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NERC conference explores EPR, refillable bottle and circular economy possibilities

The image by Chuckcars is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 The Northeast Recycling Council’s spring conference highlighted the possibilities and the pitfalls of innovation at the local, state, and national levels to improve recycling results. Speakers addressed options for expanding U.S. refillable bottle programs, insights from Canada’s diverse EPR systems, and the long-term role chemical recycling could play in the recycling industry. Here are a few takeaways from last week’s two-day NERC event. Renewing interest in refillable beverage containers

A growing amount of federal and state legislation is being introduced to expand refillable container use. California’s AB-962 calls for adding returnable bottles to the state’s container deposit program, while the federal Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act calls for expanding reuse and refill programs for items such as household cleaners and beverages.

Jules Bailey, chief stewardship officer for the Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative, gave an overview of his state’s refillable bottle system and how it has functioned since it launched in 2017. Breweries and cideries that participate in the program use bottles with a distinctive shape denoting they are refillable and differentiating them from other beverage containers. So far, the program has put about 1.5 million refillable bottles into […]

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