RSE identified and assessed various recycling-related policies and their impacts on waste diversion. Details regarding compliance were also assessed, and stakeholder perceptions were addressed. Polices identified and assessed include pay-as-you-throw, disposal bans, community provision of recycling, mandatory participation, and stated recycling rates. Best management practices for each of these policies were also identified. RSE provided recommendations, which have been used by the Carton Council to craft policy positions and steer additional recycling support to local governments.
RSE was hired by a specialty interest non-profit organization to conduct an independent analysis of the costs and benefits of EPR for packaging and printed paper, using the State of Minnesota as a case study. This project involved:
This project included an open communication and validation of assumptions through an external review process.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) sought the expertise of RSE to evaluate the financial impact of a recycling refund program policy (commonly referred to as “bottle bill”) approach to beverage container recycling in Minnesota as an alternative to existing recycling programs. To complete this project, RSE:
The study found that the recycling refund system described by the MPCA would result in increased recycling of approximately 107,000 tons of beverage containers, or approximately 1.9 billion container units. In addition, the quality of the collected commodities would be improved over that of the existing recycling systems.
RSE conducted an assessment of the recoverability of a specific commodity at six mixed waste processing facilities throughout the U.S. The facility assessments identified the variables that impact commodity quality, and identified advantages and disadvantages of mixed waste processing. Buyers of the commodity were also interviewed to gain their insights. Findings from the study were used to help the client develop a policy position on mixed waste processing.
RSE conducted a waste audit and end-to-end analysis at Estee Lauder’s Melville, NY facility. The audit included collecting a sample of the types and quantities of materials generated in different stages of production, and annualizing the quantities of each material type. Annual quantities of waste material diverted and disposed were estimated by material type and facility zone. RSE observed facility operations and identified strategies to increase diversion of materials and decrease materials management costs.
RSE conducted waste audits in five major U.S. cities that accept cartons for recycling to measure the residential generation and recycling of cartons. The study included single-family and multi-family homes. RSE carried out an analysis of several material types, and assessed demographic impacts as well as policy and programmatic impacts. The study, conducted for the Carton Council of North America, included recommendations and development of a protocol for future carton recovery audits. These results are being used by the Carton Council to promote strategies to help communities enhance their recycling programs.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) works to prevent pollution, facilitate recycling, and conserve resources in Minnesota. RSE was commissioned by the MPCA to evaluate the state’s recycling and solid waste infrastructure and investment needs. To conduct this study, RSE:
The results of the study were used by MPCA to promote regional approaches to materials management through regional planning and joint action agencies, and to evaluate requests for capital grants and expansion of existing waste and recycling facilities.
RSE was contracted by The American Beverage Association to manage a pilot project to implement and test public space recycling. The pilot program consisted of the installation of 126 public space recycling receptacles in several locations throughout five Palm Beach County communities. The goals of the pilot program were to:
The project included assessing waste management behaviors before and after implementation of the new recycling receptacles and associated communications programs. The program was successful in capturing a significant amount of used beverage containers that would otherwise have been disposed, and in decreasing litter behaviors.
RSE conducted a plastic recycling study for the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and Oregon Metro. RSE estimated the quantity and types of plastics generated, recovered and disposed in Oregon. RSE also identified markets for various types of plastic, including recycling and energy markets. RSE then assessed commercial and pre-commercial technologies for sorting plastics into market categories either at a materials recovery facility (MRF), a plastics recycling facility (PRF), or at a reprocessor/reclaimer. RSE then provided a recommendation of state-level waste and recycling policies with the potential to significantly increase plastics recycling in Oregon.
The Closed Loop Fund (CLF) retained RSE to provide advice regarding how to target its investments to most cost effectively improve plastic film recycling rates in the United States. The focus of the study was on flexible packaging and “other” non –packaging plastic film. To complete this work, RSE developed two work papers, and is in the process of developing Work Paper #3. They include:
In 2009, Nespresso committed to put collection systems in place and to triple its capacity to recycle used coffee capsules to 75 percent by 2013. By the end of 2010, the global collection capacity was just above 60 percent, with over 7,000 dedicated collection points around the world. However, capacity was underrepresented in the U.S. To meet corporate targets, Nespresso USA sought the expertise of RSE to develop a voluntary recycling plan for Nespresso-branded post-consumer coffee capsules. RSE developed a customized plan for the U.S. that addressed the unique challenges in the market. RSE conducted a baseline analysis of Nespresso’s capsule returns and material flow, developed program targets, outlined a strategic expansion plan of Nespresso’s collection and processing network, and forecasted total program cost.
RSE team members worked with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Control (TDEC) to update their solid waste and materials management plan for the first time in 24 years. TDEC’s Commissioner signed the plan in April, 2015. Development of the plan included several stakeholder input sessions throughout the state and via videoconferencing, as well as surveys. The Plan established eight objectives for achieving statewide goals. Strategies and tactics were presented, with an understanding of the variability in demographics throughout Tennessee. The Plan is already serving as a guide for TDEC as they move forward developing programs and policies to help the state and its communities achieve their sustainable materials management goals and objectives.
RSE developed a strategy and guidance document to help Tetra Pak staff assess cartons recovery within a state or MRF shed. To complete the work, RSE developed suitable numeric metrics and identified best management practices to guide the assessment. The metrics and qualitative assessments were applied to the major cities in Ohio. RSE identified policy, education and outreach, infrastructure, and MRF processing gaps in the state, and developed strategies to address those gaps. The strategies expected to have the greatest impact that could be implemented at a relatively low cost were a higher-priority. Potential partners were also identified.[/toggle_item]
RSE team members assisted a US based consumer goods manufacturer in understanding the range of EPR programs in Canada for product and product packaging. This review included an analysis of legal obligations for the company who imports product to Canada, an analysis of options available to the company and possible implications with retail partners, and the calculation of potential financial obligations based on quantification of packaging generation by province.
A US based multinational tool and hardware products manufacturing company had been reporting in Canada for a number of years. However, due to mergers and changes in the company’s business, the stewardship reporting for products and packaging had not kept up to date with the current business and was at risk with the stewardship agencies. RSE provided a country-wide analysis of the company’s obligations and developed a new reporting methodology to ensure comprehensive compliance and reduce business risk. RSE is providing ongoing reporting and stewardship advice to the company.
After developing an acceptable reporting methodology, RSE provides a complete annual calculation and reporting outsource service for many US based companies. This work starts with a review of the companies’ obligation by province for product and packaging stewardship and agreement with the client on go forward approach. This includes the review of the clients’ existing reporting methodology for savings and efficiencies or the development of a new acceptable methodology. This is followed by the development of preliminary obligations for review and acceptance by the clients, before the submission of the required monthly, quarterly or annual reports to the provincial stewardship agency.
RSE team members helped the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) develop and annually update training materials for a recycling professional certification course. Course materials included a manual, PowerPoint presentations, and exams. RSE team members helped instruct the courses and organize guest lecturers. The course was so well received that a course for colleges and universities was also developed. RSE staff held a focus group with representatives for colleges and universities to assess their needs, and then developed the course, updated it, and instructed the course twice over a three-year period.[/toggle_item]
As part of our efforts to increase recycling in Texas, on behalf of Tetra Pak, RSE worked with the State of Texas Association of Recyclers (STAR) to organize and execute a three-part webinar series for local governments in Texas showcasing best practice examples from Texas and non Texas communities. Topics covered in the sessions included recycling infrastructure, recycling policies, and education and outreach.
RSE developed a strategy and guidance document to help Tetra Pak staff assess cartons recovery within a state or MRF shed. To complete the work, RSE developed suitable numeric metrics and identified best management practices to guide the assessment. The guide provides a framework for identifying infrastructure, education and outreach, MRF operation, and policy gaps, and to develop and prioritize strategies to address those gaps, focusing on strategies expected to result in relatively high rates of carton recovery at a relatively low cost.
The Consumer Electronics Association (now Consumer Technology Association, CTA) contracted with RSE to conduct a survey of South Carolina representatives concerning the availability of opportunities for consumers to recycle covered electronic devices within their jurisdictions, with a particular focus on programs operated by counties and their municipalities. The survey was disseminated using an online survey tool.
CTA subsequently contracted with RSE to develop and conduct a webinar targeting South Carolina local government officials, and to develop guidance regarding best practices.
To support CTA’s efforts, RSE: