The arrival of short days and cold weather means the holidays are rapidly approaching. Along with that comes presents from friends and loved ones. While we naturally think of the gifts themselves as precious, the boxes they come in also are valuable, for both their contributions to the economy and how they help us be environmentally responsible during this festive season. In Massachusetts alone, more than 13,000 people work in the Commonwealth’s 2,000 recycling businesses, and individual contributions to recycling are critical to support those jobs and businesses.
Containerboard, the material used to make the cardboard boxes that online purchases arrive in, is widely recycled. And, in fact, in many states cardboard recycling is mandated. In 2017, 36 percent of all paper recovered for recycling was used to make the very cardboard boxes used to ship all of those holiday gifts. The recovery rate for cardboard boxes themselves is also consistently high, reaching almost 90 percent in 2017.[i].
New York has maintained one of the most successful recycling programs in the nation for close to three decades. Waste360 ranked New York the…
A report by the international financial institution projects that the amount of waste generated globally will increase by 70 percent over the next 30 years, to 3.4 billion tons annually.
Speakers at the Northeast Recycling Council's recent fall conference hashed out a variety of ideas on how recyclers can survive what some described as an untenable model.
A global plastic waste crisis is building, with major implications for health and the environment. Under its so-called “National Sword” policy, China has sharply reduced imports of foreign scrap materials. As a result, piles of plastic waste are building up in ports and recycling facilities across the United States. The European Union is developing a circular economy platform that contains a multi-part strategy to increase plastics recycling and control waste. The United States is unlikely to adopt such sweeping policies at the national level. But for cities and states, especially those where support for environmental protection is strong, it could be a more attainable vision.