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NRC, RONA Merger Nearly Complete

The long-discussed merger between the National Recycling Coalition (NRC) and the Recycling Organizations of America Inc. (RONA) is essentially complete, says the president of the NRC.

RONA will become part of the NRC. What remains to be done is expanding the NRC board to 25 from 20 and adding five RONA leaders to the board, says Mark Lichtenstein, NRC president, in an interview. The moves should be done next week, and other administrative moves such as financial accounting and membership merging should be done in the next couple weeks.

“I don’t see any problems at all,” he says.

The other major point to be resolved is a discussion about changing the name of the NRC to the NorthAmerican Recycling Council, which would retain the NRC acronym. “The pros and cons will be discussed,” Lichtenstein says. “I’m not sure which way it’ll go, but it’s not a deal breaker.”

The two groups have been discussing a merger for more than a year. Lichtenstein says there have been no differences between the two volunteer groups but it has just taken time to go through the process.

Lichtenstein says the NRC gets some great programs from RONA such as its national certification program for sustainability and its RONA University program that works with universities and colleges on recycling. The two groups also will no longer be competing for funding or state affiliates.

The NRC filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and ceased operations in 2009. RONA emerged as a new recycling organization shortly afterward.

“You look at these two organizations and seemingly small budgets, memberships, but I think this is a really big step that we’re becoming more relevant again,” he says.

“We continue to take two steps forward, and every once in a while we take one step back. Were not completely around that bend in the road. But the straightaway is in front of us were ready to accelerate.”

Lichtenstein says the NRC is looking to move forward on substantive issues such producer responsibility and a potential electronics recycling partnership.

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