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NWRA, SWANA Develop Municipal Recycling Contracting Guidelines

The waste and recycling industry’s two main associations have jointly established new practice recommendations for contracting municipal recycling programs.

The guidelines, established by the Washington-based National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) and the Silver Spring, Md.-based Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA), address the challenges that public agencies and private industry face as they seek to improve local recycling programs, according to a news release. They aim to improve the protocols and standards for those procedures.

The associations’ “Joint Advisory on Designing Contracts for Processing of Manual Recyclables” reflects nearly a year of work that brought together experts from the private and public sector to develop consistent standards in contracting for recycling services. Those standards need to address the evolving nature of the residential recycling stream and dramatic price fluctuations in global commodities markets.

The protocols address best practices for improving the quality and quantity of recyclable materials, and aim to ensure that recycling programs are economically viable for both the public and private sector.

“With these guidelines, NWRA and SWANA have addressed head-on the challenges and obstacles faced by public agencies and private sector contractors in designing effective residential recycling programs,” said Sharon Kneiss, NWRA president and CEO. “Adoption of these best practices creates a solid framework to meet the ever-evolving dynamics of the recycling market.”

Added John Skinner, SWANA executive director and CEO, “The potential changes in the quantity and composition of collected wastes combined with variability in prices for recyclable commodities create considerable uncertainties in today’s recycling markets. It is very important for contracts for recycling services to anticipate the changes and reflect an appropriate sharing of risks and rewards between contracting municipalities and service providers.”

The two associations have disagreed on issues in the past, such as privatization and flow control, but they have increasingly worked together recently on issues such as safety. They jointly sent mixed comments last December to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding the agency’s proposal to reduce greenhouse gas from power plants. In September the groups jointly wrote the EPA that its proposed update on the standards of performance for landfills would be unnecessary regulation.

The association’s connection may get tighter, as SWANA announced earlier this month that David Biderman, the NWRA’s longtime legal and safety counsel, will take over as executive director of the association from the retiring Skinner May 1.

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