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WASTE WATCHERS BLOG

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

7 Ways to Safely Manage and Recycle E-Waste

Less than a fifth of global e-waste is recycled, leading to higher waste bills, increased energy costs, dwindling natural resources, and concerning effects on the environment. We discuss better ways to manage and recycle your business's e-waste.

This post, first published in August 2020 by Shelby Bell, has been updated. In over 50 years, we’ve moved from 1.44-megabyte floppy disks to 532-gigabyte flash drives smaller than your thumb. The computers that took the United States to the surface of the moon in 1969 are now trivialized by the technology we carry in our pockets—a modern iPhone has 100,000 times the processing power as Apollo 11’s onboard system. Yet, printing from the cloud and the capability to make a Zoom call from practically anywhere on the planet didn’t happen overnight. As technological innovation goes, there are countless iterations that allow us to progress from point A to point B. And the modern business takes advantage of just about all of them.  While we heedlessly move on to faster connections, smaller devices, and the electronics of the future, many of the iterations of the past half-century are still around—underground, overseas, and in the atmosphere.  It’s called e-waste, and our appetites for new tech make it the fastest-growing waste stream (even outpacing plastic) in America today.

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The Growing Waste & Recycling Problems from PPE, Masks, and COVID-19

In this blog post, we dive more into the increased plastic pollution problem as a result of the pandemic, additional areas of impact, and how humanity can recognize and take necessary steps to alleviate the PPE problem before it’s too late.

**This article was originally published October 2020 and has been updated. More than 12 months after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, we’re still dependent on those disposable blue “paper” masks. The world uses 129 billion per month, 3 million a minute, or 50,000 every second depending on how you frame it. But what most of the world hasn’t pictured is the convergence of pandemics—because the masks we’ve relied on to dampen transmission aren’t just paper. They’re polypropylene too, the same plastic used for drinking straws and ketchup bottles. As the world grapples with a glut of plastics in its soil, drinking water, and even the tip of Mt. Everest, we’re faced with a new mountain of a problem: trillions of discarded masks with virtually no solution to recycle them. While no one could have predicted a pandemic or its many byproducts, without collective action and innovative thinking, we’ll be fighting personal protective equipment (PPE) long after the novel coronavirus is gone.

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The Complex Nature of an Automotive Business's Waste Stream

Mechanics, car dealers, and collision centers generate various types of hazardous and/or potentially harmful waste materials. When it comes to properly treating and disposing of these materials, businesses must adhere to specific disposal processes and regulations. In this blog post, we’ll take you behind the scenes of what this process looks like for the automotive industry.

  If you are familiar with the automotive industry, you know that mechanics, car dealers, and collision centers generate various types of hazardous and/or potentially harmful waste materials. When it comes to properly treating and disposing of these materials, businesses must adhere to specific disposal processes and regulations. In this blog post, we’ll take you behind the scenes of what this process looks like for the automotive industry, and what can happen when these materials are not handled or disposed of properly. Continue reading to learn more!

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What Your Business Needs To Know About Specialized Waste

Did you know, most businesses generate some form of specialized waste, which is a category of waste that requires special handling and disposal due to the potentially harmful properties of the materials. In this week's blog post, we dive into the specifics of each specialized waste category and look into what can happen when these materials are improperly handled or disposed of.

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manufacturing: recycling challenges & opportunities

We created this post to help you understand the unique challenges involved with recycling in the manufacturing industry and what you can do to streamline your operations, increase diversion from landfill, and control costs.

  Manufacturing businesses in the United States generate an estimated 7.6 billion tons of waste every year. Simply put, waste & recycling for manufacturers should not follow a one-size-fits-all approach. Developing systems for managing the wide-range and high volume of waste materials can be rather challenging. We created this post to help you understand the unique challenges involved with recycling in the manufacturing industry and what you can do to streamline your operations, increase diversion from landfill, and control costs.

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Hospitals Are Going Green To Reduce Waste

American hospitals produce an average of 5.9 million tons of waste per year. Discover how they are reducing and recycling their solid waste to preserve the health of their patients, their communities, and the planet.

  Hospitals large and small output an incredible amount of waste and by-products everyday, equivalent to that of a small town. In fact, American hospitals generate nearly 6,600 tons of waste everyday. The wide range of services they provide means the materials they generate vary from cardboard and mixed paper, newspapers, magazines, glass, plastic bottles, and medical & hazardous waste. Many hospitals have found that reducing and recycling their solid waste has preserved the health of their patients, their communities, and the planet. Read on to learn how hospitals are reducing their environmental footprint by reducing waste.

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Coffee Recycling 101

Most retail coffee products aren’t recyclable which inevitably leads to them going to landfill. So, we’ve put together a resource that explains why they’re not recyclable, and what you can do to be more eco-friendly.

  If you’re like most of us in the morning, you’ll grab a cup of coffee from the kitchen or stop by the local coffee shop on the way to the office. Coffee helps the average office worker start their morning and it fuels productivity for the rest of the day. If your office has ever run out of it, you know what I’m talking about. All kidding aside, most retail coffee products aren't recyclable which inevitably leads to them going to landfill. So, we’ve put together a resource that explains why they’re not recyclable, and what you can do to be more eco-friendly.  

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iPhone, iWant, iNeed: Gadget Obsession & The Accumulation of Electronic Waste

The US throws away an estimated two to three million tons of electronics annually. The global estimate has climbed over a whopping 48 million tons. Read on to discover where all these unwanted electronics wind up.

    774,000,000 - the number of iPhones we've bought since Apple launched the product back in 2007. 774 MILLION. That's a lot of zeroes in less than a decade. In fact, this is so many devices, that If laid end to end, the tiny 4.5 inch-long phones would circle the earth twice, with a cool three-quarters of a million to spare. Which may seem like a silly thing to bring up, except for the fact that when you take a look at it a bit less literally, these devices and countless others are actually starting to blanket our planet.

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Find out what items cause recyclable contamination issues
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Learn about common waste invoice charges and how to avoid them
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A step-by-step guide to conducting your own waste audit
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