Renewing Sustaining Members
New Supporting Member
Membership is key to NERC's regional and national commitment to sustainable materials management. We would like to thank Waste Management for becoming the newest Benefactor - upgrading from Sustaining Member. We also welcome our newest Supporting member Fast-Track Materials Group. We also welcome renewing Sustaining Members: American Forestry & Paper Association (AF&PA), American Iron & Steel Institute (formerly SRI), and TOMRA.
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.
As a leading manufacturer of bottled water, NERC’s new Advisory Member Nestlé Waters North America (NWNA) finds itself at the forefront of national efforts to help reduce plastic pollution and ensure the human right to water. NERC looks forward to opportunities to partner with NWNA to address these challenging issues, which will extend partnerships already established by NWNA.
Commitment to Using Recycled Plastic
Nearly three in four Americans (74%) expect to see more action from companies that use plastic to tackle the problem of plastic waste, according to a national survey conducted by NWNA.
“Part of our responsibility as a major producer of packaged goods is to not only talk about creating an end market for recycled plastic, but demonstrate our commitment by using it in our products,” said David Tulauskas, Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer of Nestlé Waters North America. “With three of the only major, nationally distributed bottled water offerings on the market made using 100% recycled plastic, and the conversion of Poland Spring® Brand’s 20-ounce to 1.5-liter still water bottles to 100% rPET, we are on track to nearly quadruple our use of rPET across our domestic portfolio in less than 3 years.”
Earlier this year, parent company Nestlé S.A. committed to investing in excess of $2 billion “to lead the shift from virgin plastics to food-grade recycled plastics and to accelerate the development of innovative sustainable packaging solutions.”
In response to Nestlé’s announcement, Andrew Morlet, CEO of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, said, “We can create an economy where plastic never becomes waste. Achieving the commitments announced today will significantly contribute towards realizing this vision.”
Here in the U.S., Nestlé Waters has demonstrated its commitment to creating an end market for recycled plastic by using more rPET in its packaging. In 2019, the company announced that it will use 50% recycled content in its packaging by 2025, which includes the Poland Spring® Brand goal to be the first major bottled water brand in the U.S. to reach 100% recycled plastic across its still water portfolio by 2022.
Improvements to Recycling Infrastructure
To support improvements in recycling infrastructure, NWNA has invested $6 million in the Closed Loop Infrastructure Fund, a social impact investment fund that has recovered and returned into the supply chain more than 1,200,000 tons of recyclables through the 27 projects it has funded through 2019. In addition, through the Poland Spring® Brand’s $175,000 donation to fellow NERC Advisory Member The Recycling Partnership, the company aims to “help them improve access to recycling in communities across the country” and thereby help increase recycling rates.
For NWNA, helping to fund an improved recycling system addresses one of the critical issues facing the industry. Without these improvements, the increase in collection, processing, and re-use of all beverage containers necessary to achieve a circular economy may not be within reach.
Inspiring Consumers to Recycle More
One key factor that will help NWNA achieve its recycled plastic goal is an increase in the volume of plastic that is recycled for food and beverage contact applications. In an effort to encourage consumers to recycle more, NWNA has collaborated with organizations to help raise awareness about plastics recycling and was the first beverage company to add How2Recycle information on the labels of its major U.S. brands. In 2019, it collaborated with The Recycling Partnership to launch an Instagram recycling hotline to help Americans understand what is recyclable in their communities.
In addition to its efforts on packaging and recycling, NWNA is committed to helping the communities where it operates. The company works with local officials and community leaders on a variety of topics, including investment in community projects, and helping with waste cleanups and recycling efforts with organizations like Keep America Beautiful.
Seeking to address concerns voiced by communities about its water extraction practices, Nestlé joined the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS), which defines “water stewardship” as “the use of water that is socially and culturally equitable, environmentally sustainable and economically beneficial, achieved through a stakeholder-inclusive process that includes both site- and catchment-based actions.” Nestlé Waters now has 10 facilities that have achieved AWS certification in the U.S.
NERC is pleased to welcome Nestlé Waters North America as a Sustaining Advisory Member, and looks forward to working with the company to help resolve some of the most critical environmental issues facing American society today.
 This is How We Planet: America’s Perspective on Water, Packaging and Health (2019)NERC News
If you haven’t heard, NERC has rescheduled its Spring Conference to the fall. The Conference will be held at the Sheraton Hartford South Hotel in Rocky Hill, CT on October 20–21. Because we have a great agenda and a line-up of gifted speakers ready to present to you, we acted swiftly to find new dates,
We will make a decision about when to re-open the Conference registration when we have more information about the Northeast states’ decisions to lift or extend their shutdown dates. Until then, we’ll keep hoping for the best.
For more information, contact Mary Ann Remolador, Assistant Director & Events Coordinator.
The Northeast Recycling Council (NERC) is pleased to announce the 2020 Environmental Sustainability Leadership Award program. The award will recognize individuals or organizations for the impact they have made on an environmentally sustainable economy within the NERC 11-state region.
Applications for the 2020 NERC Environmental Sustainability Leadership Award are due August 14.
To be eligible, an organization or individual must be located within one or more of NERC’s 11-member states.
Awards will be given in recognition of demonstrated change supporting an environmentally sustainable economy as the result of a project that furthers NERC’s mission, in three categories:
The award presentations will be made at NERC's Fall Conference, October 20, Rocky Hill, Connecticut. For more information about the Conference, visit the NERC website.
A copy of the Award Application – 2020 NERC Environmental Sustainability Leadership Award can be downloaded.
For more information, contact Lynn Rubinstein, Executive Director.
Thursday, May 21, 1:00 – 2:30 PM EST
The Northeast Recycling Council (NERC) and the Northeast Waste Management Officials’ Association (NEWMOA) bring you the latest in a series of joint webinars. This webinar will focus on the important topic of waste food – how to avoid it and opportunities for recovery.
The presenters represent ReFed and the Harvard University Food, Law & Policy Clinic. They will share the latest ideas and information on reducing wasted food and recovering and diverting what can't be reduced. Topics that will be covered include new tools and information from ReFED and on date labeling of food.
Ariel Maria Ardura, Clinical Fellow, Harvard University, Food Law & Policy Clinic
The Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic (FLPC) serves partner organizations and communities by providing guidance on cutting-edge food system issues, while engaging law students in the practice of food law and policy. Specifically, FLPC focuses on increasing access to healthy foods, supporting sustainable production and regional food systems, and reducing waste of healthy, wholesome food.
Katy Franklin, Operations Director, ReFED
ReFED is a multi-stakeholder nonprofit, powered by an influential network of the nation’s leading business, nonprofit foundation, and government leaders committed to reducing U.S. food waste. ReFED takes a data-driven approach to move the food system from acting on instinct to insights to solve our national food waste problem. ReFED is a multi-stakeholder nonprofit, powered by an influential network of the nation’s leading business, nonprofit, foundation, and government leaders committed to reducing U.S. food waste. ReFED takes a data-driven approach to move the food system from acting on instinct to insights to solve our national food waste problem.
The increased cost for recycling services has some municipalities wondering if they should operate their own MRF. The webinar – June 18, 1:30 – 3 eastern - will feature different MRF operating models, examples of municipalities considering operating their own MRF, and questions for informing the decision-making process before taking on this pivotal role in materials management.
Webinar presenters include:
For more information, contact Mary Ann Remolador, Assistant Director.
This special one-day workshop will provide new insights and examples of practical applications. Presentations will address:
The Government Recycling Demand Champions launched only a few weeks ago and already we have our first Advocate! Thank you to the New Hampshire R4 Program for its commitment to this program and intention to purchase plastic products with post-consumer recycled content. For more information, contact Lynn Rubinstein.
The Northeast Recycling Council (NERC) and the Northeast Waste Management Officials’ Association (NEWMOA) published a White Paper today on extended producer responsibility (EPR) for packaging and paper products (PPP). The goal of the White Paper is to provide state officials, policymakers, and affected industries with a baseline of shared knowledge on this topic.
The Northeast Committee on the Environment (NECOE), a program of the Coalition of Northeastern Governors (CONEG), requested that NEWMOA and NERC provide information about EPR for packaging and paper products to help them, other state officials, and others consider options for EPR for PPP. This White Paper provides an overarching understanding of the EPR system structure and design, requirements, and benefits. Last year, NEWMOA and NERC published a short introductory Fact Sheet on EPR for Packaging and Paper Products, and the White Paper is designed as a companion resource to provide more in-depth information about existing programs and proposals.
“This Paper will help state officials, NGOs, and many others understand the key proposals to date in the northeast for EPR for packaging and paper products. This is a very dynamic area of public policy, and we anticipate a number of changes and more proposals in the coming years. We look forward to continuing to support efforts in this area, especially our regional network of state officials and NGO EPR supporters.” explained Terri Goldberg, NEWMOA Executive Director.
“EPR for packaging and paper has exploded as an area of interest in the northeast” said Lynn Rubinstein, NERC Executive Director. “This White Paper is a unique resource providing the essential components of EPR for PPP and how they integrate for a successful recycling program”.
NERC recently posted a new resource for community composting: COVID-19 and Community Composting Guidance. Written by Natasha Duarte, Executive Director of the Composting Association of Vermont, as part of a NERC USDA Rural Utilities Grant project. This unique and timely resource is available for free download. The information is applicable to community composting as well as other non-home composting projects.
Recycling End Markets . . . What's Up, What's Down
Community Composting Best Management Practices
Rethinking Recycling Webinar Recording & Presentation Available
MassDEP’s Sustainable Materials Recovery Program (SMRP) Grant Application will be available through Re-TRAC Connect ™ on April 6, 2020 for municipal applicants, regional groups and non-profits. The deadline for applications is June 10, 2020.
Last year, MassDEP awarded $6.6 million to 268 communities and regional entities through SMRP. The grants provide funding in ten categories: mattress recycling incentive program, Pay-As-You-Throw start-up assistance, recycling and food waste collection carts, recycling drop-off containers, school recycling assistance, Education and Enforcement Coordinator, small-scale initiatives, organics capacity/waste reduction projects/ processed glass aggregate equipment and the Recycling Dividends Program.
See the SMRP Grant Webpage for more information including the SMRP Grant Guidelines and registration links to the grant webinars.
Advisory Member Updates
Colonel John Hannibal Smith, referred to as Hannibal, was the leader of the Black Ops unit from the television series The A-Team (1983-87). Hannibal Smith's signature from the show were his omnipresent cigar and notable catchphrase: "I love it when a plan comes together." Hannibal was famous for his brilliant plans that solved the many problems his team faced.
Fast forward to the present day recycling A-Team called the Northeast Recycling Council (NERC). “How do the two compare?”, you ask. Well the A-Team at NERC is led by Lynn Rubinstein, (who by the way doesn’t smoke cigars). Lynn approaches problems within the waste and recycling industry in the same manner as Colonel Hannibal. Lynn and her team are always coming up with forums and events for like-minded individuals to come together to share ideas, strengthen ties, and make connections that would not be possible without them.
The plan that came together
In October, 2019 Lynn was contacted by one of her counterparts at the Northeast Waste Management Officials' Association (NEWMOA). One of their members was having a problem recycling foam coolers and here is what they wrote”
“We generate a large number of Styrofoam coolers that are used for specimen packaging. These coolers never come in contact with the actual specimens because there are two inner, leak proof layers of packaging around the specimen. In the past, we have sent a portion of these coolers back to the packaging manufacturer for re-use, but that recycling stream has ended. I now have 30-40 pallets of coolers with nothing to do with them. I’m afraid they will be landfilled if I can’t find a solution before the snow flies”.
So Lynn did what not many trade organization leaders would do. She took the time to connect the problem with a solution. This is called walking the walk, not simply talking the talk. Lynn reached out to member company Foam Cycle, who in turn reached out to the folks with the problem, the two met, a solution was presented, the plan was implemented and the now this new foam cooler recycling program is one that will keep this material from ever reaching a landfill.
Here is how the story unfolded:
A state agency uses foam coolers to send out to various municipalities and counties within the state to collect specimen samples
When these coolers are sent back to them, they in turn would ship them out to be recycled.
That stopped happening, so the coolers were stacking up in their yard and they were getting ready to dispose of them in a landfill. That is until they were connected with Foam Cycle for a solution.
Before long Foam Cycle installed a foam densifier machine that was placed inside their building. The foam coolers were then transported from their yard…
To inside their building where the new Foam Cycle densifier was waiting for them
The foam densifier was installed, training was provided and the recycling process began
Foam coolers are made up of 98% air and 2% polystyrene plastic
Once the air is removed, foam coolers are reduced in size by a ratio of 90-1
The extruded 2% polystyrene plastic are called ingots. Ingots are highly valuable and used to made new products like picture frames, RV panels and cabinets
Foam coolers once destined to be landfilled are now reduced to ingots and ready to be recycled
Foam Cycle offers a complete line of foam recycling densifier machines along with our patent-pending Foam Cycle container system for outdoor municipal recycling drop off centers.
For more information visit us at www.FoamCycle.com
Thank you Lynn!
The Association of Plastics Recyclers (APR), today announced a process to endorse companies that provide 3rd party certification of PCR and promote APR member companies that receive certification. To support and grow the use of postconsumer recycled plastics, APR understands that it is essential that PCR certification be reliable, consistent, and accessible by both producers and users of recycled plastic resins. Through this endorsement program, APR ultimately seeks to increase supply and demand of PCR plastics.
“The intent of APR’s PCR Certification Program is to actively promote APR member companies that sell certified PCR materials,” stated Liz Bedard, APR Director of Rigid Plastics Recycling Programs. “This program was developed in response to a growing demand from APR members and stakeholders across the plastics value chain.“
As noted by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the value of a certification is the degree of confidence and trust that is established by an impartial, competent demonstration of fulfilment of specified requirements by the third party.
APR’s PCR Certification Program includes three components:
California Senate Bill 270 creates standards that reusable bags distributed or sold in California must meet certain standards, including recycled content. Any plastic reclaimer’s PCR that has been certified under the State of California’s SB 270 requirements will be considered certified PCR by APR.
The primary goals of the program include:
“The APR PCR Certification Program promotes the critical link between the reclaimer actually making PCR and the customer wanting to use PCR. The program will undoubtedly enhance the brand equity of PCR in the marketplace, helping to ensure that PCR receives the value it deserves,” commented Greg Janson, President of QRS Recycling and co-chair of APR’s PCR Certification sub-committee.
For more information, contact Kara Pochiro.
Get Certified! An Overview of APR’s PCR Certification Program, May 6, 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM eastern
To support and grow the use of postconsumer recycled plastics, APR understands that it is essential that PCR certification be reliable, consistent, and accessible by both producers and users of recycled plastic resins.
The APR Postconsumer Resin (PCR) Certification Program is a process to endorse companies that provide third-party certification of PCR and promote APR member companies that receive certification.
This webinar will provide an overview of the program and the certification process, as well as the processes involved in the development of certified PCR.
May 27, 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM Eastern
APR's Recycling Demand Champion Campaign has seen continuous growth, market impact, and expansion since its launch in October 2018.
This webinar will provide an overview of the campaign and highlight two recent developments to expand its reach: Waste Management's collaboration with Cascade Cart Solutions and APR to develop the EcoCart, a recycling cart made with 10% postconsumer HDPE derived from bulky rigids and APR's partnership with NERC to launch the Government Recycling Demand Champion Campaign.
PaintCare, the organization that operates paint stewardship programs in nine states and jurisdictions and is currently planning new programs for Washington and New York set to launch in 2021, recently announced impacts to its programs caused by the current COVID-19 public health crisis. While some PaintCare drop-off sites remain available to the public, others have temporarily suspended collection of leftover paint for recycling from households and businesses. Please see PaintCare’s full announcement below:
“As a public health precaution due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the recommendation of the CDC posted March 16 to limit discretionary travel, PaintCare advises that households and businesses consider refraining from dropping off paint for recycling at PaintCare locations until all applicable local, state, and federal public health orders and guidance have been lifted. The current status of PaintCare collections services follows:
PaintCare recommends that now is a good time to focus on paint reuse and proper storage to ensure paint remains in usable condition. The stewardship organization provides handy reuse and storage tips on its website and social media channels. Get creative with leftover paint at www.paintcare.org/paint-smarter/.
Of General Interest
This guest blog is written by Jordan Fengel, Executive Director, State of Texas Alliance for Recycling (STAR).
A recent article in the Los Angeles Times ran a story titled, “‘These people are warriors.’ Meet the waste workers taking risks to sort your recyclables.”
I agree that these people are warriors. Everyone in our industry right now is helping to ensure that materials management continues and that supply chains are fed, which is urgent during these unprecedented times.
There are a lot of fears about this virus and thankfully research has been ongoing. That research continues to provide us with information on topics such as coronavirus’ survivability outside a host, potential treatments, and how we can reduce a future occurrence. I wrote a paper about the lifespan of the virus on inanimate surfaces as well as what employers and workers can do to keep themselves safe using PPE and established guidelines. My research concluded that though a few studies have shown average lifespans of the virus to exist from 24 hours up to 6 days depending on the surface, there were cabins on the Diamond Princess cruise ship that had living viral activity for up to 17 days after detection.
As a former paramedic for over a decade, I was exposed on a daily basis to communicable diseases: MRSA, Hep A, B, C, Flu Types A&B, HIV, Strep, Pneumonia and so on; the same diseases are present every day for material management workers when they handle publicly used materials that *potentially* can injury them or cause illness. How did I avoid getting ill or injured? I used my PPE. PPE is what is being used across the globe for those involved in essential services, and it is enabling everything from the treatment of patients to facilitating the operation of critical infrastructure such as food production and materials processing.
My point is that materials management workers should be provided with PPE such as face masks, safety glasses, gloves, and adequate hygiene education and availability in the workplace. Most MRFs have these PPE materials for their staff already and adhere to OSHA regulations and guidelines. For those outside the MRFs, a Resource Recycling article highlighted a webinar where the simple statement was made that municipal solid waste is not considered a source of exposure. This is after consideration of the environment of the recycling and waste material streams combined with pH and temperature, the survivability and likelihood of a transmission from an object to a material handler are considerably low.
We need to expect and promote that people wash their hands frequently at work, in public, and at home. Likewise, employers should not expect workers to come in while sick or have them remain on-duty while exhibiting signs of being ill. We have become complacent as a society with having illnesses to the point that most everyone has had an interaction at work where a co-worker comes in either announcing they have the flu or just had it a couple of days ago. That scenario should not happen anymore after this pandemic subsides. If you are sick stay home, get better, and then come back.
Keeping recycling healthy by ensuring materials are collected, processed and fed to manufacturers is essential right now. Keeping the workplace and workers healthy and safe is equally essential.
We will get through this together, but socially distanced…
Keep recycling and stay safe!
Disclaimer: Guest posts represent the opinion of the writers and may not reflect the policy or position of the Northeast Recycling Council, Inc.