At the Annual Meeting of the Maine Chapter of the United Nations Association of the United States (UNA-Maine) on Saturday, the COVID-19 pandemic will be front and center – but not necessarily from a public health perspective. Kevin Roche, CEO of ecomaine, recycling and solid waste processor for 450,000 people in the state, will present How COVID-19 Uncovered Gaps in the Global Recycling Supply Chain, an examination of the critical role municipal recycling programs play in providing uninterrupted feedstock supply for 40-50% of manufacturers around the world.
“The essential nature of recycling has been magnified during the pandemic,” said Roche. “The fact that manufacturers around the world rely on recyclables to generate new items has never been more apparent, as businesses have suspended operations, leaving residents’ materials as crucial feedstock for these industries that make cardboard boxes, paper towels, toilet paper, and new packaging that has been needed more than ever during the last year.”
Additionally, the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #12 seeks to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns – global recycling will prove indispensable in meeting these goals. “Recycling has been an important part of life for many of us for decades,” said Lucinda White, Board President of the Maine Chapter of the United Nations Association. “As resources around the globe become more scarce, it is important, both from an environmental perspective and in terms of peacekeeping efforts, that we all do what we can to recover valuable resources from already-existing materials.”