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NRC Bulletin and Covid-19 Response and Markets Forum

April 20, 2020

NRC Presents the Recycling Markets Outlook Forum

Recycling Markets Outlook Forum

Featuring the New Recycling Market Development Platform

Join the National Recycling Coalition, EPA and Renew for a free, interactive webinar to discuss recent developments and how they impact recycling markets. Gain insight into the recycling value chain, including specific commodity types, and hear from national-level organizations. Learn how the recycling industry is working through barriers in these uncertain times, including a first look at the new Recycling Market Development Platform. During the webinar, there will be significant time to discuss specific questions, challenges, and opportunities with national experts. Register here.

Speakers include:
Joel Morales Jr, IHS Markit
Nina Butler, MORE Recycling
Bill Moore, Moore & Associates
Scott Defife, Glass Packaging Institute
Joe Pickard, ISRI

Special Message from the Board

Recycling Still Matters, But What Now?

April 20, 2020

For many states on the leading edge of COVID19 response, recycling and organics management service providers and communities have asked the question and gotten affirmation that these services are indeed essential. These affirmations are generally based on the recognition of the integrated nature of solid waste services.

Even though recycling and composting are not directly mentioned in the “Public Works” section of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s CISA Guidance on Essential Critical Workforce, it has either been added independently by state leadership or referred to in indirect ways in the updated and expanded CISA guidelines. It is clear that removing materials from the curb is important to public health and safety. And, that recycling and composting are important systems that provide feedstock for manufacturers, especially those producing toilet paper and packaging for medical supplies and cleaning products that are in such high demand.

As worker safety is of primary importance at this time, good communication and collaboration between service providers and their clients within the framework/terms of existing contracts will be the key to continuing the provision of these essential services. OSHA provides longstanding guidelines for the protection of Solid Waste and Wastewater Management Workers and Employers which should apply across the board.

What’s less clear is the impact of managing a potentially impacted and diminished work force and the availability of personal protection equipment on the provision of curbside and drop-off services. The demands of home life are taking precedence for many of us. Employees are managing kids at home and as the Coronavirus sweeps through the country, they are or will be caring for themselves and loved ones - as it should be. Now, we must explore contingency plans.

Of course, we encourage you to share as much information about your program and temporary changes to services as possible with your customers and residents. But in those communications please take the time to reaffirm for your audience the value of recycling organic and inorganic materials as critical components of lessening our collective demand for natural resources, putting the materials already circulating in our economy back into productive use to the benefit of the economy and environment, reducing the impact of waste, and yes, mitigating climate change.

Most importantly, if services are temporarily disrupted, ask your clients and residents to hold on to their recovered materials until services resume. Their materials and your programs are part of a larger supply chain, providing feedstock for a significant number of businesses and organizations large and small across the state and their livelihoods depend on it.

For those of you that are leading businesses and organizations that depend upon and manage recovered materials, we encourage you to check in with the U.S. Small Business Administration, state Small Business Associations, and departments of economic development for information regarding low interest loans and grants. Check in with departments of public health, natural resources, or environmental quality for guidance as the situation will continue to fluctuate. Additionally, find information here about the implications of the COVID19 response for container redemption in Bottle Bill states.

These are certainly extraordinary times. As we go about adjusting to life under “stay at home” orders, we are finding that policies and practices haven’t necessarily kept up with the times. However, we are more interconnected and dependent upon public services than ever. We are doing the best we can and can help others do their best too.

- NRC Board of Directors
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