RoadRunner RoadRunner

WASTE WATCHERS BLOG

Helping businesses improve their waste diversion & recycling efforts, one post at a time!

How to Sort Common Recyclables

  The biggest myth of the entire U.S. recycling system is that it works like the postal service. For mail, your carrier makes the drop-off at a sorting facility, where orderly conveyor belts and slides filter envelopes and packages, ensuring they find their way to the right destination. For the centerpiece of the American recycling effort, MRFs (or materials recovery facilities), it isn’t so fine-tuned.

read more

How Clean Do Our Recyclables Need to Be?

  When you accidentally throw something away that’s valuable, why is it that you hesitate to retrieve it? Is it because it’s gross to dig in rotting food and filthy packaging? Or is it because you may believe the very thing itself will already be ruined? This is the challenge of the U.S. recycling stream in a nutshell and what leads to 25% (or more) of our recyclables being lost and landfilled due to contamination—a total that would otherwise garner billions of dollars. 

read more

How to Read Plastic Recycling Symbols

Have you ever wondered what the numbered recycling symbol on a plastic product stands for? Most people assume it means "recyclable", but that is not always the case. Understanding the plastic recycling symbols will help your business recycle smarter! Check our our post to learn how, and share our infographic with your colleagues who may be interested in learning more about this.

  **This post was originally published September 2019 and has been updated for accuracy. Calling a water bottle, a grocery bag, and your phone case all “plastic” is like naming a wolf, coyote, and your pet yellow lab all “dog.” Plastic is a family of materials, each with different qualities, uses, and avenues to recycle.  To alleviate our collective confusion, in 1988, the Society of the Plastics Industry implemented the Resin Identification Coding system—a designated number that manufacturers could stamp on their product (usually molded on the bottom) to indicate what type of plastic it was. Their hope was to raise our dismal national recycling rates for plastic from less than 1% (1980). Unfortunately, this system relied on a knowledge that American businesses and consumers didn’t have. Counting from one to seven was something we learned in grade school; attributing them to plastics was not. The symbols have no meaning to us—telling polyethylene apart from polypropylene doesn't matter if you don't know which your waste service will accept and recycle. That’s where we can help. Even if you never learn their names, their chemical makeup, or the recycled products they can return as again and again, knowing the numbers is the easiest way to become a better recycler. So, print and hang this infographic in your office kitchen or above the bin, and read on as we demystify the seven plastic recycling symbols.

read more

How to Recycle in America

  In the United States, we believe in a magic bin that graciously accepts our best guesses on numbered plastics, grease-soaked cardboard, and Styrofoam tailgate coolers.  Once per week, or sometimes more, that recycling bin on your curb or dumpster in your company’s alleyway is emptied and whisked away, readied for you to fill it with more. However, there’s a common misconception that we as Americans share about recycling: No one said you’re doing it incorrectly, so you must be doing it right. The sad truth is... you’re probably not.

read more

11 Packaging Innovations Changing The Way We Eat, Drink, and Live

  When plastic was invented, milk was still in glass bottles, meat was packaged in paper (not cellophane), and the concept of restaurant takeout didn’t exist. Moreover, a century ago, no one could have imagined a company called Amazon would have a same-day delivery map that looked like Hungry Hungry Hippos. Now, we’re drowning in packaging.

read more

Why Smarter Recycling is Like a Rewards Program

  What to do when the price of recycling beer bottles rises? For many towns around the country—like Deer Lodge, Montana—the answer isn’t an elegant one: make trash cans larger. For cities like Hollywood, Florida, the response was more carrot than stick. Here, a full recycling bin counts toward your next full beer, and it’s an incentive concept worth examining for businesses interested in curbing costs.

read more

The Environmental Crisis Caused by Textile Waste

Many people are shocked to learn that 84 percent of clothing ends up in landfills or incinerators. Upon learning this, we wanted to know what is driving that outcome and what kind of impact it has on the environment. Here's everything you need to know about why managing textile waste is so challenging, the impacts it has on the environment, what brands are doing to reduce textile waste, and how your business can take action. Continue reading to learn more!

  FAST FACTS: Before you dive into the main content in this post, check out these surprising facts about textile waste:

read more

New Year, New Business Resolutions

As a business owner or manager, vowing to become more socially responsible is a great objective to strive for! We’ve outlined 6 ways that your business can improve its social responsibility this year!

  2021 is right around the corner and while this has been anything but a normal year filled with unprecedented challenges, 2020 has also brought along with it a newfound awareness, resolve, and resilience collectively, which we can use as motivation to create a brighter future as we turn the page on this next chapter.  Undoubtedly, there are already a slew of blog posts in our inboxes suggesting lofty goals for businesses and individuals to consider as they enter 2021. However, we know how overwhelming those messages can be after a tough year, so we’re here to keep it short and sweet.  Every habit, whether for an individual or an organization, takes small steps to build into an ongoing practice. As we all prepare to welcome what we hope to be a fresh start, consider adopting one or more of the following sustainability tips with a little intention and be sure to take the time to appreciate the positive changes, both big and small, that ensue. 

read more

'Tis the Season for Recycling Cardboard

During the holiday season, Americans produce an additional one million tons of waste each week! We put together a resource that will help you reduce your waste this holiday season.

  I think most of us can admit that we’ve collectively experienced a strange year, to put it mildly. And as 2020 draws closer to its end, there seems to be a sense of relief that has settled in for many as we wade into the gift-giving season. However, if you’ve read any of RoadRunner’s recent blogs, wishing you a “green” holiday or sharing sustainability tips to encourage more eco-friendly habits during upcoming festivities, you may have picked up that this time of year is responsible for a significant increase in waste generation (see below). Moreover, the average holiday waste figure above is based on data from previous years when much of the world wasn’t living through a global pandemic—An ongoing event that has shifted the way many households live, how businesses operate, and the type of waste we all create.  With this in mind, we wanted to talk about a material that most businesses and households are probably quite familiar with, more so now than ever before: Cardboard!  Given that many of us are working—or, at the very least—shopping from home, we’re likely well aware of how cardboard makes its way into our space, in the form of online orders, takeout meals, ongoing deliveries, office shipments, and more. In an effort to not only educate, but also motivate you, to recycle your cardboard appropriately, we put together an infographic called: Cardboard Recycling 101 to share some interesting facts, explain the lifecycle of this material, and, most importantly, encourage people to reuse, recycle, or upcycle it this holiday season and into the new year.

read more

TOOLS & GUIDES - NEW!

New call-to-action
Learn how our custom recycling system can work for your business
GET GUIDE
New call-to-action
Find out what items cause recyclable contamination issues
GET GUIDE
New call-to-action
Learn about common waste invoice charges and how to avoid them
GET GUIDE
New call-to-action
A step-by-step guide to conducting your own waste audit
GET GUIDE

GET THE SCOOP ON WASTE & RECYCLING

SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER TO GET UPDATES SENT STRAIGHT TO YOUR INBOX.