northeast Recycling Council (NERC) & the Northeast Waste Management Official’s Association (NEWMOA) will co-sponsor a webinar about contamination in residential recycling and how to avoid it.
Contamination in the residential recycling stream is top on the list of concerns for all residential recycling programs in the United States. This webinar, the first in a planned four-part series, will feature presentations by The Recycling Partnership. The Recycling Partnership has developed and implemented a highly successful, yet easy to implement, program that recycling coordinators can use to significantly decrease contamination in their residential recycling.
On this webinar The Recycling Partnership will present:
On this webinar The Recycling Partnership will present:
In addition, Brooke Nash, MassDEP, will present firsthand impressions of the kit and its utility in curbing recycling contamination.
Being a NERC Advisory Member not only helps NERC but you as well. There are three tiers of membership and depending on the level at which you join, the benefits vary in degree, but you can count on:
NERC’s social media efforts have resulted in many more readers, friends, and followers. If you haven’t joined NERC’s Blog, or Facebook and Twitter pages, or listservs, please consider doing so. And feel free to spread the word among your peers and friends about NERC’s social media program.
NERC’s Blog presents articles on a wide range of topics, from textiles to the Food Recovery Hierarchy, and much else as well. We discuss current happenings - did you know there is a World Recycles Day? Perhaps you’re moved by the refugee crises around the world; Have you ever considered the unintended consequences of waste created by their plight? And what are the thoughts of David Levine, co-founder and chief executive officer of the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC), on today’s challenges for the materials management industry?
Signing up for the NERC Blog is easy (and of course it’s free). Once you’ve signed up, you’ll receive a weekly email notice with a brief description of the blog and a link. Click on the hyperlink and it will take you directly to our most recent blog. Our blogs are just the right length, often contain hyperlinks for additional information and original source material, frequently contain colorful images and photos, and go well with coffee, tea, or lunch! Previous blogs are all archived and available from the same page.
Want to share your thoughts about current industry issues, program happenings, and/or thoughts on an important issue? If so, contact Athena Lee Bradley. We love to post guest blog articles!
NERC Facebook Page
We’ve got more than 500 “Likes” on our Facebook page! Yeah!
While professional soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo has 122.1 million likes, and the R&B superstar Rihanna has about 105 million, neither of them shares breaking news on issues relating to sustainable materials management. Like us to deepen your understanding of matters you won’t find addressed by either Ronaldo or Rihanna!
NERC on Twitter
In the Twitter world, NERC has 1,400 followers. A hearty note of appreciation to all of you! You can join our growing ranks of Twitter followers here: @NERecycling. We continue to increase our presence on Twitter and use it to promote NERC events and announcements, and to help others in the field by spreading their news and postings.
Environmentally Preferable Products Listserv (EPPnet)
In 1998, NERC established EPPnet, the Environmentally Preferable Products Listserv. EPPnet is the only national listserv dedicated to the issue of environmentally preferable purchasing. EPPnet enables users to easily and immediately share product specifications, vendors, prices, strategies for achieving green product procurement goals, and federal procurement policies.
Organics Management Northeast Listserv
NERC’s Listserv for advancing organics management in the Northeast is an opportunity to share information about what’s happening with organics management. It’s an open listserv to anyone interested in advancing organics diversion in the Northeast through promotion of the organics management hierarchy (i.e., reduction, recovery, recycling [composting], anaerobic digestion).
Listserv Requirements: NERC listservs are hosted by Yahoo. A Yahoo email account is required of everyone interested in participating in the listserv; log in can also be done through a Facebook account. Once you are a member of the listserv, you can elect to use a non-Yahoo email address.
To join the listservs:
Please note that EPPnet is restricted to government and nonprofit members working in environmental preferable purchasing.
Organics Management Northeast
Contact Athena Lee Bradley for more information on NERC’s social media or listservs.
NERC & NEWMOA recently co-sponsored a webinar about C&D material management and markets in the Northeast. Presentations included:
A recording of this webinar is now available.
NERC has several other important resources available about C&D and disaster debris management:
For more information, contact Lynn Rubinstein, NERC Executive Director.
This document provides state-by-state information for the 11-states in the NERC region—Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont—regarding potential sources of grant or loan funding for organics-related businesses that are available from state and federal agencies.
For more information, contact Lynn Rubinstein, NERC Executive Director.
Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse News
Melissa Walsh Innes became the Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse (TPCH) Program Manager in late 2016, in the role of a contractor. We are delighted to announce that the position has transitioned to a permanent NERC staff position.
Electronics Recycling Coordination Clearinghouse News
The Electronics Recycling Coordination Clearinghouse (ERCC) is in the initial development stage on a new resource for all stakeholders needing information on the state electronics recycling laws. A new “Compliance Calendar” website will list all deadlines, requirements, and other key characteristics about the 26 laws in a searchable format. The site will serve stakeholders who are trying to comply with the varying state electronics recycling laws, and allow users to set up and customize email alerts for various deadlines. The project will be developed by ERCC, through funding that has been generously provided by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA). Site development is beginning now and is expected to wrap up by Spring 2018. ERCC members will provide input during the development process. If you would like more information on ERCC membership, please contact Jason Linnell or Lynn Rubinstein.
The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) has announced the selection of the Sacyr Rooney Development Team to modernize the Materials Innovation and Recycle Authority (MIRA) facility in Hartford. The facility is Connecticut’s largest waste facility and is set to undergo a transformation that will cut in half the amount of trash burned and dramatically increase the recovery of recyclable materials and organics.
The Sacyr Rooney Development Team team is an alliance between Sacyr, an international Spain-based firm specializing in complex infrastructure projects, and Manhattan Construction Group, which has extensive experience financing and building large-scale infrastructure projects. Other members of the bid team include Baltimore, M.D.-based Synagro, and CWPM of Plainville, CT.
“One-third of the state’s trash (over 700,000 tons-per-year) is currently sent to the MIRA waste-to-energy facility on Maxim Road, Hartford, where material is combusted for energy generation. The facility’s aging equipment is prone to unplanned outages and MIRA had warned state officials that it would be unable to bear the cost of needed upgrades,” said DEEP Commissioner Robert Klee. “The Sacyr Rooney concept has the potential to provide significant environmental and economic benefits to the State, as well as significant improvements in host community impacts compared with the present state.”
The environmental benefits include the recovery of over 40 percent of incoming Municipal Solid Waste for beneficial uses by employing enhanced recycling, anaerobic digestion, and composting technologies. The remaining material will be combusted for the production of electricity in a refurbished power system. Taking into account expected diversion and the reduced throughput, the concept would reduce by approximately one-half the amount of waste currently combusted at the facility. The concept also helps maintain in-state waste management capacity rather than significantly increasing reliance on out-of-state landfilling, which is consistent with the state’s statutory waste management hierarchy as well as the 2016 Comprehensive Materials Management Strategy (CMMS).
The economic benefits include the potential to stabilize tipping fees throughout the regional waste system, reigning in costs for residents and businesses. The Sacyr Rooney concept is projected to provide tipping fees that are lower than current MIRA contracted rates for many customers. Other benefits include the transformation of waste into valuable commodities, and the creation of new jobs.
For the City of Hartford, the Sacyr Rooney concept holds the potential for a higher host benefit payment, local hiring and purchasing, job training programs, a new education center, aesthetic improvements to the facility and site, remediation of existing contamination at a portion of the site, and increased public access to the riverfront. Upgrades to the power system and the significant reduction in combustion at the site will also reduce the potential for environmental and human health impacts for residents of Hartford and surrounding towns. DEEP has established a process to ensure Hartford has a seat at the table for negotiations on moving the project forward.
DEEP will monitor negotiations involving Sacyr Rooney, MIRA, and the City of Hartford aimed at reaching a final development agreement by August 2018. If an agreement cannot be reached, DEEP has reserved the right to invite another proposer, Mustang Renewable Power Ventures, to enter into talks with MIRA. Contracting will be followed by approximately three years of planning, permitting, and construction before the new facility is fully online.
More information about the proposals and the RFP process is available online.
The goal of the Environmentally Preferable Products (EPP) Program (which resides in the Commonwealth’s Operational Services Division) is to leverage the Commonwealth’s purchasing power to reduce the environmental and health impacts of the state government’s purchasing activities, foster markets for products with recycled content, and promote the purchase of those goods and services that conserve energy, water, and other resources while reducing waste and the use of toxic substances.
In fiscal year 2016 the Commonwealth, through its statewide contracts, documented nearly $300 million of spending on EPPs. By purchasing EPPs, the Commonwealth has:
In addition, some other highlights include:
The full report is available online.
The Chair of New York’s Plastic Bag Task Force, State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos, has issued the Task Force's comprehensive report outlining eight potential solutions to address the scourge of plastic bag waste in the state. The report was sent to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature for consideration.
“As states across the nation and world struggle with the environmental and financial costs of plastic bag waste, New York is developing a comprehensive solution. Under Governor Cuomo's direction, the New York State Plastic Bag Task Force has identified equitable, statewide solutions to address plastic bag waste and this report provides a menu of options to tackle this issue. I'm grateful to the Co-Chairs and Task Force members for their efforts and hard work to develop this report,” said DEC Commissioner Seggos.
Convened in March 2017, the Task Force was directed to study the growing issue of plastic bag waste and develop a comprehensive statewide plan to address the detrimental impact plastic bags have on the environment. The report is the result of a dedicated effort by Task Force members, including elected officials, advocates, and other key stakeholders. The report was informed by a roundtable discussion and comments DEC received from interested parties and an exhaustive review of actions taken elsewhere to address plastic bag waste.
Task Force members are:
The Task Force’s report, which is available online and provides an overview of the problems caused by single-use plastic bags and reviews single-use plastic bag reduction measures undertaken in New York State, the U.S., and internationally. These measures have included plastic bag fees, plastic bag bans, a combination of fees and bans, manufacturer responsibility programs, and education and outreach initiatives to consumers at both the municipal and statewide level.
The options to address plastic bag waste in the report are:
In addition, the report notes the need for any approach taken to include an education and outreach campaign to make consumers aware of the problems with plastic bags for the environment and waste stream, encourage the use of reusable bags and how to properly recycle plastic bags. As part of the education and outreach campaign, the report recommends providing funds to support the distribution of reusable bags with a focus on low and fixed income individuals. If the policy approach taken includes fees, the report suggests that any funding received by the State be dedicated to the Environmental Protection Fund.
Across New York, residents use 23 billion plastic bags annually. A significant number of these bags make their way into the environment causing litter and damaging wildlife, which can be seen within our waterways, along our streets and in our oceans and lakes. Moreover, these bags do not biodegrade -- they persist for years. Advisory Member News
The NVMSRP provides for the transportation and recycling of mercury convenience switches from end-of-life vehicles in order to reduce mercury releases to the environment; participation by dismantlers and recyclers is voluntary and absolves them of liability once the switches are collected.
The program was set to expire at the end of 2017 since it was predicted that vehicles with mercury switches would largely be out of the recycling stream, but events since then suggest that a significant number of mercury switches have yet to be captured. ISRI members approved the continuation of the NVMSRP as long as the End of Life Vehicle Solutions Corporation (ELVS) maintained transportation, acceptance, recycling, and liability responsibilities, and the responsibilities of ISRI and participating dismantlers and recyclers remained essentially unchanged. The extension fulfills both these requirements.
The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) has reported that for the month of November 2017, U.S. steel mills shipped 7,419,946 net tons, a 3.8 percent decrease from the 7,710,777 net tons shipped in the previous month, October 2017, and a 10.3 percent increase from the 6,724,277 net tons shipped in November 2016. Shipments year-to-date in 2017 are 83,558,470 net tons, a 5.3 percent increase vs. 2016 shipments of 79,360,096 net tons for eleven months.
A comparison of November shipments to the previous month of October shows the following changes: cold rolled sheets, up 1 percent, hot rolled sheets, down 3 percent and hot dipped galvanized sheets and strip, down 4 percent.
AISI serves as the voice of the North American steel industry in the public policy arena and advances the case for steel in the marketplace as the preferred material of choice.
Based on the Commerce Department’s most recent Steel Import Monitoring and Analysis (SIMA) data, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported today that steel import permit applications for the month of December totaled 2,473,000 net tons (NT)*. This was a 13.6% decrease from the 2,861,000 permit tons recorded in November and a 10.5% decrease from the November final imports total of 2,762,000 NT. Import permit tonnage for finished steel in December was 1,854,000, down 14.6% from the final imports total of 2,170,000 in November. For the full year 2017 (including December SIMA permits and November final data), total and finished steel imports were 38,149,000 NT and 29,534,000 NT, up 15.5% and 12.1%, respectively, from 2016. The estimated finished steel import market share in December was 22% and is estimated at 27% for 2017.
Finished steel imports with large increases in December permits compared to the November final included tool steel (up 52%), heavy structural shapes (up 42%), tin free steel (up 30%) and mechanical tubing (up 11%). Products with significant 2017 increases include oil country goods (up 197%), line pipe (up 62%), standard pipe (up 39%), mechanical tubing (up 30%), hot rolled bars (up 23%), structural pipe and tubing (up 19%), cold rolled sheets (up 15%), sheets and strip all other metallic coatings (up 13%) and sheets and strip hot dipped galvanized (up 11%).
In December, the largest finished steel import permit applications for offshore countries were for South Korea (179,000 NT, down 16% from November final), Brazil (99,000 NT, up 1%, Japan (86,000 NT, down 25%), Germany (84,000 NT, down 41%) and The Netherlands (61,000 NT, down 45%). In 2017, the largest offshore suppliers were South Korea (3,740,000 NT, down 1.9% from 2016), Turkey (2,186,000 NT, down 9% from 2016) and Japan (1,509,000 NT, down 16% from 2016).
Monthly permit numbers provided to date may be understated, as entry documentation with the required import license number may be submitted up to ten days after imports have entered U.S. commerce.
The Recycling Partnership offered a mid-October webinar detailing a six-point plan on how to shield your program from National Sword, the umbrella term used to describe the various China-related export issues. Their resources include a deep-dive into paper and plastics markets from industry experts and an open discussion on impacts and actions with four different regional MRFs from across the U.S.
A recording of the webinar is available here, the presentations are available here, and the tools needed to clean up your stream (the #1 way to combat market issues) are available here.
The State of Massachusetts continued their work with The Recycling Partnership this year, fighting contamination in six more communities and training Bay State staffers to deploy our approach for years to come. Together with the Massachusetts Department for Environmental Protection, The Recycling Partnership created the Recycling IQ Kit. Here’s one for curbside recycling communities, and another for communities with drop-off programs.
Of General Interest
Recycled glass presents special challenges as a commodity. The expansion of single-stream recycling (see NERC's January Email Bulletin for its definition) can lead to contamination of paper by broken glass, which can also cause damage to recycling machinery in materials recovery facilities (MRFs).
In order to clarify the issues impacting glass recycling, and to identify possible solutions, NERC has convened a Glass Committee which is focusing on glass recycling in the Northeast.
This month's recycling terms definitions includes three that describe efforts to make use of recycled glass in ways that can be profitable while contributing to the sustainable management of resources.
Our fourth recycling term this month was suggested by Peter Schirk of Advisory Member BHS-Sonthofen.
If you have suggestions for future definitions, contact Lynn Rubinstein, NERC Executive Director.
The Tools and Initiatives to Advance Sustainable Consumption webinar will focus on new emerging tools and initiatives for local governments in their efforts to advance sustainable consumption. The Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN), a peer organization supporting innovation in municipal sustainability, is leading the way in exploring the role of cities in shifting consumption. In 2016, USDN launched its Sustainable Consumption Toolkit, a web-based resource for cities that highlights the important relationship between consumption and sustainability and provides an inventory of related local government actions. Babe O’Sullivan, a consultant with USDN, will provide an overview of this tool and how it can serve Forum members as they consider new projects, programs and policies to address the impacts of consumption.
You can register for this webinar here.
For other upcoming webinars here.
AMERIPEN has announced the release of anew white paper, “Quantifying the Value of Packaging as a Strategy to Prevent Food Waste in America.” This new report delves deeper into the potential ways packaging can reduce food waste in America and notes where further investment, research and policy must integrate to realize this value.
In the past 50 years, the amount of food waste in America has doubled. Americans now waste almost ten times more food than those in less developed nations and almost one-third more than those in developed nations, costing over $200 billion each year. Food waste is the largest single material in landfills across the US and is a key contributor to global greenhouse gases.
By analyzing global data, AMERIPEN uncovered a surprising correlation between the foods with the highest percentage of wastage and those with the least amount of packaging. National-level data reinforced the link between packaging and food waste by demonstrating that the regions with the highest rates of food waste also have the least amount of packaged foods. Yet consumers frequently cite packaging over food waste as a top environmental concern, despite data suggesting otherwise.
While others have touted packaging as a cost-effective prevention strategy towards food waste, most have argued for further investment into emerging packaging technologies. AMERIPEN’s study suggests instead that simple optimization strategies to reduce damage and address consumer shifts in purchasing may be equally effective and more cost efficient in the fight against waste.