Amid fears that the proposed merger of the National Recycling Coalition with Keep America Beautiful will eliminate a voice for recyclers, the two recycling professionals who most recently headed NRC's Recycling Organization Council have formed a new nationwide nonprofit recycling group.
Recycling Organizations of North America announced Aug. 3 that it filed for papers of incorporation in Colorado, to create a group that would have a larger umbrella than the proposed merger of NRC and KAB.
RONA officials said the new group is aimed at recycling professionals, state and regional recycling organizations, sustainability groups and recycling companies.
RONA is rising from growing concern among past and current recycling leadership for change, the group said in a news release.
Marjorie Griek, executive director of the Colorado Association for Recycling who also was the most recent chair of the NRC Recycling Organization Council and John Frederick, executive director of Professional Recyclers Pennsylvania and former vice chair of the council, spearheaded the formation of RONA.
Frederick resigned June 12 from his non-RONA positions. Griek said she and Frederick were not speaking for the Recycling Organization Council when they made the decision to form RONA.
The announcement of RONA's incorporation was made the day before a town hall meeting at the California Resource Recovery Association in Rancho Mirage, Calif., which was designed to give NRC members an opportunity to discuss the proposed merger with KAB.
Members are voting electronically on the proposal between Aug. 10 and Aug. 26.
Five state organizations have endorsed the proposed merger: the Arizona Recycling Coalition, the Georgia Recycling Coalition, the Indiana Recycling Coalition, Professional Recyclers of Pennsylvania, and the State of Texas Alliance for Recycling.
Several former NRC board members and past presidents have urged NRC members to vote against the proposed merger with KAB. CRRA also is opposed to the merger, which requires a two-thirds majority vote of NRC's 4,500 members to be approved.
Merger opponents have argued that NRC and KAB have different agendas because their membership bases are different: NRC includes more recyclers and schools, while KAB receives more support from corporate interests, the argument goes.
Under the merger plan, KAB would obtain all NRC trademarks, rights and intellectual property, as well as some of its programs.
KAB also would assume NRC's $500,000 in debt, establish an NRC Advisory Council and allocate three seats on its 25-member board of directors for people recommended by that council.
The Save the NRC Coalition has urged members to study other options, including:
* Declaring Chapter 11 bankruptcy so that NRC can reorganize its debts and its priorities.
* Operating NRC as an all-volunteer organization that contracts out services, including its Web site, annual conference and a Listserv for members.
* Dissolving entirely, regardless of whether another broad-based organization committed to NRC's current goals arises.
* A merger of NRC with a recycling group separate from KAB.
Key members of the Save the NRC Coalition represent a range of professional experience and in many cases, are former NRC board members. They are:
* Tim Brownell, co-president and chief operating officer of Eureka Recycling in Minneapolis.
* Gary Liss, president and managing director of the environmental consulting firm Gary Liss & Associates in Loomis, Calif.
* Amy Perlmutter, a fellow at the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell.
* Mark Lichtenstein, managing director of the Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems at Syracuse University in Syracuse, N.Y.
* Floyd Flexon, president and chief executive officer of Plastic Environmental Technology LLC.
* Susan Hubbard, CEO and co-president of Eureka Recycling.
* Peter Anderson, president of RecycleWorlds Consulting Corp. in Madison, Wis.
* Steve Apotheker, senior recycling planner for the Sustainability Center at Metro in Portland, Ore.
* Former NRC board members Mick Barry, Victor Bell, Paul Braasch, Walt Childress, Delyn Kies, Susan Kinsella, Mark Loughmiller and Peter Pasterz.
* NRC past President Dale Gubbels, CEO of Firstar Fiber Corp. in Omaha, Neb.
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