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May 2014

NERC’s Advisory Members

Distinguished Benefactors

Consumer Technology Association (CTA)




Waste Management

Sustaining Members

  • 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

  • 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 Coalition

  • MRM

  • National Waste & Recycling Association

  • Nestlé Waters North America


  • Organix Solutions

  • PaintCare

  • Plastics Industry Association

  • Re-TRAC

  • Recycling Partnership

  • Republic Services

  • Schaefer Systems International, Inc.

  • Sims Municipal Recycling

  • Strategic Materials

  • Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council (SPLC)


  • US Composting Council (USCC)

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


New Benefactor

  • Panasonic_logo_bl_nega_JPEG

Renewing Sustaining Members

Renewing Individual Supporter

  • Annette Poliwka, New York

Member Spotlight - Steel Recycling Institute







We are delighted to welcome Panasonic as NERC's second Benefactor member. We also welcome renewing Sustaining Members Casella and Keep America Beautiful, and renewing Individual Support Annette Poliwka, New York.

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. NERC has 50 Advisory Members and Individual Supporters. To see a complete listing and 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.

Member Spotlight - Steel Recycling Institute

This month's Spotlight is about NERC's first Advisory Member; the Steel Rsteel_recycling_logoecycling Institute (SRI) joined NERC in 2003. Next month, the Spotlight will shine on our newest Benefactor - Panasonic.

In 1988, the Steel Can Recycling Institute was formed by the North American steel industry and scrap processors to assist in developing an infrastructure for the recycling of steel cans and to serve as a primary information and technical resource. At that time, the steel can recycling rate was 15 percent.

Today, the Steel Recycling Institute (SRI), as it became known in the early 1990s, is an industry association which provides education to the solid waste industry, government, business and ultimately the consumer about the benefits of steel's infinite recycling cycle. SRI, a business unit of the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), now works to promote and sustain the recycling of all steel products, including cans, cars, appliances, and construction materials.

Many of us started our recycling careers with the "steel spokescan"—ROSCOE (Recycle Our Steel; Conserve Our Environment), which made its debut in 1992. By 1993, the steel can recycling rate was 48 percent. In 1997, SRI joined more than 100 public and private entities to launch the first Annual America Recycles Day.

SRI continues its works with recycling coordinators, scrap processors, and steel companies to nurture an infrastructure for recycling steel cans, cars, appliances and construction materials as well as emerging sources of steel scrap such as steel aerosol cans, used oil filters, and other previously untapped sources of steel scrap. SRI provides up-to-date and relevant informational and technical resources for recycling, life cycle impact of steel and steel products, and market resources.

Steel is now North America's most recycled material, with an overall recycling rate of 88 percent. More steel is recycled annually than paper, plastic, aluminum, and glass combined. And, the steel can recycling rate has risen to an impressive 71 percent.

Steel scrap is an essential raw material in making new steel. Each year millions of tons of steel are collected through recycling programs and used in steelmaking furnaces throughout North America to manufacture new steel products. Recycled steel ("ferrous") scrap is now used to produce more than 60 percent of total raw steel produced in the United States. This use of steel scrap to make new steel conserves energy, reduces emissions and conserves natural resources.

In its own words, SRI "continues to support the vision of making steel the material that augments the well-being of people and the planet. Recycling is the connection of steel's sustainability. Steel is continuously recyclable, which means it can be recycled over and over with no loss of performance." Last fall, SRI marked its 25th anniversary with a significant milestone—more than one billion tons of steel have been recycled by the North American steel industry since 1988. Along with its continued education and support role, SRI is focusing on credibly documenting the superior environmental performance of steel through rigorous life cycle studies.

SRI became NERC's first Advisory Member in 2003, and has remained an active and important participant in NERC ever since. SRI is more than an Advisory Member for NERC, however, showing its support by having its staff regularly attending NERC conferences and Board Meetings, and participating on committees. According to Chip Foley, Director, "It's essential for SRI to focus on public policy issues that are vitally important to the steel industry, including our support and work with environmental organizations such as the Northeast Recycling Council and the Toxics and Packaging Clearinghouse."


NERC's Organics Management Workshop — Great Presentations & Discussions

The two-day Workshop held in Freeport, Maine was an exciting event for all involved. Focused sessions on organics management in urban and rural areas were presented and discussed among successful and startup organics management companies, state regulators and educators, recycling coordinators, haulers, organics management consultants, non-profit organizations, and interested individuals.

Among the featured speakers was Commissioner Patricia Aho of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. She provided a passionate and compelling presentation on the importance of organics management and its role in Maine's priorities.

If you are interested in sponsoring or exhibiting, or to discuss NERC's events, contact Mary Ann Remolador, NERC's Assistant Director & Events Coordinator.

Save the Date for NERC's Fall 2014 Conference

Mark your calendars now for NERC's Fall 2014 Conference. It will be held on November 5 – 6, at the Lord Jeffrey Inn in Amherst, Massachusetts. The Conference agenda and registration will be posted on NERC's website in August.

To discuss NERC's events, please contact Mary Ann Remolador.

Reducing & Diverting Food Scraps - Webinar Offered

NERC is offering a free webinar about reducing and diverting food scraps. It will take place May 14th, 10 – 11:30 am. The webinar will emphasize New Hampshire, but will also be of general interest.

Webinar topics include: food scrap collection programs; food scrap processing options; and, food scrap composting in New Hampshire. The webinar is open to anyone.

The webinar is being offered through a grant from the USDA Rural Utilities Service, Solid Waste Management program.

Organics Management in Action in Small & Tribal Communities—Opportunities & Case Studies - A National Webinar in Two Parts

This national webinar series will highlight a range of organics management and composting programs, as well as educational resources available, from around the country.

Focus on Food Scraps, Yard Waste, & Disaster Debris Management

Part 1: May 1, 1:00 p.m. Eastern

Presentations will include:

  • Municipal organics drop-off programs at transfer stations for collection of food scraps and soiled paper, as well as commercial collection of food scraps and soiled paper from restaurants.

Franklin County Solid Waste District (Massachusetts).

  • Regional staffed organics drop-off centers and composting.

Northeast Indiana Solid Waste Management District

  • Guidance to assist communities in the disaster debris recovery process.

North Dakota Department of Health, Division of Waste Management

Reducing Food Scraps at Home & Management of Organics in Small & Tribal Communities

Part Two: May 15, 1:00 p.m. Eastern

Presentations will include:

US EPA Region 10

  • Case studies on reducing organics discards, food recovery, backyard and neighborhood composting, commercial organics recycling, collection options, onsite municipal composting, and regional organics management.

Northeast Recycling Council (NERC)

  • The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community's Organics Recycling Facility which processes all organic materials including, brush, leaves, food scraps, and paper waste.

Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (Minnesota)

Feedstocks In! Compost Out!

A free webinar about bringing in appropriate materials for your compost program, and developing and marketing a viable compost product. This webinar is being held in conjunction with Maine's Food Scrap Composting Workshop being held in Skowhegan

May 19, 1:00 p.m. Eastern

Feedstocks In! Once you've determined appropriate materials for your compost program…how do you get residents and/or businesses to participate? The presenter will provide an overview of outreach and educational strategies on gaining and maintaining participation in compost collection programs, including: getting the "right" materials, how materials should be prepared (bagged, carts only, etc.), overcoming the "yuck" factor with positive and consistent messages, and more. Presenter: Athena Lee Bradley, Northeast Recycling Council

Compost Out!: Producing and marketing a value added compost product is primary to any compost operation. The presenter will provide an overview of compost products, compost applications, uses, and benefits, quality standards, and marketing and promotion strategies. Presenter: Geoff Kuter, Agresource Inc.

For more information on the webinars or on NERC's organics management project, contact Athena Lee Bradley. The webinars are funded by a grant from the USDA Rural Utilities, Solid Waste Management program.

NERC Staff to Speak at Two National Conferences

Mary Ann Remolador, NERC's Assistant Director, will present about NERC's project to develop environmentally preferable purchasing (EPP) specifications for copy and multipurpose paper, toner cartridges, and office supplies at two upcoming national events: the Sustainability Purchasing Leadership Council's Annual Meeting in May, and the Resource Recycling Annual Conference in September. The overall project goal is to make it easier for procurement officials to purchase green versions of common products.

Over the past year, NERC has led a collaborative process to create the specifications by working with teams of purchasing and environmental experts from around the country. The draft specifications are being finalized and will be posted on NERC's website for public comment. The project is funded by a grant from the Roy A. Hunt Foundation. For more information about the project and NERC's EPP expertise, contact Mary Ann Remolador.

National Award Winners Announced - State Electronics Challenge

Every year, the State Electronics Challenge recognizes program participants—Partners—that have demonstrated significant achievements in the environmental stewardship of computer and imaging equipment. Recognition is available for their accomplishments in green purchasing, energy and paper conservation (use), and responsible end-of-life management. Gold, the highest level of recognition is for notable achievements in all three lifecycle phases, Silver for two, and Bronze for one.

For calendar 2013, 11 Partners are being recognized.


Award Level

Lifecycle Phases

City of Corvallis, Oregon


Purchasing, Use, & End-of-Life Management

City of Providence School Department, Rhode Island


Purchasing, Use, & End-of-Life Management

DuPage County, Illinois


Purchasing, Use, & End-of-Life Management

Manitou Springs School District, Colorado


Purchasing, Use, & End-of-Life Management

Borough of State College, Pennsylvania


Purchasing, Use, & End-of-Life Management

City of La Crosse, Wisconsin


Purchasing & End-of-Life Management

Vermont Agency of Natural Resources


Purchasing & End-of-Life Management

City of Tacoma, Washington



Mecklenburg County, North Carolina


End-of-Life Management

Upper Merion Township, Pennsylvania



Ohio Environmental Protection Agency



The State Electronics Challenge is a free program available to state and local government agencies, tribal governments, any school, college or university, non-profit organizations, and other public entities—such as libraries, utilities, and solid waste districts.

How does the program work? The Challenge provides free strategies, tools and support that assist Partners in:

  • Buying green office equipment, using the EPEAT® rating system
  • Using equipment efficiently by reducing energy and paper consumption
  • Recycling unwanted equipment responsibly using certified recyclers

Want to learn more? Contact Lynn Rubinstein, Program Manager, or view a recording of an introductory webinar.

Support for the State Electronics Challenge is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, and sponsorship by Samsung Electronics, Panasonic, the ISRI R2/RIOS program, Sims Recycling Solutions, and the Consumer Electronics Association. For more information, contact Lynn Rubinstein.

2013 Environmental Results - State Electronics Challenge

The State Electronics Challenge (SEC) program continues to grow, reaching 129 Partners in 2013, up from 100 Partners in 2012! Partners employed over 167,000 people.

The table below summarizes the environmental results of Partners' efforts to "green" the lifecycle of their office electronic equipment; from purchasing EPEAT® (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool) registered computers and imaging equipment, to lowering the energy consumption in use, extending the lifetime of equipment, and responsibly recycling office electronics at the end of its service life.

The following environmental benefits resulted from the efforts of the 42 Partners that provided data on their 2013 SEC activities.

  Purchasing EPEAT® Products Use  Reuse & Recycling   TOTAL BENEFITS

Reduction In

 How Much?

How Much?

Equivalent To

Energy Use  7 million kWh  52 million kWh  27 million kWh 86 million kWh  Electricity to power  6,760 U.S. households/year
Greenhouse gas emissions

1,166 metric tons of carbon equivalents

9,970 metric tons of carbon equivalents

4,285 metric tons of carbon equivalent

 15,421 metric tons of carbon equivalents

Removing 11,094 cars from the road/year
Toxic materials, including lead & mercury 1,505 lbs.  2,383 lbs. 492 lbs. 4,380 lbs. Weight of 994 bricks
Municipal solid waste 103 tons 354 tons 403 tons 860 tons Waste generated by 431 households annually
Hazardous waste 22 tons 34 tons 78 tons 134 tons Weight of 967 refrigerators

Support for the State Electronics Challenge is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, and sponsorship by Samsung Electronics, Panasonic, the ISRI R2/RIOS program, Sims Recycling Solutions, and the Consumer Electronics Association.

New Participants in Electronics Challenge

We are delighted to announce that the State Electronics Challenge now has 133 Partners, in 36 states, representing 170,000 employees. These organizations - "Partners" - have stepped forward and expressed a desire to decrease the environmental consequences of the purchasing, use, and end-of-life management. The newest Partners are from all over the United States, and include the second tribal nation to participate:

  • The City of Providence (RI)
  • The Maryland Department of General Services
  • Marywood University (PA)
  • Chewonki Foundation (ME),
  • University of San Diego (CA)
  • Wayne County Government (IN)
  • Association of Ohio Recyclers
  • Town of Blacksburg (VA)
  • Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians (CA)

The State Electronics Challenge program provides Partners with free assistance and support, as well as providing annual sustainability reports and recogntion. Read the two articles above to see what was accomplished in calendar 2013.

For more information, vist the Challenge website or contact Lynn Rubinstein, Program Manager.

Support for the State Electronics Challenge is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, and sponsorship by Samsung Electronics, Panasonic, the ISRI R2/RIOS program, Sims Recycling Solutions, and the Consumer Electronics Association.

NERC 200: Rihanna 85,001,512

Yes, NERC is on its way to Facebook fame! We now have 200 likes! We have a long way to go to surpass Rihanna, but we appreciate everyone who has visited our Facebook page and "liked" us! If you haven't ventured to NERC's Facebook page please check us out…and, while there consider adding us to your "Liked" pages! Also, remember to sign up for the NERC Blog!

Organics Discussed in New York State & at Tribal Summit

NERC recently worked with representatives from the Tri-county Transition Initiative and Warrensburgh Beautification in the Southern Adirondacks region of New York State to host a "Warren County/Southern Adirondacks Organics Management Workshop and Roundtable". The workshop was a huge success, with more than 70 people attending. Participants included local government officials, community activists, solid waste employees, master gardeners, and business representatives.

Topics discussed at the event included an overview of organics best management practices & case study examples; collection options; composting opportunities; funding considerations; promotion and education; commercial food scrap reduction, recovery, & composting; working with haulers & compost operations to advance food scrap composting; and, "composting in action," and included presentations about the Schenectady County Soil and Water District composting operation, Booth's Blend Compost, and Nature's Brew Compost.

The event was a unique opportunity to bring together multiple sponsors to organize and fund an organics management workshop. The sponsors included: the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation; the Tri-county Transition Initiative Citizens Composting Support Group; the Towns of Warrensburg, Hague, Lake Luzerne, Chester, Lake George, Queensbury, Bolton Landing; Warren County; Adirondack Harvest; and Warrensburgh Beautification.

Also in April, NERC spoke about "Managing Food Scraps and Organics through Composting: Community and Home-based Applications," at the United South and Eastern Tribes' annual Tribal Utility Summit. This year's Summit was hosted by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation in Mashantucket, Connecticut. The Tribal Utility Summit is a collaborative effort between the United South and Eastern Tribes, Inc. (USET), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Indian Health Service (IHS). USET has its own Certification Board which certifies Operators for Drinking Water and Wastewater Treatment Systems and Laboratory Analysts. The USET Certification Program is an EPA approved certification for Drinking Water Operators for Indian Tribes nationwide.

For more information, contact Athena Lee Bradley, NERC Projects Manager.

NERC's Blog Worth Repeating - CAN IT! Reducing Food Waste with Steel Food Containers

This guest blog is by Casey Fenton, Communications Assistant, for the Steel Recycling Institute.

When people buy a product, they expect to be able to utilize that product to its fullest value and capacity. Anything less would be, to put it simply, wasted. Purchasing food is often a juggling act of buying enough nutritious options in the short term to feed your family but not so much that it begins to spoil. Food packaged in steel cans continues to be an American favorite, with over 100 million steel food cans used a day, and one of the primary reasons is their long shelf life. The canning process locks in nutrients at their peak of freshness, and canned foods are ready to eat when you are.

By nature, different types of foods and packaging materials have varying windows of opportunity to being consumed. Some foods, such as fresh fruit, have a very small window between ripening and going bad. And when you factor in the time it takes to travel from the field to the supermarket, then to your table, the window shortens. According to research from the Produce for Better Health Foundation, two-thirds of people end up throwing out fresh fruit on occasion and 80 percent throw out fresh vegetables some of the time. If these same people consider a variety of canned, fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables, not only would a dollar go further, but the window of opportunity to successfully consume the recent purchases broadens.

A report from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers found that between 1.2 – 2 billion tons of all food produced in the world annually ends up as waste. The U.S. Department of Agriculture states that Americans waste about 25 percent of fresh produce they purchase each year. Not only is this an incredible loss of nutrient-rich food but it is an enormous loss of revenue for households when they aren't able to use the products they purchase.

The whole point of buying food is to get nutrition – but food is not nutritious until it is consumed. All the fresh foods in the world can be bought, but if it goes bad in the fridge or on the counter top it's not doing anyone any good. Steel canned food has comparable nutrients to fresh and frozen but they also provide a longer opportunity to consume those nutrients thanks to their packaging.

Food packed in steel cans has a worldwide reputation of longevity and secure packaging. In humanitarian aid efforts, canned food is the preferred method of food collection based upon its ease of transport and safety from contamination in potentially unstable conditions. Since canned foods can also be stored at room temperature, large scale efforts or food services programs can avoid the cost, and conserve the energy, of requiring additional crucial cold storage.

An often overlooked aspect of preventing food waste is portion sizes. Many recipes are written based upon a smaller portion size that a steel can will meet. Some fresh and frozen alternatives may only be purchased in larger quantities, such as by the pound, which forces the consumer to repackage extra product on their own. The product is now increasingly more vulnerable to spoilage.

Avoiding the waste of food is far from the only reason to choose steel cans. A study in the Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences compared packaging materials across price, waste and preparation and it showed that canned foods offered just as many nutrients at a comparable and often lower cost. This only further emphasizes the cost savings brought on by causing less food waste.

Canned fruits, vegetables and beans are always in season. With more than 125 varieties of fruits and vegetables, fresh forms can only offer some types seasonally, while canned foods provide the same consistent quality and nutrition all year long. Quality of life also improves with a more varied diet.

In addition to their budgetary and nutritional value, steel food cans benefit consumers through their inherent recyclability at end of use. Steel prides itself on being North America's #1 most recycled material. With an annual recycling rate of 72 percent, households should know that recycling their steel can through their community curbside or drop-off program will conserve energy, save natural resources and keep valuable material out of the nation's diminishing landfill space. This commitment to minimizing material waste through recycling mirrors the industry's drive to not wanting the actual food product to be lost either.

Steel food cans offer benefits throughout their entire life cycle. Steel cans always are made from a minimum of 25% recycled content, they lock in essential nutrients, and save families money at each checkout. Every time a household chooses a steel can in the aisle, energy is conserved, money is saved and potential food waste is avoided. Anyone who says any different should 'can it'!

For more information about the Steel Recycling Institute or to find the nearest recycling programs to recycle your steel products, please visit

Photos courtesy of the Canned Food Alliance (CFA).

Guest blog's represent the opinion of the writer and may not reflect the policy or position of the Northeast Recycling Council, Inc.



Six New Waste Characterization Studies Published

Waste characterization studies conducted in 2013 at six municipal waste combustion facilities under the Massachusetts Class II Recycling Program requirements are now posted on the MassDEP website. To access the reports, click on the link and:

  • Scroll down to the heading "Municipal Waste Combustor Class II Recycling Programs"
  • Click on the link for each facility listed to access that facility's report

MassDEP has not yet prepared combined waste characterization data across all six facilities. But, in the meantime we are posting the individual waste characterization studies to make that information available. MassDEP will be posting additional analysis of this data later this spring.

The facilities that had the characterizations done are required to conduct these studies every three years. The 2010 studies, along with a statewide analysis, are posted from the last studies conducted in 2010. If you want any more background on the studies, you can check out the intro of any of the studies.

For more information, contact John Fischer, Branch Chief, Commercial Waste Reduction and Waste


VTrecycles is on the Twittersphere

The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation - Solid Waste Program has kicked off its own Twitter account "VTrecycles"! Follow @VTrecycles on Twitter or catch the latest postings from the Solid Waste home page for tips, event announcements, and the latest on implementation of Vermont's Universal Recycling law.


Green Tree - Textile Repurposing

Green Tree was founded in January of 2012 to collect unwanted textile materials including clothing, shoes, accessories and household linens that would otherwise go to already overburdened landfills. Our recycling services support the disadvantaged, the homeless and those in transition as well as the environment. To date we have collected over 30,000 pounds of clothing.

Any materials we receive that are usable or wearable are donated to our charity partners and distributed to those in need. Additionally, we seek out partnerships with clothing manufactures and are developing relationships for a more sustainable use of textile scraps. You can learn more about our company through our website.

Dart Container Proud to Join NERC

Dart Container Corporation is proud to join the NERC and excited about our partnership with this important organization. Founded over fifty years ago by the Dart Family, Dart is a leading manufacturer of food service products including PET, polypropylene, polystyrene, expanded polystyrene, paper and bagasse. Our strong commitment to both product excellence and the nationwide expansion of foam recycling options has led us to become a pioneer in the development of on-site recycling programs for large-scale users of foam products. Dart concentrates much effort on developing innovative initiatives like our unique "mail back" program, facilitating curbside recycling for foam in coordination with material recovery facilities, and expanding access to foam drop-off facilities. We encourage and advocate for the recycling of not only food service product