While recycling efforts have come leaps and bounds in recent years, there is still a long way to go to reverse the damage caused by decades of improper waste disposal. Most people are doing their part, taking the time to sort and recycle everyday goods while being more conscious about buying eco-friendly products that can be easily recycled.
Of course, that is only half the battle, as most pollution from waste disposable comes from companies around the world. Many are trying to show their environmental friendliness to consumers but how far are they really going to reduce their waste output and increase recycling?
You might be surprised – many companies are not recycling anywhere near as much as they could, with millions of tons of recyclable materials going to landfill sites across the country.
Let’s take a look at the top 3 materials that companies throw away when they should be recycled:
Glass is one of the best materials for recycling, as it can be recycled infinitely, meaning no matter how many times it is recycled the glass will retain its quality. Therefore, we never need to throw glass waste away as it has an unlimited lifespan so can always be used to make new glass!
Unfortunately, many companies are not recycling enough glass, Companies are only recycling around one third of their glass waste, which is a fraction compared to many European companies, who are recycling around 90% of their glass waste.
The issues with plastic waste grab the most headlines, with it well known just how much of a problem both consumers and companies have effectively recycling their plastic waste – just 9% of all plastic discarded since 1950 has been recycled in the USA alone.
Granted, much of this comes from the difficulties recycling various types of plastics, namely plastic packaging which accounts for 40% of all plastic products produced, although many companies are still not pulling their weight when it comes to plastics that are easier to recycle.
This is mainly due to the higher costs associated with the processes involved in plastic recycling, with the transportation, processing, and recycling making it less cost-efficient than other materials.
In 2016, more than 52 million tons of food went to landfill sites in the USA, with companies account for a large portion of this waste. From half eaten food to unsold produce, companies across the country are throwing out food waste that could be recycled.
The strangest thing is that recycling more food waste would be beneficial for companies. If there was just a 20% reduction in food waste being thrown out, companies could save close to $2 billion per year!
Thankfully, there is a changing mindset around recycling food waste, with companies seeing just how much of a difference they can make by altering their recycling policies, although the motivation for this may be rooted in the potential savings to be made.