The National Recycling Coalition’s recently elected president sees the recycling industry facing challenges in two major ways: false accusations and challenging markets.
Bob Gedert, director of Austin, Texas’ recycling department, was elected president of the national nonprofit organization during the winter board meeting on Dec. 10. A number of other industry professionals were also elected to officer positions at the meeting in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Gedert talked with Resource Recycling about what he hopes to bring to the position and where he sees the National Recycling Coalition (NRC) going.
“With the twists and turns in recycling that we’re going through today, there’s a strong need for a strong NRC,” said Gedert, who has four decades of recycling program experience and who has been a member of NRC since 1988.
One challenge facing the industry is false accusations and assumptions in the media, including a recent column by New York Times columnist John Tierney.
“The NRC needs to be a responsive aid to recyclers across the country when false statements are made,” he said.
The NRC also needs to emphasize the climate change benefits of recycling, which reduces carbon output around the world, Gedert said.
“We need to look at the global positive impacts of recycling,” he said.
Another challenge is a lack of domestic markets to enable local, circular economies, he said. The NRC can’t create those markets, but it can create the partnerships and conversations to bring together answers to the challenge.
Financially, NRC has good and bad news. The good news: It’s operating in the black. The bad news: It’s weak on donations and doesn’t have enough money to launch initiatives it would like to, Gedert said. Group leadership will be working on a strategic plan to guide fundraising, and he hopes it’ll be released in February or March.
The board also aims to hire a part-time executive director in 2016, he said.