Finding new solutions to old challenges is what the waste industry does best. It was not so long ago that recycling was thought of as something only hippies were interested in. Now we all do it as colorful cans line our neighborhoods once or twice a week, and even our youngest toddlers know how to separate food waste, trash and recycling in their school cafeterias. So what’s next?
Maintenance. The hard part. If you are someone or know anyone who has ever struggled with weight issues or obesity, you know that losing weight is “easy.” Keeping it off, however, is the hard part. Some folks lose the same 35 pounds over and over and over again through the course of their lifetime. So, here we all are with our recycling cans filled to the brim with comingled items by the curb and everything is gravy, right? Not exactly.
Since the First State passed a mandatory recycling bill in 2010, over 40 percent of all waste collected has been recycled to the tune of roughly half a billion tons in that time span. Not bad. However, all the while, recycling has been a profit center for municipalities. That’s right. Over the last decade, China has been the world’s leading purchaser of these materials, but in 2017, the country announced that it was no longer interested in importing reusable waste. This means that municipalities all over the US are going to find other avenues for this waste stream.
Our industry will find a solution. We always have. However, the first thing that we all have to accept is that though recycling has done wonders for our environment, it is not the silver bullet to our waste challenges. In 2018, one of our industry’s main focuses is on lessening the amount of waste produced in the first place. By reducing the amount of trash produce, we are can diminish the burden of recycling and that is a good thing. In Delaware, the annual per capita waste per household has dropped from 2,163 pounds in 2007 to 1,325 pounds in 2016, so we are already on the right track.
Looking to make an impact right now? Check out this upcoming Household Hazardous Waste & Paper Shredding Event near you:
March 3 @ 8:30 am – 2:00 pm
Delaware Recycling Center (DRC)
1101 Lambson Lane
New Castle, DE 19720