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Articles from 2020 In March


Enjoy Another Glimpse of #EverydayHeroes

Enjoy Another Glimpse of #EverydayHeroes

We continue to be blown away by the acts of courage and determination taking place across all parts of the amazing waste, recycling and organics industry. Thanks to those who’ve heeded our call to let us know about the #EverydayHeroes out there.

Here are a few new ones we especially liked:

We loved learning about Maryland-based recycling company Sun Services, whose partner Gary Shipp discovered 36,000 new and unopened N95 masks while unloading dumpsters last year. “He saved the protective gear, and now Shipp and his partners, Andrew Springer and son Brian Shipp, are donating them to local hospitals and nursing homes.” Truly amazing! Get the full story here.

Rachel Revoy, communications manager at Colorado-based 5280 Waste Solutions, wrote in to Waste360 to say how the company’s lead driver supervisor, Tommy Atencio, has been ultra proactive and focused during this time to keep his team and his community safe.

The drivers are self-quarantined by nature of spending their days isolated in their trucks,” she says. Every morning at 5:30 a.m., the drivers line up while keeping a safe distance from one another. Tommy hands each of the 26 drivers a bag with disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer, rubber gloves and a spray bottle with bleach. We’re pushing on. These are the local guys out here doing their part.” Read more here.

This video Tweet is one of the most heartwarming things we’ve seen in a while:

And check out these other awesome posts that are all about love and appreciation for the vital services provided by #EverydayHeroes everywhere.

Enjoy Another Glimpse of #EverydayHeroes

Enjoy Another Glimpse of #EverydayHeroes

Enjoy Another Glimpse of #EverydayHeroes

Thank you to ALL of the #EverydayHeroes out there—those who’ve been publicly acknowledged and the many more who deserve to be. Please keep the shout-outs coming! Email us at wasteexpo@waste360.com.

Updated: Number of DSNY Workers Infected with COVID-19 Increases

DSNY Twitter Number of DSNY Workers Infected with COVID-19 Increases

The waste and recycling industry has been deemed an “essential service,” but workers are at risk of being exposed to COVID-19 due to the nature of their jobs.

In New York, 120 City of New York Department of Sanitation (DSNY) workers were infected with the coronavirus by March 27. That number quickly climbed to 240 workers by April 2, according to Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, but 11 of those workers have recovered and returned to work.

In an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 amongst sanitation workers and the public, DSNY is enhancing its hygiene, cleaning, social distancing and safety procedures. It’s also adjusting its operational procedures to help avoid traffic and crowds.

SILive.com has more information:

At least one worker has tested positive for the coronavirus at each of the three city Department of Sanitation garages on Staten Island and a total of 120 employees are infected in New York City, the agency has announced.

Delays in collection are possible due to coronavirus precautions, according to a statement from the department.

“With increased testing, there has been an increase in confirmed cases across the city, including within our department,” the statement said. “As of 10 a.m. this morning [Friday], 120 employees have tested positive.”

Read the full story here.

PIX11 has more details:

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact New York City and the rest of the world, sanitation workers are on the front lines of the outbreak.

Department of Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia told the PIX11 Morning News she is proud of how the department's employees.

“They’ve been really amazing,” she said.

Read the full story here.

Updated: ISRI: India’s Lockdown is Impacting Recycling Operations

ISRI: India’s Lockdown is Impacting Recycling Operations

In an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 25 ordered a three-week national lockdown. The lockdown has been amended several times to ensure that “essential” goods and services are provided to communities, but recycling and many other manufacturing industries have not been deemed essential.

Furthermore, according to an ISRI Member Alert, “seaports have been directed to stay open to allow for imports of critical goods, but the clearance of these consignments—as well as offloading and clearances of scrap and many other ‘non-essential’ goods that had already been en route to India—is slowed by workers not reporting to work as port operators, truck drivers and other functions key to the supply chain.”

In an attempt to seek relief from shipping demurrage and other fees associated with the inability to offload containers or release containers from the ports because their operations were closed, ISRI’s partners at the Materials Recycling Association of India (MRAI) began daily petitions. The petitions led to the Directorate General of Shipping of India issuing an order “advising” shipping lines to consider not imposing demurrage charges through April 7.

In an ISRI Member Alert on March 31, ISRI shared that the Government of India's Ministry of Shipping has ordered all ports to "ensure that no penalties, demurrage, charges, fee [sic], rentals are charged" through April 14. Furthermore, the Ministry's Director General of Shipping ordered shipping lines not to charge demurrage fees through April 14, a one-week extension from the previously announced date.

Additionally, courier services contracted to move original shipping documents to and from India have been suspended. This could further impact delays and lead to additional storage and demurrage fees.

These orders align with India's lockdown, and neither the orders nor the lockdown are facing extensions at this time. Because of this, and India's labor shortage, MRAI is reaching out to the government and shipping lines to consider an additional 15 free days to handle the backlogs. MRAI has asked ISRI and the Bureau of International Recycling to support in this effort.

As of March 31, it's ISRI's understanding that shipping lines were not immediately conforming to the orders not to charge demurrage through April 14, except those lines that unilaterally announced such a policy.

ISRI is following the actions taken by India and will continue to provide updates as more information becomes available.

ISRI Petitions for Inclusion of Metals in FMCSA Emergency Declaration

ISRI Petitions for Inclusion of Metals in FMCSA Emergency Declaration

Given the importance of all recyclable commodities as necessary feedstock for the manufacturing of essential supplies and equipment, the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) is petitioning the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA) for regulatory relief for the transport of ferrous and non-ferrous metals. This effort would expand on the FMCSA’s Expanded Emergency Declaration, which, on March 18, granted the same relief for the transport of paper and plastics material.

The full ISRI petition can be viewed here. Excerpts follow:

Petition for Consideration: The Institute of the Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. (ISRI) is requesting emergency relief for the transportation of ferrous and non-ferrous metals as an essential item to be included in the National Emergency Declaration for Commercial Vehicles Delivering Relief in Response to the COVID-19 Outbreak.

ISRI is submitting this request on behalf of the scrap and recycling industry, in accordance with 49 CFR §390.23(a)(1)(i), which provides for times of emergency warranting an exemption from Parts 390 through 399 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. Specifically, ISRI is petitioning for relief to transport scrap ferrous and non-ferrous metals as an essential item to supply “Critical Manufacturing Sector” as outlined in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) “Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers during COVID-19 Response”, which formally recognizes that the essential manufacturing of materials and products is wholly dependent on manufacturers’ ability to obtain the feedstock necessary to feed their operations.

Concern: Over the past several days, many state and local governments have been ordering the shutdown of “non-essential” businesses, an action we recognize and fully support in order to stop the spread of COVID-19. As indicated above, the supply of raw materials (which includes recycled ferrous and nonferrous metals, paper, plastics and other commodity-grade materials) to critical manufacturing has been deemed essential by DHS, and therefore there is a corresponding critical need to include the commercial motor vehicle operations involved in the such operations in the determination of what is considered essential, otherwise recycling enterprises could be caught in the non-essential closures, curtailing the supply of raw material feedstock into steel mills, foundries and other metals manufacturing operations needed for the manufacture of essential supplies and equipment.

DHS has formally recognized iron and steel mills, ferrous alloy manufacturing, and nonferrous metal production and processing as part of the U.S. critical manufacturing sector (source: www.cisa.gov/critical-manufacturing-sector). And the U.S. steel industry relies on ferrous scrap as its largest single raw material input. … In fact, copper’s anti-microbial properties are a key element to reducing the spread of disease and are widely used in hospitals and other settings to reduce transmission rates. All these metals are required for the production of the rebar, wiring, tubing and other key materials that are needed for everything from the construction of new hospitals to the manufacturer of new hospital beds, surgical instruments and other essential supplies needed to keep Americans safe during this critical time.

It is for the reasons explained above that ISRI formally requests the FMCSA to amend the third paragraph of the March 18, 2020 Expanded Emergency Declaration Under 49 CFR Sec. 309.23 (No. 2020-002) to read:

“This Emergency Declaration provides regulatory relief for commercial motor vehicle operations providing direct assistance in support of emergency relief efforts related to the COVID-19 outbreaks, including transportation to meet immediate needs for: … (4) immediate precursor primary and secondary raw materials- such as paper, plastic, ferrous and non-ferrous metals - or alcohol,-that are required and to be used for the manufacture of items in categories (1), (2) or (3); ... “

As the healthcare and associated systems in the U.S. are being pushed beyond their breaking point, the need to authorize the uninterrupted supply of raw materials needed to produce essential supplies and equipment becomes a literal matter of life and death. 

Roll-off Company Owner Determined to Make a Difference in Waste and Recycling

Roll-off Company Owner Determined to Make a Difference in Waste and Recycling

At 39 years old, Rody Taylor is the owner of two growing companies in Lees Summit, Mo., that both aid in the disposal and diversion of waste and recycling from job sites and residential locations. KC Dumpster Company is a roll-off business, while Taylor Construction Services provides labor services for demo work and diversion when applicable.

“Rody's most admirable quality is how determined he is to deliver on any promise made,” says Holly Sammons, dispatcher for KC Dumpster. “The dumpsters we deliver or service his laborers provide are all unspoken promises to Rody. If his companies have offered a service, Rody is determined daily to get every job done in any way, shape or form for our customers, even if that means he has to do the work himself.”

When the city of Lee's Summit was approaching a landfill at capacity, Taylor set out to help find a solution.

“During the time I have worked for KC Dumpster, I have watched Rody's visions become realities,” says Sammons. “It seems once he has his mind set on a goal to make waste and recycling more achievable, affordable and available to the people in our community, he doesn't stop.”

We recently sat down with Taylor, a Waste360 40 Under 40 award recipient, to discuss the newest innovations to make the waste industry more efficient and environmentally safe for communities.

Waste360: What is your background in the waste and recycling industry?

Rody Taylor: I started a small construction cleanup business in 2006. At first, it was something I did on nights and weekends, but eventually, I was able to go full time. During the last recession, when the housing market crashed, I pivoted into a selective demolition business. I bought a few dumpsters and a truck in 2015 to haul for my own business and found that our area had a need for that type of service. Because of that, we launched our own roll-off service in 2017.

As the KC Dumpster Company grew, I began to look for ways to expand into the waste and recycling industry. When I was fortunate enough to be awarded a contract to operate a convenience center for our local community, things really began to move in an exciting direction.

I was introduced to some incredible opportunities to make an impact for our industry right here in my hometown. The site we operate today provides many recycling and diversion streams to our local community.

Waste360: Describe your role as owner of KC Dumpster Company.

Rody Taylor: Well, it has certainly changed over time. I’m one of those guys who has done it all over the years. I have been a laborer, driver, mechanic, dispatcher, salesman, estimator, human resources representative and accounting manager.

Today, my role is to oversee people who serve in those tasks and set the pace for where we are headed as a company. I’m fortunate to be surrounded by some amazing folks who excel in their roles, so I’m freed up to look more into the big picture. I work hard every day to expand my knowledge of the industry and continue to grow in my profession.

I also continue to explore ways to grow and expand our services here in my local area. My goal is to offer people in our area ways to divert and recycle as many materials as possible.             

Waste360: How did you resolve the landfill closure issues in the city of Lee’s Summit?

Rody Taylor: As the local landfill reached capacity, all of the haulers knew that they would start hauling to other transfer stations in the nearby cities. The people who were going to be affected were the residents who had smaller loads. They had enjoyed the convenience of a local landfill option for 37 years. We wanted to make sure that they had an option. That is why the city partnered with my company.

At the site of the [former] city-owned landfill, we developed a public disposal area and implemented several new recycling and diversion streams. I partnered with several great nonprofits to provide things like mattress recycling, used bike donations, Habitat for Humanity ReStore donations, electronics recycling, metal recycling and pallet recycling.

We also worked with the city to provide source separated recycling streams for cardboard, mixed paper, plastic Nos. 1 and 2, aluminum and tin cans. In addition to that, the facility has a compost pad for brush/yard waste and a concrete recycling area.

Waste360: Describe what the household hazardous waste (HHW) program is and how it works.

Rody Taylor: HHW is one of those tough issues in our industry. It is very expensive and hard to get excited about, but it is also critical to any community. If people are not provided with a convenient option, these materials will find their way into our landfills and waterways.

I knew early on that the only way to make it work would be to self-perform as much as possible. We began to give employees training, certifications and tours of other facilities in our area. We learned so much through the process and began our program last summer.

One of the things that worked best for us was the development of our paint reuse program. We now take reusable paint and mix it, package it and give it to Habitat ReStore. They sell it in their reuse store and profits go to Habitat for Humanity. We have grown the program in a short period of time and are proud of the results. The HHW program is free to local residents.

Waste360: What do you see as the future of innovation in waste and recycling?

Rody Taylor: I don’t believe that I’m qualified to answer a question like that; I’m still a learner! But since you asked, I will say that as a business owner in the construction and demolition (C&D) waste industry, I see the need for an expansion in C&D recycling.

I know that a lot of the innovation and technology exists, but somehow, we need to make it appealing to businesses like mine. I know that some cities are experiencing success, but I think that we have a lot of work left to do. These types of materials are an underserved diversion stream in my area. I hope that we can find a way to connect the technology to the waste stream and keep more C&D out of our landfills.

Waste360: What is your leadership style?

Rody Taylor: I hope that those around me would see me as a transformational type of leader. I work hard to identify where we are as a team and try to move us toward our ultimate goals. I have very high expectations, but I temper that with grace and understanding.

I trust those around me to make the right choices and empower them to take the lead. My employees are all amazing at what they do, so being their leader is easy—they make me look good.

Waste360: What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?

Rody Taylor: I am probably most proud of the balance that I have found in life. I work a lot of hours, but I’m home every night to eat dinner as a family and spend time with the kids. I am involved in my church, Rotary, the local Chamber of Commerce and several other civic groups.

I take a “Ninja Warrior” class every week with my kids and find time to get away with my wife. These are the things that keep me grounded and charge my batteries. Keeping that balance is something that didn’t always exist when I was getting my business off the ground.

How WM is Handling Challenges Driven by National Sword, COVID-19

Waste Management Twitter How WM is Handling Challenges Driven by National Sword, COVID-19

In 2017, China enacted National Sword, banning the importation of certain types of solid waste and setting strict contamination limits on recyclable materials. This move caused challenges for global recycling markets, and now, in 2020, the industry is faced with another big challenge: COVID-19.

In a Q&A, The Wall Street Journal sits down with Waste Management (WM) Chief Financial Officer Devina Rankin to discuss how the company has been affected by the coronavirus and how it’s rethinking its business strategy.

The Wall Street Journal has more details:

Waste Management Inc. is dealing with an extraordinary amount of change in its recycling business. Two years ago, China decided to ban imports of mixed paper and plastic and introduced limits for scrap metal, upending global recycling markets. The disruption forced Waste Management, the largest residential recycler by volume in the U.S., to re-examine its strategy.

China’s shift has removed a major source of demand for recyclables, driving down their prices. It also resulted in higher processing costs, as many countries around the world followed the Chinese example and set higher quality standards for imports of recycled goods. Waste Management responded by asking municipalities to pay more for recycling services, the so-called fee-for-service strategy.

Read the full story here.

Need to Know

NERC, APR Launch Government Recycling Demand Champions

NERC, APR Launch Government Recycling Demand Champions

The Northeast Recycling Council, Inc. (NERC) and the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) have formally announced their new partnership to grow a campaign that expands market demand for recycled resins and improves plastic recycling in North America. The Government Recycling Demand Champions, a companion to APR’s well-established Recycling Demand Champions Campaign, will be tailored to state, regional and local governments around the United States. It will be hosted by NERC, working in close collaboration with APR.

“The recycling community has long been interested in supporting increased purchasing of products made with post-consumer resin (PCR) by government entities,” said Lynn Rubinstein, NERC executive director and Government Recycling Demand Champion program manager, in a statement. “NERC adopted a policy to encourage such actions early this year. The Government Recycling Demand Champions is an exciting opportunity to engage directly with government at all levels to support their interest and grow this important activity.”

Among the products with post-consumer recycled content that government entities will be encouraged to purchase will be plastic:

  • Infrastructure drainage pipes
  • Trash bags
  • Roll-out carts
  • Recycling and garbage containers
  • Benches
  • Outdoor furniture
  • Plastic lumber, piers and decking
  • Other PCR-containing plastic products

“This program has the potential to dramatically increase demand for recycled resin in a wide variety of products, including new applications such as recycled content in recycling carts, government procurement and infrastructure projects,” said Stephanie Baker, director of procurement at KW Plastics, in a statement. “By combining efforts with the states through a partnership with NERC, we hope to drive even greater demand in the government marketplace and include the concept of utilizing recycled content as a key component of state procurement programs.”

California Pushes for Solar Panel Waste Policy

California Pushes for Solar Panel Waste Policy

California, like many states, has a problem with a rapid influx of end-of-life solar panels, despite that a law (SB 489) passed five years ago to help facilitate collection and processing of these materials.

Few clear regulations have been established as a result of SB 489, and as such, there are almost no means for disposing, recycling or reusing them, say stakeholders pushing for more definitive legal action and language.

And the issue reaches beyond California. Globally, there could be 78 million tons of solar panel waste by 2050.

The biggest problem, according to Doug Kobold, executive director of the California Product Stewardship Council, is that there is uncertainty as to whether photovoltaic panels (PV) are considered hazardous waste. The Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) is promulgating regulations to get them classified as universal waste, but the agency has been awaiting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s approval of this less onerous classification, and Kobold estimates it could be as late as July before the state gets authorization, if it gets approval at all.

So, for now, PV modules are considered hazardous waste, unless proven otherwise through time- and money-consuming processes.

California Pushes for Solar Panel Waste Policy

“DTSC requires that each panel be tested to determine if it’s hazardous, and the tests can cost $700 to $1,500. Most landfill operators don’t test them, so many of them are left in limbo. In some cases, they are shipped under a hazardous materials manifest to avoid testing and risk of fines if they are not certain they are hazardous,” says Kobold.

There are other issues that are not addressed in California’s drafted regulations, and they challenge both the solar and waste industries.

For one, it is unclear whether warehouses and distribution centers that could receive PV modules must register as universal waste handlers.

Many of these facilities may not be allowed to have this material type on the premises or else are subject to cumbersome administrative tasks. So, says Kobold, “We are asking that warehouse or distribution centers be exempt from getting universal waste handling permits. If they are just moving panels, we think they should not be treated as waste handlers.”

From their perspective, solar installers have no incentives to deal with older panels that they are replacing. They have limited resources and time to store them and to find recycling or reuse outlets.

And there’s a limit to how many they can transport.

“They can move up to 220 pounds, which is about five panels. This is a huge stumbling block, so we have asked DTSC to increase the limit,” says Kobold.

California Pushes for Solar Panel Waste Policy

As currently written, regulations also require installers to report, 30 days in advance, where and when they will haul panels. But, says Kobold, they don’t know the volume in advance, nor do they know how the units will need to be managed; it depends on their condition, which contractors typically first learn when they get to the site.

Larry Sweetser, consultant to public and private solid waste facilities, sees firsthand the problems in his clients’ environment. When they pull panels out from the stream, like others who handle them, they must label and store them, and there are shipment requirements.

He too has advocated for changes to the proposed regulations, especially around the required 30-day notice prior to handling the modules.

“These solar panels are not intended to come to our facilities, but if they do, and we had not given notification previously, we are in violation. So, the only option is for California’s thousands of solid waste facilities to notify the state that we may receive items in the future and file a report every year. We also have to keep a daily log that requires us to physically take inventory each day, which is an extra task and not a constructive use of time,” says Sweetser.

He is happy that California most recently addressed one issue the industry has clamored around. The regulations now explicitly state that integrated devices with built-in solar panels, such as calculators and garden lights, are considered electronics, meaning they don’t have to be managed the same way as large PV panels but rather within existing infrastructure.  

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) operates a national PV recycling network, which currently includes only a handful of recyclers who recover glass, aluminum and other materials from solar units. SEIA plans to develop more geographically located recyclers where solar is being installed.

There is compelling data to support that there is potential for a strong market, if there is infrastructure to collect, process and sell. The International Renewable Energy Agency reports that recycling or repurposing solar PV panels could unchain about 78 million tons of valuable materials globally by 2050. Their monetary worth could be upward of $15 billion by 2050.

“It’s a mechanical process to remove panel parts and recycle right. We do have some recyclers who recycle other products like e-waste or scrap metal who want to expand, and we help them understand the technology,” says Evelyn Butler, senior director of codes and standards for the Solar Energy Industries Association.

Evolving technologies will be important.

California Pushes for Solar Panel Waste Policy

“Twenty-five years (about the life of a solar panel) is a lot of time for processes to change, and we would like to see a focus on innovation,” says Butler.

There is much to learn and do before innovations can be put to use, with collections and understanding how people are currently dealing with panels being a large component. Three California jurisdictions will be facilitating collection pilots, and as part of the pilots, they have been doing market research.

“We learned that at least one installer in each jurisdiction admitted to stockpiling unwanted panels while awaiting disposal. And over 90 percent of installers do not consult with their customers on end-of-life management. We also asked residents questions and, in general, they did not know what to do with these materials,” says Joanne Brasch, special project manager for the California Product Stewardship Council, which is managing two of the three pilots with funding from the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery.

San Mateo County plans to fund its own collection event because the Office of Sustainability was getting calls from homeowners and contractors who wanted to know how to dispose or recycle panels.

“We saw an opportunity to understand the PV waste volume in San Mateo County and how people are handling [the materials] now,” says Shova Ale Magar, sustainability specialist for San Mateo’s Office of Sustainability.

“Hopefully, studies like ours will provide data for decision makers to make better policies. And lead to better management of materials,” she says.

DTSC is currently finalizing its regulations. 

Simultaneously, a few other states are starting to pay attention to discarded PV panels. North Carolina and New Jersey passed study bills to explore technology issues and consider how solar is deployed. Illinois and Minnesota are pursuing stakeholder collaboration studies voluntarily.

Need to Know

Report Outlines Strategies, Policy Options for U.S. Recycling Programs

Report Outlines Strategies, Policy Options for U.S. Recycling Programs

The Product Stewardship Institute (PSI) released a seminal report that provides guidance for stabilizing and modernizing fragmented U.S. municipal recycling systems that have strained under the weight of major market disruptions.

The report outlines problems faced by U.S. recycling programs and how extended producer responsibility (EPR) programs in four Canadian provinces have increased packaging recovery and recycling, reduced contamination and developed markets for difficult-to-recycle materials. It also provides a detailed case study of the packaging EPR program in British Columbia (B.C.), North America's first full producer responsibility program for packaging.

The report, “Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for Packaging and Paper Products (PPP): Policies, Practices, and Performance,” which was funded by Metro regional government in Oregon, outlines key elements of EPR for PPP and how they contribute to program success.

“The report is perhaps the first to provide such in-depth research about the success of packaging EPR programs and how they continue to improve,” according to PSI. “It shows that EPR not only provides sustainable financing for recycling by placing financial responsibility for the system on producers, it also can reduce the burden of day-to-day recycling management away from the public sector, allowing limited public resources to be redirected toward other priorities.”

"Our goal is to offer reliable information on high-performing EPR programs for materials that are traditionally accepted by residential recycling programs," said Scott Cassel, PSI's founder and CEO, in a statement. "EPR programs provide proven options for U.S. governments desperate for recycling solutions."

The most successful programs to date, according to the report, place full responsibility on producers to achieve results but also provide local governments with the option to continue collecting recyclable materials and educating residents. One of the most transformative benefits of existing EPR programs is the standardization of collected materials across jurisdictions, reducing resident confusion and contamination. In Europe, where EPR has been established for decades, many countries report PPP recycling rates above 70 or 80 percent, as compared to the current U.S. recycling rate of 50 percent.

"Metro commissioned this study because of the ongoing challenges related to managing packaging and paper waste, including recycling market disruptions," said Kristin Aldred Cheek, PSI's director of policy and programs, in a statement. "This report will be a vital tool as they assess options for modernizing the recycling system."

The PSI report highlights several trends. For example, while producers in all programs pay variable (or modulated) fees based on the weight and recycling cost of materials, many programs are beginning to incorporate eco-modulated fees that incentivize producers to reduce the impacts of their packaging by using more reusable or recyclable materials and to consider greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental factors. In addition, in the B.C. program, producers considered the needs of small haulers and processors in the system design.

The report also points out that EPR programs can help companies achieve their recycled content goals by providing a consistent supply of high-quality recycled materials. The report emphasizes the importance of striking the right balance between government and industry roles by ensuring public oversight while allowing producer flexibility in implementing a program.

Is Upcycled Food the Answer?

In our latest episode of NothingWasted! Podcast, we chat with Turner Wyatt, CEO of the Upcycled Food Association (and a 2020 Waste360 40 Under 40 award winner). The Upcycled Food Association aims to eliminate food waste by increasing the size of the upcycled food economy.

We spoke with Wyatt about sustainable solutions to food waste, addressing policy barriers, how upcycled food is potentially an even bigger opportunity than organics and more.

Here’s a sneak peek into the discussion:

Waste360: Please tell us more about the Upcycled Food Association and how it came to be.

Turner Wyatt: The main concept behind it is that people care about food waste; regular people care about this issue. So, why don’t we put the solution to food waste into the hands of ordinary people?

About a year ago, I started connecting with various food upcycling entrepreneurs to learn about what was happening in the space. And I noticed that a lot of them are facing the same challenges. Ultimately, this group of 10 businesses that I was interviewing decided to come together and form an organization whose goal it was to focus on the infrastructure of the industry. So, just about 100 days ago, the Upcycled Food Association was officially formed. I have the honor and the challenge of leading this organization, which I hope will be the perfect solution to my frustrations related to food waste. This is the people’s solution. 

Waste360: Can you dig into your vision for building this infrastructure?

Turner Wyatt: We’re working on the behind-the-scenes work that doesn’t necessarily interact with everyday people on a day-to-day basis but that is critical in making the industry successful across the board and building up the fabric between businesses. A lot of what these companies are doing is so innovative and brand new, so the government hasn’t had to deal with regulating them, and product developers haven’t dealt with packaging them … so it’s our goal as an organization to eliminate these barriers.

Waste360: What keeps you inspired to make change happen?

Turner Wyatt: It is a privilege to work on these issues. And what keeps me inspired is climate change. For me, it’s about our land and keeping it healthy—and our people. And I am really inspired by science—and when all of those things can come together, that gets me really excited. When Project Drawdown came out and said that reducing food waste is actually the third-most important thing we can do to address climate change, ahead of all these other things like solar energy that we think of being the most important things … that is when it really solidified for me that this is my life’s work.

Read transcript here.