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NWRA Recognizes the Best in Recycling

Awards were given to companies that have made substantial contributions to the recycling industry.

The National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) recognized innovators and leaders in the industry at its annual Executive Leadership Roundtable (ELRT).

Awards in five categories were given to companies that have made substantial contributions to American recycling through partnerships, public education and innovations in recycling facilities. Winners were selected by a panel of judges, which consisted of professionals in the waste and recycling industry as well as leaders from other technology and education organizations.

“These awards honor the very best in the industry for excellence in educating the public and smart ways to recycle; creating innovative approaches to advance our work, constructing state-of-the-art recycling facilities and revolutionary partnerships that help protect the environment and increase collaboration with the recycling ecosystem,” said NWRA President and CEO Darrell Smith in a statement. “Our industry continues to make great strides in safety, engineering and community engagement, which not only helps to make us a more effective association, but it also yields better results for the environment and the communities we serve.”

The 2018 Sustainability Partnership Game Changer Award was shared by Florida Recycling Partnership (FRP), Waste Management, Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Beverage Association. FRP is a coalition of Florida businesses and associations with the mission to educate policymakers, business leaders and the public on the benefits of recycling. FRP, along with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), hosts Florida Recycles Day at the capitol.

The 2018 Construction and Demolition Debris Recycler of the Year went to Waste Connections of Rhode Island. Waste Connections was involved in the construction of a 60,000-square-foot construction and demolition processing and recycling facility, the largest facility in Rhode Island. The recycling facility can help general contractors get the LEED building credit for their projects. An added benefit of the fully modernized facility is that operations are indoors and completely unaffected by weather.

The 2018 Best Recycling Public Education Program Award went to Waste Management for its Latino Outreach Study and Campaign for its Odas al reciclaje (Odes to Recycling) outreach campaign, inspired by the work of Pablo Neruda and Odes to everyday items. As the U.S. population grows more diverse, Waste Management engineered new recycling initiatives aimed at engaging an emerging multicultural audience in a culturally relevant way. The program was developed in collaboration with Snohomish County staff and used to reach its larger multicultural communities. It energized recycling efforts among the Spanish-speaking community in Snohomish County.

The 2018 Recycling Facility of the Year Award went to Dem-Con Companies for its materials recovery facility (MRF). As a measure to build a sustainable company, Dem-Con built an “Environmental Campus” of processing operations surrounding the landfill, which consists of a construction and demolition recycling facility, wood recycling facility, metals scrap and recycling yard and the Dem-Con Materials Recovery Facility. The Dem-Con MRF processes approximately 95,000 tons per year—75,000 tons per year of commingled recycling and another 20,000 tons per year of source separated recycling—making it one of the largest facilities of its kind in Minnesota.

The 2018 Organics Recycler of the Year Award went to Vanguard Renewables. Vanguard’s Farm Powered organics recycling and anaerobic digester program vertically integrates the organics feedstock chain and farms to solve food waste challenges, generate renewable energy and sustain farms. By the close of 2018, Vanguard’s Farm Powered operating portfolio of anaerobic digesters will represent the largest organics recycling destination in Massachusetts, with more than 190,000 tons per year of combined on-farm and off-farm organics being processed. Vanguard’s program of single stream and co-digestion facilities in development reaches across eight states.

“I congratulate all our winners on their outstanding achievements and contributions. It is important we recognize the good work our industry is doing to make our communities better,” stated Smith.

Honorable mentions included:

  • 2018 Recycling Facility of the Year: City of El Cerrito, Calif., El Cerrito Recycling and Environmental Resource Center
  • 2018 Recycling Facility of the Year: Outagamie County Recycling & Solid Waste (Wis.), Tri-County Recycling Facility
  • 2018 Best Recycling Public Education Program: City of Phoenix, Phoenix Zero Waste Team
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