Waste Management of New England and Upstate New York (NEUNY) sponsored Leadership New Hampshire’s (LNH) annual Environment and Sustainability Day on January 14th, 2020.
Participants were briefed on the impacts to natural resources by community development and human behavior and then focused on developing solutions.
University of New Hampshire’s Deputy Chief Sustainability Officer Fiona Wilson and team led the morning discussions. In the afternoon, WM Chief Sustainability Officer Susan Robinson, NEUNY Area Director of Disposal Steve Poggi, and NEUNY Total Recycle Program Manager Michelle Lee Guiney were on hand to discuss waste and recycling related sustainability issues. Susan’s comprehensive presentation on industry developments as well as WM’s progress on its own sustainability goals will aid the group in addressing how New Hampshire is positioned to handle environmental challenges from climate changes.
Two emerging recycling trends were noted:
- Consumer demand for goods made from post-consumer waste (recycled content), along with policies that support manufacturing of products using environmentally beneficial recycled materials is essential in increasing the recyclability of waste as well as moving away from natural resources (virgin materials).
- Businesses and institutions have shifted focus from recycling rates to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Research on carbon impact of materials show plastics, representing <5% of the recycling stream, having an inadequate impact on emissions reduction of only 4.5%. Whereas cardboard and paper, comprising of >60% of the recycling stream, have an emissions reduction benefit of 91%.
Steve Poggi, who also serves as a LNH Board of Trustee, provided information on the landfill-gas-to-energy partnership between WM and the University of New Hampshire, that shaped NH energy supply discussions.