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WASTE WATCHERS BLOG

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

Why U.S. Cities Are Ending Single-Stream Recycling

For nearly 30 years, Americans have been honeymooning with a recycling system that seems too good to be true. Now, cities are waking up the realities of single-stream and taking action to change how they recycle.

  For nearly 30 years, Americans have been honeymooning with a recycling system that seems too good to be true.  Devised and widely adopted in the 1990s, “single-stream recycling” overhauled the underperforming process, taking our national recycling rate from 10.1% in 1985 to 25.7% in 1995 to nearly 32% in 2005. The convenience and simplicity of single-stream recycling was an easy sell for consumers and commercial businesses alike—whereas all recycling materials could be collected in the same receptacle (we’ve referred to it as “the magic bin”). However, it was the lucrative commodities market (the buyers of post-consumer material) that made single-stream irresistible for cities, municipalities, and the haulers that serve them. So, in 2021, why would any city, municipality, or business elect to do anything differently? Because if you can see past single-stream’s golden façade, you’ll discover that the system stopped working years ago. Now, as U.S. cities grapple with overstuffed warehouses, landfills at capacity, and a mountain of bills where there was once revenue, places like San Francisco, Seattle, and more have added back material streams—and accompanying them, recycling rates that outshine anything achieved by single-stream. As a growing contingent explores a different future, we delve into how single-stream made its mark, why it failed, and the cities finding success in dual-stream, multi-stream, and clean-stream systems.

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Why Are Recycled Aluminum Cans So Valuable?

Despite being the most abundant metal on the planet, demand has never ceased. Airplanes, cars, construction materials, or beverage containers—the market for aluminum is strong, especially the recycled variety. And the process is both economically important and relatively easy.

  Though the fine print on the back puts its worth at 5¢ (or 10¢ in Oregon and Michigan), an aluminum can is the most valuable item you throw in your recycling bin. Going back 150 years ago, aluminum was considered more precious than gold—but even today, it hasn’t lost its luster. Despite being the most abundant metal on the planet (aluminum ore makes up 8% of the Earth’s crust), demand has never ceased. Airplanes, cars, construction materials, or beverage containers—the market for aluminum is strong, especially the recycled variety. Now, as the COVID-19 pandemic-related shortages hamper the industry, the simple act of recycling our soda, beer, seltzer, and soup cans becomes paramount. The good news is that it’s relatively easy.

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5 Tips to Create an Evergreen Recycling Program

For some companies, it’s easy to create a recycling program with a laissez-faire approach and hope for the best while calling it a success. However, to truly have an effective waste and recycling program that makes an impact, companies must be dynamic . Check out a few tips in this post that your business can implement to ensure a successful recycling program, increase recycling rates, and improve cost savings--No matter what curveballs are thrown your way!

  For some companies, it’s easy to create a recycling program with a laissez-faire approach and hope for the best while calling it a success. However, to truly have an effective waste and recycling program that makes an impact, companies must be more dynamic—adjusting recycling programs to meet new needs as they arise, such as business expansion, unexpected materials being introduced into the waste stream, and new employees joining the team.

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6 Tips to Improve Your Business' Recycling Program in 2020

2020 is finally here - marking a new year, a new decade, and a clean slate for business owners and managers to focus on improving their business' recycling efforts. We want to help take your recycling program to the next level. Recycling more efficiently doesn't just increase your business' recycling rates; it also helps reduce waste costs. In this post, we put together six ideas to get you started!

  2020 is finally here - marking a new year, a new decade, and a clean slate for business owners and managers to focus on improving their business' recycling efforts. We want to help take your recycling program to the next level. In this post, we put together six ideas to get you started!

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Recycling Training Materials For Your Employees (Presentation Included)

As more and more companies opt to recycle, scheduling one or more recycling training sessions with your employees will ensure they have a clear understanding of how the program works and increase overall participation. View our post to learn why recycling training is so important and then take a look at our downloadable training presentation that you can use for your own staff!

  Are you interested in teaching your employees how to recycle at your company? Then you've come to the right place! As more and more companies choose to start recycling, scheduling recycling training sessions with your employees will ensure they have a clear understanding of how it works and increase overall participation in your recycling program. In this blog post, we share everything you need to know about employee recycling training, as well as a downloadable training presentation that you can use with your staff!  

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How To Choose The Right Internal Receptacles For Waste & Recycling

With the wide range of internal waste & recycling receptacles on the market, it can be challenging to figure out which option makes the most sense for your business. In this blog post, we run through the most popular receptacle options on the market, and the factors you should consider, so you can make an informed decision and go with the best option for your organization.

  With the wide range of internal waste & recycling receptacles on the market, it can be challenging to figure out which option makes the most sense for your business. Before you go out and purchase receptacle(s), it's important to consider a number of factors. In this post, we run through the most popular receptacle options on the market, and the factors you should consider, so you can make an informed decision and go with the best option for your organization. Continue reading to learn more. Important Factors To Consider Determining which receptacle option is best for your business can be challenging. Before you get started, consider the following factors: HOW MANY STREAMS WILL YOUR BUSINESS BE COLLECTING? The number of waste streams your business collects will determine the number of containers needed in each receptacle station. For example, if your office collects Paper Products, Commingled Materials, and MSW (landfill waste), then it makes sense to use three receptacles, or containers, to collect each stream separately. If your office collects Paper Products, Commingled Materials, MSW, and Compost, we'd recommend using four containers to collect each stream separately. HOW MANY STATIONS WILL YOU NEED? The appropriate number of receptacle stations will vary based on available space, your budget, and your recycling/diversion goals. Start by identifying the types of waste and associated volumes that your business generates. Determining these factors will help you understand how many stations to purchase and where to locate them throughout your building. If you need some help identifying what types and quantities of waste your business generates, check out our guide to conducting a waste audit.

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Seven Things Your Recycling Program May Be Missing

Do you ever feel like you are out of ideas when it comes to enhancing your recycling program? We often find that many businesses we engage with are making efforts to improve their recycling efforts, but they are missing important elements of a successful program. Read on for seven important elements that any successful recycling program should have.

  Do you ever feel like you are out of ideas when it comes to enhancing your recycling program? We often find that many businesses we engage with are making efforts to improve their recycling efforts, but they are missing important elements of a successful program. If this sounds familiar and you are not receiving the results you would like, read on to learn about seven important elements that any successful recycling program should have.

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How To Encourage Your Tenants To Recycle

Have you ever tried to start recycling at your property management business, but not been able to implement a program that sticks? Carrying out a strategic recycling program while dealing with tenant turnover, varying levels of recycling awareness, and a wide array of waste materials can be challenging. Learn how to streamline your waste operations and start a recycling program that encourages recycling.

  Have you ever tried to start recycling at your property management business, but not been able to implement a program that sticks? We know that carrying out a strategic recycling program while dealing with tenant turnover, varying levels of recycling awareness, and a wide array of waste materials can be a big undertaking. This is why, on average, property management businesses send a significant amount of waste to landfills. In this post, we'll teach you how to streamline your waste operations and start a recycling program that will encourage your tenants to recycle. Keep reading to learn more and let us know what you think!

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Recycling Statutes and Regulations Every Business Should Know

Whether your business is new to recycling, or you consider your company to be expert recyclers, we find that business owners, managers and Eco-Ambassadors alike usually welcome helpful recycling tips with open arms. Check out our post for 10 useful tips for enhancing your recycling program. Let us know which tips you find the most helpful!

  The United States does not have a nationwide recycling regulation that requires businesses to recycle. Although this is the case, many state and local governments have introduced their own waste and recycling mandates that commercial businesses must follow. As a business owner / manager, it's important to understand exactly what regulations exist in your region. Read on to learn about federal, state, and local recycling regulations and what they mean for your business.

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TOOLS & GUIDES - NEW!

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Learn how our custom recycling system can work for your business
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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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