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PRESS RELEASE

Contact: Lynn Rubinstein, lynn@nerc.org, 802-254-3636
Date: October 30, 2019

NERC Announces its 2019 Environmental Sustainability Leadership Award Winners

The Northeast Recycling Council (NERC) last night presented its 2019 Environmental Sustainability Leadership Awards. Three outstanding programs in the Northeast were recognized. Each of the winners was selected for its particularly high level of environmental achievement that supports NERCs mission.  Awards were presented to:

  • Advisory Member award - the Delaware River & Bay Authority’s Regional Environmental Leadership and Enhanced Recycling Program
  • Public Sector award - Danvers, Massachusetts Recycling Contamination Reduction Campaign.
  • Private Sector award - The Armstrong® Ceilings Recycling Program

“This is the third year of NERC’s Environmental Sustainability Leadership Awards and we were once again impressed by the quality of the projects submitted for consideration,” commented Robert Isner of Connecticut, NERC Board Vice President. 

The Delaware River & Bay Authority’s (DBRA) Regional Environmental Leadership & Enhanced Recycling Program – winner of the Advisory Member award: The DBRA is a bi-state governmental agency that operates the Delaware Memorial Bridge, the Cape May-Lewes Ferry System and five regional airports. Recently, the Authority:

  • Partnered with Waste Management to provide recycling containers to each employee and rolled out new and enhanced recycling practices across all of its facilities.
  • Expanded environmentally preferable purchasing practices, including furnishing the Lewes, Delaware ferry with 100% recycled plastic products, such as Adirondack chairs and picnic tables.
  • Hosted three World Environmental Days in Delaware and New Jersey, promoting waste reduction, recycling, plastic and avoiding marine pollution.

Al Fralinger, Environmental Compliance & Safety Manager of the Delaware River and Bay Authority accepted the award.   

Danvers, Massachusetts Recycling Contamination Reduction Campaign – winner of the public sector award:  The Town of Danvers worked with its hauler – JRM - to retrain its curbside recycling residents about what to recycle. They updated their outreach and educational materials and created a “Danvers DPW Recycling Guide” to educate residents on proper recycling, updated their website, sent out a press release, and ran a social media campaign.

In July, 2019, JRM stickered and left contaminated recycling loads at the curb. DPW staff followed JRM’s recycling truck and left the “Danvers DPW Recycling Guide” with the resident.  The sticker program identified 1,200 residences that had contaminated recycling bins. Numbers dropped significantly after the first week and had decreased by 90% at month’s end. There were only 7 repeat violations in July.

Not only did residents get the message about what not to recycle, but about what they should recycle. In July, they had a recycling rate of 30% compared to a rate of 26% from April to June. Gail Bernard, Program Coordinator, Department of Public Works, accepted the award.

The Armstrong Ceilings Recycling Program – winner of the public sector award: The Armstrong® Ceilings Recycling Program is the first and longest-running recycling program in the ceilings industry. Since its inception in 1998, the closed-loop program, which takes back discarded ceiling panels from renovation and demolition projects and upcycles them into new ceiling panels, has diverted more than 200 million square feet of used ceiling materials away from landfills.

By reclaiming the old ceilings and using them to manufacture new ceiling products, the Ceilings Recycling Program has saved over one million tons of virgin raw materials and prevented 100,000 tons of construction waste from being deposited in landfills. In the 11-state NERC region, it has diverted more than 40 million square feet of used ceiling materials, saving 220,000 tons of virgin raw materials and preventing 20,000 tons of construction waste disposal.

The reclaimed ceilings are used to make new ceiling panels in a closed-loop manufacturing process. The new panels are designated as Ceiling-2-Ceiling™ items and contain the highest level of post-consumer recycled content in the ceilings industry.  Christopher Swentner, Recycling Coordinator for the program accepted the award.