Renewing Supporting Members
New & Renewing MembershipsMembership is key to NERC's regional and national commitment to sustainable materials management. We are delighted to welcome renewing Supporting Members: Addison County Solid Waste Management District (ACSWMD), Vermont, the American Coatings Association, the Association of New Jersey Recyclers (ANJR) and Rockland County Solid Waste Management Authority, New York.
Thank you to all our Advisory Members. 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.
The moment you walked into the Northeast Recycling Council’s Markets or Bust Workshop in Maryland, you could feel the crowd’s energy. There was no mistaking the interest and enthusiasm of the attendees and presenters about the timely topics to be discussed—recycling markets and market development opportunities. The Workshop attracted veteran and young professionals from 20 states, the District of Columbia, and one Canadian province.
Opening the Workshop was Ben Grumbles, Commissioner of the Environment for the Maryland Department of the Environment. Commissioner Grumbles welcomed attendees and applauded their work on sustainable materials management. He also thanked the Northeast Recycling Council (NERC) for holding its Workshop in Maryland (a first time NERC event to be held in the State).
Following Commissioner Grumbles was Myles Cohen, President of Pratt Recycling and of ISRI’s Paper Stock Industries. Mr. Cohen presented an overview of the primary market issues effecting US recycling industry sectors. He also presented several strategies that US communities can employ to battle the current recycling market pressures that have resulted from China’s material bans. “We should be focused on quality of materials instead of volume,” said Cohen. Cohen stressed the importance of “tackling contamination head on and promoting quality” recyclables. He continued by pointing out the need for communities across the nation need to re-examine their recycling programs and to consider getting “back to the basics.”
The Workshop continued with sessions about the history of recycling market development programs in the US; specific market issues affecting the paper, plastics, glass, and compost industry sectors; breakout sessions that encouraged attendees’ participation in identifying contamination, brainstorming alternatives for processing materials, identifying market development opportunities, and developing a marketing strategy for finished product.
The Workshop speakers included:
The Workshop presentations can be found in the Conference & Workshop Archives section on NERC’s website.
And, thank you to our Sponsors!
For more information about NERC’s events, contact Mary Ann Remolador, NERC’s Assistant Director and Events Organizer.
The Northeast Recycling Council (NERC) is hosting a free webinar—Finding Opportunity in MRF Glass— on May 16th 2 – 3:30 p.m., eastern. The challenge of finding high end markets for recycled glass from single-stream Materials Recycling Facilities (MRFs) has been the topic of many discussions in the recycling arena. Single-stream MRFs take in mixed recyclables and sorts and bales them for processors and manufacturers. The condition and age of a MRF’s sorting equipment will dictate the condition of the resulting glass. Generally, glass from single stream MRFs needs additional processing to clean it up for high value end markets (bottles and fiberglass). And in the case of the Northeast US, available high end markets are few.
The webinar will feature several new resources focusing on the primary issues currently facing glass recovered from MRFs. REGISTER HERE. Following are details about the webinar speakers and presentations:
For more information about the webinar, contact Mary Ann Remolador, NERC’s Assistant Director at 802.254.3636.
The Northeast Recycling Council (NERC) and the Northeast Waste Management Officials’ Association (NEWMOA) will host a free webinar — Effective Education Strategies for Proper Recycling — June 7th at 2:00 – 3:30 PM (eastern). The purpose of this webinar is to provide insights into campaigns to educate the public about what is recyclable and what is not. The presenters will focus on the impacts of projects in a variety of municipalities, including those with multi-lingual populations.
The webinar speakers and presentations:
For more information, contact Mary Ann Remolador, 802-254-3636.
The Agenda Planning Committee has been formed, the Conference title and theme has been selected, the dates are set, and the location secured for NERC’s Fall Conference.
Conference Title and Theme: The Future of MRFs (See the Call for Papers in the next Bulletin article.)
Dates: October 30th – 31st
Location: Sheraton Hartford South Hotel, Rocky Hill, Connecticut
Agenda Planning Committee:For each of NERC’s events, we solicit volunteers from NERC’s Board and Advisory Members to develop the agenda and identify speakers for the event. The Agenda Planning Committee for NERC’s Fall ’18 Conference includes:
We plan on having the agenda posted and registration open by June. We’ll keep you informed of all the Conference news in future Bulletins.
Any questions about the Conference can be sent to Mary Ann Remolador, NERC’s Assistant Director and Events Organizer.
The Northeast Recycling Council extends an invitation to all who are interested in presenting at its Fall ’18 Conference—The Future of MRFs. The Conference will be held on October 30th – 31st in Rocky Hill, Connecticut. NERC’s Conferences attract an expert speaker pool and a diverse audience of government, industry, non-profits, and consultants working in sustainable materials management.
If you have expertise in one of the following topics to be featured at the Conference, please consider submitting a presentation abstract:
Detailed Presentation Abstract – 150 words or less
Submission Deadline – May 10, 2018
Send Submissions to – Mary Ann Remolador, NERC’s Assistant Director & Events Organizer – Feel free to call with any questions at 802-254-3636.
We welcome your session suggestions and your participation at the Fall Conference.
A recording of the webinar and all three PowerPoint presentations are now posted.
In addition, Massachusetts has made the various tools and resources used through the IQ Toolkit program available at no cost. The can be downloaded here.
For more information, contact Lynn Rubinstein, NERC Executive Director.
The NERC Board of Directors has sent a letter to the Glass Recycling Coalition (GRC) expressing its endorsement of voluntary minimum recycled glass content for containers. It follows a resolution submitted by the National Waste & Recycling Association to the GRC in November 2017.
The letter included the following language:
“The increased use of cullet in containers derived from post-consumer recycling and bottle bill programs is the preferred strategy. As such we endorse policies and business strategies that promote increased post-consumer recycled content in beverage containers by brand owners.
We are asking the Glass Recycling Coalition support the proposal and take actions that support its implementation.”
For more information, contact Mary Ann Remolador, NERC Assistant Director.
At its meeting in early April, the NERC Board of Directors adopted a revised product stewardship and producer responsibility policy. Last amended in 2012, this revision is the result of the work of a committee of state and Advisory Member representatives that helped advise the Board. For more information, contact Lynn Rubinstein, NERC Executive Director.
After much deliberation, the NERC Board has adopted a Policy Position on Repair, Reuse, & Remanufacture.
For more information, contact Lynn Rubinstein, NERC Executive Director.
Minutes from the April 5, 2018 meeting of the NERC Board of Directors is now posted: Board of Directors Meeting Minutes April 2018.
In 2007, NERC compiled a summary of the boat wrap recycling programs in the Northeast States—Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont. At that time, collecting and recycling boat wrap was a fairly new enterprise and in the intervening years many changes have occurred. At that time, only six of the ten Northeast states had recycling programs or options available for marine wrap. In 2012, we found that there were opportunities in all of the states. With this update, Maryland is included as it became a member of NERC in 2015.
That document has now been updated: Marine Shrink Wrap Recycling Programs in the Northeast States.
The 2012 Summary of Northeast States' Boat Wrap Collection & Recycling Programs remains available on the NERC website for those interested in an historic perspective.
For more information, contact Lynn Rubinstein, NERC Executive Director.
NEW Waste Ban Compliance Tip Sheet for Retailers
RecyclingWorks in Massachusetts recently published sector-specific Waste Ban Compliance Tips for Retailers. This new tip sheet is available on the RecyclingWorks Retail Sector page. The tip sheet highlights key waste bans for retailers (such as cardboard) and offers guidance about how to stay in compliance. RecyclingWorks will continue to develop tip sheets for additional business sectors.
Upcoming RecyclingWorks Events:
2018 Spring WasteWise Forum
Register for the RecyclingWorks 2018 Spring WasteWise Forum, which will take will place May 10 at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester. The WasteWise Forum, which is a joint program run by RecyclingWorks, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, will focus on two topics:
There will be opportunities to network with local businesses, furniture and equipment reuse service providers, and local MRF operators.
Stakeholder Meetings: Furniture and Office Equipment Reuse Best Practices
RecyclingWorks is coordinating a series of meetings in May that will inform the development of best management practices for increasing reuse of corporate/institutional furniture and office equipment. Stakeholder meetings will be held in Western, Central, and Eastern Massachusetts.
Through these meetings, RecyclingWorks will engage stakeholders to learn about steps corporate and institutional entities can take to maximize opportunities for reusing furniture and office equipment.
For more information, or to register for an event, visit RecyclingWorks' Events page. Please contact RecyclingWorks with any questions at 888-254-5525 or email@example.com.
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has begun the process of developing a new Solid Waste Master Plan that will guide the Commonwealth’s policies for managing solid waste for the coming decade, from 2020 through 2030. MassDEP is required by statute to conduct a public comment and hearing process on any new Solid Waste Master Plan and we plan to conduct that process when we have a draft Plan available, which we expect will be in 2019. However, we believe that extensive stakeholder input and engagement is critical to developing a successful Plan document and planning process and view the public comment and hearing process as the bare minimum standard for public input. MassDEP intends to go well beyond this statutory requirement and work closely with interested stakeholders throughout the rest of 2018 to gather suggestions and input as we work to develop our Draft Plan.
In order to support this process and provide a clear and simple pathway for stakeholders to contact us with Master Plan questions and comments, MassDEP has established a new Solid Waste Master Plan email address. You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any comments, suggestions or questions regarding the Solid Waste Master Plan. MassDEP will check this email box frequently and respond promptly to questions and comments. Of course, you can also continue to contact MassDEP staff directly with Solid Waste Master Plan questions and comments as well. But we hope that the addition of this email address will make it simple for anyone who’s interested to submit their ideas to us. Please share this information with your colleagues and your networks to help ensure a robust and open public process. We look forward to working with you.
In March, the Baker-Polito Administration announced the 2018 release of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s (MassDEP) updated Recycling IQ Kit Technical Assistance Program.
Contamination of the recycling stream is a growing problem that adds to processing costs at Material Recycling Facilities (MRFs), reduces throughput at these facilities and decreases material value. The Recycling IQ Kit was developed by MassDEP and The Recycling Partnership to provide cities and towns with steps, tools and resources to help improve the quality of local recycling programs. A focused, hands-on approach is used to educate residents over an 8-16 week period.
The Recycling IQ Kit includes:
Ten Massachusetts communities have implemented the Recycling IQ Kit to date, and all have seen positive outcomes. Results are measured by the percentage of households that are tagged for problem materials over time. The tagging rate decreased 72% in the City of Lynn, 48% in Newburyport, and 45% in Dartmouth, from start to finish. This demonstrates that residents have responded to the direct feedback and improved their recycling practices.
“MassDEP is committed to working with municipal recycling officials, haulers and recycling facilities to clean up the materials stream and insure a healthier recycling industry,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “With a robust recycling infrastructure in Massachusetts, it’s more important than ever to protect the investments made by local and state government and private industry and keep the supply chain of good, clean recyclables flowing to end-users to make new products and packaging.”
MassDEP has substantially increased the amount of grant funding available to implement the program. Interested municipalities are encouraged to apply for funding of $7,500 to $40,000 by April 30, 2018. So far this year, MassDEP has awarded $287,500 to nine municipalities. Awards include $40,000 each to Dartmouth, Lowell, Lynn, Fitchburg and New Bedford, $30,000 to Agawam and Fairhaven, $20,000 to Halifax, and $7,500 to Chatham. For more information, see the Sustainable Materials Recovery Program (SMRP) Municipal Technical Assistance program webpage.
MassDEP’s original press release (March 2018) about the Recycling IQ Kit gained a great deal of attention in domestic and international waste-related online publications (click here for a very informative article in Waste Dive). Organizations from as far away as Australia have expressed an interest in the artwork and methodology. You don’t need a grant to take advantage of the Recycling IQ Kit; the artwork and other resources are available for any city or town to use at any time. MassDEP encourages anyone who is interested in a more robust education and outreach campaign to take a look.
The Recycling Business Development Grant (RBDG) program is intended to help Massachusetts recycling processors and manufacturers create sustainable markets for eligible materials, and to add value to municipal and business recycling efforts. Selected applicants will receive grant awards of between $50,000 and $400,000.
Targeted materials for the 2018 RBDG are:
The 2018 RBDG grant will have two award rounds, with Round One applications due June 29, 2018 by 5:00pm and Round Two applications due October 5, 2018 by 5:00pm.
Visit the MassDEP RBDG webpage for more information about eligibility and material requirements, and a link to the application.
The Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council (SPLC) released a free market research guide that allows organizations to easily identify high-quality tools for rating the sustainability of their suppliers. The guide allows users to compare third-party sustainability rating tools in order to find the one that best meets their organization’s needs. Each of the rating tools included in the guide were screened against forty criteria that SPLC’s members determined were important for the credible use of supplier sustainability ratings within procurement and supply chain contexts. The rating tools included in the market research guide can be used to evaluate suppliers on dozens of environmental, social, economic, and governance issues, in diverse regions of the world.
Tim Hopper, Responsible Sourcing Manager at Microsoft, spoke during a webcast announcing the new market research guide, saying, “Supplier sustainability ratings help us focus on what our job is, and that is to segment our suppliers and to improve their performance. But we did some research that revealed hundreds of third-party providers and even more products within that.” Many of these existing tools were created originally for the investor community. The SPLC market research project helped determine which of those tools were also applicable to a procurement context. “This is a significant point,” Tim notes, “Alignment of investors and purchasers allows companies that receive these requests to have one consistent signal on how they actually manage their impact. This allows them to focus their resources on solutions that will appeal to both their investors and their customers.”
According to Sam Hummel, President and CEO of SPLC, “We increasingly have members and Chief Procurement Officers, especially, ask us, ‘How can I know whether my suppliers are sustainability leaders or laggards? How can I put them on a path towards leadership that benefits us and them?’ After researching hundreds of existing tools that assess the sustainability of businesses, our members came to the conclusion that third-party sustainability rating tools are the best way to separate leaders from laggards and motivate high sustainability performance across all suppliers. But with more than fifty rating tools on the market, we realized that identifying which ones are most credible for use in a purchasing context is a big job for purchasing decision-makers. This market research guide makes it much easier for procurement, supply chain, and sustainability leaders to pick a supplier sustainability rating tool and get started evaluating and engaging their supply base.”
SPLC’s market research identified the best supplier sustainability rating tools on the basis of a number of factors, including the extent of the sustainability issues covered, the rigor of their data verification, the transparency and impartiality of their methodologies, the fairness and comparability of the resulting scores, and more. Issue areas considered included environmental impacts, such as emissions, energy, hazardous substances, land use, and water, social impacts, such as labor practices, community engagement, wages, health and safety, as well as economic impacts, such as conflicts of interest, ethics, honesty in marketing, and more. Forty-five companies, government agencies, and NGOs advised on the research criteria and methodology. (See list below.)
Cindy Bush, Environmental Health & Safety Director for Tessy Plastics, a medium-sized manufacturer, spoke on the webcast about the influence sustainability ratings can have on suppliers, saying, “Several of our customers have clearly declared sustainable procurement aspirations of having 80% to 100% of their tier-1 supply base be placed with socially responsible suppliers. Being asked to do the sustainability assessment has really helped propel us towards the success that we're experiencing today. We developed our first EHS Management team in response to some of the questions in supplier sustainability rating scorecards. Since 2012, we've reduced our waste, company-wide 53% while we've tripled in size and number of employees. The results of our sustainability program, which was spurred by the supplier sustainability rating requests, differentiates Tessy Plastics from competitors.”
SPLC strongly encourages purchasers to use high-quality existing tools and resources wherever possible, in order to reduce marketplace confusion and survey fatigue. High quality third-party rating tools provide a shared solution to a number of shared problems purchasers face, such as determining what data is relevant to collect from different types of suppliers, verifying data provided by suppliers, training and supporting suppliers in reporting, converting supplier sustainability data into a simple but fair score for use in purchasing decision-making and supplier relationship management, benchmarking suppliers on their sustainability performance, and providing corrective action guidance.
Increasingly, SPLC is seeing companies and government agencies make use of supplier sustainability ratings in a variety of procurement and supply chain contexts, including risk management screening, pre-qualification criteria, preferred supplier programs, business reviews, RFP and contract language, bid scoring, balanced scorecards, integration into procurement metrics and dashboards, supplier performance improvement plans, and even enterprise-wide sustainability goals.
During the webcast, which drew the attention of 1,128 people from 55 countries, a quick poll of attendees showed that only 23% of attendees’ organizations were already evaluating all of their suppliers on at least one sustainability criteria and 12% have publicly announced a goal for their suppliers’ enterprise-level sustainability performance. An additional 31% reported that their organization is currently considering setting a goal for their suppliers’ enterprise-level sustainability performance.
Did you know that Pennsylvania’s recycling marketplace contributes significantly to the state economy? The industry is a considerable economic generator, which means that businesses supporting this marketplace benefit from hiring well- trained and educated professionals.
Commitment to ongoing education can be an important factor as employers look to hire or promote. Earning certificates in your field can lead to better visibility, opportunities, and jobs. The Certified Recycling Professional program ensures individual competence by taking candidates through a broad curriculum of skills and knowledge. The certification exam goes beyond training by providing a measurement of knowledge and skills.
Benefits for Employees
The status of CRP is a declaration to your employer, the industry and the public that you are recognized as a trained and educated professional.
Benefits for Employers
Certification represents a high level of achievement, demonstrates proficiency, and a broad base of knowledge. Certified Recycling Professionals study a broad curriculum, pass a rigorous exam, and commit to ongoing professional development and recertification. When a person becomes certified, it reflects personal commitment and sense of accountability, inspiring credibility and confidence in an individual’s professional knowledge.
Hiring a Certified Recycling Professional or investing in certification for your current employees can help you:
As businesses and government compete to hire and retain qualified team members, your employees will know the organization cares about them and is interested in their futures, inspiring greater loyalty. Employees who participate in ongoing education and training are more satisfied with their jobs, making them more productive and reducing absenteeism.
The commitment to certification and continuing education is an investment in your employees, your business, and the industry, with the ultimate return benefitting our environment and communities.
To earn the status of Certified Recycling Professional, plan to attend the required series of courses. Completion of the series of courses is required to sit for the exam. The time and location of the exam is flexible, based on each class who completes the required series.
The Certified Recycling Professional program is a nationally recognized series of courses (40 hours) administered by the Professional Recyclers of Pennsylvania. A Certificate of Completion is issued by the Pennsylvania State University for each course. Pennsylvania’s Certified Recycling Professional program is accredited by the National Standards Certification Board (NSCB).
April 18 - 19, 2018
Centre County Recycling & Refuse Authority
253 Transfer Road, Bellefonte, PA
May 9 - 10, 2018
Recycling 105 - Establishing & Enhancing a Program, 0.3 CEUs
Recycling 430 - Buying & Using Recycled, 0.5 CEUs
Recycling 985 - Introduction to Zero Waste, 0.6 CEUs
Centre County Recycling & Refuse Authority
253 Transfer Road, Bellefonte, PA
October 17 - 18, 2018
Recycling 110 - Recycling & the Law, 0.6 CEUs
Recycling 115 - Public Policy, 0.3 CEUs
Recycling 150 - Recycling Economics, 0.3 CEUs
Centre County Recycling & Refuse Authority
253 Transfer Road, Bellefonte, PA
For more information, contact Professional Recyclers of Pennsylvania, 717-441-6049.
Dave Keeling, Director of Recycling for the Steel Recycling Institute (SRI), a business unit of the American Iron and Steel Institute, has been elected President of the National Recycling Coalition (NRC).
The NRC is a non-profit organization focused on promoting and enhancing recycling in the United States, working to maintain a prosperous and productive multi-material recycling system, committed to the conservation of natural resources.
Since the inception of the SRI in 1988, the steel industry has worked closely with the NRC to promote and sustain the recycling of steel products. The NRC, which is now entering its 40th year, held an open election to appoint a new president, to follow current president Bob Gedert, who will retire this year.
Keeling works on behalf of the steel industry to maximize steel recycling efforts, as well as expand the steel recycling infrastructure and developing additional end markets for post-consumer steel. He represents the steel industry with nearly 40 state and national recycling associations, providing educational guidance on steel and recycling.
"For more than two decades, Dave has been integral to the steel industry's commitment to promoting and sustaining steel recycling,” said Thomas J. Gibson, president and CEO of AISI. “Dave's leadership with the National Recycling Coalition is a natural extension of the steel industry's commitment to multi-material recycling and sustainability, and he will be an outstanding president."
The Recycling Partnership, in association with Resource Recycling, Inc, is pleased to announce the third annual Steve Thompson Memorial Grant, giving free travel, accommodations and registration for the 2018 Resource Recycling Conference to the chosen winners.
Recycling industry leader Steve Thompson was a committed recycling champion who worked tirelessly to move the industry forward. The Recycling Partnership and Resource Recycling are honoring him and his life’s work by offering grants to recycling professionals for the third year in a row.
The 2018 Resource Recycling Conference will be held in St. Louis, MO from October 22-24. The grant includes conference registration, a two-night hotel stay, and travel reimbursement up to $500.
"We at The Recycling Partnership have had the privilege of bringing recycling officials together at the Resource Recycling Conference since 2016, and look forward to another opportunity to convene industry leaders," said Keefe Harrison, CEO of The Recycling Partnership. "The Steve Thompson Memorial Grants allow us to build community, learn from one another, and continually improve the state of recycling in the U.S."
APPLY NOW to bring your recycling program to the next level while building the national network of recycling professionals.
No matter where you live, no matter how big your local, state, regional or collegiate recycling program is, we want to see you in St. Louis!
Questions? Contact Tricia Tiedt.
Of general interest
Recently, I was on the keynote panel at the Carolina Recycling Association’s Annual Conference and Trade Show. We were speaking about “The New Economics of Recycling.” As I noted in my presentation, the “new” economics of recycling are as old as recycling. We just keep forgetting the lessons we should be learning.
This message is particularly poignant because 50 years ago only two cities, San Francisco and Madison, Wis., had curbside recycling programs. Both collected newspapers put in paper bags on garbage collection day. The newspapers were placed in racks underneath the truck’s waste compaction unit. Madison’s program was brand new, and I’m not sure when San Francisco’s started.
Both programs faced the same market fluctuations we are facing today. Prices were high when demand for old newspapers was high and low when the demand was low. This reality has not changed for the last 50 years. I don’t know how many times recycling markets have gone up and down in the last five decades, but I remember that when I started at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the summer of 1976, prices were slumping, and the 100 or so curbside recycling programs were grappling with lousy markets along with the rest of the paper recycling industry.
In 1987, the garbage barge radically changed recycling. The Flying Dutchman of Trash launched thousands of local recycling programs. Those new programs promptly swamped recycling markets, creating probably the worst pricing collapse the recycling industry has experienced. However, manufacturers saw opportunity in the surge of new raw materials. Newspaper deinking mills were built to handle this new material, as were a number of mills that produced deinked paper fibers for other uses. Plastic recycling markets also grew in response.
Since then, we have seen five market slides and four rebounds. Three were caused by a downturn in the overall economy. The price collapse in response to the closure of factories for the Beijing Olympics in the summer of 2008 was different because it was exacerbated by the Great Recession. Nonetheless, a year later, paper recycling prices were slightly higher than a year before. As had happened after previous price collapses, we quickly forgot that recyclables are commodities with fluctuating values. Instead, we moved forward as if nothing had happened, and we had no future worries about markets.
Granted, our current market doldrums are unique. This time they are caused by an artificial imbalance in supply and demand caused by the decision of the Chinese government to establish specifications for imported recyclables. These new specifications, with a limit of 0.5 percent contamination, will be particularly challenging for American, Canadian and European mixed paper and mixed plastics recyclers.
A different problem faces corrugated boxes. They constitute more than half of the recyclable paper China imports because of their long, strong fibers. They are also a far cleaner grade than mixed paper, especially corrugated boxes from commercial accounts. Yet, uncertainty over inspection procedures is causing problems. Paper recyclers are understandably reluctant to ship bales of old corrugated cardboard (OCC) until they know that inspections will be consistent and predictable.
Recycled paper and plastic markets will face turbulence for at least the next 12 months. However, just like in the early 1990s, markets will adjust. E-commerce has increased the amount of brown paper in the residential mixed paper stream. Some mills will change their stock preparation systems to mine this material. A new paperboard mill will be built in Ohio with mixed paper as a primary feedstock. Two companies have already announced plans to grind and pelletize mixed plastics and ship the pellets to China.
Will we learn anything from this latest price collapse, or will we once again run around like chickens without our heads when the next one happens? Clearly, we need to learn how to provide buffers from down markets and opportunities from up markets and start applying those solutions. Casella Waste Systems’ monthly Sustainability/Recycling Adjustment that it charges commercial and residential contract accounts is one promising option.
Whatever the solution is, let’s learn from our mistakes, not repeat them.
Chaz Miller is a longtime veteran of the waste and recycling industry and member of the NERC Board of Directors. He can be reached at email@example.com.
This month, we are providing definitions for compost and recycling market development.
Compost: Until this year, the official definition for compost had remained unchanged: “The biological decomposition of organic matter. It is accomplished by mixing and piling in such a way to promote aerobic and/or anaerobic decay. The process inhibits pathogens, viable weed seeds, and odors.”
In March of this year, however, the American Association of Plant and Food Control Officials approved an updated definition. According to Ron Alexander of NERC Advisory Member US Composting Council, the new definition emphasizes the pathogen-removing thermophilic process in compost production.
The definition reads as follows: “Compost is the product manufactured through the controlled aerobic, biological decomposition of biodegradable materials. The product has undergone mesophilic and thermophilic temperatures, which significantly reduces the viability of pathogens and weed seeds, and stabilizes the carbon such that it is beneficial to plant growth. Compost is typically used as a soil amendment, but may also contribute plant nutrients.”
NERC recently published a resource - Northeast States' Definitions of Compostable & Recyclable - that provides the definitions of compost and compostable for those states in the region with such definitions.
Recycling Market Development: While presenting at the NERC Spring Workshop on the history of recycling markets development, Betsy Dorn of NERC Supporting Member RSE USA offered the following definition “actions to enhance the economic vitality of the reuse/recycling industries.”
If you have suggestions for terms to be defined in future Email Bulletins, please contact Lynn Rubinstein, NERC Executive Director with your suggestions.