It’s Possible to Change the World, No Matter Where You Are

By Duncan Watson, Assistant Public Works Director, City of Keene, NH & Member SWEEP Steering Committee A running joke circulated during my graduate school days that prompted critical thinking on complex issues- Question: “how many students does it take to screw in a light bulb?” Answer: “None because you can never reach consensus.” Such is […]

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Don’t Forget About the Workers Who Process Your Trash and Recycling

By Michael Mignano, Senior Research Analyst, International Brotherhood of Teamsters The June 2015 report, “Sustainable and Safe Recycling: Protecting Workers Who Protect the Planet,” revealed the unique and sometimes fatal hazards that recycling workers face on the job. The study detailed 17 recycling worker deaths between 2011 and 2013 and examined the high rate of […]

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SWEEP—The Solid Waste Environmental Excellence Protocol—Announces Co-Chairs of the National Steering Committee

The Solid Waste Management Environmental Excellent Protocol (SWEEP) is pleased to announce that Susan Robinson, Senior Public Affairs Director for Waste Management, and Rob Watson, Chief Science Officer of EcoHub and the Founder of the LEED Green Building Rating System have been selected as Co-Chairs of the National Steering Committee. Ms. Robinson has been with […]

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What We’ve Got Here, Is Failure to Separate (Part 2 of 3)

By Rob Watson, Chief Science Officer, EcoHub; Founder & Co-Chair SWEEP Steering Committee In Part 1 of this article, we discussed how landfill diversion rates are stagnant, single stream contamination is growing, waste stream composition is changing and asked the question: What can we do to make greater use of the more than 400 hundred […]

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How to Ensure that Waste and Recycling Contracts Are Fair

Mike Durfor & Duncan Watson, who are, respectively, Executive Director of the Northeast Resource Recovery Association and Assistant Public Works Director, City of Keene, NH   As public budgets come under ever more scrutiny, it is incumbent upon Solid Waste Managers and City Councils to take the time necessary to understand all of the variables […]

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What We’ve Got Here, Is Failure to Separate (Part 1 of 3)

By Rob Watson, Chief Science Officer, EcoHub; Founder & Co-Chair SWEEP Steering Committee When materials are separate and relatively clean, they are called feedstocks. When they are mashed together after discarding, they are called garbage, even though the basic molecules composing the discarded materials are little changed from the original feedstock. Separation (plus a little […]

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Lifecycle Thinking Across the Value Chain

By Susan Robinson, Waste Management’s Senior Public Affairs Director and Co-Chair of SWEEP’s Steering Committee In early February, a group of over 100 stakeholders from across the value chain gathered in Arizona to learn more about Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) and to brainstorm next steps for implementing this framework policy in the U.S. Part of […]

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Environmental Leading Practice: Color-Coding Recycling Collection

By Bob Gedert, SWEEP Steering Committee Member, President National Recycling Coalition   Using “leading practices” in recycling collection can possibly achieve diversion of 90 percent of discarded materials from residential homes, based on recent waste characterization studies. Is it realistic to establish a collection program that diverts 90% of household discards? Such high diversion goals […]

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Peak Packaging: the Milestone Nobody Knew to Celebrate

By Adam Gendell,  Associate Director Sustainable Packaging Coalition, GreenBlue & SWEEP Steering Committee Member The U.S. generates a lot of packaging waste each year. The EPA’s most recent estimate came in at over 75 million tons for the year 2013, the highest the figure has been since before the economic downturn of 2007. That’s about a […]

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Sustainability Needs Worker Safety

By Mike Williams, Vice President, Strategic Development BlueGreen Alliance, Former SWEEP Steering Committee Member   Sustainability protocols often focus exclusively environmental impacts. So, when we were conceiving the initial SWEEP (Solid Waste Environmental Excellence Protocol) framework, we realized that the standard could not truly achieve sustainability if it only focused on reducing waste, while ignoring […]

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