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SWANA, ISRI MRF Summit to Offer Expert Panels to Address Domestic Recycling

The summit will provide stakeholders with a forum to address MRF challenges affecting the recycling and solid waste industries.

The Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) Summit, hosted by the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) and the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA), will provide stakeholders with a unique and timely forum to address MRF challenges affecting the recycling and solid waste industries.

Experienced industry leaders from all links in the recycling supply chain will offer their expertise and vision to help guide stakeholders toward sustainable solutions for North American recycling programs in the wake of China’s waste import restrictions.

“In a time of uncertainty, we see opportunity to collaborate collectively as a full recycling value chain to progress to a more sustainable society,” said Maite Quinn of Sims Municipal Recycling and co-chair of ISRI’s MRF Council in a statement. “At the MRF Summit, we will hear from all the different sides of the value chain. This is a time where we need to debate, be creative and work together to come up with innovative solutions.”

Key MRF Summit Panels:

Keynote Panel: The Changing Market for Recyclable Materials

For years, China has been a needed pressure relief valve for commodities markets offering western recycled materials. Indeed, MRFs and recycling programs developed around what markets would accept. At one time, about 40 percent—more than 19 million tons—of recycled paper was exported to China and often these were lower grades of paper not affordably recycled domestically. But times are changing. China and other international markets are placing a priority on environmental improvement and demanding levels of product quality that many MRFs and other suppliers find challenging to attain. Panelists in this program will provide an overview of new policies in place in China and discuss how these policies are affecting the present and future of recycling.

Speakers include Robin Wiener, president of ISRI; David Biderman, executive director and CEO of SWANA; and Stephen Sikra, associate director of corporate research and development at Procter & Gamble.

Standardized Metrics for Developing and Measuring Municipal Recycling Goals

A major challenge in finding solutions to improved, measured output quality is the varying challenges of measuring the input of municipal and MRF recycling. This session will discuss the concept of creating a scorecard, using real data from a substantial set of U.S. cities that could become a common metric for these operations.

Speakers include William P. Keegan, P.E., president of Dem-Con Companies; Will Sagar, executive director of Southeast Recycling Development Council; and Scott Pasternak, senior project manager for the solid waste and resource recovery practice at Burns & McDonnell. The moderator is Myles Cohen, president of the recycling division at Pratt Industries.

Single Stream vs. Dual Stream Collection

Since the 1990s, single stream recycling has been the trend as more and more communities, large and small, sought to improve recycling rates and reduce collection costs. The reduction in product quality is often recognized but offset by the improved recycling rate. But now, increasing demand for better quality output and the increasing costs to meet that demand may suggest it’s time to take a new look at the viability of single stream operations. What will be the most effective operations in the future? Are there ways to adapt a fully-committed, single stream operation into another collection system? Are the costs of such a change justifiable, or unavoidable?

Speakers include Kerry R. Getter, CEO of Balcones Resources; and Willie Puz, director of public affairs and recycling at Solid Waste Authority of Palm Beach County.

“In the past 25 years, the recycling industry has adjusted to swings and deviations, but we are witnessing an industrial shift like never before,” said Robert Smouse, assistant director of code compliance - solid waste services for the City of Fort Worth, Texas, and a member of SWANA’s Recycling Task Force, in a statement. “Recycling professionals attending these sessions and hearing these industry leaders will learn specific applications and advancements to help ensure successful recycling programs are an integral part of their future integrated solid waste management plan in North America.”

Held at SWANA’s WASTECON, the first-ever MRF Summit is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for MRF owners, municipal solid waste professionals, consumer products companies and government officials to come together to address common issues and discuss challenges as well as opportunities.

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