Procurement Unearths New Ways to Add Value: Recycle, Reuse, Recover

Procurement professionals looking for new ways to add value to their organization need to search no further than their own offices. Revamping or introducing a recycling program can help reduce costs and is beneficial to the environment.

At some organizations, managing assets through their lifecycles has always been procurement’s responsibility. Over time, however, these programs can grow stale; reevaluating may unearth new ways to save. Other organizations are turning to procurement to lead corporate sustainability initiatives. Examining how the facility manages its waste and recycling can fit right into these plans.

Procurement professionals attending the monthly member meeting of the Institute for Supply Management-Greater Rhode Island affiliate in September had the opportunity to learn more about their role in their organization’s waste management and recycling efforts and the benefits their actions can bring.

After a welcome and introduction by Michelle Voyer, Programs CommitteeChair at ISM-GRI, Krystal Noiseux, Recycling Program Manager at the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corp in Johnston, RI, set the stage for her talk by describing legislation over the years that resulted in several firsts for Rhode Island: It’s the first state to mandate recycling, as well as the first to enact laws for recycling plastic bags and film and, most recently, food waste.

“There is a lot going on in Rhode Island for good reason,” Noiseux told the 25 procurement and supply professionals attending the meeting in East Providence. “If we continue disposing of waste at current rates, the landfillwill close in 2038. How can we extend the landfill and plan for the future?”

Responding to the question, Noiseux described the capabilities of the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corp and the services it offers to businesses. While there are fees for waste disposal, there is no charge for recycling, she said. For ISM-GRI members who work in nearby states of Massachusetts and Connecticut, Noiseux suggested they look for similar facilities that serve their organizations.

One service for businesses offered by RIRRC that particularly interests the procurement professionals is the organization’s free waste assessments. In fact, several attendees said that they had recently met with David Bordieri, Waste Prevention Coordinator at RIRRC. He typically leads the activity, which consists of a close examination not only of the facility’s disposal process, but its refuse and recycling as well, followed by recommendations for improvement and ongoing support services.

During the assessment, Noiseux explained that her colleague describes ways to reduce the amount of waste generated by an organization in the first place. These include prevention such as purchasing items that are reusable. She also suggested exchanges and donations as ways to cut down on waste.

Butch Roberts, First Vice President and Professional Development Chair at ISM-GRI, shared with the group results of a waste assessment conducted recently at his workplace. The facility, he said, used to haul two loads of trash to the landfill each week. Now they send just one load a month.

Noiseux walked the procurement professionals through instructions for recycling some materials that RIRRC accepts, including plastic containers, glass, paper and cardboard, hazardous materials, plastic bags and film, electronic waste, textiles, and metals among others.

For instance, RIRRC accepts glass bottle or jars for recycling, with the exception of Pyrex containers. All businesses and consumers need to do is to remove the metal lids, she said. Recycling plastics is a little more complex; exceptions include bottles that contained automotive fluids, CD cases and compostable cups, among others. Styrofoam, Noiseux said, is never accepted.

“If you follow the rules, you’ll be right 95% of the time,” she told the ISM-
GRI members. “And, if you’re not sure, ask.”

Noiseux also suggested facilities that accept materials for reuse in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. As a takeaway for the procurement professionals attending the meeting, she recommended that when they return to their offices, they look at their organization’s waste hauling contract and talk to their hauler to learn where they take their recycling. Then, she said, “Schedule an appointment with RIRRC for an assessment.”

ISM-GRI Programs Committee Chair Voyer, for one, said she was leaving the meeting “energized” to take a new look at her recycling practices both at home and at the office.

Other services RIRRC offers businesses include an Environmentally

Preferable Purchasing program and a Business Materials Exchange. For more information on these services and other capabilities, use this link: Noiseux added that virtual tours of the facility are also available online at

The next meeting of ISM-GRI is October 22 at Bryant University in North Smithfield. Jan Miller, Vice President, Membership at ISM, is scheduled to speak on How to Leverage the Benefits of Membershipin the ISM. For more information and to register, use this link:

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