Recycling is a manufacturing process. The recyclable materials we collect are commodities and like any commodities there are ebbs and flows in supply and demand.
Have your recycling markets gotten more restrictive in recent months? Are you struggling to explain the new recycling rules to the public? The answer may be “outthrows”.
The consumer psyche is complex and challenging to fully comprehend. Marketers work tirelessly to figure out ways to get people to change their spend patterns, all the while influencing people’s tastes and preferences. It’s no different when it comes to getting people to understand the magnitude of their impacts around waste.
If you are a regular reader of this blog, you may have noticed that sometimes I don’t see things quite like other people in my field (if you are a longtime colleague of mine, you have just finished thinking “that’s an understatement” after reading the preceding sentence). One area where I often see things a little differently regards recycling regulations.
As the sustainable-materials-management industry has grown since the 1980s, we have added a lot of goals, regulations and reports. And in those, we use a lot of terms. But what do we mean when we use those terms? Too often, what makes a recycling program a rousing success or a spectacular failure comes down not to efforts, investments, programs, but merely definitions.
Successfully growing and sustaining recycling programs can sometimes depend on something as simple as where you budget recycling expenses. As budgets are being set for next fiscal year, now is the time to think about what you want accomplish next year, how you want to fund it, and perhaps most importantly, where you want to fund it.
One often overlooked opportunity is collection efficiency. Recycling does not increase the total amount of waste that you generate. Recycling takes a portion of that waste and diverts it out of the trash into another container or containers. As a result, the more you recycle, the fewer the amount of labor and financial resources you should have to dedicate to trash collection.
Now that summer attendance has dropped, do you still need the same level of trash and recycling pickup that you had in July? Have you met with your waste hauler? Do you have a plan with your waste hauler and recycling service provider to scale back on the frequency of pickup and/or size of your containers during the off season? Have you identified when the start of next season is and when you will need additional pickups again?
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