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May 2009

NERC’s Advisory Members

Distinguished Benefactors

Consumer Technology Association (CTA)

Panasonic

Samsung

Benefactors

Bottle Crusher US

Coca-Cola

Waste Management

Sustaining Members

  • American Beverage Association

  • American Chemistry Council

  • American Forest and Paper Association

  • American Iron & Steel Institute

  • Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR)

  • Casella Resource Solutions

  • Coca-Cola Beverages Northeast, Inc.

  • Council of State Governments/Eastern Regional Conference

  • CURC

  • Dart Container

  • GDB International

  • Glass Recycling Coalition

  • Good Point Recycling

  • Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI)

  • International Bottled Water Association

  • Keep America Beautiful

  • Keurig Dr. Pepper

  • Marcal, A Soundview Paper Company

  • Mattress Recycling Council

  • MRM

  • National Waste & Recycling Association

  • Nestlé Waters North America

  • NEWMOA

  • PaintCare

  • Plastics Industry Association

  • Re-TRAC

  • Recycling Partnership

  • Republic Services

  • Schaefer Systems International, Inc.

  • Sims Municipal Recycling

  • Sonoco

  • Strategic Materials

  • Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council (SPLC)

  • TOMRA

  • US Composting Council (USCC)

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

MEMBERSHIP

New Sustaining Member

  • Metech International

Renewing Supporting Member

NERC NEWS

STATE UPDATES

MAINE

NEW YORK

RHODE ISLAND


To join the EMail Bulletin list…
Send an email to lynn@nerc.org making the request.  Please be sure to include your full name and organization.
 

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.

NERC is an equal opportunity provider and employer.


TOPICS

MEMBERSHIP

We are delighted to welcome Metech Recycling as a new Sustaining Member, and Connecticut Recyclers Coalition as a renewing Supporting Member.  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.   

NERC NEWS

Mark Your Calendar for NERC’s Fall ’09 Conference – October 27-28

Once again, NERC’s Fall Conference will be held at the Hotel Northampton in Northampton, Massachusetts.  The Conference will include one and half days of sessions, followed by the NERC Board of Directors Annual Meeting.  The agenda will be posted on NERC’s website by the end of May.  Check the site then for information on sessions and speakers.

Northeast Newspaper Publishers' Agreement - Progress Report Calendar 2008
Another year of monitoring for the Northeast Newspaper Publishers' Agreement has been completed.  Data collection and analysis took a different route this time.  As in 2005—the last full year of data collection—the Newspaper Association of America (NAA) sent out a survey and asked approximately 900 newspapers with various sizes of circulation, including those who provide data on a regular basis, for newsprint consumption data.  In the survey, NAA asked for the total metric tons of newsprint used, the metric tons of recycled newsprint fiber used, and the percentage of recycled fiber in the newsprint.  After an initial request in August 2008 and numerous follow-ups, NAA was unable to obtain sufficient data to calculate the aggregate recycled content of newsprint for 2007.  While NAA received some information in response to the request, it did not have enough data to calculate a statistically reliable percentage.  Given the economic downturn, there have been changes in operations at many newspapers which made it difficult to find the appropriate person collecting the data.  As a result, NERC and NAA sought alternative ways to assess the status of the use of recycled content by the newspaper publishers in the region.  Two sources of information proved to be of great value. 

The Pulp and Paper Products Council (PPPC) of Canada and the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection generously provided data for calendar 2008.  The PPPC provided cumulative data for all mills shipping newsprint to the 10 Northeast states (Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont).  As such, the information that it provided exceeds the universe of data that was reported in 2005.  At the time of signing the agreement in 2001, the signatory publishers represented 86% of the newsprint tonnage in the region.  The PPPC noted that mills have told it that when a customer has a specific recycled content requirement for its newsprint, the mill will adjust the amount of recycled pulp for a specific production run to meet this requirement and all shipments sent to this customer will have that exact recycled content.  The PPPC data reflects the average recycled content of newsprint sold into the region at 29.5%.

The state of Connecticut is the only state in the Northeast region to have legislation related to minimum recycled content and it requires annual reporting to the state Department of Environmental Protection on the same three data points as above – total metric tons purchased, tons recycled newsprint fiber, and the percent recycled fiber.  Data from 2008 reported to Connecticut indicates an average recycled content of 32.5%.  The higher average rate may be a result of the comment above that mills will adjust recycled content to meet the needs of customers.  

The Northeast Newspaper Publishers' Agreement, which has been in place since the fall of 2001, establishes a goal increasing usage of recycled content newsprint in the region and achieving a minimum recycled content of 27%.  There are 12 newspaper publishers that are signatories to the Newspaper Publishers’ Agreement and one statewide newspaper publishers association.

NORTHEAST

Total Metric Tons Newsprint Purchased

Tons Recycled
Newsprint Fiber

Percent Recycled
Fiber of Total Newsprint

1997- Baseline Estimate

2,375,000

644,000

27%

2001

1,529,783

440,790

28.8%

2002

1,339,465

380,110

28.4%

2003

1,643,212

403,012

24.53%

2004

2,229,478

656,189

29.4%

2005

2,062,267

672,299

32.6%

2008*

1,491,137

 

29.2%*

* Reported by PPPC. 

The data shows a significant decrease in the tons of newsprint purchased sine 2005—a decrease of 28%.  A similar figure was recently reported by Resource Recycling magazine.  “U.S. newsprint consumption fell 29.1 percent between February 2008 and 2009, the deepest decline in what is now the 60th straight month of diminishing demand.”
The original signatories to the Northeast Newspaper Publishers’ Agreement are:

  • Bangor Daily News
  • Dow-Jones
  • Gannett
  • Hartford Courant
  • Journal Register
  • Massachusetts Newspaper Publishers Association
  • Media News
  • New York Times
  • North Jersey Media Group
  • Providence Newspapers – Belo
  • Star Ledger
  • Syracuse Newspapers
  • Tribune Publishing

Significant Climate Change Benefits Accomplished by Government Agencies in the Northeast

The State Electronics Challenge (SEC) is assisting state, regional, and local governments in the Northeast to reduce the environmental impact of their computers.  In its inaugural year, 24 government agencies, ranging from Maine’s state government to cities such as Keene, New Hampshire, joined the SEC as Partners, making a commitment to purchase “green” computers, lower the energy consumption of computers in use, and reuse and recycle equipment at the end of its life. 

Their efforts are reaping benefits for the Northeast.  In 2008, Partner actions resulted in:

  • Energy use reductions of 21.8 million kilowatt hours, equivalent to the electricity to power 1,823 households for a year. 
  • Greenhouse gases reductions of 2,333 metric tons of carbon equivalents.  This is equal to removing 1,566 cars from the road for a year.

In addition:

  • Purchasing more environmentally friendly computer equipment–defined by the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool, also known as EPEAT®–avoided the use of 781 pounds of toxic materials such as lead and mercury in the manufacture of new computers.
  • Reusing and recycling computers at the end-of life avoided the generation of 65 metric tons of hazardous waste and reduced municipal solid waste equivalent to the amount of trash generated by 78 households annually.  

The State Electronics Challenge and five SEC Partners received special recognition for their efforts from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regions 1 and 2 Environmental Merit Award Programs.  The award recipients were:

  • Maine’s State government and the City of Keene, New Hampshire, Silver recognition, for purchasing environmentally preferable computers, computers, extending the life of computers through reuse programs, and recycling obsolete equipment at facilities that adhere to environmentally sound management practices.
  • The City of Providence, Rhode Island, Public Schools, Silver recognition, for purchasing green computers and reducing the energy consumption of computer units in operation by implementing strategies to better manage and control energy consumption.
  • Connecticut’s Department of Environmental Protection and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Bronze recognition, for purchasing environmentally preferable computers. 

Image 6

State Electronics Challenge EPA Region 1 Environmental Merit Award Winners (left to right): Ira Leighton, Acting Regional Administrator, EPA Region 1; Chris Beling, Environmental Engineer, EPA Region 1; Cleora Francis-O'Connor, Providence, RI, Schools; Jetta Antonakos, State of Maine, Maine State Planning Office; Wendy Kipp, City of Keene, NH; Judy Belaval, CT Department of Environmental Protection; Mary Sherwin, CT Department of Environmental Protection; Stephen Perkins, Acting Deputy Regional Administrator, EPA Region 1.

In addition to the EPA Regional Environmental Merit Awards, two Partners have been recognized by NERC for their accomplishments:

  • The Northeast Kingdom Waste Management District in Vermont achieved Silver recognition for reducing the energy consumption of its computers and recycling obsolete units using a recycler that demonstrates environmentally sound management practices, with an emphasis on reuse.
  • The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM), while not completing SEC requirements in any program areas, received an Honorable Mention for laying the foundation for future computer purchases statewide.  In 2008, DEM staff was instrumental in incorporating a requirement that all state agencies purchase EPEAT registered computers into the state’s electronics waste legislation. 

The SEC is a voluntary program developed and administered by the Northeast Recycling Council with funding from the U.S. EPA.  The SEC is modeled after the U.S. EPA’s Federal Electronic Challenge.  The SEC was developed as a way to reduce the environmental impact of the more than $35 billion worth of technology equipment purchased annually by state and local governments in the U.S.  Currently, 30 state, regional, and local government agencies, collectively employing over 43,000 people, have joined the SEC as Partners.  

In October, the SEC will transition from the pilot stage to a full national program.  The State Electronic Challenge provides a unique opportunity to provide leadership in the environmentally sound and cost-effective management of electronic assets.  The Challenge provides a framework, implementation tools, resources, and recognition to assist government agencies in reducing the environmental impact of computer equipment. 

For more information on the SEC, including a list of current Partner organizations, how to join, and SEC program requirements, visit www.stateelectronicschallenge.net.

Comprehensive Guide to Manure Management Education Posted

A Guide to Providing Manure Management Education to Small Farm and Livestock Operations has been posted.  The Guide provides a framework for developing and implementing a manure management education program based on the experiences that NERC gained through a successful two-year effort.  The Guide is designed for waste management personnel, agricultural specialists, and others who provide technical assistance to the farming community.

Additional resources developed by NERC for small farm manure management include the Manure Management Handbook for Small Farms and Quick Reference GuideAlso available are a Manure Generation Calculator and other reference materials on manure management, as well as a PowerPoint Presentation given at workshops by NERC.

These resources are particularly important as the number of small farm and livestock operations continues to increase.  According to the 2007 U.S. Agricultural Census, the majority of farms are small operations.  Between 2002 and 2007, the number of farms with sales of less than $2,500 increased by 74,000.  The majority of farms in New Hampshire (72% of 4,166 farms), New Jersey (67% of 10,327 farms), and Vermont (59% of 6,984 farms) had farm sales less than $9,999.  

Proper manure management on small livestock operations is crucial for the protection of waterways and the environment.  Small farms can be a significant source of water pollution.  Typically these operations are minimally regulated at the federal, state, and local level and fall under the radar of agricultural specialists. 

An increasing number of small livestock operations are located in suburban and urbanizing areas; close to high density residential developments and water resources.  The amount of land per animal unit is typically very small, often leading to problems associated with improper manure storage, handling, and use.  Moreover, many small livestock operators are inexperienced with the requirements of manure management and do not know where to find information.  Many do not understand the environmental consequences of poor manure management.  Small livestock operations may also face other challenges that larger farm operations typically do not, such as limited equipment resources.

The growing number of horse-boarding operations is a particular concern in terms of manure management.  In New Jersey there are upwards of 49,000 horses in 7,600 equine facilities.  There are an estimated 35,000 horses in New Hampshire.  Nationwide there are nearly 2 million horse owners with more than 9 million horses.  A 1,000-pound horse can generate eight to ten tons of manure annually, as much as two cubic feet per day, including bedding.  An estimated 3.9 million tons of horse manure is generated in the Northeast on an annual basis.  Equine facilities vary in size from just a few horses to 50 or more.  Operators often have little experience in manure management and primarily focus on the recreational usage of horses.  Thus, unlike other livestock operations they have limited desire or ability to utilize the manure.  Many such operations spend thousands of dollars to dispose of manure each year.  Often the manure is stockpiled in some out-of-sight location—almost certainly resulting in problems such water contamination and irate neighbors, or disposed of in landfills.

Through NERC’s Manure Management Education project, 440 people attended 20 workshops in three states.  More than 100 towns were represented at the events, with travel to the workshops ranging up to more than 100 miles.  On average workshop attendees traveled 16 miles.  More than 650 Manure Management Handbooks and Resource Toolkits were distributed.

For more information contact Athena Lee Bradley, NERC Projects Manager.  The project was funded by a U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Solid Waste Management Grant.

Environmentally Preferable Purchasing in the Northeast States

As part of a green purchasing project with the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation, NERC surveyed the ten Northeast states about their environmentally preferable purchasing (EPP) programs.  The responses were summarized and can now be found on NERC’s website at Summary of Northeast States’ EPP.  Following are key findings from this research:

  • All ten Northeast states have some type of state requirement for purchasing EPP products and services.
  • Five of the ten states have formalized EPP programs — Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania.
  • A total of 56 EPP products and services are actively purchased by the Northeast states.
  • Of these products and services, there are seven products common among the states:
    • Printing and writing paper (10 states)
    • Cleaning products (9 states)
    • Electronics (8 states)
    • Janitorial supplies (8 states)
    • Envelopes (7 states)
    • Lamps and ballasts (including compact fluorescent lamps) (7 states)
    • Office supplies (7 states)
  • The most commonly used EPP criteria are:

Energy Star – a labeling program of U.S. EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy in which manufacturers voluntarily identify their products as below federal standards for energy consumption.  (8 states)

Green Seal Logo Green Seal – an independent non-profit organization that develops science-based environmental certification standards on the following product categories: Construction Materials, Equipment, and Systems; Facility Operations, Maintenance, and Services; Food and Food Services; Home Products and Services; Office Products and Communications; Personal Care and Consumer Packaged Goods; and Transportation and Utilities.  (8 states)

  • Eight of the ten states use a committee with representation from multiple agencies or departments for developing EPP specifications and identifying standards for products and services.  Rhode Island requires individual agencies to identify the product or service specifications when make a purchasing request.  New Hampshire makes all purchases centrally through the purchasing office. 
  • Six of the ten states track their EPP purchases.  This includes all of the states with formal EPP programs (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania), as well as Vermont.
  • The most common tracking methods for EPP purchases are annual vendor and departmental reports.
  • Five states use a variety of strategies for communicating the availability of EPP products and services to eligible entities.  The most commonly used communication methods include: 
    • Posting the EPP legislation on their websites (10 states).
    • Posting the EPP products and services on the state purchasing website (5 states).
    • Grouping of EPP contracts on purchasing website (4 states).
    • Direct emails (4 states).
    • Speaking at state events (4 states).
  • The two states that do not regularly communicate the availability of EPP products and services that are available on the state contract are New Hampshire and Rhode Island.
  • Seven of the ten states allow a 5 – 15% price allowance for EPP products.  The three states that do not allow a price difference are New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Rhode Island.
  • The amount of time spent working on EPP purchasing and programs vary greatly from state to state.  The range of time reported was anywhere from 1-2 hours a month to one full-time position.

 

Image 6Green Hotels Program Includes Waste Sorts & Composting

NERC staff was ankle deep in garbage while conducting a waste sort at Vermont’s largest hotel—Sheraton Burlington Hotel and Conference Center—a month ago.  After sifting through 93 pounds of trash from one slow-business day in March, we determined that 83% of the hotel’s waste is compostable and 27% recyclable.  Rob Burnetti, General Manager of the hotel, said “The Sheraton Burlington is excited to Partner with NERC to expand our Green initiative.  Sustainability needs to be part of how we do business, regardless of the economic environment.” 

The hotel began segregating its food waste for composting the very next week.  Hotel management estimates the facility generates 70 tons of food waste annually.  To support these efforts, NERC produced a poster to help direct what materials to compost.

Image 8

NERC is also working with the Comfort Inn and Suites in St. Johnsbury and conducted the waste sort there in late April.  Management at this hotel is very eager to begin recycling and composting its leaves, grass, and food waste from their breakfast room kitchenette.

NERC’s work with Vermont hotels has been funded by the EPA Region I Resource Conservation Challenge program.  It allows NERC to provide direct technical assistance to hotel management and staff on reducing their waste stream by recycling and composting.  NERC is partnering with the Green Hotels in the Green Mountain State for this project.

NERC would like to thank Carolyn Grodinsky of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, Chris Beling of EPA Region I, Emily Newcomer of Chittenden Solid Waste District, and John Malter, Administrator, Mad River Solid Waste Alliance for helping us with the waste sorts and keeping a sense of humor through the process.

For more information, contact Mary Ann Remolador, NERC’s Assistant Director.

Master Plan Comparison Updated – Now Includes Climate Change & Product Stewardship

NERC has just updated its analysis and comparison of the Solid Waste Master & Management Plans in the NERC States.  The analysis has been revised to include Climate Change Action Plans and whether product stewardship is included in the Master & Management Plans.  The new analysis also includes the Maine and Rhode Island Solid Waste Master & Management Plan updates that have been published since this document was originally posted in 2006.  For more information, contact Lynn Rubinstein, NERC Executive Director.

Plan for National Expansion of State Electronics Challenge Published

For now the State Electronics Challenge (SEC) program is only available to the 10 Northeast States.  But beginning on October 1, it will be a national program.  The pilot phase of the SEC has been remarkably successful, with 30 Partners to date, and thousands of tons of avoided greenhouse gas emissions.  A Plan that outlines how the SEC will function as a national program was developed with the participation of representatives from around the country and has been posted on the State Electronics Challenge website.  For more information, contact Lynn Rubinstein, NERC Executive Director and SEC Program Manager.

NERC in the News – Stay Up-to-Date

NERC has been frequently mentioned in the news recently, especially because of the recent update to the Recycling Economic Information Study.  You can stay up-to-date on the media attention NERC receives by visiting the NERC website.

STATE NEWS

MAINE
Grants Awarded to Municipalities for Outreach Programs

The Maine State Planning Office (SPO) Waste Management & Recycling Program receives requests from municipal recycling programs throughout the year asking for financial assistance with education and outreach efforts. To address some of those needs, the Maine Recycles Toolkit was created with downloadable resources that can be modified to be community-specific.

Recently, SPO advertised that small grants ($500) would be made available to municipal programs (in the form of matching funds) to help with recycling education and outreach and to promote toolkit use.  Applications were made available and a total of 16 awards were made to individual municipalities and regional programs.  Anticipated projects range from printing and distributing revised flyers on the municipal recycling program, working with seasonal residents and encouraging them to recycle, development and airing of public service announcements, to the purchase of and distribution of reusable shopping bags. Projects are to be completed by June 2009.

NEW YORK
NY Recycling Bin Program

The New York State Association for Reduction, Reuse and Recycling (NYSAR3) announced a recycling bin grant opportunity in New York State.  This grant program provides recycling collection bins for deposit and non-deposit beverage containers for various youth and community organizations throughout New York State.  In order to qualify for this grant, the applicant’s facilities must be open for public use, and the bins can be used either indoors or outdoors. This grant is funded as part of an Environmental Benefit Project and offered through a partnership between NYSAR3 and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

RHODE ISLAND
RI Looks at Collection Options

Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation recently completed a research study comparing the feasibility of implementing an expanded bottle bill versus expanding the existing municipal recycling program.  The goal was to study both approaches and identify the one that could offer the highest diversion of recyclables while simultaneously remaining the most efficient, cost-effective and economically sustainable choice. 

At the request of the Rhode Island General Assembly, RIRRC funded the study with the objective to help shed light on these options.  The study, conducted by DSM Environmental Services, took place in the fall of 2008 and topline results were presented during the winter of 2009.  DSM was charged with defining the beverage container redemption method, recommending how unclaimed deposits could be used, analyze possible impacts to municipal programs, and recommend alternatives that would yield increased recycling rates. 

The enhanced municipal collection would require a significant operational investment by RIRRC in order to yield ideal levels of product.  DSM recommended, among others, the purchase of 64 gallon rolling carts (only used currently in a small number of municipalities), a switch to universal bi-weekly collection, collection truck upgrades, a conversion of the existing MRF to single stream, and the statewide implementation of PAYT.  

The Bottle Bill option was also costly.  Fifty redemption centers would need to be sited, developed and equipped, maintained and staffed by RIRRC.  The quasi-public would also be responsible for the collection, processing and marketing of the redeemed materials.  Recently, RIRRC communicated the topline findings to state elected officials and stakeholders and will not recommend a preference for either choice at press time. 

Should the Rhode Island General Assembly consider bottle bill legislation, this study will offer broad insight into the investment needed to roll-out and maintain expanded programs.