Renewing Sustaining Members
Renewing Supporting Members
In addition, we've several renewing Supporting Members:
Thank you to everyone for supporting NERC.
Many visitors to NERC’s website are likely to have a general understanding of what is meant by the circular economy. According to proponent Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a circular economy is one designed to eliminate waste and pollution; circulate products and materials; and regenerate nature.
What, then, does the term reverse logistics mean, and how does it relate to recycling? Perhaps most importantly, how can reverse logistics contribute to the further development of a circular economy? We look to new NERC Advisory Member Reverse Logistics Group for an explanation:
“RLG is a global 4PL offering an array of cost efficient environmentally responsible Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) compliance and product returns services. Through tech enabled integrated management systems, RLG offers solutions for manufacturers to manage consumer product returns from the point of collection at end of life to final disposition,” says the company website.
“RLG implements and operates total recycling management solutions that focus on the maximization of resource recovery through whole system reuse, component reuse and base materials recovery.”
RLG’s process for applying reverse logistics to recycling includes the following:
RLG is headquartered in Munich, Germany and has 24 offices with 500+ employees. With operations in more than 80 countries around the world, the company is managing more than $1 billion in asset value per year. RLG’s North American offices are located in Iselin NJ, Irvine CA, and Toronto, ON.
RLG is a founding member of the Circular Economy Initiative Germany (CEID), which aims to develop a joint target vision and a concrete plan on how the transformation towards a Circular Economy in Germany could be fostered. Also, RLG has developed an e-waste recycling program in India that includes input from and training of the informal sector. India is the third largest e-waste producer worldwide.
"Following the principles of a Circular Economy ultimately leads us to the necessity of changing business models, where ‘reverse’ has to be a strategic element – an opportunity rather than a must," RLG CEO Patrick Wiedemann stated.
Through policy positions such as its Post-Consumer Recycled Content Policy and other initiatives, NERC has joined with its Advisory Members and many other organizations in seeking to realize an effective circular economy. We welcome RLG as a Sustaining Advisory Member and look forward to working on the process improvements that the company exemplifies.
While we are busy continuing to live with the Pandemic, we risk losing sight of all the innovation occurring in reuse and recycling. NERC’s Spring Conference— Seeking Circularity with Non-Traditional Solutions—offers attendees an opportunity to virtually meet and discuss the industries’ many groundbreaking advancements. The two-day Conference - April 12 – 13 (1 – 5 daily, eastern). The Conference Agenda provides details about the sessions and schedule.
Beginning with a keynote panel about Mergers & Acquisitions in Recycling, Doug Usifer of Capstone Partners, Cole Rosengren of Waste Dive, and Daniel Monahan of the United States Department of Justice will engage us in a provocative discussion about how to interpret and understand the impact of recent consolidations in the recycling industry. The Conference continues with Kyle Wiens of iFixit and Camille Herrera of Driscolls talking about the latest developments in Ecodesign: Packaging & Circularity. The first day wraps up with a lively panel discussion about The Sustainability of Batteries: Exploring Emerging Strategies; Mitchell Colbert of Vessel focuses on cannabis e-waste, Sean Plasse of Call2Recyle talks about the e-bike battery ecosystem, Ashlee Barker of New York City Department of Sanitation shares her educational strategies in the country’s most populous city, and Li-Cycle provides its perspective on the future of lithium batteries.
The second day begins with a session about Diversity, Equity & Inclusion as Part of Operations with Robin Weiner of ISRI, Iveth Dias of Sims Municipal Recycling, and Melissa Young of NYSAR3. That is followed by a session about Agricultural Plastics: Challenges & Innovation. Gene Jones of the Southern Waste Information Exchange talks about the obstacles and opportunities for agricultural mulch film recycling; Dan Martens of Novamont discusses microplastics in the soil; Richard Backer, EHS Manager, Tivoli, shares his findings from a 5-year review of the Northwest Solid Waste District’s (Vermont) single use agricultural plastics diversion program; and Cherish Miller of Revolution describes a circular approach to using post-consumer recycled agricultural film for direct food contact packaging.
A discussion about Construction & Demolition Debris: New Strategies for Reusing Old Materials will wrap up the Conference. John Culbertson of MSW Consultants talks about knowing the waste characterization of C&D; Tim Mulso of Scott Equipment Company focuses on drywall recycling; Paul Rolandini of USA Hauling & Recycling discusses LEED Credits; and Mathieu Germain, of Sanexen talks about the use of C&D Fines.
Conference Contact: Mary Ann Remolador
NERC continues its Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) Training Series for the recycling and solid waste industries with its final session on March 21, 1:30 - 3:00 eastern. The Trainings is free-of-charge and all are welcome to attend.
The training is about Engaging with Diverse Communities will include Spanish interpretation. Through storytelling, sharing of case studies, and small group discussions, the Training focuses on lessons learned to effectively conduct outreach and build lasting connections in underrepresented communities. Some of the concepts to be covered include understanding the cultures, trust levels and values of the communities in which you work; building equitable sustainability programs; and empowering community members to become part of the programs offered.
The session features two trainers— Berenice Garcia-Tellez, Energize Denver Equitable Implementation Administrator of the Office of Climate Action Sustainability & Resiliency for Denver; and José Luis Ramos, Bilingual Business Specialist for the City of Ft. Collins in Colorado.
Ms. Garcia-Tellez implements equitable policies for the new Energize Denver Building Performance Ordinance. Prior to that, she managed the Sustainable Business Program at the City of Longmont and worked with the business community on implementing sustainable and DE&I practices that lead to the creation of the first equitable sustainable business program in the country. Berenice also sits on the Latino Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. Berenice is a Mexican native and received her master’s degree in Environmental Engineering in Saudi Arabia. She also spent time in Turkey, Italy, and Norway, where she researched climate change.
Mr. Ramos is a bilingual business specialist for the City of Fort Collins in Colorado. He supports Spanish-speaking small business owners and entrepreneurs to develop and grow their business. Formerly, he worked at the Poudre River Public Library District after running his own business for over 10 years, where he experienced the different needs of small businesses and the challenges of being an entrepreneur in the United States. He is an engineer and has a BS in Computer Science from California Polytechnic State University.
More details about the Training Series can be found here.
NERC would like to thank its partners for their commitment and passion in developing the Training Series content:
NERC also thanks the sponsors of the DE&I Training and NERC’s work on DE&I:
DE&I Training Series Contact: Mary Ann Remolador
There are many opportunities for commercial and institutional generators to reduce their food waste. This webinar, co-hosted by NERC and NEWMOA, will feature information on available tools and strategies for these generators. The presenters will share case studies highlighting effective approaches as well as lessons they have learned. They will also highlight available tools for measuring food waste generation and tracking progress. Presenters will be:
The webinar will include a half hour for Q&A.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced that 11 organizations are expected to receive a total of approximately $2 million in funding to divert food waste from landfills by expanding anaerobic digester capacity nationwide.
Among the recipients is NEWMOA, which plans to develop environmental justice engagement and regulatory compliance guidance and training to support states seeking to increase food waste diversion rates through AD utilization. NERC will be actively involved in the project, as a contractor.
In the NERC region, the University of Vermont was also selected and plans to perform a study to assess current capacity at digesters to accept food wastes; the potential impacts of food waste co-digestion on biogas production; and the potential impacts of co-digestion on nutrients and microplastics in digestate.
EPA will make the awards once all legal and administrative requirements are satisfied.
For this year’s grant competition, EPA evaluated applicants on how their projects addressed numerous factors resulting from industrial, governmental, commercial, and/or other actions: human health, environmental, social, climate-related, and other cumulative impacts, and accompanying economic challenges of such impacts.
The latest report indicates a slight decrease in overall value, which is consistent with national trends.
These survey results reflect the differing laws and collection options in the participating states. Four of the states have beverage container deposit laws. As a result, fewer glass bottles, PET bottles and aluminum cans are processed in MRFs in those states. Those MRFs are also likely to have less revenue from those recyclables. In addition, the report reflects a mix of single stream, dual stream and source separation to collect recyclables with single stream being the most common approach. The type of collection used will have an impact on MRF design and operation. Thus, the data from this report reflects the unique blend of facilities and statewide laws in the reporting states.
The study was made possible with a grant from EPA Region 3.
Current report: NERC Northeast Recycling Market Report January 2022
For more information, contact Lynn Rubinstein.
For more than a year NERC has been working with nine rural communities in Maine to develop and maintain a safe and economically feasible glass recycling programs for their residents. The project participants include: The North Aroostook Solid Waste Association (NASWA) - Eagle Lake, New Canada, Wallagrass, Winterville, Unorganized Territory (Township 15, Range 6); Unity Area Recycling Center - Jackson, Thorndike, Troy, and Unity; Maine Department of Environmental Protection (ME DEP); and the Maine Resource Recovery Association (MRRA).
As part of this USDA-funded project, NERC has developed the following glass recycling resources that are now available.
Project Contact: Mary Ann Remolador
Recording: End Markets for Finished Compost
All NERC webinars are recorded and available on the website: https://nerc.org/conferences-and-workshops/webinar2
NERC has updated its Advisory Membership Brochure. The document provides a concise overview of the "why" support NERC as well as the levels and benefits of membership. For more information, contact Lynn Rubinstein.
RecyclingWorks in Massachusetts is hosting a no-cost Compost Site Operators Practical Skills Virtual Workshop with an emphasis on composting food materials on March 24 from 9:30am-12:00pm. This virtual workshop will focus on compost site operational best management practices to scale up and grow capacity for sites that:
The workshop will cover planning, design, nuisance conditions management, and operational considerations to grow capacity and scale up. This workshop is geared towards all Massachusetts compost site operators that are currently accepting or considering accepting food materials.
Please reach out to RecyclingWorks at email@example.com or call 888-254-5525 with any questions.
Note: For those who participate in the US Composting Council Certified Compost Operations Managers (CCOM™) or the Certified Composting Professionals (CCP™) programs, you can earn 2.5 Professional Development Hour (PDH) credits for attending this workshop. Download and use this form to request credits.
Effective February 17, 2022, the Agency has determined that screw-based mercury containing compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) shall not be sold, offered for sale, or delivered to a retailer for subsequent sale in the state of Vermont. This restriction on sale will begin one year from this date, no later than February 17, 2023, to allow Vermont retailers and distributors sufficient time to sell any existing inventories.
The final decision by the Agency can be viewed at:
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recognized the accomplishments of the Delaware River and Bay Authority (DRBA) as one of 20 WasteWise National Partners of the Year. These national award winners for 2020 and 2021 prevented and diverted close to 408,000 tons of waste that would otherwise have been disposed of in landfills or incinerators, increasing global greenhouse gas emissions. Instead, they saved over $22.5 million in landfill tipping fees and prevented climate and other environmental impacts.
DRBA, which won the Partner of the Year award for State Government, is a multifaceted transportation authority responsible for a network of bridges crossed by 35 million vehicles annually, three ferries carrying 800,000 passengers per year, and five regional airports in two states. DRBA prides itself as an organization connecting people and places in the heart of the northeast corridor that recognizes the importance of sound environmental practices in delivering these services.
Over the past six years, DRBA has increased its focus on resource conservation. In 2020, the authority reduced various waste streams and recycled over 4 million pounds of waste. DRBA increased the amount of waste material they recycle to 25 unique commodities, including aluminum, asphalt, lead acid and NiCad batteries, cardboard, concrete, e-waste electronics, oil filters, parts washer fluids, polycarbonate plastic, used cooking oil, aerosol cans, shredded paper, used motor oil, scrap metal, soil, spent lamps, tires, wood pallets, and vegetative waste. The program’s growth is tied to collaboration with employees, the public and suppliers through measurement, education, working together, and advancing sustainable business practices.
“Eco-design features, intelligent procurement, and sustainable business practices are our long-term vision, said Albert Fralinger III, DRBA Environment, Health & Safety Manager. “It’s a credit to our employees who have embraced our ongoing environmental sustainability efforts and to our partners for their assistance in building on past successes. We will continue to pursue opportunities and initiatives that reduce our carbon footprint and have a positive impact on our environment.”
As one of EPA’s longest-running voluntary programs, WasteWise celebrated its 27th year in 2021. Over the years, WasteWise partners prevented and diverted close to 249 million tons of waste from landfills and incinerators, preventing more than 488 million tons of associated greenhouse gas emissions, and saving more than $13.7 billion in avoided landfill tipping fees.
“EPA applauds the courage, innovation and knowledge of the Delaware River and Bay Authority,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Adam Ortiz. “By creatively developing and implementing solutions to reduce waste during a global health crisis, they and our other partners are reducing the effects of climate change and conserving natural resources; the importance of which cannot be overstated.”
EPA recognizes WasteWise partners in several data categories for the best overall improvement in waste prevention and recycling activities when compared to the previous year. This year, EPA also recognizes winners in narrative categories who achieved exemplary waste reductions in their organizations and businesses.
The WasteWise award winners achieved noteworthy accomplishments, such as reprocessing N95 respirators, implementing Sustainable Purchasing Guidelines at a university, and reusing shipping containers for return trips to avoid waste.
For more information and to learn about WasteWise https://www.epa.gov/smm/wastewise
The Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) has launched the APR Global Design Catalog, a comprehensive resource to access the most current plastic packaging recyclability guidelines for countries and regions around the world.
Different countries and regions operate a variety of recycling collection and processing systems. Many of them oversee complex Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) programs that hold manufacturers and suppliers accountable for the end-of-life fate of packaging materials. EPR programs in virtually all jurisdictions reference some design for recyclability index to encourage companies to design more sustainable packaging.
“The APR Design® Guide for Plastics Recyclability remains the leading package design resource for countries across the globe. Due to the differences in operational recycling systems and EPR requirements among countries, harmonizing design for recyclability across the globe is a challenging endeavor,” stated Steve Alexander, APR President & CEO. “APR’s Global Design Catalog gives you all the design requirements at your fingertips, to assist in comparing and contrasting best design practices in different countries.”
The catalog includes guidance from Denmark, EU, France, Germany, Netherlands, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, and UK. It covers recyclability evaluations for rigid PET, rigid HDPE, rigid PP, and flexible PE film packaging. Additional countries and features will be added in the coming months.
“Design for recyclability is key to creating a circular economy for plastics packaging,” continued Alexander. “APR’s Global Design Catalog, as a complement to the APR Design® Guide, provides the detailed design guidance required for brand owners to achieve their sustainability commitments within the demands of the global marketplace,”
Visit the APR website for more information about the APR Global Design Catalog and other APR Programs.
A blog detailing APR's support of the US Plastics Pact's list of problematic and unnecessary packaging has been posted on the NERC blog.
In a recent award ceremony, the Pennsylvania Recycling Markets Center (RMC) proudly recognized Kurt Duska with its annual William M. Heenan Recycling Markets Development Award for his cumulative career achievements in plastics recycling and recycled plastics product manufacturing. Whether it is retail goods, lawn mower parts, or equestrian care products, in working with the RMC, Kurt has been able to find unique uses for many of Pennsylvania’s hard-to-recycle recycled plastics.
“For both his lifelong creativity to find manufacturing outlets for hard to recycle plastics and Kurt’s plastics manufacturing knowledge that has selflessly helped grow recycling markets on the East Coast, we are proud to recognize his entrepreneurial spirit,” said Robert J, Bylone, Jr., President, CEO, Pennsylvania Recycling Markets Center.
In moving beyond establishment of his own business, Engineered Plastics, Kurt is now placing a lifetime of recycling achievement to use as a consultant. It is his desire to bring plastics sustainability into a circular economy, especially given the crisis of ocean and freshwater plastics debris. According to Kurt, “There are valuable materials that we can get from our packaging and products rather than using virgin carbon and energy to make new plastics. Truly this is a triple win for people, prosperity, and our planet. With rising non-renewable costs, recycled plastics will play an even larger role in the competitivity of plastics manufacturing, especially for consumer goods companies.”
And where does Kurt Duska see the next plastics and recycling opportunity? Medical grade recycled plastics and pet care plastics. He is a horse lover and farmer too, with interest to ride recycling into his next sunset.