Session Descriptions


The 2019 Resource Recycling Conference and Trade Show will be offering up presentations and panel discussions featuring the top voices in municipal recycling and beyond. Check back regularly for updates.

And if your organization has a representative interested in speaking on one of these areas, contact our conference program manager, Bobby Elliott, at


8:30 - 10:00 A.M  I Grand Ballroom C
Opening Keynote: Jenna Jambeck
The renowned University of Georgia researcher puts the global plastic marine debris crisis into context.

10:45 A.M. - 12:15 P.M.  I Grand Ballroom C
Plenary I: The Real Role of Recycling (Organized by The Recycling Partnership)

Negative headlines about recycling have become the norm in the last year, but many of those articles have been based on a fundamental misunderstanding – that materials recovery should make money for communities. This session provides a provocative conversation exploring why recycling, like trash, is an essential service all municipalities need to provide to their residents, regardless of market conditions.

  • Keefe Harrison, CEO, The Recycling Partnership

  • Sharon Smith, Assistant Director of Public Works, City of Nashville

  • More speakers to be announced soon!

1:30 - 3:00 P.M.  I Grand Ballroom AB
Concurrent A: Where Things Stand in Asia
Import restrictions continue to impact the entire recycling chain. We've collected a diverse range of industry insiders to detail the impacts being felt on the ground as well as what opportunities may be developing in the years ahead.

  • Joe Pickard, Chief Economist/Director of Commodities, Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries

  • Chris Cui, Director of China Programs, Closed Loop Partners

  • Bill Keegan, President, Dem-Con Companies

  • Lindsey Walker, Recycling Outreach and Market Development Coordinator, Emmet County (Michigan)

  • Carmelo Freda, Project Development Coordinator, The City of New York Department of Sanitation

1:30 - 3:00 P.M.  I Grand Ballroom C
Concurrent B: Tracking Progress
How can recycling program leaders effectively benchmark the gains made in efforts to divert and minimize waste? Industry veterans explore a range of approaches to data collection and goal-setting.

  • Tim Townsend, Jones Edmunds Professor of Environmental Engineering, University of Florida

  • Chris Ronson, Senior Sales and Marketing Manager, Emerge Knowledge

  • Minal Mistry, Business Initiatives Representative, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality

1:30 - 5:00 P.M.  I Grand Ballroom DE
Workshop: Behavior Change Across Cultures (Organized by The Recycling Partnership)

In many communities, the effort to get the right materials in curbside carts is complicated by language and cultural barriers (not to mention limited budgets). In this interactive workshop, experts will explain how to drive behavior change in situations where there are high levels of ethnic and socioeconomic diversity. The workshop is open to all attendees but limited space and will deliver best practices that local leaders can implement immediately to ensure all members of their communities are equipped to recycle effectively. Pre-registration required. Break between 3:00 - 3:30 pm.

  • Elizabeth Schussler, Senior Director of Program Design, The Recycling Partnership

  • Craig Wittig, Director of Community Programs, The Recycling Partnership

3:30 - 5:00 P.M.  I Grand Ballroom AB
Concurrent C: Deep Dive Into Glass
A number of communities have recently removed glass from the accepted-materials lists in their curbside programs. But others are finding ways to bring the material back or evolve management in other ways. This in-depth discussion gets into the details around glass problems and possibilities.

  • Jim Nordmeyer, Vice President of Global Sustainability, Owens-Illinois

  • Andrea Rodríguez-Piñero, Technical Director, FCC Environmental Services

  • Reagan Bissonnette, Executive Director, Northeast Resource Recovery Association

  • Archie Filshill, CEO, AeroAggregates

3:30 - 5:00 P.M.  I Grand Ballroom C
Concurrent D: The Power of Looking Upstream (Organized by the National Recycling Coalition)
Communities can make huge strides in waste diversion and minimization by working with local manufacturers and other large commercial generators to take meaningful materials management steps in factories and elsewhere. Experts dig into key best practices.

  • Lisa Pellegrino, Strategic Partnerships Manager - Consumer Engagement, TerraCycle

  • Susan Collins, Executive Director, Container Recycling Institute

  • Caren McNamara, CEO, Conscious Container

  • Anne Bedarf, Packaging Sustainability Manager, Colgate


8:30 - 10:00 A.M.  I Grand Ballroom C
Plenary II: Plastic Realities at the Municipal Level
In recent months, global concerns around plastic pollution have grown ever louder, and the recycling industry has taken some heat in the process. How can municipal leaders now ensure their efforts contribute positively to the wider push to revamp plastics management? And what role do policymakers and plastics producers play in the process?

  • Michael Sangiacomo, President and CEO, Recology

  • Zeina El-Azzi, Chief Development Officer and Senior VP, Brightmark Energy

  • Kate Bailey, Project Director, Eco-Cycle

  • Tim Ponrathnam, Material Scientist - Sustainability Consumer Packaging Division, Berry Global

10:30 A.M. - 12:00 P.M.  I Grand Ballroom AB
Concurrent E: Anti-Contamination in Ohio (Organized by The Recycling Partnership)

  • Jill Martin, VP of Community Progress, The Recycling Partnership

  • Earnest Stall, Environmental Specialist, Ohio EPA

  • Dan Dempsey, Solid Waste and Recycling Manager, City of Akron

  • Molly Yeager, Corporate Communications Manager, Rumpke Recycling

10:30 A.M. - 12:00 P.M.  I Grand Ballroom C
Concurrent F: Contracting at a Tipping Point
Market unrest for many key recycled commodities has put unprecedented pressure on the partnerships between communities and private-sector materials processors. Decision-makers from a variety of cities weigh in on what they are seeing in contract negotiations and offer insight on building new systems of risk sharing for the years ahead.

  • Brooke Nash, Branch Chief, MassDEP

  • Randy Rudd, Deputy Executive Director of Shared Services, Emerald Coast Utilities Authority

  • Joe Dawson, County Attorney, Charleston County, South Carolina

10:30 A.M. - 12:00 P.M.  I Grand Ballroom DE
Concurrent G: Key Factors in Paper Recovery
Over the past year, prices for OCC, mixed paper and other fiber grades have plummeted, causing consternation for MRFs and local programs. Many in the industry have expressed hope that domestic paper buyers may be able to take in more recovered material in the years to come, stabilizing this critical element of municipal recycling. Industry experts analyze the landscape and offer thoughts on how fiber consumption in North American mills may evolve.

  • Brian Hawkinson, Executive Director of Recovered Fiber, American Forest & Paper Association

  • Shailesh Gothal, Paper Division, Gemini Corporation

  • Dave Yousif, Project Manager, Continuous Improvement Fund

  • Mark Bond, Recycled Fiber Sales Manager, Sustana Group

  • Dave Claugus, Vice President, Pioneer Recycling Services

1:00 - 2:30 P.M.  I Grand Ballroom C
Plenary III: Bold Projects Shaping Recycling's Future
An evolving materials stream, ocean plastic concerns, turbulence in pricing, stagnating recycling rates. These are just some of the interconnected issues confronting the industry now (and that seem certain to continue in the years ahead). The conference concludes with a look at innovative – and, in some cases, controversial – initiatives to try to significantly move the needle on various materials recovery barriers.

  • Scott Breen, Associate Manager, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation

  • April Crow, Senior Advisor, Circulate Capital

  • Scott Montgomery, President, RePower South