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Food and Beverages | Monday, July 25, 2022

What does the year 2022 hold for the waste management industry? There is increasing demand to boost waste diversion and improve recycling quality.

FREMONT, CA: The EPA has set a National Recycling Goal of 50 percent by 2030. Since national recycling rates have stagnated in the low 30 percent range over the previous two decades, achieving this objective will need a substantial increase in capacity and competence. Companies will be expected to contribute.

Infrastructure and Investment Increase for Organics Recycling

Currently, more than 20 percent of rubbish in landfills consists of wasted food, and businesses produce about 40 percent of this food waste.

Linked to the EPA's diversion objective, 2022 appears to be the year to expand organics infrastructure, especially in places that have already enacted food waste recycling laws.

Composting has been adopted nationwide but has not yet realized its full potential, particularly in diversion capacity.

Expanding Plastics Problem Resolutions

Glass is recyclable numerous times, and a glass bottle can be recycled back into another glass bottle with no discernible quality loss.

This is not the case with most modern plastics recycling systems; when plastics are recycled, there is typically polymer contamination. This makes it extremely difficult for a plastic bottle to be completely recycled into another plastic bottle. Instead, most recovered plastic is converted into lower-quality products such as gutters, outdoor furniture, and textile fibers. This is the end of the line for the material, as these products cannot be recycled again.

Ninety percent of the plastic used in the United States either ends up in landfills or escapes into the environment, contaminating water supplies and eventually reaching the ocean.

Without significant improvements to global waste management policies, it is anticipated that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans.

This subject has received considerable attention in recent years, and 2022 will be a pivotal year for plastics recycling.

Many of the world's foremost consumer product firms, including Coca-Cola, Unilever, and PepsiCo, have set aggressive goals for replacing virgin resins with recycled ones, with many aiming for recycled content of 25 percent by 2025.

To achieve these goals, the industries are encouraging chemical recycling—depolymerization and pyrolysis that break down plastics into a feedstock that may be turned into new polymers. However, chemical recycling is still in its infancy, with the first large-scale units just beginning to operate.

For at least the next few years, the majority of the increase in plastic recycling will be attributable to conventional mechanical recycling, with the introduction of new technology to improve sorting standards and reduce contamination.

Innovative Waste Management Technologies will Emerge

Numerous Waste to Energy (WtE) treatment strategies have been created in recent years. While most of these transactions have been small in volume and expensive to complete, it is nearly inevitable that volumes will swiftly increase and prices will begin to decline.

The escalating trash problem has prompted governments to advocate for energy production from waste. Governments will encourage WtE through tax advantages and monetary incentives. This will include GHG credits for enterprises that dispose of garbage through WtE. In the future, renewable resources will be utilized due to rising environmental concerns. A forthcoming landfill tax in North America will exert harmful pressure.

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