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June 2017

NERC’s Advisory Members

Distinguished Benefactors

Consumer Technology Association (CTA)

Panasonic

Samsung

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

  • Interstate Refrigerant Recovery

  • Keep America Beautiful

  • Keurig Dr. Pepper

  • MRM

  • National Waste & Recycling Association

  • NEWMOA

  • Organix Solutions

  • Re-TRAC

  • Recycling Partnership

  • Republic Services

  • Schaefer Systems International, Inc.

  • Sims Municipal Recycling

  • Steel Recycling Institute

  • Strategic Materials

  • Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council (SPLC)

  • TOMRA

  • US Composting Council (USCC)

  • Waste Management

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

NEW & RENEWING MEMERSHIPS

Renewing Sustaining Member

Renewing Supporting Members

Member Spotlight - Keurig Green Mountain

NERC NEWS

NEWLY POSTED

TOXICS IN PACKAGING CLEARINGHOUSE NEWS

STATE UPDATES

Massachusetts

New York

ADVISORY MEMBER NEWS

new & renewing membershipsMembership is key to NERC's regional and national commitment to sustainable materials management. We are delighted to thank renewing  Sustaining Member Ecovanta, and Supporting Members Rockland County Solid Waste Management Authority and Sustainable Electronics Recycling International (SERI).

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.

Member Spotlight - Keurig Green Mountain

Experts in CoffeeKEURIGGM_LOGO

With a purpose to, “…create the ultimate beverage experience in every life we touch from source to cup – transforming the way the world understands business,” Keurig Green Mountain, Inc. (Keurig) has operated as a leader in specialty coffee for more than 35 years. Committed to delivering exceptional coffee, the company’s innovative Keurig® brewers and K-Cup® pods are found in more than 20 million homes and businesses throughout North America.

Founded on Social Responsibility

Since its founding, Keurig has made a commitment to use the power of business to “brew a Keurig recyclable Green Mountain coffeebetter world,” through building “resilient supply chains, sustainable products, thriving communities, and a water-secure world.” As the largest producer of single-serve coffee pods in the U.S. and Canada, the company is s also committed to addressing environmental responsibility, including consumer concerns about recycling challenges

Employees from Keurig Green Mountain hold up first boxes of Green Mountain Coffee® Breakfast Blend, now in the recyclable format.

associated with K-Cup pods. Keurig has been working towards a holistic recyclable solution since 2009.  In 2014, Keurig began partnering with recycling organizations to explore how to make the both K-Cup pods recyclable and ensure that they will have a second life, with the goal of having 100% of the pods recyclable by the end of 2020.

Building collaborations with organizations such as NERC is important to help connect us with material management experts.  Through collaboration we are working to ensure that the new Keurig recyclable K-Cup pods are successfully recycled and made into new products,” said Courtney Hadden, Partnership Manager, Sustainability at Keurig.  “And, we’re proud that we’ve already made significant steps to transition to a recyclable K-Cup pod well before our 2020 goal.”

Recyclable Pods

Keurig K-Cup podsIn June 2016, the first recyclable K-Cup® pods started rolling off the production lines and a selection of Green Mountain Coffee® varieties are now in a recyclable format.  Keurig is now working to transition more than 100 manufacturing lines across its seven North American production facilities to produce recyclable K-Cup® pods for all Keurig® brands, increasing production each year to reach its goal of having 100% of its pods recyclable by the end of 2020.  

Keurig Green Mountain launched its first recyclable K-Cup® pods in select varieties in 2016.

The recyclable K-Cup® pods are made from polypropylene (#5 plastic), commonly used in yogurt and butter containers. Keurig employees consulted with plastics experts and determined that polypropylene could effectively meet the company’s high product quality demands, be recyclable in a majority of communities, and continue to have a strong end-market value. According to a 2016 study, polypropylene containers are acceptable in approximately 70% of communities in the United States.

The company is working not only to address the recyclability of its plastic pods, but also to address the challenges and opportunities related to the polypropylene market by collaborating with recycling organizations to improve end-market demand for reclaimed Keurig real word test of k-cup podsmaterials. In order to ensure effective recycling, the recyclable K-Cup® pods have been given the “real world” test in materials recovery facilities (MRFs) to see what really happens when the pods enter a facility, work that was recognized by the Sustainable Packaging Coalition in April 2017.  

In order to ensure effective recycling, Keurig Green Mountain has given its recyclable K-Cup® pods the “real world” test in materials recovery facilities (MRFs) to see what really happens when the pods enter a facility, work that was recognized by the Sustainable Packaging Coalition in April 2017. 

Beyond the Quality of the Cup

Keurig was been named among the 100 most reputable companies in the U.S. by the Reputation Institute’s 2017 US RepTrak® 100 ranking, and in April 2017 was awarded the Sustainable Packaging Coalition’s Innovator Award for Breakthrough Process.  Bob Gamgort, Chief Executive Officer at Keurig, credits these honors not only to the company’s innovative and popular products, but also to their resolution to “brew a better world.” He states, “[f]or us, delivering the ultimate coffee experience goes beyond the quality in the cup. From reducing our environmental impact and promoting a resilient supply chain, to engaging with local communities and empowering our employees, we strive to make a positive impact on all our stakeholders and our natural world through our business.”

Keurig CAFE programIndeed, beyond recycling, Keurig’s sustainability commitments include Clean Water for Everyone. The goal of is to restore to the environment the volume of water used in Keurig beverages, through projects that focus on enhancing watersheds, protecting habitats, and conserving water. Thus far, the company has announced it has already restored more than 524 million gallons

Keurig Green Mountain employees take part in the company’s CAFE program, which entitles each full-time employee to 52 paid hours of volunteer time to give back to the community.

through projects in the United States. In addition to these projects, the company supported development of the Clean Water Roadmap in Vermont in its home state of Vermont.

Keurig also has strong an interest in the sustainability of its supply chain. Keurig’s Responsible Sourcing Supplier Guidelines aims to foster social and environmental responsibility in its own operations and those of its suppliers. “(Supply chain) operations should be conducted in a manner that respects the health and safety of employees and communities,” the guidelines state; and, “Businesses should incorporate environmental sustainability into their operations.”  Keurig’s 2020 targets include sourcing 100% of its primary agricultural and manufactured products according to these sourcing supplier guidelines. The company also aims to engage with one million people in its supply chains to significantly improve their livelihoods, including water security and climate resilience.  As of January 2017, Keurig has engaged over 417,000 people in its supply chain programs.

NERC NEWS

Remember to Support NERC on NH & VT Gives Days - June 6 - 8 - We're Dreaming Big!

NH Gives Logo 2017Vermont Gives logo 2017

New Hampshire Gives: Beginning at 6 p.m. on June 6, visit https://www.nhgives.org and make a donation to NERC. You will have 24 hours to make your donation, and all giving will end at 6 p.m. on June 7.

Vermont Gives: June 7, starting at 6 p.m., visit https://www.vermontgives.org and make a donation to NERC  You will have 24 hours to make your donation, and all giving will end at 6 p.m. on June 8.

NERC’s Fall Conference & 30th Anniversary Celebration This November!

Make sure you have your calendar marked to join us on November 13 – 14 to attend NERC’s Fall Conference and celebrate its 30th Anniversary.  NERC’s Conference isn’t the largest recycling-related event, but we draw an extremely enthusiastic crowd that is passionate about sustainable materials management.  The Conference also offers many networking opportunities with the attendees and exhibitors.

Here’s what some of previous Conference attendees have had to say:

“The presentations and discussions at the NERC Conferences dig deep into the issues that matter.”

“The NERC conference provides a great forum for discussing critical and timely issues.”

“NERC’s Conference presents a great opportunity to meet all the people I have worked with over the phone for many years."

 “Industry and government come to the table at NERC’s Conferences.”

 “NERC’s Conference is so refreshing and energizing.”

Keep watch for the Fall Conference agenda and registration, which will be available on NERC’s website in August.

 Sponsorship & Exhibitor Opportunities Available

GOLD SPONSORS 

massdep-logo-left-full-text

 CTA logo 2   panasonic-logo-200 samsung 

30th ANNIVERSARY PLATINUM SPONSOR

casella_logo  

 BRONZE SPONSORS

  ReTRAC                  APR logo 2015

Any questions regarding the Conference can be sent to Mary Ann Remolador, NERC’s Assistant Director and Events Organizer.

NERC Announces 30th Anniversary Sustainable Materials Management Awards

As part of its 30th Anniversary Celebration, NERC will be honoring six individuals and six organizations for the impact they have made on sustainable materials management as a result of their work with NERC. 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 8, 2017 via an online application form.

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

NERC’s Fall Conference Planning in Process

NERC is presently working with the Planning Committee for developing the agenda for NERC’s Fall Conference.  NERC would like to thank the volunteer Fall Conference Agenda Planning Committee members:  

  • Megan Pryor, Maine Department of Environmental Protection
  • Kayla Montanye, New York Department of Environmental Protection
  • Julie Rose, City of Salem, Massachusetts
  • Jason Linnell, National Center for Electronics Recycling
  • Debra Darby, Organix Solutions
  • Samara Norman, Trex Company

Updates about the Conference agenda and registration will be posted on NERC’s website and will be emailed to everyone who receives NERC’s Email Bulletin.

If you have any questions or would like to talk about the Conference, contact Mary Ann Remolador, NERC’s Event Organizer.

Looking Back, Thinking Forward, 30th Anniversary - Part 2

As NERC celebrates its 30th Anniversary, Part 2 of Looking Back, Thinking Forward revisits “memories of NERC’s past” article contributions posted in the NERC Blog for our silver anniversary, celebrated in 2012.

Ed Boisson, former NERC Executive Director, is Principal of Boisson Consulting, a sole proprietorship based in San Rafael, California. Ed provides an excellent overview of NERC’s early history and its role in the recycling industry. Ed first became involved with NERC in the summer of 1994, while a recycling market development manager with the California Integrated Waste Management Board. He stated, “After seeing an ad for the Executive Director position, I pondered my options. Of course I was familiar with NERC's pioneering work negotiating voluntary agreements with newspaper publishers and other industry engagement efforts. And after meeting the staff and members, and discovering that Brattleboro was a great place to live, I pursued the job and soon found myself driving cross country to Vermont.”

Ed continued, “At the time, NERC was transitioning from a legislative orientation to a market development orientation. A recession was deepening, and the mantra then as now became jobs, jobs and jobs. Along with staffers Michael Alexander, Ellen Pratt, Mary Ann Remolador and Rebecca Bartlett, and the Executive Leadership Team of Jeff Lissack (MA) and Janet Matthews (NY), and later Guy Watson (NJ) and Randy Coburn (NY), NERC pursued directions we hadn't conceived of previously. We teamed with regional investment groups to sponsor recycling investment forums that helped launch innovative firms.

“We held recycling business development training programs for local and state economic development officials with the National Development Council and the Wharton School. We researched recycling business growth, mergers and acquisitions, and investments, and we compiled detailed financial statistics on the industry.

“We also continued NERC's tradition of engaging key decision-makers, including sessions with State Departments of Transportation and Procurement; and we continued to monitor efforts and engage newspaper and yellow page publishers, pulp & paper manufacturers, and other industry groups. On top of all this, NERC member meetings were held quarterly, providing regular opportunities to tackle the hot topics and have some fun.

“In my last couple years with NERC we launched the regional Recycling Economic Information Project that was soon after expanded to the U.S. by the National Recycling Coalition. And, we developed the first environmental benefits calculator, perhaps the first centralized source of materials management life-cycle data designed to be used easily to estimate energy, greenhouse gases, and other resource conservation benefits of local recycling programs.

“As a regional coalition of state agencies that also brings together industry, non-governmental organizations and other stakeholders, NERC helps to frame the debate and set the agenda for the recycling community. NERC is continuing in this vein through its many initiatives involving electronics, sustainability and other topics at the cutting edge of materials management.

“NERC will undoubtedly continue to help chart the course for recycling and materials management enthusiasts as we continue to transition to the 21st century agenda.”

Sharon Yergeau, recently retired, served on NERC’s Board of Directors representing the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services. She reflected, “I've enjoyed being with peers from other states that bring different perspectives to common problems. I've not only learned a lot at NERC meetings; I've made new contacts and friends.

“NERC's greatest strength is that it interfaces with the private sector in a way that regulatory agencies cannot. It allows us to work together without being adversarial.” When asked what role NERC has played in the recycling industry and the pressing issues facing the recycling industry are, Sharon stated, “NERC has been an advocate for recycling and a ‘deal maker’ to open and expand markets. Beyond the basics of education and money, we have got to find the balance between economic concerns and environmental protection. Some think they are mutually exclusive. NERC needs to continue to use the strength of multiple states to accomplish what we cannot do individually.”

Mike Giuranna, is a Solid Waste Specialist with EPA Region 3 Office of Materials Management. He first became involved with NERC in 1997 when he moved into the Solid Waste Program with EPA, Region III, in Philadelphia. Over the years he has been a grant manager on EPA grants awarded to NERC.  

His fondest memories of NERC: “The meetings, some of the discussions on Solid Waste topics, networking with NERC staff and state and local solid waste people, were always interesting.NERC was there early on in the late 80's/early 90's recycling programs, getting information to a lot of State, Federal and local recycling professionals that made it easier for them to do their jobs effectively.

Mike’s thoughts on the most pressing issues facing the recycling industry today and the near future? ”There's still way too much waste being generated. Either bottle bills/EPR or Pay-as-You-Throw type programs need to be implemented, to reduce or eliminate the large amount of useful materials being discarded.” And NERC’s role?  “The same role they've always played: educating and creating the opportunities for networking among Solid Waste Professionals and legislative bodies that can make these changes effective; studying ways to reduce waste, such as in their forum on mattress recycling; and circulating their findings to the recycling community.”

Lois B. Hager was a former NERC Board Member representing the State of Connecticut. Her insights reveal some of NERC's early history.

“I was one of the original representatives. Victor Bell in RI, John Schall in MA, and I in CT were organizing our state's recycling programs. We decided to try to help each other and met in RI to discuss our programs and needs. This must have been in about 1987, shortly after CT's mandatory recycling act was passed by the legislature. I can't remember whether Shelley Dresser attended that first meeting, but soon afterwards she got funding from the Council of State Governments to start an organization of state recycling officials. This evolved into NERC and drew representatives from the New England states as well as New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware.”

Her fondest memories of NERC? “The people, of course. It was a wonderful group of committed public servants trying to start something new and make it effective.” And NERC's greatest strengths? “Our ability to work as a team to convince industries to take recycling seriously was our greatest strength. Because we represented so many states and because we researched the issues and worked together, we could not be ignored. Our greatest achievements in the early days were with the newspaper and plastics industries.”

“NERC's strength was always, and undoubtedly still is, its ability to bring public officials, and sometimes industry, together to search for coordinated, effective policies to protect the environment, whether in the context of recycling or some other environmental problem.”

NERC Blog Worth Repeating: Fresh Produce Recovery Models

Vermont Food Donations Graphic

According to the food bank network Feeding America, its members supply food to more than 37 million Americans each year, including 14 million children and three million seniors.

However, fresh fruit and vegetables are frequently in low supply at food banks. One solution is gleaning: collecting excess fresh foods from farms, gardens, farmers markets, grocers, restaurants, state/county fairs, or other sources, in order to provide fruit and produce to those in need.

According to the Vermont Foodbank, a focus on fresh produce is a strategy that works, providing healthier food to people who depend on food banks for their meals. The Vermont Foodbank has effectively built partnerships with schools, hospitals, and housing sites to ensure the distribution of fresh food to those who need it the most.

Through farm gleaning efforts at nearly 80 Vermont farms in 2015, more than 442,000 pounds of fresh Vermont produce were made available to Vermonters in need. The organization’s goal for 2016 was to increase its distribution to two million pounds.

Vermont Foodbank’s Pick for Your Neighbor campaign resulted in 18,042 pounds of apples being gathered and distributed to food shelves and meal sites in the Foodbank’s network in 2015. Twenty apple orchards, along with families, community members, and corporate, school and civic groups, participated in the effort.

A NERC webinar held in November—Innovative Food Rescue Models–presented two models of food recovery efforts focusing on fresh produce. One model, Boulder Food Rescue, recovers fresh foods from grocers. The organization’s Food Rescue Alliance offers resources and trainings to other food recovery organizations wanting to adopt their model.

The other model presented was the Friendship Donations Network’s Neighborhood Food Hubs. Through the “hubs,” residents can donate excess produce from gardens or CSAs (community supported agriculture).  Volunteers working with FDN place coolers on their porches for neighborhood donors to drop off excess produce. Community gardens, farm stands, farmers’ markets, community centers, and even public libraries also participate in the program by hosting hub collection points.

salvation farms logoSalvation Farms presents another model for gleaning surplus farm produce for distribution to food recovery organizations. Salvation Farms is building a proactive statewide management system for Vermont’s farm surplus. The organization estimates that unmarketable farm surplus exceeds two million pounds annually in Vermont and, at best, only 12% of this resource is currently being captured.

Through the Vermont Gleaning Collective and Vermont Commodity Program, Salvation Farms is creating several statewide gleaning initiatives. The goal is to increase Vermont’s capacity to capture greater volumes of wasted farm fresh surplus by supporting Collective member organizations as they develop and manage effective gleaning programs. Also through their model, farm surplus in volumes too large for a gleaning initiative to distribute in their local community will be aggregated into the Commodity Program for raw case packing or light processing.

This unique model for agricultural surplus management does not exist anywhere else in the U.S. The model serves to not only capture and distribute fresh produce surplus to those in need; it also builds resilience in the farming community. Salvation Farms strives to engage a mix of community stakeholders to address food waste and food inequality. The model serves to build Vermont’s food system, as well as to increase: 1) local food consumption, 2) farm production awareness, 3) regional food processing, 4) workforce development, and 5)  in-state investment in local agriculture, while reducing the social and environment impacts of investing  outside Vermont.

In the spring of 2016, Salvation Farms measured demand for fresh produce in Vermont food or meal programs by surveying hundreds of local organizations. "The Fresh Produce Needs Across Vermont" report estimates that statewide there is a need for more than 14 million pounds of fresh produce annually.

By Athena Lee Bradley

NEWLY POSTED

Updated National Compendium of State Disposal Bans & Mandatory Recycling Laws

The Northeast Recycling Council (NERC) has updated its compendium of state disposal bans and mandatory recycling laws around the country.  This unique resource provides state-specific information, including contact information, which materials are banned for disposal and to whom the ban applies, as well as what has to be recycled and by whom.  The document is available for free download: Disposal Bans and Mandatory Recycling in the United States

Interestingly, every state but one, Montana, has at least “something” banned from disposal in its solid waste facilities—at a minimum lead acid batteries, as is the case in Arizona and Wyoming.  And, twenty-two states have at least one mandatory recycling requirement. 

NERC Map of Recycling Laws

The most commonly banned materials are presented in the following chart.    Disposal ban chart

Among the 22 jurisdictions that have mandatory recycling requirements, the following materials are those most frequently impacted.    Mandatory Recycling Chart

In addition, there are bottle bill laws in 10 states and Guam: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Oregon, and Vermont.

Massachusetts Construction & Demolition Market Study Published

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) contracted with the Northeast Recycling Council (NERC) and DSM Environmental Services (DSM) to evaluate the current and future status of construction and demolition (C&D) debris management in Massachusetts, and identify and recommend potential opportunities for the diversion of a greater proportion of recyclable materials to recycling markets.

NERC provided administrative functions for the project and DSM carried out the field work, analysis and report writing tasks.

MassDEP has established a goal of diverting 50 percent of C&D materials from disposal, but in recent years the actual diversion rate has plateaued at around 30 percent. The primary objective of the analysis undertaken by DSM was to first assess incoming and outgoing materials at Massachusetts C&D processors and handling facilities, and to determine what the opportunities and constraints are to increase materials diversion beyond 30 percent.

The project commenced in July 2016 with the field work undertaken between September and December, 2016.  The final report has now been published: Massachusetts Construction & Demolition Debris Market Study.

toxics in packaging clearinghouse news

The Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse Releases Summary of FY2016 Annual Report

The Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse (TPCH) has posted a summary of its Fiscal Year 2016 Annual Report. Highlights from the report include extensive outreach to companies identified as selling or distributing non-compliant packaging, outreach to Argentinian wine bottle manufacturers that were found to contain lead, and over 21,000 visitors to their website. You can read the full summary here.

The Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse (TPCH), which is a program administered by the Northeast Recycling Council, maintains the Model Toxics in Packaging Legislation and coordinates implementation of state legislation, based on the Model, on behalf of its member states, with the goal of promoting consistency across states. TPCH is a resource and single point of contact for companies seeking information on toxics in packaging requirements or an exemption. For more information, please contact Program Manager Melissa Walsh Innes.

state updates

Massachusetts

Massachusetts Schools Receive “Green Team” Awards & Recognition

THE GREEN TEAM is MassDEP’s environmental outreach program for Massachusetts schools.  THE GREEN TEAM provides climate change, recycling and pollution prevention materials and activities for classes to use, and provides certificates and prizes to classes that participate.  Three hundred and nineteen teachers from 294 schools joined THE GREEN TEAM this year, involving 58,705 students.  Sixty-two teachers reported on the activities accomplished by their students.  Fifty-six achieved the highest level, Level 3, Environmental Eagles, four achieved Level 2, Conservation Coyotes, and two achieved Level 1, Planet Protectors.  All these classes will receive Certificates of Recognition and prizes, including performances by Jack Golden, entitled “Garbage is My Bag,” recycling magic shows by Peter O’Malley, environmental concerts by Earthtunes, school garden supplies, Green Team key chains, wristbands, information wheels, and “Compost Matters” activity books.  “We take pride in the difference we are making in our school and community.  We have relayed our knowledge to our families and have helped reduce the waste at home as well as school.” Jenn Sinstore, Hawlemont Regional School, Charlemont.

Massachusetts College & University Forum

On May 4, 2017, Smith College hosted the biannual Massachusetts College & University Recycling Forum, organized by RecyclingWorks in Massachusetts. The topic was “Preventing Wasted Food in Campus Dining,” and representatives from Smith, UMass Amherst, Williams College, Worcester State University and UConn spoke about the various methods they utilize to achieve that goal. Nearly 30 attendees were on hand. One of the focal points of the discussion was source reduction: preventing food waste before it gets to the plate by tracking waste, adjusting purchasing expectations, meeting demand and implementing different strategies to educate students, faculties and staff. MassDEP also shared lessons learned from a recent college and university dining services survey on source reduction.  For more information, see https://recyclingworksma.com/college-and-university-forums/

Massachusetts WasteWise Forum

On May 9, 2017, Gillette Stadium hosted the biannual Massachusetts WasteWise Forum, organized by RecyclingWorks in Massachusetts. More than 50 attendees heard from and participated in a panel discussion with representatives from Gillette Stadium, Patriot Place, Whole Foods and UMass Dartmouth. The topic was Food Waste Diversion across the EPA Food Recovery Hierarchy, including source reduction, food donation, anaerobic digestion and composting. The panelists shared how each of these elements is incorporated into their operations, despite vastly different facility locations, sizes, and user needs. Gillette Stadium provided a broader sustainability overview for the facility. MassDEP and EPA updated attendees on recent projects and upcoming initiatives.  For more information, see https://recyclingworksma.com/wastewise/

MassDEP’s Recycling IQ Kit Kicks Off!

MassDEP is excited to announce that Recycling IQ Kit technical assistance was successfully launched in one drop-off and six curbside communities in April.  The seven communities:  Abington, Brookline, Dartmouth, Lynn, New Bedford, Newburyport, and Groton vary in population (from 5,000 to 36,000 households) and demographics (from predominantly urban areas with multi-family units to rural, predominantly single-family units).   Each will work closely with a Municipal Assistance Coordinator and representatives from The Recycling Partnership (TRP) to develop a recycling contamination-reduction program using the resources available in the Recycling IQ Kit.

Implementing the IQ Kit requires coordination and continuous feedback between municipal staff, the haulers, and the MRF.  In order to foster engagement and a collaborative spirit from day one, hauler and MRF representatives were invited to each of the six curbside kick off meetings.  The haulers and MRFs showed a great willingness to partner with and support our communities!  They were able to offer helpful insights and solutions, and seemed dedicated to doing their part to insure the success of each program.

Over the course of the next few months, the six curbside communities will target their two most underperforming routes (or a combination of several routes up to 2000 households), and a specific material that the MRF has identified as problematic.  It may come as no surprise that all of the six curbside communities will be targeting “stuff in plastic bags” and plastic bags in recycling.  Groton, the lone drop-off community, will target a yet-to-be-determined recyclable material they want out of the trash. 

The Recycling IQ Kit, developed in partnership with TRP, provides municipalities with steps, tools and resources to increase the quantity and improve the quality of the residential recycling stream by focusing on targeted public outreach and operational intervention strategies.  Communities receiving this technical assistance will also receive financial assistance for printed materials, distribution, staff time for curbside enforcement, and data tracking. The Recycling IQ Kit is an open-source document that is available to any interested municipalities. 

MassDEP commends these seven early adopters and thanks them for being willing to try this new approach!

Sustainable Materials Recovery Program (SMRP) Grant Deadline June 14

The deadline for MassDEP’s municipal grant program, the Sustainable Materials Recovery Program (SMRP), is June 14.  SMRP grants offer funding to cities, towns and regional entities - as well as certain non-profit organizations that provide services to them - for recycling, composting, reuse and source reduction activities that will increase diversion of municipal solid waste and household hazardous waste from disposal.

Grants are available for recycling and composting equipment; mattress recycling; Pay-As-You-Throw programs; waste reduction enforcement; school recycling; and organics capacity development projects. SMRP funding is also available for SMRP Recycling Dividends Program (RDP) payments to qualifying cities and towns.

For more information about SMRP, please visit the MassDEP SMRP webpage.  There you will find important information related to eligibility requirements, and the SMRP Municipal Grant Application Guidance.   Applications must be submitted electronically via Re-TRAC ConnectTM.

New York

Winners of Pollution Prevention Student Competition

NYS Pollution Prevention Institute announced the winners of their annual graduate and undergraduate statewide student competition. Winners include a packaging effort to prevent food waste.  Information can be found at: http://www.rit.edu/news/story.php?id=61331

Results of State Agency Sustainability & Green Purchasing Efforts

NYS released the results of their agency sustainability efforts and developed green procurement specifications to limit exposure to toxic chemicals, including perfluorinated chemicals, in food containers and furniture.  More information and the report, “Greening New York State”, can be found at:  http://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-announces-state-agencies-save-196-million-green-practices

New GreenNY Website Launched

NYS rolls out their new GreenNY website as a dedicated portal for their agency sustainability and green procurement efforts. https://ogs.ny.gov/greenny/ 

DEC Issues Guidance to Keep Drugs out of New York's Waters

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos has issued guidance for pharmacies and the public to keep unused drugs out of New York’s waters. The guidance was prepared in consultation with the State Department of Health (DOH) and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. The guidance is available on DEC’s website.

“Safely disposing of unwanted medications is an easy way for pharmacies, health care facilities, and the public to help protect water quality and safeguard public health and safety,” said DEC Commissioner Seggos. “Many New Yorkers want to properly dispose of their unwanted drugs, but collection events and locations are not always convenient.”

DEC urges all pharmacies to become authorized collectors of unwanted drugs, under the United States Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Controlled Substances Disposal Rule and to install collection boxes to accept unused pharmaceuticals from the public. Alternatively, pharmacies can provide free or low cost mail-back envelopes to the public.

The new guidance will assist the public, pharmacies, and health care facilities to properly manage unwanted drugs. It also reminds pharmacies, other retailers, and veterinarians of requirements to post notices to comply with New York’s Drug Management and Disposal Act.

Earlier this year, DEC announced two related initiatives to assist retail pharmacies protect public health and the environment. DEC launched a pilot pharmaceutical take-back program earlier this year. In the program, DEC will purchase medication collection boxes for participating pharmacies to install in their retail businesses. DEC will also cover the cost for pick-up, transport, and destruction of all collected waste pharmaceuticals by a DEA-registered reverse distributor for a period of two years.

Under the second initiative, DEC invited pharmacies to participate in a special Environmental Audit Incentive program to improve hazardous waste handling. As part of the Audit Agreement, participating retail pharmacies are required to make a good faith effort to adopt a system for collecting waste pharmaceuticals from consumers. This includes the installation of DEA-compliant medication collection boxes.

“The state, and nation for that matter, are in the grips of an opioid epidemic,” said DOH Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. “By disposing of unwanted medications appropriately, we can cut down the availability of these drugs as well as others. Allowing unwanted drugs to languish in medicine cabinets raises the risk that they will land in the wrong hands.”

The DEC guidance asks the public to return unused, unwanted, or expired pharmaceuticals to pharmacies or Law Enforcement stations that offer collections or to use mail-back returns. If neither option is possible, the drugs may be disposed of in the trash following instructions in the guidance. The guidance also provides detailed recommendations for the public and certain health care institutions to properly dispose of unwanted, unused, or expired medications. Furthermore, it reminds retail businesses that sell prescription or over-the-counter drugs, including pharmacies, grocery stores, and veterinary offices, of the need to comply with the provisions of the New York State Drug Management and Disposal Act. Specifically, they must post a notice wherever prescription or over-the-counter drugs are sold.

Until recently, consumers were told to flush unwanted drugs. With technological advances and increased water quality research, low levels of medications have been detected in lakes, streams, and rivers. Many drugs pass largely unaltered through wastewater treatment plants and enter rivers and other waterways. Drugs from heath care facilities, pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities, and farms can also reach the water. Although the health and environmental consequences are still being studied, current research is beginning to show correlations between continuous exposure to low levels of medications and adverse impacts to the health of affected fish and other aquatic wildlife.

In addition, the use and abuse of prescription medication is on the rise and can result in addictions to illegal drugs such as heroin. Properly disposing of unused, unwanted, and expired drugs cuts down on the chances that these pharmaceuticals are used inappropriately.

Senator Tom O'Mara (R,C,I-Big Flats), Chair of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, said, "Ongoing efforts at the local, federal and state levels to encourage and facilitate the responsible and safe disposal of unused prescription drugs are critical to the fight against heroin and opioid abuse and addiction.  As a member of the Senate Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction, I appreciate every state-level initiative to complement and support the efforts of our local law enforcement leaders to further encourage the proper collection and disposal of unwanted drugs.”

Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Port Jefferson), Chair of the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee, said, “Properly disposing of pharmaceuticals provides benefits for both public health and the environment – helping to prevent drug abuse and contributing to water quality. Protecting water quality is a priority and helping to prevent contamination, as is the case with effective drug disposal, is an important component. It is always better policy and less expensive to prevent pollution than to have to pay to remediate it.”

DEC continues to proactively address this issue though the 'Don't Flush Your Drugs' campaign and targeted collections by DEC Law Enforcement professionals at long-term health care facilities in the New York City Watershed and on Long Island.

For more information on Safe Medication Disposal for Households, including drop box locations, visit DEC’s website.

Advisory Member NewsKeurig Green Mountain Earns Sustainable Packaging Coalition Innovator Award

The Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) has announced the winners of its 3rd annual SPC Innovator Awards (formerly known as The Trashies). The winning entries were recognized at SustPack 2017 (April 24 - 26) in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The awards recognize members of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition that are visionaries in packaging sustainability. Awards are given in the following categories: Packaging Innovation, Outstanding Person, Outcome of a Partnership, and Breakthrough Process.  Keurig was honored in the Breakthrough Process category for its MRF Flow Study Methodology. The judges for this year's competition were Lisa Pierce, editor-in-chief, Packaging Digest; Steve Mahler, Design Manager, Caraustar Industries; Kim Keurig receives SPC Innovator AwardCarswell, Director of Packaging, Target;

Victor Bell, President of Environmental Packaging International; David Strauss, Head of Packaging, Nestle USA; and Adam Gendell, Associate Director, Sustainable Packaging Coalition.

Picture: Monique Oxender, Chief Sustainability Officer, and Ali Donahue, Environmental Sustainability Engineer II

"The submissions we received were a clear indicator of the impressive breadth and depth of our members' activities in packaging sustainability", said Gendell. "Our awardees are taking chances and deserve celebration for their enterprising and creative ideas. All of these winners went beyond the easy wins, and showed true commitment to creating meaningful change.

Casella Waste Systems 2017 Sustainability Report - Sneak Preview

is working on its 2017 Sustainability Report, which will be issued this summer. As a sneak preview, the company released a one page summary that lays out some of the themes of the report, including the zero waste cycle, strong customer partnerships, and advancing the circular economy. You can access the single page document at: http://bit.ly/2pCT4L3. Please send any comments you may have to Casella’s Sustainability Director, Abbie Webb.

Organix Solutions & Marathon Equipment Offers Fully Automated Robotic Organic Waste Diversion

Marathon Equipment, a Dover Company and Organix Solutions proudly announce their installation of a Waste Robotics bag-sorting robot at Randy's Sanitation of Minneapolis, Minnesota. This system has been customized to fully automate their organics diversion sort line.

"We are thrilled to work with a leading edge company such as Waste Robotics to offer our clients a truly competitive and economical solution for organics diversion," said Jim Wollschlager, Organix Solutions’ CEO.

The new and emerging Waste Robotics company develops and builds robotic solutions for Waste Roboticsthe waste industry. "Working with industry leaders such as Marathon and Organix Solutions helps us design better and more innovative products to fulfill today's market needs," said Eric Camirand, Chief Technology Officer of Waste Robotics.

As a market leading waste handling equipment manufacturer, Marathon understands the importance of staying on top of innovations. "Waste Robotics is integrating state-of-the-art technologies to achieve remarkable organic waste handling applications that we could only dream of just a few years back," said Geoff Apthorp, Marathon’s Vice President of Business Development and Engineering. “Marathon is pleased to be working with Waste Robotics and Organix to advance our collective vision of value-added diversion of organic waste from landfill with new-to-world technologies such as this.” 

For more information, contact Debra Darby, Program & Marketing Director, Organix Solutions.

ISRI’s 2017 Safety Stand-Down Day: Safe and Sound

ISRI will celebrate its fourth annual Safety Stand-Down Day on June 14. On Safety Stand-Down Day, ISRI asks recyclers to shut down operations for a period of time during every shift to engage in safety awareness training.

The theme of this year’s Safety Stand-Down Day is Safe and Sound, because a safe facility is sound management. ISRI will have a number of resources available in the coming weeks, including tools from OSHA.

ISRI Releases 2017 Economic Impact Study

In May, ISRI released highlights of its 2017 Economic Impact Study, showcasing the benefits of the U.S. Recycling Industry. Produced for ISRI by John Dunham & Associates, the 2017 study showcases the multitude of benefits the U.S. scrap recycling industry provides. Some highlights include:

  • Directly and indirectly supporting nearly 535,000 jobs;
  • $117 billion total economic activity generated;
  • The industry generates about $4.95 billion in state and local revenues annually, revenues that are used to help communities and people throughout the country; and
  • Another $8.26 billion in federal taxes are paid annually by the scrap recycling industry and its employees.

ISRI members have the opportunity to login to the ISRI website and create specific economic impact reports for their Congressional, State House, and State Senate districts, as well as their city.

2017 Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Award Winners Announced

On May 9th, the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council (SPLC) recognized ten organizations and one individual for their leadership in the sustainable purchasing movement, a growing trend in which organizations are using their purchasing power to advance the long term health and vitality of society, economies, and the planet.

The leadership award winners were selected by a prestigious panel of judges. Each employ a wide range of sustainable purchasing strategies and documented the resulting environmental, social, and/or economic benefits in a case study. The awards and awardees include:

Leadership Award for Overall Sustainable Purchasing Program: The New York State Green Procurement and Agency Sustainability Program

SPLC’s highest honor was presented to The State of New York for having put in place a comprehensive sustainable purchasing program that exemplifies the qualities defined in SPLC’s Principles for Leadership in Sustainable Purchasing. The State established an ambitious interagency green procurement and sustainability program that has created dozens of “green” specifications that serve as a valuable resource for purchasers developing contracts. Through this program, the state has decreased solid waste by 50% since FY 2008-2009 levels, significantly reduced their copy paper purchasing, and virtually eliminated the use of bottled water, among other achievements.

Leadership Award for a Special Sustainable Purchasing Initiative: Department of General Services, State of California

Presented to The State of California Department of General Services for carrying out a comprehensive spend analysis using a life cycle assessment (LCA) approach to estimate the environmental, social, and economic impacts of over $97 billion in spend. The resulting analysis helps to prioritize a wide range of sustainable purchasing activities by the State, and helps to form a baseline to measure progress goals.

Market Transformation Leadership Award: Shaw Industries Group, Inc. and the Center for Environmental Health

Shaw’s innovative work to create EcoWorx® - a commercial carpet tile product made largely from reclaimed materials with significantly reduced energy and water consumption, and recyclability. This required forging unique collaborations with supplier and customers, and clearly demonstrates its contribution to the circular economy, having gained the Cradle to Cradle Certification™.

The Center for Environmental Health's multi-pronged approach is honored for to taking hazardous chemicals out of furniture bought by purchasers, an initiative which has resulted in more than $650 million spent on in safer furniture thus far.

Sustainable Purchasing Business Case Leadership Award: Apex Clean Energy

Presented to Apex Clean Energy for providing energy security to Fort Hood through a 65.8 MW hybrid renewable energy generation facility that is the Army’s largest single renewable energy project to date. The project will save the Department of Defense about $168 million over the course of 28 years.

Leadership Award for Public Interest Advocacy: Responsible Purchasing Network and the Urban Sustainability Directors Network

Presented jointly to the Responsible Purchasing Network and the Urban Sustainability Directors Network for their collaboration on the Sustainable Procurement Playbook for Cities, a 200-page resource that is helping cities, counties, and other local governments develop and implement more effective sustainable purchasing programs.

Leadership Award for Purchasing Innovation: Pacific Gas and Electric Company

Presented to Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E)for their procurement of V-gard Green hard hats made from sugar cane. The hats help PG&E reduce its carbon footprint and increase productivity while meeting standard safety requirements.

Leadership Award for Supplier Engagement: University of Pennsylvania and Wash Cycle Laundry

Presented to the University of Pennsylvania and Wash Cycle Laundry for their collaboration as a large university and a local SME to create local jobs, foster the growth of an innovative local business, and reduce the environmental impact of UPenn’s laundry services. 

Supplier Leadership Award: Shaw Industries Group, Inc.

Shaw’s innovative work to create EcoWorx® - a commercial carpet tile product made largely from reclaimed materials with significantly reduced energy and water consumption, and recyclability. This required forging unique collaborations with supplier and customers, and clearly demonstrates its contribution to the circular economy, having gained the Cradle to Cradle Certification™.

Individual Leadership Award: Sanjay Kumar

Presented to Sanjay Kumar, who currently serves as the Additional General Manager, Dedicated Freight Corridors Corporation of India limited (DFCCIL), Ministry of Railways, Government of India. Over a decade of tireless work at the national transport provider of India, Sanjay’s vision, leadership, and dedicated effort have been fundamental to the growth of the sustainable purchasing movement within his 20 billion dollar national railway company. His work has reduced Indian Railway’s carbon footprint by 1.5 million tons of CO2eq and saved over $9 million per year. Through active collaboration with international entities, Sanjay has become a recognized advocate for sustainable procurement on the global stage.

SPLC’s Leadership Awards recognize organizations that have demonstrated or actively supported the kind of leadership envisioned in the SPLC’s Principles for Leadership in Sustainable Purchasing. The Principles state that an organization demonstrates leadership in sustainable purchasing through:

  • Understanding. Understanding the environmental, social, and economic impacts of its purchasing.
  • Commitment. Taking responsibility for the environmental, social, and economic impacts of its purchasing by committing to an action plan.
  • Results. Delivering on its commitment to improve the environmental, social, and economic impacts of its purchasing.
  • Innovation. Actively promoting internal and external innovation that advances a positive future.
  • Transparency. Soliciting and disclosing information that supports a marketplace of innovation.

“The winners of these Awards have each demonstrated their commitment to leadership in sustainable purchasing,” says SPLC Executive Director Jason Pearson. “Collectively, they focus the powerful purchasing influence of organizations — in public and private sectors alike — to advance a socially just, ecologically robust, and economically prosperous future. The winners of SPLC’s Leadership Awards exemplify, encourage, and support a constructive cycle of innovation that will define the global marketplace of tomorrow.”

About the Council: Founded in 2013, the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council convenes buyers, suppliers, and public interest advocates to develop programs that simplify and standardize sustainable purchasing efforts by large organizations. The Council has quickly attracted, from a wide variety of sectors and regions, more than 180 members with over $200 billion in collective purchasing power. In 2015, SPLC released Guidance for Leadership in Sustainable Purchasing v1.0, which has been called the “most comprehensive literature to date” on sustainable purchasing. Hundreds of organizations are now using SPLC’s Guidance, resources, and online community of practice to create strategic sustainable purchasing programs, or enhance existing ones.

Chaz Miller - Onto the next stage

At the end of June, I will be retiring from full-time employment. My career in garbage began at Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the summer of 1976 when I was hired to join the agency's Source Separation Program. I was lucky to be working for Penny Hansen, who launched EPA's recycling efforts. Penny's experiences running a volunteer recycling center in suburban Maryland convinced her that if recycling was to succeed, it had to become "institutionalized" as a part of regular trash collection. She envisioned a future when taking out the recyclables would be as normal as taking out the trash.

In 1968, only two American cities—Madison, Wis., and San Francisco—collected recyclables at the curbside. And they only collected newspapers. Eight years later, when I started at EPA, more than 100 curbside programs were operating. A few had added bottles and cans to the newspapers they were collecting. Also by then, Pete Karter had created America's first materials recovery facility (MRF) in Branford, Conn. In the ensuing 40 years, Penny's dream has become a reality. I am proud to have played a small part in making that happen.

As I look back over the years I have to admit that I made more than my fair share of mistakes. The biggest was quite simple: I thought everyone would recycle because it was the right thing to do. I also thought they would recycle right. Sure, contamination was a problem even back then. Newspapers were supposed to be dry and free of "rotogravure" paper (aka, the Sunday newspaper supplements that have virtually disappeared). But EPA had already done some good research on the best educational tools. What could possibly go wrong?

We quickly learned the answer as more programs began taking bottles and cans. As collectors and processors continue to discover, the more we ask people to put in their recycling bins, the more creative they can be in deciding what to put in. Newspapers were a simple category, bottles and cans added a small amount of complexity. Now with the pressure to meet ever higher recycling goals, the list of mandated recyclables grows as does our need to ensure that our customers try to recycle only the right materials. Educating them remains an ongoing challenge.

Just as it is today, the cost of recycling was an issue. At EPA, and since then, I have been adamant that recycling is not free. No one who has collected or processed curbside recyclables believes the end market value exceeds those costs. Unfortunately, some politicians and recycling advocates still pretend it should be "free." But a magic economic cure does not exist. Curbside recyclables in and of themselves have little value. Only when they are collected from thousands of generators and processed into usable raw materials do they begin to have some value.

I have also had the good fortune to work on other garbage-related issues including flow control, interstate and international waste transportation, truck safety (we are, after all, a trucking industry) and even transfer station siting. All of these issues have been fascinating. I have enjoyed working for an industry that provides essential environmental services. After all, we help keep America clean. Who could ask for anything more?

I will continue to work part time on one or two key issues and I will keep writing this column. I also hope to keep talking trash at waste and recycling conferences. Finally, to the members of the National Waste & Recycling Association who have tolerated and supported me for so long, thank you.

Chaz Miller is director of policy/advocacy for the National Waste & Recycling Association in Washington, D.C.

UNTHA America Adds to Staff

UNTHA shredding technology America, Inc. continues to grow and has added another member to its staff.  Located in Hampton, NH, UNTHA America is a division of the Austrian-based UNTHA shredding technology GmbH, one of the world’s leading providers of size reduction equipment for the recycling industry. Joining the U.S. team is Kenneth Tran asKenneth Tran a sales engineer. Tran will service clients throughout the United States and Canada, and will specialize in those involved in the recycling of plastics. He will primarily be based at UNTHA’s Nashville, TN office, but will also work out of the Hampton headquarters. 

Tran has an extensive background in recycling sales, especially in the area of equipment for recycling plastics. He notes that there is an extensive need for recycling equipment that can handle plastics in the agricultural, municipal waste, medical and xx industries. UNTHA is one of the few companies which sells equipment geared towards plastics recycling.

“Ken is a great addition to our team,” says Bernhard Martinz, president and CEO of UNTHA America. “His joining us allows us to reach out to more companies throughout North America to assist them with their recycling needs.  He brings extensive experience to the position, so clients will be dealing with a very knowledgeable sales representative.”

Tran, who has been involved with the recycling industry for nine years, is excited to begin his career with UNTHA. 

“I’m pleased to join UNTHA,” says Tran. “The company has a great reputation and the shredding technology is state of the art. I know that this will be a boon to many companies looking to invest in the latest recycling equipment. I look forward to introducing them to UNTHA.”

For more information about UNTHA America, please visit its website or call (603) 601-2304.