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NRC News and Events

November 15, 2020

NRC Scholarship Program Applications Due Nov. 19

This year, up to three college students will be awarded a Murray J. Fox Scholarship, between $1,000 and $3,000 to assist with their education expenses. Recipients will also receive complimentary admission to the national Zero Waste Conference December 1-3, 2020. 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, more than $130,0000 has been awarded to dozens of students. A tribute to him is posted at the NRC Campus Council's web page.

Funding will be focused this year on advancing students' academic and professional interests in social justice aspects of the recycling industry. Examples include COVID safety for custodians, climate action, and collaboration with the NRC's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Council.

Applications will be accepted through November 19. Recipients will be announced at the NRC's Virtual Congress, December 3. Online application at:

Submit questions to the Campus Council: [email protected]

More information is available at

Countdown to Conference!

It's not too late to register...In fact, you can register up to the day of the conference. But why wait? Go ahead and do it now, and receive complimentary admission to this week's interactive webinar addressing Hard to Handle Materials (more info below), using our new online gathering platform, Remo!

Upcoming National Zero Waste Webinar:

Finding Markets for Hard to Recycle Materials

November 19, 2020 from 10am – 12pm PST/ 1 – 3pm EST


This is the last in the series of webinars every 2 weeks that NRC has provided as part of the National Zero Waste Virtual Conference. This is a hands-on webinar. There will be a short introduction then you will break into tables using the REMO platform, with experts at each table for different types of materials (e.g. plastics, metals, glass, paper, organics, carpet, paint, mattresses, construction & demolition materials and reusables). Our model is “Antiques Road Show” where there are experts around the room that people line up to speak with about their antiques. In this case, experts will be speaking with you about your hard to recycle items.

Bring your own hard to recycle materials or products and review different highest and best uses for those materials or products with marketing experts and attendees.

  • Glass 1: “Myths about Glass Recycling”, Curt Bucey, Strategic Materials
  • Glass 2: “Drop-off v. Curbside: What’s right for your glass?”: Laura Hennemann, Strategic Materials
  • Organics: Beto Ochoa, Zanker Recycling
  • Paint: Nichole Dorr and Brett Rodgers, PaintCare
  • Mattresses: Mike O’Donnell, Mattress Recycling Council
  • Construction & Demolition Materials: Jerame Renteria, Zanker Recycling
  • Reusables 1: Dan Knapp, Ph.D (outdoor products), Urban Ore
  • Reusables 2: Mary Lou Van Deventer (indoor products), Urban Ore
  • More have been invited – please contact [email protected] if you’d like to participate (particularly for plastics and other packaging
REMO allows attendees a high degree of interaction for small group networking. In Remo, attendees are presented with a virtual floor map with multiple “tables” that will be labeled for the particular material or product of interest. Attendees can move between tables on their own and are able to see everyone else who is “in the room”. When the user moves to a table, they join a live session that looks like Zoom with everyone else at the table. Below is a screen shot of a sample floor map. Take a spin via YouTube on Remo 101 or sign up for a Guided Tour on the Remo website.
Remo map
To get the most out of participating in this webinar, go to a REMO training by NRC right before this webinar at 9 am PST. After you register, NRC will provide you with a link to that training, or contact [email protected] closer to the event.

Conference Registrants: Complementary Registration
All others: $25

National Recycling Coalition Award Winners

Congrats on Making America Recycle!

NRC's Annual Awards are designed to honor and recognize outstanding individuals, programs, and organizations around the country, both for their achievements, and to serve as a model and a resource for learning for NRC members. NRC’s Awards Committee Chair Lisa Skumatz, SERA, Inc. commented on the process, expressing the views of fellow committee members: “We were pleased to receive so many nominees from all across the country, meriting winners from Alaska to Florida, and from the latest high tech to long-standing rural models! The committee worked hard to sort from among the very strong submittals to find those shining examples The winners embodied best practices, especially during this unique year due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the challenges that many organizations have been facing.”

You can view the full Awards Presentation online including words from the winners by visiting our NRC Awards page!

Please join NRC in congratulating the award winners listed below.

Bill Heenan Emerging Leader Award:

Jacob Appel

Jacob has been an active intern with the University of Colorado’s Zero Waste Lab and the National Recycling Coalition since the start of the 2019-2020 academic year. His work has focused on building out their database resource libraries, streamlining the use of both platforms. He has collaborated on numerous projects, assisting in the analyses of a Zero Waste Action Plan between the University of Colorado Boulder, the city of Boulder, and Boulder County. He has also been engaged with Recycle Colorado since last Fall. His passion for and knowledge of the world of SMM continues to flourish.

Lifetime Achievement in Recycling:

Chaz Miller

Chaz Miller is an invaluable national advocate for recycling. Throughout his career, he implemented many recycling programs, including office paper recycling and national glass recycling. Miller has testified in favor of recycling before congress, has spoken at conferences all over the world, and authors an award-winning column focused on recycling and waste issues. Most recently he chaired his home county’s Aiming for Zero Waste Task Force and continues to consult on recycling and waste reduction.

Lifetime Achievement in Recycling:

Richard Keller

Richard Keller has been a leader in recycling at the federal, state, and local level for more than four decades. His most notable achievement is establishing buy recycled programs. He wrote the Buy Recycled Training Manual and has conducted more than 180 training programs on buying recycled products. He has managed recycling projects including selling recyclable commodities, airport and stadium recycling, planning, source reduction, reuse, training, and market development.

Outstanding Business Leadership-For Profit Company:

AMP Robotics

This award went to AMP robotics because they’ve been moving forward on new robotic and AI strategies in the very important area of MRF sorting performance. AMP’s work in modernizing recycling infrastructure is helping to recover commodities reclaimed as raw materials for the global supply chain more and more economically. Advancements include: sensors that are speedy and accurate at identifying and sorting specific recyclables from a mixed stream and that continuously learn so they can improve identification of different colors, textures, shapes, sizes, patterns, and even brand labels to identify materials and their recyclability – and this is then coupled with robots that rapidly sort, pick, and place materials FAST -- and other advancements are continually moving forward. Designed to run 24/7, all of this happens at superhuman speed with extremely high accuracy. Deployments across the US, Canada, Japan, and into Europe demonstrate these technologies are beyond pipe dreams and into the marketplace, which means big things for recycling.

Outstanding Business Leadership-For Profit Company:

Green Bay Packaging

Green Bay Packaging’s containerboard mill in Green Bay is a fully integrated pulp and paper mill that produces linerboard and corrugated medium in the full spectrum of basis weights using 100% post-consumer recycled fiber. GBP partners with customers to optimize the collection of old corrugated containers (OCC) recovered in their recycling processes. That effort regenerates corrugated shipping containers with fewer resources while reducing their carbon footprint. In their efforts to close the loop on OCC and mixed paper, the company promotes sustainability through resource conservation, pollution prevention, recycling, responsible forestry, energy conservation, waste reduction and also closing the loop in the water system. Truly aggressive efforts and a deserved win.

Outstanding Business Leadership Non-Profit:

Alaskans for Litter Prevention and Recycling (ALPAR)

For nearly 40 years, ALPAR has been innovating ways to provide recycling in Alaska. Thanks to donated backhaul services for multiple recognizable partners that bring commodities into Alaska but might otherwise leave empty, ALPAR helps communities remove aluminum cans and plastic bottles from the waste stream. Alpar is the non-profit that coordinates these donated backhauls so the system can work! In 2019 they assisted more than 70 rural communities by moving 14 tons of aluminum cans on to recycling centers in the Lower 48. With the help of their business partners, ALPAR works to reduce litter, divert material from limited-life landfills, and provide revenue to many rural communities. ALPAR is working hard to make sure that Alaska is not the last frontier when it comes to recycling.

Outstanding Recycling Organization:

Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio- Food Waste Diversion Program

The Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio formed the Central Ohio Food Waste Initiative in 2018 by partnering with over 150 local and state organizations to align activities for combating food waste throughout the region with the goal of cutting it in half by 2030. The initiative created an Action Plan that has strategically guided collaborative activities for establishing new programs, services, and policies.

Outstanding Higher Education:

UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County- Waste Reduction Program

In order to reach the Florida’s 75% diversion rate, UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County has developed a comprehensive approach to composting education. For 2019-2020, IFAS has hosted in-person active learning workshops, online webinars, developed a new UF/IFAS online certificate course, and community food waste collection projects. The program is now being adopted by multiple communities across Florida. 75% of workshop attendees say they are now actively composting at home.

Outstanding Community or Government Program:

City of Fayetteville, AR- Organics & Recycling Program

The City of Fayetteville, AR, food waste diversion program has already diverted 308 tons of food waste away from the landfill in 2020 alone! The recycling program includes a color-coded program to help with recycling sorts and the city just enacted a city-wide ban on expanded-polystyrene foam. They are reducing GHG emissions, saving the City tipping fees, reducing litter, and helping Fayetteville get many steps closer to its 40% waste diversion goal.

Outstanding Community or Government Program:

Boulder County Resource Conservation Division- Zero Waste Program

The Boulder County Resource Conservation Division has shown how much focus and hard work and leadership can mean in moving a county forward to reach its goal of Zero Waste by 2025. Its mission is to provide convenient, cost-effective facilities and programs to help Boulder County reduce waste disposal, protect the environment, and conserve natural resources. The division works on community participation, public education and well-designed, comprehensive programs to focus on achieving Zero Waste, and bring the message in every element they can – including outstanding efforts at their long-standing County fair! They have a history of always looking for the next opportunity, and the next needed facility to reach ZW goals.

Outstanding Outreach Program:

City of Fort Worth, TX- Master Composter Program

The City of Fort Worth Master Composter Program is a volunteer certification program that promotes backyard composting and sustainability. Course curriculum focuses on food waste, composting, and soil ecosystem health. Each month, the Compost Outpost produces 35 CU YDs of high-quality compost with about 650 lbs of food waste. Master Composter volunteers also help move a minimum of 120lbs annually from local restaurants and grocers to be composted. The program uses composting education as a platform to raise awareness about food waste, recycling, and encourage positive spill-over into other sustainable habits.

The National Recycling Coalition congratulates all of this year’s award winning programs and individuals! For more information, please contact Lisa Skumatz, Awards Chair [email protected]; 360/261-3069.


The NRC is sincerely grateful for your service and dedication to this special organization. You have contributed at a profound level and you will be missed!

Special thanks to you all: Mick Barry, Barb Eckstrom, Chantal Freyer, Kerrin O'Brien, Sarah Pierpont, Charlotte Pitt, Antonio Rios, Justin Stockdale, Nina Butler, Susan Gordon

NRC 2020 Election Results

The NRC is pleased to announce the new board members elected for the 2020-2023 term!

Newly Elected Board Members
  • Maggie Clark, Zero Waste Professional, New York
  • Colleen Foster, City of Oceanside, California
  • Bob Gedert, Adjunct Professor - Xavier University, Ohio
  • Wayne Gjerde, Minnesota Recycling Market Development, Minnesota
  • Marta Keane, Illinois Product Stewardship Council, Illinois
  • Leslie Lukacs, Sonoma County Waste Management Agency, California
  • Olivia Sanchez, County of Riverside, California
  • Lisa Skumatz, Ph.D., SERA, Inc., Colorado
  • Martie Solomon, City of Chula Vista, California
  • Cynthia Vant Hul, Mariposa Eco Consulting, Inc., California
Introducing the 2020-2021 NRC Executive Committee

President: Bob Gedert, Adjunct Professor - Xavier University
Chair: Lisa Skumatz, Ph.D., SERA, Inc.
Vice President: Stephen Bantillo, Recycling Certification Institute
Treasurer: Susan Collins, Container Recycling Institute
Secretary: Marialyce Pederson, GBCI True Advisory Council, NRC Board of Directors
At Large Member: Wayne Gjerde, Minnesota Recycling Market Development, Minnesota
At Large Member: Mary McClellan, Carolina Recycling Association
At Large Member: Martie Solomon, City of Chula Vista, CA

Click here for additional information about the NRC Board of Directors

Thank You National Zero Waste Conference Sponsors!

See the Full List of Sponsors!
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