News and Events

December 2022

The Second Recycling Revolution

By Guest Authors Neil Seldman, The Recycling Cornucopia Project, Zero Waste USA & Susan Kinsella, Conservatree and The Recycling Archives

After 20 years of stagnation, recycling is gaining momentum again. But, as the country moves forward from its somnolence, shaken by China’s ban on importing contaminated materials, headwinds from “Big Waste,” Big Packaging and Big Soda are also gathering to halt this Second Recycling Revolution in the U.S. so they may continue profiting from wasting...Read More

Special Commentary: PureCycle Is Recycling

by Marialyce Pedersen, NRC Board Member

Polypropylene (PP, #5) plastic is the first- or second-most commonly used resin worldwide (170-200 billion pounds produced per year and growing), with many familiar applications. FDA-approved for food contact and widely considered safe for people, it’s used in yogurt and sour cream containers, bottle caps, freezer- and microwave-safe food trays and prescription drug bottles, and for non-food applications including diapers, toys, totes, DVD/CD boxes, automotive interiors and home appliances. It’s also a primary component in flexible packaging, the fastest-growing plastic packaging category. If you eat food, you’ve probably got some on your shelves and in your refrigerator and freezer, and if you have a car or a garage, it’s likely there as well.

After years of research and development with Procter & Gamble scientists, NRC Member PureCycle Technologies has created a hybrid mechanical and physical “dissolution-” based recycling process which Chief Sustainability Officer and VP of Industries Tamsin Ettefagh states can result in between 88 to 97 percent recovery of used polypropylene. In complement to this, earlier this year, in May, 2022, PureCycle received pre-notification from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), approving the use of food-grade post-industrial recycled materials for all food types (Letter of No Objection - LNO, and another LNO for post-consumer conditions E-G)...Read More

National Recycling Congress Recap and Thank You!!

The 2022 [Virtual] National Recycling Congress was successfully held on November 9 and 10 on the Zoom platform. The event brought together nearly 450 professionals representing all sectors of waste reduction, recycling, circular economy, composting and so much more. Feedback from early surveys indicates that the level of expert presenters and the Congress content maintained a high standard and met the needs of our ever changing industry. NRC sincerely thanks all of the volunteers who stepped up to make this a great event, the Conference committee leaders, who are all volunteers that worked tirelessly to ensure a great conference, and a special thanks to the Julie L. Rhodes Consulting team for going above and beyond all expectations to make this event so fantastic. For more info visit

The Longest Day of the Year in Michigan

The Michigan legislature just passed a historic eight-bill package designed to update Michigan solid waste law. Supporters expect the bills to be signed by the Governor soon. This package is the product of 7 years of deliberation in workgroups that included more than 70 different stakeholder groups from Michigan Recycling Coalition to the Michigan Chamber of Commerce. House Bills 4454-4461, which garnered significant stakeholder and bipartisan support, passed through the Michigan House of Representatives in late April of 2021 and finally received approval by the Michigan Senate on the final day of lame duck. With funding secured and an updated policy framework finally in place, Michigan can begin to develop a circular economy to the benefit of Michigan’s economy and environment. Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy communications manager, Hugh McDiarmid said, “The solid waste and recycling statute updates represent long overdue legislation to modernize materials management systems.”...Read More

RMDZ Loans Fund Real Circularity

by Marialyce Pedersen, NRC Board Member

Since the early 1990s, California’s Recycling Market Development Zone (RMDZ) program, funded by state agency CalRecycle via landfill tip fee surcharges, has been providing attractive loans, technical assistance and free product marketing to businesses that use materials from the waste stream to manufacture their products. Zone administrators in 40 local zones across the state, including Ventura County Public Works’ Environmental Resource Analyst David Goldstein, the state’s leading loan-maker, guide applicants with their expertise, and can offer project incentives permit assistance, help with understanding building codes and zoning laws, reduced taxes and licensing fees, and access to feedstock.

On Nov. 21, in celebration of America Recycles Day, special public presentation ceremonies with city, county, and state officials present, were held for three Ventura County businesses which were recently approved for low-interest (4 percent fixed rate) RMDZ loans. This included the largest loan in the 30-year history of the program—$11,000,000—thanks to recent program changes which increased previous loan caps of $2 million...Read More

Center for Sustainable Materials Management Launches New Website

The Center for Sustainable Materials Management (CSMM), housed at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF), has announced the launch of its new website, created to bring together people and organizations to innovate the way materials are managed in New York State. Visitors to the site will find information about the CSMM team, its initiatives, research, publications and partners.

The Center’s collaborative work focuses on waste reduction and product stewardship, closed-loop and responsible purchasing, expansion of recycling markets, outreach and education, and research to manage non-recyclable paper materials. These project areas are being worked towards through the practical lenses of community engagement, outreach, policy development, public education, research and technical assistance. Check out the new website to learn more about the Center's work and discover how to stay connected...Read More

Recycle Colorado's New Board leadership & Plastic Pollution Reduction Act Toolkit

Recycle Colorado recently elected five new board members for the 2023 year. They are excited to welcome Samantha Bailey, Jenifer Freeman, Mellik Gorton, Julie Mach, & Brandy Moe. Additionally, our esteemed board leadership was elected: President David Fridland, Vice Presidents Jenifer Freeman and Brandy Moe, Treasurer Sarah Jones, and Recorder Mellik Gorton. Recycle Colorado is looking forward to continuing our work toward increasing Colorado's waste diversion rate in 2023 as well as doing some work on the upcoming recycling policy for Colorado. Part of this includes expanding resources for businesses and municipalities across Colorado for the upcoming Plastic Pollution Reduction Act that will be implemented (HB21-1162). In collaboration with friends at Eco-Cycle and the Colorado Municipal League, a toolkit will soon be available for all to use soon!

More information at

Zero Waste Conference: Leading at the Top of the Hierarchy

By Marialyce Pedersen, NRC Board Member

Nearly 500 people across the US soaked up inspiration and hope from breakthrough industry leaders working at the top of the zero waste/circular economy hierarchy in waste prevention, repair and reuse, with a good dose of meaningful environmental justice (EJ) progress too, at NRC ally Zero Waste USA’s 2022 National Zero Waste Conference (NZWC), held online, Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. Read this thoughtful recap to get the highlights of the conference!...Read More

Email conference related questions to [email protected]

Support NRC With A Donation

Your donation to the NRC supports a strong voice for the advancement of
policies and programs to make the Circular Economy a reality. In addition to individual and organizational memberships, you can support the NRC through a direct donation.
The NRC thanks all its 2022 members, affiliates and sponsors, and invites additional participation to guide our success in 2023. Supporting memberships start at just $35 (full membership $100). Please consider and feel confident in including the NRC in your end-of-year giving: the NRC is a GuideStar platinum-rated nonprofit organization.

For check donations:
National Recycling Coalition, Inc.
Attn: NRC Treasurer
1 Forestry Drive
203 Bray Hall, SUNY College
Syracuse, NY 13210

Or Email [email protected] to request
an invoice you can pay via credit card! Every little bit helps and is tax deductible!

You can also support NRC on Amazon Smile!

NRC Legislative Committee Invites Involvement

The NRC Legislative Committee endeavors to track federal legislation and alert NRC members of recommended actions, such as contacting representatives in both the House and Senate, and working with other contacts to influence and guide matters in favor of recycling, whenever possible. While NRC does not employ a federal lobbyist, members frequently work with other groups which do utilize them, and NRC leaders have long-established relationships that can open doors with staff on Capitol Hill when recycling and composting issues arise. The committee is preparing a survey for State Recycling Organizations (SROs), to gauge interest in legislative priorities of our affiliates. Legislative-minded board members are always invited to the NRC's monthly meetings, or may reach out via email or phone to communicate with members about state-based legislative efforts. Recently the Michigan Recycling Coalition (MRC) helped shepherd a package of bills through their lame-duck session. While they were officially neutral, they still had influence and worked to address concerns members had of the wide-ranging laws. The MRC's website has more information:

The NRC Legislative Committee is not a legal reviewer, nor do we actively engage in State legislation, but many federal initiatives are rooted in the success of state efforts, and by communicating about what is working through those efforts, more can be accomplished nationally. If you are interested in the survey or participating in this committee, please email me at [email protected]; Subject: NRC Legislative Committee.

2022 National Recycling Coalition Scholarships: Supporting Students, Honoring a Legacy

Two outstanding college students from around the country are recipients of this year's Murray J. Fox Scholarships, offered through the National Recycling Coalition and its Campus Council. Scholarships focus on advancing students' academic and professional interests in social justice aspects of the recycling industry. These students received tuition-based scholarships, registration for the National Recycling Congress, as well as membership in the National Recycling Coalition.

The Murray J. Fox Scholarship Fund was created in 1994 to honor one of the founding members of the National Recycling Coalition through an endowment to continue his legacy of fostering future leaders. Since then, dozens of students have benefited from his support. Many are making valuable contributions in the industry. A tribute to him is posted at the Campus Council web page.

The NRC congratulates these students on their awards and welcomes them to the Coalition.

Amanda Spiegel: Senior, Operations and Supply Chain Management, University of South Carolina
At the University of South Carolina, Ms Spiegel is excited to continue to explore her passion of sustainable materials management and recycling. She believes that going upstream, to the beginning of production and supply, is where change ultimately needs to occur. She plans to apply her academics to affect change there.

Ricardo Sheler: Junior, Sustainable Urban Environments, New York University
Ricardo observes that current systems of recycling are underwhelming and ineffective. This leaves much of our recycling to be exported to be picked apart in Southeast Asia, West Africa, and Latin America, polluting the environments for people of color in the developing Global South. Mr Sheler intends to help develop systems which promote the equitable and sustainable environments of the future. He wants to work with stakeholders on policies through public office itself one day.

Visit for more info.

EPA Recycling Grants - 411

  • The U.S. EPA has opened the application process for new, long-awaited recycling grants and said the first round will disburse $100 million to states, municipalities, and other entities. Applications are due Feb. 13, 2023, following an extension.
  • The agency will host a series of webinars in late November through early January to provide more information on how to apply. The information sessions could also help clear up questions about whether specific types of projects will be eligible for funding.
  • The application process is open for the Solid Waste Infrastructure for Recycling grant, which aims to build, expand and upgrade waste management systems. The application process is also available for the Recycling Education and Outreach grant, meant to improve public information on recycling.
Get more info here

Monthly Communication Tip:

If you are active on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, please find the National Recycling Coalition page and like and follow us. Share our posts on your social media and like them. Comment on them. This truly helps increase our recognition and improves recycling actions.
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The opinions expressed in the articles included in this newsletter do not necessarily represent those of the NRC, and are provided as a means to create dialogue and debate about important recycling issues. Our members provide much of the content of this newsletter on a volunteer basis. If you would like to contribute, contact us at [email protected]. Thanks!