Raleigh, NC (December 19, 2017) – The Board of Directors of the Environmental Research & Education Foundation (EREF) are pleased to announce the award of 4 new research grants in the summer of 2017. Research conducted through these grants aligns with EREF’s mission to advance sustainable solid waste management practices.
Raleigh, NC (November 30, 2017) – The Board of Directors of the Environmental Research & Education Foundation are pleased to award the 2017 Ice River Springs Master’s Scholarship for Sustainability to James Souder, a Master’s of Environmental Management candidate at Yale University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
The holiday season is upon us, filled with family time and tasty holiday meals, and that means a substantial amount of waste.
Before hitting the grocery store for some last minute shopping or carving up that turkey this Thanksgiving, consider how much waste is produced and steps you can take to reduce it.
After landfilling, recycling is the most common method of waste management in the United States with 21% of municipal solid waste (MSW) processed at recycling facilities and 64% sent to landfills.* Across the U.S., cities and states are setting recycling goals to increase the recovery and beneficial reuse of materials.
This America Recycles Day, learn more about these goals and U.S. recycling operations.
How are recyclables defined?
While recyclables may be defined specifically as commodity recyclables (i.e. paper, plastic, metal, glass) or include activities like composting or energy recovery from waste, an upcoming report from EREF has found at least 18 different ways states are defining and reporting recycling. This variability in definition makes it difficult to quantify actual diversion rates, as there is no set standard.
Why are U.S. cities and states setting recycling goals and policies?
The most commonly cited reasons are to increase energy conservation, protect environmental quality, improve public health and better manage our resources.
How many states have recycling or diversion goals in place?
Currently, 45 states (90%) have set recycling or diversion rate goals, which range from encouraging specific, stated activities (e.g. recycling, composting) to focusing on reducing total waste being managed each year. Twenty-three of these goals are written as recycling goals.
What are the targeted recycling rates?
States’ target recycling rates range from 10% - 80% with some citing a deadline to reach the goal while others are open-ended.
Where do recyclable items go after discard?
The sorting and processing of commodity recyclables happens through a network of over 3,900 recycling facilities made up of Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs) and non-MRFs (i.e. smaller, low-technology facilities).
What are Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs)?
MRFs accept, sort and process recyclable material for re-use. These facilities are classified either as clean, where recyclables are already pulled from the waste before arrival at the facility, or mixed-waste, where recyclables and waste materials are collected together, then separated from the waste through manual and/or automated sorting upon arrival.
How much waste is processed through a recycling facility?
Each year, over 70 million tons of recyclables are processed. A large MRF could manage up to 200,000 tons/year.
Looking for more recycling data?
Additional recycling data can be found in EREF’s Data & Policy (D&P) reports here. Look for EREF’s report on recycling policy this winter!
Data is collected, aggregated and analyzed through the foundation’s Data & Policy Program. D&P projects serve as a resource for solid waste-related data for researchers and decision-makers within other areas such as sustainability and environmental policy. Fees charged for D&P reports are used to provide internships to college students who assist in data gathering and analysis efforts for the program.
*Found in EREF’s report “Municipal Solid Waste Management in the U.S.: 2010 & 2013.”
Raleigh, NC (November 7, 2017) – The Board of Directors of the Environmental Research & Education Foundation (EREF) are pleased to announce the award of seven scholarships to Master’s and Doctoral students across North America pursuing education in solid waste management.
Raleigh, NC (September 22, 2017) - On Wednesday and Thursday, September 6 and 7, members of the Future Industry Leaders Alliance (FILA) convened in Raleigh, NC for the annual FILA Leadership Conference. In addition to networking with fellow members, FILA leadership conferences feature educational opportunities, which prepare participants for executive advancement and professional leadership in the waste industry.
After a day of communication training provided by Hidden Brook Communications, attendees spent the next morning at N.C. State University, where they learned about the Environmental Research & Education Foundation (EREF), its commitment to advancing the waste industry and the role the next generation of leaders will play in EREF’s research and education.
Raleigh, NC (September 13, 2017) - Keep America Beautiful, the nation’s iconic community improvement nonprofit organization, and the Environmental Research & Education Foundation (EREF), a nonprofit organization whose mission is to advance scientific research and education for sustainable solid waste management practices, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that outlines an agreement to join efforts on quantifying food waste in K-12 schools. In addition, the MOU outlines the organizations’ aim to provide tools and resources that help reduce school-based food waste.
Raleigh, NC (September 6, 2017) – The Board of Directors of the Environmental Research & Education Foundation (EREF) is pleased to announce the election of 3 new members:
- Tim Benter, Vice President, Engineering & Environmental Compliance at Republic Services
- John Casella, Chairman and CEO at Casella Waste Systems
- Mike de Castro, Executive Vice President, Supply Chain at Covanta
Raleigh, NC (August 22, 2017) – The 2017 Environmental Research & Education Foundation (EREF) Fall Classic & Networking Event – to be held Thursday, September 28, at the Pinehurst Resort in Pinehurst, NC – will be sponsored by Waste Industries. All proceeds from the tournament will support EREF’s mission to fund and direct scientific research and educational initiatives to establish sustainable waste management practices.
Raleigh, NC (May 23, 2017) – Pre-proposals for research grants from the Environmental Research & Education Foundation (EREF) may be submitted online now through June 1, 2017. Pre-proposals are required prior to submitting a full proposal and must be completed online. Mailed hard copies and email submissions will not be accepted.