Winner: Jason Johnson
Organization: WIN Waste Innovations
Jason Johnson has worked in just about every role at WIN Waste’s C&D recycling facility and transfer station in Taunton, Massachusetts. He started at the age of 18 as a laborer doing site work; today he is the site’s Operations Manager, overseeing a team of 25 permanent and temporary employees who receive, recycle, and recover about 140,000 tons of C&D waste each year.
In 2021, Jason and his team achieved a 27 percent material recovery rate — far above the Commonwealth’s 15 percent minimum. WIN Waste Director of Operations, Anthony Spitalieri, says Jason’s innovative approach to wood and vinyl recovery is a key to this remarkable number.
At Taunton, the team grinds the wood picked from C&D open tops then runs it through a second trommel, distilling it into grains, called “fines,” that are light and — more importantly — absorbent. The fines are in demand by environmental remediation groups, which use them for spill cleanups. Jason makes sure they get into the hands of these groups and that his team is producing enough to meet the demand.
Jason also runs five balers at Taunton because of what he describes as a “huge” market for vinyl and mixed rigid plastics in bale form. He sources buyers and resells the bales to product makers that give the recycled materials new life in everyday goods and applications. During a recent 22-day period, Jason’s team baled 45 tons of vinyl, 20 tons of mixed rigid plastics, and 418 tons of absorbent wood fines.
Spitalieri said in his nomination, “We’re extremely proud of Jason’s high recovery rates because it means we’re finding more sustainable paths for products that would otherwise go to a landfill.”
Nominee: Diane Jones
Organization: Tipping Point Shrewsbury
Diane Jones started off in 2019 as a woman with a sign, going out every Friday to stand on her Town Common in Shrewsbury to face traffic. Her sign said, “Honk for Climate Action”. Most times, she was alone. Very few people honked. Often people jeered or yelled rude things. Occasionally someone else with a sign came to stand with her or a group would stay for a while. Diane showed up weekly, for months.
Then COVID hit, and the world changed. People started walking, and getting outdoors more. A few people joined her. People stopped yelling so much, and started honking at her sign. She added another sign: “Vote for Climate Action”. People joined her, and a group was formed: Tipping Point Shrewsbury (01545).
Diane started writing an outline for a climate action plan, researching it on the internet and eventually getting help from Ken Pruitt of Winchester. She led her group to present before all the town officials and committees: Finance, Board of Health, Select Board, Town Meeting, and the Town Manager. In the end, she successfully pushed them to declare a Climate Emergency. Diane and Tipping Point have convinced the Town to commit to hiring a person to write an official Climate Action Plan for Shrewsbury.
Many of us in the waste world focus on getting recycling to happen in our towns, and just getting that going is a heavy lift sometimes. A climate action plan includes a comprehensive approach to avoidance, reduction, and recycling on a myriad of fronts, including transportation, renewable resources, building efficiency, sustainable forestry, and of course … sustainability in solid waste.
Diane is the hero we all need to hear about. The lone figure with a signboard who won over her town with the strength of her convictions … and led an entire town to reduce, divert, renew, and change their ways.
Nominee: Justin Moseley
Organization: Recycleworks, Inc
Justin Mosely has tirelessly helped his clients to divert unwanted food and beverage from the landfill to its highest and best use.
Justin Moseley’s unwavering commitment to organic waste recycling and reuse is unmatched in The United States.
In 2021 alone, Justin diverted well over 85,000 tons of food and beverage waste from the landfill. Justin works with clients to develop and implement large-scale zero-waste initiatives.
Some marque projects include –
Large Soup Manufacturer in MA – Comprehensive Zero-Waste program. From manufacturing output to plastics recycling, Justin has worked hand–in-hand with his client to implement a recycling system. Justin designed and oversaw the installation of state-of-the-art, liquid tight systems to handle organic waste.
Food Manufacturer in MA – Justin spearheaded a major organic waste upcycling program with a large manufacturer in MA to divert their unwanted organics to the highest and best use.
Major Grocery Chain – Packaged Food Upcycling program – Justin worked with a major grocery Chain in MA to implement a packaged food program at all of their locations throughout the state.
Nominee: Michael Orbank
Organization: STO Building Group
Michael Orbank- Sustainability Manager for the Northeast Region at STO Building Group, has been working in the environmental field since 2014. Although this might not seem like a long time, Michael has made every year count. Determined to improve construction and demolition (C&D) recycling and deconstruction within and beyond the projects he works on with STO, Michael has fostered a strong network of collaborators. This community allows designers, architects, general contractors, and others to support one another and get more involved in the C&D recycling and reuse community.
Michael has had several non-profit reuse outlets walk through his ongoing projects and evaluate what building materials they can recover from those and future projects.
Michael understands that having time and a plan for recovery built into projects can lead to success.
In addition to finding creative solutions and outlets for difficult to recycle or reuse materials, Michael has tackled an even bigger challenge: training and reinforcing new habits that ensure on site staff place materials in the right bins, so they can ultimately be recycled or reused correctly. Michael raised this issue during his collaboration with Recycling Works in Massachusetts (RecyclingWorks), and an instructional case study video was born! This video, and the tips Michael shares in it, can be used by other construction firms to train their onsite staff, a key piece of getting C&D and building materials diverted from a project.
Since 2020, Michael has been the co-chair of the Boston Carbon Leadership Forum (CLF), where he organizes informative presentations about deconstruction efforts across the country to encourage change in Massachusetts. However, Michael is also realistic when it comes to the challenges of the everchanging market of recycling C&D materials, including the capacity for transporting, storing, and relocating building materials in our area. Michael convenes the group of professionals in the CLF to address these issues, create a roadmap for solutions, and support one another.
Nominee: Amanda Wolfe
Organization: New Life Furniture Bank of MA
Last year, New Life save over 202 tons (1 ,828 cu yds) of household goods and furniture from the landfill. Already this year, New Life has saved 177 tons (1 ,602 cu yds) an overall increase from the previous year.
The increase is from new partnerships coordinated by Amanda such as junk haulers, clean out specialists and store returns. All of these items would have gone in the trash, but instead went to families transitioning out of homelessness.
Amanda has been instrumental in developing new drop off locations with transfer stations. Allowing residents a convenient place to donate, even if the original plan was to throw the piece in the dumpster. A pilot that has been so successful, Amanda is looking to expand it to two more transfer stations.
In addition to expanding the over 1 0,000 pieces that come through our warehouse, Amanda has ensured items that are not up to our quality standard or are not right for our clients find a new home with other local charities or repaired. For an organization that deals with unwanted items, we produce very little waste.
Nominee: Jennifer Gendreau
I have been converting clean discarded plastic bags into plarn (plastic yarn) and crochet reusable tote bags and collection holders for consumers for almost 3 years since COVID–19 shut down. I am currently focused on local stores and limited community members for changing their habits of throwing away clean bags that aren’t going to be used. My mission is to provide an alternate use for the bags, rather than ending in the trash by means of convenience.
Nominee: Wendy Millar Page
Organization: Town of Winthrop
Wendy Millar is the Solid Waste & Recycling Manager for the Town of Winthrop. I first met Wendy at the networking time during the conference and I was immediately drawn to her positive attitude and herself proclaimed title of Trash Wendy. She comes from the world of non-profit and has brought her love of helping people into her new role. She is the only female manager at the DPW. Together, we have been able to increase collections of residential clothing diversions by 15% since our partnership was created. She has put newspaper articles about textile recycling, she has put information about our programs on social media and has been a true advocate of recycling. She has also used her artistic abilities to share recycling with her community with up-to-date graphics. She truly cares about the environment, the residents of her town and the people she works with. I went to go tour the town with her and everyone knew her, every place she went.
She greeted everyone with a smile and a happy good morning. Her networking ability is fantastic. I feel lucky to have met her at the conference and look forward to what she is able to accomplish in her community. Her passion is infectious, and we need more people like her in our industry.
Nominee: Nancy Gilberg
Organization: Salem Recycles
Nancy has been a tireless volunteer for Salem Recycles and pretty much single-handedly built SR’s social media presence. She has spearheaded efforts to bring Styrofoam events to the City, as well as being a collaborative leader in e-waste and zero waste events. Nancy’s is also a member of SAFE (Salem Alliance for the Environment) and Friends of Salem Woods.
Nominee: Taylor Millspaugh
Organization: CMRK New England
Taylor only recently joined the team at CMRK. In this short time she has worked tirelessly to prepare municipalities for the effects of the TEXTILE Waste Ban. She has toured multiple muni sites to ensure they would be well equipped for Textile diversion activities -She even organized a tour of the CMRK warehouse in Northborough!
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