Waste management is a rising industry, and with ever-growing populations with increasing daily waste, waste management services need to evolve to keep up with these growing needs. Below, we talk about the current and coming trends for waste management and what that means for you.
People Aim to Reduce Organic Waste
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), each person in the United States produces around 250 pounds of food waste annually, with much of that waste ending up in landfills. And nearly 70% of organic waste ends up in landfills.
Fortunately, many cities and their governing officials are focusing on reducing — and eventually eliminating — this organic waste from landfills. The best way to eliminate organic waste is through composting, which means more companies that specialize in this disposal method will become more prevalent (even on a smaller scale).
Composting Efforts Will Improve Alongside Recycling
Recycling has been a primary focus of waste removal and management for decades. But with rising concerns about climate change and increased greenhouse gasses impacting the environment, it’s no surprise that composting efforts are taking a turn for the better.
Rather than reducing significance for the recycling of non-organic waste and solely enhancing composting efforts, the two will improve together. Terms like “green waste recycling” or “food waste recycling” may also become more commonly used as conversations normalize around this type of waste management.
Public and private sectors also plan on partnering and financing the creation of dedicated facilities that will route organic waste from landfills.
More Packaging Materials Will Be Recyclable
One of the bigger issues with recycling and reusing materials is that a lot of product packaging currently isn’t recyclable. It’s made of hard plastics or materials that can’t be repurposed, but these standards are changing. For example, plastics are becoming lighter and more flexible, so more plastic-based products can be recycled and repurposed.
Waste Management Companies Plan to Hire More
The job market has struggled since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and while some industries are starting to recover and fill positions, not all are seeing as much progress. The waste management industry has had difficulties hiring employees, but that challenge hasn’t deterred employers.
Hiring companies are focusing on ways to hire and retain long-term workers, and they’re getting generous by offering higher starting wages, signing bonuses, training, and continued education opportunities. They want current and prospective drivers and collectors to feel valued and to provide them with more opportunities for growth.
Technology Will Play a Larger Role
Technology continues impacting our day-to-day lives, and it’s even extending into the waste management sphere. Many waste management facilities use technology to help sort and dispose of waste, especially in the recycling portion of the industry. However, that technology is advancing at unprecedented rates.
For instance, robotics and GPS-enabled machines will assist in recycling facilities by sorting and crushing waste materials. Other technologies can also collect lifecycle data of certain products and send that information to manufacturers, who will then better their business strategies to focus on reducing the waste of these products.
Some companies might even include technology directly in their disposal bins to collect data. As a result of that information, waste management facilities can adjust their operating tactics to save energy and reduce the environmental demands of collecting and disposing of waste. Specifically, these technological advancements can help reduce carbon dioxide emissions and fuel requirements for collection vehicles.
Larger Waste Management Companies Will Acquire Smaller Ones
Despite efforts to reduce how much waste is produced, people still need trash and recyclables collected and disposed of. And unfortunately, some areas might not have the right support to fulfill their customers’ needs.
Many larger waste management companies will merge with smaller counterparts to have a better impact on their communities. By providing smaller waste management facilities with the resources and equipment larger companies have. But if these merges don’t go smoothly, though, many customers can experience confusion or frustrations until operations level out.
Waste-to-Energy Conversion Takes Higher Priority
Think of how often environmental advocates have talked about using food or organic waste as fuel for machines. It doesn’t stop with ethanol gas for vehicles, though. Many companies are looking to biomass, or waste, and either burning it or turning it into steam to then produce electricity.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, for every 100 pounds of waste produced in the U.S., almost 90 pounds of it can be repurposed into electricity. As more governments offer financial benefits for waste-to-energy conversion, it’s likely more facilities will opt for this disposal method.
While trends in waste management continue to evolve, you can depend on dependable services from Tri-State Disposal. We rely on 25 years of waste management service as we serve our commercial and residential customers throughout Chicagoland, and we’re happy to help you with any of your waste disposal needs.