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Rethinking waste to tackle diversion

Research report indicates waste companies are thinking more strategically about how to manage waste streams

Diversion is gaining traction as corporate sustainability initiatives and regulations advance recycling and zero waste goals, according to the Environmental Services Insider research report released by Brown Gibbons Lang & Company (BGL) and available for download HERE or Waste companies are thinking more strategically about how to manage waste streams, with early adopters embracing a life cycle approach to manage material to its highest and best use.

 The BGL report, now available online, documents market factors driving diversion and the impact of changing waste streams, regulatory change, and technology on the recycling business model, obtained in a roundtable of executives from national and middle market waste companies.

Recycling has been the subject of media attention as waste companies denounce recent financial and operational challenges of the business, notably sharp declines in recycled commodity values, as well as growing contamination levels, changing waste streams, and light weighting of materials, all contributing to reduced revenues and rising costs which have squeezed margins.

"Quality is the first priority in setting recycling goals—making sure that we are capturing those materials that make economic and environmental sense. You will see those programs continue to thrive and grow," said Susan Robinson, Public Affairs Director at Waste Management, a participant in the report. "There is recognition that we need to be looking differently and more strategically at how we manage material. We are at the beginning of a movement in this direction." Looking ahead, technology advancement, infrastructure development, and extended producer responsibility will be integral to encourage recycling efforts and accelerate diversion. 

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