Kari Bliss, ISRI member PADNOS’ sustainability principal, is excited about her company’s session at the 2022 National Lieutenant Governors Association (NLGA) annual meeting. Celebrating its 60th year, NLGA will be July 20-22 in Chicago, hosted by Illinois Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton. The meeting brings together lieutenant governors and seconds-in-command across the U.S. to discuss shared challenges and policy issues that impact state government.
“[NLGA] is an opportunity for recyclers to learn more about the legislative process,” Bliss says. “It’s also a chance to have a variety of stakeholders at the table that will be cross-functional. It’s a time to learn as well as educate and try to develop solutions that are attainable for everyone.”
NLGA is a nonprofit that serves all 50 states and U.S. territories. Presiding over their state senates or leading departments and commissions, NLGA members are all next in line of succession to governors.
Danielle Waterfield, ISRI’s chief policy officer, is chair-elect of NLGA’s Partners Program. The program is open to corporations, nonprofits, unions, associations, and other entities that may bring expertise and information to public policy discussions.
“We invested in this close-knit group of influencers to share the recycling industry’s story of successful economic and environmental contributions to our state and local communities,” Waterfield says. “ISRI can introduce and facilitate cutting-edge discussions on the recycling industry’s innovations such as that which Kari Bliss will be sharing this July. ISRI president Robin Wiener presented to NLGA in July 2017 on the economics of recycling and its contributions to state economies at a time when jobs were of top priority for policymakers.”
Many state policy leaders have worked with ISRI and its members to pursue positive public policy on recycling issues. Louisiana Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser attended ISRI2017 in New Orleans and sat down with members to discuss how to get more law enforcement on metals theft cases in the state. Indiana Lt. Gov. Susanne Crouch toured Pratt Industries’ new Valparaiso paper facility and has subsequently helped ISRI member Neil Samahon’s nonprofit Opportunity Enterprises break ground on an expansion that includes electronics recycling operations that employ individuals with special needs.
Michigan Lt. Gov. Garland Gilchrist visited PADNOS earlier this year and has followed ISRI’s suggestions on making inquiries among Detroit automakers related to electronic vehicle (EV) battery recycling.
“All this was made possible due to the involvement and engagement of ISRI with NLGA and its Partners Program,” Waterfield says. “The workshop that Kari will be presenting is another example of our continuing outreach and outlook for opportunities to present fresh content from our perspective to these state policy influencers.”
PADNOS’ session, “Innovating Solutions for the Circular Economy,” will be on the first day of the meeting. Nungesser will moderate.
A major topic of conversation among state leaders, the circular economy is a method of production and consumption that involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing, and recycling existing materials and products for as long as possible. Bliss said sustainability is a perfect topic for PADNOS because the company’s purpose is to continue to innovate, lead, and make a positive impact. The session will cover emerging innovations for maximizing recycling technologies including Sustainability City, the company’s 18,000 square-foot innovation space.
Sustainability City features equipment desired for consumer-scale rather than industry scale so visitors can see firsthand how their equipment would be used and perform onsite. “The space allows for work that doesn’t happen with day-to-day processing,” Bliss says.
PADNOS is working to address recycling of Automotive Shredder Residue (ASR) and Ocean Bound Plastics (OBP). The company has partnered with Island Green Living on St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands to collect and process OBP.
“The goal is to offer viable alternatives to small islands around the Caribbean who don’t have access to recycling facilities,” Bliss says. “Through the program, residents can bale plastics or aluminum cans and send them to PADNOS for us to process and sell to consumers.”
Bliss hopes state leaders come away with a better understanding of the importance of establishing clear recycling terms in the U.S. Recycling programs often differ from state to state or even from city to city within a state. Establishing consistency among these programs could help clear some confusion for consumers. It will also provide more clarity to the decision-makers who are creating recycling legislation.
“We want to make sure legislators are on the same page when making those important decisions,” she says. “The people they represent across the country want to make sure what they put in their bin gets recycled. I’m excited to see these leaders gather [at NLGA] to have these important conversations.”
Featured image caption: ISRI president Robin Wiener presented to NLGA in July 2017 on the economics of recycling. Body image caption: Louisiana Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser attended ISRI2017 in New Orleans and sat down with memebrs to discuss issues regarding metals theft.