2021 Membership Meeting and Sessions

Platinum Sponsors

Recycling is a market-driven industry. Industry challenges over the past 4 years of disrupted markets, the pandemic, labor shortages, and increased costs have been significant. Even so, the outlook for recycling is optimistic.

Now is the opportunity to support and expand recycling market development efforts in the transition to the circular economy, playing an important role in helping states and the nation meet climate goals, and GHG emission reduction goals.

What's the outlook and how can we strengthen the role of recycling in a circular economy, manufacturing and jobs?

Tuesday's Sessions

Wednesday's Sessions

Gold Sponsor

Silver Sponsors

Tuesday November 30

10:00 – 10:10 AM Meeting Welcome

10:10 – 10:40 AM Day 1 Keynote: Strengthening Recycling's Role

Elizabeth Biser: Secretary, North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality

10:40 – 11:45 AM Partner Updates (measurement, certification and residential)

MMP- Measurement Program- Chris Ronson Re-TRAC Connect 

SWEEP- Solid Waste Environmental Excellence Performance- Rob Watson - what it is and search for pilot communities in the SE

TRP- The Recycling Partnership- Craig Wittig - multifamily recycling initiative and pathway to circularity report

12:45 – 1:30 PM EPA Keynote: National Recycling Strategy

Carlton Waterhouse: Deputy Administrator, Land and Emergency Management, US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

1:30 – 2:30 PM Community Recycling Innovations and Outstanding Operations

Suki Janssen: Athens-Clarke County (GA) Solid Waste  Department
Joe Suleyman: New Hanover County (NC) Environmental Management
Shelby Lewis and Edgar Castro Tello: City of Tampa  Department of Solid Waste & Environmental Program Management

2:30 – 3:15 PM SERDC Year-end Summary and Update on Research Projects

Learn more about what SERDC has done this past year and anticipated projects for 2022.

Wednesday December 1

10:00 – 10:10 AM Meeting Welcome

10:10 – 10:40 AM Day 2 Keynote:   Recycling News at the Federal Level, Current Market
Conditions and the Factors Driving Demand

Robin Wiener: President of ISRI

10:40 AM – 12:00 PM SERDC States Panel

Round robin updates from the SERDC states (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia) mixed in with a panel discussion on the latest topics.

1:00 – 2:15 PM Partner Updates: market development, zero waste and research

REMADE Institute- Nabil Nasr- Promoting circularity through research

AMERIPEN- Kyla Fisher- Market Development Center report

TRUE- Susie WestrupZero Waste Certification for facilities

2:15 – 3:00 PM Advanced Recycling and the Impact on Plastic Recycling

Holli Alexander- Eastman
Tasmin Ettefagh- PureCycle Technologies

Is the residential recycling stream really a target for the new facilities coming online in the Southeast? How will this impact messaging, collection and contamination? Are MRF's able to provide the supply needed or what implementations would be necessary? Will this solve the current issues with non-traditional recyclable plastic packaging and other objects?

3:00 - 3:30 PM SERDC Membership meeting and elections



Elizabeth Biser, Secretary, North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality

Governor Roy Cooper named Elizabeth S. Biser as Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality in June 2021. She is the first woman confirmed as DEQ Secretary.

As DEQ Secretary, she oversees the state agency whose mission is to protect North Carolina’s environment and natural resources. The organization has offices from the mountains to the coast and administers regulatory and public assistance programs aimed at protecting the quality of North Carolina’s air, water and land, its coastal fisheries, and the public’s health.

Biser most recently served as the President of Biser Strategies LLC and the Senior Policy Advisor of the Recycling Partnership. Previously, she was the Vice President of Policy and Public Affairs of the Recycling Partnership, and the Government Relations & Policy Advisor of Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard, LLP. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Public Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Secretary Biser speaks on Tuesday, November 30 at 10:10 am.

Chris Ronson, Senior Manager, Re-TRAC Connect

Chris Ronson is a Senior Manager for Re-TRAC Connect, the leading waste diversion software system with over 60,000 users across North America. Re-TRAC Connect is trusted by waste management professionals to efficiently collect, manage, and analyze recycling and solid waste data.

Chris loves developing creative solutions to data management challenges and has been instrumental in the collaborative design of statewide, county, and municipal data management programs for the last 12 years.

Chris speaks on Tuesday, November 30 at 10:40 am.

Craig Wittig, Director of Community Programs, The Recycling Partnership

Craig has more than 25 years of recycling experience in the university, local government, and private sectors. Craig’s experience has revolved around program management including residential recycling, environmental education, electronics recycling and public school recycling. Other work involved collaborating with a variety of end-users to market fiber, plastic, and metal recyclable grades. He now focuses efforts on increasing and improving multifamily recycling for The Recycling Partnership as Director of Community Programs.

Craig speaks on Tuesday, November 30 at 10:40 am.

Carlton Waterhouse, Deputy Administrator, Land and Emergency Management, US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Carlton Waterhouse currently serves as the Deputy Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Land and Emergency Management after being appointed by the Biden Administration in February 2021. Carlton is an international expert on environmental law and environmental justice and has lectured globally on climate justice and group-based inequality.

Carlton began his legal career as an attorney with the EPA, where he served in the Office of Regional Counsel in Atlanta, Georgia, and the Office of General Counsel in Washington, D.C. He served as the chief counsel for the agency in several significant cases and as a national and regional expert on environmental justice - earning three of the Agency’s prestigious national awards.

Before rejoining the EPA in 2021, he held an appointment as a Professor of Law at the Howard University School of Law where he was building the school’s Environmental Justice Center. Prior to joining the Howard law faculty in 2019, he held an appointment as a Professor of Law at the Indiana University Robert McKinney School of Law where he directed the environment, energy, and natural resources law program.

Professor Waterhouse speaks on Tuesday, November 30 at 12:45 pm.

Suki Janssen, Director of the ACC Solid Waste Department

Suki has been with ACC for nearly eighteen years. Biggest accomplish to date in ACC was bringing a Center for Hard to Recycle Materials (CHaRM) to Georgia. Prior to her position in Athens-Clarke County, she was a Program Coordinator for the Keep Georgia Beautiful program within the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, Office of Environmental Management.

She is a certified middle grades teacher (having taught 7th and 8th grade science in Cobb County Georgia for five years), past Georgia Recycling Coalition President and board member and current Northeast Georgia Regional Solid Waste Management Authority board member and Solid Waste Association of North America Georgia (SWANA) Chapter President. She is a SWANA certified Landfill Operator and Class Instructor since 2005 and SWANA Recycling Systems Manager certified since 2007 and Composting Programs Manager certified since 2013. She is a Georgia Master Gardener, Master Composter and Master Naturalist. She published a children’s book about nature’s best recycler, the vulture. The book is titled There Goes the Neighborhood and came out in February 2020. She is married to Chris Janssen a middle school math teacher in Oconee County and lives with three dogs and two snakes. 

Suki speaks on Tuesday, November 30 at 1:30 pm.

Joe Suleyman, Director, Environmental Management, New Hanover County

Joe’s career in solid waste management really began with his tour as a combat engineer platoon leader in the U.S. Army, where experience with heavy construction equipment and earthmoving skills would prove invaluable in his later career in landfill operations. Joe worked as an Operations Manager for Alcoa’s hazardous waste treatment, storage, and disposal (TSD) facility, which included a RCRA Subtitle C landfill. He was later recruited by Waste Management to manage three landfills in West Virginia, followed by a stint with Allied Waste in Greenville, SC where Joe was introduced to the collection side of the business. When Allied Waste merged with Republic Services, he moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana, where the focus shifted to collection, transfer, and recycling operations. That led to Joe’s current position with New Hanover County, where he manages a fully integrated solid waste management system. This system includes recycling collection, a materials recovery facility (MRF), and RCRA Subtitle D landfill, a Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) collection facility, and electronics (“e-waste”) recycling collection facility.

Joe has a BS degree in Business Administration from Embry-Riddle (’93). He moved to New Hanover County in June, 2012 with his family and picked up two dogs along the way. He enjoys hiking, reading, and kayaking. Joe used to enjoy gardening, until one of the dogs discovered that she enjoyed corn and cucumbers more than he did.

Joe speaks Tuesday, November 30 at 1:30 pm.

Shelby Lewis and Edgar Castro Tello, City of Tampa Department of Solid Waste & Environmental Program Management

Shelby is a native Floridian and a graduate of the University of South Florida with a degree in psychology. She has worked for the City of Tampa for over 2 years and has a professional background in the Solid Waste industry, more specifically recycling and waste reduction, for the past 4 years. Prior to that, Shelby worked in the marine conservation and research field. A passion for the environment and all those that inhabit it has kept Shelby in the industry of conservation, from researching wild dolphins, to studying waste.

Edgar Castro Tello, born and raised in Venezuela, now calls Florida his other, more humid, tropical home. As a University of Central Florida graduate, he started his environmental career in conservation education at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in 2015, which to this day remains one his side gigs which he won’t let go of. He continued to work as a field specialist for an environmental consulting firm performing migratory bird evaluations, species’ relocations, wetland delineations, and enforcing federal and state policies. While he loved traveling and doing field work, he re-stumbled upon his passion for environmental education. He has been with the City of Tampa for over three years working as the Recycling Specialist in the Department of Solid Waste & Environmental Program Management.

Shelby and Edgar speak Tuesday, November 30 at 1:30 pm.


Robin K. Wiener, President, ISRI

Robin leads the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, the Washington DC based trade association representing approximately 1,300 for-profit companies nationwide and throughout the globe that process, broker and industrially consume scrap commodities (including scrap metal, paper, plastics, textiles, rubber and electronics). ISRI provides advocacy, education and training, safety outreach, compliance assistance, QEHS certification, and more for the $100 billion industry, while also promoting public awareness of the vital role recycling plays in the US economy, global trade, the environment, and sustainable development. ISRI has annual revenues in excess of $16 million and employs a staff of 46. Robin joined ISRI in 1989 directing ISRI’s environmental compliance activities and was appointed executive director in 1997 and then President in March 2000.

As part of her role representing the scrap recycling industry, Robin serves on the Boards of SERI (Sustainable Electronics Recycling International), Jason Learning, and Keep America Beautiful. She is a Past Chair of the NMVTIS Advisory Board appointed by the Department of Justice and of NAM’s Council of Manufacturing Associations, and is a member of the Key Industry Associations Committee (KIAC) of ASAE. She is also a Director of the International Environment Council of the Bureau of International Recycling in Brussels, a member of BIR’s E-Scrap Steering Committee.

Ms. Wiener earned a J.D. degree cum laude (Georgetown University Law Center), her B.S.E. degree in chemical engineering (University of Pennsylvania), and is co-author of the RCRA Compliance & Enforcement Manual (Shepard’s McGraw-Hill, 1994) as part of its Environmental Law Series. 

Robin speaks on Wednesday, December 1 at 10:10 am.

Dr. Nabil Nasr, founding Chief Executive Officer, REMADE Institute

Dr. Nabil Nasr is Associate Provost for Academic Affairs and Director of GolisanoInstitute for Sustainability at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). He also founded RIT’s Center for Remanufacturing and Resource Recovery, a leading source of applied research and solutions in remanufacturing technologies. Dr. Nasr’s research interests focus on remanufacturing, circular economy, life cycle engineering, cleaner production and sustainable product development, and he is considered an international leader in research and development efforts in those disciplines.

Nasr is also the founding Chief Executive Officer of the REMADE Institute, providing oversight of node-level research roadmap development as well as corporate engagement of the Institute’s largest industrial partners. This national coalition is working on new clean energy initiatives, focusing on driving down the cost of technologies essential to reuse, recycle and remanufacture materials such as metals, fibers, polymers and electronic waste.

Dr. Nasr currently serves as a member of the International Resource Panel of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). In addition, he has been an expert delegate with the U.S. Government in several international forums such as the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), United Nations, World Trade Organization, and the OECD.  He holds an MS and PhD in Industrial & Systems Engineering from Rutgers University.

Dr. Nasr speaks on Wednesday, December 1 at 1:00 pm.

Kyla FIsher, Program Director, AMERIPEN

As Program Director for AMERIPEN, a material neutral trade association for the packaging industry, Kyla is responsible for the association’s research and programming around the intersection of packaging, policy and the environment. She has led the organization’s efforts to understand the value of packaging in preventing food waste; supported the association’s efforts to help define a potential financing strategy to increase packaging recovery and worked with state market development centers to better align packaging and recovery efforts.

A former instructor of strategy for ASU’s Masters of Sustainability program, Kyla passionately believes that sustainability is not an “add-on for businesses rather, it should be seen as a strategic offering that offers resiliency in uncertain times.

Kyla speaks on Wednesday, December 1 at 1:00 pm.

Susie Westrup, LEED AP BD+C and TRUE Advisor, is the Director of Client Services at the U.S. Green Building Council for GBCI’s TRUE program.

At USGBC she works with clients and industry stakeholders to advance a circular economy and guides project teams along their journey to zero waste. She has significant experience in helping clients and organizations set a strategy and achieve goals in the sustainable design, construction and operations of their real estate. Susie is a proud Virginia Tech Alumna and completed graduate studies in sustainability through Harvard Extension.

Susie speaks on Wednesday, December 1 at 1:00 pm.

Holli Alexander, As Strategic Initiatives Manager in Eastman’s Global Sustainability Organization, Holli Alexander helps translate the complexity of sustainability into tangible and actionable efforts.

For the last 10 years, she has focused on plastics, recycling and sustainability. In 2012, Holli launched and led the Full-Wrap Label Consortium, a group founded by Eastman to address the challenges recycling PET bottles that use shrink labels. She represents Eastman in a variety of external organizations including the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s CE100. She serves on the Sustainability Advisory Board for PLASTICS and is leading an emerging work group there exploring chemical recycling technologies.

Holli was born and raised in Indiana and received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Indiana University.

Holli speaks on Wednesday, December 1 at 2:15 pm.

Tamsin Ettefagh, Chief Sustainability Officer, Purecycle Technologies

Tamsin Ettefagh has 33 years of experience in the areas of recycling and plastics recycling; from implementing a recycling collection program, to running the recycling operations for a MRF, to purchasing raw materials for plastic recycling companies, to selling recycled resins for plastic recycling companies. She has consulted for agencies, banks, potential plastic manufacturers on market conditions, types of supply and how to evolve and diversify markets for recycled resins. Ms. Ettefagh is currently working as Sustainability Officer for Purecycle Technologies.

Tamsin speaks on Wednesday, December 1 at 2:15 pm.

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