The Northeast Recycling Council will hold its Fall Conference—Much Ado About Plastics—on October 29 – 30 in Providence, Rhode Island.   The Conference, to be held at the Graduate Providence Hotel, will feature topics currently most relevant to plastics recycling. The Conference keynote will be delivered by Adam Gendell, Associate Director of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC).  Mr. Gendell will present SPC’s initiatives assisting companies achieve their sustainability goals.  Helping companies better understand their end markets will be a particular focus.

Day One of the Conference will continue with a panel discussion on managing plastics, featuring Tonya Randell of More Recycling, Victor Bell of Environmental Packaging International (EPI), and Kristen Aldred Creek of the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI).   Some of the topics to be addressed are the paradox of plastics, the cost of packaging Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) programs, and lessons learned from Europe’s plastics and packaging EPR programs.  The panel will be followed by a session focusing on single use plastic legislation.  The presenters will be Susan Bush of Circular Matters, Claire Galkowski of South Shore Recycling Cooperative, and  Kayla Montanye of New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

A session entitled Innovative Products, Programs & Technology will close out Day One. Juri Freeman of RRS will present their work with plastics companies at the NextCycle Business Incubator, and how this effort can be duplicated around the country. Steve Alexander of the Association of Plastics Recyclers (APR) will discuss APR’s new Post-Consumer Recycled Content Certification Program.  William Hancock of Plexus Recycling Technologies will educate attendees about robotic sorting technology.  Also, Craig Cookson of the American Chemistry Council will present about advanced chemical recycling.

Two sessions on plastics market issues will kick off Day Two.  Adina Adler of ISRI will talk about the Basel Plastics Decision and its potential impact on overseas plastics markets.  Dylan de Thomas of The Recycling Partnership will follow with a presentation about the value of plastics in today’s marketplace.

The morning will continue with Melissa Walsh Innes of the Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse (TPCH)presenting the accomplishments of TPCH and its influence on plastics packaging. The session to follow will focus on PFAS and its presence in plastic packaging and, ultimately, in compost.  Presenting this session will be Terri Goldberg of Northeast Waste Management Officials’ Association (NEWMOA) and Debra Darby of Darby Marketing

The Conference will wrap up with a session about strategies for plastics education.  Beth Gingold of Recycle Leaders will present on bridging the gap between Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) and civic education, while Rachel Bookman of ISRI will describe the Jason Learning Program.

During the evening social on Day One, NERC will present an award recognizing an individual or organization for their contribution to growing an environmentally sustainable economy within the NERC 11-state region.

NERC is a multi-state non-profit organization that is committed to environmental and economic sustainability through responsible solid waste management. Its programs emphasize source reduction, reuse, recycling, composting, environmentally preferable purchasing (EPP), and decreasing the toxicity of the solid waste stream in the 11-state region comprised of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

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