The biggest story of 2016 took place within weeks of the calendar turning.
Just three weeks into January, the solid waste industry's No. 3 and No. 4 haulers, Waste Connections and Progressive Waste Solutions, had struck a deal to merge to form a company with more than $4 billion in annual revenue. The deal closed a few months later. Later, Waste Connections CEO Ron Mittelstaedt sat down with Waste360 to recount how the deal came to be.
That news of the merger and the subsequent updates were our most popular stories for the year. But they were far from the only big developments within the industry. Advanced Disposal pushed through with an initial public offering (after a slight delay). Waste Management completed its succession planning and named a new CEO.
Meanwhile, industry safety remained a big concern, as the profession of refuse and recyclable material collector remained the fifth most dangerous occupation in the U.S.
The EPA also released its annual look at the state of MSW.
The EPA found that in 2014 about 258 million tons of MSW were generated. More than 89 million tons of MSW were recycled and composted, equivalent to a 34.6 percent recycling rate. In addition, more than 33 million tons of MSW were combusted with energy recovery and 136 million tons were landfilled.
That data stands in contrast to findings from the Environmental Research and Education Foundation. EREF’s study estimates that MSW generation is 34 percent greater than the EPA’s figures. For 2013, EREF puts the figure at 346.95 million tons of total MSW.
Other topics that held the industry's attention throughout the year included the persistent shortage of drivers and mechanics, the challenges facing recycling and what the incoming Trump administration might mean for waste and recycling.
In this gallery, we present to you our top 10 stories for 2016.
To see the full versions of the stories, click the links at the end of each caption in the slide show.