Matt Grondin, Communications Manager
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For Immediate Release:
ecomaine CEO addresses Maine Model United Nations Conference on issues of global waste management
PORTLAND, MAINE – (May 25, 2018) ecomaine’s CEO Kevin Roche spoke to 200 high school students at the University of Southern Maine about the future of waste management globally and at home in Maine, as a part of the Maine Model United Nations Conference (MeMUNC) on May 17.
As a guest speaker on the topic of “managing Earth’s waste,” Roche detailed the current challenges and opportunities that waste management, landfills, and recycling present to every country.
“Waste management is not an issue that is unique to any one town, state, or country,” said Roche. “Every single country in the world has to consider how it deals with its own waste, and sometimes even materials from other countries. And this group of high schoolers is uniquely positioned to learn about what’s ahead. In the meantime, ecomaine is doing its part to limit the amount of landfill space into the future, and to educate these young leaders about the best choices they can make now and in the future.”
Questions from student delegates ranged from questions on the benefits of processing trash for energy, as ecomaine does in its waste-to-energy plant, to assessments of what particular people, companies, and even nations can and should do to encourage policy and behavior that promotes sustainable waste management.
Dr. Timothy Ruback, Director of the MeMUNC and Lecturer in USM’s Department of History and Political Science, was similarly enthusiastic about the response to Roche’s presentation. “It was one of the more engaging presentations I’ve seen in my years working this event. The students were captivated, the teachers were fascinated, and I’m delighted,” he said.
In their resolutions, the student delegates called for countries to minimize the use of unnecessary packaging and manufacturing materials, increase use of biodegradable materials, and invest in greater capacity in recycling systems and waste-to-energy facilities.
“The quality of the questions and solutions offered by these students was outstanding,” Roche said. “It was challenging and a great sign for the future of the waste management industry, as we look further down the road.”
Ecomaine is the Portland-based nonprofit, recycling and waste-to-energy operation that serves a third of the state’s population in 74 member communities.
The Maine Model United Nations Program hosts an annual conference where college and high school students participate in a simulation of United Nations procedures and enables students to practice organization, debate, conflict resolution and negotiation skills.
Photograph: Dylan Reynolds