Renewing Supporting Members
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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 are provided as submissions to NERC and may not reflect the policy or position of the Northeast Recycling Council, Inc.
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We are delighted to welcome the Pennsylvania Recycling Market Center and Rockland County (NY) Solid Waste Authority as renewing Supporting Members. Thank you! Especially in this troubled fiscal time, this demonstration of support for NERC is appreciated.
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.
To see a listing of Advisory Members and the benefits of membership, visit the NERC Advisory Membership web page.
The broad spectrum of interests represented by NERC’s Advisory Members and Board Members and their willingness to participate significantly contribute to the unique and important role that NERC plays in recycling in the region.
The NERC Environmental Benefits Calculator has been updated! Last updated in 2006, it includes updated energy usage information as well as the latest EPA WARM model information. The update was able to be performed thanks to funding from the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection through a Supplemental Environmental Plan. For more information, contact Athena Lee Bradley, NERC Projects Manager.
NERC has been awarded funding from the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Utility Services, Solid Waste Management Grant Program, to work with schools in Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, and New York to increase solid waste reduction, reuse, recycling, composting, and toxic product use reduction.
NERC will provide technical assistance and support to eight rural schools with the information and training needed to implement programs that prevent water pollution and decrease the generation of solid waste. The project will begin in October.
The project will include:
For more information, contact Athena Lee Bradley, Projects Manager.
We are delighted to announce that the same slate of Officers that have been serving for the past year have been unanimously re-elected for the coming fiscal year. Thank you and congratulations to:
Usually, NERC staff doesn’t get the opportunity to follow up with project participants once a grant is finished. There are exceptions though, and Washington, Connecticut, is one of them. Last year, we provided Washington with a Recycling Makes Sen$e workshop and conducted a waste audit at the Town Hall, as well as making suggestions about how they could implement a recycling program. A recent call from the town contact reported that the Town Hall not only implemented the recycling recommendations, but saved $35,000 in disposal costs in the first six months by doing so. This savings enabled the Town to supplement its snow plowing budget this past winter, instead of running a deficit. Congratulations to Washington, and thank you for letting us know!
For more information, contact Mary Ann Remolador, NERC’s Assistant Director.
Promoting the procurement of “green” computers is important to NERC because it addresses many of the organization’s environmental preferable purchasing priorities:
To further this commitment, NERC has become the first non-profit to become an EPEAT Purchasing Partner. EPEAT Purchasing Partners are organizations that reduce the environmental impact of their operations by purchasing EPEAT-registered electronic products to meet their requirements. By committing to EPEAT purchasing, Purchasing Partners demonstrate both cost consciousness and environmental leadership.
EPEAT Purchasing Champions are organizations that promote use of EPEAT to their members or audience, to encourage purchase of environmentally preferable electronics.
For more information about EPEAT — the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool — visit its website.
Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control has joined the ranks of public entities demonstrating leadership in the environmental management of their computer assets by becoming a State Electronics Challenge (SEC) Partner. In 2008, SEC Partners collectively reduced energy consumption equivalent to the power necessary for more than 1,800 households and saved enough greenhouse gases to have taken almost 1,600 cars off the road. How did they do it? They bought EPEAT® registered computers, turned on power saving tools in computers, and reuse and recycled products at their end-of-life.
If you’re interested in changing the way you manage your computer assets to improve your carbon footprint, take a look at the SEC or contact Lynn Rubinstein, Program Manager
Are you the one in your office who is constantly reminding your co-workers to recycle? Do you go around turning off computers at the end of the day? Do you want your workplace to be as green as you are? You’re not alone.
In a survey commissioned by National Geographic magazine in February 2008, more than 80 percent of U.S. workers polled said they believe it is important to work for a company or organization that makes the environment a top priority. As a response, businesses are not only greening their operations and products, they are forming green teams to start recycling programs, reduce energy, form carpools and much more.
The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (CT DEP) has had a “green” team since 1995. Originally known as the Pollution Prevention (P2) Work Group, it recently changed its name to the DEP Green Team to reflect its current mission to implement the Commissioner’s Conservation Plan. The goals of the Plan are to reduce energy, waste, and greenhouse gas emissions and make CT DEP a model for other state agencies.
Food waste is composted and screened at the CT DEP headquarters.
The Green Team is made up of volunteers from a cross-section of departments and jobs. They work very closely with the building manager and cleaning crew to ensure that the recycling, composting, and special projects, like building-wide cleanouts, run smoothly. The group meets monthly. Subcommittees work on specific projects such as getting the word out, purchasing environmentally preferable products, and CT DEP’s ReSupply Center (see article below about the Center).
Over the years the group has been responsible for ensuring all kinds of recycling in the building and other environmental initiatives such as sneaker and “techno trash” collections, pollution prevention fairs and more. The group is celebrating the 11th year of composting food waste at the 79 Elm Street Hartford headquarters this year. Over 43 tons of food waste has been diverted from the trash during this time, providing finished compost for gardens at Connecticut’s state parks. The Green Team encouraged the department to join the Northeast States Electronics Challenge, refreshing its old computers with over 700 “green” computers that meet the Silver EPEAT (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool) rating.
Another example of a green team is the Conservation Committee at Cartus Corporation, a worldwide company specializing in global employee relocation and workforce development solutions, based in Danbury, Connecticut. The Conservation Committee along with an Executive Team spearheaded employee involvement in NuRide, a carpooling program that helps locate other carpooling partners statewide and provides points that are redeemable for gift certificates at retail establishments like Home Depot, Old Navy, and others.
“Not only has this program become popular due to the ongoing gas price increases but many of our employees are also very environmentally conscientious and appreciate Cartus’ desire to help the environment,” said Debbie Smith, Facility Director for the Danbury firm.
“In addition to commuting, Cartus’ Conservation Committee is continuing to look at environmentally friendly products and services to utilize at our offices worldwide,” she added. “For example, the Committee has worked with the company’s food services provider to use green products, with the facilities group to utilize energy saving light fixtures, and with electrical and air conditioning vendors to reduce energy costs throughout the site.”
But green teams are not just for businesses. Connecticut cities and towns are convening Green Task Forces, hospitals are hosting farmers markets, and youth in middle and high schools are getting organized around river clean-ups, inkjet cartridge collections and sponsoring annual Tag (“Reuse”) Sales. Farmington’s Irving Robinson Middle School has even created an “enviromusical” and is also promoting awareness of depleted fisheries to area restaurants.
So, if you want to bring more environmental awareness to your workplace, consider forming a green team. Mary Sherwin, one of the co-chairs of CT DEP’s Green Team advises, “Start small. Don’t try to tackle everything at once. Get management support and celebrate your success.”
How green is our valley? If you frequent the libraries of Middlesex County in Connecticut, it’s becoming a shade greener!
Public libraries have always been a model for reducing, reusing and recycling. Instead of buying that best seller, you can borrow it; and instead of owning that movie you’ll only watch once, you can take it out from the library, watch it no charge at home while saving gas and munching on your own much cheaper popcorn. Many libraries also sell used books from patrons or the library stacks for a nominal amount.
In recent years, the library has undergone a makeover, too. Internet access and a shaky economy have transformed the library from a quiet place for study and research to a lively gathering place and have expanded the role of the library in our communities.
So when the librarians from Middlesex County put their heads together about how to use a grant from Middlesex County Foundation, they came up with the Greening Our Valley program. Eileen Branciforte, Director of the Cromwell Belden Library and Co-Chair of Greening Our Valley, describes it best: “I couldn't wait to work on this ‘green’ grant. Libraries have been recyclers -- or loaners of books since Benjamin Franklin's time! We always collaborate to save money. It just seems natural that public libraries, who serve everyone, are the perfect place to turn to make ‘green’ changes. We have the books, technology, and patronage to collectively make great changes in our environment."
Through the grant, 18 libraries in the county are providing free programs and activities on the environment. Programs are geared for children and adults. Recent programs have been on a talk about biodiesel at the Clinton library; “Caring for Small Fruits and Fruit Trees” at the East Haddam Library; and “Keep It Green” , a book talk for ages 6-9 at the Belden Library in Cromwell, sponsored by the CT Humanities Council. The grant is for one year, but Eileen hopes that the libraries can find additional funding to continue the program.
Mansfield, CT residents can browse through the great finds at the town's swap shop.
Especially with the current economy, people are discovering that gently used items — from clothing to furniture to construction materials — are as good as new. When you choose “used,” you help to conserve natural resources and reduce the air, water, and land pollution caused by manufacturing and shipping of new goods.
While yard sales, thrift stores and classified ads have been around a long time, the internet has opened new avenues for the consumer, businesses and institutions to have what they need or want at a cost much less - or even free. Sites like Freecycle.org, Reuseit.org, Craigslist.com, Ebay.com and sell.com are loaded with items looking for a new home.
But there are other options for those who don’t want to go on-line. There are local reuse stores that specialize in art supplies, sporting equipment, construction materials, and medical equipment. Your local transfer station may also have a swap shop where residents can drop off items that would have been thrown in the trash. If you town doesn’t have one, consider asking them to start one. (See resources below for guidelines.) There are so many opportunities for buying used that you may find that you are making fewer trips to the mall. And then there’s the excitement and satisfaction of the “hunt” -- finding the bargain, a one of a kind thing or just what you were looking for while living a little more lightly on the earth.
Green Team member Susan Amarello and CT DEP Deputy Commissioner Amey Marella cut the ribbon at the grand opening of the ReSupply Center.
Need twenty folders for a workshop, or other office supplies? If you are a CT DEP employee all you have to do is make a trip to the ReSupply Center in the basement level of the agency’s headquarters and pick them up.
The ReSupply Center came about as a result of a major building-wide clean-out last May. CT DEP employees recycled literally tons of paper, but also collected hundreds of binders, thousands of paper clips and other office supplies, all in good condition. Members of the CT DEP’s Green Team sorted and organized the supplies and created the Center.
The Center can save the State of Connecticut hundreds of dollars in new office supplies and eliminate the pollution caused by creating and transporting new supplies. Sherill Baldwin, one of the organizers of the Center, says, “Even your office can have its own version of the ReSupply Center. A centralized location makes it easy for staff to locate what they need because it is organized and all in one place.”
Consider starting a ReSupply Center at your workplace. For more information, contact Sherill Baldwin.
CT DEP’s Office of Pollution Prevention presented at the Connecticut Hospital Association’s (CHA) “Go Green Forum” on March 17 at the CHA offices in Wallingford. CHA decided on the topic after hearing from their members that hospital employees want more environmental initiatives at their workplace. Employees who are recycling and using fewer toxic products in their home also want their work environment to be more sustainable.
The forum gave hospitals that are just getting started with “going green” an opportunity to learn from other hospitals that are already well down that road: Bridgeport, New Milford, Hartford, St. Francis, CT Children’s Medical Center, and John Dempsey Hospitals shared their inspiring success stories about implementing green teams, increasing recycling, switching to environmentally preferable cleaning products, recycling construction debris, serving local food, and implementing energy efficient heating and cooling systems.
Do you have sneakers you no longer wear? If they are in good condition, consider donating them. If they are ready for the trash, just recycle them! In Connecticut, the Nike ReUse a Shoe Program and the CT Recyclers Coalition (CRC) have partnered to collect the shoes for recycling into playground and all weather athletic surfaces.
Jetta Antonakos, Maine State Planning Office Recycling Planner, represented the state at the EPA awards event in Boston, Massachusetts.
On Earth Day of this year, the State of Maine was recognized with an Environmental Merit Award at a ceremony hosted by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The State of Maine was honored for its participation and accomplishments as a silver partner in the State Electronics Challenge (SEC). The SEC is a voluntary program developed and administered by the Northeast Recycling Council. Modeled on the EPA's Federal Electronic Challenge, the SEC promotes "greening" the life cycle of computer equipment by state, regional and local government agencies. Its purpose is to reduce the environmental impact of the more than $35 billion worth of technology equipment purchased annually by governments in the U.S.
Dick Thompson, Maine's Chief Information Officer, stated "The Maine Office of Information Technology and the agencies it serves believe they can make a difference by strong environmental practices, and can save money in the process. The partnership formed to improve the approach to technology procurement and management will last well beyond the current challenges — a true sustainable change for the better."
Maine’s participation in the SEC was particularly notable because it involved several departments in state government, resulting in far-reaching and sustainable efficiencies. Maine was awarded silver-level recognition for its work in computer equipment purchasing and end-of-life management. Representatives from the Office of Information Technology, Division of Purchasing, State Surplus Program, Department of Environmental Protection, and the State Planning Office (SPO) collaborated to make this effort a success.
Officials from the Department of Environmental Protection told lawmakers that legislation requiring producers of electronic products to pay for recycling programs was a “strong step in the right direction.” State officials estimate that only 20 percent of e-waste is recycled in the state. Rep. Frank Smizik (D-Brookline), a chief sponsor of the bill, said this legislation would “level the playing field” by imposing recycling requirements on companies that he said are presently taking a “free ride” on the backs of municipalities and consumers. Smizik said the legislation has been around for years, but volume of e-waste has rapidly grown and residents have continued to face the “hassle” of determining how and where to dispose of old electronic products and are often paying for that disposal, whether at retail stores or municipal dumps. Seventeen states have adopted legislation similar to proposals pending before the state Legislature in Massachusetts.
Committee members also heard testimony in favor of bills aimed at forcing retailers to stop using plastic bags.
As part of ongoing work to develop a new Solid Waste Master Plan (SWMP) for Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) recently convened seven workgroups and held a total of 19 workgroup meetings to support and inform the Solid Waste Master Plan development. These workgroup meetings built on key issues identified during six broad public meetings held in December 2008 and January 2009. Information on these workgroup meetings can be found on the MassDEP website .
MassDEP will use this input to help develop a Draft Solid Waste Master Plan to be released this summer. MassDEP expects to hold public hearings and a public comment period on the draft plan in September 2009 with the goal of completing a final plan by the end of 2009.
The 2007 Solid Waste Master Plan Data Update has been completed and is now posted on the MassDEP website. The report provides updated information on the Beyond 2000 Solid Waste Master Plan: 2006 Revision based upon 2007 data collected from municipalities, recycling facilities, compost sites, and solid waste handling facilities in Massachusetts.
Information is presented in narrative, graph and table format and includes detailed tonnage figures for recycling, composting, landfill and combustion disposal from 2001 to 2007 and landfill and waste management capacity projections up to the year 2015. Solid waste generation, diversion, and disposal trends spanning from 1998 to 2007, MSW and C&D recycling by material and export/import tonnage figures for 2005 through 2007 are presented too. Also featured in the report are residential recycling rates by municipality along with the recycling rate percentage distribution.
A section on the environmental and economic benefits of recycling based on the Northeast Recycling Council calculation is provided as well as detailed descriptions and equations outlining how waste reduction rates are calculated.
MassDEP is wrapping up the 2008-2009 Green Team school year by awarding Certificates of Recognition and prizes to 127 classes from 106 schools across Massachusetts for the outstanding environmental activities they took part in during the school year. Green Team activities undertaken included “greening” schools and communities, starting or expanding school recycling and composting programs, climate change projects, idling reduction programs, energy conservation projects and other environmental stewardship activities. Altogether, 850 teachers from 474 schools joined the Green Team this year, involving 122,000 students. Grand prizes awarded to 108 classes include seven performances by Jack Golden, entitled “Garbage is My Bag,” six recycling magic shows by Peter O’Malley, six environmental concerts by Earthtunes, Green Team wristbands, mini-recycling bin planters, information wheeled and “Compost Matters” coloring books. Classes that do not receive grand prizes will receive waste reduction bookmarks or pencils made from recycled denim or currency.
On May 20th the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) hosted a free business assistance workshop for recycling-related companies. Attendees travelled from across the state to the MassDEP office in Worcester to hear about opportunities for financial assistance during these tough economic times. A wide variety of industries was represented, and included businesses from the collection, processing, manufacturing, and service sectors. Speakers from the public and private sector addressed current financial programs and incentives available for recycling-related businesses in Massachusetts. Organizations represented included BDC Capital, The Massachusetts Small Business Development Center, USDA Rural Development , MassDevelopment, and National Grid.
MassDEP was pleased to host this event, and looks forward to future opportunities to assist the business community in Massachusetts. Presentations from the workshop will be made available soon.
On June 11, MassDEP will hold its annual Spring WasteWise Forum at the Devens Common Center in Devens, Massachusetts. The event titled "Green on Demand” will focus on the growing on line marketplace for business to business (B2B) materials reuse networks, including the launch of the new Mass Material Trader. Other topics at the half-day event include participating in a brainstorming session to help identify reuse alternatives for items currently disposed of by attendees and how to develop specifications for leasing a green office. Speakers include Mary Ann Remolador of NERC, Norm Ruttan of iWasteNot Systems, MaryEllen Etienne, New York WasteMatch, and Dona Neely, Devens EcoStar.
Through an EPA grant to NERC, Morgan Harriman and Sumner Martinson of MassDEP will be participating in a pilot food waste collection program at the annual “Taste of Cambridge” event on Thursday, June 18, at the Charles Hotel. During the course of the event, Morgan and Sumner will speak to approximately 50 participating vendors and gather data on the types of food service ware used and types of waste generated. They also will provide information on overall waste prevention. The Charles Hotel currently composts food waste and utilizes Save That Stuff for hauling. A limited number of food waste collection containers will be placed throughout the event with close monitoring. Results and survey data will be used in planning for a full-scale launch of the program next year.
To help meet the state’s budget, the Governor has eliminated 5 of its 13 staff from the State Solid Waste Program. These cuts eliminated the entire planning, grants and waste reduction staff from the Program (including waste prevention, recycling, composting, product stewardship, and other advocacy functions of the Program). Also eliminated is the supervisor of the technical section who is the most senior staff person with 30 years of experience and knowledge in all aspects of the program. The following positions have been cut:
All of these positions are supported by the dedicated Solid Waste Management Assistance Fund (i.e. the $6/ton surcharge on trash disposal). The plan is to transfer some of the dedicated Solid Waste Funds to the general fund and to establish a Solid Waste Advisory Board. Neither has yet been passed into law.
If the Solid Waste Program ends its participation in NERC, it is not known at this time how Vermont will continue to foster regional recycling market development and sustainable materials management without maintaining its support of and participation in the organization.
The Professional Recyclers of Pennsylvania (PROP) has announced the resignation of their long time Executive Director, John J. Frederick. Mr. Frederick is leaving to pursue other opportunities and will remain with the organization to assist with transition until mid-June.
Mr. Frederick was instrumental in assembling a superb quality staff, spearheading PROP’s annual conferences, and working tirelessly with the legislature to keep recycling programs thriving in Pennsylvania. During his tenure, the membership of PROP more than tripled, partnerships with public and private sector industries were strengthened and an award-winning recycling professional certification program was established. In addition, Mr. Frederick was the Executive Director when PROP was named the Recycling Organization of the Year by the National Recycling Coalition.
“My ten years with PROP have been some of the most fulfilling of my career. I leave the organization with the mixed emotions that so often accompany the conclusion of such a positive professional experience. PROP has grown to be among the most vibrant of the nation’s state recycling associations and it has been a pleasure to work with so many impassioned and innovative professionals,” said Frederick.
The Board of Directors unanimously named Lori Robson, Board President, as Interim Executive Director. A nationwide search for an Executive Director will begin immediately.
“PROP is saddened by John’s departure. We are sure he will enjoy the same enormous success in his future endeavors that he has brought to PROP,” said Robson.
The Professional Recyclers of Pennsylvania (PROP) is a non-profit association of recycling professionals dedicated to promoting and enhancing the interests of recycling, and composting programs in Pennsylvania through education, information exchange, technical support, applied research, and coordination of recycling industry initiatives. PROP's goal is to establish and improve information networks among programs and between public and private sector recycling professionals. The organization is supported by a great staff and strong commitment from the Board of Directors, Committees, and membership.
For those of us in the solid waste business a long time it’s hard to believe there is something as old as we are! Yes, BioCycle is celebrating its 50th anniversary and remains America’s foremost magazine on composting and organics recycling. We all depend on BioCycle’s expertise on composting and other ways to advance the use of organic residuals. Thank you Nora and all the staff at BioCycle!
Dynamic Composites LLC, a unit of Steel Dynamics, Inc. (SDI), has shipped the first production order of its "green" composite railroad ties to BNSF Railway Co.
After testing evaluation quantities of these ties, BNSF placed an order for 4,000 units, the Columbia City, Indiana, based company said. Nine railcar loads of ties were shipped to Texas. The ties are made from a variety of recycled materials, including steel, rubber, and plastics. They are produced at a plant near SDI's Structural and Rail mill.
The composite tie employs a core made of flat-rolled steel (provided by SDI's Flat Roll division) filled with concrete, which in turn is encapsulated by a tough skin consisting of a blend of shredded tires and recycled plastics. The company estimates the composite ties have a life-span of 60 years, offsetting the cost difference of wood ties.