November 2020

Monthly News & Updates in the Southeast
Promoting sustainable recycling in the Southeast by connecting local supply and regional demand of recovered material.
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Upcoming Events

November 15, 2020 America Recycles Day

November 17, 2020 1-5 pm ET: EPA's America Recycles Summit

November 18–19, 2020
MRF Summit:: Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) and the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. (ISRI). Fee

  • The impact of automation and technology on the workforce
  • The changing material stream
  • Creating demand for recovered material
  • The business economics of MRFs
Upcoming Webinars

November 19: 10-11:30 am ET: The Recycling Partnership: 2020 State of Curbside Recycling Report hosted by Keep Louisiana Beautiful

December 8: 3 pm ET Plastics: A Complex Topic – The Global Perspective hosted by NERC
America Recycles!
Sunday, November 15 is America Recycles Day followed by a week long awareness effort from the US EPA. This year has seen unprecedented attention to supply chain, recycling legislation, plastics and markets. Now, more than ever, recycling's role is essential for jobs and the economy. Every day, material collected at the curb and in industry is making it's way to sorting and processing facilities, then to manufacturing, then to the retail world.
The Recycling Partnership
Each November, we celebrate America Recycles, a time to educate and empower Americans to recycle more, better, not just on one day, but every day. We know this year’s celebration is likely to be different from past year’s observances. And, even though in-person events may be cancelled, we’ve identified the best resources to activate residents in your community to recycle more, better on America Recycles and every day.

Carton Council
Recycling is also important in providing feedstock for in-demand materials that experienced shortages earlier this year. Food and beverage cartons are one example of materials that can be recycled to help make in-demand paper products, such as toilet paper and paper towels, but most people are not making the connection.

This demonstrates an opportunity to talk about recycling in a new way and help your members make the connection that recycling helps to create new products.

Strategic Materials
In celebration of America Recycles Day, key stakeholders in the glass recycling value chain are excited to launch the story of glass and it's role in the circular economy. Watch now.
SERDC News & Announcements
2021 Board of Directors announced
During the Annual SERDC Membership Meeting in October, 4 new Board of Directors were elected to the 2021 Board. Congratulations and welcome!

Gary Logsdon- Recycling and Local Assistance Branch Manager for the
Division of Waste Management, Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection

Cheryl Coleman- Vice President Sustainability at Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. (ISRI)

Leslie Vetter- Director of National Accounts/Waste Services, Federal International Recycling and Waste Solutions

Michael McPherson- Intergovernmental Coordinator for the Georgia Municipal Association
SERDC comments on recently passed Georgia trust fund legislation for WasteDive article

Posted November 13, 2020 on

Georgia voters recently approved a constitutional amendment directing the state legislature to dedicate tax or fee revenue levied for a specific purpose to only be spent on those given purposes. This could have notable implications by redirecting more funding to hazardous waste clean up, landfill management and recycling and waste reduction programs.

Some area recycling professionals believe the newly bolstered funding could help prioritize more than $1 million per year for a range of recycling initiatives in a state that was limited by budget cuts years ago. This could include research, a new staff position, educational resources and local program grants.

The governor can also suspend these plans if the broader state budget is at least 3% less than anticipated in the most recent fiscal year, or if the state has three consecutive months of declining revenues. In July, Georgia ended the fiscal year $1 billion dollars short of revenue goals and advocates expect they will still need to push for funds to go to intended uses.

"It’s a shame we have to have amendments to the constitution for the legislature to follow through on all their own acts,” said Will Sagar, executive director of the Southeast Recycling Development Council.

Over the years, Georgia has diverted most of the solid waste and hazardous waste trust fund revenues to the general fund. North Carolina and other states also have a habit of dipping into money designated for recycling and waste management programs, Sagar said. 

“My greatest hope in the passing of this amendment is that other states will take the same action," said Sagar.

This potential for new investment in Georgia could help reverse more than a decade of underfunding. The Georgia Department of Community Affairs, which handles solid waste and recycling, cut staffing 10 years ago and eliminated the requirement that local governments file annual solid waste reports.

It’s possible that initial investments would also make local programs better candidates for a range of outside grant programs, Sagar said. National entities including Keurig Dr. Pepper, The Recycling Partnership and the Coca-Cola Foundation have put funding towards local recycling efforts throughout the state in recent years, according to Georgia Recycling Economic Development Partners. 

From SERDC Members

Launched in 2019, the America Recycles Innovation Fair showcases recent advances in recycling technology, product development, and materials usage. Registration is free and open to the public. This year, the event is being held in a fully virtual capacity. Learn more about the 2020 Innovation Fair.

The annual America Recycles Summit brings together organizations and individuals who are interested in making a difference in recycling in the United States. In 2018, EPA held its first America Recycles Summit with a goal to address the major challenges facing the U.S. recycling system.

In 2020, EPA is hosting a virtual event from 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. on November 17, 2020. EPA plans to announce national recycling goals, provide an overview and facilitate dialogue about its draft national recycling strategy, as well as facilitate public and private sector engagement and discussions across the country. Registration is free and open to the public.

EPA is a member of SERDC
Study to Measure Opportunity for Additional Capture of Recyclable Material Set to Launch in Northeastern U.S.

Posted November 11, 2020 on

A new study set to launch this month will measure the potential for additional recovery of valuable materials from recycling systems in the Northeast. The project will evaluate the potential for additional paper and plastics to be sorted and recycled, helping to reduce waste and make more of our post-use resources available for new manufacturing

“America’s plastic makers have set a goal for all plastic packaging to be reused, recycled or recovered in the United States by 2040,” said Joshua Baca, vice president of plastics at the American Chemistry Council (ACC). New business models and improved traditional and advanced recycling technologies are key to helping us achieve our objectives. We look forward to working with Titus MRF Services and the other participants to further study how these technologies can help move recycling forward, particularly for plastics.”

Data generated from the study will help inform decision-making on methods to enhance recycling, create a more circular economy for plastics, and reduce the amount of waste material sent to landfill. Project staff will follow Centers for Disease Control guidance on COVID19 worker protections as well as local and regional public health guidance.

American Chemistry Council is a member of SERDC
Around the US
GreenBlue and NSF International Announce Launch of the Public Comment Period for the RMS
Posted November 9, 2020 on

GreenBlue in partnership with NSF International announces the launch of the public comment period for the Recycled Material Standard (RMS), which is due to be published in early 2021. Once published, the RMS will be the only standard that offers both a mechanism for assuring claims of recycled content by corporations and creates a certificate trading system that directly incentivizes value chain participants to invest to grow recycling capability and capacity.

During this public comment period, feedback is solicited from supply chain members across all manufacturing segments, NGOs, and other stakeholders with interests in the standard. In addition to providing comments on the standard, participants are asked to provide feedback on the first of the material modules – the Plastics Module. This module defines how the principles of the RMS apply specifically to the plastics recycling value chain. Future modules will be developed for other materials.

NSF International has guided the standards development process, gathering input from supply chain representatives at every stage of development to ensure the standard can be practically implemented and is relevant to address today’s challenges.

Stakeholder feedback will be considered in finalization of the standard. The public comment period is open through December 18, 2020.

Those interested in participating in the public comment period should visit, where they can download the RMS, the Plastics Module, and access recorded webinars that offer a deeper dive into key elements of the standard, such as mass balance allocation and the Attributes of Recycled Content (ARC) trading system.

NWRA, EREF Publish ‘Waste & Recycling For Dummies’
Posted October 27, 2020 on

The National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) and the Environmental Research & Education Foundation (EREF) have partnered to produce Waste & Recycling For Dummies, an informative and educational book for industry professionals, government officials, students and consumers.

While many have a basic understanding (or some assumptions) about the waste and recycling industry, NWRA and EREF unveil a clearer picture of how the entire industry works in Waste & Recycling For Dummies, hoping that readers take a look at their own actions and see what they can do to leave the world in a better place than they found it.

“It was important to us to tell the right story about the waste and recycling industry,” said NWRA President and CEO Darrell Smith. “There is a lot of inaccurate information out there, and this book helps address those misunderstandings and provide a detailed look inside the inner workings of our industry. Our industry goes way beyond the curb.”

“The nuances of waste management concepts in many ways are unknown by most and are often overlooked by those not intimately familiar with this industry,” said EREF President and CEO Bryan Staley. “Our hope is to build an interest and understanding of solid waste that encourages consideration of waste that’s produced and discarded.”

Waste & Recycling For Dummies comes in both a digital and print version (note: print copies are limited). To download the e-book, click here.

CarbonLITE begins production at Reading bottle-to-bottle recycling facility
Posted October 22, 2020 on

CarbonLITE Holdings, LLC, announced Tuesday that it has begun production at its Reading, Pa., plant, which is currently the largest standalone bottle-to-bottle recycling facility in the world.

CarbonLITE, the world’s largest recycler of plastic bottles, first announced the new facility in Pennsylvania in spring 2018 and construction of the plant wrapped up earlier this year. The $80 million, 270,000 square-foot plant, located approximately 30 miles from Allentown, is outfitted with advanced robotic systems and will ultimately generate 90 million pounds of food-grade rPET pellets each year.

Company officials said the recycling plant adds 130 jobs to the area and they are currently considering a separate packaging company within city limits as well, according to the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance.

The company is planning to open a fourth PET recycling plant in Orlando, Fla.

U.S. Aluminum Industry Employs 166,000 Americans; Drives $70 Billion in Economic Impact
Blank Can
Posted October 22, 2020 on

ARLINGTON, VA, Oct. 22, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- A new study released today shows that the U.S. aluminum industry directly employs more than 166,000 workers. Employment declined slightly between 2018 and 2020, according to research conducted by economic research firm John Dunham & Associates. The study also found that the industry generates more than $70 billion in economic output and indirectly generates an additional $102 billion economic output. In total, the U.S. aluminum industry supports nearly 660,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs and nearly $172 billion in total economic output.

“This report reflects an industry that has proven resilient despite numerous global trade and other challenges in recent years,” said Tom Dobbins, president & CEO of the Aluminum Association. “Like all segments of the economy, aluminum companies in the U.S. continue to grapple with the ongoing economic disruption of COVID-19 which is having a serious impact on demand and jobs.

The complete study, including an interactive map with economic contribution breakdowns by state and congressional district, is available at

Brand owner demand drives PET recycler’s expansion
PET Bottle
Posted September 22, 2020 on

PolyQuest is adding 25 million pounds per year of processing capacity to its South Carolina pelletizing operation. Growth in customer RPET demand led to the investment.

Wilmington, N.C.-headquartered PolyQuest is adding a post-consumer PET processing line at its Darlington, S.C. recycling plant, growing its RPET capacity by at least a third, the company stated this month.

PolyQuest currently has the annual capacity to process about 50 million pounds of PCR, material that is sold into virtually every PET end market. Customer demand has increased to the point that its post-consumer lines were running at full capacity and all the output was sold out, explained Tod Durst, president of PolyQuest, in an interview.

“The demand and interest in utilizing recycled resin back into the converters has done nothing but increase, driven by sustainability goals set by brand owners,” Durst said.

PolyQuest anticipates the new line will come on-line by the third quarter of 2021.

Allied Partner