March 30, 2022
STAR Board and Members,
I have made the decision to resign as Executive Director. My updated last day with STAR will be April 14, 2022.
I am grateful for the many meaningful projects on which I was able to work, including the Texas Recycling Market Development Plan, outreach to Texas lawmakers, the 2021 Texas Recycling Summit and Texas Environmental Leadership Awards, and the launch of TexasRecyclesDay.org.
I am particularly inspired by the number of dedicated individuals I had the opportunity to work with on smaller projects that often led to crucial conversations and big changes.
STAR has an important mission and a bright future ahead of it. I look forward to participating as a member and partner.
Executive Director, STAR
During the March 24 STAR Board of Directors (BOD) meeting, the STAR BOD elected and confirmed the following new Officers and Executive Committee:
Jason Keller, BOD Chair
Wendy Chance, BOD Vice Chair
Steve Kassen, BOD Treasurer
Amy Thomaides, BOD Secretary
Robert Trevino, At Large Ex Com
Heather Douglas, At Large Ex Com
STAR Members may contact the STAR BOD or Executive Committee members by logging in at the top right and accessing the Member Directory on the Members page.
March 11, 2022
Earlier this week, I notified the STAR Board of Directors that I will be stepping down as Chair on March 24, 2022. Though I will be stepping back from the position of Chair, I expect to remain active with the Board from an ex-officio position in the coming year.
The STAR Board of Directors will consider new leadership roles at the next Board of Directors meeting on March 24, 2022.
I have been honored to serve on the State of Texas Alliance for Recycling (STAR) Board of Directors since 2016. In that time, I have worked closely with three Executive Directors and served as Treasurer, Vice-Chair, and Chair (since 2019). I would like to thank each of the Board members and STAR staff that I have worked with for their spirit of collaboration and teamwork.
During my time on the Board, I have played a role in re-writing the STAR mission, the founding of the STAR Reuse Council and STAR Business Council, supporting statewide recycling as an essential pandemic service, as well as providing support for the TCEQ Texas Recycling Market Development Plan. I am proud to be part of this impactful organization which creates opportunity for a true circular economy in Texas.
Board Chair, State of Texas Alliance for Recycling (STAR)
View this letter as a pdf
Register HERE: Webinar - Into The Green Bin | Collecting Food Waste (buschsystems.com)
On Nov 11, the STAR Board of Directors voted unanimously to send the following documents to Texas Lawmakers for consideration during the session interim:
STAR TX RMDP One Page Overview
STAR - Letter of Transmittal - Interim Charge
STAR Proposed Senate Interim Charges
STAR Proposed House of Representatives Interim Charges
These documents were developed with great help from the STAR Business Council and STAR Board Policy Committee and were informed by comments from STAR membership, STAR affiliates, and other Texas recycling industry stakeholders.
To submit an informal comment or question over the Texas Recycling Market Development Plan, fill out this form.
Click here to read the Texas Recycling Market Development Plan in full.
The RMDP provides tools and mechanisms that can be utilized by state and local governments to address identified barriers, opportunities and infrastructure needs to increase the overall recycling rate. This includes both material specific and cross-material strategies for market development.
This Study was required by Senate Bill 649 of the 86th Legislature.
The TCEQ hired Burns & McDonnell to conduct a study on the promotion of using recyclable materials as feedstock in processing and manufacturing; produce a Recycling Materials Development Plan (RMDP) and educational suggestions and materials; and other activities that meet the requirements included in Senate Bill 649.
The overall impact of recycling MSW on the Texas economy exceeded $4.8 billion in 2019. This puts the recycling industry on par with both the petroleum and furniture industries in Texas.
The above information is available from the Texas Commission on Environmantal Quality at https://www.tceq.texas.gov/p2/recycle/recyclable-materials-feedstock-study.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Frank Franciosi, firstname.lastname@example.org
U.S. COMPOSTING INFRASTRUCTURE COALITION APPLAUDS INTRODUCTION OF COMPOST ACT
Raleigh, NC — The US Composting Council and the U.S. Composting Infrastructure Coalition applauds Representatives Julia Brownley (D-CA-26), Chellie Pingree (D-ME-01), and Ann Kuster (D-NH-02), for introducing the Cultivating Organic Matter through the Promotion of Sustainable Techniques (COMPOST) Act in the U.S. House of Representatives and introduced by Senator Cory Booker in the U.S. Senate.
The COMPOST Act meets the growing demand from individuals and businesses to compost food scraps and certified compostable packaging. Assisting the transition to a circular economy, the COMPOST Act would create new USDA grant and loan guarantee programs for composting infrastructure projects, including large-scale composting facilities as well as farm, home, or community-based projects. The bill would add composting as a conservation practice for USDA conservation programs. Both the act of producing compost from organic waste and using compost on a farm would qualify as conservation practices. This bill addresses a critical need for regions and communities around the country looking to expand access to food waste composting, an important step to lead the shift to net-zero.
“Implementing innovative and responsible waste solutions like composting serves as an opportunity to address key environmental challenges and bring positive economic impacts to people and communities. While there is still significant need for robust investment in composting infrastructure, the COMPOST Act is a critical step in the right direction,” said Jessica Bowman, Executive Director of the Plant Based Products Council, a member of the Coalition.
“By investing in composting infrastructure, we can help address our climate crisis, create local jobs and improve both our agricultural and urban soils,” said Frank Franciosi, Executive Director of the U.S. Composting Council, a member of the Coalition. “The benefits of increased compost production include reduced volumes of organic materials flowing to landfills, lowered methane emissions, sequestering carbon back into the soil and closing the loop on a circular economy.”
“A massive investment in composting infrastructure is needed for rural and urban America. Composting can restore depleted soils, protect the climate and create thousands of new jobs. We won’t see these benefits if we don’t help farmers, entrepreneurs, and local government build needed systems and programs,” said Brenda Platt, Director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s Composting for Community Project, a member of the Coalition.
"Lack of widespread food scrap collection and processing infrastructure is one of the biggest barriers to the growth and success of the compostable products industry," notes Rhodes Yepsen, Executive Director of Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) and Coalition member. "Compostable products, unlike recyclables, are not collected on their own. They are collected as part of a broader organics stream that includes food scraps. USCIC partners estimated that it would take about $2 billion to expand compost access nationally, which is why the Act is calling for this level of funding.”
The U.S. Composting Infrastructure Coalition brings together a cross-section of industry leaders to promote increased investment in composting infrastructure.
Learn more about the U.S. Composting Infrastructure Coalition at https://compostinfrastructure.com/ or write to us at email@example.com
(ILSR press release)
FOR RELEASE: July 15, 2021
Washington, D.C. – The Recycling Is Infrastructure Too Campaign released its first Recycling Infrastructure Plan today. There are a total of 50 initiatives and requests for funding of $3.3 billion in physical infrastructure, and $3.3 billion for Infrastructure Support Policies and Programs for the first year. Over a three year period, the Plan recommends a total investment of $16.3 billion. The National Recycling Coalition (NRC), the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) and Zero Waste USA issued a request for the inclusion of “waste reduction, reuse, recycling and composting that will stem climate disruption, address racial justice, and create thousands of jobs throughout the country” in a March 31st press release. This Recycling Infrastructure Plan is the follow-up, with detailed policies and programs that should be included in the infrastructure discussions on Capitol Hill.
Recycling Infrastructure Needs
“The Plan presents the following Recycling Infrastructure initiatives, brought forward by a coalition of national reuse, recycling and composting experts, local government organizations and environmental leaders that desire to strengthen our national recycling infrastructure,” stated Richard Anthony, Vice President for Advocacy of Zero Waste USA. These initiatives are presented as investments in physical infrastructure, and then needed investments in supporting infrastructure needed to maximize the efficiency and use of these physical investments.
“Adding billions of dollars in economic activity to the American economy each year, the recycling circular economy is in its infancy, while recycling infrastructure is fractured and in need of repair much like U.S. bridges and road systems,” stated Bob Gedert, NRC President. With a combination of investments in physical infrastructure (like collection vehicles, carts and processing facilities) and supporting infrastructure (e.g. policies, programs, education and training), the American recycling infrastructure will grow significantly beyond the economic strength it currently is, creating the circular economy described by the Ellen Macarthur Foundation and already accomplished in large part in China.
Gedert further noted: “The dollar estimates for each initiative are for the first year of a proposed 3-year investment strategy. The focus for these investments is on one-time expenses that would modernize the industry, and then be sustainable thereafter based on fees for services. The recommended funding source for this infrastructure investment could continue to help fund supporting infrastructure thereafter, and also be used to help fund other climate change initiatives.”
Proposed Funding for Recycling Infrastructure
Ruth Abbe, President of Zero Waste USA highlighted that “this Plan also provides for innovative funding mechanisms for this infrastructure investment, to avoid the need to be supported solely by the General Fund of the U.S. Government. Many European nations have adopted significant fees on landfills of $20-40/ton to fund recycling programs and reduce greenhouse gases. This proposal recommends that the Federal government adopt a national $20/ton Producer Responsibility Fee on landfills and incinerators to help fund the above programs and contribute a new revenue source that would actually help meet the nation’s Climate Change goals at the same time.”
Gedert noted that “Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) programs that hold producers fiscally responsible, but not physically responsible, for the proper management of products and packaging they produce according to the Zero Waste Hierarchy of Highest and Best Use are suggested to be used for hard to recycle items.” National or State level EPR programs should require a local government reimbursement from industry fees because local governments bear the first line of expense of products' end-of-life management costs.
These EPR programs provide their own funding for the development of needed infrastructure, so should be considered as self-contained, fully funded infrastructure programs. These programs don’t require a Federal investment of financial capital. Instead, these just require a Federal investment of political capital to establish these programs.
Neil Seldman from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance noted “There are also 5 Initiatives that reduce or eliminate Federal subsidies and will stimulate the development of infrastructure, once the marketplace adjusts. As a result, these should be considered as contributing to offsetting the cost of some of the proposed infrastructure investments. These programs reduce Federal investments of financial capital.”
Seldman continued “Other funding sources could include a fee on non-recyclable packaging and products that are toxic to the environment or create needless waste.” Examples include but are not limited to disposable floor cleaning pads, paper towels, and mercury switches in sneakers to create light.
Recycling Infrastructure Plan Webinar
Join on July 27th at 2 - 3:30 pm EDT to hear more details about this Recycling Infrastructure Plan. Register for this FREE Webinar and to get a link to the Plan at: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_UAq6sNmkS8qyEKBpGNGViw
STAR is pleased to announce the call for nominations for the 2021 Texas Environmental Leadership Awards. Nominate your favorite Texas recycling or composting advocate, program, or event before the 5pm deadline on July 16th!
These awards recognize true stewards of environmental change in Texas – individuals, communities, organizations, and businesses developing and maintaining programs involving recycling, composting, sustainable materials management, public education and outreach, special event recycling – and so much more.
This year, STAR is combining its regional award categories into one large statewide Texas Environmental Leadership Awards competition.
Winners will be announced at an Awards Ceremony and Dinner on Thursday, October 7th, as part of Summit 2021 in-person events in Granbury, TX.
See more about the 2021 Texas Recycling Summit
STAR Business Council Releases Video to Texas Lawmakers on RMDP
See video on STAR's new YouTube channel
On May 25th, 2021, the STAR Business Council released a video addressing lawmakers in the 87th Texas Legislature expressing continued support for the creation of the Recycling Market Development Plan (RMDP). The video features STAR partners and recycling stakeholders who state their own impact on the recycling industry in Texas and the importance of recycling to the Texas economy as a whole. They encourage support and action on the Plan’s recommendations when released in September 2021. (See more about the RMDP on our website here.)
The goal of the RMDP is to examine the current recycling economy in Texas, discover opportunities for growth, and draft a proposal for action. It also includes the creation of a comprehensive educational campaign to cover the economics of recycling in Texas, highlight businesses that are involved in recycling in Texas, and to reduce contamination. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) retained Burns & McDonnell to complete the project, and STAR is working with them to complete these goals.
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