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New paradigm for recycling?

  • 1.  New paradigm for recycling?

    Posted 11-21-2019 10:35
    I attended US EPA National Recycles Day Summit -- and it was interesting to see the commitment from both the Agency and other organizations to continue to increase the markets as well as the recycling rate... while there I heard an interesting comment.

    Recycling needs to be considered an economic system NOT a waste system.  The mindset regarding recyclable materials needs to shift - as these materials are not waste but commodities.

    Interested in thoughts on this... To make recycling more mainstream, does this shift in thinking need to take place?  Or has it already?


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    Marci Kinter
    Vice President- Government & Business Information
    Specialty Graphic Imaging Assn
    Fairfax VA
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  • 2.  RE: New paradigm for recycling?

    Posted 01-02-2020 12:56
    Hi Marci,

    Interesting comment. I think to make recycling more mainstream, this shift in thinking is likely necessary. I think it has already taken place by only a few companies who structured their entire business model around sustainability, while the vast majority still consider it a waste system. Until more see recycling from this standpoint, it may be a slow process.

    I am an avid recycler, but still I wonder just how much of the material we as a society recycle is actually used in the manufacture of new products. Moreover, whether our recycling capabilities keep up with the contributed recyclable waste, especially since China has ceased being our primary recycler of much of our plastic waste. Possibly more than I imagine, as the US still only recycles ~ 10% of its plastic, for example, vs. European countries who recycle ~35-40% of theirs. As I understand it, US recycling companies fear investing the capital if they can't see a 6-12 month pipeline of buyers willing to buy recycled plastic.

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    Dave Dennings
    Technical Product Manager
    KIWO Inc / ULANO Corp
    Seabrook TX
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