Curated Session: Resource Management and Waste Diversion

A Hop across the Pond: A Discussion of U.S. and European Recycling and Waste Reduction

Tuesday, September 26, 2017
14:00 – 15:30
Convention Center

Moderators: Jeff Cooper, former ISWA President and ISWA Working Group on Recycling and Waste Minimisation, United Kingdom
Stacy Demers, Director, SWANA Technical Division on Sustainable Material Management, SCS Engineers, United States

This session is a result of collaborative efforts by ISWA’s Working Group on Recycling and Waste Minimisation and SWANA’s Technical Division on Sustainable Material Management. Speakers will describe the similarities and differences between recycling and waste reduction policies and programs in the U.S. and Europe. Attendees will hear an overview of the basics with an international perspective and participate in an engaging crowdsourced discussion with the presenters as well as other audience members.


Making Things Last

A simple mantra we use in Scotland and the name for our circular economy strategy is “Making Things Last” — keeping materials within the economy for as long as possible. We’ve attracted global recognition for our pioneering approach. Indeed, Scotland is a finalist in the world’s premier circular economy awards, The Circulars. Nomination for the prestigious award reflects several years of work to promote a circular economy, with 25 companies supported directly by Zero Waste Scotland, a government based organization, to work within the model and dozens more seeking a share of a $22m fund to get their businesses off the ground. Scotland is leading the way in Europe driving innovation from the “take, make, dispose” model at a time when many countries are just beginning to think about the potential of decoupling growth from the use of diminishing natural resources. Our presentation will show how we engage with industry to grow the circular economy to prompt the creation of new and skilled jobs, capture the value of raw material resources and reduce our vulnerability to climate change. Our research suggests that across Europe alone, shifting towards a more circular economy could generate £1.4 trillion of annual benefits by 2030.


Iain Gulland, Chief Executive, Zero Waste Scotland

Iain Gulland

Iain Gulland is chief executive of Zero Waste Scotland and previously led its predecessor programme, WRAP Scotland. Zero Waste Scotland leads on the delivery of the Scottish government’s circular economy strategy and other low carbon policy priorities and is at the forefront of efforts to create a resource efficient, circular economy. Mr. Gulland has more than 20 years of experience in sustainable resource management, including initiating recycling systems in the public and third sectors and leading the Community Recycling Network Scotland from 2004–2008. Mr. Gulland sits on the main board of the 2020 Climate Group and the Public Sector Climate Leaders Forum, and he is a member of the Chartered Institution of Waste Management (CIWM). Named the “most influential person in the UK waste and resource efficiency sector” in 2014 by Resource Magazine, he was granted fellowship of CIWM in 2016 due to his distinguished professional attainment in waste management.


Getting at the last 25 Percent

This presentation will discuss how California communities are evaluating what the next step to diversion is and how they are targeting residuals as a method to achieving higher diversion. With MRFs and new organics processing systems in place, communities are pulling out as much of the recyclable or compostable material as possible. But there is still a large volume of material that gets sent to landfill. Case studies will be presented on three cities and two hauling companies that are targeting how to increase diversion by trying new technologies and processes to address the residual fraction which represents the last 25 percent of material not diverted. An overview of the different technologies being used or considered will be highlighted to round out the presentation.

By attending this presentation, participants will better be able to understand what other cities are doing with the toughest fraction of the waste stream, to learn about what technologies are being used to assist with diversion and to develop an understanding on what might work for your community.


Tracie Onstad Bills, Northern California Director SMM, SCS Engineers

Tracie Bills

Tracie Onstad Bills has more than 20 years of materials management experience, including working for a hauler, a county government and a non-profit; she also has more than 10 years with materials management consulting firms. She has provided commercial sector materials flow assessments, organics processing research and analysis, construction and demolition (C&D) research, and recycling, organics and waste management technical assistance to government agencies, schools, multi-family dwellings and businesses throughout Northern California. Ms. Bills has a Bachelor’s degree in environmental science from San Jose State University, is a CRRA Board member and belongs to the SWANA Gold Rush Chapter, National Recycling Coalition and the Northern California Recycling Association.


The Netherlands Circular in 2050

In September 2016, the Dutch government presented an inter-governmental national circular economy programme “The Netherlands Circular in 2050”. It envisions fully decoupling of economic growth and resource utilization. Drivers behind this vision are not just ecological, they are just as well economical. To achieve these goals, the Netherlands has to take action at every level of society and set clear objectives. The first objective is ambitious but not unachievable: a 50 percent reduction in the use of raw materials like minerals, fossil-based fuels and metals by 2030. To realise the objectives set for 2030 and 2050, cabinet concludes circular economy agreements with a variety of stakeholders. On January 24, 2017, a Raw Material Agreement was signed and in mid-2017, a Transition Agenda for biomass and food, plastics, consumer goods, construction sector and manufacturing industry are planned. The Netherlands is definitely not starting from scratch, but already quite successful in waste management: Eighty percent of the total waste is being recycled, 17 percent is incinerated to produce energy, and only three percent is landfilled. But in a circular economy, the country is not just dealing with the last part of the circle (waste and recycling of waste) but with the entire circle, including developing new business models and smarter and more efficient products that last longer, consume less energy and are easy to repair and to recycle. By attending this presentation participants will be informed about the Dutch plans and implementation. Therefore they will be able to discuss, examine, evaluate and compare their own practices and policies and design, plan and develop their circular initiatives.


Herman Huisman, Senior Advisor, RWS, Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment

Herman Huisman

Herman Huisman is senior advisor/expert and coordinator international projects of RWS, the agency of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment. This waste and materials management department of the agency is the competent authority responsible for monitoring of all waste streams, executing subsidy schemes, policy advisor for State Government (preparing policy documents and National programs) and providing information to local government and private companies. An environmental biologist by training, Herman began his career at the Scientific Council for Government Policy. In 1985, as deputy director, he was assigned to build up the Commission on Environmental Impact Assessment. In 1991 he was asked to set up the Bureau of the Waste Management Council and was assigned as director. In 2005, he set up the international task force and focused on acquiring and executing international projects on behalf of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment, the Ministry of Foreign affairs and the European Union.