Don Slager, CEO of Republic Services, joined CNBC’s “The Exchange” to discuss the rise of e-commerce and China’s import ban and how the two have led to the current cardboard crisis.
During the interview, Slager said the market for recycled paper goods has dropped dramatically over the last several years and has caused “somewhat of a crisis” in the waste and recycling business. To respond to this, Slager noted that Republic is working harder to clean up the material and has had to renegotiate contracts with customers to help them understand that they must pay their fair share for the service.
In the era of e-commerce, Slager explained that newspaper volume has declined, and old corrugated container volume is now a 13 percent higher component of Republic’s waste stream than it was less than 10 years ago. “Recycling is the fastest-growing waste stream in America,” noted Slager.
He also said the country has made recycling easier, but not more intuitive. Slager added that packaging companies put recycling labels on all the packages they make; however, not all plastic is recyclable, there aren’t markets for certain items and it’s easy to contaminate good paper with broken glass and food waste.
CNBC has the full conversation.