Tuesday, August 29

Plenary Session I: Impactful Ideas in Action
9:00 – 10:00 A.M. l Nicollet Grand Ballroom AB

The opening plenary session of the Resource Recycling Conference will bring together three dynamic leaders who are shaping municipal materials recovery through influential organizations. Join this powerful conversation about connecting with residents, paying for infrastructure improvements and creating more efficient programs. 
– Moderator: Carey Hamilton, Indiana Recycling Coalition

– Bridget Croke, Closed Loop Partners
– Keefe Harrison, The Recycling Partnership
– Brenda Pulley, Keep America Beautiful

Plenary Session II: Market Demands
10:45 A.M. – 12:15 P.M. | Nicollet Grand Ballroom AB

Prices for a number of materials have seen increases of late, but fluctuating commodities markets remain a recycling reality. And with China's recent announcement about a possible ban on some imports, more market uncertainty looms. Experienced analysts discuss where prices have been and offer predictions on where they're going. Attendees will walk away with a deeper understanding of trends affecting recovered polyethylene plastic, fiber and metals.

– Moderator: Will Sagar, Southeast Recycling Development Council

– Nina Bellucci Butler, More Recycling
– DJ VanDeusen, WestRock
– Joe Pickard, Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries

Concurrent Session A: Glass Acts
1:30 – 3:00 P.M. | Nicollet Grand Ballroom AB

Glass container recycling has been a critical issue in the industry in recent years, with cost and contamination concerns pushing many stakeholders to make tough decisions about how to best handle the material. This session offers a rundown of innovative efforts that aim to bolster glass recovery. Get the details on the new generation of glass processing equipment being installed in modern MRFs. Hear about on-the-ground initiatives that are improving the quality of incoming loads. And learn about one state's push to develop a system for glass-bottle reuse.

– Moderator: Chaz Miller, National Waste & Recycling Association

– Ellen Martin, Closed Loop Partners
– Lynn Bragg, Glass Packaging Institute
– Jules Bailey, Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative

Concurrent Session B: New Ways to Look at Recycling
1:30 – 3:00 P.M. | Nicollet Grand Ballroom C

As the materials stream continues to rapidly shift and technology opens exciting pathways in data analysis, the strategies at the heart of program implementation and measurement are evolving as well. Three leaders who are helping to shape the future of materials recovery explain how concepts such as greenhouse gas reductions, life-cycle analyses, growth projections and more will be key to industry decision-making in the years ahead.

– Moderator: Lynn Rubinstein, Northeast Recycling Council, Inc.

– Shannon Davis, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
– Jessica Branom-Zwick, Cascadia Consulting Group
– Ron Vance, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Concurrent Session C: Community Resiliency Through Organics, organized by BioCycle
1:30 – 3:00 P.M. | Nicollet Grand Ballroom D

Similar to recycling, the end goal with organics recycling is to manufacture products from resources that would otherwise be disposed. In addition, the process of diverting these resources creates jobs and new enterprises. One distinction between the two materials recovery sectors, however, is that recovering organics directly fosters "community resiliency," which includes healthy people, healthy soils, and locally produced renewable power and fuels.

– Moderator: Chris Ronson, Re-TRAC Connect

– Jenny Kedward, Dakota County (MN) Environmental Resources Department
– Chuck Joswiak, Specialized Environmental Technologies, Inc
– Ginny Black, Minnesota Compost Council
– Paul Relis, CR&R

Concurrent Session D: Speed Recycling, organized by Recycling Association of Minnesota (RAM)
3:30 – 5:00 P.M. | Nicollet Grand Ballroom AB

What does it take to run a successful program? During this fun session offered in a "lightning round" format, a dozen Minnesota recycling leaders lay out the details on a variety of noteworthy initiatives in areas such as agricultural plastics recycling, MRF operations, recycling promotions and more. 

– Moderator: Bill Keegan, Dem-Con

– Debra Darby, Organix Solutions
– Kate Davenport, Eureka Recycling
– Zach Fjestad, Otter Tail County, Minn.
– Al Friedges, Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community
– Paul Gardner, WasteZero
– Kellie Kish, City of Minneapolis
– Amanda LaGrange, Tech Dump
– Heidi Ringhofer, Western Lake Superior Sanitary District
– Brita Sailer, Recycling Association of Minnesota
– Sharon Schriever, Southeast Minnesota Recyclers Exchange
– Nick Swaggert, Better Futures Minnesota

Concurrent Session E: MRF Trends and Equipment
3:30 – 5:00 P.M. | Nicollet Grand Ballroom C

In this comprehensive look at the modern materials recovery facility, attendees hear how this critical cog in the recycling system is evolving today. The latest data on average facility size, throughput, employee count, equipment usage and more will be offered and analyzed. In addition, we dig into the details on the ways artificial intelligence and robotics are transforming sort lines – and explore what opportunities the technology could open up in the years ahead. Finally, an industry veteran explains a unique MRF funding system in Ontario, describing how strategic investment can improve efficiencies on the facility floor.    

– Moderator: Dan Krivit, Foth Infrastructure & Environment LLC

– Jerry Powell, Resource Recycling
– Dan Leif, Resource Recycling
– Mike Birett, Continuous Improvement Fund


Concurrent Session F: Getting Smart on Material Choices
3:30 – 5:00 P.M. | Nicollet Grand Ballroom D

As programs and facilities continue to work toward economic sustainability, they are constantly encountering choices about which products to include in diversion systems. Four industry experts discuss their research and experiences, and they offer advice about how to best make that critical determination.

– Moderator: Steve Alexander, The Association of Plastic Recyclers

– Jason Pelz, Carton Council
– Marty Seaman, Resource Recycling Systems
– Alex Danovitch and Lynn Hoffman, Eureka Recycling

Wednesday, August 30

Plenary Session III: Hacking Recycling – Tools and Tricks for Your Program, organized by The Recycling Partnership
8:30 – 10:00 A.M. | Nicollet Grand Ballroom AB

How can you make your recycling program dollars go further? How can you boost curbside tonnages without greatly expanding staff? What’s the best way to garner more support from politicians and department heads? This session will deliver best practices from an array of programs and will give attendees tangible ideas to drive "more and better recycling" within local communities, states and regions.

– Scott Mouw, The Recycling Partnership
– Chris Coady, The Recycling Partnership

– Michelle Balz, Hamilton County Recycling and Solid Waste District
– Elisa Seltzer, Emmet County Department of Public Works
– Rob Taylor, North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality
– Michelle Wiseman, City of Atlanta

Concurrent Session G: Expert Perspectives on EPR
10:30 A.M. – 12:00 P.M. | Nicollet Grand Ballroom AB

The industry has seen years of debate over extended producer responsibility, a concept in which product and packaging producers are mandated to fund and/or manage the end-of-life concerns for materials they put on the market. But the discussion has reached a particularly compelling moment with packaging EPR systems developing in Canadian provinces and policy aimed at electronics and other hard-to-handle items reaching maturity in the U.S.. A panel of representatives from a variety of stakeholders brings us up to speed on the crucial talking points.

– Moderator: Jerry Powell, Resource Recycling

– Craig Cookson, American Chemistry Council
– Susan Robinson, Waste Management
– Garth Hickle, Independent Consultant  
– Susan Fife-Ferris, Seattle Public Utilities
– Scott Cassel, Product Stewardship Institute (PSI)

Concurrent Session H: Signing the Dotted Line, organized by Waste360
10:30 A.M. – 12:00 P.M. | Nicollet Grand Ballroom C

Representatives from three of the biggest waste and recycling companies in the country discuss how they’ve dealt with materials pricing volatility and risk management. They’ll touch on MRF operations as well as how they’ve negotiated contracts to account for volatility in materials pricing.

– Moderator: David Bodamer, Waste360

– Bob Cappadona, Casella
– Pete Keller, Republic Services
– Susan Moulton, Waste Management

Concurrent Session I: Recycling Markets and Market Development, organized by the National Recycling Coalition
10:30 A.M. – 12:00 P.M. | Nicollet Grand Ballroom D

Building upon the National Recycling Coalition’s Markets Council Town Hall, this special session will bring some of the most experienced and successful market development professionals together to address the critical role that regional, state and local efforts play in making recycling sustainable. As changes in export markets threaten recycling’s future, this session shows how the industry can create recycling jobs domestically through innovation, creativity, investment and infrastructure expansion.

– Moderator: Julie Rhodes, Julie L Rhodes Consulting

– Will Sagar, Southeast Recycling Development Council
– Wayne Gjerde, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
– Danielle Waterfield, Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries

Plenary Session IV: Recycling Policies in the New Administration, organized by the National Recycling Coalition and the Recycling Association of Minnesota
1:00 – 2:30 P.M. | Nicollet Grand Ballroom AB

With new leadership in the White House, shifts in federal policy – and resulting political rancor – have become the new norm. Though recycling decisions are typically made at the state and local level, the moves by the administration could still have substantial impact on the industry. A panel of experts from the political and recycling arenas will discuss how changes in foreign trade priorities, EPA funding, domestic manufacturing and more may affect materials recovery in the years to come.

– Moderator: Mark Lichtenstein, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

– Keith Ellison, U.S. congressman representing Minnesota's 5th congressional district
– Barnes Johnson, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency