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2021 & 2022: Looking Backward and Forward

Today's guest blog is authored by NERC board member Chaz Miller. The original posting can be found here.

2021 was a most unusual year for recycling. Markets were hot, recycling did well and legislators stepped up their game. What happened last year, what did we learn and what can we expect in this new year?

Let’s start with markets. Prices for cardboard boxes, mixed paper, steel cans, natural and colored HDPE containers and polypropylene containers reached or came close to all time highs. Then they fell. Falling prices for recyclables are normal in the last month or two of the year. Demand for recycled paper softens because manufacturing slows down as finished products meet holiday shoppers. Demand for used containers also softens as soft drink, beer, and bottled water sales fall with the arrival of cold weather.  

As always, recycling prices are a function of demand and supply. Recycled paper prices benefited from increased retail demand for new boxes, increased domestic capacity…

Apple shifts direction on right to repair

Today's guest blog is authored by Lauren Phipps of the GreenBiz Group. The original post can be read here.

It’s that time of year again: December’s punctuation between the year past and the one to come annually induces a state of collective reflection. As many of us find ourselves in contemplative stupors fueled by nostalgia, end-of-year deadlines or holiday libations, these weeks of transition offer a welcome opportunity to take stock and then take aim at what’s ahead. 

Next week we’ll take a look back at the biggest circular economy trends of 2021. After a holiday hiatus, we’ll return to your inbox Jan. 7 with some predictions on what 2022 might hold for circularity. For today, I thought I might take a few celebratory moments to reflect on one of my industry highlights of the year. 

Last month, an announcement from Apple made my mask-covered jaw drop. Reversing years of restrictive repair…

Cardboard is Living its Best Life Right Now (and it can, 6 more times)

Today's guest blog is from the  MassDEP’s Recycle Smart MA Initiative. The original post can be read here.

Photo kittens in box
Bonnie and Clyde want your boxes – but paper recyclers do too! 

You know the drill. You order something online and wait (patiently) for it to arrive. When it does, you can’t help your excitement. You cut that box open and grab your order like a greedy bear cub. Finally, the thing you spent money on is in your hands! But now you’ve got that old box to get rid of; the cleanup after the opening frenzy. You probably don’t care much about that box any more, but what if we told you the cardboard box has almost as much value as what you bought? Your used cardboard boxes are essential to our country’s supply chain and are in

Alaska Airlines Eliminates Plastic Water Bottles: But is alternative better?

Improving a Company’s Environmental Impact is Not about Switching to What is Perceived to be Better —It’s About Committing to What is Best.