Renewing Supporting Members
CONNECTICUT, DELAWARE, MAINE, MARYLAND & VERMONT
Membership is key to NERC's regional and national commitment to sustainable materials management. We are delighted to thank renewing DIstinguished Benefactor Samsung, as well as renewing Supporting Members the City of Reading, Pennsylvania, hibu, publisher of Yellowbook, and the International Sleep Products Association.
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.
The Board of Directors of the Northeast Recycling Council (NERC) has elected a new leadership team, effective July 1.
Leadership Team: Kaley Laleker, Maryland Department of the Environment has been re-elected as the President; Robert Isner, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has been elected as Vice President; and Rick Watson, Delaware Solid Waste Authority has been re-elected as the Treasurer.
Kaley Laleker is the Director of the Land and Materials Administration at the Maryland Department of the Environment. The Land and Materials Administration includes the Solid Waste, Resource Management, Oil Control, Lead Poisoning Prevention, Mining, Technical Services and Operations, and Land Restoration Programs. Ms. Laleker formerly served as the Deputy Director. She has a J.D. from the University Of Virginia School Of Law. This is Kaley’s second term as President of the Board.
Robert Isner is the Director, Waste Engineering and Enforcement Division at the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP). His responsibilities include management of enforcement, permitting and compliance assistance activities for the recycling, pesticide, solid waste and hazardous waste programs. Prior to joining CT DEEP, Isner worked for over eight years as a municipal land use planner for two municipalities in Connecticut. He holds a Bachelor of Science from UConn and a Master of Science from Central Connecticut State University.
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 37 years he has overseen design, construction, and operation of solid waste projects, including landfills, transfer stations, landfill gas control systems, and various recycling projects. He 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. This is the third term that Rick will serve as Treasurer of NERC.
The webinars are free and each will be available to the first 500 registrants.
For more information about the webinar series, contact Mary Ann Remolador.
NERC is pleased to announce that it the third year of its Environmental Sustainability Leadership Award program.
Applications are due September 10, 2019. Download the award application here.
To be eligible, an organization or individual must be located within one or more of NERC’s 11-member states.
Awards will be given in recognition of demonstrated change supporting an environmentally sustainable economy as the result of a project that furthers NERC’s mission. Awards will be given in three categories:
The award presentation will take place at NERC's Fall Conference, October 29, 2019, Providence, Rhode Island. For more information about the Conference, visit the NERC website.
For more information, contact Lynn Rubinstein, Executive Director.
NERC’s Fall Conference will be held on October 29 – 30 at the Graduate Providence Hotel in Providence, Rhode Island. The Agenda Planning Committee (APC) has begun developing the Conference agenda about plastics recycling issues.
The APC includes NERC Board of Directors and Advisory Members:
Board of Directors
The Conference agenda and registration will be available by July 15.
Any questions regarding the Conference, can be sent to Mary Ann Remolador, NERC’s Assistant Director & Events Organizer.
NERC would like to reuse your leftover, extra, or off-spec lanyards! If you have any lanyards that you don’t want or use, please consider donating them to NERC. We reuse lanyards at our Conferences.
If you know of any lanyard stashes, contact Mary Ann Remolador.
NERC has become a signatory to an urgent call for government action requiring recycled content in plastic bags. To date, 27 organizations have become signatories. The industry-led Recycle More Bags coalition proposes using legislative action and procurement policy to drive demand for a minimum of 20% post-consumer recycled content in some types of plastic bags by 2025.
"The Northeast Recycling Council is honored to support this important initiative. We are particularly excited that it is industry led. Demand for recycled content is at the heart of successful recycling, as well as the thousands of jobs that are dependent upon it,” reported Lynn Rubinstein, NERC Executive Director.
The United States and Canada have been largely dependent on foreign markets for recycling plastic bags and similar plastic grades, like plastic wrap. Foreign demand for these products has decreased markedly in recent years, primarily as a result of China's "National Sword Policy," which banned the import of many recyclables. The North American recycling industry is now more dependent than ever on the health of domestic plastic film recycling end-markets. However, these domestic markets have long been impeded by the continued expansion of domestic oil and gas activity and the low-cost virgin plastic resins that are produced as co-products.
According to More Recycling, a company that tracks plastic recycling year over year in the United States and Canada, the amount of bags and wrap collected through at-store recycling programs has grown, but that growth is expected to slow or reverse if the dynamics in the marketplace continue. There is a need to recognize the value of using recycled resin in new products to mitigate plastic pollution and to encourage the expansion of the North American circular economy.
The Recycle More Bags coalition consists of stakeholders involved in the plastic recycling industry: industry associations, material recovery facility (MRF) operators, plastic reclaimers, municipalities, environmental non-profits, recycling consultants, and a film plastic stewardship organization. The coalition's signatories, who are situated at various steps along the circular economy supply chain, see a need for government to mandate an increased use of recycled resin in plastic bags. At this pivotal moment, government intervention is essential to encourage continued uptake of recycled resins by the plastic film industry, which has been slowed by low pricing of virgin plastics.
The call-to-action proposes a progressive timeline to increase the use of post-consumer recycled content in garbage bags and grocery bags. The vast majority of these two types of plastic bags are made from 100% virgin plastic resin. Incentivizing – and where needed, requiring – a minimum level of recycled content in these two applications will replace large amounts of virgin material and support the dual goals of increasing plastic recycling rates while ensuring plastic bags are managed in an environmentally responsible manner.
Increased demand for recycled plastic resin would in turn create greater incentive for effective and efficient recycling of plastic products, expediting the shift to a circular economy and improved environmental outcomes. For example, if all plastic bags sold in the United States and Canada included 20% recycled content, carbon emissions savings of about 320,000 metric tonnes per year – the equivalent of the removal of 250,000 cars from the road – would result.
For more information, visit the website at: https://www.recyclemorebags.com.
Every Tuesday NERC publishes a new blog. Subscribing is free. Here are posts from June.
NERC has again updated its report chronicling national investment in paper recycling infrastructure. The list was produced by the NERC-NEWMOA Regional Recycling Markets Committee. The document was last updated in April. The new document includes additional capacity as of mid-June, as well as a map of the paper mills.
The report is available for free download from the NERC website.
Through a U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Utility Services Solid Waste Management Grant Program funded Implementing Food Waste, Organics, and Manure Management in Rural Maryland Communities NERC has developed a number of new educational resources and two webinars.
Webinar presenters are:
For more information contact Athena Lee Bradley, Projects Manager.
The Electronics Recycling Coordination Clearinghouse (ERCC) has launch a new website - the e-Cycle Compliance Calendar. The website is a one-stop location for stakeholders such as collectors, manufacturers and recyclers to view and track requirements across the 25 state electronics recycling laws. The vision for the e-Cycle Compliance Calendar website originally sprung from conversation amongst ERCC members who wanted a comprehensive and public resource for tracking the complicated requirements under state electronics recycling laws. The multi-year effort to develop the database and website involved state agencies reviewing information about their laws as well as ERCC members giving input on the most effective ways to view and report data. The site was made possible by a contribution from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA).
“The e-Cycle Compliance Calendar is a much-needed tool for collectors, manufacturers, recyclers and state agencies to assist in compliance with state electronics recycling laws or to compare elements of their laws with others,” said ERCC’s Jason Linnell. “Because no two state electronics recycling laws are identical, stakeholders need a way to break down the various elements to compare them and to keep track of reoccurring sets of deadlines each year.”
The e-Cycle Compliance Calendar website is now available as a free resource. Any user can create and save custom reports by signing up for an account. With an account, users may also choose to receive email alerts for specific state deadlines or changes. The website will be maintained and updated by ERCC administrators. To be involved in the ongoing development process with this project and others, check out membership options by going to the ERCC website.
ERCC is a membership organization of state agencies and other stakeholders that serves as a forum for coordination and information exchange, and a mechanism for stakeholders affected by state electronics recycling laws to harmonize efforts wherever possible. It is managed by two respected non-profit organizations – the National Center for Electronics Recycling (NCER) and the Northeast Recycling Council (NERC). For more information about the ERCC and their other projects, you can visit the ERCC website.
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s Recycling Business Development Grant (RBDG) program is focused on providing assistance to recycling operations and activities in Massachusetts that will create sustainable markets for specifically targeted materials and products. The goal is to add value to municipal and business recycling and reuse efforts and encourage their recovery.
Eligible materials for 2019 grants are:
All applications must be received by October 4, 2019 (5:00pm).
Find more information about this grant program and the application on the MassDEP’s Recycling Business Development Grant webpage.
CONNECTICUT, DELAWARE, MAINE, MARYLAND & VERMONT
It's been a busy few weeks in the NERC region with several new bans on the sale of certain plastic products enacted:
Advisory Member News
Of Course… and WRAP Campaigns Can Help
What should people do with the plastic packaging and bags used to protect everything from the online shopping orders to groceries? Recycle them, of course. Unfortunately, many people are not aware that they can recycle a wide variety of used plastic bags, wraps, and other film packaging through widely established retail takeback programs. In fact, flexible packaging including bags including bread, produce, and dry cleaning as well as product wraps used for paper towels, bath tissue, diaper, air pillows and mailers can all be recycled in bags recycling bins at grocers and other retailers.
WRAP was created to change that.
WRAP stands for the Wrap Recycling Action Program. It’s a partnership spearheaded by the Flexible Film Recycling Group of the American Chemistry Council in Washington, DC. WRAP brings together government, businesses, and recycling advocates to increase proper recycling of plastic bags and wraps… that is, collecting them at ≈ 18,000 retail stores throughout the United States (typically grocers and big box stores), not in curbside bins. Since 2014, more than 70 million people in the U.S. have been exposed to WRAP messaging.
But what if cities and states restrict the use of some plastic bags, such as Connecticut’s and Delaware’s recently passed bans on really thin, single-use checkout bag at stores? Should these places stop recycling bags and wraps?
No. Existing retail takeback program can still collect all the remaining plastic bags, wraps, and other film packaging. Plus, Delaware’s law requires stores to offer customers thicker, reusable checkout bags (and Connecticut stores could do the same). These bags eventually will need to be recycled, too.
An example: This image image of a retail takeback bin? It’s a San Diego, CA, grocery store in 2018 following the 2016 passage of restrictions on thin, single-use carryout bags at retail, similar to Delaware’s law. Recycling marches on.
And WRAP can help.
Last year in Connecticut, a WRAP Team concluded a campaign focused on the greater Hartford area that encouraged people to recycle plastic bags and wraps at retail stores instead of in curbside bins. The Team reached out to the public using advertising, media events, social media, and other educational efforts. The campaign leveraged the widespread existing recycling infrastructure in Connecticut, plus added a few more collection points, and simply encouraged people to recycle plastic bags and wraps at retail stores instead of in curbside bins.
The campaign helped increase the amount of plastic bags collected (grocery, retail, and produce bags) and the amount of “other film” collected, too (case wrap, product overwrap, bread bags, newspaper bags, etc.). It also helped decrease the amount of non-film packaging (contamination) collected.
In addition, a post-campaign survey found an increase in awareness of takeback programs, an increase in awareness of which items to take back to stores, and an increase in those who said they typically take plastic film packaging back to stores.
So… it worked. More people were aware of what to recycle and said they do recycle. The quality and amount of the plastic collected increased. And contamination went down, making it easier to sell the plastic to companies that recycle it.
There’s every reason to believe that similar campaigns can succeed, regardless of restrictions on some bags.
We’ve seen comparable success in WRAP campaigns in multiple cities across the country. A similar campaign is underway in Florida, where a recent survey found that nearly 70 percent of people there mistakenly think it’s okay to put plastic bags and wraps in curbside recycling bins. Florida’s campaign focused heavily on reducing the amount of film packaging that winds up in curbside bins – and ultimately material recovery facilities, where it can wreak havoc on recycling systems.
WRAP campaigns also are in the works in the Northwest and nationally in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Most members of NERC are ideal candidates to become WRAP Partners or Champions. For example, local and state government agencies involved in recycling can become WRAP Partners, either by helping coordinate a WRAP campaign or implementing individual initiatives using WRAP resources. Typical activities include verifying listings in the online drop-off directory, identifying effective outreach mechanisms, educating residents through various outreach efforts, and engaging other area local stakeholders to amplify efforts.
Recycling organizations, waste management companies, retailers, and other recycling advocates can sign on as WRAP Champions through plasticfilmrecycling.org. Depending on the organization, Champion activities may include participating in WRAP campaigns, educating your various stakeholders on proper recycling of plastic bags and wraps, encouraging businesses/retailers to set up more recycling locations, and sharing success stories through communications channels.
And all of these Partner or Champion activities are essentially turnkey, using free resources from WRAP with the support of the American Chemistry Council.
So – even in the face of restrictions on some items – please help spread the word about proper retail drop-off recycling of plastic bags, wraps, and other film packaging… to help increase plastics recycling and reduce waste.
Shari Jackson, Director, Film Recycling. American Chemistry Council
If you or your organization is interested in creating or participating in a WRAP campaign or becoming a WRAP Partner or Champion, you can find more information at plasticfilmrecycling.org/wrap. Or feel free to contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) has announced that 68.1 percent of paper consumed in the U.S. was recovered for recycling in 2018. The recovered paper market rebounded after China’s import restrictions on recovered products caused the rate to dip in 2017.
U.S. paper recovery for recycling rate statistics are available at www.paperrecycles.org/statistics.
“U.S. paper recovery for recycling is successful because it is voluntary and market driven,” said AF&PA President and CEO Donna Harman. “Industry and consumer commitment to increasing the quantity and quality of paper recovered for recycling contributed to this record-high rate.”
“Markets for recovered paper are complex, efficient and extremely resilient and our industry is increasing the use of recovered paper to make new products. The U.S. paper recovery for recycling rate has now met or exceeded 63 percent for the past decade,” said AF&PA Board Chairman and Greif, Inc. President and CEO Pete Watson. “We thank everyone who makes the effort to recycle paper for contributing to this success.”
Paper recovery for recycling helps extend the useful life of paper and paper-based packaging products, making it an integral part of the industry’s sustainability story.
As part of its Better Practices, Better Planet 2020 sustainability initiative, the industry aims to exceed 70 percent paper recovery for recycling by 2020.
For more information about paper recycling and AF&PA’s commitment to sustainability, visit www.paperrecycles.org.
Join the Recycling Partnership in July to Talk About Plastic Film!
Tune in to our July webinar on July 24th at noon as we talk about plastic film and flexible packaging!
Film is impossible to avoid and increasingly showing up in our recycling stream – and pouches? Yikes. So how should we educate about these hard to recycle plastics? Ever wonder where they go when taken back to the store for recycling? And does anyone actually do this?
Join us to discuss how to communicate to your residents about plastic film and find out the scoop on current status and emerging trends related to film and flexible packaging recycling.
Sign up for the July Webinar Wednesday here!
The Product Stewardship Institute (PSI) is looking for a Senior Associate for Policy and Programs and would greatly appreciate it if you could share this opportunity with your networks through your various communications channels. The job posting is on our website here. We’ve also shared it on LinkedIn.
– In an effort to help consumers recycle properly, the National Waste and Recycling Association (NWRA), along with the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA), the Northeast Recycling Council (NERC), and the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), produced the Think Twice poster.
“The economics of recycling are changing. As our members look to expand markets for their recyclables, it is important consumers understand what items can be recycled and who to contact if they have questions. Our members are educating their customers to improve recycling habits. This poster supports those efforts,” said NWRA President and CEO Darrell Smith.
“Our experiences have shown that education plays a vital role in decreasing contamination and increasing the quality of the recycling stream,” said Robin Wiener, president of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries. “The recycling industry is working together to help people better understand common items not accepted in curbside recycling bins. While the rules for residential recycling vary from community to community there are several common items that cannot be recycled in curbside programs regardless of location. Recycling works and we all have an important part to play.”
Lynn Rubinstein, Executive Director of the Northeast Recycling Council (NERC) said, “recycling what should be recycled ‘where’ it is best recycled is important for the safety of the recycling industry and those that work in it. Electronics, batteries, and plastic bags should all be recycled, but not in residential recycling programs. Sharps and needles need special handling to protect workers and the public, and food and liquids should be recycled. Of course, diapers need to go in the trash. Following these important basics will improve the value of recyclables as well as make it a safe workplace.
The poster is available for download here.