Retail Members Assemble for Environmental Committee Meeting

This September, RILA’s Environmental Compliance Committee met for its 2-day fall meeting in Washington DC. Leaders in retail environmental compliance, attendees shared experiences and explored key industry topics including RCRA regulatory changes, electronic waste, and waste management process improvements. Highlights from the meeting are below.

Legal and Regulatory Updates

Aaron Goldberg and Beth Richardson, partners at Beveridge and Diamond LLC, outlined new statutory and RCRA regulatory requirements that directly impact the retail industry. Though discussing complex topics, they concisely covered the key aspects of hazardous waste compliance with a focus on nicotine, aerosols, ignitability characteristics and the California Aquatic Toxicity Test in addition to reverse logistics, refrigerants, SEC disclosures, lithium batteries, and new emerging environmental compliance issues.

Operationalizing Environmental Compliance - Attendee Exercise

Vince Scheerer, vice president of business development, US Ecology moderated an interactive session where attendees broke out into groups to discuss three topics:

  • Taking advantage of the new EPA Pharmaceutical Rule,
  • ​Transitioning from hazardous waste e-manifests to bills of lading, and
  • VSQG shipments to company-owned Distribution Centers.

The groups were tasked with analyzing the operational, legal, and financial aspects of their chosen topic with the goal of tackling implementation challenges. Each team shared its analysis, identified opportunities and key takeaways the following day.

Department of Transportation, Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) Update on Transportation of Lithium Ion Batteries

Shelby Geller and Kevin Leary, from the Department of Transportation, Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), gave an update on federal hazardous materials transportation regulation of lithium ion batteries, which was followed by an in-depth Q&A session with the attendees.

Consumer Electronics and E-Waste

Wade Scheel, Stericycle’s director of governmental affairs, led an engaging discussion on in-store generated e-waste focusing on compliance challenges and key points for retailers to consider helping ease compliance burdens.

Waste Management Process Improvements

Amanda Smith, chief solutions officer, Enviance, along with Wendy Brant, senior director of environmental, health & safety compliance, Walmart, presented a case study on Walmart’s successful use of data analytics to reduce compliance costs by “right sizing” hazardous waste services based on store volume vs. a uniform store pickup schedule.

Innovation Summit Readout

Scott Mackey, vice president of sustainability, and Dan McGowan, chief revenue office, both represented Smarter Sorting as they gave a readout of the Innovation in Action Summit that had wrapped up earlier that day. During the summit, retailers worked on conceptual solutions to issues that overlap all industries. The Summit sponsor, Smarter Sorting, will go on to fund prototype development of the solution that was agreed upon by attendees.

RILA Updates

Several RILA team members joined the meeting to speak on RILA initiatives to strengthen retail environmental compliance programs.

Retail Compliance Center (RCC) and Retail Advisor Updates  

Tiffin Shewmake, executive director, RCC, highlighted new environmental compliance content and resources on the RCC website, as well as expansion of the Retail Advisor tool.

Zero Waste Initiative 

Erin Hiatt, senior director of sustainability & innovation gave an update on RILA’s Zero Waste Committee. Included in her presentation were the topics of interest and urgency for its committee members. Also presented was an overview of the committee’s current projects broken sections addressing polybags, textiles circularity, and a white paper addressing the retail waste landscape that is being co-authored by the Retail Compliance Center.

Update on Retail Innovation Center (RIC) Open Innovation Challenge

Brennan Duckett, senior manager of government affairs provided an update on an ongoing Retail Innovation Center (RIC) open innovation challenge seeking new tools for retail training and compliance that increase knowledge retention for retail store employees. In his presentation, Brennan discussed the importance of defining an industry problem and success criteria, the benefits for participating RILA members, and encouraged meeting attendees to think of new open innovation challenges. If you are interested in learning more about RILA’s open innovation pilot, please reach out directly to Brennan Duckett.

Peer-to-Peer Benchmarking

RILA members consistently rate the opportunity for peer-to-peer benchmarking as one of the most valuable benefits of active engagement. Led by Kathleen McGuigan, executive vice president & deputy general counsel, RILA, meeting attendees had an open discussion with their retail peers on several environmental compliance issues, e.g., hazardous waste management training and stormwater compliance.

A huge thanks to our sponsors Beveridge & Diamond, Stericycle, US Ecology, Enviance, and Smarter Sorting for all their help in planning and executing an outstanding Environmental Complaince Committee meeting.

For more information on this meeting or to get involved with RILA’s Environmental Compliance Committee, please contact Kathleen McGuigan.

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