Tackling tough topics: 2017 Resource Recycling Conference
This year’s Resource Recycling Conference promised a weighty agenda and delivered several times over. After attending RRC, I have a deeper understanding of the issues facing the recycling industry as well as those challenging comprehensive waste management in the airport environment.
Measurement was a major theme of the conference. Several sessions stressed the importance of good data from which decisions can be made. These sessions also fully acknowledged the difficulties of quantifying certain materials and waste streams. Presentations on measurement resonated with me as I frequently review airport waste studies and other data sources to develop program recommendations. RRC gave me a new perspective on waste composition studies. I’m excited to offer improved analyses to our clients.
RRC was also fantastic primer for detailed data discussions programmed for the upcoming Measurement Matters Summit planned for late February 2018 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. After the conclusion of that summit, I’ll be assembling resulting standardized category names, methodologies, and best management practices and disseminating them for application to aviation efforts.
China’s National Sword Program was another major topic at RRC. National Sword refers to the country’s efforts to address waste processing at facilities without pollution controls, improve the quality of imported materials, and support a domestic recycling program. These efforts will impact recyclers around the world, including in the United States. Stakeholder representatives at RRC indicated that dialogue with representatives from China regarding this program is ongoing so the extents of those impacts is yet to be determined. In the meantime, the key takeaways were the potentially increased importance of controlling contamination and developing domestic markets for recycled plastic, paper and other materials.
Other sessions of extremely high value included two recycling facility tours in the Minneapolis area and presentations on advanced strategy modeling, resin realities, glass options and the practice of contracting for shared risk and reward.
If you have questions about the conference’s content or my lessons learned, please send me an email. I’m at your disposal. I’d also encourage anyone involved in recycling and waste management to add next year’s conference to your schedule.
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