Recycling Works Newsletter Summer 2020

RBAC's quarterly newsletter discusses current topics of interest to recycling businesses, including information on financing opportunities, commodity markets and new technologies.

In the Summer 2020 Recycling Works issue:

Survey Says: Our Recyclables are Staying in the Southeast

A new DEACS study shows the impact of recycling on the Carolinas’ economy. A survey of North Carolina material recovery facilities (MRFs) found that 56 percent of recyclables processed by local MRFs have market destinations in the Carolinas. Recyclables that stay in the Carolinas contribute to local economies, local jobs and local manufacturing. Further highlighting the independence from international markets, the survey shows that almost 80 percent of recyclables from North Carolina MRFs are shipped to companies in the southeast region. The complete results can be found below:

MRF End Market Destinations:
North Carolina:  33.98%
South Carolina:  22.13%
Other southeastern states:  23.67%
States outside of the southeast:  7.19%
Canada:  0.22%
Mexico:  0%
Nations not listed above:  12.91%

Paper Mill Opening in Chesapeake, Virginia

Total Fiber Recovery will open a new paper mill in Chesapeake, Virginia in 2021. The recycled pulp facility will source 300,000 tons of mixed paper and other recycled fiber from material recovery facilities throughout the mid-Atlantic region. Total Fiber Recovery products will be shipped to other paper mills to create new products. In addition to other mills coming online over the next two years in the mid-Atlantic and southeast, this development should help increase demand for mixed paper. 

Join the FREE August 11 CRA Recycling Resilience Webinar 

The Carolina Recycling Association will host a free webinar August 11 at 1 p.m. as part of its series about recycling resiliency during the COVID-19 pandemic. Recycling is facing challenges during the pandemic; some have continued to thrive by implementing creative solutions, making small changes together with their MRF partners and engaging citizen advocates. In this webinar, representatives from several recycling programs and communities will discuss how they achieved success through one or more of these solutions. This webinar is free, but registration is required.

The Recycling Partnership Announces MRF Grant

This summer The Recycling Partnership (TRP) announced a new grant opportunity to fund MRF recycling equipment for polypropylene processing. The Polypropylene Recycling Coalition is a project within The Recycling Partnership with millions in grant funds available to fund optical sorters, robots, conveyors or facility improvements, which can help recover and market polypropylene. Any publicly or privately owned MRF located in the United States is eligible to apply. TRP anticipates that each grant will have a maximum award of $500,000. An additional $75,000 can be used to inform the public about polypropylene being accepted in the recycling program. See the Request for Proposal at:

Coming Soon: 2021 Recycling Business Development Grant Cycle Kickoff

The 2021 Recycling Business Development Grant Request for Proposals, including the application materials, will be released and posted on RBAC’s grant webpage in September 2020. The 2021 Recycling Business Development Grant priorities will focus on materials impacted by challenged recycling market conditions. For more information, contact Mike Greene (919) 707-8137 or Matt James at (919) 707-8133.

SERDC Wants to Hear from Southeast MRFs

The Southeast Recycling Development Council (SERDC) is conducting a survey of the region's operating MRFs to identify existing infrastructure and recognize operational challenges. SERDC will evaluate barriers to strengthening the supply chain. SERDC has obtained funding from the Glass Packaging Institute and the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association to conduct the survey. If you operate a MRF in the Southeast and haven't taken the survey, please go online to take the survey. All individual results will be kept confidential.

Announcements and Opportunities

  • Aug. 19: The Path Forward Webinar, hosted by Resource Recycling, will highlight recycling coordinators from across the country as they navigate budget constraints and ongoing safety concerns.
  • Aug. 25-27: Circularity20: Accelerating the Circular Economy complimentary virtual event hosted by GreenBiz. 
  • Oct. 20-22: Paper and Plastics Recycling Conference virtual broadcast event.
  • P2Assist Listserv: Sign up for the P2Assist Listserv to network with other environmental stakeholders across the state and beyond. P2Assist is a free environmental network for sharing information about waste reduction, reuse, recycling, and environmental stewardship. P2Assist is a forum that publishes news about grant opportunities, webinars, job openings and other relevant information for environmental professionals. For more information, contact Tom Rhodes at (919) 707-8140.

The Recycling Business Assistance Center (RBAC) is a program of the N.C. Division of Environmental Assistance and Customer Service (DEACS) that provides technical, business and financial assistance to recycling companies.