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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New York City – Town of Smithtown NY Chooses CNG to Cut Refuse Collection Costs

Faced with rising refuse collection costs, the Town of Smithtown, New York, decided to require its refuse collection contractors to use compressed natural gas (CNG) trucks. It was the first New York municipality to institute such a requirement. On January 1, 2007, the 30 contractor-owned diesel refuse trucks collecting solid waste and recyclables from the town’s 116,000 residents were replaced by 22 CNG models.

Smithtown selected four bidders for seven-year contracts: Brothers Carting, Dejana Industries, Jody Industries, and V. Garafalo Carting. The companies were responsible for buying the new CNG trucks. To offset the higher cost for these trucks versus diesel trucks, the companies had the option of claiming the Federal Alternative Motor Vehicle Credit for up to 80% of the incremental cost. An alliance of local organizations helped the contractors find financing options.

To establish CNG fueling infrastructure, Smithtown partnered with natural gas supplier Clean Energy. With no leasing agreements, access fees, or capital outlay for Smithtown, the contract required Clean Energy to provide the fueling infrastructure and commission local service providers. Because of Smithtown’s new contract with the refuse collectors, Clean Energy had to complete the fueling station in six months–two to four months faster than it usually takes to locate a station, obtain permits, and secure a compressor.

To accomplish this, Clean Energy received permission from the New York Department of Transportation (NYDOT) and Office of General Services to allow expansion of a station in nearby Hauppauge, which Clean Energy already operated for New York State. The Hauppauge expansion supported NYDOT’s goal to increase natural gas use as a vehicle fuel and brought additional revenue to the state of $0.05 per gasoline gallon equivalent. Clean Energy expanded the Hauppauge volumetric gas flow rate from 15 to 2,000 scfm and opened the station within four months.Smithtown entered into an agreement on fuel pricing with Clean Energy through 2013. CNG costs for the refuse trucks started at $2.33 per diesel gallon equivalent (DGE) through 2008 and increase each year to conclude at $2.94 per DGE in 2013. The contracted CNG price could decrease if the price differential between diesel and CNG goes above a set threshold.

“Controlling refuse collection costs for town residents was the primary reason Smithtown chose CNG,” explained the coordinator of the Greater Long Island Clean Cities Coalition. “The commitment from Clean Energy to set a stable fuel price was very important.” Switching to CNG provides environmental and energy-security benefits for Smithtown.

The CNG refuse trucks are projected over the life of the contract to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides by 265 tons and particulate matter by 15 tons. Smithtown also expects to displace more than 1.5 million DGE of petroleum-based fuel.The benefits are amplified when other towns adopt a similar strategy. Smithtown’s success inspired nearby Brookhaven to plan the deployment of 67 CNG trucks in 2009 in a similar effort.

Clean Cities inspired Smithtown’s move to CNG. In May 2006, Russell Barnett, Smithtown’s Environmental Protection Director, saw a Clean Cities alternative fuel presentation at the Federation of New York Solid Waste Associations Solid Waste/Recycling Conference & Trade Show in Bolton Landing, New York. The presentation persuaded him that CNG was the best choice for Smithtown’s refuse fleet. For more information, contact Russell Barnett.

Source: United States Department of Energy (DOE)

If you have any questions about this news or general questions about our diversified services, please contact Bob Wallace, Principal & VP of Client Solutions at WIH Resource Group and Waste Savings, Inc. at

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Pushing the Envelope on Waste Reduction and Recovery – SWANA

The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) developed a strategy for significantly increasing the rates of municipal solid waste reduction and recovery in North America in 2003.  Ironically, the study and recommendations largely still hold true, despite today’s economic climate.

SWANA concluded that increasing the overall reduction and recovery rate to 65 percent over a ten year period would be an ambitious goal that would require a 28 percent increase in reduction and recovery over current levels while holding per capita waste generation rates level. The document concludes with the following policy recommendations that would build upon past successes and create incentives to reduce waste and achieve higher levels of solid waste recovery:

Recommendation 1: Encourage more extensive product stewardship by product designers, manufacturers, retailers and consumers.

Recommendation 2: Expand efforts by Federal, State and Provincial governments to develop markets for recycled materials and recovered energy.

Recommendation 3: Provide financial incentives for investments in recycling, composting and the use of recycled materials.

Recommendation 4: Include waste-to-energy and conversion technologies in renewable portfolio standards and green power programs.

Recommendation 5: Encourage the recovery and use of landfill gas by reinstating federal tax credits and through renewable portfolio standards and green power programs.

Recommendation 6: Support technology transfer and research and development efforts that have the potential to significantly increase waste recovery rates, as well as work to reduce the barriers to their implementation.

Source: SWANA – For additional information, visit , , and our Daily Environmental Blog at

Solid Waste Industry Launches Major Environmental Program

The National Solid Waste Management Association (NSWMA) announced recently the launch of Environmentalists. Every Day: America’s Solid Waste Industry, a national awareness program to help local communities, public officials and the media better appreciate the importance of the industry to public health, environmental sustainability and energy efficiency.

“In every community, the men and women of America’s solid waste industry play an increasingly important role in solving some of today’s most pressing environmental challenges. We are leaders in recycling and composting. We are leaders in generating renewable energy from solid waste,” said Bruce Parker, NSWMA President and CEO. “Environmentalism isn’t just an idea or goal for us; it’s the way that we do our work, every day.”

“Our new program will help the people who work in our industry tell their customers, neighbors and friends about the contributions they make to their communities and the nation,” said Parker.

As part of the Environmentalists. Every Day. program, NSWMA has launched a visitor-friendly web site (, which explains the waste collection process; provides information on the industry’s efforts to protect the environment and transform household trash into renewable resources; and offers tips for consumers to be more responsible with their waste. The site will be frequently updated with news, fact sheets and other materials, including chats and surveys.

The association also has produced a comprehensive toolkit to help its members reach out to their communities to educate stakeholders about the essentiality of solid waste management.