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Contact: Mary Ann Remolador,, 802-254-3636
Date: November 12, 2019

Conference About Plastics Recycling Issues Hit the Mark

Much Ado About Plastics was the theme of the Northeast Recycling Council’s Fall Conference on October 29 – 30 in Providence, Rhode Island.  The interest in and energy around plastics recycling issues was obvious among the 160+ attendees and exhibitors that filled the banquet room at the Graduate Hotel.

The Conference began with a provocative keynote address about the packaging industry’s journey toward sustainability.  “Sustainability is a movement and the response to seeing plastic waste in the ocean has evoked an emotional response to plastics recycling issues,” said Adam Gendell, Associate Director of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC). Gendell also mentioned that what moves people today is different from that of the 1970s.  Instead of the ad with the crying Native American urging people to stop littering, today’s spokesperson for environmental issues is the sea turtle that has ingested discarded plastics. This intense focus on plastics by the public has moved industry to take steps toward operating in a more sustainable way.

The Conference continued with a series of invigorating sessions and discussions, including:

  • Paradox of plastics
  • Cost of packaging Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) programs
  • Lessons learned from Europe’s plastics and packaging EPR managing plastics
  • Single use plastic legislation
  • Business incubator for plastics companies
  • Association of Plastics Recycler’s new post-consumer recycled content certification program
  • Robotic sorting equipment
  • Advanced chemical recycling
  • Basel plastics decision
  • Value of plastics
  • Eliminating toxics in packaging
  • PFAS
  • Educating youth about the science of plastics recycling

Also at the Conference, NERC awarded the Delaware River & Bay Authority’s Regional Environmental Leadership and Enhanced Recycling Program; Danvers, Massachusetts’ Recycling Contamination Reduction Campaign; and the Armstrong® Ceilings Recycling Program for their Environmental Sustainability Leadership.

The Conference Agenda and presentations are available on NERC’s website at