SXSW Eco Conference Features Expert Panel on the Future of American Recycling

National Waste & Recycling Association, Keep America Beautiful, H-E-B, City of Philadelphia headline panel

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Sept. 18, 2014) — The National Waste & Recycling Association (NW&RA) and Keep America Beautiful (KAB) will be joined by the major grocery chain H-E-B and the chief of recycling for the city of Philadelphia for a panel discussion on the future of recycling in America at the SXSW Eco conference in Austin on Oct. 7.

Sharon H. Kneiss, NW&RA president and CEO, will serve as moderator of the panel, “Recycling More vs. Recycling Right in America,” which also features KAB’s President and CEO Jennifer M. Jehn. The panel will examine the origins and current state of American recycling, underscore the importance of managing contaminants in the waste stream and pursue solutions to balance the goal of expanding recycling options with preserving the quality of recycled commodities.

“We are pleased to engage the central debate of how America moves forward in expanding recycling while managing contamination to improve the quality of recycled commodities, as well as understanding the economics of recycling. SXSW Eco is a fantastic platform to discuss this important issue, and we are pleased to bring widely recognized names to the table,” Kneiss said. “Our panel features diverse perspectives and real-world experience—these are the thought leaders who will be shaping American recycling for the near and far future.”

Kneiss will represent the private waste and recycling industry’s perspective, while Jehn will offer the point of view of the nation’s premier nonprofit that builds and sustains vibrant communities. Susan Ghertner, director, environmental affairs for H-E-B Grocery Company, and Phil Bresee, recycling director for the City of Philadelphia Recycling Office, will provide the corporate and municipal perspectives, respectively, to round out the panel.

“The barriers to recycling are many:  lack of convenience, lack of infrastructure and lack of understanding of what, when and how to recycle,” Jehn said. “Keep America Beautiful and its community-based affiliates are focused on influencing recycling behaviors at work, at home and on the go through awareness and education campaigns that motivate and encourage people to recycle more often and recycle right.”

Following the recycling panel, NW&RA will sponsor a visit to Texas Disposal Systems’ (TDS) waste management complex south of Austin for a select number of SXSW Eco participants. TDS, a member of NW&RA, boasts Texas’ first fully integrated landfill system. Attendees will visit—among other sites—a modernized recycling Materials Recovery Facility, an organic composting facility and a land reclamation project, featuring an exotic wildlife preserve home to animals from six continents.

“Members of the sustainability community attending SXSW Eco will first tackle the issue of recycling smarter and then have an opportunity for an on-the-ground view of the remarkable complex TDS operates in Travis County, Texas,” Kneiss said.

About NW&RA
The National Waste & Recycling Association is the trade association that represents the private sector waste and recycling services industry. Association members conduct business in all 50 states and include companies that collect and manage garbage, recycling and medical waste, equipment manufacturers and distributors and a variety of other service providers. For more information about NW&RA, visitwww.wasterecycling.org.

About Keep America Beautiful
Keep America Beautiful is the nation’s leading nonprofit that brings people together to build and sustain vibrant communities. With a national network of community-based affiliates, we work with millions of volunteers who take action in their communities to transform public spaces into beautiful places. Through our programs and public-private partnerships, we engage individuals to take greater responsibility for improving their community’s environment. For more information, visitkab.org, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, or view us on YouTube.