2009 Recycler of the Year – Public Sector
Resa Dimino, the 2009 NYSAR3 Recycler of the Year – Public Sector, has a list of accomplishments that is without comparison. Her resume reads like a program with the heading “How to be in the forefront of recycling – New York State and beyond.” The names of associations that have benefited from Resa’s leadership will be familiar to those of you who have been around recycling for many years. Starting with Bronx 2000, a community-based, recycling buy-back center, Resa went on to build her experiences in educating the public on recycling, in advocacy and in policy development. She served as the Director of Programs for the Bronx River Alliance and as Environmental Analyst for the Bronx Borough President. Resa has also held leadership positions with both the National Recycling Coalition and with the Grassroots Recycling Network. Currently, Resa is overseeing the update of the New York State Solid Waste Management Plan – a formidable project indeed.
Through all of these organizations and projects Resa’s dedication, professionalism and enthusiasm are unparalleled. Her numerous and significant accomplishments make her one of the great recycling advocates of our generation. Resa represents the epitome of recycling, having experienced first-hand the benefits and the roadblocks influencing the industry.
It is difficult to overestimate the number of people whose recycling habits Resa has touched with her various activities. From the Bronx to New York City to New York State and even in national programs – even to the White House, Resa’s grasp of the issues and ability to work with many stakeholders has brought numerous projects to the finish line. Her most recent accomplishment is the formation of the New York State Product Stewardship Council. This Council has the potential to re-shape the solid waste landscape in New York State. Beyond our own borders, the climate change implications for recycling and waste reduction have a global reach.
Recycler of the Year – Private Sector
I’ll begin with the closing statement from Jean Bonhotal’s nominations: “Because of Jean, a broad spectrum of New Yorkers have gone from the perception of organics as a troublesome “waste” to management as a “valuable resource” in creating compost products. Just as important, Jean walks the talk. She lives and breathes this stuff and is an inspiration to us all!”
Jean has been an untiring advocate of recycling and composting for over two decades, as many in this room can testify. She has traveled all across New York State, often on her own time, conducting composting workshops to various groups including farmers, educators and solid waste professionals. Countless composting operations were begun because of Jean’s sound and enthusiastic advice. Helping to bridge the gap between the worlds of those responsible for managing wastes or for developing policy and the research world is one of Jean’s goals.
From the early years, when Jean encouraged and instructed municipalities to divert yard wastes from landfills, through composting food scraps and manure, and more recently, her work on livestock mortality and butcher waste composting with farmers and meat processors, her work has transformed the solid waste landscape. Because of research and education performed by Jean, carcass composting is currently the preferred method of road-kill management with the New York State Department of Transportation, saving the agency millions of dollars in disposal costs
It is more than fair to say that all New Yorkers have benefited from Jean’s work either directly in workshops and conferences, through the educational materials provided on the CWMI website, or from projects developed as a result of these efforts. Sharing information through roundtable conferences, printed literature – in the old days – and now downloadable information from the web – all are methods that Jean has implemented as technology evolved.
Organics management will be the new cornerstone of the state’s solid waste management policy and capturing residual organics for digestion or composting will figure prominently in the success of managing this waste stream more effectively. This will not only assist with less waste requiring disposal, but creates a valuable end product and has a direct positive impact on the generation of greenhouse gases. This transition has already started in many areas of New York State because of Jean’s leadership and education efforts.
2009 Recycler of the Year – Team
Tompkins County Waste Reduction and Recycling
2009 is the inaugural year for a Team nomination for Recycler of the Year. The honorees have collaborated to significantly reduce waste in Tompkins County schools. Their ultimate target is a county-wide goal of 75% waste reduction by 2015.
The Tompkins County Waste Reduction and Recycling Team, made up of Leo Riley, Linnett Short and Kat McCarty, have combined two successful programs to develop recycling programs in schools. By promoting the international Go Green Initiative and ReBusiness Partners, the team has impacted 25 county public schools to date. As a result, on average, schools in Tompkins County have increased their 21% waste diversion rate to 34%. Further, a culture of environmental sustainability has been created in schools at all levels. By involving high level administration, students, teaches, and parents, the programs will impact habits for future years.
Planning for the project began in November of 2007. The program is currently strong with plans to continue in 2010. With the Go Green Initiative’s GREEN flexible template, rural and urban schools created their own green team focused on specific needs. The ReBusiness Partners waste assessment also provides tailored support, including recycling bins and signs.
This holistic approach helped overcome obstacles. Tompkins County staff provides direct support by participating in green teams, making recycling presentations and answering questions. Staff also aided a local hauler in developing a plan to bring food waste to the Cayuga Compost facility.
The Tompkins County team has been able to measure the effects of the combined programs. With a comprehensive approach, including waste assessments and providing 1210 recycling bins, the team helped schools achieve a 34% average waste reduction rate. In 2008 alone, 105 tons of organic waste were composted.
Leo, Linnett and Kat have maintained contact with the schools, providing waste reduction lesson plans, as well as notices of opportunities and grants. The program was evaluated based on green team meetings, quarterly reports, and recycling and organic waste diversion rates.
As a result of this exemplary program and teamwork, Tompkins County was awarded the Go Green County of the year in 2008.
Bonnie Kastner of Steuben County, was recognized on her retirement
Bonnie has served since 1989 as Recycling Manager of Steuben County. In that position she has done all those miscellaneous duties that land on the desk of Recycling professionals, including writing reports for DEC, working with local haulers, writing grants and then administering those grants…and, of course, writing more reports.
Bonnie has also learned to manage all those materials no recycling coordinator imagined he or she would have to manage 20 years ago: electronics, hazardous waste, tires.
Bonnie has also provided education and brochures, worked with the America Recycles Day Committee in Western New York and the Materials Exchange of Western New York, as well as coordinated with Steuben County committees.