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July 31st Recycling Markets Development in the 21st Century – Presentations


Welcome and Introductions:  Gloria Hardegree, GRC; Dave Keeling, NRC


Background issues:


State Progress & Perspective:


Regional View from the Ground :  Presentations followed by Facilitated Panel Discussion /Q&A


Industry End Markets and Updates on Needs / Capacity: Presentations Followed by Facilitated Panel Discussion / Q&A

  • Mixed Paper / Cardboard – Hal Rischer, WestRock
  • Glass – Bill Clark, Strategic Materials
  • Plastics – Andy Johnson, KW Plastics
  • Carpet – David Wilkerson, Shaw Industries
  • Metals – Chip Koplin, ISRI



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Recycling Markets Development in the 21st Century – Speaker Bios and Contact Information


Recycling Markets Development in the 21st Century

Speaker Bios and Contact Information

July 31, 2018

Will Sagar, SERDC, Southeast Recycling Development Council, Executive Director.

P: (828) 507-0123 – [email protected]

Topic Background Issues: SE Recycling/Markets Overview

Will Sagar graduated from the University of North Carolina with a double major in Economics and Mathematics.  He has 18 years’ experience as County Solid Waste Director in two counties in Western North Carolina.  He was in the first 500 operators to receive Manager of Landfill Operations.  He has implemented a Pay As You Throw program and constructed the first lined landfill in the mountains of North Carolina.

Will is a Past President of the Board of Directors the Carolina Recycling Association. For several years, he also chaired the Board of The Free Clinic of Transylvania County, which serves the medical needs of the uninsured. He works from his home in Hendersonville, North Carolina. Sagar has been with SERDC since 2010.


Sandy SkolochenkoNorth Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, Recycling and Materials Management

P: (919) 707-8147 – [email protected]

Topic: State Progress & Perspective: Best Practices for State Supported Initiatives NC

Sandy Skolochenko works for the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s Recycling and Materials Management Section. She has more than 5 years of experience working to advance recycling in North Carolina at the local and state level. Sandy and her team provide technical assistance, grant-making, education and outreach, and market development to help grow the state’s recycling infrastructure and improve the quantity and quality of materials that are delivered through public and private programs.

Rhonda J. RollinsEPA Region 4, Environmental Scientist

P: (404) 562-8664 – [email protected]

Topic: State Progress & Perspective: EPA Regional Input

Rhonda Rollins is an Environmental Scientist with EPA Region 4 in Atlanta.  She received her Bachelors degree from North Carolina State University in Environmental Science and Economics, and a Masters Degree from Duke University in Environmental Management. Prior to EPA, she spent 4 years consulting on air & water issues for a wide range of industries.   Rhonda has been with EPA for almost 15 years, spending the first several years enforcing industrial hazardous waste regulations.  Now, she works with Voluntary Programs (which she often calls the warm, fuzzy side of EPA) to facilitate recycling, reuse and energy conservation within industry, government and individual homes.


Larry Christley, TN Department of Environment and Conservation, Materials Management Program

P: (615) 532-0744 – [email protected]

Progress & Perspective: Best Practices for State Supported Initiatives

As Program Manager of the State’s Materials Management Program,  Larry leads Tennessee’s efforts to reduce waste destined for landfills and management of difficult problem wastes.   His programs provide a range of technical and financial assistance to local governments, NGO’s, and industry to include HHW, Recovered Materials, Used Oil Management, Data and Reporting, Tennessee Training Academy, Urban Green Lab, and the Tennessee Materials Marketplace.  His grant program obligates over $10 Million in grants per year to support these efforts.  His vision directed the development of the State’s new 2025 Plan that now charts a pathway to success.  At the national level, he leads the effort in collaborative data sharing and measurement between states.  He is currently working on efforts to earn a Master’s of Science in Supply Chain Management.


Gloria Hardegree, GRC, Georgia Recycling Coalition, Executive Director

P: (404) 634-3095 – [email protected]

Topic: Progress & Perspective: Georgia’s Example

A native Atlantan, Gloria Hardegree is serving her 19th year as Executive Director of the Georgia Recycling Coalition (GRC), the state’s 501c3 recycling organization now in its 27th  year of operation. Gloria has been in the recycling industry since 1990, and throughout her career has been involved at the local, state, regional and national level on advisory boards and steering committees. Prior to joining GRC, she was a partner in a yard trimmings composting company and implement some of the early curbside residential recycling programs for a local hauler in metro Atlanta. She holds a: Bachelor’s degree in Education from Oglethorpe University and a Master’s Degree in Educational Curriculum & Instruction from Georgia State University.

Suki Janssen, Athens-Clarke County Solid Waste Department, Director

P: (706) 613-3501 x305 – [email protected]

Topic: State Progress & Perspective: More from Georgia

Suki Janssen is Director of the ACC Solid Waste Department and has been with ACC for over ten years having the position as Waste Reduction Administrator for Athens-Clarke County, Georgia until July 2015.  Prior to her position in Athens-Clarke County, she was a Program Coordinator for the Keep Georgia Beautiful program within the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, Office of Environmental Management.  She is a certified middle grades teacher (having taught 7th and 8th grade science in Cobb County for five years), past Georgia Recycling Coalition President and board member and current Northeast Georgia Regional Solid Waste Management Authority board member and Solid Waste Association of North America Georgia (SWANA) Chapter Vice-President.   She is a SWANA certified Landfill Operator and Class Instructor since 2005 and SWANA Recycling Systems Manager certified since 2007 and Composting Programs Manager certified since 2013.  She is a Georgia Master Gardener, Master Composter and Master Naturalist.  She is married to Chris Janssen a middle school math teacher in Oconee County and lives with three dogs, one chinchillas and five snakes.


Whitney Bengston, Republic Service, Division Sales Manager

P: (404) 693-9279 – [email protected]

Topic: Regional View From the Ground: Collector’s Perspective/Conversation

Kurt Schmitz, Pratt  Industries

P: (678) 237-7962 –  [email protected]

Topic: Regional View From the Ground: MRF Processing and Quality Issues

Kurt Schmitz with Pratt Recycling has filled many roles within the organization from Operations to Sales and Marketing.  Kurt’s team is currently responsible for procuring over 900,000 tons of recovered fiber annually for Pratt’s Conyers, Georgia and Shreveport, Louisiana 100% recycled paper mills.  Kurt’s team also markets additional 400,000 tons annually of both recovered fiber and non fiber materials.

Pratt Recycling operates 13 recycling plants in North America.  Siz of these facilities process Residential Single Stream.


Dave Poltzer, Caraustar


Topic: Regional View From the Ground: Transportation Issues


Bill Clark, Strategic Materials

P: (281) 520-0613 – [email protected]

Topic: Industry End Markets and Updates on Needs/Capacity: Glass

Bill has worked for 30 years in the oil field equipment manufacturing industry. In 2007, he joined Reflective Recycling Inc. and was a partner in BevCon, LLC.,  a beverage container collections company. He joined Strategic Materials in 2017 as Regional Sourcing Development Manager where he is responsible for Southeast US supply. Bill studied Materials Management at Houston Community College, Industrial Technology at Ohio University and Mechanical Engineering at Columbus State College. Bill is certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) and is a Certified Purchasing Manager (CPM).


Andy Johnson, KW Plastics, Raw Materials Procurement

P: (334) 770-4417 – [email protected]

Topic: Industry End Markets and Updates on Needs/Capacity: Plastics

I have worked for KW for a total of 6 years. I worked in quality for our container division before moving to the Procurement team. My job is to manage the procurement and inventory of Polypropylene at KW Plastics. I work with our team to increase the volume and quality of curbside collected across the U.S. as well as working to supply the best customer service to the suppliers of KW.

David Wilkerson, Shaw Industries, Corporate Director of Sustainability adn Product Stewardship

P: (706) 532-2180 – [email protected]

Topic: Industry End Markets and Updates on Needs/Capacity: Carpet

As Corporate Director of Sustainability and Product Stewardship at Shaw Industries, David Wilkerson is responsible for identifying, planning and leading key sustainability initiatives for the expansive portfolio of flooring products the company manufactures and distributes including carpet, hardwood, laminate, resilient, tile and stone flooring.  In this capacity, he works closely with the commercial and residential sales and marketing teams as well as Shaw’s corporate communications department and product innovation group to advance the company’s sustainability efforts. David is a member of Shaw’s Growth and Sustainability Council and serves on the Residential and Commercial Strategic Business Teams.


Chip KoplinISRI – Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Public and Government Affairs Consultant

P: (478) 718-7005 – [email protected]

Topic: Industry End Markets and Updates on Needs/Capacity: Metals


Chip Koplin is a 30 year veteran of the scrap recycling industry and is currently a freelance public and government affairs consultant.  He was co-owner of Macon Iron and Paper Stock Co. in Macon, GA, a family owned scrap recycling company founded in 1919that was sold to Schnitzer Steel Industries in 2010.  He is a past president of the Georgia Recyclers Association and the Southeast Chapter of ISRI and is also a member of the Georgia Recycling Coalition.   He served as chairman of several ISRI national committees, including Materials Theft Task Force, Trade and Communications. He has many years of experience advocating for the recycling industry on numerous issues.  He organized the Macon-Middle Georgia Metal Theft Committee, which became a national model for cooperation between recyclers, law enforcement and other stakeholders.  He is former President of the Macon Rotary Club, a 2009 graduate of Leadership Georgia, serves on the Board of Directors of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce as well as the chamber Government Affairs Committee.






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Forging Ahead: Recycling Markets Development in the 21st Century

NRC Georgia 2018
July 31, 2018 – Peachtree City, GA

Crowne Plaza Atlanta SW

Register Here


Recycled materials and trash should look very different from each other, but for years they have been converging in the U.S.  China has not been the creator of today’s crisis in the industry – U.S. mills have been complaining for years – but China’s recent embargo of U.S. recycling imports is shining a mirror on our recycling industry and providing a clear signal that we can no longer pretend diversion of waste into a recycling bin is recycling.

Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) can produce quality materials out of both single stream and dual stream inputs, but not when 20+% of the input “recyclable” stream, in some cases, are not recyclables. A combination of “wishful recycling” and insufficient enforcement of quality is proving very damaging to the industry – abysmal and volatile markets, a dirty product that is not a reliable “commodity”, closed plants, and programs that are hurting economically.

We cannot continue to act and behave as if business as usual will offer a solution to today’s issues. We must fundamentally shift how we speak to the public, how we collect and process our recyclables, and what our end markets accept and utilize to truly recycle.

Look for our next workshops coming to the Midwest this fall.

Register Here


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Keep America Beautiful

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Competition Now Open for Environmental Sustainability Leadership Award

The second year of the Northeast Recycling Council’s (NERC) NERC Environmental Sustainability Leadership Award competition has begun.  The award will recognize an individual or organization for the impact they have made on sustainable materials management within the NERC 11-state region. Applications for the will be accepted through September 12.

To be eligible, an organization or individual must be located within NERC’s 11-member states: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

The award will be presented at NERC’s Fall Conference, October 30, Rocky Hill, Connecticut.  For more information about the Conference, visit the NERC website.

A copy of the application can be downloaded here.

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Letter to Membership regarding NRC’s response on the China Trade Restrictions

Letter to Membership regarding NRC’s response on the China Trade Restrictions.

Letter sent to the WTO on behalf of the NRC.

To: NRC Members

From: Bob Gedert, President, National Recycling Coalition
Marjorie Griek, Executive Director, National Recycling Coalition
Subject: Response from the National Recycling Coalition (NRC) to its members regarding the China Trade Restrictions of Secondary Materials prepared for Recycling

On July 18, 2017, China notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) of its intent to ban the import of certain scrap materials by year end.

On September 13, 2017: draft revised “GB 16487” Environmental Protection Control Standards for Imported Solid Wastes as Raw Materials, with further restrictions on allowable prohibitives.
On November 15, in a series of eleven filings with the WTO, China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection proposed adopting new limitations of allowable prohibitives in materials being shipped into China.
The NRC has issued two responses to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in protest of the restrictions placed by China on imports of recycles shipped from US ports. The NRC objections are based on the following:
  • China’s declaration to prohibit the importation of solid waste is based on improper terminology and a presentation that secondary materials prepared as raw material for recycling is categorized as waste distorts the environmental claims issued by China. WE request WTO to utilize internationally accepted definitions for trade negotiations, including the NRC definition of recycling.
  • Quality standards should be set on already established internally acceptable industry standards, such as the standardization guide for bale quality in the ISRI standard commodities and scrap market specifications.  These standards are embraced and utilized by recycling markets within North America and through ISRI member companies in at least 34 countries globally. The NRC requests  the WTO for consideration of utilizing the standards of bale quality utilizing these global ISRI adopted standards as a basis for resolving quality issues with China’s GB 16487 claim on allowable prohibitives.
  • The NRC also request the WTO to impose an extension of time for any import restrictions, as the sharp deadline of March 1, 2018 cannot be reflected with significant operational changes in the US recycling industry. The NRC requests that WTO engage between the parties involved as a arbitrator.
NRC believes building, expanding and improving infrastructure in the recycling sectors in both the US and China will greatly benefit the environment and the economy in both countries. In the US, fundamental core changes are needed to ensure that this industry will be less subject to the vagaries of other nations and commodity prices. Using a focused systems approach and working together as an international industry, we could work to stabilize the market. However, this is a long-term solution and one that will simply not meet a March 1, 2018 deadline for reducing prohibitives in recyclables.
The NRC calls upon its members to address the China trade barriers with the following actions:
  1. Focus on Quality
  2. Focus on Rebuilding America’s Recycling Industry
  3. Focus on Increasing the Recycling Economic Impact in our Local Communities
The discussion evolving around the China restrictions of prohibitives and contaminants requires a focus on quality.  Such concerns also involve American MRFs as they attempt to meet bale international shipping standards. The ISRI standards are the quality standards that American MRFs rely upon to meet their business needs. However, local recycling collection programs often are unfamiliar with these quality concerns.
Education Quality: All of our local education programs could be re-tuned to empathize quality control. Residents have been trained to recycle as much as possible, sometimes to the extent of “when in doubt, throw it in the recycle bin.” This push for quantity may be over-riding the quality needs of our recycling industry. Retooling the local education programs for quality is a great start toward addressing the trade barriers we are faced with today.
Collection Quality: Local collection programs around the US have moved primarily to single-stream recycling collection through traditional trash collection vehicles. As such, the collection of recyclables is compromised to some degree through compaction and full mixture of all commodities.  It is time for our collection programs to focus on quality of materials as they are delivered to the local MRF. This may involve the search for higher quality collection vehicles, the consideration of separate collection for cross-contaminate materials, and the reduction of compaction on recycling vehicles.
MRF Quality: The brunt of the international shipping restrictions lies on the MRF operator, thus the focus on quality is front and center at your local MRF. You may have noticed resistance from your local MRF operator in regards to adding new potential curbside recyclables, as adding to the mix adds complexity to the contamination equation.   As residuals are defined through composition studies, some of the residual quality concerns are sourced from residents, some from collection compaction, and some from MRF processing quality issues. Yet, it’s the MRF operator that has the responsibility to market the material received from the community. It’s a community wide issue that requires community wide attention toward quality.
As the recyclables we collect are commodities, they are raw material in lieu of virgin materials for manufacturing. The Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) estimates that more than 40% of manufacturers’ raw material needs around the world are met through the recycling of obsolete, off-spec, and end-of-life products and materials. The added value through recycling is directly related to the investment in quality collection and quality processing.  In essence, we recyclers are generating the feedstock material for industries to make new products and packaging. We may be focused today on feeding China’s industrial production system, but perhaps we should refocus our attention on America’s recycling industry.
As I previously stated in an editorial on June 20, 2017 in Resource Recycling Magazine, the National Recycling Coalition (NRC) strongly supports efforts to invest and improve our country’s aging infrastructure. The recycling industry particularly needs a 21st-century transportation system to efficiently transport raw materials and feedstocks to manufacturers throughout the nation and the globe, including increased capacity and investment in all modes of transportation, covering rail, surface and waterways. All infrastructure projects could generate far more jobs from the reuse and recycling of buildings and roads and the use of recycled and recyclable materials wherever economically and technologically possible (for example, use of rubberized asphalt in road construction and use of rebar from ferrous scrap).
NRC also believes that investing in American recycling infrastructure would provide an excellent return on investment and leveraging of federal funds. Support of American recycling infrastructure would enable America to bring home recycling jobs from overseas, and dramatically expand the three-quarters of a million jobs and tens of billions of dollars already occurring in economic activity. Instead of shipping half of all recovered recyclables to overseas markets, a refreshed recycling infrastructure will support new American end markets, manufacturers and businesses creating closed loop material streams and lower transportation costs.
Today’s rapidly evolving waste stream requires an upgraded recycling infrastructure from collection to processing to manufacturing. Recycling industry experts note that the “evolving ton” reflects the light-weighting of PET containers, a significant reduction in newspaper in the consumer stream and a significant uptick in old corrugated containers (OCC) known as the “Amazon Effect” due to internet sales and home delivery. Single-stream materials recovery facilities (MRFs) that service residential communities were not designed for these consumer shifts and are in need of redesign and expanded capacity. End-users and remanufacturers also need to reflect these consumer shifts. The “evolving ton” creates pressure points throughout the value chain from consumer product redesign and sales all the way through the recycling system, requiring a full upscaling of the American recycling infrastructure. Investing in America’s recycling infrastructure is an investment in American jobs, in the American economy and in reducing costs for businesses that will provide an excellent return for the investment of federal, state and local funds.
Consider creating a local recycling incubator research lab at your local university, through research grant funds. Innovation can advance recycling to create a new American leadership on the international recycling stage.  We are challenged with gaining higher diversion and higher quality, at a low collection and processing cost.  Can we invest in the research toward collection changes and MRF processes to gain high quality recyclables?
Talk to your local economic development office about locating recycling jobs to your community.  Note the linkage between local economic development and the recycling circular economy. Note the growing green job network, the ability to control the end destination of your recyclables by placement of end markets in your own community. Recycling remanufacturing offers a new and growing tax base, clean manufacturing, stable employment opportunities, and the synergies of locating processers and end users in the same proximity to the reduce carbon footprint of your recycling program.
We ask our NRC members to focus on delivering quality recyclables to the local MRFs, and seek local Investment in the American recycling infrastructure – in your local community!

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Today is Giving Tuesday

Recycling needs your help! Donate here on Giving Tuesday for a better tomorrow. We are the national voice for recycling, so please support us today. Together we are recycling!

We are the voice for recycling. The National Recycling Coalition (NRC) is a national non-profit recycling association and advocate positioned to assist the recycling industry and sustainability-minded corporations to weather unpredictable and damaging conditions that loom in the recyclable-commodities markets. We represent every sector of the recycling industry from individuals, to local governments, non-profits and private haulers and manufacturers. Our organization advocates for collaboration between these sectors to ensure robust markets and a quality supply of those materials.

The recycling industry is at a critical turning point. In 2016 mainland China imported approximately 16.2 million tons of recyclable materials from the United States, earning U.S. companies, governments, and citizens over $5 billion. In early 2017, China issued a notification with the World Trade Organization to severely limit recyclable materials entering China. For over four decades, our quest has been to bring all sectors of the industry together, to enhance the future of recycling. These recent actions by the Chinese government means domestic markets need to be reinvigorated – NRC needs your help to do that!

We are committed to the future of recycling. NRC recently hired a new Executive Director, who will accelerate and elevate the industry for you and for future generations for a stronger recycling economy and a better environment. With combined contributions from donors like you, we will deliver workshops and provide assistance to recyclers throughout the U.S. to enhance recycling operations and find alternative destinations for sending materials to be remanufactured.

Donate today. With your generous contribution, the NRC will work at a grass-roots level with local communities, recycling trade organizations, and manufacturers to help prove our nation’s resilience and forge new economic markets for recyclables in the US.

Thank you for your support of the National Recycling Coalition!

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