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NRC News and Events

September 30, 2020

Recycling Prevents Wildfires?

by Marialyce Pedersen, NRC Board Secretary

Uncontrolled climate change continues to cause more visible and dreadful impacts. 2020’s devastating summer wildfires, which have burned more than five million acres in the US as of this month with more likely to come before winter rains and snow, have recyclers and zero waste advocates working to ignite more widespread awareness that waste and climate are inextricably linked. Meaningful action to reduce waste and wastefulness with attention to the full lifecycle of the products we use every day may be among humanity’s best hopes for climate protection.

A Circular Economy, anchored in accounting for and valuing carbon, creates incentives to re-absorb carbon back into the economy, including scrap materials—plastic, paper, metal, glass and organics. Recovering more scrap directly displaces the need for more oil and gas extraction; reduced oil and gas extraction for virgin resource production reduces greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). A Zero Waste approach advances climate protection by reducing impacts created by virgin materials extraction and end-of-life incineration and landfilling, following a hierarchy: prevent, reuse, design for recyclability and recycling, and utilize recycled content.

Read the Full Article Here

National Policy Town Hall on Reduce & Reuse

Reduce and Reuse are at the top of the EPA, Pollution Prevention and Zero Waste Hierarchies to prevent waste, use resources efficiently, and minimize environmental impacts. This work starts with changing consumption patterns and redesigning products, packaging, and buildings to be more durable, reusable and easily repairable. In recent years, communities and businesses have increasingly recognized the importance of reduction and reuse, finding innovative ways to implement new programs and policies.

  • Moderator: Timonie Hood, U.S. EPA, Region 9
  • Nathan Proctor, U.S.PIRG – Right to Repair
  • Leah Tischler, SBM Management – TRUE Zero Waste Implementation
  • Samantha Sommer, UPSTREAM – Reusable Foodware Models
  • Jacky Brown, Goodwill Industries of San Diego County – The Road to Zero Waste is Paved with Jobs
  • Dave Bennink, Building Deconstruction Institute – Deconstruction and Building Materials Reuse
Visit for more info on the content of this and other webinars. Register for webinars for a small fee of $25 each or $100 for all webinars in the National Zero Waste Conference Series (does not include conference registration).

Webinar Info and Registration


National Recycling Coalition Annual Members Meeting

The NRC Annual Members Meeting will take place on October 20, 2020 from 11:30-1:30 (PDT), 2:30-4:30 (EDT). The meeting will be virtual and the NRC Board invites you to attend and participate in this opportunity for engagement and feedback. During the meeting, important business will occur including the NRC Awards Presentation, the Candidate Slate Introduction and opportunity for nominations from the floor for the Board of Directors, a report on the state of NRC affairs and activities, and more.

If you are a member of one of NRC's recycling organizational affiliates, you are automatically an NRC member, and we hope you'll join us. Non-members are welcome to attend as well but may not participate in the election.

Please note that you will receive your election ballot on October 20th via email, so be on the look out!

Register for the Annual Members Meeting!

NRC Award Nominations Due October 1, 2020

There is still time! The National Recycling Coalition announces the “Call for Nominations” for the 2020 Awards – with awards presented at the NRC Annual Meeting (virtual) on October 20, 2020. Spread the word – Apply Now!

Click Here to access the Awards Nomination Form

Nominate a worthy candidate (you may self-nominate) by clicking on the following link. For questions, please contact Lisa Skumatz at [email protected], or at (360)261-3069. Deadline is 5pm on October 1, so get your nominations in now!

Additional Award Details

Moving Michigan Forward

by Kerrin O'brien, Michigan Recycling Coalition Executive Director/NRC Board Member

Twelve years ago, recycling leaders at the Michigan Recycling Coalition (MRC) identified funding as the number one priority for advancing recycling in Michigan. Shortly thereafter, the MRC produced a report, The State of Recycling in Michigan: A Way Forward. The report proved to be watershed moment for Michigan’s movement, effectively sharing progress on recycling, in spite of the challenges, outlining the value of recycling, and identifying a path toward diverting more materials to productive use to the benefit of Michigan businesses and communities. With some leg work, the report gained the attention of the Republican administration in office at the time and we began the step-by-step process that has led us not only to achieve our funding goals, but has also led to an historical bi-partisan package of bills that may modernize and rewrite Michigan solid waste laws.

The Michigan House of Representative is currently considering House Bills 5812-5817. It is our hope that this package will be approved this year, however, carrying a package of this size and import through a pandemic and an election year, might be considered heroic.

Current law requires Michigan counties to plan for solid waste management, through which they should secure 66 months of disposal capacity or make way for the development of capacity. Michigan law also requires the State to fund the development of county solid waste management plans, however this is where the system broke down. No funding mechanism was ever identified for planning and the planning process was primarily used to expand landfills.

You could say Michigan’s current solid waste law has been effective, if the goal is to create landfill capacity. Some parts of the state have more than 200 years of capacity available and Michigan landfill tipping fees are relatively low as a result. About a quarter of the waste disposed here comes from out-of-state, primarily Canada. It’s not a great business environment for waste diversion, recycling and composting have been having a hard time competing with the cheap cost of landfilling.

But with recently won funding to support for county “materials management” planning, as well as infrastructure and market development, for the first time in our history, Michigan may be able to combine that secure, on-going funding mechanism with a complementary policy framework on which to advance interests to put our waste to work for us.

Learn More about the Michigan Recycling Coalition

New Jersey Says No More Bags

Both Houses of the New Jersey Legislature has passed S864 (Smith)/A1978 (Pinkin). The bill prohibits the provision or sale of single-use plastic carryout bags, single-use paper carryout bags, and expanded polystyrene foam food service products. It also limits provision of single-use plastic straws and appropriates moneys from the Clean Communities Program Fund for public education. The bill passed the Assembly with a vote of 48-24-7 and the Senate concurred with a vote of 26-12.The bill is now on the governor’s desk to sign.

“This is a major environmental victory in our battle against plastics. The Legislature has passed the most comprehensive plastic bill in the nation. This bill will help protect our rivers and streams from plastic that not only hurts the environment but also endangers our wildlife and public health. Plastics are a scourge on our environment. Plastic bags have been known to clog storm drains and fill up detention basins, affecting our water quality. Animals, especially birds, get strangled and suffocated by plastic bags. This legislation is critical because it could make New Jersey a national leader in going after plastics and protecting our environment,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “This bill is going to make a big difference in New Jersey. Not only will it reduce our plastic pollution, but it will also save taxpayers money because of tipping fees and the costs of cleaning up storm drains and litter. The Governor needs to sign it as quickly as possible.”

Read the Full Story at Waste Advantage

Face Masks (and Other PPE): Still Not Recyclable

by Marialyce Pedersen, NRC Board Secretary

Protecting ourselves from contracting SARS-CoV-2 infection has become Priority Number One for human beings in countries all across the globe in 2020. The now-common sight of a discarded single-use blue facemask, littered on the ground or the water, has become a frequent and painful reminder of the futility of managing this crisis from an environmental perspective.

The reality is that plastic-based face masks and most other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) are not getting recycled, and recycling technology in general for complex multi-material, multi-layer products and packaging is still lagging far behind production and use. Zero Waste advocates are attempting now to build better relationships with PPE designers, healthcare professionals and others, to advance better and less-wasteful options to personal protection.

Read the Full Article Here

California Makes History with Recycled Content Law

In a move aimed at reducing huge amounts of plastic litter in the ocean and on land, California Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed a first-in-the-nation law requiring plastic beverage containers to contain an increasing amount of recycled material. Under it, companies that produce everything from sports drinks to soda to bottled water must use 15% recycled plastic in their bottles by 2022, 25% recycled plastic by 2025, and 50% recycled plastic by 2030.

Supporters of the new law say it will help increase demand for recycled plastic, curb litter in waterways and along roads, and reduce consumption of oil and gas, which are used to manufacture new plastics. “This is the most ambitious, aggressive recycled plastics content law in the world,” said Mark Murray, executive director of Californians Against Waste, a Sacramento-based environmental group.

Read the Full Story at Waste Advantage

Missed the Diversity Equity & Inclusion Webinar? Catch the Recording!

Click here to watch "Who's at the Table?
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in Waste and Recycling"

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