NERC names 2018 Environmental Sustainability Leadership Award winners

NERC names 2018 Environmental Sustainability Leadership Award winners

Awards recognize three programs in the Northeast.

October 31, 2018

The Northeast Recycling Council (NERC) Brattleboro, Vermont, has presented its 2018 Environmental Sustainability Leadership Awards. The association recognized three programs in the Northeast:

  • The Connecticut What’s IN, What’s OUT Campaign;
  • PaintCare; and
  • The village of Scarsdale, New York.

“This is the second year of NERC’s Environmental Sustainability Leadership Awards, and we were delighted by the number and quality of the nominees as well as the importance of the work they are doing,” says NERC board President Kaley Laleker, deputy director of the Land Management Administration at the Maryland Department of the Environment. “Selecting a winner was difficult, and ultimately the award committee decided to recognize a state project, a private sector initiative and a municipal program. Each of the winners has achieved significant environmental results through its work in the Northeast.”

Connecticut’s multimedia What’s IN, What’s OUT Campaign, a project of the RecycleCT Foundation, seeks to increase awareness of Connecticut’s recycling rules. (See this article in our May issue for more information.) Contributing to the development and success of this campaign were material recovery faculties (MRFs) in Connecticut, RecycleCT board members, the firms of Decker and ReCollect and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection recycling staff that kept everyone working together, NERC says. The What’s IN, What’s Out Campaign, has been engaging residents through digital and social media, generating more than 7.4 million impressions, 70,000 website visits, 104,000 RecycleCT Wizard searches and 1.9 million video views. Commissioner Robert Klee of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection accepted the award on behalf of the campaign.  

PaintCare, a program of the American Coatings Association, Washington, is a paint manufacturer stewardship program that provides end-of-life management of leftover paint. In the NERC region, PaintCare has programs in Connecticut, Maine, Rhode Island and Vermont. These programs conserve leftover latex and oil-based paint by offering the public convenient drop-off locations, diverting the paint from landfills and improper disposal. To date, PaintCare has processed more than 1.2 million gallons of paint in Connecticut, more than 326,000 gallons in Maine, in excess of 305,000 gallons in Rhode Island and more than 438,000 gallons in Vermont, NERC says. PaintCare provides more than 360 drop-off locations in the region, including paint stores, transfer stations and hazardous waste programs. Accepting the award on behalf of PaintCare was Marjaneh Zarrehparvar, the executive director at PaintCare.

The village of Scarsdale, New York, launched a municipal food scrap recycling program in January 2017, becoming the first municipality in Westchester County to offer such a program. Th program has been “remarkably successful,” NERC says, and has quickly expanded to 10 additional municipalities in Westchester County and the lower Hudson Valley region area of New York. Since the Scarsdale program began, almost 336,000 pounds of food scraps have been recycled into compost. Weekly collections currently exceed 4 tons and continue to increase as more households register to participate. Within the first 18 months, more than 1,000 households registered, representing 18 percent of all Scarsdale households, according to NERC, which adds that Scarsdale’s food scrap recycling program is a model for other communities. The award was accepted by Michelle Sterling, Scarsdale Conservation Advisory Council; Benedict Salanitro, superintendent of Scarsdale Public Works; and Ron Schulhof, Scarsdale Conservation Advisory Council.