Promoting sustainable recycling in the Southeast by connecting local supply and regional demand of recovered material.
Monthly News & Updates in the Southeast
Keep Recycling and Happy Earth Day Monday!
There's no doubt that recycling is getting a lot of fire on all fronts, from communities stopping collections, to processors closing doors, to materials being reported as heading to landfills.

Everyday in the Southeast (and the rest of the country), recycling processors and manufacturers are still opening the doors, receiving materials and producing goods for us. Despite the challenges, recycling is still alive. We are all in this together.

SERDC certainly appreciates your support and interest in what we do.
Upcoming Events


May 6-9, 2019: Waste Expo 2018- Las Vegas, NV

May 5-7, 2019: Virginia Recycling Association Annual Conference- Glen Allen, VA*

May 14-16, 2019: MS “Magnolia” Chapter of SWANA Spring Conference- Bay St. Louis, MS

May 15-17, 2019: Environmental Show of the South- Chattanooga, TN*

June 17-19, 2019: Recycling Florida Today Annual Conference- Bonita Springs, FL*

July 24-26, 2019: Alabama Recycling Association Annual conference- Auburn, AL*

*SERDC attending
Upcoming Webinars

Thursday May 9: 1:00-2:00 pm ET

Have you ever wanted to calculate the environmental impact of your organization’s waste management practices? Have you considered making a change in how you manage your waste stream, but are unsure what the environmental impact may be? Do you have sustainability goals, but are unsure how your current waste management plan feeds into the broader goals? These are the types of questions EPA’s Waste Reduction Model (WARM) can help you answer.

Worth revisiting:
Best Practices for Solid Waste & Recycling Contracting Webinar recording hosted by the North East Recycling Council on April 4.
We usually put our sponsor level members at the bottom of every newsletter, but in appreciation of all you do on Earth Day and everyday, we wanted say an extra thank you for supporting our mission!
Not a member? Consider joining today
SERDC News & Announcements
First round Funding deadline of May 24 approaching
Grant funding is available to communities in the Southeast region covered by SERDC for recycling infrastructure. Increasing the quality and amount of materials collected in a sustainable way is crucial for processors of the collected material and will lead to growth to the growth of demand for use in manufacturing.

 The first round of funds available is $250,000 and applications will be evaluated after the closing deadline of May 24. Let us know if you plan to apply and please forward this announcement to any potential applicants.

Download RFP (pdf)
From SERDC Members
The Recycling Partnership featured in NPR interview and article on Plastic
Posted March 13, 2019 on

In 1995, Zhang Yin started a paper recycling company in China called Nine Dragons. She would become China's first female billionaire. China wanted scrap paper and plastic to recycle into more products, and Yin seized the market.

China had plenty of capacity to handle plastics and lots of cheap laborers to sort the recyclable materials from the nonrecyclable. By 2016, the U.S. was exporting almost 700,000 tons a year to China alone. Overall, China imported 7 million tons from around the world.

About five years ago, the Chinese government started to worry about all this trash coming in. A lot of the plastic was contaminated with stuff that made it difficult and expensive to recycle – paper, food waste, plastic wrap (which is not recyclable). And some of the plastic was hard to recycle and thus not profitable to import.

Keefe Harrison runs a nonprofit called the Recycling Partnership that works to improve recycling rates. She says more plastic in the U.S. is now ending up in landfills or getting incinerated, which creates pollution. And she says the confusion is discouraging to consumers. "It's very hard to turn recycling on and off," she says. "You can't tell your citizens 'Today we're not recycling any more, but next week we'll start again.' "

Harrison says if recyclers in the U.S. are going to pick up the slack, they need help. For one thing, they need more good, valuable plastic — bottles and tubs like the ones detergent comes in, for example, that are easier to recycle into raw plastic they can resell in the U.S. "The truth is that only half of Americans can recycle at home as easily as throwing something away," she says. "So that's step one that we have to fix."

The Recycling Partnership is a Bronze Sponsor member of SERDC.
Coca-Cola continues voluntary producer responsibility approach with $5.4M in new recycling grants
Posted March 14, 2019 on

The Coca-Cola Foundation has pledged $5.4 million worth of recycling grants to programs in multiple cities in an effort to help "fix" recycling infrastructure in the U.S., as first reported by CNN Business.

An estimated $4.15 million of this funding will go toward a three-year curbside education program in Atlanta being done in conjunction with The Recycling Partnership. The stated goals are to reduce contamination by more than 25% and increase capture rates by 20% across 100,000 households. The nonprofit will also be working with local multi-family buildings, colleges and universities.

The remainder of this grant funding will go to groups including Keep Houston Beautiful, the Boston Parks and Recreation Foundation and GreenBlue for work it's doing in Orlando. The latter program involves a $193,000 grant, also working with The Recycling Partnership, to help expand an existing curbside quality program in Florida's Orange County.

Coca-Cola is a Platinum Sponsor member of SERDC
Baker works to change the recycling message
Posted April 1, 2019 on

Stephanie Baker was often the youngest and one of few women in any given meeting or conference. She didn't come from a technical background; she has a Bachelor of Arts from Birmingham-Southern College in Alabama, and plastics recycler KW Plastics Recycling in Troy, Ala., was her first job in the plastics industry more than 15 years ago.

Her background is in communications and economic development, which "provided a unique perspective to be able to change the recycling message from an environmental one to an economic one," said Baker, director of market development.

Baker was named a "Four Under 40: The Voices of the Future" by Resource Recycling and deemed a "Mover and Shaper" by Business Alabama. She previously served as chairwoman of the Southeast Recycling Development Council (SERDC) Board of Directors and SERDC 120, which was a voluntary initiative that resulted in the Recycling Partnership.

"One of these examples is the SERDC 120 initiative, which recognized that a lot of great work was being done to research and understand specific points in the recycling stream and gathered these various interests together to take action," she added. "The Recycling Partnership resulted as a work of our intense six weeks of work and today is a great example of voluntary partnership and investment in arenas that affected the supply chain as a whole and moved brands and communities closer together."

KW Plastics is a Platinum Sponsor member of SERDC.
Around the Southeast
Orlando mandating commercial and multi-unit residential recycling by 2023
Posted March 14, 2019 on

Commercial and multi-unit residential buildings in Orlando, Florida will be required to offer recycling under two related ordinances passed by the city council earlier this week. The changes will be phased in over four years.
One ordinance states that building owners must provide a recycling container, arrange for recyclable material collection, and maintain and submit verification records. The other ordinance details the types of acceptable recycling services and containers, as well as container locations.

All new residential and commercial construction projects will have to submit a recycling plan by Oct. 1 to receive a certificate of occupancy. Large multi-family residential buildings of at least 250 units, and commercial buildings of at least 200,000 square feet, must offer recycling by April 1, 2020. Residences of 74 units or more, and commercial buildings of 100,000-199,999 square feet must comply by April 21, 2021. Small residences of 4-74 units and all commercial buildings must comply by April 1, 2023.

NC DEACS speaks at Sustainable Brewing & Packaging event
Posted March 21, 2019 on

Ardagh Group, Glass – North America, a division of Ardagh Group and a leading manufacturer of glass containers for the food and beverage industries in the United States, recently hosted a Sustainable Brewing & Packaging event at its Wilson, N.C. glass manufacturing facility. Craft breweries from across the state of North Carolina, government agency officials from North Carolina and representatives from other supply chain businesses gathered to discuss sustainability and recycling initiatives.

Mike Green, Business Development Specialist for the State of North Carolina, Division of Environmental Assistance, spoke about brewery recycling programs and the need for regional consolidation partnerships. This way, breweries can consolidate their brewery materials, such as grain bags, hops bags, cardboard and stretch wrap, to save money while recycling items in one central location.  

Representing the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, Wendy Worley, Recycling and Materials Management, Section Chief, spoke about the state of North Carolina being home to more than 16,000 private-sector recycling jobs, with more than 650 businesses dedicated to recycling, such as fellow panelist Bill Clark, Regional Sourcing Development & Clean Glass Initiative Manager for Strategic Materials.

"Our office works with companies across the state to expand the use of sustainable practices and recognize leaders in environmental stewardship," said Worley. "North Carolina craft brewers are leaders in sustainable business practices. I applaud the industry and the organizers of this event for their environmental commitment and positive impact on North Carolina's local economy." 

Ardagh Group's Wilson facility specializes in the manufacture of 100 percent and infinitely recyclable glass containers for the beer and beverage markets, making nearly 30 glass bottles every second, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Recommended Reads

What does 'recycling' actually mean? posted April 3, 2019 on

All the ways recycling is broken—and how to fix them posted April 4, 2019 on

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