ecomaine Welcomes International Waste Management Leader to 2018 Annual Meeting in Portland

June 14, 2018
Matt Grondin
ecomaine Welcomes International Waste Management Leader to 2018 Annual Meeting in Portland

CEO of Solid Waste Association of North America, David Biderman addressed ecomaine communities and stakeholders, as recycling markets face uncertain future

PORTLAND, Maine – ecomaine welcomed David Biderman, CEO of the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) to its annual meeting on Thursday, June 14, 2018

at Thompson’s Point Brick South in Portland from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.  Biderman addressed the future of sustainable waste management in the face of unprecedented turmoil in the markets for recyclable materials.  Biderman also presented to Freeport High School senior Taylor Dostie the Steve Parker Memorial Scholarship on behalf of the SWANA Chapter of Northern New England.

ecomaine CEO Kevin Roche addressed attendees on the state of ecomaine’s recycling, waste-to-energy, landfill, administrative, and educational outreach programs during Fiscal Year 2018, and will look ahead to Fiscal Year 2019 and beyond.  Additionally, outgoing Board Chair Troy Moon recognized ecomaine’s 2018 eco-Excellence Award winners.

“The collapse in recycling markets has challenged ecomaine this year,” said Kevin Roche, ecomaine’s CEO.  “Even with these poor market conditions, ecomaine has been able to make the necessary adjustments to keep the flow of recycled paper moving to new markets.”

“On the positive side,” he continued, “we’ve seen our community and educational outreach double.  We remain committed to the waste hierarchy in the face of uncertain markets.  And our ties to our 74 communities across Maine are incredibly strong – regional solid waste management presents better opportunities in 2018 than ever before.”

“Moreover, we are very happy to have David Biderman here in Portland to describe what he is seeing in waste management nationwide, and here locally in Maine” said Roche.

“I am very glad to be at ecomaine, which continues to be a real leader in promoting sustainable waste management strategies,” said David Biderman.  “Our industry faces a variety of challenges, including China’s imposition of restrictions affecting U.S. recycling programs.  Public outreach and awareness are real keys to working with communities to solve these challenges, and together, ecomaine and SWANA are well-positioned to take on the changing future of waste management.”

The first half of 2018 has seen markets for recyclable material fluctuate rapidly and uncertainly, as China has begun and continued enforcement of rigorous contamination standards, and banned much imported post-consumer material entirely – particularly mixed paper.  ecomaine continues to find markets for its mixed paper in Indonesia, Vietnam, and India, for example, but prices have dropped sharply from 2017 levels.  Despite this, ecomaine continues to adhere to its mission and the waste hierarchy – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Compost, Waste-to-Energy, and Landfill as a last resort.  Roche and Biderman will address these market forces, and the outlook for 2018-19.

About ecomaine

ecomaine, located in Portland, Maine, is the member-owned, nonprofit, recycling and waste-to-energy operation that serves a third of the state’s population in 74 member communities.  ecomaine provides comprehensive long-term solid waste solutions in a safe, environmentally responsible, economically sound manner, and is a leader in raising public awareness of sustainable waste management strategies.

About the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA)

The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) is an organization of more than 10,000 public and private sector professionals committed to advancing from solid waste management to resource management through their shared emphasis on education, advocacy and research. For more than 50 years, SWANA has been the leading association in the solid waste management field. SWANA serves industry professionals through technical conferences, certifications, publications and a large offering of technical training courses.

ecomaine annual meeting at Thompson’s Point in Portland, ME on Thursday, June 14, 2018.
All photos by Brian Fitzgerald.