The National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) honored innovators and leaders in recycling at the 2nd annual Waste360 Recycling Summit in Austin, Texas.
Four awards and three honorable mentions were given to companies that have made contributions to American recycling through partnerships, public education, innovations in recycling equipment and innovations in recycling facilities. Winners were selected by a panel of judges who are professionals in the waste and recycling industry as well as from other technology and education organizations. Overall, 21 applications were received for the four awards.
“These awards honor the very best in the industry for excellence in educating the public about smart ways to recycle; creating innovative approaches to advance our work; constructing state of the art facilities to make waste and recyclables collection safer, faster and more efficient; excellence in recycling in the construction and demolition space; and revolutionary partnerships that help to protect the environment and increase collaboration within the recycling ecosystem,” NWRA President and CEO Sharon H. Kneiss said in a statement. “Our industry continues to make great strides in safety, engineering and community engagement, which not only helps to makes us more effective but it also yields better results for the environment and savings for the households and businesses we serve.”
The Sustainability Partnership Game Changer award, the headlining category of the program, was given to Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine Waste Diversion Program. Partners included: Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, ASI Waste and Reduction in Motion.
The JHU School of Medicine Facilities Management Department has focused on diverting waste and increasing recycling since 2006 increasing diversion by over twentyfold. To accomplish this, they proactively conduct routine waste sorts to determine what items can be diverted based on availability of processing and end markets. With a specific education and outreach program and feedback obtained from tracking and reporting, Johns Hopkins has successfully diverted approximately 3 million pounds annually. The honorable mentions in this category were awarded to Publix & Goodwill Industries Recycling, where both entities collaborated to increase landfill diversion rates by donating seasonal items from Publix stores to Goodwill to increase landfill diversion by donating seasonal items from Publix stores to Goodwill.
The Excellence in Public Education award was given to Emerald Coast Utility Authority’s (ECUA) Compost Program Outreach and Education. Recognizing that in order to produce a great compost product, getting a high quality input feedstock quality was very important. To do this, the ECUA started their public education campaign before the facility even opened. They established a four tiered education and outreach approach:
- The first part focused on quality in order to reduce contamination
- The second part introduced the compost facility
- Part three focused on internal staff and support to ensure that everyone understood the process
- Last, educating end user markets about the product to ensure that the compost would be utilized
Two honorable mentions were awarded to Waste Management’s “Recycle Often. Recycle Right.” Public Education & Outreach Program, and to the Solid Waste Authority of Palm Beach County’s Away Program.
The Recycling Equipment Innovator of the Year award was given BinBisa Decorative Recycling Bins. BinBisa attempts to solve the issue associated with recycling in the bathroom. By providing a decorative recycler that takes up no more space than a standard bathroom trash bin, this innovation is designed to increase bathroom recycling. Surveys conducted by BinBisa demonstrate an increase in bathroom recycling as a direct result of using the produce.
The Recycling Facility of the Year award was given Republic Services Southern Nevada Recycling Center Republic Services unveiled its Southern Nevada Recycling Center in December 2015. Billed as the largest and smartest residential recycling center in North America, this facility processes 70 tons-per-hour and includes smart systems that can make millisecond decisions using highly automated, touch-screen control systems. The building is made from 75 percent recycled steel and has 1776 rooftop solar panels to take advantage of Nevada’s abundant sunshine and provide approximately 15 percent of the facility’s power needs.
Two new award categories were added to the Waste360 Recycling Summit this year. First, the 2016 Construction and Demolition Debris Recycler of the Year has been awarded to Zanker Recycling of San Jose, California. Zanker’s new demolition recycling operation, which diverts 60 TPH, achieving an 86 percent recycling rate. The focus of the new facility was “interior demolition” that is generally not captured in other C&D recycling operations including sheet rock, wiring, carpet and vinyl flooring. The facility utilizes a series of drum separators that are able to adjust to the needs of variable material streams, while its negative air pressure creates a consistent in-feed while protecting workers from dust.
The second new award recognizes Excellence in Organics Recycling. The winner of this honor is Emerald Coast Utilities Authority’s Biosolids Composting Facility. This Biosolids Composting Facility provides outlets for two materials biosolids and residential yard waste. By creating a new nationally certified compost from the feedstock, the Authority was able to convert a cost into a revenue stream. In addition, the product returns valuable nutrients back into the soil and contributes to the Authority’s goal of meeting the State of Florida’s 75 percent recycling rate mandate.