The National Waste & Recycling Association recognized innovators and leaders in its industry. Awards in five categories were given to companies that have made substantial contributions to American recycling through partnerships, public education and innovations in recycling facilities. Winners were selected by a panel of judges who are professionals in the waste and recycling industry as well as from other technology and education organizations.
“These awards honor the very best in the industry for excellence in educating the public and smart ways to recycle; creating innovative approaches to advance our work; constructing state-of-the-art recycling facilities; and developing revolutionary partnerships that help protect the environment and increase collaboration with the recycling ecosystem,” said NWRA President and CEO Darrell Smith. “Our industry continues to make great strides in safety, engineering and community engagement, which not only helps make us a more effective association, but it also yields better results for the environment and the communities we serve.”
The 2020 Sustainability Partnership Game Changer Award was presented to Rehrig Pacific Company and Waste Management for their effort to increase post-consumer resin (PCR) in roll-out carts by 10 percent. In October 2019, Rehrig Pacific was named one of Waste Management’s primary suppliers, and in spring 2020, Rehrig Pacific and Waste Management launched a project to test and commercialize roll-out carts that would incorporate at least 10 percent bulky rigid PCR. With a mutual focus on sustainability, Rehrig and Waste Management were able to expedite the testing and approvals to deliver the solution within three months.
The 2020 Best Recycling Public Education Program Award went to the Solid Waste Authority (SWA) of Palm Beach County, Fla., for its Recycle Right Everyday campaign. SWA serves 1.4 million residents in Palm Beach County and is responsible for the disposal of waste and recyclables from throughout the county. It processes approximately 1.6 million tons of waste and 100,000 tons of recyclables each year. As part of its Recycling Right Everyday campaign, SWA met with private and municipal haulers to ensure support and cooperation. The program has expanded to include dedicated educators who undertake community presentations, facility tours, classroom lessons and field trips. More than 130 groups have visited SWA in the last 10 months.
The 2020 Recycling Facility of the Year was awarded to both FCC Environmental Services’ Houston materials recovery facility (MRF) and GFL Environmental’s Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, MRF. The Houston City Council selected FCC to build and operate a new, state-of-the-art single-stream MRF. The MRF was designed with the effective and efficient removal of glass containers and pieces from the recycling stream in mind. This allowed Houston to recycle glass again. The MRF has an annual capacity of 145,000 tons, more than double the current need of Houston, ensuring plenty of room to grow.
GFL Environmental’s MRF was designed with the most advanced technologies and added substantial processing capacity. The recycling sorting system is comprised of approximately 90 percent automated sorting and 10 percent manual sorting. The total facility capacity is 100,000 metric tons, nearly double the capacity required by Winnipeg. The plant’s recovery rate is approximately 90 percent despite an average inbound contamination rate of 15 percent.
The 2020 Innovator of the Year – Recycling Equipment went to Fire Rover. Fire Rover’s technology was developed specifically for the waste and recycling industry. It has eliminated more than 200 fires in facilities. Earlier this year, Fire Rover installed its first solution for lithium battery recycling as well as additional “quick connects” for the local fire department to fight fires more effectively and safely.
The 2020 Organics Recycler of the Year is Republic Services. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, yard and food waste make up 30 percent of municipal solid waste sent to landfills. Organics diversion is being debated across the country, and legislation is helping drive organic waste out of landfills. Republic Services operates 11 compost facilities in five states, runs an organics pre-processing operation in Anaheim, Calif., and maintains a robust food recovery program in Los Angeles. In 2019, Republic processed 1.7 billion pounds of yard and food waste at its organics facilities, creating more than 275,000 tons of compost.
“I congratulate all our winners on their outstanding achievements and contributions. It is important we recognize the good work our industry is doing to make our communities better,” said Smith.