RoadRunner RoadRunner

WASTE WATCHERS BLOG

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

The Golden Rules of Recycling

Like learning how to do your taxes and understanding the housing market, the golden rules of recycling were conspicuously absent from most Americans’ formal education. However, learning some basics can improve your business's recycling rate exponentially!

  Like doing your taxes and DIY home improvement, there’s a certain amount of guesswork that goes into Americans’ recycling practices. And like the first two, it comes with consequences. The majority of Americans are ill-prepared, ill-informed, and ill-advised when it comes to recycling, lacking the guiding principles and educational building blocks that form an efficient, successful system. The considerable gap in comprehension contributes to a national recycling rate that’s never topped 35% and a quarter of every collection is lost to contamination. Yet, if every U.S. citizen had committed just a few general principles—or even some bare necessities—to memory the same way we all learned classroom respect and the order of operations (PEMDAS, remember?), America’s recycling system would shine brighter. Fresh out of school or 40 years on the job, it’s never too late to learn the golden rules of recycling.

read more

Everything You Need to Know About Zero Waste to Landfill

By comprehending the concept of zero waste to landfill (ZWTL) and how to transform your business’s operations to meet the often-targeted sustainability goal, you’ll be able to divert from our nation’s economic and environmental collision course with a mountain of waste.

  Sustainability is the mission. Positive cost-benefit is a requirement. Brand perception is a byproduct. But, at the heart of every “zero waste to landfill” commitment is one fundamental fact: sending waste to the landfill is something to be avoided. As the largest legacy brands in the United States and around the world line up to announce responsible waste diversion and recycling goals, it’s important as a business to understand the undertaking. By comprehending the concept of zero waste to landfill (ZWTL) and how to transform your business’s operations to meet the often-targeted sustainability goal, you’ll be able to divert from our nation’s economic and environmental collision course with a mountain of waste.

read more

20 Surprising Facts About Litter

Littering is long-standing problem along U.S. roadways and waterways. Our facts about litter shed a light on the scope of the problem and can inspire your company to take action against it.

  Behind every roadside potato chip bag, bobbing beer can in the park pond, and bottle caps where there should be seashells, a choice was made: someone left it there. Litter happens in an instant. Something that was once a container, a wrapper, or a can only becomes environmental waste once it leaves a human’s hand. And the truth hurts to know there was a much better decision that could have been made—more often than not, it could have been recycled. As we mark September’s National Cleanup Day and beyond, we’re providing a collection of shocking facts about America’s litter problem that will inspire you to always choose to recycle (as well as some effective ways your business can clean up its community).

read more

5 Steps Businesses Can Take to Fight Climate Change

After a revelatory IPCC report, climate change is once again in the public spotlight. We examine how its potential impacts affect both the planet and business world, providing tips for taking action.

This post was originally published by Shelby Bell in June 2020 and has been updated. With each new sunrise, the prospect of work brings another day, another dollar. And for many, the honest work we do day in and day out may be rooted in tradition—operating with practices as old as the organization itself. But everything that works for us, be it ho-hum or windfall, has come into question now that the Earth has stopped acting like it’s business as usual. Debated for its existence, severity, and real impacts, climate change has been thrust into the spotlight once again with a new message for businesses: innovate... or else. As the thermostat rises, clock ticks, and whatever other metaphors are used in sensational headlines about a societal SOS, many business owners are lining up to ask “what can I do about climate change?”  The answer is not as easy as flicking a switch. In fact, it might be like rewiring the entire breaker box. But, as you’ll see, the decisions we must make are no longer a line in the sand. In today’s heated world, the most sustainable choices will become the most profitable. Note: if you already know about climate change, you can jump right to our 5 sustainable steps to fight it!

read more

What Mail is Recyclable?

Between junk mail and cardboard packages, the majority of what you receive in the mail is recyclable. We provide an easy guide for recycling more of it.

  Neither snow nor rain nor heat may stop the postal service from delivering your mail. Even in an age dominated by email—and despite a global pandemic—paper envelopes, glossy magazines, and cardstock postcards endure as a priority.  However, the same priority isn’t considered in the recycling of the steady influx that floods mailrooms and doorsteps around the US.  Between unsolicited mail (or “junk mail”), envelopes with plastic address windows, bubble mailers, shipping boxes, packing peanuts, and more, the lower perceived value and confusion over mail’s recyclability leads to millions of tons of sought-after paper and cardboard filling up the nation’s landfills per year. It’s a missed opportunity, as not all mail is junk. In fact, it’s the opposite, and understanding what mail is and isn’t recyclable benefits not only the economy and environment, but also your business's waste bill.

read more

What Does Closed-Loop Recycling Mean?

In a circular economy, preserving natural resources and saving energy can be called closing the loop. We dig into the difference between closed-loop and open-loop recycling.

  Depending on who you ask, the common phrase “close the loop” might refer to anything from achieving daily fitness goals on your smartwatch to finishing a crocheting project. But in sustainability, it’s referencing a gold-standard. An upper echelon. A system designed to repeat itself infinitely. Although, unless the right ingredients and inputs are involved, closing the loop can be very difficult to achieve. By many accounts, "closed-loop recycling" is the key to a truly circular economy. As companies in manufacturing, shipping, and retail prepare their supply chains for the next big challenge, it’s helpful to learn the difference between systems, who’s succeeding with closed-loop, and how your business can bring it full circle.

read more

Why is Recycling “Styrofoam” an Environmental Problem?

Whether you know it as "Styrofoam" or polystyrene, we know it as an incredibly challenging recycling problem. We explore the what the plastic material is used for, how it affects the environment, and what your business can do to reduce and recycle it.

This post was originally published in April 2020 by Shelby Bell and has been updated. “Styrofoam.” “Polystyrene.” “EPS.” No matter what you call it, it’s likely we’re all talking about the same plastic material. It forms the cups we keep next to the office coffee pot, braces our new printers in the box, and arrives in clamshell form whenever we order takeout or when our eyes are bigger than our stomachs.  Among its virtues, it’s lightweight, durable, and inexpensive. For years, “Styrofoam” has melted into whatever form we desired and has been perpetuated by countless use cases throughout the consumer economy. But its single-use nature presents a dark side: It will crumble and scatter in the wind; it will take up an inordinate amount of space in landfill; and it will still be there long after your great-grandchildren have great-great-grandchildren. That’s because there are very few recyclers that can process it, and the majority of haulers will instruct you to trash it. While reduction efforts and state mandates promote changes, if you realize how far polystyrene has expanded into our society, then you’ll understand it’s no easy problem to shrink.

read more

ABC's of Waste Management: Understanding Terminology and Acronyms

Few industries love slang, acronyms, and abbreviations as much as the waste & recycling industry. Unfortunately, waste haulers and service partners don’t always keep you in the know. Fortunately, RoadRunner has a simplified glossary.

  Few industries love slang, acronyms, and abbreviations as much as the waste & recycling industry. Unfortunately, waste haulers and service partners don’t always pass along the Rosetta Stone to decipher the meaning. From MRFs and APIs to “wishcycling” and “single-stream”, the language used in contracts, invoices, and everyday communication can be downright overwhelming (and sometimes lead to mismatched expectations for your business and its hauler). Fortunately, RoadRunner is in the know and has compiled a glossary of the most foreign and unfamiliar terms for those outside of waste management.

read more

Understanding The Food Waste Problem & How Your Business Can Help

It's estimated that 30–40% of our food supply is wasted or lost each year, impacting everything from food security and the environment to businesses and our economy. Luckily, businesses large and small can implement food waste reduction strategies and help make a positive impact!

This post was originally published March 2020 and has been updated.

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.