New Sustaining Member
Renewing Sustaining Members
New Supporting Member
Renewing Supporting Members
Membership is key to NERC's regional and national commitment to sustainable materials management. We are delighted to welcome our newest Sustaining Member - Republic Services, as well as our newest Supporting Member - Foam Cycle. We also have many renewing Sustaining Members this month - the American Chemistry Council, Coca Cola Bottling of Northern New England, and The Recycling Partnership. As well as renewing Supporting Members the Carton Council, Chittenden Solid Waste District, Vermont, and the City of Reading, Pennsylvania.
Thank you to all our Advisory Members. To see a complete listing of NERC's Members and Supporters, as well as the benefits of membership, visit the NERC Advisory Membership web page.
The broad spectrum of interests represented by NERC's Advisory Members, Individual Supporters, and Board Members and their willingness to participate significantly contribute to the unique and important role that NERC plays in recycling in the region.
For more information, contact Lynn Rubinstein, Executive Director.
Seriously, NERC has made the decision to attend its Fall Conference an easy one. First, we’ve filled the agenda with speakers who are specialists about the state and future of Northeast MRFs; MRF trends; contracting with haulers and MRFs; municipalities engaging in contracting best management practices; MRF safety, technology, and economics; the impact of growing ecommerce on MRF operations; and tackling contamination.
Second, we have scheduled the Conference to begin on October 30th and end by noon on October 31st, so you can still make it home for the Trick-or-Treaters. And, the Conference is taking place in Rocky Hill, Connecticut, which is easily accessible from Interstate 91 and the Bradley Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. Go to the Sheraton Hartford South Hotel to book your room under NERC’s room block rate.
In addition, you are guaranteed participation in constructive discussions with industry and government from throughout the region and beyond, as well as networking time with presenters, exhibitors, and your peers during the Conference and the evening social.
For more information about the sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities, contact Lynn Rubinstein, NERC Executive Director.
If you are a full-time student and would like to learn about sustainable materials management and network with recycling’s most experienced professionals, consider attending NERC’s Fall Conference on October 30 – 31 in Rocky Hill, Connecticut. NERC has a limited number of student scholarships for The Future of MRFs Conference that will be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis.
At the Conference, the future of Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) in the Northeast—the facilities where recycled items are separated and baled for markets—will be the focus. Presentations will include tips for municipal recycling services contracting, how lithium batteries and other recycled items cause fires at MRFs and how fires can be avoided, how ecommerce is affecting recycling, and tackling contamination in recycling.
NERC would like to thank the generous sponsors for making the scholarships possible. We welcome more contributions to this new opportunity.
Students interested in being considered for a Conference scholarship, contact Lynn Rubinstein, NERC Executive Director.
The second year of the Northeast Recycling Council’s (NERC) NERC Environmental Sustainability Leadership Award competition has begun. The award will recognize an individual or organization for the impact they have made on sustainable materials management within the NERC 11-state region. Applications for the will be accepted through September 12.
To be eligible, an organization or individual must be located within NERC’s 11-member states: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
The award will be presented at NERC's Fall Conference, October 30, Rocky Hill, Connecticut.
With all of the turmoil in the recycling industry, the NERC Board has formed a committee to assist NERC to identify and implement strategies to promote and enhance recycling markets in the Northeast. Initial priorities will be:
Both NERC State and Advisory Members will be participating on this important new committee. Members are:
NERC Executive Director, Lynn Rubinstein, will be staffing the committee. It is scheduled to have its first meeting in September.
Our country’s recycling and composting rate has been stagnant for about five years now, holding steady at around 34.6%. Recycling markets “in chaos” continues to be the story of the day. I sympathize with the companies and municipalities hit hard by the current decline in recycling commodity markets. However, I can’t help to wonder why it’s still the national consensus that disposing of trash should be paid for by tax dollars, but recycling has to pay for itself.
There are some 89,000 local governments in the United States. Yet, according to Skumatz Economic Research Associates (SERA) 2011 survey, less than 9,000 of those communities have adopted Pay as You Throw (PAYT). According to the survey 62 of largest 100 cities in US have adopted PAYT. While certainly the adoption of PAYT continues to slowly rise, these statistics reveal an underlying lack of regard for the value of the resources that we squander in the production of the goods and packaging that we continue to use up and toss.
Pay As You Throw (PAYT), also known as Unit-Based Pricing, Variable Rate Pricing, User Pay, or SMART (Save Money and Reduce Trash), incorporates two primary principles of environmental policy: “polluter pays” and “shared responsibility.”. Under PAYT, the waste generator is charged for his or her waste generation.
In my reality, garbage collection and disposal should be considered a utility. However, apparently in most of our communities, trash disposal is still treated like a “sacred cow” and residents can dispose of all the trash they want courtesy of tax dollars. So, I ponder, why isn’t electricity, heating oil, water, or sewer usage paid for via tax dollars? Why is it okay for someone’s taxes to pay for someone else’s waste, but not their electricity or water use? Somehow I just do not understand the difference.
Paying for waste disposal out of the tax base/flat rate system means that generators do not know their actual costs for disposal. There is no “price signal” given to waste generators, thus they typically pay little attention to the quantity of waste produced. And, there is no economic incentive to reduce, reuse, recycle, or compost.
According to the Econservation Institute, PAYT has been shown to be the “most effective” way to increase recycling, leading to increases in recycling by 50% or more and reduction in landfill disposal by 17%. PAYT allows residents to have control of their disposal costs. It is a “fairer system” making waste disposal like other utilities so that households are only charged for the service they use.
PAYT reduces disposal costs for communities which are increasingly facing more economic demands on their limited monetary resources. PAYT reduces waste disposal costs and the tax revenue needed to cover such costs. And, it is perhaps the most valuable tool communities have to promote waste reduction, increase diversion of materials to recycling and composting/anaerobic digestion, and ultimately improve environmental quality.
To borrow an observation from Neil Seldman who wrote in Governing Magazine in February 2016, “Recycling and garbage are services that come with a cost, and common sense says that they should be priced to reflect local governments' priorities. Recycling should be priced at a discount because it offers abundant social and economic benefits. Garbage should be priced with a surcharge because of its costs to society.”
I would submit that while our focus on recycling commodity markets is important, so too should we start focusing on the fact that garbage hauling and disposal is not free. In fact communities which continue to pay for trash disposal out of property taxes are ignoring the tremendous environmental costs associated with throwing away valuable resources through landfilling or incineration and the economic ramifications that these subsidies have on their own communities.
By Athena Lee Bradley; the article was originally posted on the NERC Blog on April 3, 2018.
NEWMOA and NERC’s achievements under the first year of the Joint Strategic Plan include:
The accomplishments under NERC’s and NEWMOA’s Joint Strategic Action Plan exceeded everyone’s expectations. The amount of education and information sharing that has taken place is reflected in the wealth of material exchanged through the highly attended webinars. This level of collaboration on outreach and information was an aspiration of the Joint Plan, and we are delighted by the results.
This year’s collaboration has resulted in the formation or expansion of several working groups that have developed new ideas and strategies and are having lively discussions and working effectively to address their concerns. Many of the ideas that are under discussion for the second year of work under the Strategic Action Plan exceed the vision of the Plan drafters. Plans are underway for new webinars, workshops, meetings, and other joint initiatives in fiscal year 2019.
The Boards of both organizations have been particularly positive about the accomplishments by both groups under the Joint Strategic Action Plan. In addition, the effort has directly benefited both organizations and their missions and encouraged an expansion of the vision of and opportunities for collaboration.
None of the accomplishments under this Joint Strategic Action Plan would have been possible without the dedication and support of NEWMOA’s and NERC’s Boards and membership. Their engagement is critical to the success of both organizations, and we appreciated their ideas and involvement.
For more information, contact Lynn Rubinstein, NERC Executive Director.
Each of NERC's member states (Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont) have "state pages" on the NERC website.
Among the information found on those pages is a link to current state agency program contact information for each state. This information is updated annually and it is now current for 2018.
For more information, contact Lynn Rubinstein, NERC Executive Director.
Electronics Recycling Coordination Clearinghouse News
The Electronics Recycling Coordination Clearinghouse (ERCC) is again hosting a pre-conference workshop at the 2018 E-Scrap conference in New Orleans. ERCC will also host its annual Member Meeting in the morning prior the workshop. Both will be held on Tuesday, October 9th before the E-Scrap conference on October 10th and 11.
The workshop will focus on key issues affecting those involved with state electronics recycling programs and with the electronics recycling industry as a whole. Topic areas this year will include collection trends of problematic materials, changes in markets and weight of devices returned, and new models for policy implementation. Contact Jason Linnell, Executive Director of the National Center for Electronics Recycling (NCER) with any questions.
CT Department of Energy & Environmental Protection in partnership with RecycleCT Foundation, Inc. is pleased to announce grantees of the 2018 Innovation Awards.
The RecycleCT Foundation, created from legislation in 2014, has a mission that includes distributing funds to support education, promotion and actions that lead to increased waste reduction, reuse, recycling and composting/organics recycling. The Innovation Grant Program is targets sustainable materials management initiatives that advance local, regional or statewide knowledge and participating in building sustainable alternatives otherwise destined for disposal. The Foundation seeks to fun new and innovate programs, processed or demonstrations in the areas of sustainable materials management.
For the 2018 grant cycle, RecycleCT Board received 26 proposals requesting $219,140 and approved to fund 13 of those proposals for a total of $99,900. The following received awards:
RecycleCT Foundation, Inc. plans to provide a broader public outreach effort with this theme in the near future. For more information contact Sherill Baldwin.
CT DEEP in partnership with the American Chemistry Council, the Connecticut Food Association, grocery stores, plastic makers, municipalities and other recycling advocates have successfully increased awareness of plastic film recycling through its CT Wrap Recycling Action Program (WRAP).
While paid media and advertising focused on the greater Hartford area,
promotion and collection efforts were coordinated around the state. Consumers were to bring plastic film packaging, including plastic bags to retail stores and keep it out of curbside recycling bins.
Following months of outreach, audits of material collected at retail stores in the greater Hartford area found:
A post-campaign survey of adults in the greater Hartford area found:
In addition to the CT WRAP Campaign Report, the CT campaign released five short videos featuring the campaign’s retail partner, Price Chopper. The videos highlight the benefits to retailers of collecting and recycling plastic film packaging. Connecticut’s program built on best practices and lessons learned in previous WRAP campaigns.
For more information contact Sherill Baldwin.
 E.g., grocery, retail, and produce bags only
 E.g., case wrap, product overwrap, bread bags, newspaper bags, etc.
In an effort to help communities fill a gap in the glass recycling market, the Baker-Polito Administration has awarded a total of $257,000 to the towns of Dennis and Groton, Massachusetts to support their development of regional glass processing facilities that will turn recycled glass into a useful product. The pilot program grants are being awarded through the Sustainable Materials Recovery Program (SMRP), which is administered by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP).
“The Commonwealth has a long-standing commitment to recycling and environmental protection, and the funding awarded through the Sustainable Materials Recovery Program will support local solutions in a cost-effective manner that will help keep glass out of landfills and return it to a productive reuse,” said Governor Charlie Baker.
“Through the Sustainable Materials Recovery Program, our Administration partners with cities, towns and regional organizations to increase recycling and decrease the disposal of valuable materials,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “As a result of this funding, Dennis and Groton will partner with neighboring communities to divert their glass to these facilities and help establish new uses locally for recycled glass.”
The recent closure of a large glass bottling manufacturer in Milford has had a significant impact on regional outlets for glass collected through most municipal recycling programs. To address this gap, MassDEP is working with private industry and local governments to establish new markets for recovered glass and support the local production of processed glass aggregate (PGA). PGA is approved for use as a construction or road-base aggregate material that can be used in state and local public works operations.
“The Commonwealth continues to work with residents and communities to encourage recycling,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “Through the support of alternate glass recycling methods, the Baker-Polito Administration continues to work with communities to implement an innovative solution to an emerging problem.”
“MassDEP is in the process of updating the Commonwealth’s Solid Waste Master Plan for the years 2020-2030, and that plan is expected to support increased recycling and reuse of materials like glass,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “These regional glass processing centers will help address a short-term statewide issue, implement a potential long-term solution for glass containers, and bring communities together with a common purpose.”
The Town of Dennis will receive $120,500 to establish a regional glass-crushing operation that will accept source-separated glass from neighboring communities and produce a construction aggregate for municipal applications. The funds will be used for facility site preparations.
The Town of Groton will receive $136,500 to establish a regional glass-crushing operation with specialized equipment to accept source-separated glass from neighboring communities and produce a construction aggregate for municipal applications.
“Municipalities on the Cape are often at the forefront of environmental stewardship due to our unique coastal environment,” said State Senator Julian Cyr (D-Truro). “Awarding a grant to the Town of Dennis for its program to develop a regional glass recycling facility is a wise investment in Cape Cod and the Commonwealth. I was proud to also recently secure further funding for this project in the Environmental Bond Bill.”
“As communities face recycling challenges, this regional glass-crushing facility will be a great benefit to Cape Cod communities, including those I represent,” said State Representative Sarah Peake (D-Provincetown). “I want to thank the Baker-Polito Administration for this generous state grant that will help sustain local recycling efforts.”
The glass facility awards are part of the Commonwealth’s SMRP, created under the Green Communities Act that directs a portion of the proceeds from the sale of Waste Energy Certificates to recycling programs approved by MassDEP. The SMRP provides funding for recycling, composting, reuse and source-reduction activities that will increase diversion of municipal solid waste and household hazardous waste from disposal. For more information on the SMRP, turn here.
Earlier this year, in an effort to help cities and towns across the Commonwealth increase the quality of the residential recycling stream, the Baker-Polito Administration unveiled the Recycling IQ Kit to help municipalities educate residents on how to better recycle in order to remove contaminants from the recycling stream and make those materials more attractive to the world’s commodity markets.
MassDEP is responsible for ensuring clean air and water, safe management and recycling of solid and hazardous wastes, timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources.
On August 20, 2018 the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection unveiled a new “Recycle Smart” initiative to emphasize the importance of clean recyclables and to educate residents on what can and cannot go in the recycling bin.
The cornerstone of this recycling education initiative is the new RecycleSmartMA.org website that features the “Smart Recycling Guide.” The Guide identifies the four categories of materials that every materials recovery facility (MRF) across the state accepts:
The guide also identifies the top five contaminants the MRFs don’t want in recycling loads and explains that these materials should be disposed of in other ways.
Another key feature of the website is the “Recyclopedia” search tool, where residents can search for hundreds of items -- from red solo cups to pizza boxes -- to find out how and where to dispose of them correctly. In addition, there’s a video explaining where recycling goes for processing, graphics for simplified messaging about what goes in and what does not go in the bin, and answers to frequently asked questions about why and how to recycle smart.
Recycling stakeholders, including haulers, processors, NGOs, state and regional agencies and Massachusetts cities and towns are encouraged to spread the word about Recycle Smart by following us on Facebook (Recycle Smart MA), Twitter (@RecycleSmartMA) and Instagram (recyclesmartma). For more information on the initiative, contact Brooke Nash.
Under the SMRP Recycling Dividends Program (RDP), which recognizes communities for implementing policies and programs that reduce waste and maximize reuse and recycling, 194 towns and cities are receiving $2.56 million in total payments statewide. Individual awards range from $2,800 to $97,500 and help municipalities pay for new recycling bins or carts, public education and outreach, collection of difficult-to-recycle items, and recycling in municipal buildings, schools, and public spaces.
Fifty-three municipalities that did not apply or qualify for RDP payments are being awarded a total of $51,000 for SMRP Small-Scale Initiatives Grants. These population-based awards range from $500 to $2,000 each and help communities make modest but critical investments in existing recycling programs or new, low-cost initiatives.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has directed the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to identify new actions to improve recycling in New York in response to changes in global recycling markets. Recycling conserves natural resources, reduces the need for raw materials, and helps keep a significant amount of material out of the waste stream and out of landfills. To address changes in recycling markets head on, DEC is convening stakeholder meetings to identify new actions and initiatives that can be taken to improve conditions. The State continues to partner with municipalities to help meet specific recycling goals as part of solid waste management plans.
Recycling is a valuable and sustainable method of waste management supported through a long-term consistent state commitment to the practice with the understanding that success and stability needs to be measured beyond any temporary market condition fluctuations. Through Beyond Waste, the State Solid Waste Management Plan, New York established a goal of reducing waste disposal rather than set specific quantitative recycling requirements. In turn, local solid waste planning units establish their own goals in consultation with DEC for waste reduction and recycling as part of local solid waste management plans.
DEC will be holding a series of stakeholder meetings with representatives from industry, local government, state and federal agencies, and the public across the state to develop innovative and sustainable solutions for recycling in New York and identify open markets to utilize recyclables. The inaugural meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, August 29, at DEC headquarters in Albany, and DEC is scheduling additional meetings.
DEC will continue to work with partners to help support new and existing businesses in New York that can capitalize on the high supply of low cost recyclable materials that can serve as raw materials supply for future manufacturing that has been historically moving to other countries.
Keurig Green Mountain is committed to using post-consumer recycled content (PCR) in its products. Highlighting this is their:
This new program is based on "carbon credits", and is intended to incentivize local Ghana "Tech Sector" reuse companies to take back one ton of old, obsolete, junk electronics (originally imported, but expired after years of use) for every ton of electronics
Ghana currently imports for repair and reuse. The new program is loosely based on the Massachusetts DEP's 1999 CRT Recycling Infrastructure program funded by EPA's JTR program. Surveys of TV and computer repair shops in Ghana showed that they are constantly receiving older units (many of which have already been repaired several times) from Ghana consumers who then choose an "elective upgrade" (purchasing a more modern import for the cost of re-repairing the old unit).
The project is being run by Fair Trade Recycling members in the USA and Ghana including Emmanuel Nyaletey, Wahab Odoi Muhammed, John Sumani, Evans Quaye, Olu Orga, Stephen Frimpong, and Nana Yaw. In August 2018, the group received a letter from Ghana EPA authorizing shipments of intact CRT televisions to Camacho in Valencia, Spain. The program will be funded by reuse exporters who decide to pay the cost of shipping junk TVs out of Ghana through a discount on more modern used (or new) electronics purchased for reuse in Ghana's Tech Sector. If successful, WR3A intends to explore sponsorship by other "Zero Waste" programs, who might pursue other offsets - such as collection of plastic in the Pacific Ocean - to create "waste neutrality" when markets or participation rates flatten or decline.
For more information, contact Robin Ingenthron, Good Point Recycling.
Got glass? North America’s largest glass recycler, Strategic Materials, may have a solution. If you have glass in your region and do not have an outlet, we may be able to help you by providing a railcar or free-runner. If you have the ability to load a railcar, we may have a solution, allowing you to minimize total freight costs and avoid landfill costs. We realize each city, town and scenario are different, so we are willing to discuss a custom solution and arrangement to capture your glass for recycling.
We are still working on long-term solutions for glass recycling in your area, but in the meantime, contact us for more detail about this opportunity. Email Andrew Crowley.
Of General Interest
According to the waste management and recycling firm Rubicon, the term “end destination facility” refers to “facilities such as mills, manufacturers and compost facilities that acquire recyclable materials for conversion into new products or raw materials.” Since many of even the most devoted recyclers are unclear as to the eventual destination of the materials they recycle, transparency would seem to be of importance; in fact, a few years ago in the UK, the Resource Association developed a Charter which commits to “publishing, at least annually, a Register of End Destinations of Recyclates that covers the materials collected by us, or on our behalf, from the public.”
In this iteration of Recycling for Beginners, our friends at RRS are providing a definition for the term “flexible packaging”. Flexible packaging is defined as a plastic package whose shape can be readily changed. The most common types include snack pouches, overwraps, and pet food bags. Lightweight flexible packaging is used for consumer and institutional products to protect, market, and distribute a vast array of products. As one of the fastest growing segments of the packaging industry, flexible packaging combines the best qualities of plastic, film, paper and aluminum foil to deliver a broad range of protective properties while employing a minimum of material. Unfortunately, it is not yet widely recyclable.
A glance back at another of Rubicon’s recycling terms suggests some of the challenges affecting entities attempting to maximize the value of recycling. “Resin Identification Code (RIC),” Rubicon states, is “a number-based coding system placed on plastics to identify the polymer for purposes of recycling:
#1 – polyethylene terephthalate (PET)
#2 – high density polyethylene (HDPE)
#3 – polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
#4 – low density polyethylene
#5 – polypropylene (PP)
#6 – polystyrene (PS)
#7 – other (mixed plastic)”
A final caveat to the devoted recycler: “Consumers often assume this code [the RIC] means a package is automatically recyclable,” blogged NERC Supporting Member Sustainable Packaging Coalition, “but that’s not the case. Packages with the code may or may not be recyclable.” Be sure to check with your local program to find out what is acceptable.
We are kicking off the 2018-2019 West Coast Climate & Materials Management Forum Webinar Series with a webinar on Consumption Based Emissions Inventories (CBEI) - October 4, 1 - 2:30 eastern. Climate action leaders are increasingly considering consumption-based emissions in addition to production or activity-based emissions that have typically formed the basis of climate action planning. Consumption Based Emissions Inventories attribute all global emissions to the ultimate end user, so that, in addition to transportation and housing, the supply chain emissions that occur throughout the lifecycle of goods, food, and services consumed in a jurisdiction are included. When these upstream emissions are made visible, communities can consider policies to reduce these emissions, such as reuse and repair or low-carbon building materials, or educate their residents about steps they can take to reduce their personal GHG footprint.
In this webinar, David Allaway of Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality will present Oregon’s latest GHG inventory findings for 2015 which combines production and consumption emissions inventories. Together, consumption and production emissions inventories tell a more comprehensive story of the global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that a community can reduce. David Burch of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District will present a project they sponsored for UC Berkeley’s Cool Climate Network to complete a consumption-based emissions inventory for the 100+ cities and counties in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Moderator: Miya Kitahara is a program manager at StopWaste, working on material and energy efficiency. She supports Alameda County local governments with climate action planning, including helping them address consumption-based, upstream emissions related to goods and food. Miya has over a decade of experience in local government sustainability across the Bay Area and holds an MBA in Sustainable Enterprise and a BA in Social Psychology.
Panelist: David Allaway is a Senior Policy Analyst at the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s Materials Management Program. At DEQ, David leads projects related to sustainable consumption and production, materials (including waste) management, and greenhouse gases. In 2010, he helped to staff the Materials Management Committee of the Oregon Global Warming Commission’s “Roadmap to 2020” project. He also led efforts to develop and update Oregon’s consumption-based greenhouse gas emissions inventory and contributed to the ICLEI US greenhouse gas accounting protocols for communities and recycling. Before joining in 2000, David worked for 11 years in the solid waste consulting industry. A native of Oregon, David has a B.A. in physics from Carleton College, Minnesota.
Panelist: David Burch is a Principal Environmental Planner in the Climate Protection Section of the Planning Division at the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. Dave has been with the Air District since 1990, working in air quality planning, grant programs, transportation demand management, and a variety of special projects. He was a lead author for the Bay Area 2017 Clean Air Plan, which lays out an integrated strategy to improve air quality, protect public health, and protect the climate. Dave worked with researchers at the UC Berkeley Cool Climate Network to develop a consumption-based greenhouse gas emissions inventory for the San Francisco Bay Area which analyzes the variation in the GHG footprint among communities in the region. Dave has a B.A. in Government from Cornell University.
Please stay tuned for future webinars in the 2018-19 Forum webinar series including:
Please visit our website.
Flexible packaging – resealable pouches, snack bags, overwraps, and pet food bags – offers consumers many benefits including convenience, portion sizing, extending food shelf life, product protection, as well as less energy and material usage than other types of packaging. However current recycling programs and infrastructure typically do not accept flexible packaging and it has become a costly contaminant of paper bales that ends up in the landfill.
In 2015, a multi-year study was commissioned by Materials Recovery for the Future (MRFF), a collaboration of leading companies in the flexible packaging value chain, that sought to understand the flow of flexible packaging in a material recovery facility (MRF) utilizing existing sortation technologies. As part of the research, interviews with numerous end markets were held to understand the current status and potential to process post-consumer flexible plastic packaging. The findings demonstrated that with adequate screening and optical sorting capacity, flexible plastic packaging can be efficiently captured in a single-stream MRF.
“Flexible packaging is the most prevalent form today, and it is increasingly present in MRF infeed often as a result of wishful consumer recycling,” stated Susan Graff, RRS vice president and MRFF project director. “This research indicates optical sorters can efficiently sort flexible packaging and improvements in disc screen technologies have reduced the problem of bags and films wrapping on shafts, providing evidence that it is possible to sort flexibles into a bale and simultaneously improve the quality of MRF paper bales.”
This year MRFF will conduct a pilot with J.P. Mascaro & Sons at their TotalRecycle MRF in Birdsboro, PA to test an upgraded MRF system design that will automatically sort materials to specified quality levels and purity, cleaning up paper bales while establishing a new, stable supply of flexible packaging feedstock for use in manufacturing recycled content products for major consumer brands and retailers.
NERC will host the Adding New Materials to Curbside Recycling: MRF Pilot Program for Films, Bags, and Pouches webinar on November 14th, 2018 at 2:00pm ET to highlight findings from the multi-year research study, provide an overview of the upcoming MRF pilot and its goal of a nationally scalable solution, and hear directly from J.P Mascaro Sr., Director, TotalRecycle.
Learning Across The Atlantic - Sept. 5th, 6 p.m. eastern