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November 2005

NERC’s Advisory Members

Distinguished Benefactors

Consumer Technology Association (CTA)



Sustaining Members

  • American Chemistry Council

  • American Forest and Paper Association

  • 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

  • MRM

  • National Waste & Recycling Association


  • Organix Solutions

  • PaintCare

  • Re-TRAC

  • Recycling Partnership

  • Republic Services

  • Schaefer Systems International, Inc.

  • Sims Municipal Recycling

  • Steel Recycling Institute

  • Strategic Materials

  • Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council (SPLC)


  • US Composting Council (USCC)

  • Waste Management

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

NEW Sustaining Members:
  • Canon USA
  • Curbside Value Partnership
  • Metal Management, Inc.
Renewing Member:
  • Resource Recovery Fund Board Nova Scotia
    • As the Worms Churn
    • From Roof to Road
    • Solid Waste Management Plan Moving Forward
    • Delaware Recycles 6 MILLION Pounds of Electronics
    • 15 Years = 500 Million Pounds through Delaware Recycles
    • Solid Waste Management Policy Review Task Force Holds First Meeting
    • Maine Resource Recovery Association Holds Annual Meeting
    • Household Hazardous Waste & Composting Initiatives Hit Milestones
    • Maine Recycles Week 2005 Gets Wide Distribution
    • Massachusetts Revising Solid Waste Master Plan
    • New Jersey DEP Wins EPA Award for Waste Reduction Outreach
    • Waste Reduction, Reuse & Recycling Outreach
    • NYSARRR Recycling Conference, Fall 2005
    • Resource Recovery Awards Grants to Municipalities & Nonprofit Organizations

To join the EMail Bulletin list…
Send an email to Lynn Rubinsteinmaking the request. Please be sure to include your full name and organization.


NERC's mission is to leverage the strengths & resources of its member states to advance an environmentally sustainable economy in the Northeast by promoting source reduction, recycling, & the purchasing of environmentally preferable products & services.



Canon USA
Curbside Value Partnership Curbside Value Partnership
Metal Management, Inc.
We are delighted to announce that Canon USA, Curbside Value Partnership, and Metal Management, Inc. have joined us as new additions to our Sustaining Member community! In addition, we received a renewing Supporting membership from Resource Recovery Fund Board Nova Scotia.


Thank you to one and all!

It is through the active participation & support of its Advisory Members that NERC is able to provide the strength of multi-stakeholder involvement and problem solving.

To see a listing of Advisory Members and the benefits of membership, visit the NERC Advisory Membership web page.

It is the broad spectrum of interests represented by NERC's Advisory Members and Board Members and their willingness to participate that significantly contributes to the unique and important role that NERC plays in recycling in the region.

VT Peers Identified for Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) Project
NERC staff is working with the Waitsfield and Moretown Elementary Schools in Vermont on Environmentally Preferable Purchasing. This USDA-funded peer-to-peer project will assist the schools to network with each other on EPP issues as well as with other existing resources throughout the state, region, and country. Some of the EPP issues we have begun to discuss include indoor air quality, and wind and solar powered energy. NERC has organized a forum for the schools on wind and solar powered energy with local experts that will take place in December. For more information, contact Mary Ann Remolador of NERC.

NERC Completes Six Waste Sorts at Special Events
As part of its USDA-funded Special Events project, NERC staff, with the consultancy services of DSM Environmental, has completed a t six waste sorts (three agricultural fairs and three special events) in the states of ME, NH, and VT. The sorts provide the event organizers with data on the amount of recyclables that still need to be diverted from the waste stream. The sort data will be incorporated into a Solid Waste Diversion Plan that will be written for each event as part of the grant. The intention is for the Diversion Plan to be an active component of future events. For more information, contact Mary Ann Remolador of NERC.


Materials Exchange Marketing Plan Completed
Over the past year, NERC staff has been working with the New England and New York Materials Exchanges to assist with identifying no/low cost marketing strategies for increasing the exchanges that take place between donors and users. As part of this EPA-funded project, NERC partnered with Bryant University (RI) to develop a marketing plan for the Exchanges that focused on these strategies. A meeting was held in June between the seven exchanges, Bryant College, and to discuss the draft Plan and suggest edits. Bryant University has completed the edits, and the Plan is now available on NERC's website. For more information, contact Mary Ann Remolador of NERC.

Annual Report - FY 2005
NERC's Annual Report for FY 2005 is now posted. It includes an overview of projects, presentations, conferences, and finances. For more information, contact Lynn Rubinstein.


More Blinking Red Lights in Violation of State Laws
For the TPCH, blinking lights on packages are now a red flag for potential violation of state toxics in packaging laws. TPCH member states discovered more products, Candy Light-Up Necklaces and Candy Light-Up Rings distributed by Malibu Toys, Inc. of California, in apparent violation of state toxics in packaging laws. Individual packages of this Halloween novelty lollipop are displayed on retail shelves in a box with a blinking pumpkin, designed to catch the consumer's eye. The battery-powered blinking light is attached to a printed circuit board with lead-based solder. As a packaging component, the printed circuit board assembly violates the toxics in packaging requirement that no restricted heavy metals are intentionally added to a package or packaging component. TPCH member states were also alarmed by the presence of lead-based solder in the lollipop holder that children put in their mouths, even though it is sealed. In addition to the potential public health hazard, some TPCH member states may consider the lollipop holder part of the product packaging.

The distributor of the Candy Light Up products has agreed to a voluntary recall of its product and packaging after being alerted by TPCH and member states of the potential packaging violation. The product was found in national retail chains, including Wal-Mart, Walgreens and CVS Pharmacy, in several TPCH member states. TPCH initially screened the packaging components for heavy metals using a NITON X-ray Fluorescent Analyzer (XRF) as part of its on-going compliance test program, with funding from EPA. The State of Iowa confirmed the presence of lead in packaging components at a state-certified laboratory.

This is the second non-compliant package discovered by TPCH this year that uses electronic circuitry with lead-based solder in packaging as a marketing feature. TPCH plans to conduct outreach to the packaging industry in the coming months to alert them to the potential for non-compliant packaging resulting from the use of lead-based solders in packaging components.



As the Worms Churn
A "cast" of thousands has assembled in Middletown. No, it's not auditions for American Idol #5 or a new soap opera - just many, many red wriggler worms eating, excreting and doing their part for the environment.

Since last summer, the city has been nurturing a vermicomposting project --vermicomposting is simply composting with worms, but not your common garden-variety earthworm. Called "red wigglers" (Lumbricus rubellus), they fill a special ecological niche living, eating and breeding near the soil surface where there are high concentrations of organic matter. As you can imagine, this trait makes them particularly suitable for recycling one of the most prevalent components of our waste stream…food scraps.

Armed with a grant from DEP, the City of Middletown's Recycling Coordinator, Kim O'Rourke, has spearheaded a collaborative effort to recycle food scraps generated at institutional buildings located on the Connecticut Valley Hospital's grounds. Starting with the Eddy Center, the project was designed as an innovative model that could be used to teach other institutions and businesses how to recycle and reduce their waste stream. "This is the first mid-sized vermicomposting project in Connecticut", O'Rourke said, "Not only does it reduce the Eddy Center's cafeteria waste, it reduces costs and is an excellent educational tool".

The worm bins are quite large, measuring 4' wide x 8' long x 1' high and are elevated off the ground on pallet racks. Additional bins can be added as more worms are bred and more food scraps are collected. Worm bedding is kept damp and is made of partially composted leaves that fill the bins about half way. Food scraps are buried in a different location in the bins each day providing a constant source of nourishment for the worms. Each worm eats the equivalent of its own weight every day… Worm Binsand what goes in must come out. The "casts", or worm poop, is a valued fertilizer containing 5 to11 times more nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium than the surrounding soil, lots of beneficial soil microorganisms, humic acid (a soil conditioner), and a perfect pH balance. The casts don't contain any disease because pathogenic bacteria are killed in the worm's gut.

Kim has thought of several ways to spread the word about the project. She has enlisted volunteers from the city's Recycling Advisory Council and Wesleyan University's Environmental Club to help feed the worms. The greenhouse was also host to a Project Learning Tree training session sponsored by the Connecticut Forest and Park Association. And on May 5th, the official public debut kicked off with a visit from the second grade class at Spencer Elementary School. With help from several Middletown High School Vo-Ag students, Russell Library and Middlesex AIC, 60 children participated in a day filled with hands-on activities involving worms and compost. They were able to feed the worms, use magnifying glasses and microscopes to find various insects, and plant flowers in compost. This event dovetailed nicely with the student's own school composting program that recycles food scraps from their cafeteria.

From Roof to Road
As solid waste disposal costs in Connecticut continue to increase, one of DEP's priorities is to promote the "beneficial use" of certain materials (e.g., old asphalt roof shingles) that otherwise would be burned or landfilled. Beneficial use is defined as using a solid waste in a manufacturing process to make a product or as an effective substitute for a commercial product.

It is now possible that your old roof shingles could end up as part of a road you drive on. As a result of proposals from businesses in the state and public comment, DEP plans to issue the General Permit for Storage and/or Processing of Asphalt Roofing Shingle Waste, and/or for the Storage and Distribution of Ground Asphalt Aggregate for Beneficial Use. This permit allows residential asphalt roofing shingles to be stored, processed, beneficially used as ground asphalt aggregate (GAA) in sub-base, aggregate base and/or hot mix binder applications where it will be covered with a top course of asphalt pavement. Hot mix asphalt top course cannot be produced with GAA..

Solid Waste Management Plan Moving Forward
In May 2005, DEP's Bureau of Waste Management began the task updating the State's Solid Waste Management Plan. DEP has contracted with R.W. Beck, one of the nation's leading consulting engineering firms, to assist in the effort.

In developing the plan, the DEP will look for opportunities to reduce the amount of waste generated in the State and increase the amount of recycling and reuse in an environmentally protective manner.

There are several major tasks that have been completed or are well under way:
  • A statewide Stakeholder Forum was held on June 29th and approximately 200 people attended, representing non-profits, businesses, institutions and the public. All shared their vision and opinions about solid waste issues such as reducing municipal solid waste, disposal of electronics, and recycling.
  • An External Stakeholder Working Group has been established and is currently meeting.
  • The first phase of the project - data gathering, verification and validation - will be completed by September.


Delaware Recycles 6 MILLION Pounds of Electronics
While many states struggle for proper collection and recycling alternatives for electronic item disposal, Delaware is a leader in establishing a year-round drop-off service available to residents, schools and businesses throughout the State. The Delaware Solid Waste Authority (DSWA) began collecting electronic items for recycling and reuse July, 2002. As of 2005, we had established seven locations, and were providing the first statewide system of electronic collection. Now, just completing our 3rd year of operation, DSWA has reached the 6 million pound collection mark!

Rich Von Stetten, DSWA Recycling Manager, has been pleased with the steady growth of the program and the public's increasing awareness to recycle electronic goods. "I'm very happy with the response of Delaware residents and impressed with the number of communities and businesses participating," stated Von Stetten.

The 1980s was the first decade personal computers became a common household item. In the late 1990s, as these computers became obsolete, recycling and reuse options began to be pursued because of concerns over the disposal of large quantities of items that can contain cadmium, lead, chromium and precious metals. For the most part electronic items are difficult to recycle in traditional collection programs, the plastic is embedded with various types of metal and usually flame retardant treated, making it difficult to separate for recycling. The wiring and chip technology used in toys, calculators, radios, VCRs, telephones and an array of other electronic goods comes from natural resources, is reusable and simply should not be wasted. Von Stetten stated, "The program could not be successful without the dedication of our employees and participants. Both go the extra mile to insure these electronic goods are recycled."

For more information on the DSWA Electronic Goods Recycling program or a list of the items they recycle, go to their web site, or contact them directly through the Public Information Coordinator.

15 Years = 500 Million Pounds through Delaware Recycles
Since 1990, Delaware residents have been using drop-off locations around the State to recycle newspapers, phone books, magazines, plastic bottles, aluminum and steel cans, glass bottles and household batteries. The DSWA established 50 collection sites the first year, receiving 112,150 pounds of material. Empty aerosol cans were added the second year, along with an increasing number of host sites, netting nearly 500,000 pounds of material. Over the years more items were added to the Recycle Delaware program including corrugated cardboard in 1995 and junk mail, office paper, and plastic bags in 2002. As of August 31, 2005, the DSWA Recycle Delaware program has diverted 511,368,150 pounds of material from landfills.

Currently, DSWA operates over 140 Recycle Delaware sites, with many offering collection of even more materials, such as motor oil and oil filters taken at one-third of the sites, textiles taken since 1993 and electronic goods taken the past three years. These materials are not included in the 500 million pound benchmark as they are not accepted at every Recycle Delaware location.

DSWA's Recycling Manager, Rich Von Stetten, is proud of the success of the Recycle Delaware program, "In 1990 we responded to the residents of Delaware, being the first to offer statewide recycling of #1 through #7 narrow neck plastic bottles. We have been the first to offer many statewide programs, such as motor oil and electronic recycling services and will continue to lead the nation whenever possible." Delaware residents take an active role in recycling, Von Stetten continued, "reaching 500 million pounds would not be possible without the businesses, schools and non-profits hosting the Recycle Delaware centers and the dedication of participants."

Each of the materials are collected, sorted and weighed before being marketed. Von Stetten added, "DSWA is able to recycle an outstanding 97% of all the material deposited in the Recycle Delaware program." The 15 year total of 500 million pounds breaks down by weight into the following percentages: Newspaper is the majority at 60%, plastic bottles are high in volume but low in weight, accounting for 4%, while glass accounts for 17% and cardboard 11%; junk mail/magazines/office paper is 5%; lightweight aluminum and steel cans make up 3%; household batteries and plastic bags amount to over 669 tons but make up less than half a percent of the total mix.


Solid Waste Management Policy Review Task Force Holds its First Meeting
On September 27, the Maine State Planning Office (SPO) hosted the first meeting of SPO's task force to review solid waste management policy. The meeting ran from 10 to 4, and nearly all of the 32 members attended. Sue Inches, who is overseeing the work of the task force, provided an overview of the process and intent of the task force. After a brief description of past and current solid waste policies and programs by George MacDonald, the group focused its attention to review the State's waste management hierarchy. The group discussed the value, intent, and possible application of each of the management systems in the hierarchy: reduce, reuse, recycle, compost, incinerate, landfill. The facilitator helped task force members to identify the major issues or concerns out of the nearly 25 topics that arose, and the remainder of the day was spent in fleshing out the selected topics. The task force is scheduled to meet again on November 1 and December 6 on a series of other policy topics.

Maine Resource Recovery Association Holds Annual Meeting
The Maine Resource Recovery Association (MRRA) held its annual meeting on September 26, in Belfast. There were presentations on such diverse topics as recyclable material quality issues, record keeping and cost analysis, and fire prevention and fire fighting within facilities. Two SPO staff made presentations. Hank Tyler advised towns on preparing their annual recycling report and George MacDonald gave an historical overview of the value of recyclables. Nearly 50 municipal, state, and private sector folks attended the day-long event. In addition the association provided a virtual tour of the Tri-Community municipal landfill in Fort Fairfield, presented by Mark Draper, the facility's manager, while Lou Pizzuti, from the Maine DEP, did a virtual inspection of the facility. MRRA is a professional association that supports the development of recycling and other forms of resource recovery as cost-effective components of environmentally sound solid waste management and assists over 200 municipalities with the marketing of recyclable and reusable materials. 

Household Hazardous Waste and Composting Initiatives Hit Milestones
Two projects developed from SPO initiatives and funded by grants administered by the Waste Management and Recycling Program have commenced operations:

The Environmental Depot has begun receiving household hazardous waste at the State's first and only permanent household hazardous waste collection facility. Funded by a $250,000.00 dollar grant to the Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments (AVCOG) and located at the City of Lewiston's transfer facility, the Depot is the result of many parties working together for almost two years. The City of Lewiston provided the site and AVCOG is supplying management, long-term oversight, and operations through a contract with Environmental Projects Inc. (EPI) located in Gray. The many hurdles to the Depot project were overcome by the perseverance and commitment of the city staff, AVCOG, EPI, and SPO. The Depot offers a solution to the risks posed to the environment and public health and safety by the improper management of household hazardous waste. AVCOG's $250,000 grant was part of a $900,000 bond issue passed by the voters in 2003 earmarked for household hazardous waste infrastructure.

Also starting operations in September was the Sandy River Food Waste Compost Project, which grew out of the SPO sponsored Food Waste Symposium at Bowdoin College in 2004. Funded by a $20,000 grant from SPO, the compost facility in Farmington is now receiving 1,200 pounds of food waste per week from the cafeteria at the University of Maine-Farmington. The initial results have been very positive.

This is part of SPO's effort to divert the 180,000 tons of organic food waste generated every year from waste disposal to a resource for compost industry, creating financial value and benefiting the environment. Again, the project is the result of many parties working together, including SPO and DEP staff, Sandy River Recycling Association, the town of Farmington, UMF, and Aramark, the company supplying food services to the University. The $20,000 was part of a $600,000 recycling infrastructure bond issue from 2003. 

Maine Recycles Week 2005 Gets Wide Distribution
Maine Recycles Week 2005More than 3,000 Maine Recycles Week (MRW) posters were mailed out the first week of October to schools and municipalities throughout the state, where they will be prominently displayed. The posters herald the beginning of another year of celebrating the recycling efforts of the communities throughout Maine and encouraging consumers to purchase products made from recyclables. Displaying the winning poster from last year's poster competition, as well as the sponsors who make this event possible, the posters are always a welcome sight in all the schools and municipal offices.

Again this year, you can order the posters from the Internet by filling out a form on the Waste Management and Recycling Program's web site. The web site has been recently updated to promote MRW 2005. If the number of early requests for information and posters is any indication, Maine Recycles Week 2005 should enjoy a tremendous success, which should be translated into an increased awareness of recycling, purchasing of products that are made from recycled materials, and improved recycling rates throughout the state.

MRW 2005 is the seventh year that the State of Maine has recognized recycling efforts of its citizens, businesses and organizations. This year's theme - Recycle for Maine - was suggested by a citizen in an e-mail last year and selected when it appeared on a student's poster that ended up adorning the Maine Recycling Calendar for the month of June. 


Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Revising Solid Waste Master Plan
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has released a public hearing draft of the Solid Waste Master Plan: 2005 Revision. DEP has held five public hearings for the proposed revision and the public comment period extends until November 4, 2005. DEP expects to release the final 2005 Revision, along with a response to comments document, sometime this winter. This revision marks the first time that Massachusetts' Beyond 2000 Solid Waste Master Plan has been modified. 


New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Wins EPA Award for Waste Reduction Outreach
WasteWise & EPAOn Tuesday, October 25, 2005, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) presented the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJ DEP) with an Endorser of the Year Award for actively and enthusiastically promoting the WasteWise program. NJ DEP's creative dissemination of waste reduction information has educated many audiences.

NJ DEP is spreading the WasteWise message through the New Jersey WasteWise Business Network, a public-private partnership devoted to helping the state's businesses and organizations reduce waste, recycle, and procure more recycled products. The New Jersey WasteWise Bulletin, a newsletter published several times per year, highlights key WasteWise messages, including the economic benefits of recycling, sustainability, and the climate-waste link. NJDEP also sponsored networking meetings and a recycled products directory on CD distributed to more than 8,000 businesses and organizations, and provided targeted outreach to new businesses. See the online list for sources of recycled products in New Jersey.

NJDEP was the only organization to receive an Endorser of the Year Award this year.

WasteWise is a free and voluntary partnership program launched by EPA in 1994. The program provides guidance and recognition to more than 1,800 participating organizations that are working to find practical methods to reduce municipal solid waste and improve financial performance.


Waste Reduction, Reuse and Recycling Outreach
New York State (NYS) has a large number of web pages and electronic brochures on many waste reduction, reuse and recycling topics. These waste reduction, reuse and recycling outreach materials are available free on the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation website. NYS encourages any business, governmental agency, organization or individual agency to download and share this information. Topics include: reducing your junk mail, business waste reduction tips, America Recycles program efforts, The Reusable Lunch Box, holiday season tips, composting, school recycling and many others.

New York State Association of Reduction, Reuse and Recycling Conference, Fall 2005
The New York State Association of Reduction, Reuse and Recycling (NYSARRR) have posted its agenda for its 16th annual New York State Recycling Conference. The Conference is scheduled for November 15 - 16, at the Clarion Riverside Hotel, in Rochester. Agenda topics include: Zero Waste Businesses, Legislative Updates, Recycling Breakthroughs, Environmental Improvements in Design, Maximum Diversion Techniques and Technologies, Health: A Recycling Issue and includes a number of optional facility tours.


Resource Recovery Awards Grants to Municipalities & Local Nonprofits Organizations
Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation (RIRRC) recently handed out over $300,000 in grants to municipalities and local nonprofit organizations to help them further their recycling programming. The following nonprofit organizations recently received grants from RIRRC to further programs which encourage recycling:
  • Diabetes Foundation of Rhode Island - continued funding for "Eureka!" sharps disposal collection project. In 1999, concerns about needle sticks at the Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) and plant operation interruptions led to the partnership with the Diabetes Foundation of RI (DFRI) and the Genesis Program to collect hypodermic needles from Diabetics that were improperly being disposed and eventually arriving on sorting lines at the MRF. The program featured hypodermic disposal containers and specially designed collection kiosks. The kiosks are located throughout the state at police departments, fire stations and pharmacies.
  • The Environment Council of Rhode Island Education Fund - continue biannual RI School Recycling Club Report Card, web site and awards program. The program evaluates the state's school recycling programs and "grades" them according to their success/existence. Schools with non-performing or non-existent programs receive either a "D" or an "F". Schools with successful recycling programs receive an "A". Each spring and fall the program honors several schools with exceptional programs at an awards ceremony.
  • Rhode Island Community Food Bank - continued funding for the "Community Kitchen" program, diverting food from farms, wholesalers, restaurants, caterers and other food service institutions. The grant will support the ongoing efforts of the Food Bank Community Kitchen program and support diversion of potentially usable food from landfill disposal. The program collects canned, dry and fresh food products and redirects it to the Community Kitchen where it is reprocessed into meals and served to people in Rhode Island. The program is a meal production and job-training program for individuals transitioning to work.
  • University of Rhode Island Cooperative Extension - continued funding for programming advocating composting and recycling. University of Rhode Island (URI) supports RIRRC' s goal to reduce the landfilling of organic materials and accomplished the following: incorporation of composting and recycling messages into their multi-faceted training programs for the home gardener and the "green" industry; established backyard composting demonstration sites; and researched and developed the curriculum for a series of Master Composter/Recycler training programs.

In addition to the grants awarded to local nonprofits, recycling grants totaling nearly $250,000 were awarded recently to 12 municipalities. This grant program is part of the ongoing effort to assist cities and towns with increasing their recycling diversion rates. The funding will support new programs or initiatives established by the municipalities to increase the quantity and improve the quality of material brought to the Central Landfill and MRF. Many of the grants will be used to hire recycling coordinators while others will use the grants to purchase much-needed equipment. Those receiving grants were: Burrillville, Central Falls, Charlestown, Gloucester, Jamestown, Lincoln, North Providence, Pawtucket, Smithfield, Warwick, West Warwick, and Westerly.