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White House Commitment: Smart Cities Council Challenge Grants

Joseph Coupal - Monday, October 03, 2016

American Cities: Plan now to apply for a 2017 grant

How to apply

The call for entries will open October 31, 2016 and cities must submit an application no later than December 31, 2016. Winners will be selected and announced by January 31, 2017.

The application will be available on this page starting October 31st, 2016. For more information or to register your interest, email Chief Scientist Dr. Stuart Cowan,

About the grant

As part of the White House smart cities initiative, the Smart Cities Council commits to award five (5) Smart Cities Council Challenge Grants to help five American cities apply smart technologies to improve urban livability, workability and sustainability. For each of the five winning cities, the Council will deliver a tailored one-day Readiness Program during the 2017 calendar year. And members of the Council will deliver additional benefits to each of the five cities, as described below.

The Readiness Program menu

For each winning city, the Council will deliver a one-day smart cities workshop. Participants from the city will include approximately 100 government leaders, private sector and academic experts, and other key local stakeholders. The Council will custom design each workshop to the special needs of that city.

The Readiness Program provides a significant in-kind contribution of professional services; access to best practices from some of the world’s top smart city practitioners; access to the expertise of leading smart cities technology providers in a vendor-neutral setting; the opportunity to learn from peer cities; and international visibility on the Council’s website and newsletter.

Additional grants and benefits

In addition to the Readiness Program winning cities will also receive these additional benefits from Council Partners and Advisors:

  • Ameresco will consult with each of the five cities on optimizing smart street lighting as part of an overall smart city strategy.
  • AT&T will provide a donation of up to 25 AT&T IoT Starter Kits at no cost to each of the selected cities.
  • CH2M and Qualcomm will partner to host a one-day follow-on workshop for each city to develop a work plan for development and deployment of a Smart Cities Council ecosystem.
  • Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) will provide each winning city with a one-year Premier membership and online access to all of its research and materials.
  • Dow Building & Construction will provide consultation on optimizing building design as a part of a smart city ecosystem.
  • IDC’s Government Insights Smart Cities Strategies research advisory service will provide each city a Smart City maturity benchmark.
  • Sensus will provide each winning city a hosted smart city communication network free of charge for one year.
  • Telit will provide each city free access to the Telit IoT platform, which provides comprehensive functions for connecting devices, managing devices and integrating the data.
  • TM Forum will provide its expertise and its Smart City Maturity and Benchmark model free of charge to help the cities quickly assess their strengths and weaknesses and to set clear goals for transformation.
  • Transdev will provide each selected city with up to three days of free consultation and technical assistance to look at ways of providing new and more efficient mobility options.

Criteria for selection

Cities will fill out a grant application to be considered. Winners will be selected according to the following criteria.

  • Population greater than 100,000 (may combine with neighboring cities to reach population threshold)
  • Demonstrate commitment by including a cover letter from the mayor or city manager affirming the city’s official entry
  • Demonstrate capacity by briefly listing existing smart city practices, policies, programs, and planning efforts and by providing a liaison to assist with the event
  • Demonstrate a commitment to widespread stakeholder engagement by sharing a list of the leadership and organizations they propose to invite.
  • Agree to the Smart City Principles espoused by the Smart Cities Council, which call for an inclusive, equitable, “people-first” approach
  • Propose at least three theme areas that represent city priorities.
  • Propose at least one theme area for discussion that applies smart technologies to help vulnerable or marginalized people or neighborhoods
  • Agree to allow the Council to publish high-level summaries of their event on the Council’s website
  • Supply a venue suitable for plenary sessions of at least 100 plus at least four break-out spaces
  • Located in the United States

Register your interest

For more information or to register your interest, email Chief Scientist Dr. Stuart Cowan,

Original info posted here 9/26/16:

Sacramento Kings Boast World's First LEED Platinum Indoor Sports Arena

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Sacramento Kings announced Thursday that the new $557 million Golden 1 Center is now the world's first LEED Platinum-certified indoor sports venue, as well as the first professional sports facility powered entirely by solar energy, according to the Sacramento Bee.

The arena features reused construction materials from the site's former structures, 36% recycled material, 90% locally sourced food and drinks for concessions, and recycled athletic shoes for court surfaces.

The Golden 1 Center's first scheduled events are two Paul McCartney concerts in October, but the main arena and practice facility will not be 100% complete until 2017.

LEED Platinum-certified projects must earn United States Green Building Council (USGBC) points in energy management, water efficiency, environmental quality, transportation and materials. The AECOM-designed Golden 1 Center earned the highest points total for any sports venue in the world, therefore putting it into the category of the top 3% of all certified buildings.

According to the Golden 1 Center, developers conducted a 13-month environmental study of the arena site and determined that choosing the downtown location would shorten travel times to events, thereby cutting air emissions by 24% and reducing travel-related greenhouse gas emissions per attendee by 36% by 2020. Arena officials estimate that the facility's site location choice will keep nearly 2,000 tons of annual greenhouse gas emissions out of the atmosphere.

The USGBC said that green sports venues teach fans and visitors about green building and drum up support for sustainability efforts. There have been an increasing number of LEED-certified sports facilities — now at least 30 — as teams and owners realize the environmental and economic benefits, according to the organization. Currently, the University of North Texas is chasing LEED Platinum status, as is the Atlanta Falcons organization for its new $1.5 billion Mercedes Benz stadium. The USGBC said the Falcons will have the first LEED Platinum NFL stadium ever once it's complete.

The Kings arena ended up costing approximately $80 million more than originally estimated, which the owners attributed to design changes and the addition of a $30 million practice facility. General contractor Turner Construction drew attention to the project last year through its use of weekly drone flights to monitor project progress, and Turner and the Kings also made the way they sourced labor a priority when hiring local low-income, homeless, veteran, ex-offender and former foster child employees as part of their Community Workforce Pipeline initiative.

Recommended Reading

Sacramento Bee: Golden 1 Center the ‘greenest’ arena in U.S.
USGBC: Sustainable Stadiums Sacramento Kings New Arena Is First Indoor Sports Venue to Earn LEED Platinum Designation

By Kim Slowey | Waste Dive|September 26, 2016

An Important Point About Product "Empties"

Joseph Coupal - Monday, September 19, 2016

Imagine this scenario: You're in the shower, squeezing out the last few drops of your shampoo. Without a thought, you toss the empty bottle into the tiny trash bin in your bathroom, mentally cheering yourself on for the slam dunk you just made. Maybe it didn't even cross your mind to save the bottle and stash it in your designated recycling bin. If this sounds familiar, you're not alone.

Only 14% of Americans recycle their bathroom empties, compared to a whopping 50% who recycle their kitchen empties, according to Unilever, the beauty conglomerate that owns brands like Dove, Simple, and Suave. This huge discrepancy has prompted the company to resurrect its "Rinse, Recycle, Reimagine" campaign to encourage consumers to take small steps toward preserving our planet. Who's the voice leading the charge? Candace Cameron Bure, of Full House and Fuller House fame.

"Only 14% of Americans actually recycle their bathroom empties and I wasn't one of them," admits Cameron Bure. "So, I thought this was a great campaign to help Americans like me rethink recycling and to not forget all those lotions, shampoos, body wash, and makeup containers...that we forget."

It's easier than you think. Many people believe that beauty products have to be cleaned thoroughly before you can recycle them, but that's actually not the case. "I never recycled bathroom products because you can't [always] get in to [clean] those containers," says Cameron Bure. "[But] all the containers go through a sanitation process [in the recycling plant] that cleans out everything." So, don't feel like you have to stress about that last drop of lotion in the bottle. "The process [breaks] down the material and they can become things like coats and other bottles," says Cameron Bure.

By partnering with Cameron Bure, Unilever hopes to spread awareness through social media (#RethinkRecycling). Although Unilever already uses recycled material in its brands' packaging, the company has also set an aggressive goal to dramatically increase recycled material content in the next four years.

So, before you upload a proud Insta or YouTube video of your product "empties," make sure you're taking steps to ensure those shampoos, conditioners, body lotions, and even makeup containers don't go to waste. Whether it's keeping a dedicated recycling bin in your bathroom or simply disposing of your recyclables in your kitchen's blue bin, the small steps you take make a big difference.

*Original By: Mi-Anne Chan

New ‘Waste Sharks’ will eat all the trash in Rotterdam’s waters

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The port of Rotterdam will soon feature a new marine resident. The "Waste Shark," a drone roughly the size of your average car, will float around the port’s waters keeping an eye out for trash which it can “eat” for processing.

The city of Rotterdam, Holland has been making a lot of effort in the past few years to lessen its environmental impact, and the port hasn’t been overlooked. Under the startup program PortXL, the city’s port authority has also been promoting new solutions to help make it more efficient, more sustainable, and overall just a better place. At the conclusion of the program’s first year, the port signed an agreement with South-African startup RanMarine to deploy a new drone on its waters — the Waste Shark.

The Port of Rotterdam has already announced one drone resident — the AquasmartXL, a small unmanned boat equipped with a camera that allows real-time inspection and surveillance of the water surface. But where the AquasmartXL is the eyes of Rotterdam, the Waste Shark will be its mouth. This drone is roughly the size of a car and can eat up to 500 kilograms (1102 pounds) of trash using a ‘mouth’ 35 cm under the water line. It will “fight ‘plastic soup’ at the source as 90% of all waste in the ocean starts in urban areas,” PortXL’s page reads.

Allard Castelein, Chief Executive Officer of the Port of Rotterdam Authority said that the Rotterdam Port Authority is determined to explore all avenues of innovation, as stated in their operational philosophy.

“Innovation cannot be forced. However, you can create an environment in which innovation is likely to take place and be in line with the market,” he said.

“We support research in conjunction with universities, such as the Port Innovation Lab with the Delft University of Technology and of course our own Erasmus University in Rotterdam. And we collaborate with contests for students. In addition, we support Dutch start-ups that are relevant to the port, but we also scout worldwide via PortXL; the first accelerator that focuses on port start-ups on a global level.”

The contract requires four Waste Sharks to scour the waters for the next six months as part of a test run for the drones. They will operate in areas where it is too difficult, dangerous, or undesirable to use manned solutions. This includes under jetties, bridges and other structures.

Original by: Alexandru Micu -

Will paper recycling survive the evolution of the digital era?

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, September 08, 2016

As the digital age continues to evolve, the paper industry is in an extended transitional period.

Paper recycling access is nearly universal, though not without challenges — like the inevitable decrease in the consumption of many paper products. In an effort to turn this around, manufacturers and recyclers have started getting creative to ensure this nearly 2,000-year-old material still has an important role to play in an increasingly digital world.

Stabilizing the industry is seen as such a priority that a federal check-off program — more commonly used for food commodities — was formed in 2014 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The program, called the Paper and Packaging Board (P+PB),  is supported by a majority of large paper companies and funded by an assessment on domestic manufacturers and importers of paper goods. The four categories covered by the program are printing and writing papers, Kraft, containerboard and paperboard.

Maintaining the value of paper products

P+PB's estimated $25 million annual budget is used to raise awareness around paper products, starting with the "How Life Unfolds" campaign. Launched last year across a variety of platforms, the creative campaign highlights how playing, writing letters, reading books, writing and other daily activities are all intertwined with paper products.

"We see the resilience and reusability of paper and packaging products as a key source of their value to people," said Joan Sahlgren, P+PB's director of relations, in an email. "Paper and packaging products usually lead more than one life before they head to the recycling bin."

According to P+PB, consumption of packaging and paperboard has decreased by 56 pounds per person in the U.S. since 2000. National data and local waste characterization studies show a decline in tonnages for many paper products as well. And while paper still makes up more of the recyclable stream by weight than all other materials combined(except steel), these shifts have also affected the recycling industry.

"Recovery is a function of the marketplace," said Brian Hawkinson, executive director of recovered fiber for the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA).

Hawkinson said that newspapers accounted for only 5.2% of recovered fiber in 2015, as compared to about 15% in 2007. Yet, while the digital shift may have led more people to read news on their devices, it has also led them to order more items from online shopping. Hawkinson notes corrugated containers were up to 68.6% in 2015 from 59% in 2007.

According to AF&PA data, recovery rates for corrugated containers also reached a record high of 92.9% last year. Additionally, recovery rates for paper and paperboard were at a record high of 66.8% and moving upward toward AF&PA’s goal of 70% by 2020.

While that recovery rate has nearly doubled since 1990, its climb has been much more gradual in recent years and keeping up the trend could be challenging.

"Increasing recovery for recycling is a function of having the infrastructure in place and then having the people who have access to recovery participate," said Hawkinson, adding that it’s crucial for residents to "reduce contamination and put the best quality recyclable materials in the carts and bins in their communities."

Community participation

AF&PA has been working with organizations such as The Recycling Partnership to help make sure this infrastructure is strong and recovering the best quality material possible. An estimated 96% of people in the U.S. now have access to some form of paper recycling, but a large amount of the material is still being sent to landfills.

Keefe Harrison, the Recycling Partnership’s executive director, estimates there may be 46 million tons of recyclable paper and packaging in homes that isn't getting recovered. More than one-third of fiber used by manufacturers now comes from recycled sources and is a valuable commodity that needs to be captured.

"We work to serve the whole supply chain because we want to get more paper and other materials flowing through," said Harrison.

The Recycling Partnership sees cart collection, often in a single-stream system, as the best way to do this. Lidded carts help prevent paper from blowing away or getting wet and are often more convenient for residents and workers. The organization has helped improve recycling access for thousands of residents in more than a hundred communities across the country in an effort to recover larger amounts of paper and other items.

Harrison noted the composition of recyclables has changed greatly in the past decade and the growing amount of new materials such as cartons means it will likely continue to do so in the future.

"The whole industry changes because packaging changes, because print media changes, and we all have to be nimble and evolve," she said.

Will paper always have a place in the market?

As these changes persist, P+PB will be continuing its efforts to reframe the conversation around paper until at least 2021, when members will vote whether to continue the program.

The organization noted its commitment to "stewardship" of forests and paper resources, emphasizing the importance of comprehensive recycling education as part of that agenda.

"For decades there has been a lot of misinformation out there, leading to unnecessary guilt about using paper and paper-based packaging products," wrote Sahlgren. "Sometimes it gets lost that our products are some of the most recycled in the world, and that we’re continually setting new records for how much pulp we recover."

Some estimates have projected that global paper consumption will increase in the coming years and categories such as corrugated continue to be some of the most valuable in the waste stream. While items like phone books may be a thing of the past, it seems likely that paper will still be part of the future.

Original By WasteDive - September 8, 2016

GameDay Recycling Challenge 2016

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, September 06, 2016

The GameDay Recycling Challenge is a nationwide competition among universities to reduce and recycle the waste generated at home football games. During each competition cycle, participating schools report recycling, compost and attendance data for at least one home football game. In 2015, 99 schools rallied fans to recycle an impressive 2.1 million pounds of bottles, cans, paper, cardboard and more, and compost 457,000 pounds of food organics from football stadiums and tailgating areas while also raising awareness and inspiring action around waste reduction.

The GameDay Recycling Challenge is administered by the College and University Recycling Coalition (CURC), RecycleMania, Keep America Beautiful and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s WasteWise.

Officials from the US EPA, Keep America Beautiful, CURC and RecycleMania were on hand to recognize the national winners of the 2015 competition at the Green Sports Alliance Summit in Houston on June 29, 2015.Check out the full 2015 Results.

Diversion Rate Champion: Ohio University – 95% diversion
Total Recycling Champion: Louisiana State University – 86,000+ pounds recycled

Is “Going Green” Unmanly?

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, September 01, 2016

The issue: Green labels that promise consumers their purchases are eco-friendly appear on all sorts of goods these days, from yogurts to urinals. The label can mean many things: The item has sustainable packaging. It’s organically grown. It’s locally made. Or it is just a little less damaging to the planet. With growing concern from government officials and others about pollution and climate change, going green is a hot marketing strategy.

But is the push to be more environmentally friendly working?

Scholars have found that men tend to litter more, recycle less, have a larger carbon footprint, and feel less responsible than women for environmentally destructive behavior. In general, environmental concerns are more associated with femininity than masculinity, according to a 2011 study by the public-relations firm Ogilvy & Mather that has been repeatedly cited in academic research.

So how can men be encouraged to recycle?

An academic study worth reading: “Is Eco-Friendly Unmanly? The Green-Feminine Stereotype and Its Effect on Sustainable Consumption,” published in the Journal of Consumer Research, August 2016.

Study summary: Aaron Brough, an assistant professor of marketing at Utah State University, and James E.B. Wilkie, an assistant professor of business at the University of Notre Dame, led a study that examines why men are less likely than women to engage in so-called green behaviors. Brough, Wilkie and their colleagues hypothesize that men are more likely to avoid green behavior “in order to safeguard their gender identity.” This group of scholars draws on previous research, which shows not only that concern for the environment is stereotypically associated with femininity, but that “men tend to be more concerned than women with gender-identity maintenance.”

Women’s greater concerns about the environment — an effect that has been documented across age groups and countries — may be because women have been associated with more concern with the future and health. Brough, Wilkie and colleagues sought to understand the underlying reasons for men’s un-green behavior. They designed seven experiments — including one carried out in China — to gauge whether male behaviors can be changed.


  • Men are more likely to donate to an environmental non-profit organization that has an overtly masculine logo or branding than to an organization that is perceived as being feminine. Such an effect was not recorded in women.
  • Men are less likely than women to buy products marketed as environmentally friendly, or “green.”
  • Both men and women perceive consumers who buy green products and make efforts to recycle as more feminine.
  • Both men and women view green products as less masculine than non-green versions of the same products.
  • Women are unlikely to be concerned if packaging looks masculine.
  • Men’s disinclination for green behavior “may be partially explained by an association between green behavior and femininity that threatens the gender identity of men.”
  • Men are more likely to avoid green products in public as well as in private, suggesting they are concerned both with managing judgments of themselves, as well as their own self-perception.

Other resources for journalists writing about this issue:

Activist groups such as the Environmental Defense Fund — which successfully lobbied McDonald’s to stop using polystyrene containers — Greenpeace and the Natural Resources Defense Council list detailed information on their websites about environmental threats and ways to help.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency hosts resources dedicated to its Congressionally mandated mission: “to protect human health and the environment.”

There are a number of for-profit and non-profit organizations — including the U.S. Small Business Administration, a government agency — that offer guidance on how to utilize environmental concerns in marketing campaigns.

Other useful research:

The Pew Research Center regularly conducts polls on Americans’ attitudes toward the environment and sustainability. AnApril 2016 poll found Americans split by political party on how much the government should make environmental protection a priority. Ninety percent of Democrats and 52 percent of Republicans say the United States should “do whatever it takes to protect the environment.” (In 1994, Pew found 85 percent of Democrats and 71 percent of Republicans agreed with the statement.) Most Americans recycle at least sometimes, according to the 2016 poll, and 39 percent identify as environmentalists.

*Original by: David Trilling | August 24, 2016

More Stadiums Are Going Green In USA

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, August 30, 2016

When you think of an American football stadium, certain imagery comes to mind — lights bright enough to turn night into day, parking lots sprawled over areas large enough to accommodate thousands of vehicles, game day traffic, and food in Styrofoam and plastic packaging. It’s not exactly the most eco-friendly mental picture.

But a modern American football stadium is no longer simply a venue in which to watch a game. Stadiums must now be multi-purpose, able to accommodate luxury and VIP seating and suites and a wide variety of food and beverage options, with space and facilities to hold concerts, rallies, and other large-scale events.

With so much going on in their stadiums year-round, many teams are ramping up their efforts to go green, transitioning to the use of technology and innovative designs that have a lower impact on the natural environment. Some stadiums, in particular, have made some incredibly cool changes recently.

Going Green

The Philadelphia Eagles are recognizable by their “midnight green” color, so adopting acampaign called Go Green within their home; Lincoln Financial Field seems only natural. The campaign, launched in 2003, has three simple components — recycling, conserving and purchasing green technology.

Recent changes to “The Linc” include the installation of 11,000 solar panels on and around the stadium. They are located on the outer sides of the structure and on the roof.

Even better are the 8,100 panels located in the stadium’s parking lots, which are elevated from the ground so vehicles can park in their shade while they help to generate power. On a sunny day, the panels have been known to provide over 21,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity.

That’s almost enough to power two average American homes for a full year, and it’s more than six times more power than what is needed on a game day. And when there’s no game? The stadium is actually putting power back into the grid.

Giving Back

Recycling containers are placed frequently throughout the stadium, and there is signage that encourages patrons to recycle. The stadium has reduced its water use, employs biodiesel cooking oil and uses recycled, compostable food packaging. Even the cheerleaders’ calendar has gone digital to save paper. Other teams are pursuing similar green endeavors.

At CenturyLink Field, home of the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks and the MLS’s Seattle Sounders, 3,750 solar panels take up multiple acres of space on the roof. The Twins’ home stadium, Target Field, collects rainwater that gets used to wash down the stadium seating. In sweltering Miami, the Heat stay cool in American Airlines Stadium thanks to a reflective roof and underground parking that help them save on air conditioning costs.

The recently constructed Levi’s Stadium, where the San Francisco 49ers play, sports not only solar panels but also a green roof covered in plant life covering its luxury suites.

Attractive Design and Installation

The Linc also sports 14 wind turbines said to be in the shape of eggbeaters. These are not nearly as efficient as the thousands of solar panels in the stadium, but they can be seen from outside the stadium on the neighboring highways.

This brings the team’s green efforts even further into the public eye.

Any stadium can easily install solar panels using boom and scissor lifts. A ring of solar LED panels top MetLife Stadium, home of the New York Giants and Jets. While it’s not necessarily efficient, the teams made the effort to have these panels light up blue when the Giants are playing and green when it’s the Jets.

Meanwhile, the Washington Redskins’ FedEx Field is home to a 30-foot sculpture of “Solar Man,” a football player made entirely from solar panels. It’s efforts such as these that fans can get excited about, and excitement about green building in sports is key in moving toward expanding green building in other sectors.

Setting the Tone

Sports may not seem all that important when there are issues such as climate change that we need to address — but no one can deny they are a cultural phenomenon. People get passionate about sports, which is why teams’ efforts to go green are a big deal.

Sports are a part of a huge business with a lot of influence on fans — 59 percent of Americans identify as sports fans. These fans take note of the efforts stadiums put in to reduce their environmental impact, and when they visit a green stadium, they get to see personally the innovations in clean energy production, water conservation, waste management and efficiency in action.

So far, of 126 pro teams in 5 major U.S. sports, 38 use renewable energy, 68 have energy efficiency programs, and virtually all have recycling/composting. Because of efforts of these teams, sports have become a unique platform for green building, green education, and green infrastructure advocacy.

*Original posted by Megan Ray Nichols –

A Look at Recycling's Role in Fight Against Climate Change

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Curbside recycling can put additional collection trucks on the road. But the recycling process ultimately brings environmental benefits that far outweigh the extra vehicle emissions, according to a study from Waste Management.

The publicly traded hauling giant's research shows the greenhouse gas harm brought by extra routes needed for recycling collection pales in comparison to the environmental benefits materials recovery creates by offsetting manufacturers' need to use virgin resources.

"While many of us have heard reference to that in the past, actually seeing it was really stunning to us," Susan Robinson, federal public affairs director at Waste Management (WM), said on a recent webinar. WM's study aimed to quantify the financial costs and greenhouse gas reduction benefits of the company's various waste management strategies. Robinson and Rob Hallenbeck, a strategic analyst at WM, discussed the study during an Aug. 9 webcast presented by GreenBiz.

Comparing range of strategies

WM began with a theoretical baseline scenario assuming all collected material goes to landfill, with some degree of gas-recovery occurring. Then the model added in the following scenarios: improved gas-capture technology, residential single-stream recycling, commercial single-stream recycling, yard debris composting, food scraps composting/anaerobic digestion, materials recovery facility (MRF) residuals processing, and gasification of post-recycling residuals.

The company found some of the strategies were more expensive than others – that is, they required more dollars per million metric tons of greenhouse gas reduced. The best bang for the buck came from landfill gas recovery and residential and commercial recycling. Organics processing and other conversion technologies cost more per million metric tons of gas reduced.

Hallenbeck said a best-in-class recycling program – their model was based on systems in place in Portland, Ore. and Seattle – can produce an 84 percent reduction in greenhouse gases compared with the baseline scenario. Those greenhouse gas gains were tied to the fact recycling allows manufacturers to use recycled feedstock instead of virgin resources.

Focus on smaller pool of materials?

WM also explored the comparative benefits and costs of recycling different materials. The results showed the recycling of paper, metals and plastic bottles offer the most greenhouse gas benefits per dollar spent.

"[The numbers show] the logical order of materials to recycle based on economics and greenhouse gas reduction potential," Hallenbeck said.

Meanwhile, WM's analysis showed high cost and small greenhouse gas benefits in recycling glass. It also showed comparatively high costs for the greenhouse gas benefits of food scraps composting and anaerobic digestion. Robinson said the numbers underscore the need for upstream food waste reduction.

The study results bolster the argument the industry should focus on recycling a few materials with high environmental benefits, allowing MRFs to produce cleaner streams for manufacturing, Robinson said. She added the results can help WM and its customers start to think more holistically and not just chase weight-based goals. "It gives us a different lens for how we make decisions around recycling, let alone the rest of the stream," she said.

By Jared Paben, Resource Recycling - August 16, 2016

Would Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton be best for the future of waste and recycling?

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, August 09, 2016

It's unlikely that we'll hear either of the two main presidential candidates — GOP candidate Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton — debating the finer points of single-stream recycling or anaerobic digestion on the campaign trail. Yet whoever wins in November will affect the waste industry for the next four to eight years — and campaign donations show that companies are paying attention. While most waste regulation happens on the state and local level, federal policy lays the groundwork and can still have big implications.

Looking at the last eight years, we've seen how a president can affect the industry. As part of President Obama's Climate Action Plan, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released new methane emissions standards for landfills that relate to sites across the country. The EPA has also set the big goal of reducing food waste 50% by 2030 and has been active on a number of other sustainability issues. Obama signed the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015 and has followed the annual tradition of issuing a presidential proclamation for America Recycles Day. In 2010, he used the day to reference the need for better e-waste management.

The 2016 Democratic Party Platform doesn't have any explicit references to waste and recycling, however it does have multiple pages on climate change, clean energy, and environmental justice — including the belief that "carbon dioxide, methane, and other greenhouse gases should be priced to reflect their negative externalities." In a speech at the 2014 Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries convention, Hillary Clinton lauded the recycling industry for "driving innovation and resource efficiency," and said it "offers a chance to improve the environment and stimulate the economy at the same time." The Clinton Global Initiative has also funded a number of waste-related projects.

The 2016 Republican Platform advocates for less government involvement in the environment: "The central fact of any sensible environmental policy is that, year by year, the environment is improving ... As a nation, we have drastically reduced pollution, mainstreamed recycling, educated the public, and avoided ecological degradation." The platform calls for turning the EPA into "an independent bipartisan commission, similar to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission" and forbidding the agency from regulating carbon dioxide. On a broader level, the platform rejects both the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement and Donald Trump has questioned the validity of climate science.

At this point, it is assumed Clinton would continue many of Obama's environmental policies and Trump would take such policies in a different direction. For these reasons — not to mention labor and economic policies — the next president will influence waste and recycling in a significant way.

*Original by Cole Rosengren | August 3, 2016