What should we do about global recycling falling a part?
As you may already know, China was the largest importer of recycling and they are no longer accepting our recycling. Because of this recycling is going into landfills and being incinerated.

What I am wondering about is what companies can/should be doing. It has taken a long time to get people to recycle and for our companies to put recycling into their processes. Now that materials aren't being recycled, these steps are being removed. How long will it take to reinstate processes when the recycling market is funtioning again?

Some articles:
https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/cities/2019/feb/21/philadelphia-covanta-incinerator-recyclables-china-ban-imports
https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2018/06/china-plastic-recycling-ban-solutions-science-environment/
2 Replies
Duke Okes 1670
103 Posts
My personal view is that whoever manufactured & sold the item that should be recycled has responsibility for doing it ... a life cycle perspective.  However, that's such a huge shift from what we actually do (make/sell/profit and forget) that I doubt it would ever be possible.  HP is pretty close to this on their printer cartridges, and there may be others.  But think about applying it to autos, computers, phones, ...
I think companies are slowly starting to embrace zero waste concepts, and going back to their suppliers to see what can be done to reduce packaging. 

Companies can achieve a certification through TRUE (formerly USGBC)
https://true.gbci.org/true-zero-waste-certification-program

I don't think the recycling market is going to come back until it costs more to make virgin products instead of recycled products. Maybe carbon taxes will help move this forward.

I think it's interesting what TerraCycle is doing with some of the major brands through the Loop program. The cool thing is that these reusable containers can act like a kanban system to control inventory as well.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2019-01-25/terracycle-ceo-explains-loop-video