Along with engaging educational sessions and a fun exhibition hall, ISRI2021, ISRI’s virtual convention, will feature the annual Recycling Education and Research Foundation (RERF) silent auction. This year it’s entirely virtual.

In 2019, ISRI implemented virtual elements into the in-person silent auction with members bidding by phone. “We introduced virtual bidding in the last convention and it did very well,” says Natasha Grant, ISRI’s content marketing manager. “Now we’ve taken it one step further.”

This year, RERF will guide silent auction attendees through the process. Once an attendee logs in and provides other necessary information, they’ll be able to view all the donations. The items are divided into categories so attendees can easily search for and view what interests them, whether it’s advertising, technology, artwork, or outdoor accessories.

Each item lists the price, bidding increments, and a description of the donor. “It’s very user-friendly,” Grant says. Attendees can review items, place bids, and even set maximum bids. “If there’s an item starting at $100, you can set your preferred maximum bid. Once bidding starts, other attendees will receive notifications you’ve outbid them. If the bid exceeds your maximum, then you’ll receive a notification that you’ve been outbid,” Grant says.

Notifications on their phones will help members participate in the silent auction without missing other convention opportunities. Once they’ve noted their bids and items of interest, attendees can easily jump into any educational session or browse the exhibit hall, making sure to listen for their phones to buzz with auction updates. “It encourages members to participate without losing focus on the session. Going virtual gives them the ability to multitask and offers more convenience and ease,” Grant explains.

The virtual auction also introduces new changes for donors. They’ll hold onto their donated items until the end of the auction and ship them directly to the winners. For the first time, donors will have the chance to learn who won their items. “It makes it more exciting for donors and they can even add a personal note or message to the winner,” Grant says.

There are several exciting items up for auction this year. Boston-based instrumentation company SciAps donated naming rights for their NASCAR circuit car. The company also donated smaller packages offering opportunities to place a smaller logo on the car, or pit and garage passes. The auction also features artwork made with recycled materials. “The ISRI Pacific Northwest chapter donated four different pieces from a local artist who uses recycled material in their work,” Grant says. The auction also features technology, advertisement opportunities in publications, outdoor entertainment, an industry tool bag donated by Caterpillar, and magnets donated by separation machinery maker Eriez to identify ferrous and nonferrous material.

All the money participants raise in the auction will go toward RERF’s initiatives, providing grants for individuals doing research in the industry and the organization’s scholarship programs. “RERF offers a $5,000 scholarship for graduate students doing thesis work into the industry to help support them, and a veteran’s stipend that provides funding for veterans going back to school,” Grant says.

If you’re anxious for ISRI2021 to start, the RERF silent auction opened April 15. Interested attendees can participate in the auction until April 30. There are two ways to access the auction, by texting “RERF2021” to 243725 or visit

Image Courtesy of SciAps

Hannah Zuckerman

Hannah Zuckerman

Hannah is a Writer & Editor for ISRI's Scrap News. She's interested in a wide range of topics in the recycling industry and is always eager to learn more. She graduated from Bryn Mawr College, where she majored in History and a minored in Creative Writing. She lives in Arlington, Virginia with her husband.