Epsom, NH – On May 21 – 22, 2018 NRRA hosted over 700 attendees, speakers and exhibitors at the 37th Annual Conference and Expo at The Manchester Downtown Hotel in Manchester, NH. While the recycling industry is struggling to combat issues such as China’s recent ban on recyclable imports, organics/compost waste management, hauler & trucking shortages, flat recovery volumes and contamination issues, attendees were upbeat and chose sessions that gave them the opportunity to learn insights and updates from industry experts. This year’s conference theme was “Recycling Rule$”.
The keynote speech was given by Ben Harvey, President of E.L. Harvey and Sons, Inc., a full-service waste and recycling firm that provides services to municipal, commercial and industrial corporations throughout eastern Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. Ben’s family has been in the recycling industry for over 100 years.
On day one, attendees participated in sessions on Best Management Practices for Aerated Static-Pile Food Composting, Improving Safety at Transfer Stations, Battery Recycling, Minimizing Food Waste, Solid Waste Facility Operating & Closing Plans, the effects of Outreach on improving recycling habits, Cost-effective composting, Transfer Station Security and the Environmental & Economic Opportunities of a Circular Economy and how it drives innovation. These workshops were presented by industry leaders from across the Nation.
The Awards Luncheon on Monday, May 21st honored 8 individuals and towns for their recycling efforts. We are proud of all the award winners, especially Dennis Patnoe (Lancaster, NH) and Richard Lee (New London, NH). Dennis was given the Environmental Stewardship Award from NH the Beautiful for his efforts not only as a highly effective Transfer Facility Supervisor but as a steward of recycling in his work with the Lancaster Schools. Richard was a unanimous selection for the Sami Izzo Recycler of the Year Award. NRRA presents this award each year in remembrance of Sami Izzo who passed away in 2001. She was a high energy, multi-talented individual who was known for her contributions in the world of waste reduction and recycling. This Award is given to the individual who best combines the qualities of commitment, leadership and enthusiasm in developing and sustaining an environmentally and financially sound solid waste management program. Mr. Lee has been employed with the Town of New London since 1973 where he began his career as a laborer. He quickly moved up the ranks to Road Agent and in 1993, he became the town’s first Public Works Director. Richard’s creative thinking enabled him to establish the NRRA PGA (Processed Glass Aggregate) program which involves collecting glass for recycling in New London then grinding it down for use in road and side walk projects. This same program has now been duplicated in several other towns across the State. View the full list of recipients and their accomplishments.
Throughout the day the exhibit hall buzzed as attendees met with a wide variety of vendors and exhibitors focused on recycling equipment, plastics, organics, waste management, single stream, C&D and metals – plus much more. That evening, during a reception that included live entertainment, “Lunch at the Dump Band”, appetizers and beverages, NRRA Executive Director,
Mike Durfor, thanked the over 50 exhibitors, many of whom have been exhibiting at this event for over 10 years, for their continued support. In keeping with the, “Recycling Rule$” theme, there was a throne complete crown and sceptor (made from recycled materials, of course, by Gwen & Roger Rice of Dunbarton).
On day two, the main conference continued with sessions about starting a non -ferrous recycling program, the future of waste elimination, post-closure care of landfills, maintaining public interests in public-private partnerships, the financial benefits of waste data standardization, paint recycling legislature, and more.
In addition, NRRA hosted what it refers to as the “Conference within a Conference”. The 9th Annual School Recycling Conference was on Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018. Students and teachers from across NH, MASS, VT gave the hall a fun buzz. Students played educational games focused on recycling and composting, as well as attended sessions on “Repair Cafes”, Green Scholars & Apprentices, a sustainability project leadership course, vermicomposting in schools using worms, food share tables in N.E. schools, what happens to your recyclables, and taking action to reduce ocean pollution. Students and teachers also participated in a hands-on activity called a (mini) “TOLD” (Trash on the Lawn Day) which took trash from the venue and sorted it out to see how much of it could have been diverted from the waste stream by recycling or composting. An awards luncheon on Tuesday featured a special keynote performance by Allenstown Elementary students led by teacher, Kimberly Berrigan. Following the performance, Allenstown Elementary was awarded NRRA’s Special Recognition Award for their insightful play and their outstanding recycling efforts. Eight other NRRA School CLUB awards were presented to highly deserving students, teachers and facilities management personnel during the awards luncheon. Additionally, NRRA recognized Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom for her efforts to ban plastics from all Royal properties as well as another UK resident, Nadia Sparks, a young girl who gained the nickname “Trash Girl” due to her efforts to pick up trash and recycling in her community despite bullying from her peers. To see the full list of School Awards, click here.
Attendees raved about the quality of sessions, the keynote speaker, the delicious breakfast, lunch and snacks. An old friend, Kermit dropped in to give us his royal endorsement on this year’s event as well! This year’s event was extremely successful and we thank all who attended, exhibited, presented and sponsored the 37th Annual Conference.
The closing remarks from Executive Director Mike Durfor summed up the two day conference:
“Given the inspiration of the school accomplishment here in New Hampshire, the Northeast, and around the country, it is truly humbling and inspiring to see the good work of the next generation of resource recyclers.”
Meanwhile, there is no rest for the weary NRRA Team. We are already planning the 2019 Conference which will be held on May 20th and 21st at the Manchester Downtown Hotel once again next year!
Northeast Resource Recovery Association hosts the Annual Conference & Expo with the following partners: Earth Share of New England, National Recycling Coalition, Inc., New Hampshire the Beautiful, Northern New England SWANA, and MassRecycle.
Founded in 1981, NRRA provides a clearinghouse for current, up-to-date information and a source of technical and marketing assistance in the general areas of waste reduction and recycling. NRRA is a member driven organization made up of over 400 municipalities, individuals, and businesses in New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Southern Maine. NRRA is a non-profit 501(c) organization. NRRA’s School Club assists schools in implementing, maintaining and improving recycling programs. To learn more visit www.nrra.net.