On Tuesday, the first day of the Zero Waste East Conference, held at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, brought in many professionals, experts, policymakers and corporations to discuss the industry challenges in the waste and recycling industry. Put on by Companies for Zero Waste, informative sessions and networking opportunities throughout the day allowed attendees to interact in lively discussions and Q&A on topics such as, Zero-Landfill Initiative, Integrating Waste into the Circular Carbon Economy, Public-Private Partnerships, Women in Sustainability, Food Waste and update on the National Sword ruling and how it is affecting the industry today whose speakers included David Biderman, Executive Director and CEO of SWANA, Chaz Miller, Former NSWMA-Director of State Programs, Toby McCartney, Managing Director for MacRebar Unlimited and Don Allen, President and CEO of Cielo Waste Solutions. Biderman stressed that the state of recycling as it stands does have its challenges but it is not a crisis as the media portrays it to be and that contamination rates in certain markets have actually gone down because of education programs that are in place. However, there was still a lot of work to be done.

Prominent brands and subject matter professionals from The LEGO Group, Lush Fresh Made Cosmetics, DSM North America, Suburu of North America, the Queen of Raw and others shared their experience and goals for sustainability and the circular economy within their respective companies. One point that was made consistently was the importance of education — it is not only effective in getting residents involved in ensuring that they do recycling, reuse and waste disposal right, it also leads to bringing down contamination rates. Towards the end of the day, the discussions turned to food waste and composting, the benefits of anaerobic digestion and the complementary relationship between the two.

Today will focus on zero waste issues, including clean and renewable energy, leveraging active participation, smart city solutions, circular economy markets and others. We look forward to hearing these informative sessions!

See also: Second Day of Zero Waste East Conference Wraps Up with a Focus on Moving Forward 100% on Zero Waste