SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry has announced Kate Walker McArdle will serve as the Project Director for the New York State Center for Sustainable Materials Management. Walker McArdle brings with her 15 years of experience working in environmental educator and program management roles. She has worked for and with government agencies, universities and non-profits. Walker McArdle holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies from St. Lawrence University.

In her role prior to joining ESF, Walker McArdle managed a statewide Outreach and Education program for the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute at the Rochester Institute of Technology, where she managed over $1 million in funding to over 100 organizations and municipalities across the state. Mark Lichtenstein, ESF’s Executive Operating Officer, Chief of Staff, and Chief Sustainability Officer, said, “We are very excited to have Kate on board. Her depth of experience, management capabilities and ability to foster successful, lasting partnerships will be an incredible asset to the Center, the first of its kind in the United States devoted to practices in waste reduction, reuse, recycling and composting.”

The New York State Center for Sustainable Materials Management (Center) was established at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) in the spring of 2020 through a NYS Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) grant administered by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). The Center places ESF, DEC, and their partners in a leadership role regarding materials (waste) reduction, reuse, and recycling in New York and the US. The Center focuses on the breadth of the Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) framework. SMM is an approach to promote sustainable materials use, integrating actions targeted at reducing negative environmental impacts, while preserving natural capital throughout the life cycle of materials, taking into account economic efficiency and social equity. Natural capital is preserved through SMM by increasing resource productivity, reducing material throughputs, and reusing/recycling materials to such a degree that depletion of natural capital is minimized and ecosystem services maintained. The objective is to maximize positive, and minimize negative environmental, economic, and social outcomes across the entire life cycle, as well as at every stage of the cycle. The Center works in six principle areas:

  1. Promoting waste prevention and reduction—focusing on packaging reduction and product stewardship
  2. Encouraging closed-loop, responsible purchasing
  3. Developing economic markets for recyclables, fostering on entrepreneurship, and helping convert manufacturing to use recycling feedstock
  4. Launching a comprehensive community outreach and public education campaign (including leading New York’s Recycle Righteffort), and facilitating additional stakeholder engagement
  5. Identifying new methods to manage non-recyclable fibrous materials through the development of composting options
  6. Identifying new methods to manage non-recyclable fibrous materials through the development of unique conversion options
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