National Zero Waste Conference Program

See our list of confirmed speakers.

MARCH 18, 2020


8:30 am – Welcome/Introductions

8:45 am – Keynote– “Building a Circular Economy with Zero Waste”

9:15 am – International Zero Waste Hierarchy of Highest and Best Uses 

9:30 am – Models of a Circular Economy – Zero Waste Businesses

11:00 am – Models of a Circular Economy – Zero Waste Campuses

12:00 pm – Lunch 

Concurrent Sessions

1:00 pm – A – Zero Waste for Industrial, Commercial and Institutional Facilities

Topics to be covered:

  • How to Recycle Right in Today’s Markets
  • Right Sizing
  • Designing it Right
  • Hard to Recycle Materials
  • Business contracts for recycling vendors
  • Training and Leadership

1:00 pm – B – Reduce and Reuse

Topics to be covered:

  • Right to Repair
  • How to measure Reduce and Reuse
  • Engaging Employees to Reduce and Reuse
  • Reusable Shipping Containers
  • R&D Programs

1:00 pm – C – Recycling Market Development and Infrastructure 

Topics to be covered:

  • What’s Contamination and How to Recycle Right
  • Latest Processing Improvements (e.g. more labor, slower belts, more equipment, robotics)  
  • Use Materials Domestically and Bring Recycling Jobs Home from China
  • Container deposit systems to provide cleaner materials
  • Dual vs. Single Stream Collection and Processing
  • Recycling Incentives (e.g. Save as you Throw)

3:30 pm – A – Buy Recycled

Topics to be Discussed:

  • Buy Recycled, Environmentally Preferable and Sustainable Procurement Policies and Programs
  • Durable Products
  • Minimum Content Policies

3:30 pm – B – Finding Markets for Hard to Recycle Materials

  • Bring your own hard to recycle materials and review with marketing experts and attendees.  Room will be set up with experts at stations for different types of materials (e.g. plastics, other packaging, metals, glass, paper, organics)

3:30 pm – C – ReThink and Redesign

5:00 pm – Informal Gathering – No-host bar

6 – 8 pm – Topic Dinners at Local Restaurants

6 – 8 pm – National Recycling Coalition Board meeting



MARCH 19, 2020


8:30 am – Welcome

8:45 am – Keynote Panel: “Living the Dream – Zero Waste Lifestyles” 

9:15 am – Zero Waste Community Plans

Topics to be Discussed:

10:00 am –Zero Waste and Climate Change

10:30 am – World Cleanup Day and Plastics in Oceans 

11:00 am – Workers Dignity, Environmental Justice and Community Economic Development

Topics to be Discussed

  • Workers Dignity and Living Wages
  • Equitable Siting of Facilities, Sharing benefits and challenges fairly
  • Managing Resources and converting problems into assets
  • Community Land Trusts to add value to vacant land and properties

12:00 pm – Lunch 

1:00 pm – A – Organics and Zero Waste

Topics to be covered:

  • Reducing Food Wasting (e.g. Lean Path)
  • Food Donations
  • On-site composters and digesters
  • Community composting
  • Compostable Packaging
  • Large-scale composting and anaerobic digestion
  • Permitting facilities and dealing with air and water regulations
  • Mandates for haulers and/or residential and commercial generators

1:00 pm – B – Zero Waste Community Planning

Topics to be covered:

  • Zero Waste Culture Change 
  • Dignity and Justice in Pursuing Zero Waste 
  • Focus for Community Recycling Ordinances – Haulers, Generators, or Both
  • Best Practices for RFPs and Contracts (for communities)
  • Resource Recovery Parks

1:00 pm – C – Product Policies 

Topics to be covered:

  • Bans
  • Fees and deposits
  • Minimum content
  • Extended Producer Responsibility

3:00 pm – A – NRC Buy Recycled Campaign Forum on marketing recycled products

3:00 pm – B – Promotions of Zero Waste on Campuses

3:00 pm – C – Single-Use Product Bans

4:30 pm –Closing Plenary: “Zero Waste to Break Free from Plastics”

5:00 pm – Close of Conference