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WASTE WATCHERS BLOG

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

Trend to Watch: Cost Containment for Waste and Recycling Operations

With 21 months in the rearview of the pandemic, making any trend predictions with certainty has been a challenge, especially for the waste and recycling industry. One lock? Waste fees will be on the rise.

  While laying out a set of bold predictions and educated analysis are generally open to interpretation, one trend for 2022 isn’t up for debate: The cost of solid waste and recycling is rising. Numerous factors have led to year-over-year increase for the cost of doing business as it relates to managing byproducts and waste materials. And when working with traditional haulers, offloading this trash responsibly undoubtedly comes with a hefty price tag. So, as a convergence of new trends stands to disrupt solid waste management, we’re zeroing in on how much each might cost you—and providing a plan to contain them.

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6 Easy Green Commitments for Businesses in the New Year

As the world welcomes a new year where sustainability will be near the top of every discussion, businesses can’t afford another broken resolution. We set your company up for lasting commitments.

  As the world turns over a new leaf—with very green attitudes toward everything from purchasing decisions to improved recycling—businesses need more than just another empty resolution. This year, and every year from this point, will be about lasting commitments to sustainability.  Every habit, whether for an individual or an organization, takes small steps to build into an ongoing practice. With budgets resetting and brand reputations on the line, it’s time to consider adopting one or more of the following sustainability tips with a little intention. In doing so, you’ll witness the positive changes, both big and small, that ensue. 

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What Businesses Can Learn from the Waste Industry's Rollercoaster Year

Between regular service interruptions, unanticipated natural roadblocks, and sustainability practices under the microscope, companies must grow from the hard lessons learned from waste collection in this past year.

  For many businesses, managing waste and recycling may have once been as routine as, well… taking out the trash. But, as a turbulent year like 2021 has demonstrated, responsible waste management is no longer as easy as auto-renewing an antiquated plan. Between regular service interruptions, unanticipated natural roadblocks, and sustainability practices under the microscope, companies must grow from the hard lessons learned from waste collection in this past year.

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How Much Does Waste Generation Rise During the Holidays?

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.

  As we leave our workplaces and sign off of Zoom for the holidays, we trade the stress of the job for the stresses of upholding traditions, hosting festivities, feasting, and gift-giving. And that leads to a shift away from typical non-holiday behavior, particularly around how often Americans are running garbage bags out to the curb. During the holiday season, from Thanksgiving to New Years, Americans toss 25% more trash, producing an additional one million tons of waste every week. Between trends of surging online retail, the rise of convenience-driven takeout meals, and ornate gift wrapping, Americans stand to make more waste than ever this holiday. This means that we need to be both proactive and mindful about reducing the amount of waste we generate and dispose of—and RoadRunner has just the tips you need to make this season a little greener.

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Predicting the Next Plastic Ban

As the country as a whole seeks to become more sustainable, cutting out single-use plastic has become the rule. Yet, the move away isn’t black and white for the businesses who use them. So, we use our materials expertise to speculate on the products where you’ll soon need to make a pivot.

  For the past five years, grocery bags, plastic straws, and polystyrene takeout containers have faced a reckoning, and for good reason. Awakened to the reality of environmental distress from single-use plastics, cities and states have moved to ban hard-to-recycle products from our everyday lives. Hardly opposed, consumers have largely welcomed the changes and demanded more from the companies that use and produce them—and many have answered in turn. Undoubtedly, as sustainability promises grow, more outlawed plastic will follow. This change to everyday operations can be a shock for those businesses who missed the writing on the wall, so we’re providing a speculative analysis of the unsustainable products in our culture that may soon be banned.

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A Brief History of Garbage and the Future of Waste Generation

Since humans began gathering en masse, trash has been an issue. But we believe the lessons of the past should lead to the innovations of the future. In this history lesson, we talk about how ancient trash and modern trash aren’t all that different.

  This article was originally posted in March 2016 and has since been updated by Ryan Deer. For as long as humans have lived and gathered, their consumption has led to waste. It was only after these concentrations became larger that our ancestors realized an inconvenient truth: trash is going to be a problem. Today, as the world still attempts to find proper and responsible solutions for our rising garbage dilemmas, it’s important to look back at waste management’s origins while we plot the innovations of tomorrow.

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3 Ways to Reduce Waste This Thanksgiving

Between food scraps and convenience-based shortcuts, the holidays heighten waste production more than any other time of year. But, by following a few simple tips for waste reduction and recycling, you’ll have the opportunity to make sustainability a Thanksgiving tradition.

  To many, Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season—a time for togetherness, cheer… and, unfortunately, 25% more U.S. waste generation than any other time in the year. Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, Americans send an additional one million pounds of trash to landfill every week. And not to be overshadowed by the December celebrations, convenience-factor flatware choices, inevitable spill cleanup, and a feast’s worth of food scraps have made Turkey Day increasingly wasteful.  But, it doesn’t have to be.  By following a few simple tips for waste reduction and recycling, you’ll have the opportunity to make sustainability a Thanksgiving tradition.

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America Recycles Day is About Responsible Waste Management

Amidst criticism of America’s broken waste and recycling system, more headlines crop up each day doubting recycling’s efficacy. So, to mark America Recycles Day this Nov. 15th, RoadRunner is reframing the issue for sustainable businesses: Conventional recycling is actually a waste issue.

  This year alone, you may have seen a handful of headlines raising serious doubts about the practice of recycling. Is Recycling Worth It Anymore?, asks NPR.  Is Recycling a Waste?, questions CNBC. Recycling is not the answer, posits British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. But as America Recycles Day takes place as usual this November 15th, RoadRunner has a new message for sustainable businesses:  Conventional recycling may have its flaws, but pledging to harness its power—and learning to do it right—is a crucial component to overall responsible waste management.

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What's the Difference Between Upcycling and Downcycling?

For manufacturers and producers, time is money and haste makes waste. But what if time was invested to transform trash into treasure? While recycling is the de facto choice for circularity, many companies are turning to “upcycling” and “downcycling” to reduce burgeoning waste management fees and cut their carbon footprint.

  In American manufacturing, operations make margins by making haste. And all along the products’ life cycles—design to production to consumption—that urgency creates costly waste. It’s no secret that waste is a problem for the United States. Despite accounting for only 4% of the global population, the U.S. accounts for nearly 12% of global waste production and recycles significantly less (about 32%) than any other developed nation. Part of our shortcomings have stemmed from a myopic view of recycling. While the most common form of recycling sees products broken down and formed into the same or similar products, the practices of “upcycling” and “downcycling” have become creative and sustainable ways to employ valuable materials and preserve natural resources. From residual food and textile scraps to plastic bags and old cardboard, the second life for many materials is a fork in the road—and, up or down, both lead to an opportunity to drastically reduce waste.

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