Maximizing Your NRRA Benefits: Part 1 (Logistics & Finance)
Are you a Municipal Member of NRRA?
Do you know about ALL the benefits your membership brings? Let's dive right in so you can maximize your NRRA benefits and use all the new tools now just a click, email, or phone call away! (This was originally presented at the 2023 Annual Recycling Conference.)
If you are already reading this, CONGRATULATIONS, you've made it to the NRRA website!
This is where you will be able to easily access a majority of your benefits. As a municipal member, you have access to cooperative marketing of your recyclables and technical assistance and education, services provided by our logistics & administrative, finance, member services, and communications departments.
Let's start with your latest load of recycling, to learn about the benefits you have...
We use the IT management company, CCI Managed Services, and have made many changes over the past year to our data management system, such as moving our data to a cloud-based server, which is more cost effective and allows us to access member records, load data, and organization information from anywhere.
We created a quick and easy LOAD REQUEST FORM, which is accessible on our website via your desktop, laptop, or mobile device. You can use this form to request a pickup or delivery of your material. You can even upload photos of your baled material, which helps us get optimal pricing options for your commodities. Requests are processed during our normal business hours and are typically addressed within the next business day.
The beauty of having the benefit of a full Logistics Team, means that we handle everything!
PRICE SHOPPING: We bid out baled material loads to multiple approved vendors to get the best possible price for your material. These vendors have been vetted by NRRA Staff and offer NRRA members optimal pricing.Price Shopping – We bid out baled material loads to multiple approved vendors to get the best possible price for your material. These vendors have been vetted by NRRA Staff and offer NRRA members optimal pricing.
NO TRUCKING HEADACHES: OK, who are we kidding? If it has to do with trucking, there will likely be a headache, but NRRA handles it for you. If we hire a 3rd party hauler, we set up the pickup, if the vendor is handling the transportation, we will follow up with the vendor to be sure that they know your location’s hours and loading instructions. If the truck is late or doesn’t show, we chase it down and find an alternative pickup date.
LOOKING OUT FOR YOUR BEST INTEREST: We make sure that you are not charged for truck not used fees in instances where the vendor or hauler did not provide advanced notice for pick up. We watch out for unnecessary charge backs and fees, and use all of our available resources and information to avoid these fees as much as possible.
When you are ready to ship your material, it's important you fill out a BILL OF LADING (BOL). Again, we've created a simple form you can download from our website, fill out, and then give copies to the driver, save a copy, and send one to NRRA. You can upload the completed BOL, email it to us, text it to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org (YES! You CAN text an email address!!), or shoot us a fax at: 603-736-4402.
(Pro Tip: when you're filling out your BOL, be sure to snap some photos as well of your load so that, if issues do arise, you have photo evidence to help us advocate for you.)
A bill of lading is a simple form that you fill out each time you ship material. Blank forms can be downloaded and sent from our website. The BOL is basically proof that your load happened, and we sometimes need to refer to them if there is a question or discrepancy about a particular load.
Example: When we receive invoices from a vendor, we compare the items on the invoice with your completed BOL. If we see things on the BOL that are not reflected on the vendor’s paperwork, we research to find out where the discrepancy lies. If we need to dispute something with the vendor, having a completed BOL to present can be a great help making it more likely for a favorable outcome.
After the load is picked up/delivered, the Finance Team tracks the order and follows up on any weights or information we need in order to process it. In addition to entering weights in the system, we also make sure pricing is accurate and resolve any discrepancies.
In addition to processing your payments and invoices, we are also always looking out for you. We will track down information, work to resolve disputes, and make sure you are being treated honestly and fairly.
NRRA only works with reputable vendors who meet established standards and pass our reference checks. In the past, we have been burned by a few vendors that did not meet their payment obligations. In these cases, NRRA made sure our members were paid as promised, regardless of whether or not the vendors paid us. Also, all NRRA vendors are insured and hold any licenses required. Therefore, you can market your materials through NRRA with confidence – both knowing that your materials are being properly handled and that you will get paid when you should.
NRRA does an accounting run every two weeks. Whatever is in the system and ready to process at that time will be invoiced or paid. Some vendors take longer to get us weights than others, but we do our best to get as many open transactions completed and ready for billing/payments through the date of the accounting run.
We strive to pay or invoice all orders within 30-45 days from the pick-up date. Occasionally we have a situation where it may take a bit longer (for example, if there is a weight or pricing discrepancy that we need to resolve), but our goal is always to process orders within 30-45 days.
ACCOUNTING OPTIONS: NRRA recognizes that all not all municipalities do their accounting the same way. Some have enterprise funds to cover their recycling expenses, while others must budget for specific expenses and revenues get deposited into the general fund. To provide some flexibility to our members, NRRA offers two options for payments and invoicing: Net and Non-Net Accounting.
Net accounting is when we take all items that are ready to process and “net” them out. In other words, we take what we owe you and subtract what you owe us. If the balance is positive, we send you a check. If the balance is negative, we send you an invoice.
Non-net accounting is when all revenue items are paid to you, and all expense items are invoiced.
Net accounting is the default option for all members. If you want to change your accounting type to non-net, you can do so at any time by notifying us in writing (email is fine). You may also switch back to net accounting if you don’t think the non-net is working the way you expected for your town. What you cannot do, however, is pick and choose accounting types for different commodities. NRRA’s accounting system is quite complex and our system is not set up to treat some commodities differently than others. So, you do need to choose one option or the other for all commodities, but you can switch any time you’d like.
PAYMENT TERMS: NRRA’s payment terms are net 30 days. We do not send monthly statements, but you can sign up to receive monthly activity reports (if you are interested in doing so, please contact admin/logistics and they can put you on the list). Our QuickBooks program automatically sends reminders on past due invoices, and those will typically go out after 30 days has passed since the invoice date.
PAYMENTS & INVOICING: For payments, NRRA offers paper checks as the default payment method, but you can sign up to receive ACH payments. We can also accept electronic payments from you.
For invoicing, NRRA mails invoices as the default invoicing method. We can easily send them electronically to the email address(es) you identify. In fact, we encourage you to sign up for electronic invoicing to save on paper and postage.
Signing up for electronic invoicing is easy. You can go to our website, email email@example.com or simply call the office and speak to someone in finance, and we are happy to assist you.
ANNUAL ACTIVITY REPORT
Annual Activity Reports are incredibly valuable - especially when it comes to completing your required annual state report or during town meeting season!
These annual reports help members track the movement, weights, and revenue (or costs) of the various commodities that they market through NRRA. Many communities sign up to receive these reports monthly and use them to show residents or town leadership (such as the Town Administrator or Select Board) the financial benefits of their recycling program.
ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT
Environmental Impact Reports are distributed annually to all members who market recyclable materials through NRRA.
Using data and formulas provided by the EPA, these reports calculate the impact of your community’s recycling efforts on the environment. For example, by recycling so many pounds of Fibers, you saved X number of trees. This report also calculates the emissions illuminated through your community’s recycling efforts. We encourage our members to share this report on their social media pages, town website, their town report and anywhere else their residents may be able to see it. NRRA also puts together one giant report including the collective impact of all Municipal Member recycling on the environment.
There are so many benefits that we created a Part 2 to cover Technical Assistance & Education!