Blog Post

On May 10, the College of the Holy Cross hosted RecyclingWorks in Massachusetts, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), and US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the Spring 2018 WasteWise Forum.

The forum began with remarks from John Cannon, Director of Facilities Operations at the College of the Holy Cross, who described the College’s commitment to waste reduction, including its participation in the EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge and furniture reuse programs. Over the last two years, the College has successfully increased its waste diversion rate from 26 percent to 38 percent.

Next, Janet Bowen with the EPA Region 1 shared the results of the 2017 Food Recovery Challenge and WasteWise programs and presented EPA Food Recovery Challenge awards to Massachusetts-based Signature Breads and Spoiler Alert. See our recent blog post which highlights all of the 2017 Food Recovery Challenge award winners from Massachusetts.

Materials Recovery Facility Panel

The Forum also featured a panel of Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) operators, moderated by John Fischer, Branch Chief, Commercial Waste Reduction and Waste Planning at MassDEP.  The panelists discussed the current landscape of materials recycling, including the way that materials are processed and how recycling processors are adapting to falling commodity prices and more stringent international contamination standards such as those imposed by the Chinese National Sword Policy.

MRF operators are advocating for a renewed focus on educating consumers about the basics of recycling properly, including providing clear guidance about materials such as plastic bags and food waste that are common contaminants in the recycling stream.   The panelists encouraged businesses and institutions to work closely with their recycling service providers to identify and resolve recycling contamination.

Thank you to all of our panelists who shared valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities facing MRF operators today:

Commercial & Institutional Office Furniture Reuse

The Forum concluded with a discussion about commercial and institutional office furniture reuse. RecyclingWorks presented preliminary recommendations on the steps that corporate and institutional entities can take to maximize reuse opportunities and asked for additional input from attendees. This ongoing stakeholder engagement process will culminate in a guidance document to be distributed and shared on the RecyclingWorks website. College of the Holy Cross Purchasing Manager, Joan Anderson, also described a variety of strategies that the College utilizes to support office furniture and equipment reuse.

Visit the RecyclingWorks WasteWise webpage to access the presentations and panel discussion recording. To learn more about the national WasteWise program or to join WasteWise, please contact Janet Bowen at or visit the EPA’s website. By registering you will also be enrolled in the Massachusetts WasteWise program.

RecyclingWorks is a recycling assistance program designed to help businesses and institutions maximize recycling, reuse, and composting opportunities. Call the RecyclingWorks hotline (888) 254-5525 or email us at to learn more.