As Things ChangeAs Things Change
June 1, 2014
What’s impressed me most as I’ve been learning the ropes of the waste and recycling industry is the sector’s great openness to change. The way waste is handled is evolving rapidly in the United States. The contours of a long-term transformation are visible. As the diversion rate continues to rise, less and less material will end up in landfills, which will bring the nation on par with the way waste is handled in Europe.
More waste will be recycled thanks to improving collection and recovery efforts. Changes will also occur on the generator side, resulting in a lower volume of material ending up in the waste stream. Organics will be handled in more productive ways as new anaerobic digestion facilities are built and other programs are implemented that could mean an end to food waste entirely. And rather than being resistant to this evolution, many people in the industry are trying to figure out how to make the most of these trends.
Recycling is a notorious trouble spot. Items often end up in the wrong bins. Materials get contaminated and spoiled. In some situations, the wrong materials ending up in recycling bins can jam up materials recovery facilities. Moreover, the volatility in commodity prices has meant that the resale market has been a bit tough. For these reasons, it’s sometimes been hard to make recycling worth the effort. But the push to increase the recycling rate isn’t going anywhere. Many states and municipalities are pushing for ambitious goals and putting new regulations in place to mandate more recycling. Sometimes the details of how these goals will be met is a bit hazy, but undoubtedly, this innovative and flexible industry will find creative solutions.
That’s just one of the reasons we’ve created a new e-newsletter, Waste360 Recycling Business. In this weekly newsletter, we will provide news, analysis and commentary on the latest trends and developments in the recycling space. We will go beyond the headlines and get into the meat of how the business is run, as well as examine its challenges and opportunities.
What are cutting edge companies doing? What needs to be done to improve diversion rates and drive returns to the bottom line? What’s happening with commodity prices, and how is that driving companies’ strategies? What’s going on with waste generators? How does recycling play into corporations and municipalities achieving their “zero waste” goals? What are the latest waste-to-energy developments? We’ll seek to examine these issues and much more and bring the content to your inbox weekly.