NPR Here & Now Interviews NRC President, Bob Gedert

Online Retail’s Having A Good Year. So Is Cardboard.

On August 19, 2016 the NPR program Here & Now interviewed Bob Gedert of the National Recycling Coalition about what the boom in online retail means for cardboard recycling.

Click Here to Listen to the Interview

Join NRC at the Resource Recycling Conference for the Municipal Roundtable: Best Practices in Resource Diversion

The National Recycling Coalition, in conjunction with Austin Resource Recovery and the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio, is convening a roundtable discussion about best practices in diversion – with an emphasis on reuse, recycling and composting strategies. We welcome waste management authorities, city recycling coordinators and others to join in a two-part conversation about which diversion strategies work well and why, and how we can leverage peer to peer relationships to encourage widespread adoption of best practice. We request participants bring one example of applied best practice and one issue your community would like to learn more about.

Presented by Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO)
Date: August 30 / Time 2:00 – 4:00 pm / Meeting Room: Melrose, 3rd Floor
No additional fee to attend / Registration required

Click Here For More Information

Click Here To Register For Resource Recycling

What is Zero Waste?

Written by Gary Liss

Over the past five years or so, leading solid waste and recycling organizations, communities and businesses across the country have increasingly embraced Zero Waste. Zero Waste policies and programs establish practical ways to eliminate waste and safely reuse, recycle or compost discarded products and packaging. However, there has been confusion in the marketplace due to the many definitions of “zero” that are being used.

To address this confusion for its members and others, NRC identified the need to evaluate and come to consensus on a definition for Zero Waste. Earlier this year, the NRC Board adopted the definition developed by the Zero Waste International Alliance (ZWIA). It reads as follows:

Zero Waste is a goal that is ethical, economical, efficient and visionary, to guide people in changing their lifestyles and practices to emulate sustainable natural cycles, where all discarded materials are designed to become resources for others to use.

Zero Waste means designing and managing products and processes to systematically avoid and eliminate the volume and toxicity of waste and materials, conserve and recover all resources, and not burn or bury them.

Implementing Zero Waste will eliminate all discharges to land, water or air that are a threat to planetary, human, animal or plant health.

The key measure of performance toward ZWIA’s Zero Waste definition is diverting 90 percent of all discarded materials from landfills, incinerators and the environment. While it’s true that 90 percent diversion does not equate to zero landfilling, the goal is viewed – both by ZWIA and NRC – as the most reasonable and yet ambitious target the industry should be aiming for. When referring to the zero waste definition, ZWIA encourages that to be capitalized, as is commonly done in contracts and other legal documents when referring to a defined term.

One compelling reason for NRC to adopt the ZWIA definition of Zero Waste is that it is the only peer-reviewed definition in existence today. It’s also been accepted by environmental, recycling and Zero Waste leaders all around the world. To date, many organizations, businesses and communities have adopted and support the ZWIA definition. It has also been embraced by many members of NRC.

Another facet of the zero waste definition that NRC finds especially useful is that it does not count waste-to-energy as diversion. While some companies and groups have endorsed a “zero landfill” practice, it is important to ensure that diverted material is not headed for incineration either.

The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) has acknowledged that it has members that support waste-to-energy while others support Zero Waste. SWANA wants to support both of those groups of members, so it has agreed to not view waste-to-energy as part of Zero Waste.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors adopted a resolution “In Support of Municipal Zero Waste Principles and a Hierarchy of Materials Management” last year that also highlighted that waste-based energy should be counted as disposal, not diversion.

NRC hopes that adopting ZWIA’s clear-sighted definition will help its members and the industry to continue to strive for the highest waste diversion and recycling goals and encourage them to divert as much as possible. NRC joins other organizations like the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council and Zero Waste USA, and many businesses and communities who have also adopted this definition. NRC encourages others to adopt this definition as well.

Please email me at if you know of any business, government agency or organization that adopts it.

Gary Liss is a current board member and secretary of the National Recycling Coalition. He was also a founding Board member and past president of NRC and is the president of Gary Liss & Associates.

This article was reprinted from NRC’s OpEd in the Resource Recycling Magazine on May 17, 2016.

2016 NRC Board Nominations are Open!

The 2016 NRC Board Nominations are open! Nominate yourself or someone else who is passionate about improving recycling for the National Recycling Coalition’s Board of Directors!

To run for the Board, you must be age 18 or over and have been an NRC member in good standing for a minimum of one (1) year.

Electronic nominations close on Tuesday, August 16, 2016 at 1:00pm ET/12:00pm CT/11:00am MT/10:00am PT and will reopen from the floor of the NRC Annual Members Meeting on Tuesday, August 30th at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside in New Orleans, LA.

Container Recycling Institute (CRI) will be hosting a Webinar that features two NRC Board Members

The Container Recycling Institute (CRI) will be hosting a webinar entitled the “Definition of Recycling” on July 27, 2016. This webinar will feature two NRC Board Members, Fran MacPoland and Stephen Bantillo as panelists for the discussion. The presentation panelists will delve into the definition of recycling.

Learn more about the webinar and register here!


Awards Deadline Extended to July 6, 2016

Last Chance!

The NRC Awards Deadline has been extended until July 6, 2016.

All that needs to be done to nominate a outstanding program or individual is write a 150 word summary and 1000 word document on why they should win! Review the criteria to be included in the documents and submit all documents to this SurveyMonkey form.

Your nominees will thank-you and will be honored at Resource Recycling’s Annual Conference in New Orleans from August 30 – September 1, 2016. Take this extended opportunity to honor a program or individual that deserves it!




Recycling Scholarships Available to New Orleans College Students

Since 1994, the National Recycling Coalition has awarded scholarships to students interested in the recycling field. This year, the NRC is awarding scholarships to qualified New Orleans area students in the amount of $1,500 each. Recipients will also receive complementary admission to the Resource Recycling Conference from August 30th through September 1st. Also included is a one-year membership to the Coalition.

Scholarship applications can be submitted at Applications must be received no later than July 22nd.  Winners will be announced by August 5, 2016.

5th Annual USZWBC National Zero Waste Business Conference

Hoping to tune in and learn what’s new with Zero Waste for your business?  Join the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council ( and industry leaders from across the globe in Austin, Texas June 1-4, 2016 for the 5th annual National Zero Waste Business Conference “Tuning in to Zero Waste.”  The event is conducted by USZWBC and hosted/sponsored by Austin Resource Recovery as a venue for professionals from all sectors (private, public, nonprofit, academia) to expand their Zero Waste knowledge.  The event will provide educational resources, networking opportunities, and professional training for businesses to begin (or fine tune) their efforts to pursue Zero Waste. It will also provide sessions lead by experts on Zero Waste related topics such as operations, economics, policies and more.  Each year, the event grows larger as the value of attending this conference is shared. Stay tuned to the “Zero Waste station” via for more information including early bird registration, sponsorship opportunities, program and much more.

Special offer for NRC network: enter the code “nzwbc16nrc” during registration and a set of 20% off discounted rates will appear!!! Register today at!

National Recycling Coalition Sets Record Straight: NRC Calls Shughart’s Attacks on Recycling Dangerously Misleading

William F. Shughart II’s recent Commentary, “Recycling makes greenies go gaga, but it’s a real burden for the rest of us” is replete with unfounded assumptions, gross generalizations and false statements that are dangerously misleading. We at the National Recycling Coalition know that recycling makes sound environmental policy, as well as sound business practice, resulting in significant environmental and economic benefits within our local communities, across the country and throughout the globe. It is an undisputed truth that more Americans – and more manufacturers – recycle today than in past decades, and they do so for good reason.

If, in fact as Shughart asserts, “the costs associated with the process of recycling almost always outweigh the benefits” why do manufacturers around the world rely on recycled metal, paper, plastic and other commodities for meeting nearly 50% of their raw material needs? Here in the US, steelmakers rely on iron and steel scrap – processed from items as diverse as automobiles, household appliances demolished bridges and old machinery – to make roughly two-thirds of the steel produced in the country every year. One-third of the U.S. aluminum supply comes from soda cans, aluminum siding and other forms of aluminum scrap.

And paper? Shughart’s statement that “it’s more expensive and more resource-intensive to recycle old paper than to cut and pulp pine trees …” is patently false. If it were true why would the US paper industry rely on recovered fiber produced from such items as old newspapers, magazines, catalogs, office paper and used corrugated boxes for more than half of their supply need today? And yes, paper mills are beating down the door to buy quality scrap paper.

Mr. Shughart proclaims that landfilling is better than recycling, conveniently ignoring the environmental costs of landfilling, as well as the financial costs to our communities. According to the USEPA, “nearly 30 organic hazardous air pollutants have been identified in uncontrolled LFG (landfill gas), including benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene, and vinyl chloride. Exposure to these pollutants can lead to adverse health effects.” Landfills are also the third-largest source of human-related methane emissions in the United States. Recycling not only avoids these harmful effects, but also the use of recycled instead of virgin materials. This reduces the production of carbon dioxide by significantly saving the amount of energy needed to manufacture the products that we buy, build and use every day.

A true cost comparison of recycling and landfilling must examine the full costs of those services on a program by program basis. There is great variation across the country. Researching the costs of each program requires an analysis of curbside collection and processing/management costs – however, the majority of recycling programs offer opportunities for revenues to offset some recycling costs – waste to landfill offers no such opportunity.

Recycling is an important economic engine and job creator, supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs across the country and generating $11.2 billion in tax revenues for the federal, state and local governments. Every 10,000 metric tons of recyclables generates 37 jobs, which equates to $1.1 million in wages and $330,000 in tax revenues And recycling’s economic benefits can be found in every state across the country.

Recycling also avoids the mining and extraction of raw materials, reducing environmental impacts in communities where mining waste can seriously degrade local landscapes and water resources. Conservation of natural resources is often not “counted” yet is a major benefit of recycling. Through the recycling of aluminum, there is the avoidance of mining bauxite ore. Recycling paper reduces the use of tree pulp. Utilizing recycled glass into new products significantly reduces energy consumption. Far from the “charade” that Shughart claims.

When one looks at the facts, it is clear that recycling makes much more sense than burying or burning our waste. The National Recycling Coalition encourages all Americans to recycle, not just because it seems like the right thing to do but because it makes clear environmental and economic sense.

from the National Recycling Coalition Board of Directors:

Bob Gedert, NRC President
Stephen Bantillo, Executive Director, Recycling Certification Institute
Gary Bilbro, President, SMART Recycling of SC
Robert J. Bylone, Jr., Exec Director and President, Penn Recycling Markets Center
Jeffrey Cooper, Business Development Manager, AECC Group
Jack DeBell, Development Director, University of Colorado Recycling
George Dreckmann, Strategic Initiatives Coordinator, City of Madison, WI
MaryEllen Etienne, CEO, Reuse Institute
John Frederick, Executive Director, Intermunicipal Relations Committee
David Juri Freeman, Recycling Program Manager, City and County of Denver
Marjorie Griek, Principal, Pearl Consulting, LLC
Brent Hildebrand, VP Operations, Alpine Recycling and Waste
Doug Hill, President, EcoVision Environmental
Mark Lichtenstein, Chief of Staff and Executive Director of Sustainability, State
University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry
Gary Liss, Zero-Waste Consultant, Gary Liss & Associates
Fran McPoland, Vice President, Paper Recycling Coalition & 100 Percent Recycled
Paper Alliance
Michelle Minstrell
Maite Quinn, Business Development and Marketing Manager, Sims Municipal
Antonio Rios, President, Puerto Rico Recycling Coalition
Julie L. Rhodes, President, Julie L. Rhodes Consulting
Will Sagar, Executive Director, Southeast Recycling Development Center
Lisa A. Skumatz, Principal Consultant/Research, Skumatz Economic Research
Associates, and non-profit Econservation Institute
Michael Van Brunt, Director of Sustainability, Covanta
Robin Wiener, President, Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries
Melissa Young, Assistant Director, Syracuse University Center for Sustainable
Community Solutions


The National Recycling Coalition is a non-profit organization focused on promoting and enhancing recycling in the United States. Our network of more than 6,000 members extends across waste reduction, reuse, recycling, and composting.

National Recycling Coalition | 1220 L St NW | Suite 100-155 | Washington, DC 20005 |


New NRC Officers

Congratulations to the new NRC Officers for the 2015-16 year! Officers were elected at the December 10, 2015 NRC Board meeting at Sims Municipal Recycling Facility in Brooklyn, NY.

Chair of the Board: Julie Rhodes
President: Bob Gedert
Executive Vice President/CEO: Marjie Griek
Additional Vice Presidents: Gary Bilbro and Stephen Bantillo
Secretary: Gary Liss
Treasurer: Julie Rhodes
At-large Executive Committee: George Dreckmann, Will Sagar, and Fran McPoland