Regional Groups Partner for Waste Management Plan
The Northeast Waste Management Officials’ Association and Northeast Recycling Council are joining forces to advance sustainable materials management.
A new partnership between the Northeast Waste Management Officials’ Association (NEWMOA) and Northeast Recycling Council (NERC) is focused on addressing various challenges related to solid waste management in the region.
The groups have developed a five-year joint strategic action plan detailing several key areas for collaboration. From preparing Northeast waste facilities for natural disasters to advancing recycling practices, each issue outlined in the plan is ongoing, said Terri Goldberg, executive director of NEWMOA.
Since NEWMOA and NERC operate in much of the same geographic areas and share similar interests, Goldberg said it is not uncommon for people to be unaware of the distinctions between the two nonprofits. One may consider the difference in these very simplified terms: NEWMOA’s focus is on supporting Northeast states with implementing regulatory programs, while NERC’s focus is on the private sector in supporting voluntary programs. One of the goals of this partnership is to highlight those distinctions, or, as Goldberg said, to “distinguish the organizations, but align the organizations.”
A memorandum of agreement, drafted years prior, established boundaries to avoid competing interests. Through repeated communication, the relationship between NEWMOA and NERC has only deepened as both groups continue to explore ways to mutually support each other. Because some focus areas were high priorities for both groups’ members, when it came time to define the areas of collaboration, they found areas of agreement.
“Our interests have converged over the years much more, and I think our membership has recognized that,” said Goldberg. “That really, in part, is why we’ve been able to come to this agreement.” Internal conversations among members of both groups also played an important role in developing the focus areas. “In the course of those exchanges, sort of spontaneously and organically, emerged this notion of taking it to the next level and developing a joint strategic plan,” she said.
One of the focus areas detailed in the plan advocates for responsible waste management solutions to mitigate the effects of climate change. The plan calls for cooperation with environmental agencies such as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, the Council of State Governments, and the Northeast Committee on the Environment.
Goldberg sees this as an opportunity for both groups to contribute to the broader conversation on climate change, hoping to bring more attention to sustainable materials management as a seldom-discussed climate change initiative. “We will be in a much better position to work together in a coordinated way to solve some real problems,” she said.
Lynn Rubinstein, executive director of NERC, agrees. “This is an exciting collaboration for NERC. As an organization celebrating its 30th anniversary, it is a moment of dynamic change and to be entering into a significant action plan with a fellow organization presents a significant opportunity to further our mission and effect great change in the region,” she said in a press release.