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A Brief History of Recycling

This guest blog is courtesy of American Disposal Services.

For those of you who think recycling is something that just came about within the last few decades, think again!

Ancient Recycling

The first recorded use of recycled paper was in 9th century Japan . Ancient Japanese people began recycling paper almost as soon as they learned how to produce it and recycling became part of paper production and consumption. Japanese culture…

Setting Smarter Packaging Goals with Our Essentials of Goal Setting Course

This guest blog was written by Tristanne Davis, Senior Manager, Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC), and appeared on the SPC website.

An ever growing list of brands, retailers and even packaging suppliers are making headlines by setting sustainable packaging goals to achieve by 2025, 2030 and beyond. Collective goals like the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment and UK Plastics Pact are also gaining more signatories and momentum. In the SPC’s newly released

Can Product Labels Help Us Make Eco-Friendly Purchases?

This guest blog was written by , and originally published on Earth911.

Shopping can be a very challenging task for the eco-minded. We vote with our wallets, so it is also a great opportunity to influence manufacturers and vendors. Yet, without conducting exhaustive research, it is very difficult to know the whole story behind the products we buy.

Even though packaging makes up just one part of a product’s impact, it is one of the most obvious ones. Almost one-third of municipal solid waste is product packaging, so it is a good place to start when making green purchases.

A lot of packaging is comprised at least partially of plastic. Unfortunately, it has been increasingly criticized for being petroleum-based and wreaking havoc on ecosystems when improperly discarded.…

4 ways to cut campus food waste, from colleges to corporates

This guest blog is courtesy of GreenBiz, and was written by Lauren Phipps, Director & Senior Analyst, Circular Economy.

You probably already know that around a third of all food produced — roughly 1 billion tons per year — is never eaten. And while you may be thinking about far-off farms and factories as the source of that waste, nearly 85 percent of food in the United States is wasted and lost at consumer-facing businesses and homes, according to ReFED’s analysis

Looking at one slice of the challenge, the U.S. restaurant sector generates (PDF) 11.4 million tons of food waste annually. That’s just 1.1 percent of the global total, but it still carries a hefty price tag: more than $25 billion, when taking into account…

Getting to a Circular Economy

In a new report, The Recycling Partnership explores strategies for expanding plastics recycling commitments to include all recycled materials.

In 2018, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation established the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, securing promises from over 400 major businesses—representing 20% of all plastic packaging produced globally—to work toward a circular economy in which all plastic packaging is 100% reusable, recyclable, or compostable. Given the troubling current state of global plastics pollution, the vision inscribed in the Commitment seems ambitious; but as the June 2019 report of the Commitment states, “all business and government signatories to the Global Commitment are committing to a set of ambitious 2025 targets. They will work to eliminate the plastic items we don’t need; innovate so all…

From “Recycling the Unrecyclable” to Refillable Containers

TerraCycle expands its business model with Loop, bringing the program of reusable containers for household products to additional states.

Unresolved yet pressing sustainability issues—the belated scramble to develop recycling markets in the wake of China’s National Sword, the growing prevalence of plastics pollution—have propelled recycling back to the status of major topic for societies. Industry, government, non-governmental organizations, and even individuals dragging their bins to the curbside are seeking solutions that will significantly reduce waste and increase the amount of post-consumer recycled content in manufacturing.

Those of us of a certain age still remember purchasing milk in reusable glass containers, to cite but one example of recycling and reuse. Seemingly overnight, that practice disappeared from sight, as reusable containers were replaced by single-use plastic. Are those days of sustainable reuse really gone for good, or might they be recaptured in a twenty-first century context?

For one New Jersey-based company, the answer to the question is yes: we can replace wasteful single-use plastics with containers that are reused.

Recycling Industry Continues to be a Powerful Force in U.S. Economy

This guest blog is courtesy of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI).

Recycling continues to power the American economy based on a new study conducted by John Dunham and Associates and released by the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI). In addition to its positive environmental benefits, the recycling industry is responsible for more than 531,500 jobs and an overall economic impact of nearly $110 billion.

“The recycling industry continues to power America’s manufacturing base, creating jobs, generating tax revenue, and proving valuable feedstock for new products,” said Joe Pickard, chief economist for ISRI. “In the U.S., we continue to process more material into valuable commodities,…

Year Packed with Packaging Regulations

This guest blog is provided by Recycling Today, and written by Megan Smalley, Managing Editor.

This year has brought about a flurry of legislative activity related to sustainability and packaging, with many states announcing plastic bag bans; plastic straw and foam bans; and extended producer responsibility (EPR) bills.

The following are just some regulations that occurred in 2019:

  • In April, New York banned plastic bags and put a fee on paper bags.
  • In May, Maine became the first state to ban polystyrene foam containers; Maryland followed suit, also banning polystyrene (PS) foam containers. 
  • In June, Maine and Vermont banned plastic bags. Also, Vermont banned plastic straws, stirrers and expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam. 
  • In July, Oregon and Delaware banned plastic bags; Connecticut put a fee on plastic bags with eventual plans of banning plastic bags.


Circular Economy: The Best Business Model

This guest blog was originally published on the U.S. Green Chamber of Commerce website, and was written by Darwin Daniel, Managing Director, Inversa Consulting LLC.

In my 20 years of work experience, I have never felt so passionate and committed to promoting sustainable development. I started my professional career under the premise of making things more sustainable and more profitable. As a businessman, this business model has allowed me to understand that doing the right thing generates even more profitability for a company. And as a citizen, contributing to the benefit of society and the environment creates far greater personal satisfaction.

As the economy expands, the demand for more raw materials required for the production of goods has increased. Economies are growing so rapidly that we have to examine how wise it is to increase the rate at which we extract more raw materials and generate waste. This current unsustainable model that consists of “take-make-use-dispose”…

The Challenge of Markets - the supply of recyclables is larger than demand

This guest blog is provided by Michael Alexander, Recycle Away Systems & Solutions.

Markets, markets, markets," the recycling buzzword for the 1990s, has become all too familiar to those responsible for moving materials through the recycling process. Why are markets so vital to the success of recycling? How do they behave under the current recycling fervor? What forces lie behind their development?

Traditionally, a market is created when the available supply of a product is matched by a corresponding demand. Usually, supply and demand follow each other closely, as markets evolve over time. In the rush to recycle, however, the demand for recyclable material has not always kept pace with burgeoning supplies. While state and local governments have proved effective in implementing programs to recover materials, they have had less success in finding markets for them.

Several factors contribute to this problem. The lag time between the availability of large quantities…