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SSRC Updates December 2018

October Board meeting notes, updates
Republic Services
     Grind-screen contract extended 
RDP Outreach point pointers
     SSRC Outreach grant plan
SSRC 20th Anniversary logo, story
RECO reboot
Fall HHW season recap
New faces, open seats
SSRC Facebook post “explodes”
Cohasset RDF installs surveillance cameras
Plymouth offers new sharps program
50K mattresses recycled with DEP grant
Recycled paper capacity increasing in NA
EPA’s Wheeler pledge: make recycling great again

October Board meeting notes and updates

Republic Services…

…covered the cost of a delicious breakfast for our meeting at Kingston Town Hall.
Chris Macera of Republic Services took over as Manager of Municipal Services in eastern MA and RI  after Terry Grady retired. His presentation, “Recycling Reimagined: Overcoming Today’s Challenges”, covered the rapidly changing market situation.  Collection and processing costs have risen, and values don’t offset those costs as much as they used to.  Residuals (contaminants) range from 5%-30%.  More residuals are disposed at the end markets. 
Market trends: Cardboard value is down over past 5 years.  There is less newspaper due to electronic alternatives.  Packaging continually changes without consideration of downstream impacts. Containers are lighter weight than before, some by half since 2000.  Flexible pouches are replacing rigid plastic and metal.  China’s National Sword has reduced demand, especially for mixed paper.  Bales are being stockpiled, with some disposed due to degradation.  Sort lines have been slowed down to improve bale quality, which is costly.  The situation has driven some haulers out of business.
What can we do? Educate!  Clean up the product.  Emphasize quality over quantity.  The material mix has been revised, with some materials eliminated (i.e. gable top cartons).
Price increases using a new formula and business model reflect higher collection and processing costs, value drop.  Republic shares revenues 50-50.
Q: How should we budget for FY2020?  A: Budget for worst case. (Director’s note:  values have stabilized in recent months)
Q: Would it make sense to divert recycling to trash?  A: No.  It took great effort to establish programs.  Markets will improve.  Republic is building a single stream sorting facility in Freetown now.  Landfills are closing, disposal costs will be rising.  Need to reduce disposal, single use products. 
Q:  Would it make sense to divert organics? A.  Cambridge does.  Need to look at economics- containers, collection cost, local outlet.  Costly for curbside, better for drop off.  Need more outlets in SE Mass. 
Contact Chris at, 774-488-3524.

Grind-Screen contract extensions

 The Board unanimously extended the contracts with Wicklow Wood, NER and Lion’s Head Organics for grinding and screening. Several of our towns used their services this past year.

RDP Outreach point

Our MassDEP MAC Todd Koep reported that the FY20 Recycling Dividend Program grants were streamlined, combining curbside and dropoff requirements.  There are 26 possible points, up from 21.  Point values are based on the number of households served by a municipal solid waste program.
He reviewed some of the qualifying activities for the Waste Reduction Outreach point:
Conducting a full IQ Kit project in FY19 qualifies by itself, and can be done multiple years. 
Towns that didn’t do the IQ Kit project this year must do 5 of several relatively easy activities, including:
  • Posting signs such as “Don’t Bag Recyclables” at high traffic areas (polling places, Town Meeting, busy intersections, transfer stations) twice /year
  • Participation in The Green Team by teachers from at least two schools
  • Radio or cable PSAs (will be covered by the SSRC, see next item)
  • Publish and Op Ed in a local paper (SSRC can do this with some help)
  • Become a RecycleSmartMA Partner, involving some minor website work
Mr. Koep will record a Recycling IQ Kit/Social Media strategies workshop at DEP next week.

Outreach grant plan

MassDEP awarded the SSRC a $2000 outreach grant.  The Board voted to spend $1100 of it on another airing of last year’s radio ads on WATD in the spring. This would fulfill one of the 5 RDP Outreach point activities for all SSRC towns (see previous item). 
Website maintenance and new textile banners were also suggested.  Director will investigate, Board will vote on how to spend $900 balance at the Dec. 6 meeting.

20th Anniversary of SSRC features new logo

By Claire Galkowski, Executive Director, SSRC
The SSRC gained official recognition as a government agency in 1998, largely through the legendary efforts of then-Secretary John McNabb, Jr. and then-Rep. Tom O’Brien.*  Our Chairman Merle Brown was on the committee that hired me as Solid Waste Planner, and has served as Chair and Vice Chair ever since. My start date was November 2, 1998. Merle is the only original Board member who continues to serve.
To kick off the SSRC’s observance of its 20th anniversary, we recently unveiled an updated version of our logo!  The final version was selected by the Board at the October meeting. The Director has incorporated the new look into most of our graphics.
Our former treasurer Joanne Dirk engaged the late designer Stavros Cosmopulos of Norwell to produce our original logo in 1999 pro bono.  The updated version was designed at Bond Printing, with some time also donated.
We will be marking this milestone throughout the fiscal year.  Next up is a Water Watch presentation at the South Shore Natural Science Center on January 30, “From Single stream to Zero Waste: What’s new with the 3Rs?”
* Excerpt from our July 2000 Newsletter:    “The SSRC exists today because of the leadership and commitment of Rep. O’Brien. who fought tirelessly for the adoption of the legislation that created the organization,” said Secretary John McNabb, Jr., who worked with O’Brien to pass the legislation.  Thanks to the Special Legislation, The SSRC is capable of receiving and disbursing dues and grants without the encumbrance of a host entity.  It is also capable of entering into contracts, a right, which it has thus far chosen not to exercise.  The independence conferred by this act has made the functioning of the organization much easier and more efficient than it otherwise would.

RECO reboot

Our Recycling Education and Compliance Officer Julie Sullivan accepted a full time job offer at the new Braintree Stormwater Management Department in October.  While she is committed to seeing the grant project through to completion, she is unable to work during the week.  The project is about 75-80% complete.  Julie has completed projects in Abington, Cohasset, Duxbury, and Hingham.  She and the Director have been working with Scituate to prepare regulations and outreach for their initial phase.
The SSRC posted a RECO2 position to finish Health Department hauler enforcement assistance, resident education at the Scituate Transfer Station, follow up assessments in four curbside towns, and a few other things.  See the posting here.

Fall HHW season recap

Our six household hazardous waste collections this fall had relatively low turnouts compared with the previous 2 years, with only 728 participants.  A trend toward larger volumes offset the participation.  Terrible weather may have been a factor at the Weymouth event.
Use of our reciprocal agreement continued to grow, with 19% of all deliveries coming from non-host towns.  Nine of our fifteen towns have provided blanket authorization, which streamlines the process for all involved.  Still, many visitors came from towns that require prior authorization.
Our total for the calendar year, 1827, while lower than 2016 and 2017, exceeded counts for many previous years.
Stericycle Environmental crews did a great job, and seem to have their new billing system straightened out.
The average per car cost rose by 18.5% over the previous contract, to $48.33, lower than the projected 20%.  Due to the low turnouts, only 2 events qualified for the SSRC’s 5% volume discount.  More details will be available to Board members at the Dec. 6 meeting.


New faces, open seats

SSRC Member Town health departments have seen a lot of changes recently. 
Last year, Plymouth hired a new Health Director, Dr. Nate Horwitz-Willis after Michelle Roberts retired.  Julie has worked extensively with him on enforcing Plymouth’s hauler regulations. 
After our former SSRC chairman Sharon White retired, Marty Golightly was hired to run the Abington Health Department.  You may have met him at our recent meetings, or at the Abington HHW collection.
Kingston recently hired Arthur Boyle, Holbrook’s former health agent and Pembroke selectman.  His hire followed the retirement of longtime agent Henny Walters, who had also been working with Julie. 
The Towns of Hanson, Norwell and Rockland have vacancies after the recent departures of their Health Agents.  We will miss Norwell’s Brian Flynn, who retired, Hanson’s Matt Tanis, who took the post in his hometown of Dighton, and Rockland’s Janice McCarthy, who often provided hot food and cool insights at breakfast meetings.  All three were effective contributors to SSRC business and to their towns’ solid waste programs.

SSRC facebook post “explodes”  

Sometimes it takes an inferno to get people’s attention.  While I wouldn’t quite call it “viral”, a Thanksgiving Facebook post we boosted that involved a deep fried turkey mishap reached 2000 people, half of them the result of over 200 “shares”.  
Inspired by a presentation at MassDEP’s Social Media workshop, the Director has tried to engage more humor in that and her current “Holiday sanity tip” posts, as well as sharing some RecycleSmartMA posts.  So far, she hasn’t been able to match the power of combustion again.
If 7you spot any fun memes or videos that could make a good SSRC post, please share!  And of course, follow us if you haven’t already. 

Plymouth offers way for residents to dispose of needles

By Rich Harbert , Sep 26, 2018    (excerpts)
PLYMOUTH –  …The disposal of used needles and other sharps has been a recognized problem in the medical community for years.
Every week, the people of Plymouth use an estimated 5,700 needles of one kind or another. Some are used by drug addicts and pose a health threat to anyone who comes in contact. Even more are the byproduct of treating or maintaining medical conditions like cancer or diabetes.
After a recent storm, dozens of used needles that had collected in a downtown drainage system floated to the surface on a street near the waterfront. Earlier this year, a little boy was pricked by a needle when he stuck his hand in the cushions of a couch at a local motel.
Over the course of the year, an estimated 312,000 needles are used locally, and there was no municipal program for their disposal – until now.
With the assistance of the local health department and funding from Town Meeting, the Plymouth Fire Department recently purchased a system that collects, sterilizes and shreds needles and other sharp biomedical waste.
The Sterilis Medical Waste Processing System is located at fire headquarters on Sandwich Street, where the department also maintains a storage bin and a supply of sharps containers for the public to use free of charge. More

Cohasset installs surveillance cameras at RDF

Seven video cameras survey the Cohasset Recycling and Disposal Facility, and are credited with identifying a purse thief.  They also watch for residents who try to cheat the Town’s Pay as you Throw bag disposal system, and put items in the wrong containers.  A new elevated guard shack will further beef up oversight.
DPW Director Carl Sestito noted that since our Recycling Education and Compliance Officer Julie Sullivan spent several weeks there last year, use of the proper Pay as You Throw bags for disposal continues to be much improved.

50,000 Mattresses Recycled in MassDEP Grant Program

By Ed Colletta, MassDEP, November 19, 2018 (excerpts)
BOSTON – … more than 50,000 old mattresses and box springs have now been recycled as part of the Mattress Recycling Incentive (MRI), a grant program operated by the MassDEP.
The MRI provides funding to cities and towns to aid in the collection, transportation and recycling of these difficult-to-manage materials.
To date, 43 municipalities (including Middleborough and Plymouth) have implemented mattress and box spring recycling programs through this grant, which pays for up to two years of transportation and recycling costs through one of the three state-contracted mattress recycling vendors: Raw Material Recovery Corp. in Gardner; United Teen Equality Center (UTEC) in Lowell; and Ace Mattress Enterprises in West Warwick, R.I. Additionally, the grant covers the cost of a collection container that grantees will use to sustain the recycling program after the term of the grant.
Approximately 85% of each mattress and box spring can be diverted from disposal. Recycling the wood, metal, foam and fabric components from mattresses allows for the materials to be made into a number of new products, such as carpet padding, particle board, and industrial filters. In addition, the MRI contributes to the development of a regional recycling economy.
The participating recycling vendors have been able to expand their operations, increasing volumes and purchasing new equipment.

Recycled paper capacity increasing in North America

By Katie Pyzyk@_PyintheSky, Nov. 19. 2018, Waste Dive  (excerpts)
  • The Northeast Recycling Council released a list of 17 North American paper mills that have announced an increase in their capacity to process recycled paper. The list includes 15 in the U.S. and two in Mexico. 
  • New mills will consume recovered material, such as the Pratt Industries facility under construction in Ohio.  Existing mills are adding recycled fiber capacity or converting what they process. Notable examples include the former Catalyst Paper mills in Wisconsin and Maine that were recently acquired by Chinese company Nine Dragons.
  • Most of the new capacity will primarily handle old corrugated cardboard (OCC). It will be two to three years before much of it comes online, although some of is expected by the end of this year and into 2019. 
Domestic fiber stockpiles appeared immediately following China's (recycled material bans). North American recyclers sought out markets such as Indonesia, which also initiated a crackdown when an abundance of fiber began turning up on its shores. However, China also implemented tougher regulations on fiber mills within its own country to cut pollution, leading Chinese paper companies to seek capacity elsewhere — hence the uptick in investments from Nine Dragons in North American mills. The fiber trouble within China has provided a shot in the arm for the domestic fiber market and experts anticipate the landscape will continue to improve for at least the next three years. More

EPA's Wheeler and 44 others pledge to create a 'more resilient materials economy'

Nov. 16, 2018, Cole Rosengren@ColeRosengren, Waste Dive (excerpts)
  • Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler and 44 top stakeholders in U.S. recycling signed a pledge on America Recycles Day to "…address the challenges facing our nation’s recycling system and identify solutions that create a more resilient materials economy and protect the environment."
  • During the inaugural EPA Recycling Summit, Wheeler outlined four key areas for the group to collaborate on over the coming year: education and outreach, enhancing materials management infrastructure, strengthening secondary materials markets, and enhancing measurement.
  • An accompanying proclamation from the Trump administration highlighted the opportunity to continue "tremendous progress" on recycling by "redoubling our efforts to ensure resilient local recycling systems that support our economy and our environment" and working together to "build a stronger America for future generations."
Finding common ground (between the US administration and recycling interests), especially when it comes to financial responsibility, may be challenging in some cases, but the need for ongoing dialogue is clear. The nation's recycling infrastructure will require heightened interest in reform with regard to both physical assets and policy if it is to remain viable in the decades to come.
As with a recent announcement around food waste, it would appear that emphasizing the economic potential of this opportunity — more than its environmental implications — is the best way to achieve federal buy-in for the foreseeable future. More


Southeast Municipal Recycling Council, Wed., Dec. 12, 9am-noon, Middleboro Town Hall, 10 Nickerson Rd. “Other ways to eliminate waste:  Fixit Cafes,Tool libraries – RDP Point”  RSVP tkoep@  BYOmug
SSRC Breakfast Meeting, Thurs., Jan. 10, 8:50-10:30, Rockland Senior Center
SSRC 20th Anniversary Water Watch series presentation, From single use to zero waste:  What’s new with the 3Rs”, Wed., Jan. 30, 7 pm, South Shore Natural Science Center, Norwell

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