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July 2017

NERC’s Advisory Members

Distinguished Benefactors

Consumer Technology Association (CTA)



Sustaining Members

  • American Chemistry Council

  • American Forest and Paper Association

  • Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR)

  • Bag To Earth

  • Can Manufacturers Institute

  • Casella Resource Solutions

  • Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Northern New England

  • 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 Green Mountain

  • MRM

  • National Waste & Recycling Association


  • Organix Solutions

  • Re-TRAC

  • Recycling Partnership

  • Schaefer Systems International, Inc.

  • Sony

  • Steel Recycling Institute

  • Strategic Materials

  • Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council (SPLC)


  • Trex

  • US Composting Council (USCC)

  • Waste Management

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


Renewing Sustaining Members

Renewing Supporting Member







New & Renewing Memberships

Membership is key to NERC's regional and national commitment to sustainable materials management. We are delighted to thank renewing  Sustaining Members Coca Cola Bottling of New England, MRM and Trex,  and Supporting Member hibu, publisher of Yellowbook.

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’s Fall Conference Agenda & Registration Now Available!

The wait is over.  The Agenda and Registration for NERC’s Fall Conference & 30th Anniversary celebration are now available!   

The response to NERC’s Call for Papers resulted in a flood of submissions and the Agenda Planning Committee and NERC staff worked hard to prioritize the sessions for the Conference.  We would like to thank everyone who submitted a session proposal.  We greatly appreciate the quality and diversity of the proposals received. 

As a result, NERC’s Conference agenda will include a variety of some of the hottest topics for sustainable materials management, including:

  • Future of Sustainable Materials Management
  • Recycling Infrastructure Needs & Resource Management Solutions
  • How Brand Name Companies’ Recycling Involvement & Impact Has Changed
  • Successful and Unsuccessful US Extended Producer Recycling Programs
  • Recycling Train the Trainers
  • Plastic Grocery Bag Bans, Recycling Programs, & Related Environmental Issues
  • State of C&D Recycling in the Northeast
  • Approaching Surplus Furnishings as an Asset Instead of a Liability
  • The Right to Repair


massdep-logo-left-full-text          KEURIGGM_LOGO

 CTA logo 2   panasonic-logo-200 samsung 




  ReTRAC     APR logo 2015

   Organix Solutions Logo

Recycling Today Logo    ResourceRecyclingLogoFramed


For more information about NERC’s Conference, contact Mary Ann Remolador, NERC’s Conference Organizer & Assistant Director.

Fiscal Year Starts with New Officers

It's the new fiscal year for NERC and with the new year comes new officers. 

Robert Isner, President of the BoardRobert Isner

Robert has been with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s Waste Engineering and Enforcement Division for twenty-five years, the past seventeen years as the solid waste and hazardous waste program manager.  His current responsibilities as Director of Waste Engineering and Enforcement Division include management of compliance assistance, permitting, and enforcement activities for the recycling, solid waste, hazardous waste, and pesticide programs.  Robert has also participated as the Connecticut designee on numerous regional and national workgroups assessing a variety of recycling, solid waste, and RCRA regulatory issues. 

Robert is currently on the Board of Directors for the Northeast Recycling Council (current and past President), and the Connecticut Chapter of the Air & Waste Management Association.

Prior to joining CT DEEP, Robert worked for over eight years as a municipal land use planner while employed by two separate municipalities in Connecticut.  Robert also worked for several years doing environmental planning and real estate development consulting.  Robert holds a Bachelor of Science from UConn and a Master of Science from Central Connecticut State University. 

Richard (Rick) Watson, TreasurerRick Watson photo

Richard P. Watson  P.E., BCEE, is the Chief Executive Officer of the Delaware Solid Waste Authority (DSWA). He leads the organization which is responsible for managing all municipal solid waste, recycling, household hazardous waste, electronic waste and other special waste programs for the entire State of Delaware.  He joined DSWA in 1981 as a project engineer for Delaware’s first double lined sanitary landfill.  Through the next 35 years he has overseen design, construction, and operation of solid waste projects, including landfills, transfer stations, landfill gas control systems, and various recycling projects.

Mr. Watson has a B.S. Degree in Civil & Environmental Engineering from Clarkson University and a M.S. Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Delaware.  He has been a Professional Engineer in Delaware since 1983 and received his BCEE certification in 1996 from the American Academy of Environmental Engineers & Scientists. He has been a member of several professional organizations including SWANA, ISWA, AAEES, ASCE, NSPE, WEF and NERC.  He has served as Vice President and President of NERC in the recent past.

The Vice President office is currently vacant, but is anticipated to be filled in the near future.  Lynn Rubinstein, NERC Executive Director, serves as the Secretary to the Board.

NERC & Northeast Waste Management Officials’ Association (NEWMOA) Agree to Jointly Address Solid Waste Challenges

NEWMOA and NERC have agreed to a unique and unprecedented partnership to help advance sustainable materials management in the Northeast over the next five years. The

“NEWMOA & NERC Joint Strategic Action Plan, 2018 – 2022” identifies the following areas for collaboration:

  • Food scraps reduction, recovery, and management
  • Recyclables collection and impacts on manufacturing and end-users
  • Product stewardship
  • Climate and impacts on the recycling and solid waste infrastructure
  • Construction and demolition materials

The plan identifies key strategies and actions the two organizations will take jointly to address these solid waste challenges.  

“The Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (CT DEEP) applauds NERC and NEWMOA for their vision and collaboration in adopting their Joint Strategic Action Plan,” said DEEP Commissioner Robert Klee.  “These nationally recognized interstate organizations have a proven record of success with projects that support and advance our work efforts here in Connecticut.  Working together to implement the joint NERC and NEWMOA strategic plan is closely aligned with the mission of DEEP and our goal of doubling the recycling rate in CT to 60%.“

Lynn Rubinstein, Executive Director of NERC noted that “this is an exciting collaboration for NERC.  As an organization celebrating its 30th anniversary, it is a moment of dynamic change and to be entering into a significant action plan with a fellow organization presents a significant opportunity to further our mission and effect great change in the region.”

Terri Goldberg, Executive Director of NEWMOA stated that, “our partnership with NERC has been evolving over the past few years, and this Strategic Action represents an exciting milestone as we embark on collaborating to address critical solid waste issues in the region.”

NEWMOA is a non-profit, non-partisan, interstate association whose membership is composed of the state environment agency programs that address pollution prevention, toxics use reduction, sustainability, materials management, hazardous waste, solid waste, emergency response, waste site cleanup, underground storage tanks, and related environmental challenges in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The Association provides a strategic forum for effectively solving environmental problems through collaborative regional initiatives that advance pollution prevention and sustainability, promote safer alternatives to toxic materials in products, identify and assess emerging contaminants, facilitate adaption to climate change, mitigate greenhouse gas sources, promote reuse and recycling of wastes and diversion of organics; support proper management of hazardous and solid wastes, and facilitate clean-up of contaminant releases to the environment.

Peter Pettit, Director Bureau of Waste Reduction & Recycling, New York Department of Environmental Conservation commented that “this partnership will help support the activities of these two great organizations and benefit our members as we address common environmental challenges and develop joint solutions.”     

The Northeast Recycling Council, Inc. (NERC) is a multi-state non-profit organization that is committed to environmental and economic sustainability through responsible solid waste management. Its programs emphasize source reduction, reuse, recycling, composting, environmentally preferable purchasing (EPP), and decreasing the toxicity of the solid waste stream in the 11-state region comprised of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont. NERC’s mission is to promote sustainable materials management by supporting traditional and innovative solid waste best practices, focusing on waste prevention, toxics reduction, reuse, recycling and organics recovery.

The Action Plan is available at:

For more information, contact Lynn Rubinstein, NERC Executive Director.

Reminder - NERC Sustainable Materials Management Awards Program - Applications are Due September 7th

NERC is now accepting applications for its new awards program that will honor six individuals and six organizations for the impact they have made on sustainable materials management. Please consider nominating yourself or another worthy organization or individual.  There are three award categories:

  • NERC Environmental Sustainability Leadership Award (3 awards planned)
- Public sector
- Private sector
- Student or young professional – under 40 years of age

  • Involvement in NERC (2 awards planned)
- Public sector
- Private sector
  • Greatest Impact from Collaboration with NERC (1 award planned)

Nominations will be accepted through September 7, 2017 via an online application form.

For more information, contact Lynn Rubinstein, NERC Executive Director.

NERC Partners to Provide Compost Operator Trainings

The Upper Valley Lake Sunapee Regional Planning Commission (UVLSRPC), USDA Rural Onsite training at Seacoast Farms Compost_FBDevelopment, the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES), and NERC are sponsoring a two-day compost operator training to be held on August 9-10.  “Composting Training: Successful Municipal and Institutional Design” will take place at Always Something Farm which operates a compost and mulch facility in Croydon, New Hampshire .

The event is being organized by UVLSRPC and will feature hands-on activities and field exercises. The primary trainers include Mark Hutchinson, Maine Extension Professor/Maine Compost School Instructor and NERC staff, Athena Lee Bradley. Other Speakers include Tara Albert with NHDES and Greg Williams, Director of Waste Solutions at Agri-Cycle.

A two-day training fee of $60 or $40 for one day includes a light breakfast, lunch, and materials. Interested participants may register on-line at NERC had previously provided technical assistance to Always Something Farm through its Marketing On-Farm Compost for Sustainability and Economic Viability.

Beyond the Basics - Food Scrap & Organics Composting

In June, NERC staff provided a compost operator training through the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NH DES) Continuing Professional Development for Certified Solid Waste Facility Operators. Thirty people participated in the training held in Exeter, New Hampshire.

The training featured a three-hour lecture and discussion on: Food Scrap Collection, Science of Composting, Feedstocks and Recipe Development, Compost Methods and Systems, Facility Development & Management, Regulations, Process Management & Quality Control, and Finished Product End Use. Other food scrap diversion options were also discussed, including school composting presented by Mark Richardson, the Town of Hampton Transfer Station Coordinator.

The lecture portion of the training was followed by an onsite tour and discussion at Seacoast Farms Compost Products conducted by owner and operator Bob Kelly.

For more information contact Athena Lee Bradley.

NERC Expands Consulting Services

NERC has been offering project consulting services for over four years. During that time, NERC staff has worked with businesses, municipalities, counties, states, and non-profit organizations, providing expertise on a wide range of topics. Past projects have addressed source reduction, reuse, recycling, composting, organics management, and numerous other topics.

NERC also offers Association Management services, which include fiscal management, project oversight, project and program development and implementation, grant writing, membership services, and public outreach. Currently NERC administers two national programs—the Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse and the Electronics Recycling Coordination Clearinghouse

NERC’s newly revised Consulting Services web page provides more thorough detail about the type of work that NERC can do for you. NERC’s Capacity Statement explains in greater detail its many areas of expertise.

If you’d like to discuss NERC’s consulting services, contact Mary Ann Remolador, NERC’s Assistant Director.

NERC’s History of Materials Management: Projects & Conferences

In 1987, the year of NERC’s founding, the waste barge Mobro, laden with six million pounds of garbage, set sail from New York City on what turned out to be a five-month journey in search of an accommodating landfill. (Eventually, the garbage was incinerated in Brooklyn.) The saga of Mobro did more than just illustrate the dire straits of solid waste management in 1987; the media attention given to the barge’s ill-fated journey is credited with helping the evolution of the recycling industry.

With a recycling infrastructure to be built, during the first decade of its existence NERC set to work along several tracks of recycling market development.  A common thread throughout NERC’s accomplishments during those early years was its groundbreaking use of regional and multi-stakeholder dialogues.

The organization spearheaded an initiative that led, in 1997, to the Northeast Newspaper Publishing Agreement; resulting in a significant increase in the amount of recycled content in newsprint used in the Northeast region.

NERC was also a leader in the development of Recycling Investment Forums, projects funded by the Environmental Protection Agency that resulted in over $20 million being invested in recycling companies.

And NERC was the first organization in the United States to address end-of-life management of electronics; with the help of EPA funding, NERC developed a comprehensive document for setting up municipal electronics recycling programs.

NERC’s emphasis on dialogue and extensive networking informed the quarterly meetings it held during its first decade as well, where Board and trade association members discussed issues of importance to a still relatively young industry.

By 2002, NERC’s quarterly meetings evolved to twice-yearly conferences, which were attended not only by Board and Advisory Members but by many from the materials management industry and government.  Held for many years at the Hotel Northampton in Massachusetts, in recent years locations have expanded as NERC seeks to visit each of the eleven states in its membership; also, with the advent of green hotel standards, NERC has sought to align the facilities it uses with its stated mission.

As a representative from State Member Massachusetts described NERC’s conferences, “They drill down on a particular topic and bring the experts to discuss.”

Every year, NERC surveys Board and Advisory Members on the issues of most importance to them.  In 2017, Board Members chose organics and composting as the issue of most importance, and Advisory Members voted for Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). Other issues of importance included recycling market development and several recycled commodities: electronics, glass, and plastic.

Reviewing the NERC Conference agendas thus far during the twenty-first century, one is struck by the overlap of an often prescient selection of topics and issues with which the industry continues to grapple today. As far back as 2003, the relationship between climate change and recycling was addressed. Also in the early years of this century, conference attendees explored still-current hot topics such as electronics recycling, organics, and glass. It does not seem at all an exaggeration to observe that NERC’s ability to convene key stakeholders for substantive conversations on these and many other issues has been essential for the development of the recycling industry.

In addition to convening stakeholders in the more formal settings of Conference sessions, organizers of the events have always made sure to include numerous opportunities for networking. Countless attendees have emphasized to NERC staff the importance of the networking sessions.  A 2016 Conference attendee simply stated, “Excellent networking event!” At a social hour held after the first day’s sessions, valuable networking continues in an informal setting.

This year—thirty years after the waste barge Mobro set sail—NERC is celebrating its 30th anniversary, and invites Conference attendees past, present and future to join NERC staff and Board members on November 13th and 14th at the Lord Jeffery Inn, Amherst, Massachusetts. Details about the agenda and registration can be accessed at

We look forward to meeting with you then and helping us launch the next 30 years.   

Newly Posted

NERC FY 2018 Operating Plan & Budget Published

Every year NERC's Board adopts and approves an Operating Plan and Budget for the Fiscal Year.  With the start of the new Fiscal Year on July 1, that document is now available on the NERC website.

State UpdatesRecycleCT: What’s In, What’s Out

CT Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (CT DEEP), in partnership with RecycleCTRecycleCT Foundation, Inc., is excited to announce the “What’s In, What’s Out” initiative to help residents better understand what is acceptable in their mixed recycling bins.  The initiative seeks to increase participation and understanding of community recycling programs and decrease contamination of materials sent to recycling processing facilities.

The RecycleCT website promotes “What’s In, What’s Out” to encourage proper recycling habits, provides a Recycle Wizard search tool for residents and also provides resources for municipal recycling coordinators, haulers and facilities, including templates for brochures, posters, stickers, cart tags and mailing inserts and social media images and videos to share.

In collaboration with Willimantic Waste, Winters Brothers, City Carting, MIRA and American Recycling Company, the materials recovery facilities in Connecticut that process residential recyclables, facility operators met with CT DEEP staff to develop a universal list of acceptable materials for residential mixed recycling programs. This harmonization process allowed RecycleCT to hire a firm to develop the website, social media and collateral resources for municipalities, haulers and facility operators.

RecycleCT Foundation, Inc. plans to provide a broader public outreach effort with this theme in the near future. For more information, please contact Sherill Baldwin.

Advisory Member Updates

Developing a Polypropylene Recycling Infrastructure

Recyclers have always been set up to accept a mix of material types and formats, but frequently struggle when the packaging stream evolves. To effectively recycle new material types, all materials need to be easily sorted in a MRF and they must have value and consistent demand in the market.

Polypropylene (PP) is a great example of a commodity that was rarely recycled just five years ago, but is now becoming a highly recyclable item through an organized effort to build secondary markets and encourage communities to accept it in residential recycling programs.

According to Scott Saunders general manager at KW Plastics, “The recycling of PP tubs and lids only began in 2012. In February of 2012, KW began meeting with MRF operators and offering a home for these materials if they met specifications. At first, the market grew slowly, but just five years later, KW is purchasing 70 million pounds annually and expects to grow that to 100 million pounds in the next few years.” KW and others want this material to be incorporated into durable goods.  

Brands including Unilever and Procter & Gamble have ambitious goals for use of postconsumer recycled PP in packaging. And given the growth in the market, brands committed to zero waste including Keurig Green Mountain are shifting entire product lines to 100 percent PP packaging in order to ensure products are recyclable and have a strong end market.

 “Our design for recyclability process includes rigorous testing with recyclers and has validated a strong pull for PP containers,” according to Monique Oxender, chief sustainability officer at Keurig Green Mountain. “That pull creates an incentive for better sortation of PP and effective recycling of our product as Keurig converts to white, PP K-Cup pods. Circular material use is at the heart of the design process, creating value for all across the product life cycle.”

But in order to fulfill that demand and keep PP out of the landfill, the supply chain needs more volume, high quality supply and additional end markets to accept varying types of polypropylene.

The Closed Loop Fund and its investors are investing in systemic solutions to recycling that help unlock bottlenecks like increasing volumes of high value PP and ensuring quality and consistency.  

In order to optimize the system to pull PP out of the landfill and into the manufacturing supply chain, we need to invest across the value chain:

  1. End Market Development: While brands are driving demand for postconsumer recycled (PCR) PP, those purchase orders need consistent markets for varying quality levels of PP in order to ensure recyclers see the value from sorting and processing this material. For example, Integrico, which makes railroad ties from PCR, can accept any color PP with higher levels of contamination than is acceptable in brand packaging.
  2. Processing technology: Recylers need systems hat cost effectively create a quality pellet—both black (as most is today) and a neutral color with better applicability to consumer brand packaging. Models like RePoly PRF in Baltimore aim to prove the opportunity for processing PP as washed flake.
  3. Efficient sortation approaches: These may include additional optical sorters at larger MRFs near population centers that have the supply potential needed to make sorting cost effective or secondary MRFs/PRFs that aggregate supply from many MRFs. Eureka in Minnesota’s Twin Cities and Lakeshore Recycling in Illinois both accept and sell PP
  4. Convenient curbside access to recycling of this material: Recycling deserts still exist in many parts of the Midwest, Mountain states and in the South. Even in parts of the country with strong recycling rates, multifamily properties often don’t have the same access. We need to continue to invest in collection of recyclables and ensure municipalities let citizens know that their tubs, lids, caps, and containers can go in their recycling carts. Memphis Tenn.  is an example of a major municipality rolling out single stream curbside recycling with clear communications that these materials are accepted.

Inspired by our investors who are working to build markets for PP and the clear market need, the Closed Loop Fund has made funding projects that increase supply and value of PP a priority area for 2017.

To learn more, click here to review the RFP for PP-related projects.  

Additionally, the Closed Loop uses examples like PP to help determine the best ways to invest in the recycling of newer material types and formats that aren’t yet accepted at curbside. We regularly consider proposals for solutions to help expand material types that can be accepted in residential curbside recycling programs in the future.

Written by Bridget Croke, vice president of external affairs for the Closed Loop Fund.

Casella Recycling Project: an Example of Industrial Symbiosis

Casella’s recycling partnership with Hypertherm (a NH-based manufacturer) was recently analyzed as an innovative example of Industrial Symbiosis in a publication by researchers at Yale University. The article was published last month in the open-access journal Sustainability, and can be accessed here:

This was one of Casella’s favorite quotes from the paper: “The Upper Valley has a distinct industrial heritage and culture… the Yankee traditions of cooperation and ingenuity are alive and well.” We couldn’t agree more. New England is a great place for recycling innovation!

Of General InterestNRC Seeking Executive Director

The National Recycling Coalition (NRC) Board of Directors is excited to announce that it is seeking interested candidates to serve as the NRC Executive Director. As the NRC is nearing its 40th year as the national recycling network of more than 6,000 members through 23-affiliated recycling organizations, we seek a strong individual that conveys the voice of the NRC membership.

The National Recycling Coalition is a non-profit organization that is focused on the promotion and enhancement of recycling in the United States. The organization works to maintain a prosperous and productive recycling system that is committed to the conservation of natural resources, as well as accelerate sustainable approaches to the management of discarded materials.

To accomplish our strategic goals, the Board of Directors desires to hire an Executive Director to represent the organization, address national recycling issues, raise the funds necessary to accomplish its mission, expand the NRC membership, and build a stronger voice through its partners.

Are you the right person for this mission? Are you ready to be a national voice for recycling? Can you raise funds for the mission of the NRC? Can you travel on behalf of the NRC? If so, the NRC needs your service!

Please review Application Details Here 

View a PDF version of the Job Announcement Here 

Application Instructions

Cover letters, resumes, references, and inquiries are accepted electronically only. Correspondence should be directed to Mark Lichtenstein, NRC Executive Director Search Committee Chair at