On the heels of the failed vote to merge with Keep America Beautiful (KAB), the National Recycling Coalition (NRC) Board voted to pursue a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing, ending the organization’s 30-year run as the nation’s largest non-profit recycling advocacy organization.
“This really is a very sad day for an organization that doesn’t get nearly the attention it deserves,” said Bob Gedert, executive director of the California Resource Recovery Association and NRC Board member. “We need to acknowledge the truly heroic efforts of everyone who worked so hard to make this organization work as long as it did.”
Despite reluctantly voting in favor, Gedert had advocated a plan to bring the organization into Chapter 11, in order to maintain bargaining power and confidence with creditors and donors.
However, the vote to pursue a Chapter 7 filing is not the end of NRC’s money problems. At the end of the September 2nd business day, the organization had approximately $619 in cash on hand. With legal fees associated with pursuing a filing in the tens of thousands of dollars, some board members have offered to personally donate the funds necessary for the organization to move into bankruptcy court.
Of additional concern was the fate of America Recycles Day. Just prior to the vote to pursue the bankruptcy option, the board unanimously voted to not accept an offer from KAB to accelerate the final payment of $50,000 on the advice of legal counsel. Several board members were concerned that America Recycles Day could be undervalued in the current KAB contract, thus the board will try to pursue a higher value in bankruptcy court.
In the comment period following the conclusion of the board vote, some members expressed hope that the organization might be reborn following the bankruptcy process.
“It might be easier to build a new organization and a new donor base if we are not saddled by [NRC’s] obligations,” mused David Struhs, International Paper’s vice president of Environmental Affairs.
Outside the board, reactions differed:
“The Board is saying that there is hope to rebuild NRC, but I don’t see it happening once this message is sent out,” said Amy Perlmutter of Perlmutter Associates. “I can’t imagine anyone wanting to donate time or energy to an organization that is dissolving. I do not understand why they couldn’t put [the decision] off for 30 days to find a pro bono attorney to file Chapter 11, or to try and implement some of Bob [Gedert’s] plan.”
Source: National Recycling Coalition, Resource Recycling and WIH Resource Group
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