Resource Recycling Conference Session Descriptions

For information on additional industry events and meetings held in conjunction with the Resource Recycling Conference, click here.

Tuesday, September 29

Opening Keynote: Adam Minter
9:00 – 10:00 am  I  Marriott Ballroom 1-5

The award-winning Bloomberg journalist and author of the 2013 book "Junkyard Planet" takes a broad but engaging look at how the interconnected pieces of materials recovery come together. This talk offers an enlightening update for all recycling pros on current global realities and how specific market trends and processing advances are felt all the way back to curbside. 

--Adam Minter, Bloomberg View
--Introduction: Dylan de Thomas, Resource Recycling, Inc.

Plenary Session I: Separation Anxiety: Indianapolis and the Dirty MRF Debate
10:45 am – 12:15 pm  I  Marriott Ballroom 1-5

Leaders in Indiana's capital recently approved a mixed-waste facility to be constructed and operated by Covanta Energy.  In this can't-miss session, panelists from both sides of the debate lay out their thinking on the mixed-waste processing issue and demonstrate how Indianapolis in many ways serves as a microcosm of the larger dirty MRF discussion.

--John Barth, Indianapolis City Council
--Myles Cohen, Pratt Industries
--Carey Hamilton, Indiana Recycling Coalition
--Scott Saunders, KW Plastics
--Brian Schellati, Van Dyk Recycling Solutions
--Scott Holkeboer, Covanta Energy
--Moderator: Nat Egosi, RRT Design and Construction

Concurrent Session A: Can Producer Responsibility Work for Packaging?
1:30 - 3:00 pm  I  Marriott Ballroom 5

This session takes a fresh look at producer responsibility, a public policy tool in which manufacturers are required to finance or manage end-of-life concerns for the products they put in the market.  Presenters explore how the concept has evolved and been implemented in Europe, touch on its feasible future in the U.S., detail the challenges from a systems perspective, and explore the role of legislation in its implementation.
--Moderator: Jerry Powell, Resource Recycling, Inc.

Lessons from the EU
A European extended producer responsibility (EPR) expert explains where the strategy is headed as the EU looks to policy to weave a tighter and more environmentally focused circular economy. In some European markets, packaging was the first sector to successfully implement EPR, and this presentation guides attendees through the story of what has worked and what hasn't. 

--Ursula Denison, "Der Grüne Punkt" (The Green Dot) – Duales System Deutschland

A Voluntary Approach
Producers of some materials have decided to take matters into their own hands and seek to voluntarily recover the goods they produce.  The corporate director of recycling programs for Dart Container Corporation, the world's largest manufacturer of foam cups and containers, talks about the recyclability of his company's products and how his firm fits into the producer responsibility landscape.
--Michael Westerfield, Dart Container

A Practical Path Forward
The head of a nonprofit group that advocates for producer responsibility lays out one vision for how EPR for packaging might unfold in the U.S.  Upstream has held dialogues with a number of stakeholders in the packaging, hauling and processing spheres, and the group crafted model legislation for statewide EPR efforts based on those conversations.  Find out the specifics of statewide EPR strategies that legislators across the country may soon be mulling.
--Matt Prindiville, Upstream

The Producer's View
Get an enriching EPR perspective from Sonoco, a multi-billion dollar global producer of consumer packaging and industrial products. The global sustainability manager of packaging for the company gives attendees an on-the-ground look at how EPR affects corporate value chains and revenues.

--Laura Rowell, Sonoco

Concurrent Session B: Managing Municipal Organics, sponsored by BioCycle
1:30 - 3:00 pm  I  Marriott Ballroom 1-4

Experts brought together by BioCycle magazine analyze the current state of municipal food scraps collection and processing across the U.S. The discussion will help program leaders optimize their current organics programs and launch new efforts to quickly bolster diversion rates.

State of the Union
The editor of BioCycle kicks off this lightning-round session with a brief overview of the state of municipal food waste diversion programs in the U.S., highlighting program trends and national data on residential food scraps collection and composting.
--Moderator / Speaker: Nora Goldstein, BioCycle

Notes From the Trenches
New York's Tompkins County has both a residential curbside food scraps collection pilot program and six food scraps drop-off sites. Portland, Ore., meanwhile, went citywide with residential food scraps collection in 2012.  Presenters weigh in on the highs and lows of program development, rollout, operations, household participation and compostable products.
--Barb Eckstrom, Tompkins County (N.Y.) Solid Waste Management Division
--Pete Chism, City of Portland, Ore. Bureau of Planning & Sustainability

Building Program Momentum
What are the most effective tools for promoting program participation within your community?  A strategic communications specialist tackles outreach, messaging and education-campaign ideas that can help create a community of curbside composters.
--Liv Faris, C+C Public Relations & Social Media

What Happens Downstream
The success of a curbside organics program relies heavily on the capabilities of processing facilities selected as partners. Learn how a Seattle company manages contaminants, odors, compostable products and compost quality.
--Jerry Bartlett, Bartlett Ventures and Cedar Grove Composting

Concurrent Session C: How Data Is Transforming Recycling
3:30 pm – 5:00 pm  I  Marriott Ballroom 5

Learn the ways information technology, groundbreaking waste characterization efforts and other tools are reshaping the recycling industry. This session begins with a comparison of "recovery rates" versus traditional "recycling rates" to set the stage for presentations on the new wave of metrics usage in the materials recovery space.
--Moderator / Speaker: Ted Siegler, DSM Environmental Services, Inc.

Generating a Generation Rate
If you could capture every pound of every recyclable material from every household, what would the total haul look like?  Recently completed research sheds light on this essential benchmark and shows how an understanding of the household generation rate for recyclable materials can help local recycling programs, commodity industries and other stakeholders understand strategies for improving recovery. 
--Scott Mouw and Rob Taylor, North Carolina Division of Environmental Assistance and Outreach

Information Optimized
Over the past year, IBM (alongside corporate and city partners) has begun rolling out an initiative called Smarter Cities that uses digital technology to harness the immense amount of data generated via municipal public works programs.  One goal of the project is providing waste management services in a cleaner and more cost-effective manner, integrating information provided by citizens with data streaming in from sensors, devices, cameras and other suppliers.  Find out how the push could affect U.S. municipalities soon.
--David Post, IBM Smarter Cities

Employment Benefits
Recycling advocates across North America regularly frame materials recovery as a driver of job creation.  This strategy helps strengthen arguments for public policy supporting recycling growth.  To get a broader look at the employment effects of our industry, the U.S. EPA has been working on a study that investigates the intersection of jobs and recycling.  A key official takes to the stage to discuss the findings
--Ron Vance, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Concurrent Session D: Where MRFs and Markets Meet
3:30 pm – 5:00 pm  I  Marriott Ballroom 1-4

Panelists explore the realities of fluctuating commodity prices and offer solutions for stabilizing and predicting revenues when it comes to processing and marketing materials.
--Moderator: Betsy Dorn, Reclay StewardEdge

A New World Order
With markets roiling and processing costs rising, the outlook for materials recovery facilities (MRFs) can seem rocky.  This presentation from a noted industry veteran looks at the ways that MRF operations are shifting approaches to the materials they aggregate and sell – and to markets here and abroad.  In the process, attendees learn what's next for the nation's MRF landscape.
--Michael Timpane, Resource Recycling Systems

Plastics by the Numbers
One of the country's foremost recovered plastics experts explains to attendees how the changing material stream – with many more goods made from plastics of all kinds – is opening the door to new profit centers for processors that manage materials intelligently.
--Patty Moore, Moore Recycling Associates, Inc.

Keeping Recovered Paper Markets Clean
Will the recovered fiber markets roller coaster continue its upward movement, or will the next iteration of the Green Fence derail it?  How do mixed-waste MRFs fit in with fiber?  A recovered fiber guru provides answers in an overview of market trends affecting markets in the U.S., China and elsewhere.
--Bill Moore, Moore & Associates

The Broad Scope of Aluminum
Typically, recovered aluminum equates to UBCs.  But what about the rest of post-consumer aluminum out there?  This presentation shows how to-go containers, cat food cans, post-consumer foil and other products might hold more revenue opportunity than previously thought.
-- Matt Yount, Gottlieb, Inc.

Wednesday, September 30

Plenary II: Latest Updates from The Recycling Partnership
8:30 - 10:00 am  I  Marriott Ballroom 1-5

The Recycling Partnership, a public-private initiative to boost municipal programs, has started focusing on higher quality material alongside increased recovery.  Program staff from Richmond, Va. and Florence, Ala. (which together represent more than 76,000 households) dig deep into the nuts and bolts of their Recycling Partnership experiences over the last year, sharing practical advice and lessons learned.  Attendees also hear about the efforts of Ohio's Cuyahoga County, which has worked with the Partnership to increase participation and clean up its stream.
--Moderator/Speaker: Keefe Harrison, The Recycling Partnership

--Kim Hynes, Central Virginia Waste Management Authority
--Rachel Mansell, City of Florence, Ala.
--Cody Marshall, The Recycling Partnership

Concurrent Session E: State Level Tools to Boost Local Programs
10:30 am - 12:00 pm I  Marriott Ballroom 5

Are you charged with managing and growing a municipal recycling system?  This session offers up a wide variety of innovative strategies to help you reach diversion goals more efficiently. 
--Moderator: Lisa Skumatz, Skumatz Economic Research Associates

Informed and Inspired
Unique opportunities for data aggregation, mapping, benchmarking and information-sharing are opened up via the Re-TRAC Connect platform, a waste diversion software tool being used by local, state and national organizations from across North America.  A Re-TRAC rep dives into the details and helps attendees understand the digital possibilities. 
--Chris Ronson, Re-TRAC Connect

Move Forward in Multi-Family
Want to increase multi-family recycling rates and better understand how to reach this growing and diverse segment of the population?  An expert in outreach and program development outlines best practices and tangible tools that can help garner material from apartment and condo dwellers.
--McKenna Morrigan, Cascadia Consulting

Know Your Numbers
With a generous grant from the Coca-Cola Foundation, the Georgia Recycling Coalition recently embarked on an ambitious campaign to encourage recycling entities in the Peach State to report their activity. This presentation describes the three overriding principles to keep in mind when developing a voluntary recycling reporting tool as well as ways to overcome participation challenges.  The talk also covers ways to leverage metrics once they are compiled. 
--Abby Goldsmith, A Goldsmith Resources

Concurrent Session F: Tackling Contamination
10:30 am - 12:00 pm  I  Marriott Ballroom 1-4

Some of the industry's top minds break down on-the-ground strategies to curb the ever-evolving problem of contamination. Learn practical tactics to boost the quality of your local program. 
--Moderator: Brenda Pulley, Keep America Beautiful

Understanding the Flow
A packaging veteran takes a look at the importance of recycling cartons and making sure communities are ready to add the material to their programs.  Referencing a major study on the flow of materials at MRF, the presentation offers fresh insight on what stakeholders can do to ensure the material they want ends up in the right place.
--Derric Brown, Evergreen Packaging and Carton Council

The Role of Mixed-Waste MRFs
A number of mixed-waste MRFs have recently opened with the goal of sorting recyclables from municipal solid waste.  A processing-facility expert details how much material is being recovered by this new wave of mixed-waste players and details the downstream market realities.  Find out how this segment of the industry is looking to chart its future. 
--Harvey Gershman, Gershman, Brickner & Bratton, Inc.

Getting the Glass Out?
Should glass be collected with curbside single-stream recycling?  Or is this traditionally collected material a contaminant in the current collection infrastructure?  A leader at the largest waste and recycling company in the U.S. explores these questions and offers ideas on how communities and haulers can work in tandem to produce quality material.  
--Susan Robinson, Waste Management

A Big Push in the Big Apple
A longtime veteran of New York City's recycling landscape provides an overview of how the metropolis aims to curb contamination as it eyes a major expansion of its recycling program. With a goal of hitting "zero waste" by 2030 and an ambitious plan to introduce single-stream and offer organics collection in the near future, all eyes are on the Big Apple.
--Samantha MacBride, New York City Department of Sanitation

Plenary III: Updates from the Closed Loop Fund
1:00 - 1:30 pm  I  Marriott Ballroom 1-5

The Closed Loop Fund is a consortium of consumer goods companies and retailers that provides zero-interest loans to municipalities to improve collection and processing infrastructure.  In this presentation, the co-founder of the initiative discusses how these private-sector dollars can remove obstacles that hinder U.S. recycling rates.  Get the details on the Fund's first big announcements and learn how the group is looking to close the loop in the future months and years.
--Chris Ladd, Closed Loop Fund
--Introduction: Matt
Flechter, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality

Plenary IV: The Intersection of Recycling and Sustainability
1:45 - 3:00 pm  I  Marriott Ballroom 1-5

Here's your chance to understand how the broad agenda of sustainable materials management (SMM) informs and interacts with the recycling community. Grab the details on specific ways recycling managers can advance SMM in their communities and learn about research into the recycled content of products coming to market. The recycling industry is closely tied to the development of SMM, and this session will help attendees make sure they are well-positioned as SMM policies take hold.
--Moderator: Fran McPoland, National Recycling Coalition

SMM at the Local Level
Efficient use of resources is the hallmark of SMM, and that notion extends beyond “recycling as usual.” Learn exactly how recycling fits into the overall context of SMM and what to keep in mind when evaluating the efficiency of existing recycling systems.  Attendees will walk away with the knowledge to build more resilient programs.
--Liz Resek, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The Role of Recycling Managers
This presentation highlights specific opportunities for recycling managers to engage with and advance SMM in their communities and traces its course through the economy – from raw material extraction to product manufacture, transport, use, source reduction, reuse, recycling and disposal. 
--David Allaway, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality

Building Blocks of Sustainability
StopWaste, a public agency serving California's Alameda County, recently partnered with the Healthy Building Network to research recycled-content building materials. This presentation explores the potential human and environmental health hazards of some recycled content feedstocks and reveals findings that are hopeful about the future of the recycling industry’s role in SMM – but with caveats. 
--Wes Sullens, StopWaste