Measure to Improve and Monterey County Sustainability Working Group Address the Recycling Crisis
SALINAS, CA - At the upcoming Monterey County Sustainability Working Group (MCSWG), recycling issues plaguing the industry—including China’s closed doors to recycling imports from the U.S. that has, consequently, led to an impending crisis for recyclers in the ag industry—will be addressed. The event is set to take place on September 27th from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the CSUMB at Salinas City Center in Downtown Salinas; an RSVP is required to attend.
“This meeting is intended to be informative, start the conversation, inspire collaboration, and support this industries efforts in taking a proactive approach to finding solutions to the growing recycling crisis,” said Nikki Rodoni, Founder and CEO, Measure to Improve. “No one company or industry alone is going to solve this issue. It's going to take partnerships, investments, creative thinking, and most importantly, collaboration up and down the supply chain.”
Monterey County’s agriculture sector is one of the most productive in the world and a major economic force for the region. With that being said, growers, processors, and shippers will see big financial hits to dispose materials that have been traditionally recycled because the County will be without a recycling solution for a large percentage of the materials (waste) it generates, according to a press release.
China’s National Sword is a strict policy that restricts the amount of contamination allowed in a shipment of recyclable materials and has banned other materials outright. This has, therefore, resulted in a disruption in recycling operations at regional and local levels, and the new higher standards pack on more labor and resources in the U.S. to prevent bales of mixed paper and plastics from being landfilled, the press release conveys. As a result, there has been a decline in recycling revenues, a strain in the economic viability for current recycling operations.
“The produce industry is always responding to the changes in conditions under which they operate, and always looking for ways to improve their processes. It is how the industry succeeds. Now, more than ever, we need to develop new partnerships and ways to manage plastic waste. The MCSWG meeting will provide a great beginning to the conversation,” Agriculture Commissioner for Monterey County Henry S. Gonzales shared.
The MCSWG’s meeting will dive into the urgent issue. New and innovative solutions are needed for the agriculture industry or else the region will struggle to reach recycling goals and be met with mounting costs, the organization shares in the release. The MCSWG meeting will offer a platform for stakeholders to gather insight from each other as they look for solutions, reframing the future of recycling for the fresh produce industry, among others, in Monterey County.
“The produce industry is tremendously resilient and has overcome many past challenges. Today, we are confronted with a new challenge: recycling ag-related plastics. To overcome this challenge, the Monterey County Sustainability Working Group meeting will present an opportunity to prepare and position the industry for long-term success,” President of Grower-Shipper Association of Central California Jim Bogart explained.
Almost 100 attendees are expected to turn out for the meeting to provide a voice for their companies based in the Central Coast region.
Speakers include the following:
- Teresa Bui, Special Advisor to the Director of CalRecycle
- Tim Brownell, Director of Operations for Monterey Regional Waste Management District
- Louis Vasquez, Director of Corporate Development for Revolution Plastics
- Marcy Rustad, Chief Operating Officer for Think Beyond Plastic
Those wanting to RSVP can visit the Eventbrite page here. The password is “Recycling.”
“Monterey County Farm Bureau supports recycling of farm waste, particularly plastics, and works to find solutions for our members. The Future of Recycling event will help members to become more aware of their waste stream and how they can improve the environment around their fields,” said Norm Groot, Executive Director of Farm Bureau of Monterey County.
For more fresh produce news and the inside scoop on how industry professionals are working to improve business, check back with us at AndNowUKnow!