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September 2020

NERC’s Advisory Members

Distinguished Benefactors

Consumer Technology Association (CTA)

Panasonic

Samsung

Benefactors

Bottle Crusher US

Waste Management

Sustaining Members

  • American Chemistry Council

  • American Forest and Paper Association

  • American Iron & Steel Institute

  • Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR)

  • Casella Resource Solutions

  • Coca-Cola Beverages Northeast, Inc.

  • Council of State Governments/Eastern Regional Conference

  • CURC

  • Dart Container

  • GDB International

  • 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

  • Mattress Recycling Council

  • MRM

  • National Waste & Recycling Association

  • Nestlé Waters North America

  • NEWMOA

  • PaintCare

  • Plastics Industry Association

  • Re-TRAC

  • Recycling Partnership

  • Republic Services

  • Schaefer Systems International, Inc.

  • Sims Municipal Recycling

  • Sonoco

  • 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

New Benefactor Member

New Sustaining Members

Renewing Sustaining Members

Renewing Supporting Members

Member Spotlight - Sonoco Recycling

NERC News

Newly Posted

State Updates

MASSACHUSETTS

Advisory Member Updates

New & Renewing Memberships

Membership is key to NERC's regional and national commitment to sustainable materials management. We are delighted to welcome our newest Benefactor Member - Bottle Crusher US, Inc. We also welcome our newest Sustaining Members - GDB International and Sonoco Recycling.  We thank our renewing Sustaining Members: 

And, also thank your renewing Supporting 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.

Member Spotlight - Sonoco Recycling

Operating more than 40 recycling facilities globally, new NERC Advisory Member Sonoco Recycling collects 2.8 million tons of paper, plastic, metal and other materials in more than 20 locations across the United States each year.

The success of the business can be discerned by the fact that more than 65% of material received by Sonoco Recycling goes directly back to Sonoco manufacturing to produce packaging. But the effective reach of Sonoco Recycling extends far beyond providing recycled raw materials. The company works with national and regional business accounts, helping industrial and manufacturing companies meet their sustainability goals, providing responsibly sourced fiber to paper mills, devising recycling solutions for government and businesses, and operating MRFs in cities throughout the Southeastern United States.

By 2025, the company plans to recycle or cause to be recycled 85% of the volume of product it places in the global marketplace.

Sonoco Recycling also supports school recycling programs that reinforce the advantages of recycling and provides additional resources for teachers.

“Every day, we commit ourselves to the singular notion that smart packaging is more than plastics, cardboard and paper,” the company states. “It’s a promise to people, products and our planet. And we believe it’s one well worth keeping.”

NERC welcomes Sonoco Recycling to its Advisory Membership team, and looks forward to working together to enhance the success of recycling.

NERC News

Northeast Glass Forum–Virtual Event, September 1 – 2

The Northeast region struggles with finding end markets for its non-bottle bill glass. For two consecutive afternoons—Sept 1 and 2 (1 – 5 p.m. eastern)—we will do a deep dive into the issues facing the region’s glass recycling. The featured topics include the state of glass markets; the importance of glass recycling; the economics of glass recycling; preparing your glass for end markets; strategies and technologies for economically viable options for cleaning, handling, and transporting glass; and strategies for moving glass recycling forward in the Northeast.  For more information about the Forum, contact Mary Ann Remolador, Assistant Director.

CEU's are available from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services and the Professional Recyclers of Pennsylvania.

Forum Sponsors

Gold Sponsor

Silver Sponsors

     

Bronze Sponsors

 Government Sponsor

The Changing Face of Recycling: Finding New Solutions—NERC’s Virtual Fall Conference, October 20 – 22

Recycling end markets, addressing racial justice, effective messaging, fiber recovery, robotics, lithium battery safety, state EPR initiatives, bottle bills, minimum recycled content legislation, and reducing waste through circular business models are all topics that will be discussed at NERC’s Fall Virtual Conference, October 20, 21 and 22, 1 – 5 p.m. eastern.  Industry, states, and communities are all working on figuring out how to move forward from the impact of the Pandemic and international and domestic market changes.  The conference is a great way to be part of the discussions and learn from recycling professionals from around the country.

Conference presenters will be:

CEU's are available from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services and the Professional Recyclers of Pennsylvania.

Conference Sponsors

Silver Sponsors

 

BRONZE SPONSORS

 

 

Contact Mary Ann Remolador, Assistant Director & Conference Organizer, with any questions regarding the Conference.

Webinar - Make a Difference by Driving Demand for Recycled Products – Learn about the Government Recycling Demand Champion Program - September 9

Taking action to support the recycling industry is essential - especially these days.  A new national program, the NERC-APR Government Recycling Demand Champion Program, provides a simple strategy for closing the loop by buying products with post-consumer plastic recycled content.

Learn more on a free webinar, Wednesday, September 9, 2 pm eastern. 

Presenters will be:

Ali Briggs-Ungerer, Association of Plastic Recyclers, will discuss the long-standing APR Demand Champions Program that drives the use of post-consumer plastic resin in the private sector.

Photo of Lynn RubinsteinLynn Rubinstein, Program Manager of the Government Recycling Demand Champion Program, will introduce this new opportunity for state, regional and local governments, schools, colleges and universities to take action to drive the value of recycling markets by buying recycled

This is a national program and all are welcome to join the webinar.

CEUs are available from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services.

Webinar Sponsor

Webinar - State & Local Laws Mandating Minimum Recycled Content – Driving the Value of Recyclables - September 24

Products with post-consumer recycled content can drive recycling markets.  This has been proven time and time again, but to date there has been very few laws implemented in the U.S. to make this mandatory in products sold in a jurisdiction.  On this exciting webinar, co-hosted by NERC and NEWMOA, we will hear about California’s and King County Washington’s mandatory minimum recycled content laws and future initiatives.

Speakers:

Minimum Recycled Content to Drive Market Development – How to Get it Done Right, Heidi  Sanborn, Executive Director, National Stewardship Action Council

Coming Full Circle: Looking to the Past and Future of Recycled Content at King County, WA

  • Karen Hamilton, Sustainable Purchasing Program Manager, King County, Washington
  • Andy Smith, Market Development Program Manager, King County, Washington
  • Emily Coleman,Sustainable Purchasing Specialist, King County Washington

CEU's are available from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services.

 Gold Sponsor

Silver Sponsors

 

Voluntary Initiatives Driving the Use of Minimum Recycled Content in Products & Packaging – Webinar, October 6, 2 p.m. eastern

On September 24, NERC & NEWMOA are hosting a webinar about legislated requirements for minimum recycled content in products and packaging.  With this webinar, we’ll learn about voluntary actions by brands and others to increase the use of minimum recycled content and their impact on the recycling marketplace.

 Presenters

Sarah Dearman, The Recycling Partnership

Pete DePasquale, Nestle Waters

Steve Alexander, Association of Plastic Recyclers

CEU's are available from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services.

Gold Sponsors

 

Silver Sponsors

Webinar - Container Deposit Laws - Taking their Effectiveness to the Next Level through Global Best Practices - October 28

Container deposit laws received renewed attention during the COVID-19 pandemic as many states suspended, or suspended enforcement, of their so-called bottle bill laws.  At the same time, there are several initiatives examining how to expand the impact and of bottle bill laws and looking for best practices.  This unique webinar, co-sponsored by NERC and NEWMOA, will examine this research and proposals.

 Presenters

Mike Noel, TOMRA Systems

Susan Collins,

Container Recycling Institute

Sarah Edwards, Eunomia

CEU's are available from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services.

Gold Sponsors

 

Silver Sponsors

Webinar—Should Munis Get Back in the MRF Game?—November 12

With the increased cost for recycling services, some municipalities are asking themselves if they should operate their own Materials Recovery Facility (MRF).  On November 12, 1:30 p.m. eastern, we will hear the perspectives of three presenters that have first-hand experience with working through the question or have worked directly with communities that have.  In addition to featuring different MRF operating models and examples of municipalities considering operating their own MRF, the presenters will share their experience with the questions to ask that will inform the decision-making process before taking on this pivotal role in materials management.  

Webinar presenters

Mitch Kessler, President of Kessler Consulting
Sarah Reeves, Executive Director of Chittenden Solid Waste District
Rick Watson, Chief Executive Officer, Delaware Solid Waste Authority

CEU's are available from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services and the Professional Recyclers of Pennsylvania.

Webinar Sponsors

NERC Launches Virtual Education & Market Development Sponsorship Program

With the switch to virtual events and meetings, it has become challenging for companies and initiatives to be visible and accessible. NERC has launched a program to provide organizations with an opportunity to be recognized and seen by a national audience of interested consumers: The NERC Webinar Series Sponsorship Program. Sponsorships will support the cost of planning and delivering the webinars.

As an ongoing, free-of-charge service, NERC delivers national webinars that address issues of critical interest to the sustainability and market development community. The number of webinar participants has grown to as many as 1,000 from around the US and Canada. All webinar recordings and presentations are available and archived on NERC’s website.

There are three sponsorship levels with varying benefits.

Webinar Series

NERC has several webinars planned for the coming months, and anticipates several additional ones over the next 12 months.  Several of these are in partnership with the Northeast Waste Management Officials Association (NEWMOA).

Scheduled upcoming webinars are:

  • Government Recycling Demand Challenge Program - September 9, and November 5
  • State & Local Laws Mandating Minimum Recycled Content – September 24
  • Voluntary Initiatives Driving the Use of Minimum Recycled Content in Products & Packaging – Webinar, October 6
  • Webinar - Container Deposit Laws Taking their Effectiveness to the Next Level through Global Best Practices - October 28
  • Should Municipalities Get Back in the MRF Game? - November 12

Several more are planned for the coming months. For more information or to become a Sponsor, contact either Lynn Rubinstein, Executive Director, or Mary Ann Remolador, Assistant Director.

Using Recycled Content in Infrastructure Workshop - Becomes Virtual & Rescheduled

The Northeast Recycling Council (NERC) and the Northeast Waste Management Officials’ Association (NEWMOA), in partnership with NRRA, MRRA, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and Department of Transportation, the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services and Department of Transportation, and the New Hampshire Technology Transfer Center, are offering a workshop about using recycled content in road and infrastructure projects. Previously scheduled for April, and then November, circumstances have required that we transition to virtual.  The workshop will now take place November 16 and 17, 1 - 4 each day.

The same outstanding panel of presenters previously planned will take part, and the CEUs that were previously available, are also continuing.

CEU's are available from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services.

NERC becomes Inaugural Activator - US Plastics Pact

The Northeast Recycling Council (NERC) has joined the U.S. Plastics Pact, a collaborative, solutions-driven initiative rooted in four ambitious goals intended to drive significant systems change by unifying diverse cross-sector approaches, setting a national strategy, and creating scalable solutions to create a path forward toward a circular economy for plastics in the United States by 2025. The first North American Pact of its kind, the U.S. Pact is a collaboration led by The Recycling Partnership, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), and Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

As part of the U.S. Pact, activators like NERC recognize that significant, systemwide change is imperative to realize a circular economy for plastics. As such, the U.S. Pact will convene more than 70 brands, retailers, NGOs, and government agencies across the plastics value chain to bring one voice to U.S. packaging through coordinated initiatives and innovative solutions for rethinking products, packaging, and business models.

As a founding Activator of the U.S. Plastics Pact, NERC has agreed to collectively deliver against these four ambitious goals:

  1. Define a list of packaging to be designated as problematic or unnecessary by 2021 and take measures to eliminate them by 2025. ​
  2. By 2025, all plastic packaging is 100% reusable, recyclable, or compostable. ​
  3. By 2025, undertake ambitious actions to effectively recycle or compost 50% of plastic packaging.
  4. By 2025, the average recycled content or responsibly sourced bio-based content in plastic packaging will be 30%. ​

While the U.S. Pact is complementary to, and follows the ambitious precedents set by the existing global network of Plastic Pacts, it will be tailored to meet the unique needs and challenges of the U.S. market. The Pact will reflect national priorities and realities, while still propelling the nation closer to other developed nations in its management of plastic waste.

“Together through the U.S. Plastics Pact, we will ignite system change to accelerate progress toward a circular economy,” says Sarah Dearman, Vice President of Circular Ventures for The Recycling Partnership. “The U.S. Pact will accelerate systemwide change by inspiring and supporting upstream innovation through a coordinated national strategy, creating a unified framework and enabling members to accelerate progress toward our ambitious 2025 sustainability goals. Members’ full participation will be vital to reaching our shared goals.”

Achieving this vision will require new levels of accountability from all facets of the plastics supply chain. The U.S. Pact emphasizes measurable change and as such, NERC] is committed to transparent, annual reporting, guided by WWF’s ReSource: Plastic Footprint Tracker, which will be used to document annual progress against our four goals. The first task of the founding members of the U.S. Plastics Pact will be to establish a “roadmap” in Q1 2021 to identify key milestones and national solutions to achieving the U.S. targets and realize a circular economy in which plastic never becomes waste.

NERC Participates in PET Thermoform Packaging Recycling

The Foodservice Packaging Institute has organized a group of industry partners to examine recycling of PET thermoform packaging. The group is conducting a study to further understand the PET thermoform packaging recycling stream and define the most cost-effective and practical pathways for recovering it.                                                 

Through the study, the group hopes to establish a common understanding of the most impactful opportunities to increase PET thermoform recycling. PET thermoform packaging includes cups, lids, clamshells, bowls, produce, deli, bakery and take-out containers, as well as other types of consumer packaging.

In partnership with FPI, the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR), the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR), the Northeast Recycling Council (NERC) The Recycling Partnership  and the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) will pool data and resources to gain a more thorough understanding of this complex issue. The study is being conducted by Resource Recycling Systems (RRS).

“Each partner has been working to increase recycling of PET thermoforms in different ways, so it’s important to bring all parties together to find a solution,” said Natha Dempsey, president of the Foodservice Packaging Institute. “While we’re making progress, it just makes sense to combine efforts to define a unified path to increased recyclability for PET thermoforms.”

Project partner NAPCOR reports that the volume of PET thermoform material recycled in the U.S. surpassed 100 million pounds in 2018. Most of this volume was captured in curbside PET bottle bales and processed with bottles by PET reclaimers who accept them at up to specified percentages of the bale weight. However, as thermoform recycling increases, so does the prevalence of thermoforms in residential PET bales, bumping up against the limits of PET bottle reclaimer acceptance levels. The study will further explore this, along with other potential PET thermoform recovery pathways.

“We know there is a shortfall of available postconsumer recycled PET to meet stated content goals. PET thermoforms offer significant performance benefits to consumers and producers and can help increase the overall supply of this valuable raw material,” said Darrel Collier, executive director of the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR). “Our research indicates that PET thermoforms can, and are being recycled, though they do pose some technical and logistical collection and sorting challenges. We are pleased to join with our colleagues to explore and overcome these challenges.”

This project will explore the potential limitations and obstacles, viability, costs and related metrics of PET thermoform curbside recycling and other potential recycling pathways. Recycled PET thermoforms can be utilized in the manufacture of new PET containers, strapping and other types of packaging, as well as in polyester fiber applications.

“Common food items are sold in PET thermoform containers and the desire of the public to contribute to the environment through recycling drives their expectations to recycle this material,” noted Lynn Rubinstein, executive director, NERC. “These packages are being put in recycling containers and often treated as a contaminant. Finding a positive economic solution to productive recycling will help the industry and the economy.”

“PET thermoforms represent a viable feedstock to feed the growing demand for recycled PET resin,” said Steve Alexander, president and CEO of the Association of Plastic Recyclers. “We are hearing from more and more markets that are interested in using this recycled material; now we need to figure out how to get it to them.”

This study will utilize combined partner organization knowledge pertaining to potential technical, logistical and market obstacles to increasing PET thermoform recycling, building on collective work to date.

“Americans want to recycle their plastic packaging, but don’t always know what is and isn’t recyclable. Brands are committed to using more recycled PET in their packaging, but need the valuable supply from curbside recycling,” said Liz Bedard, senior director of industry collaboration at The Recycling Partnership. “Finding the pathway to collect and recycle PET thermoforms will allow communities to increase recycling rates and, at the same time, provide a valuable recycled material to the industry.”

“Brands and packaging companies are committed to improving the sustainability of packaging,” said Adam Gendell, associate director of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition. “Working with groups that represent the entire supply chain, we can find recycling pathways for PET thermoforms and improve the sustainability profile of this important type of packaging.”

The study is expected to be completed in the fall of 2020.

The Government Recycling Demand Champion Program has its first Champions & Advocates

The Government Recycling Demand Champion Program - a new joint initiative of NERC and APR to promote the purchase of products with post-consumer resin by government entities, school, colleges, and universities, is delighted to announce that the first Champions and Advocates have joined.

Champions are full program participants that commit to purchasing products made with post-consumer recycled plastic.

    • Hudson Valley Improvement Authority (NY)
    • Maryland Department of General Services

Advocates intend to purchase products made with post-consumer recycled plastic, but their organization is not ready to act, but will within a year of joining the program.

    •  New Hampshire R4 Program 

State Recycling Organization Advocates commit to helping publicize the program and promote purchasing of products with post-consumer resin to their members and the public.

    - Maryland Recycling Network

For more information, contact Lynn Rubinstein, Project Manager, and visit the website which has fact sheets and other resources.

The State Electronics Challenge Continues to Expand - Supporting Green Lifecycle Management of Electronics

Now 12 years old, the State Electronics Challenge continues to grow and impact the lifecycle practices for office electronics of organizations around the country. Participating organizations opt to by "green electronics" using the Electronic Products Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) standard, conserve power during equipiment use, and responsibly reuse and recycle equipment at the end of life.  There are now 171 organizations participating in the Challenge, representing 23 states and almost 225,000 employees.

The newest participants are:

The Challenge is a free incentive program providing technical assistance and support to government entities, school, colleges, and universities, and nonprofits around the country to green the lifecycle of their office electronics.

For more information, visit the State Electronics Challenge website, or contact Lynn Rubinstein, Program Manager.

Newly Posted

Latest MRF Blended Value of a Ton Study Released shows Improvement in Value

NERC has published the fifth in its series of quarterly reports on the blended value of a ton of materials marketed at MRFs in the Northeast. This report covers the period April – June 2020, and is somewhat different from previous reports. Eleven states are represented in this report, including Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia.

The latest report reveals some interesting trends:

  • The value of a ton of MRF materials increased significantly in the period April – June 2020 compared to the previous quarter, both with and without the cost of managing residuals.
    • Average commodity value per ton with the expense of handling residuals: $51.23 – up 27%
    • Average commodity value per ton without residuals: $59.58 – up 25%
  • The average value of a ton also increased compared to the first quarter of this research (April – June 2019)
    • Average commodity value per ton with residuals increase of 12%.
    • Average commodity value per ton without residuals increase of 15%.

  • The average processing cost per ton: $93/ton. This quarter represents a decrease of 3% as compared to the previous period.

The survey will be repeated for the quarter July – September 2020 and a report published of the results.  

The study was made possible with a grant from EPA Region 3.

Current report: NERC Report on Blended MRF Values in the Northeast - August 2020

Previous reports:

For more information, contact Lynn Rubinstein.

Community Composting Tip Sheets

As part of a USDA Rural Utilities Services Solid Waste Management Grant, NERC has published a series of tip sheets for community composting.  Newly published are:

In addition, a blog about community composting was published: A Composter’s Guide to Project Drawdown.

Several additional resources will be published this fall. There are many community composting resources already published on the NERC website.  These can be found by doing a Resource Search with the keyword community composting.

NERC Operating Plan & Budget - Fiscal Year 2021

NERC's Operating Plan and Budget for Fiscal Year 2021 are posted on the NERC website. For additional information, contact Lynn Rubinstein, Executive Director.

A Roadmap to Buying Products with Recycled Content

Buying products with post-consumer recycled content is a good idea, but do you need help getting started?  A new publication to provide a "roadmap" to success is now available.

Examples of Specifications for Purchasing Products with Post-Consumer Resin

Once you know "how" to buy products with recycled content, the next question is usually "how much recycled content should they have?" A new publication - Examples of Specifications for Purchasing Products with Post-Consumer Resin - provides information about the specifications that several states use when answering this question.

Update to National Listing of Disposal Bans and Mandatory Recycling Published

NERC has updated its popular Disposal Bans and Mandatory Recycling in the United States.  Last updated in 2017, this document provides state by state information about state level disposal bans and mandatory recycling requirements.

EPR for Packaging & Paper Products - Frequently Asked Questions Published

NERC and NEWMOA have jointly produced an FAQ about EPR for Packaging and Paper Products.  Developed with the assistance of members of the Northeast EPR Network, it lays out the basics as they relate to a new type of EPR in the United States which is garnering a great deal of attention: EPR for packaging and paper products.  Not yet implemented in any states, it is the law in many Canadian provinces and around the world.

NERC-NEWMOA Joint Strategic Action Plan Annual Report FY20

In June 2017, the NERC and NEWMOA Boards of Directors entered into a Joint Strategic Action Plan, which was updated in 2019, to further action on matters of mutual concern. This first-of-its kind effort received national attention and commendation, including an in-depth article in Resource Recycling magazine. An Annual Report for fiscal year 2020 which chronicles the remarkable progress that has been made in the second year of the initiative is now available.

For more information, contact Lynn Rubinstein, NERC.

State Program Contact Information Updated for 2020

NERC maintains key program contact information for each of its member states on its website.  This information has been updated for 2020. 

Recordings & PowerPoint Presentations Posted for Several Webinars

In July NERC held three webinars.  Recordings of these webinars and the PowerPoint presentations are all available.  To find them, use this link and search on either a key word or click the "webinars" box:

  • AgSTAR’s Anaerobic Digestion Resource for Farms - July 16
  • State Actions to Address Recycling Market Changes - July 21
  • The Government Recycling Demand Championship - Introduction - July 22
  • Teaching Practical Strategies for Reducing Wasted Food Through Community Events - August 5

State Updates

MASSACHUSETTS

Recycling Business Development Grant Program now Open

The Recycling Business Development Grant (RBDG) program is intended to help Massachusetts recycling processors and manufacturers create sustainable markets for eligible materials, and to add value to municipal and business recycling efforts. Selected applicants will receive grant awards of between $50,000 and $400,000.

Targeted materials for the 2020 RBDG are:

  • Container glass: developing market outlets and uses for container glass sourced from MRFs  
  • Comingled recyclables handled by MRFs: increasing capacity to handle or reduce contamination of mixed recyclable streams consisting of: paper, cardboard, and glass, metal and plastic containers  
  • C&D Materials: project proposals targeting OCC, wood, metal or clean gypsum wallboard that will increase the process separation rate at C&D handling facilities  
  • Textiles: recycling of textiles such as clothing, clean footwear, bedding, towels, curtains, and fabric into new products.  
  • Food Materials: use of source separated food scraps, with a particular focus on food material streams that may contain packaging or other contamination, for composting, intermediate processing to supply anaerobic digestion facilities, or similar processes  
  • Mattresses: dismantling and recycling of mattresses at a processing facility

Eligible grant funded activities include:  

  • Processing activities, which include those reclaiming activities that aggregate, dismantle, densify, shred, bale, culletize or otherwise process eligible materials.  
  • Manufacturing activities, which include those activities that manufacture products with eligible materials.  
  • Reuse means those activities that use an eligible material again, either in its original state or with refurbishment, for its original purpose or for a nontraditional purpose. 

2020 applications are due November 20, 2020 by 5:00pm.

Visit the MassDEP RBDG webpage or for more information about eligibility and material requirements, and a link to the application.

Introduction to Sustainable Purchasing- Improving Public Health and the Environment - Training Video

The Massachusetts Operational Services Division (OSD) has published a new training video - an Introduction to Sustainable Purchasing - Improving Public Health & the Environment.

Large organizations, such as governments and businesses, have the ability and responsibility to operate sustainably to improve the health of their communities. This video looks at organizations through a purchasing lens to show the simple purchasing decisions that go into reducing the environmental and public health impact of state and local government purchases. This video is presented by OSD, the agency responsible for administering procurement and purchasing processes for Massachusetts government.

Advisory Member Updates

Recycling is Essential in Nation's Supply Chain, Most Consumers Aren't Making the Connection

Immediately following the threat of shutdowns and the beginning of quarantines as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, consumers experienced shortages of paper products, such as toilet paper and paper towels. Despite the widespread shortages and attention they received, new research reveals that most consumers fail to make the connection between their recycling of paper at home and its value in providing feedstock to help make new products.

The good news is regardless, residents report they are keeping up their recycling during the pandemic. According to a national survey conducted last month by the Carton Council of North America, almost one-third of consumers (29%) report they have been recycling more during the pandemic and 56% have been recycling the same.

While promising, especially as the industry worked to maintain recycling programs when possible, the survey also revealed that consumers don’t understand the impact between recycling and the new products created. When asked how much impact recycling at home has on helping with paper shortages, 33% of consumers reported they thought recycling might have some impact on helping with the shortages, but they were not sure how much it really helped. While 18% felt recycling had no impact at all on alleviating shortages, 13% were unsure and had not thought about the connection.

“It’s great to see that people are either continuing to recycle at the same rate or recycling even more since spending increased time at home and generating more waste,” said Carla Fantoni, Vice President of Communications for the Carton Council of North America and for Tetra Pak Americas. “At the same time, the fact that consumers still aren’t seeing the connection between recycling and creating new products means that as an industry, there’s an opportunity to better educate about the important role it plays in our supply chain and building of a circular economy.”

Food and beverage cartons, made mainly of paper, are a recyclable material that provides needed feedstock for paper mills to create new paper products.

“Food and beverage cartons contain high quality fiber which we desire to help us keep up with demand for products like toilet paper, tissues, and paper towels,” said Michele Bartolini, Senior Marketing Director for Sustana. “As the nation opens up, we will continue to need paper feedstock to produce new paper materials. If cartons aren’t recycled and end up in a landfill, we are losing the opportunity to utilize that material.”

Nationwide, some recycling programs have had to temporarily stop or slow service due to the pandemic. Residents should check with their local municipality to confirm the overall status of their recycling program and if cartons are accepted where they live. To help improve awareness of recycling’s role in making new paper products, the Carton Council has launched a new digital campaign aimed at Midwestern states.

AF&PA & Industry Partners Aim to Set the Record Straight – Pizza Boxes Are Recyclable, Grease and Cheese Not an Issue

The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) has released new industry guidance that aims to clear up consumer confusion regarding the recyclability of pizza boxes. The guidance resulted from a study conducted by WestRock – an AF&PA member company – that found the presence of grease and cheese at levels typically found on pizza boxes does not impact manufacturing in a negative way.

“Corrugated pizza boxes are successfully recycled every day at paper mills throughout the country, yet consumers remain confused by mixed messages suggesting that some boxes should not be put in the recycle bin,” said AF&PA President and CEO Heidi Brock. “So, let’s be clear: pizza boxes are recyclable. Consumers should not be concerned about grease or cheese – simply remove any leftover pizza and place the box in the recycle bin. We encourage communities to update their residential recycling programs guidelines to explicitly accept pizza boxes that are free of food.”

In a recent membership-wide survey, AF&PA members representing 93.6 percent of the total amount of Old Corrugated Containers consumed by member companies, said they accept corrugated pizza boxes for recycling.

Various industry partners are joining AF&PA in the call for consumers to recycle their pizza boxes:

“When speaking at recycling conferences, the question I’m asked most often is: ‘Are pizza boxes recyclable,’” said Dennis Colley, President and CEO of the Fibre Box Association. “This guidance from AF&PA should give municipalities, recycling centers and households the information they need to confidently recycle pizza boxes.”

“AICC applauds the work of AF&PA, its members and our fellow organizations in continuing to provide clarifying information on this topic,” said Michael M. D’Angelo, President of AICC, The Independent Packaging Association. “It’s important for consumers to understand that the container of one of America’s favorite foods is recyclable. We are pleased to participate in the confirmation of the recyclability of the pizza box and encourage consumers to recycle them as they would any other box.”

“TAPPI is proud to join with AF&PA to clarify the facts on recycling pizza boxes,” said TAPPI President and CEO Larry N. Montague. “Billions of pizzas are sold in the U.S. every year, which means a lot of pizza boxes need to be recycled. Corrugated pizza boxes are a great fiber source for feedstock in many of our mills today.”

For more information about the recyclability of pizza boxes, including AF&PA’s Pizza Box Recycling Statement, visit PaperRecycles.org.

For more information about WestRock’s study on the impact of grease on recycling post-consumer pizza boxes, visit: https://www.westrock.com/greasecheesestudy.

ISRI Adopts Position on Minimum Recycled Plastic Content

he Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries’ (ISRI) new position on minimum recycled plastic content encourages efforts that will help spur demand for recycled plastics. It also aims to increase the commitment by stakeholders throughout the supply chain to ensure plastics are responsibly manufactured, collected, and recycled into new products.

Plastics are a diverse, versatile group of materials that are used in nearly all aspects of daily life, from life-saving medical supplies to light-weight food packaging. However, despite the benefits plastics offer, many remained concerned about high levels of plastic waste entering the natural environment. To avoid further environmental harm, it is imperative that all plastics be handled responsibly at end of life.

ISRI Supports:

  • Legislation that expands the use of recycled plastic in applications that are appropriate, noting these levels will vary by application and type of plastic;
  • Efforts by manufacturers and brand owners to increase the use of recycled plastic resin beyond legislated levels and applications, when possible;
  • Manufacturers incorporating the principles of Design for Recycling® (DfR) to ensure their products are more easily recycled;
  • Stakeholder efforts that seek to increase plastic recycling through public education, outreach and advocacy to meet growing demand for recycled plastic; and
  • Efforts that look at the life cycle assessment of a plastic product to help manufacturers make informed choices on the inclusion of recycled plastic resin.

The policy aligns with ISRI’s Design for Recycling® principles, which encourage manufacturers to consider the ultimate destiny of their products during the design-stage of development, which, in turn, supports the use of more recycled content in new products.