As I left C&D World, our annual meeting this year in Las Vegas, I could not stop thinking about how far the CMRA has come since I first was involved with the association. Seven years later, I am now its president and things have never looked better. The CMRA is in its best financial health, it has attracted a great group of directors to its board, its membership is growing, and it has become the leading voice for the entire C&D recycling industry.
As this is my first article as president, I want to outline a few of my goals for the next two years for the CMRA. First and foremost, the CMRA needs to finalize its third party certification program for recycling rates so all processing facilities in the industry can be reviewed by an objective entity and be measured on a consistent basis. This will allow everyone that claims to be in the recycling business to be fairly graded and allow for all operators to improve their respective facilities. It will also allow the industry to create a standard that should weed out the less than legitimate operations. It is my interest to get all CMRA directors with facilities to go through this process in the next two years. We don’t want to subject anyone else to something that we have not gone through ourselves.
Secondly, it is imperative that all recyclers begin to understand the full impact of our industry in terms of its impact not only on our environment but on our over all economy. Having this type of real data will allow the CMRA to be better prepared to lobby for the respective issues facing our members every day. Better data leads to better legislation and better regulation. We should be able to start this process shortly and have a finished product that is useful for all of us by our next annual meeting.
Third, we need to create more local chapters of the CMRA so our voice is strong on a regional basis. This has been helpful in Illinois, and the Northwest and the Northeast regions. It is time to expand and form other regional chapters so individual companies can express their needs and share ideas with others in similar areas of the country. I know this takes energy, time and resources but it can be very powerful when dealing with governmental entities that tend not to make changes for one company but will listen to a group.
These are just a few of the things that I would like to see happen over the next year or so. There are others but I won’t give you all my ideas in my first article. The CMRA is in the right place at the right time. It has been a tough couple of years and as the economy begins to show signs of improvement, there will no doubt be calls for how to lessen this country’s debt burden (both locally and nationally) as well as its dependence on foreign fuel sources. The companies that make up our membership have a great opportunity to play a key role in how this country moves forward, how we make decisions on what we buy, what we use, what we throw away.
None of these are small issues; they impact our daily lives and the generations that will follow.
I believe it is time for the CMRA to lead the conversation, to be the association that is about solutions, about how we can do things differently and more efficiently, to represent forward thinking and new ideas. We need to be more active, more vocal, and involve more people in our work. I look forward to continuing the good work of the people who sat in this seat before me and challenge all of you to think about how you can be more involved. We need more communication with our members so please don’t hesitate to call me or any of the association’s directors and of course you can call our executive director anytime day or night. It is our time to get this organization to the next level, and I am excited about helping it get there, I hope you are as well.
Besides serving as president of the CMRA, John Adelman is president and CEO of CPRC Group, Scarborough, Maine.