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November 2021

NERC’s Advisory Members

Distinguished Benefactors

Consumer Technology Association (CTA)

Benefactors

Coca-Cola

Panasonic

Samsung

Waste Management

Sustaining Members

  • American Beverage Association

  • American Iron & Steel Institute

  • AMP Robotics

  • Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR)

  • Blount Fine Foods

  • BlueTriton Brands

  • Bottle Crusher US

  • Casella Resource Solutions

  • Coca-Cola Beverages Northeast, Inc.

  • Council of State Governments/Eastern Regional Conference

  • CURC

  • Dart Container

  • Eco-Products

  • Fire Rover, LLC

  • GDB International

  • Good Point Recycling

  • Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI)

  • International Bottled Water Association

  • Keep America Beautiful

  • Keurig Dr. Pepper

  • Mattress Recycling Council

  • MRM

  • National Waste & Recycling Association

  • NEWMOA

  • PaintCare

  • Plastics Industry Association

  • Re-TRAC

  • Recycling Partnership

  • Republic Services

  • Revolution

  • Sims Municipal Recycling

  • Sonoco

  • SSI SCHAEFER

  • Strategic Materials

  • Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council (SPLC)

  • TOMRA

  • US Composting Council (USCC)

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

New & Renewing Memberships

Renewing Sustaining Members

Renewing Supporting Member

NERC News

Newly Posted

State Updates

CONNECTICUT

MARYLAND

MASSACHUSETTS

NEW YORK

Advisory Member Updates

Of General Interest

New & Renewing Memberships

Membership is key to NERC's regional and national commitment to sustainable materials management. 2021 continues as a dynamic time with several new members, along with a great show of support by renewing members.

Thank you to renewing Sustaining Members

As well as to renewing Supporting Member Northern Virginia Waste Management Board.

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.

NERC News

NERC Announces its 2021 Environmental Sustainability Leadership Award Winners

The Northeast Recycling Council (NERC) has announced its 2021 Environmental Sustainability Leadership Awards. Three outstanding programs received awards, as well as two special recognitions.  NERC’s benefactors also were recognized for their leadership and support.  Each of the winners was selected for its particularly high level of environmental achievement that supports NERCs mission. Awards were presented the winners in the opening session of the NERC Fall Conference:

  • Advisory Member award – Waste Management for recycling food waste at its CORe® facilities and generating green energy
  • Public Sector award – Maryland Green Purchasing Committee for its Conserving Resources and Promoting Recycled Content through its state procurement program
  • Private Sector award - Green Kelly Boards for developing a process for recycling aseptic cartons into a usable product
  • Special Recognition – Earthworm Recycling in recognition of more than 50 years of being a self-supporting non-profit dedicated to the promotion of recycling
  • Special Recognition – The staff of the Northeast Recycling Council for its ongoing dedication to the organization and their achievements in support of NERC
  • NERC Benefactors – Bottle Crusher US, Consumer Technology Association, Panasonic, Samsung, and Waste Management

“This is the fifth year of NERC’s Environmental Sustainability Leadership Awards and, once again, we were impressed by the quality of the projects submitted for consideration and the extensive impact of programs in the region,” commented Megan Pryor, NERC Board Vice President. 

Advisory Member award – Waste Management’s CORe® facilities have the capability to process a wide range of organic material, varying from clean source separated organics, to packaged food.  Once the organic slurry product is produced, it is transported to a wastewater treatment plant where it is introduced into their anaerobic digestors to increase the production of renewable biogas.  There are three facilities in the NERC region: Elizabeth, New Jersey; New York City; and Boston, Massachusetts. As an example, since its launch date in 2018, the New Jersey facility has diverted over 52,000 tons of food waste.  

Public Sector award – The Maryland Green Purchasing Committee is a leader in sustainable procurement in the public sector. Established in 2010 by the Green Maryland Act, the program is administered by the Maryland Department of General Services. Unique to Maryland, this inter-agency Committee develops tools, best practices, training programs, and approves environmentally preferable specifications for State agencies to adopt. As a result of this initiative and subsequent state agency actions, in fiscal year 2021 there were 1,860,992 lbs of recycled content purchases. These purchases resulted in a cost savings of $821,179 and a greenhouse gas emissions reduction of 158,159 Metric Tons of CO2e

Private Sector award - Green Kelly Boards was recognized for its innovative process for taking aseptic cartons (grade #52), such as milk and juice cartons, from MRFs, and manufacturing a cover board used in commercial roofing. This board, made 100% of recycled material, can be used as a sound, fire, air or vapor barrier.  In the last quarter of 2020, Kelly Green Board processed 606,000 pounds of cartons from MRFs in the Northeast.

NERC also commends the outstanding environmental contributions of its Benefactors. Recognized this year are:

  • Can Crusher US
  • Coca-Cola
  • Panasonic  
  • Samsung
  • The Consumer Technology Association
  • Waste Management

NERC is incredibly grateful for the participation and guidance provided by these Benefactors, and proud to have such leadership organizations supporting our initiatives.

DE&I Training Series Launched! December 9

NERC and partners offer a national – virtual – training series on Diversity,

DE&I Training Partners

  • Dan Schoonmaker & Isabel Soberal, West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum
  • Cherish Miller, Revolution
  • Steve Changaris, National Waste & Recycling Association
  • Stef Murray, Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc.
  • Nidhi Turakhia, Allied Alloys
  • Renee Panetta, City of Troy & NYSAR3’s DEI Committee
  • Willie Johnson, Willie Johnson Communications

Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) for those working in recycling and solid waste industries. 

The Training is a four-part series that includes presentations, discussions, and sharing of resources about:

  • Making the Case for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
  • The Role of Government in Building Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
  • Recognizing & Addressing Unconscious Bias
  • Engaging with Diverse Communities

Training 1 - Making the Case for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion – The first Training in the DE&I Series will focus on building the foundation for DE&I in the workplace.

Date & Time:  December 9, 1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. eastern

Registration Link

Presenters: 

  • Tamara Lundgren and Stef Murray, Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc.– will present a case study about the direction their company takes in making the business case for DE&I, including data and other resources used.
  • Cheryl Coleman, ISRI – will focus on connecting sustainability and environmental goals with making the case for DE&I.

Tamara Lundgren, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc., an auto and metals recycling business.

Ms. Lundgren joined the Company in September 2005 as Vice President and Tamara Lundgren photoChief Strategy Officer. She was elected President and CEO in 2008 and Chairman in 2020. Prior to joining Schnitzer, Tamara was an investment banker and lawyer with 25 years of experience in the U.S. and Europe, including as a Managing Director at JPMorgan Chase and Deutsche Bank in London and New York and a partner in the Washington, DC law firm of Hogan Lovells. Ms. Lundgren is a member of the Board of Directors of Ryder System, Inc., the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. She is also a member of the President's Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations since 2016, and is a member of the Business Roundtable and the President's Advisory Council of Wellesley College. Tamara earned a B.A. degree from Wellesley College and a J.D. degree from the Northwestern University School of Law.

Stef Murray (She/Her/Hers), Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer and Vice President, Human Resources, Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc.

Ms. Murray joined Schnitzer Steel in 2012 as the Director of Human Resources Stef Murray photofor the Metals Recycling Business. She has over 33 years of professional experience including 27 years of people leadership, 23 years of Human Resources and 10 years of Operations/P&L management. Stef is a graduate from Northwestern University with a degree in Electrical Engineering and began her career as a Manufacturing Supervisor at Procter & Gamble. Ms. Murray currently serves on the Board of Directors for the American Red Cross and co-leads their Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee.

Cheryl Coleman, Vice President of Sustainability, Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI)

Previous to joining ISRI in 2020, Ms. Coleman served as the Director for the Cheryl Coleman photoResource Conservation and Sustainability Division (RCSD) at USEPA.  Prior to her tenure at USEPA, she was a Director at the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.  Cheryl has over 30 years of experience with materials and waste management.

A special thanks to our sponsors that support NERC’s work on DE&I:

NWRA logo Revolution logo

Contact Mary Ann Remolador with all questions regarding the DE&I Trainings.

November NERC Webinars - Fate of Non-organic Packaging Materials from Depackaging Operations & Draft Glass Model Legislation

Webinar to Review & Discuss Draft Glass Minimum Post-Consumer Recycled Content Model Legislation, November 3, 10 eastern

A webinar with the Model Legislation Drafting Committee Section Leads will be held on November 3, 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. eastern to walk through the Draft Model Legislation and to answer questions about the content. Registration Link

Fate of Non-organic Packaging Materials from De-packaging Operations – How Much is Recycled and Into What? November 8, 1 eastern

The Northeast Recycling Council (NERC) and  the Northeast Waste Management Officials’ Association (NEWMOA) and are co-sponsoring a webinar on de-packaging operations for processing food waste. De-packaging is growing as a way of making the significant amount of waste from unused packaged food available for anaerobic digestion and composting. During the webinar, attendees will hear from operators of de-packaging facilities. The webinar will cover:

  • How do de-packaging operations work?
  • What are the non-organic materials generated by de-packagers?
  • What happens to the non-organic materials – what and how much is recycled and how much ends up as waste?
  • The impact of de-packaging on organic material and the potential for transfer of contaminants, including micro-plastics

 Presenters:

  • Ryan Harb, Vanguard Renewables
  • Rashi Akki & Dan Woodger, Ag-Grid Energy
  • Eric Roy, University of Vermont

Register here

Webinar Sponsors

Depackaging webinar sponsors

Public Comment Period Open Until November 11 for Draft Glass Minimum Post-Consumer Recycled Content Model Legislation

You are invited to submit comments on the Draft Glass Minimum Post-Consumer Recycled Content Model Legislation. The public comment period for the Draft Model Legislation is open until November 11, midnight eastern

Please use this online Feedback Form for submitting your comments and suggested edits. 

Over the past six months, a diverse group of stakeholders worked together to develop the Draft Model Legislation for minimum post-consumer recycled content requirements in glass food and beverage containers and fiberglass insulation.  The Model Legislation is intended for legislators to use as a common starting point to develop legislation requiring the use of post-consumer recycled glass in the specified products sold in their states.

The main goals of the Model legislation are to incentivize the markets for recycled glass, improve the economics of recovering rather than disposing of valuable material, and reduce the environmental impact of manufacturing.  The Model Legislation promotes the expanded use of post-consumer recycled glass in manufacturing new products, motivates further development of markets for post-consumer recycled glass, and reduces discarded glass disposed of as waste.

The Northeast Recycling Council (NERC) convened the Model Legislation Work Group of 60+ members and the consensus based process to develop the Model Legislation.  Work Group members included:

  • Brands
  • Glass Container Manufacturers
  • Fiberglass Insulation Manufacturers
  • Glass Recyclers/Beneficiators
  • Industry Associations
  • Distributors/Retailers
  • Haulers/Material Recycling Facility Operators
  • State Environmental Agencies
  • State Recycling Organizations
  • Environmental Advocacy Groups

The Draft Model Legislation does not necessarily represent the views of individual work group members.

The Work Group Chairs that led the multi-stakeholder discussions included government and industry—Chris Nelson, Supervising Environmental Analyst of the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection; and Stephen Burm, Director of State Government Affairs at Anheuser-Busch with technical assistance from Ed Ferguson, Director of Sustainability at Anheuser-Busch. 

For more information about the Model Legislation or the multi-stakeholder process, contact Mary Ann Remolador.

Government Recycling Demand Champions - Participant Environmental Impacts

As you may know, NERC sponsors the Government Recycling Demand Government Recycling Demand Champion logoChampion Program in partnership with APR.  Launched last year, it is a free program to incentivize increased purchasing of products with post-consumer plastic by the public sector. 

There are three ways to participate: as a Champion, an Advocate, and State Recycling Organization Advocate.  Champions are organizations that commit to actively increasing their purchasing of products with post-consumer plastic content.  Advocates express the intent to address internal policies and procurement practices with the goal of moving to Champion status, and State Recycling Organization Advocates are organizations that commit to helping promote the program to its members. 

There currently are 5 Champions:  

  • Hudson Valley Improvement Authority (NY)
  • Maryland Department of General Services
  • North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality Environmental Assistance & Customer Services
  • Santa Monica (CA)
  • Tompkins County Recycling & Materials Management (NY

There are 2 Advocates:

  • City of Middletown, Connecticut
  • New Hampshire R4 Program

And, 5 SRO Advocates

  • Association of New Jersey Recyclers (ANJR)
  • Commonwealth of Massachusetts Operational Services Division
  • Louisiana Recycling Coalition
  • Maryland Recycling Network
  • New York State Association for Reduction, Reuse and Recycling (NYSAR3

Champions are asked to report annually on their post-consumer content purchasing actions.  We have just completed the first round of such reporting, with 2 champions providing reports.

environmental results graphicCollectively, their purchase of products with post-consumer plastic accounted for the use of 6,400 tons of post-consumer content resin, avoided greenhouse gas emissions 6,600 metric tons carbon equivalent, equivalent to taking 1,500 cars off the road for a year, electricity for 1,210 homes for a year, and more than 800 million smartphones charged.

Purchases included plastic bags, can liners, recycling containers, general office desktop supplies, erosion control, and signs, among others.  

For more information about the program visit its website or contact Lynn Rubinstein, Program Manager.

NERC’s Fall ’21 Conference Was an Event to Remember!

Dynamic sessions with engaging and expert presenters and a participatory audience made for a great Conference!  The virtual three-day event—On the Horizon: Reuse, Solar, Soil & Justice— included registrants from 26 states, the District of Columbia and Canada. 

If you missed the Conference or want to review the Conference information, go to the Fall ’21 Conference Archives webpage to view the Presentations, Agenda, and Speaker Bios. 

If you didn’t have a chance to visit the Conference Sponsor Exhibit Hall, not to worry.  The webpage with the sponsors’ contact information and additional resources will be available until the end of December.

The Conference recordings are also accessible to non-registrants for a modest fee.  If you are interested in gaining access to the recordings, contact Mary Ann Remolador.

Newly Posted

Fall ’21 Conference Presentations Now Available

You can now access the presentations from NERC’s Fall ’21 Conference in the Conference Archives.

October Webinar Recordings & Presentations

As a reminder, NERC posts recordings and presentations from all of its webinars on its website. There are two basic ways to locate them:

Jobs & the Economy: Recycling Economic Information Studies

NERC Federal 990 Form Posted

Annually, NERC files a Federal 990 tax form. This is a public document and available on the NERC website.

State Updates

CONNECTICUT

RecycleCT Foundation Awards More than $150,000 in Waste Reduction Grants

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and the are pleased to announce more than $150,000 in grants awarded to local municipalities and organizations in the inaugural grant round of the Lee Sawyer Community Waste Reduction & Recycling Grant program, which supports waste reduction and reuse in addition to recycling and composting efforts. 

The grant program was created earlier this year in memory of former DEEP Chief of Staff Lee Sawyer, who passed away on Oct. 31, 2020. Lee was incredibly dedicated to the mission of DEEP, and was instrumental in the creation of the RecycleCT Foundation, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote the importance of managing materials more sustainably through waste reduction, reuse, recycling and composting. 

The grant program is intended to fund projects that reduce or eliminate solid waste at its source, promote sustainable reuse of existing materials, promote recycling of materials not currently being captured, or increase diversion of Connecticut’s mandatory and non-mandatory recyclables and organics from incineration or landfill. Projects should help communities build lasting capacity to either reduce waste, reuse/divert materials from the waste stream, or increase public awareness of waste reduction and recycling. 

Most of us can recite the 3-R’s: reduce, reuse, and recycle. But not everyone understands how to prevent waste or increase their reuse activities. With waste reduction and reuse set higher in the solid waste hierarchy, RecycleCT chose to split the grant RFP into two categories: Waste Reduction and Reuse; and Recycling and Diversion.  

Thirty-three applications were received requesting over $393,000. RecycleCT funded seven reduction/reuse projects focused on funding recovery of food for human consumption, creative reuse of scrap materials in the arts, and economic development projects engaging in skill development with recovered food making new products and deconstruction of buildings for contractors; as well as eight projects that focus on recycling from expanding municipal composting, educating residents about recycling and job skill development with worm composting. 

“We wanted to encourage more waste reduction and reuse applications, which are often harder projects to implement,” said Kim O’Rourke, RecycleCT Board member. “And we had great results. We had seven strong proposals with waste prevention or reuse initiatives that were chosen to receive over $66,000 and recycling and diversion initiatives will receive over $83,000.” 

“I am thrilled to see the innovative programs focused on waste reduction, reuse, recycling and diversion that received funding under the Lee Sawyer Grant Program,” DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes said. “Lee was a champion of innovation and sustainability, from his involvement in the creation of RecycleCT, to advocating for strong sustainable management programs to help Connecticut including the Connecticut Coalition for Sustainable Materials Management.  “We continue to build on his hard work. My appreciation to the RecycleCT Foundation Board for naming this grant in honor of Lee and for prioritizing these important projects.  Congratulations to the grant recipients, and thank you for all you’re doing to help Connecticut realize a more modern and sustainable waste system.” 

Lee Sawyer Community Waste Reduction & Recycling Grant recipients include: 

Waste Reduction & Reuse = $66,588.10 

  • Center for EcoTechnology, Inc. - $14,250.00 - Statewide 
    • Statewide building deconstruction education, outreach and technical assistance for municipalities and businesses engaged in demolition. 
  • Center for Food Equity and Economic Development/The Council of Churches of Greater Bridgeport – $14,250.00 – Greater Bridgeport, Fairfield County 
    • Funds to purchase a van and online software to increase amount and efficiency of recovery food for human consumption, including the development of new products linking with job skill training and employment. 
  • Haven’s Harvest - $13,062.50 – Greater New Haven, New Haven County 
    • Expand food recovery by increasing outreach to new business donors/partners and increase deliveries of recovered food to new sectors and communities. Includes increasing awareness of safety of consuming recovered food. 
  • Hebron Green Committee – $10,112.75 – Town of Hebron, Tolland County 
    • Create a swap shack at the town transfer station including signage, outreach, and educational materials and public space recycling bins 
  • EcoWorks, Inc. - $7,125.00 – Greater New Haven, New Haven County 
    • Artist led educational programs for creative reuse using used art supplies and coordination of swap events.  
  • Town of Old Saybrook/Rotary Club - $6,500.94 – Town of Old Saybrook, Middlesex County 
    • Create a swap shop at the town transfer station. 
  • Canterbury Public Library - $1,330.00 – Town of Canterbury, Windham County 
    • Create a tool lending library at town library, model for replication. 

Recycling & Waste Diversion = $83,775.30 

  • Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice - $14,250.00 – City of Hartford, Hartford County 
    • Pilot food scrap collection program designed to reach Black, Indigenous and People of Color testing 3 different and new food scrap collection approaches (curbside, “ice cream truck” and “bus stop”). Includes education, model for replication.  
  • City of West Haven - $14,250.00 – City of West Haven, New Haven County 
    • Expand municipal leaf compost operation to include food scraps, develop protocols for monitoring static aerated piles and testing finished compost in addition to collecting food scraps for the program. 
  • Fairfield Sustainable Task Force/Waste and Food Subcommittee - $14,250.00 – Town of Fairfield, Fairfield County 
    • Small pilot to start of collecting food scraps and processing on-site with food waste digester. Plans for expanding if successful, model for replication. 
  • Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority - $14,250.00 – Town of Ridgefield, HRRA region, Fairfield and Litchfield Counties 
    • Expand food scrap collection, composting-on site at town transfer station, educate residents on home composting, create options for residents seeking to divert food scraps. Uses diverse partnerships, model for replication. 
  • CLiCK - $10,366.40 – Greater Willimantic, Windham County 
    • Recover food scraps from commercial incubator kitchen, educate members and community about home composting. 
  • LEARN Transition Academy - $8468.80 – East Lyme, New London County 
    • Expansion of worm composting program to manage food scraps working with special education young adults which includes job/life skills.  
  • Hampton Green Energy Committee - $4,750.00 – Town of Hampton, Windham County 
    • Engage community to better understand food waste issues and home composting; includes mailer and kitchen containers to incentivize home composting. 
  • Town of Easton/Energy and Environmental Task Force - $3,190.10 – Town of Easton, Fairfield County 
    • Printing to provide recycling education. 

The RecycleCT Foundation is a Connecticut based 501c3 nonprofit that was started as a result of legislation in 2014 through Public Act 14-94. RecycleCT was created to help bring Connecticut from an estimated 35% to a 60% diversion of solid waste from disposal by 2024, as described in the Connecticut Comprehensive Materials Management Strategy, adopted by CT DEEP in 2016. RecycleCT coordinates its What’s IN, What’s OUT program, which offers educational materials on its webpage, the RecycleCT Wizard APP or webpage search tool, research and grant programs. The School Recycling Grant program is seeking applications until October 25, 2021. Information and application forms can be round on RecycleCT’s webpage here.  

Anyone is invited to make contributions to support RecycleCT generally, or to support the Lee Sawyer Community Waste Reduction and Recycling Grant. Those interested in contributing may do so on www.recyclect.com

MARYLAND

Maryland Organics Summit - December 1

Maryland Food Recovery Summit graphic

MASSACHUSETTS

Massachusetts Releases Final 2030 Solid Waste Master Plan

In an effort to expand recycling of certain materials throughout the Commonwealth, the Baker-Polito Administration today announced new goals and strategies to further its efforts and published regulations to require recycling in several areas. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s (MassDEP) Final 2030 Solid Waste Master Plan: Working Together Toward Zero Waste, sets a goal to reduce disposal 30 percent by 2030 and 90 percent by 2050, along with strategies to meet those goals. The final master plan followed an extensive public comment period and engagement on a previously published draft plan. Additionally, MassDEP issued regulations requiring the recycling of textiles and mattresses and increased requirements for food and organic materials.

“The Solid Waste Master Plan will significantly improve the Commonwealth’s waste management system and provide important environmental, climate and economic benefits,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Together, the Master Plan and the regulations set new, aggressive state-level waste reduction goals that align with our carbon emission reduction programs, invest in innovation and enhance ongoing engagement with communities across the Commonwealth.”

“Even though we’ve made progress over the years, too much trash in Massachusetts still contains materials that can be recycled and reused,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “The Final 2030 Solid Waste Master Plan outlines a strategy to increase waste reduction and reuse, and further develop recycling market demand to support our recycling businesses.”

The Final 2030 Master Plan sets a goal to reduce disposal by 30 percent from 5.7 million tons in 2018 to 4 million tons in 2030, as well as a long-term goal to achieve a 90 percent reduction to 570,000 tons by 2050. The Plan also includes measures to align the 2030 Master Plan with the 2030 Clean Energy and Climate Plan and the 2050 Decarbonization Roadmap, linking with the Baker-Polito Administration’s goal to achieve Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions in 2050 by reaching a reduction of 300,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent emissions annually from municipal waste combustors by reducing disposal of plastic materials at these facilities.

Furthermore, the plan includes initiatives to strengthen engagement with and support of Environmental Justice communities, including increasing engagement with EJ populations in all phases of MassDEP’s regulatory process, improving recycling grant evaluation criteria to recognize EJ community issues, promoting small-scale composting assistance to enable composting at community gardens in EJ areas, and promoting and encouraging the use of electric and hybrid trash and recycling collection vehicles in EJ communities. It also announces increased recycling business development grants and a new recycling research and development grant program to drive innovation in recycling and waste reduction. This program will be developed in consultation with a new Recycling Market Development Council that will promote the use of recycled materials by state agencies.

“In order to meet our solid waste and climate goals, our state agencies and municipalities will need to build on the progress we’ve made through continued collaboration while improving in critical areas, including the development of programs that serve Environmental Justice communities,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “The Baker-Polito Administration is committed to advancing these goals through innovative approaches, like banning the disposal of mattresses and textiles, that will increase recycling and promote waste reduction, while simultaneously building a regulatory program that aligns with our ambitious climate and equity goals.”

MassDEP held an initial round of public hearings and a comment period in the fall of 2019 to gather public input on the Draft Solid Waste Master Plan. Then, with the urging and support of environmental advocacy organizations, MassDEP held a second round of public meetings and a second public comment period in the summer of 2020. In this second comment period, MassDEP sought comment specifically on concerns of Environmental Justice communities, connections between solid waste management and climate change, and COVID-19 impacts. 

“The Final Plan places increased emphasis on waste reduction and reuse. MassDEP is working with hundreds of stakeholders to craft a Reduce and Reuse Action Plan, which will serve as Massachusetts’ first comprehensive action plan focused on reducing and reusing waste, not just recycling,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “The Master Plan helps us chart a course to a future that involves less disposal, more reuse and recycling, greater citizen participation and better protection of our natural resources.”

MassDEP expects to publish the initial Reduce and Reuse Action Plan later this year, and then to continue to engage with stakeholders on a regular basis as the Plan is implemented and updated over the coming years. The agency will also form a Recycling Market Development Workgroup to obtain stakeholder input and engagement into the development of a comprehensive Recycling Market Development Action Plan.

While the Master Plan will be implemented over a 10-year period, and beyond, MassDEP is focused on launching major initiatives within one year of publishing the Final Plan. These key short-term initiatives include: 

  • Finalizing waste ban regulation amendments concurrent with this announcement that will ban the disposal of mattresses and textiles and lower the commercial food waste ban threshold from one ton to a half-ton per week effective November 2022.  
  • Completing Massachusetts’ first comprehensive Reduce & Reuse Action Plan by the end of 2021.   
  • Launching a new Recycling Market Development Workgroup and State Agency Recycling Market Development Council. 
  • Engaging stakeholders in developing revisions to MassDEP’s solid waste regulations, a process that will lead to publishing draft regulations in 2022. 
  • Modifying grant, assistance, education, and outreach programs to deliver increased assistance and resources and improve engagement with EJ communities. This will include expanding the availability of outreach materials in multiple languages. 
  • Working with the Legislature to share information on MassDEP’s programs and policies and to develop effective approaches to reduce the use of single-use packaging, advance extended producer responsibility systems for paint, mattresses, electronics, and other products and packaging, and develop approaches to ensure convenient statewide recycling access. 
  • Implementing MassDEP’s Minimum Performance Standard for facilities that process construction-and-demolition materials. This will ensure a level playing field across the industry and support increased recycling of these materials.  

Finally, MassDEP will conduct a program review in 2025, including exploring the potential to establish a declining cap on carbon dioxide emissions from municipal waste combustors.   

MassDEP’s mission is to protect and enhance the Commonwealth’s natural resources – air, water and land – to provide for the health, safety and welfare of all people, and a clean and safe environment for future generations. In carrying out this mission, MassDEP commits to address and advance environmental justice and equity for all people of the Commonwealth, provide meaningful, inclusive opportunities for people to participate in agency decisions that affect their lives, and ensure a diverse workforce that reflects the communities served by the agency.

RecyclingWorks Fall 2021 WasteWise Forum

Registration is now open for the RecyclingWorks in Massachusetts (RecyclingWorks) Fall 2021 WasteWise Forum webinar, which will be held via Zoom on Wednesday, November 10th from 10:00am to 12:00pm. This event is particularly relevant to all Massachusetts businesses and institutions that are subject to the existing Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) commercial organics disposal ban, as well as those that would become subject to the proposed waste ban amendments.

In addition to updates from the MassDEP, US EPA, and RecyclingWorks, attendees will hear from Northeastern University about their work to reduce, donate, and divert wasted food, and their recent successes working with Green Mattress Recycling and other partners to collect 3,000 mattresses from across campus for recycling. Nashoba Brook Bakery in West Concord will describe how they use strategies across the EPA Food Recovery Hierarchy, including a partnership with Too Good to Go, one app-based solution provider that helps food business with surplus items connect with customers.

Click here to register, and contact RecyclingWorks for more information: 888-254-5525 or info@recyclingworksma.com.

MassDEP Presents: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle-Palooza 2021 

It’s that time of year again -- time to celebrate Reduce, Reuse, Recycle-palooza! In honor of America Recycles Day, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) is excited to bring you a new batch of informative content we think you’ll enjoy all month long. 

From the story behind what happens to your plastic bags and wrap after they are collected at the grocery store, to local recycling volunteers who can’t help but inspire, this year's presentations will not disappoint. In addition, we will offer two “Ask Me Anything About Recycling in MA” webinars to – you guessed it – answer questions about proper recycling. If you’re in MA, please help us spread the word by sharing this information with your communities and networks!

For the complete line-up and registration details, click here.

MassDEP Municipal Recycling and Solid Waste Survey Data Online Now

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has posted the final round of 2020 Municipal Recycling and Solid Waste Survey data online at https://www.mass.gov/lists/recycling-solid-waste-data-for-massachusetts-cities-towns. This information is reported by municipalities on a yearly basis and includes annual trash and recycling tonnages, solid waste program and service descriptions, waste reduction elements and types of recyclables, difficult to manage and hazardous materials collected, and more.  Note: When opening the spreadsheet file, there is a sheet titled “Read Me” that provides descriptions for each data field in the spreadsheet. The data is self-reported annually as an eligibility requirement to apply for Sustainable Materials Recovery Program (SMRP) grants.

Recycle Smart MA’s Latest Newsletter is a Great Read!

MassDEP’s latest Recycle Smart MA newsletter featured an article about the surge in demand for recycled paper and cardboard, the growth in domestic paper recyclers, and how consumers can support the domestic supply chain and do good for the environment by recycling their boxes. Find the full article here.

NEW YORK

New York’s Expanded Polystyrene Foam Container & Polystyrene Loose Fill Packaging Ban & Proposed Part 353 Regulations

Effective January 1st, 2022, no covered food service provider or store (retail or NY Polystyrene ban graphicwholesale) will be allowed to sell, offer for sale, or distribute disposable food service containers that contain expanded polystyrene foam in New York state. In addition, no manufacturer or store will be allowed to sell, offer for sale, or distribute polystyrene loose fill packaging (commonly referred to as packing peanuts) in the state.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is proposing a new 6 NYCRR Part 353 to implement the prohibition on the sale and distribution of expanded polystyrene foam containers and loose fill “packing peanuts.” The public is invited to review and submit written comments on the proposed Part 353 rulemaking through November 22, 2021. A virtual public hearing will be held on November 15, 2021 at 1PM.

The DEC will provide interpreter services for hearing impaired persons, and language interpreter services for individuals with difficulty understanding or reading English, at no charge upon written request submitted no later than October 25, 2021.

To get the latest information about the foam ban, visit: https://on.ny.gov/FoamFreeNY

For full text and more information about the proposed regulations, how to submit public comments, register for the virtual public hearing or submit a request for interpreter services at the hearing visit: https://www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/123704.html

Sign up to receive Expanded Polystyrene Foam Container and Polystyrene Loose Fill Packaging Ban announcements.

You can also contact foamban@dec.ny.gov with any questions.

Virtual Hearing Proposed Part 353 Expanded Polystyrene Foam Container & Loose Fill Packaging Reduction

Date: November 15, 2021

Time: 1:00 PM- 3:00PM

Location: Virtual

The electronic format is reasonably accessible to persons with impaired mobility. Interpreter services for hearing impaired persons, and language interpreter services for individuals with difficulty understanding or reading English are available upon request.

To register or submit a request for interpreter services visit: https://www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/123704.html

Advisory Member Updates

Unique Gold in GRC MRF Glass Certification

Centre County Recycling earned gold-level material recovery facility (MRF) glass certification for its multi-stream collection program certification by the

Centre County Gold MRF Glass photo

Left to right: Alan Redmond, Recycling Operations Supervisor, Joanne Shafer, Deputy Executive Director/Recycling Coordinator dons recycled glass jewelry, Brenda Hampton, Quality Control and Markets Coordinator stand in front of the county’s source-separated glass piles.

Glass Recycling Coalition (GRC). The GRC's free MRF Glass Certification Program has recognized more than ten MRFs that have additional equipment and/or operational procedures to clean up glass recycling in both single, dual, and now, multi-stream systems.

Centre County Recycling & Refuse Authority (CCRRA), located in Bellefonte, Penn., is the first MRF to be awarded a Gold MRF Glass Certification in Pennsylvania and the first multi-stream MRF to receive certification. Glass recycling has been an integral part of Centre County’s program since its inception in 1989.

“CCRRA is proud to have a gold certification that reinforces that glass is an important part of the recycling puzzle,” boasts Joanne Shafer, deputy executive director of the CCRRA. “The glass container industry in Pennsylvania is still vibrant and employs many in our Commonwealth.”

Launched in the Fall of 2019, the GRC MRF Glass Certification program has since awarded 13 certifications, one bronze, two silver and ten gold. In 2021, the glass certification criteria was updated to prioritize end market consistency and more thorough glass cleaning before beneficiations. Eligible applications are judged on current infrastructure and a glass purity measure aligning with ISRIs Three- Mix Specification. An independent committee scores certification levels into gold, silver, and bronze certifications. MRFs holding this certification will have a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

GRC's website currently hosts an interactive map showing MRFs, glass processors, and end markets across the country. GRC certified MRFs are noted on this map along with public recognition of this certification.

Learn more about the Glass Recycling Coalition and apply for MRF Glass Certification at www.glassrecycles.org/mrf.

APR Announces New Design Guidance for PE Film Packaging

The Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) today announced an updated and improved version of the APR Design® Guide for Plastics Recyclability for PE Film Packaging. Developed over the past year by a working group of APR’s Film Reclamation Committee, the updated guidance reflects the consensus of a diverse group of stakeholders including film recyclers, converters, and brands.

“These changes are consistent with our efforts to ensure that the APR Design® Guide has impact as the essential reference document that brand owners can use to meet the demands and recycling standards for the global marketplace,” said Steve Alexander, President and CEO of APR. “With the surge of sustainability commitments by global brand owners, more detailed design guidance addresses an urgent need.”

The revised guidance includes:

  • A rewrite of the Base Materials section to acknowledge the diversity of technologies that make up PE polymers and their impact on recycling compatibility. New guidance addresses EVA copolymers and ethylene copolymer ionomers. The APR Design® Guide also recommends a threshold for “Preferred” materials at a minimum of 90% PE and copolymers by weight of the total packaging structure for full compatibility with PE mechanical recycling processes, to maintain the quality and value of the final recyclate.
  • An acknowledgement of SiOx and AlOx barriers as “Preferred” materials, and a more robust discussion of additives and barrier
  • An expanded discussion of inks, primers, coatings, and laminating adhesives. Tested inks, primers, coatings, and laminating adhesives that disperse in the final polymer without having an impact on PCR or final product quality are recognized as
  • A more detailed list of additives, coatings, and other enhancements to film packaging that require testing to determine recycling

The newly published guidance also highlights five innovative PE film technologies that have received APR’s Critical Guidance Recognition and are available commercially. These innovations have met the conditions of APR’s rigorous Critical Guidance Protocol, including both testing and evaluation by a Technical Review Committee.

“PE film and flexible packaging is a fast-growing segment for consumer brands,” stated Sandi Childs, APR’s

Director of Films and Flexible Packaging. “The ability to measure compatibility with recycling is vital to keeping a

clean stream of materials flowing to recyclers from retail store drop-off bins and potentially from residential curbside collection in the future.”

The APR Design® Guide for PE Film updates are part of a larger initiative to improve the capture and recovery of film plastic packaging supported by The Recycling Partnership’s Film & Flexibles Coalition. Other objectives of the APR and The Recycling Partnership include encouraging more residential collection and recovery of films,developing design guidance for polypropylene films, and researching the suitability of curbside recycling for film plastics.

NYSAR3's Annual Conference November 8 - 10                          

NYSAR3, New York State’s material management network of waste reduction professionals, is holding its annual conference November 8-10.  This year, NYSAR3 will offer both in-person and virtual attendance.  For more information and to register, please click on image below.

NYSAR3 annual conference graphic

Of General Interest

Best Practices Guide for State Recycling Market Development Centers

AMERIPEN and Resource Recycling Systems (RRS) released the State Recycling Market Development Center Best Practices guide. The guide is designed to be used as a tool to assist state governments and related stakeholders in establishing or improving local recycling market development centers.

According to the guide, “A state recycling market development center is an agency-led or third-party-led entity or program typically established and funded by state governments focused on facilitating growth within the recycling industry through market development activities.”

 The best practices guide expands on four primary topics of focus for those looking to develop a state recycling market development center:

  • Establishment: the formal framework for the center
  • Funding: sources for operating and implementing the center
  • Operations: how the center is directed, staffed, and governed
  • Programming: center’s activities and the supportive tools and resources

The guide, based on several years of research into existing market development centers and programs across the US, is available for free download on the AMERIPEN website.