The Northeast Recycling Council (NERC), Brattleboro, Vermont, presented its 2019 Environmental Sustainability Leadership awards to three programs in the Northeast on Oct. 29. According to a news release from NERC, each of the winners was selected for its “high level of environmental achievement that supports NERC’s mission.”
“This is the third year of NERC’s Environmental Sustainability Leadership Awards and we were once again impressed by the quality of the projects submitted for consideration,” said Robert Isner of Connecticut, NERC board vice president, during the presentation.
NERC presented an advisory member award, a public sector award and a private sector award at its presentation.
Advisory member award
The Delaware River & Bay Authority’s Regional Environmental Leadership and Enhanced Recycling Program received NERC’s advisory member award. The Delaware River & Bay Authority is a bistate governmental agency that operates the Delaware Memorial Bridge, the Cape May-Lewes Ferry System and five regional airports. Recently, the authority partnered with Waste Management to provide recycling containers to each employee and rolled out new and enhanced recycling practices across all of its facilities, NERC reports in a news release on the award.
It also expanded its environmentally preferable purchasing practices, including furnishing Lewes, the Delaware ferry, with 100 percent recycled plastic products, such as Adirondack chairs and picnic tables. It also hosted three World Environmental Days in Delaware and New Jersey to promote waste reduction, recycling and avoiding marine pollution.
Public sector award
The Recycling Contamination Reduction Campaign in Danvers, Massachusetts, received NERC’s public sector award. The town of Danvers worked with its hauler, JRM Hauling and Recycling, Peabody, Massachusetts, to retrain its curbside recycling residents about what to recycle.
The town updated its outreach and educational materials and created a “Danvers DPW Recycling Guide” to educate residents on proper recycling, NERC reports in a news release on the award. It also updated its website with these details, sent out a press release and ran a social media campaign surrounding its recycling guide.
In July, JRM stickered and left contaminated recycling loads at the curb—Danvers Public Works employees followed JRM’s recycling truck and left the “Danvers DPW Recycling Guide” with the resident, NERC reports. The sticker program identified 1,200 residences that had contaminated recycling bins. Numbers dropped significantly after the first week and had decreased by 90 percent at month’s end. There were only seven repeat violations in July.
Private sector award
The Armstrong Ceilings Recycling Program received NERC’s private sector award. The Armstrong Ceilings Recycling Program is one of the longest running recycling programs of its kind in the ceilings industry. Since its inception in 1998, the closed-loop program, which takes back discarded ceiling panels from renovation and demolition projects and upcycles them into new ceiling panels, has diverted more than 200 million square feet of used ceiling materials away from landfills, NERC reports in a news release on the award.
In addition, the Ceilings Recycling Program has saved more than 1 million tons of virgin raw materials and prevented 100,000 tons of construction waste from being deposited at landfills. In the 11-state NERC region, it has diverted more than 40 million square feet of used ceiling materials, saving 220,000 tons of virgin raw materials and preventing 20,000 tons of construction waste disposal.