|Members of the NorthAmerican Recycling Coalition Formation Working Group at the 2012 Resource Recycling Conference, from left: Mick Barry, Michele Nestor, Gary Liss, Marjie Griek, Mark Lichtenstein, Jeff Cooper, Fran McPoland and Meg Morris|
The National Recycling Coalition (NRC) and the Recycling Organizations of North America Inc. (RONA) have moved one step closer to finalizing plans to form a unified organization, the NorthAmerican Recycling Coalition.
Mark Lichtenstein, president of NRC, says that the organizations have agreed to sign a letter of agreement and that RONA would turn over its assets, finances and intellectual property to the NRC to form the new organization after the letter is approved by the boards of both organizations. The official announcement was made Aug. 27, during the NRC Members Meeting at the 2012 Resource Recycling Conference in Austin, Texas.
Lichtenstein says the organizations were able to secure pro bono legal assistance on the consolidation process on behalf of NRC's founder, attorney Cliff Case, a partner with the Manhattan law firm Carter Ledyard and Milburn LLP. Case, an honorary lifetime board member of the NRC, had founded the organization in 1978.
"They've got a team of attorneys led by Cliff who are helping NRC and RONA through this process," says Lichtenstein. "It's a really great service and it's interestingly coming from the original founder of the NRC."
Once the new organization is formed, Lichtenstein says, RONA will cease to exist. However, RONA board members who were also members of NRC could be eligible to be added as board members for the new organization, he explained.
“The details are still in process,” observes Marjorie Griek, RONA chair and executive director of the Colorado Association for Recycling. “We see no objections or obstructions to this going through.”
Griek says some of the programs currently underway within the RONA organization will continue within the new organization, such as RONA’s National Standards Certification work and RONA-U, an initiative targeting recycling efforts at college campuses.
Griek says the consolidation occurs at the right time for both organizations.
“We’re very excited about all of that and we’ve gotten a lot of excellent feedback from folks,” she says. “Everyone seems to be very positive about this. It’s a really good time for it to happen and we’re looking forward to it.”
Griek says RONA includes around 35 member organizations representing state groups, companies and manufacturers serving the recycling industry.
NRC describes itself as a national nonprofit advocacy group with around 6,000 individual members and 20 affiliate organizations at the state level.
The organizations had announced their plans to consolidate in July 2012, with the intention of sharing assets, resources and a combined vision.
Both Griek and Lichtenstein say the boards of both organizations will likely vote on the letter of agreement within the next couple of months.
Griek says the merger ultimately will benefit both organizations. “It’s definitely a stronger voice when you have one unified organization. You have more members in that organization, you’ve got more resources in that organization, more capital in that organization,” Griek explained. “You’re not competing for the same funders and members, so it just was time and made sense to both organizations to move forward with it.”