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NRC News and Events

January 27, 2021

NRC President's Message

by Bob Gedert, NRC Board President

As we move into a new era in 2021, the recycling industry across the nation faces many challenges. As partners within the National Recycling Coalition, we collectively can work together to support recycling collection and processing programs throughout North America, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.

In recent years the NRC has emerged as a strong organization serving recyclers as the national advocate for recycling markets....

Read the full President's Message

Golden Ideas & Highlights to Ponder from NZWC Speakers

By Marialyce Pedersen

At the end of a year of extreme social isolation and upheaval, vital connections and hope for Zero Waste, circularity and environmental justice emerged brightly at the National Recycling Coalition’s first-ever Zero Waste Conference and National Recycling Congress, held virtually December 1-3 (and accompanied by a webinar series that began in August) for 250 to 450 people each day who logged in to the Remo platform to participate in keynote presentations, sessions and networking opportunities.

Recorded presentations are now available on the NRC website for free.

More than 80 speakers beaming from computers all across the US and the world shared their best ideas (and biggest concerns) over dozens of sessions, sparking interest and dialogue and generating an abundance of action items for participants in 2021 and beyond. The NRC will provide forums for ongoing discussions, and upcoming board committee and strategic planning work will likely reflect conference findings.

This author has compiled some stand-out highlights and absolutely golden thought-nuggets from the conference, although there are surely too many to name. Share your favorite moments with us as well!

Read thought-provoking highlights!

Announcing Murray J Fox Scholarship Recipients

Three outstanding college students were presented with tuition-based scholarships at the National Zero Waste Conference, hosted virtually by the NRC. This year's funding focused on advancing students' academic and professional interests in social justice aspects of the recycling industry. You can read all about the individual recipients by following the link below!

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 NRC’s Campus Council web page.

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

Read about the NRC Scholars

Diversity Equity & Inclusion Council - Building on Success

The National Recycling Coalition (NRC) leadership made the right decision to bring back a new, re-energized, Minorities Recycling Council which was formed in 1991. To that end, NRC Past-President Dave Keeling and NRC Board Chair Mick Barry, appointed a new leadership team to the council. The team includes: Abrilla Robinson, founder and manager of Minorities In Recycling & Environmental Management; Angela Moore, Facilities and Sustainability Coordinator for the Missouri Historical Society; and Arley Owens, Executive Director for the Ohio Recycling Coalition, as Co-Chairs for the Diversity Equity Inclusion Council (DEI).

“We want to make a positive difference in the manner by which America and the National Recycling Coalition members view the National Recycling Coalition in that the NRC should look and represent the diverse population of America,” stated Abrilla Robinson. “We also will encourage the NRC and its Affiliates to aggressively seek out Minority owned businesses to contract for services to include consultation, research and studies,” said Angela Moore.

Arley Owens stated, “Looking back 20 years ago and moving forward in 2021 the Diversity Equity Inclusion Council will revisit the concept of “Joining The Culture Club” addressed so eloquently by Kivi Leroux, in her article published in Waste 360. Moving forward in 2021 the DEI Council plans to form the DEI Culture Club, starting with hosting a DEI Training Workshop titled “Embracing Diversity“ which will serve to engage, enlighten and empower NRC Board Members and ultimately NRC Affiliates about the benefits of diversity, equity and inclusion. DEI will also assist in coordinating a NRC Diversity Membership Recruitment Program, promote the Made In America NOW Financial Incentive Program, designed to help the recycling industry bring back jobs and manufacturing of goods and products integrated with recycled material to America. Lastly DEI will also focus on reaching underserved communities with a message about the need to participate in Recycling, Zero Waste, Buy Recycled and Climate Change and establish an annual DEI Torch Awards Program.”

There is much more to come from the Minority Recycling Council this year. Why don't you join us? Contact Arley Owens to learn how to get involved!

NZWC Took a Village and NRC Thanks Our Village

A hearty thank you to those that attended, sponsored, exhibited, presented, and help us promote the NRC’s first National Zero Waste Conference. The NRC used Remo to deliver presentations and make networking seamless and easy for everyone. Recordings of presentations are available here.

Waste Dive summed up the event highlighting the key topics of the event as expanding zero waste models, the continued focus on plastics, the limitations of infrastructure, role of zero waste in climate and environmental justice issues, and the NRC interest in reviving buy-recycled initiatives.

Read the full article from Waste Dive here.

The NRC owes a debt of gratitude to the community of people that the committed time and resources required to plan, postpone, replan, and execute the event. We couldn’t have pulled this off without their help.
NRC Conference Chairs: Gary Liss, Alec Cooley, Leslie Lukacs
Contractors & Staff: Portia Sinnott, Juliana Gerber, Despina Kreatsoulas, Todd Sutton, Oren Wool, Sarah DeSouza
Core Volunteers: Karyn Kaplan, Jill Donello, Alina Bekkerman, Chrise DeTournay, Amanda Waddle

More thank you’s are also in order for the generous sponsors that enable the NRC to deliver these informational and educational events and do important work to advance recycling throughout the year.

Thank You National Zero Waste Conference Sponsors!

See the Full List of Sponsors!
Platinum Sponsors
sponsor logos v 2 tight
NZWC sponsors gold sil br

Hope Ahead with Biden Administration

By Marialyce Pedersen, NRC Board of Directors

Zero waste and the circular economy are not yet clearly included in Biden Plan (“Plan for a Clean Energy Revolution and Environmental Justice”), but the incoming Biden Administration’s ambitious climate agenda, attention to advancing environmental justice and new environmental appointees, seem to signal hope that such initiatives could be meaningfully addressed in 2021-2024.

“We literally have no time to waste,” Biden said at a Dec. 19 press conference to introduce key members of his environmental team, including John Kerry as Climate Envoy, covering climate issues internationally and former EPA head Gina McCarthy as Climate Czar, to oversee federal agencies advancing the US climate agenda. Michael S. Regan of North Carolina, a former EPA air quality regulator and VP at the Environmental Defense Fund, has been chosen to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.

Read the full article

NC Marine Debris Symposium Offers NRC Member Discount

The NC Marine Debris Symposium is taking place virtually from February 10-12th, 2021. The symposium is excited to bring global content, while continuing to provide fresh grassroots inspiration this year. NRC members will be able to receive a member discount, simply select the member option on registration if you are an NRC member or affiliate member. You can check your affiliation status on NRC's website.

"We are eksite (Hatian for excited) to announce our Keynote Speaker this year, Blada Desauguste, founder of Kay Blada Recycling, a non-profit organization based in Haiti. We are grateful for Blada and our team of presenters and panelists that will be providing the latest information on marine debris prevention, policy, and removal efforts that you need to hear about." - Lisa Rider, NCMDS Organizer, Coastal Carolina Riverwatch

Please find the latest agenda and registration by heading to the 2021 Event website page here. They symposium will also have two virtual Happy Hour sessions that will be a relaxing way for you to unwind and learn about marine debris programming. There will also be a chance for audience participation during these sessions.

Visit the NC MDS website for more info and to register!

Comment By March 8 on EPA's Recycling Rate Methodology

At the 2020 America Recycles Summit on November 17, 2020, EPA announced the overall national recycling goal to increase the U.S. recycling rate to 50% by 2030. This national goal will provide the benchmark to evaluate the success of the collective efforts to improve the nation’s recycling system.

EPA is seeking public input on the national recycling rate which will help track progress toward our national recycling goal. Specifically, EPA is seeking input on which key data points the Agency should include when calculating the national recycling rate. Later in 2021, EPA will update and publish the National Recycling Measurement Guide with a detailed methodology on how the Agency will calculate the national recycling rate.

EPA is currently accepting comments on the national recycling rate methodology until March 8, 2021. If you are interested in providing comments on the national recycling rate, see the memo at by searching EPA-HQ-OLEM-2020-0443-0068. Please submit comments at [email protected]. Comments will be accepted until 11:59 PM ET on March 8, 2021.

New York Bans Bottles for State Agencies

Executive Order No. 18 was issued in 2009 in an effort to save taxpayers dollars and improve the environment by eliminating New York State's purchase and use of bottled water in state agency facilities and promoting the use of tap water as a preferred alternative. All executive agencies were required to develop and implement compliance plans and report annually on their progress in accomplishing the Governor's objectives under the order.

The executive agencies covered by EO 18 have virtually eliminated the purchase of bottled water, with 11 agencies* continuing to use bottled water under special circumstances. (*2014-15 Fourth Progress Report on State Green Procurement and Agency Sustainability)

Learn more about NY's Bottle Ban

Round 2 PPP Highlights for RO's, Recycling Businesses

Its was and continues to be a tough year for many recycling organizations and recycling businesses. Between not being able to have conferences in person, restricted travel preventing sales and meetings, and so many changes to life, many are struggling to make ends meet and some have even folded. But there is help coming. If you're not aware, round two of the federal Payroll Protection Program is on the way for small businesses of under 500 employees and non profit organizations that have lost at least 25% of their revenue over last year due to the pandemic. Congress finally agreed to approve a $900 billion COVID-19 relief package as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021. Included in that amount is $284 billion for a second round of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Included in the new package is the ability to obtain a second PPP loan for small businesses under 500 employees facing significant revenue declines in any 2020 quarter compared to the same quarter in 2019. Loans are to become available and begin considering applications sometime before March 31st, 2021.

Read PPP highlights from National Law Review

In Case You Missed It...

Join NRC, Get Involved, Do Something!

The National Recycling Coalition has many opportunities for you to get involved, including the Recycling Organizations Council, Campus Council, the Market Development, Communication & Membership Committees, the Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Council, and more. You can use these opportunities help yourself with additional resume building experience, network with industry leaders, and help advance recycling at a national level at the same time.

Learn more about joining NRC
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