ZERO WASTE NEWS & CURRENT ISSUES
October 5th 2018,
UPDATES ON RECYCLING | A GLOBAL ISSUE
At the start of 2018, China began to push back on the low quality to restrict the import of recyclable commodities due to excessive contamination levels has exposed a major vulnerability of the recycling industry and recycling programs – mainly the drastically slipping levels of quality that have resulted from single stream and cart collection programs and the proliferation of difficult to recycle single use plastic packaging. Compounded now with tariffs, this is causing major disruption in the recycling industry. Read More Here
Eureka Recycling markets most of our materials locally but the loss of export market has flooded domestic markets and we are suffering from the resulting depressed market values (low or no revenues for recyclables and some even cost to get recycled.) We have made decisions over the last 18 years to work with local markets and send materials for higher environmental impacts that at times, resulted in less revenue for the organization. However, as a result of recycling towards Zero Waste and not just profit for the last 18 years, our quality materials and relationship with end markets are positioning us to weather this storm.
In the long run, we believe that there is a significant opportunity to implement solutions to the current problem that will move us closer to a truly circular economy and zero waste society. Stay in touch to learn more and in the mean time, thanks for continuing to work on reducing your waste and recycling all acceptable materials.
So if we didn’t know it before – we sure know it now! Recycling really is a global system. While the Chinese ban has hurt, the pushback against exporting waste buried in our recycling has forced the recycling industry to face harsh realities. It has also created a variety of opportunities to move recycling towards the goals of zero waste and a circular economy. The US lags in leadership here but the EU is leading in this initiative and laws expected to pass there this Fall can change the game for the entire world. Read More Here …. AND HERE
Some highlights of the EU plans:
90% collection target on plastic bottles by 2025;
Ban on single-use plastic which contributes to 50% of marine litter;
Bring nations together to save our oceans through G7 commitments (US and Japan did not sign)
Increase Extended Producer Responsibility for single-use plastic food and beverage containers.
IN LOCAL NEWS
Amber Haukedahl, Kate Marnach and Nathan Crymble are working on starting Minnesota’s first Zero Waste market, Tare Market. While they are only doing pop-up shops and events right now, they are currently planning their inventory for their brick and mortar store, including sustainable living products (like a bamboo straw or a nut milk bag or a reusable grocery bag), shelf-stable goods, (like pantry products or spices), and health and beauty products rarely found in plastic-free packaging.
Next few pop-ups:
Babies & Brews
September 30, 2018, 2 pm – 4 pm
Able Seedhouse & Brewery, 1121 Quincy Street NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413
Pop-up Shop @ Patagonia
October 13 & 14, 2018, 10 am – 4 pm (Sat) & 11 am – 4 pm (Sun)
Patagonia, 1648 Grand Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55105
Pop-up Shop @ Squirrel Haus Arts
November 3 & 4, 2018, Time TBA
Squirrel Haus Arts, 3450 Snelling Avenue S, Minneapolis, MN 55406
Zeroing in on Recycling
Dec 13 2016
Did you know that the cereal box you place in your blue recycling bin can return to store shelves, as a new box, in as little as a few weeks? Or that that same cereal box can also create living-wage jobs, support local economies, and reduce toxic emissions along the way?
If you live in Minneapolis or Saint Paul, Minnesota, the metals, paper, and plastics you place in the recycling cart will end up at Eureka Recycling, a non-profit committed to zero waste. Over its 15-year history, Eureka has demonstrated that recycling can offer tangible benefits beyond waste reduction for our communities.
“Recycling can do so much more than just reduce how much trash is going into landfills,” said Kate Davenport, co-president of Eureka. “It can be an effective strategy for addressing issues of climate change and environmental justice.” Eureka envisions a world without waste. Yes, zero waste. The approach is holistic, bringing in tenets of reducing, reusing, and rethinking the way we create and consume products. This model is not new, though.
“There’s no waste in nature,” said Davenport. “The byproduct of one system is typically the resource of another; as humans, we can achieve the same thing.”
Although recycling is a crucial part of zero waste, its public image is in a fragile state. Today, the players that control large holdings in recycling also derive the vast majority of their profits from garbage. With this dynamic in mind, it’s no surprise that these companies have promoted a narrative that recycling is broken.
But it is not, and investors are noticing.
Last month, Eureka secured a $9.9 million financial package from lead lender RSF Social Finance, which it was able to accomplish by working closely with the participating lenders Calvert Foundation and the Closed Loop Fund. All three are leaders in the movement to invest in enterprises that tackle the planet’s most pressing issues.
“We are so pleased to work with RSF Social Finance and Closed Loop Fund to finance the expansion of Eureka’s work and their social and environmental impact,” says Catherine Godschalk, vice president for investments at the Calvert Foundation. “The fact that three separate organizations see the value that Eureka creates—not just for the organization but all stakeholders—is a testament to the strength of their approach.”
“In the last 18 months, we’ve reviewed upwards of 150 proposals asking for over $350 million for recycling infrastructure,” says Rob Kaplan, managing director of Closed Loop Fund. “Eureka is the model we compare these applicants to because it demonstrates the heights recycling can reach with the right operations and business model.”
The funding is arriving just in time. Recently, after a competitive bidding process, Eureka won two five-year service contracts for Minnesota’s Twin Cities.
The funds will go toward additional equipment for its single stream Material Recovery Facility (MRF) along with a new transport collection fleet. Both investments will enhance their service to residents and further demonstrate that waste is preventable, not inevitable.
“I recycle because I want to make a positive difference in my community and the environment,” says Keiko Veasey, a Minneapolis resident. “Knowing about Eureka’s commitment to zero waste gives me confidence that this is happening.”
By focusing on changing systems that perpetuate waste, Eureka continues to show that recycling—done with a zero waste goal in mind—can provide positive returns to investors, community members, and beyond.
Eureka Recycling is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit social enterprise based in the Twin Cities, whose mission is to demonstrate that waste is preventable, not inevitable. It is the only organization in Minnesota that specializes in zero waste. Its services, programs, and policy work present solutions to the social, environmental, and economic problems caused by wasting. For more information about Eureka Recycling’s zero waste initiatives, visit its website or call 612-NO WASTE.
Calvert Foundation is a global impact investing institution that offers investors an accessible way to invest for social and environmental good. More than 15,000 investors have invested a total of $1.2 billion through Calvert Foundation since 1995, supporting affordable housing, education, health, job creation, access to capital and climate solutions. Calvert Foundation is a separate legal entity from Calvert Investments and has its own operations and mission.
Founded in 2014, Closed Loop Fund is a social impact investment fund that provides cities access to the capital required to build comprehensive recycling programs. Closed Loop Fund aims to invest $100 million by 2020 with the goal to create economic value for cities by increasing recycling rates in communities across America. Closed Loop Fund brings together the world’s largest consumer product, retail, and financial companies committed to finding a national solution to divert waste from landfills into the recycling stream in order to be used in the manufacturing supply chain. Key supporters include 3M, Coca-Cola, Colgate-Palmolive, Goldman Sachs, Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies, Keurig Green Mountain, PepsiCo and the PepsiCo Foundation, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation.
The Board and Leadership of Eureka Recycling
made an exciting announcement on Friday.
Our co-presidents Bryan Ukena and Tim Brownell are leaving their position as co-presidents as of October 21st 2016, to allow for new leadership to move the organization forward from this exciting place of opportunity. Kate Davenport and Lynn Hoffman will be succeeding Tim and Bryan as co-presidents, and Alex Danovitch will be stepping into a new role of Vice President of Policy and Research. Tim and Bryan will continue to provide part-time support to Eureka through Spring of next year and stay on as members of the Board of Directors moving forward after they leave employment of the organization.
Our Board of Directors and current leadership has determined that this is the best leadership team to lead Eureka forward during the exciting times ahead. Lynn, Kate, and Alex are dynamic and talented leaders who will continue the co-leadership model that has worked well for Eureka since our founding in 2001. Lynn has been with the organization for 13 years, playing key roles in community engagement, communications, education and policy, and currently oversees the HR department as well. Kate brought her experience as an entrepreneur in the composting collection industry to Eureka 8 years ago, and has led on business modeling, operational efficiencies, employee safety, and materials marketing, and finance. Alex has been with Eureka for 15 years, and as a founder of the organization has led on business development, financial modeling, markets, policy and strategy.
We are fortunate to have the opportunity to smoothly move forward with leaders from within the organization who are well suited to meet the needs of and grow opportunities for the organization, deeply connected to the mission and values of the organization, and committed to the community that Eureka serves.
Eureka will be celebrating our 15th birthday this November, and reflecting on all the ways the organization has influenced the Zero Waste movement in our community; from pilots and studies on the impacts of composting and pioneering education about preventing wasted food, to Zero Waste events that have served over 500,000 people since 2001, to the operations of our recycling collection and processing services for multiple communities throughout the metropolitan area that has recycled over 1 billion pounds, supporting our local economy with over 80 living wage jobs, and providing significant environmental benefits for our community.
Eureka was recently awarded long-term contracts with the Cities of Minneapolis, Saint Paul, and Roseville to provide recycling services for the next 5 + years. This has positioned the organization well to continue to work with our communities to advocate and educate for the systems, policies, and product designs that create real Zero Waste solutions imperative for our communities and our planet. It has also positioned the organization well to transition leadership to this team, who is committed to engaging and listening to the voices throughout the community and involve these diverse stakeholders in the creation of the solutions we all seek.
Please don’t hesitate to connect with us if you have any questions,
Bryan Ukena & Tim Brownell (Co-Presidents) and Jeff Allen (Board Chair)
The Real Benefits of Recycling and Who They Are For
As numerous experts across the country continue to respond to the misinformation and flawed logic in John Tierney’s recent New York Times Op Ed "The Reign of Recycling", we want to shed some light on the hidden assumptions buried in this story and used as premise to challenge the value of recycling.
Let’s start by examining what Mr. Tierney is referring to when he says recycling is “costly and ineffectual”? In his bubble of reasoning, waste is inevitable and the profits generated through the inefficiencies, inequities, and over-extraction that come from waste are seen as fundamental rights of the waste industry. The flaws in this world view are many, and people are starting to see through the cracks. We won’t argue that reducing waste threatens the significant revenues generated for shareholders of Waste Management and other multi-national corporations that control a majority of the landfills. We don’t doubt the lucrative contracts private companies receive from cities for building incinerators or managing landfills (profits often guaranteed for decades). If one is looking to maximize profits to these waste industry shareholders, it is indeed true that there are no get-rich-quick schemes in recycling.
However, if we can have the imagination and courage to pick our heads up and look beyond the pockets of mega-corporations and to what the rest of us define as a “benefit”, there is no doubt that recycling and the movement to a circular zero waste economy provides extensive, tangible and documented paybacks. You don’t have to look far for well documented proof that waste reduction creates good local jobs, reduces onerous taxes and subsidies needed to sustain the waste industry by local governments and taxpayers, and improves the health and wellbeing of low-income communities and communities of color that are often most severely and disproportionally impacted by the impacts of burning or burying our waste.
Eureka Recycling is a nonprofit organization in Minnesota that believes waste is preventable not inevitable. Together with progressive organizations across the globe, we’ve demonstrated that zero waste is possible. From profitable businesses such as Toyota, to stadiums, events, and cities - zero waste is a viable and effective strategy towards the goals the majority of the world shares: safe water to drink, clean air to breath, a just and thriving economy, and long, healthy, happy lives reasonably expected for our children and theirs. David Steiner, CEO of Waste Management in the article is quoted “We need to ask ourselves: What is the goal here?” Ask the CEO of a corporation that makes billions off of wasting and you’ll get one answer. Ask the rest of us and we’ll tell you how we measure the real benefits of recycling.
Mr. Tierney quotes such experts as Steiner to justify his position. Perhaps instead we should turn to the multitude of economists, community development experts, insurance companies, the Pope, and our garbage and health care bills for the truth.
Submitted by all of us at Eureka Recycling
Let Your Voice Be Heard On the
National Clean Energy Plan
Right now the US EPA is creating a Clean Energy Plan. They are considering whether to count the burning of biomass and trash as Clean Energy.
We do not believe that burning waste should be considered a sustainable or clean way to make power. If you agree, sign the petition that has been circulated by our friends at the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), the Story of Stuff Project and thirteen other environmental organizations.
There has been a lot of disscussion about recycling in the news lately
A recent article in the Star Tribune titled "Recycling is stalling in the U.S., and Big Blue Bins is One Reason," has people talking about recycling.
The article only provides the perspective of the large waste haulers. As a zero waste, non-profit organization we look at this issue differently.
Tell Capri Sun Maker KRAFT to “Forget the Pouch, Respect the Earth”
Did you know that an estimated 1.4 billion Capri Sun pouches are landfilled or littered each year in the United States?
Eureka Recycling is pleased to join with the Make It, Take It Campaign to tell Capri Sun manufacturer KRAFT to take responsibility for its packaging waste. Click to learn more and please consider telling Kraft and Capri Sun to "Respect the Planet, Not the Pouch.” Stop trashing the planet with unrecyclable packaging.
Capri Sun pouches are made by bonding aluminum and several layers of plastic together making them difficult to impossible to recycle. Only 1% are estimated to be collected nationwide, which means that nearly every Capri Sun pouch has been wasted or littered since they were introduced in the 1970s.
These single use products have to be constantly manufactured from scratch, requiring more energy use and extraction of virgin natural resources.
And Capri Sun pouches are just the tip of the iceberg. KRAFT – and many other companies – package their products in unrecyclable and non-compostable plastic packaging that is literally “designed for the dump.”
Please tell KRAFT that this has to stop.