Commercial recycling is changing and evolving year after year, which is promising for waste management efforts. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic altered and set back recycling; however, 2022 trends show that recycling efforts have come back with a vengeance. If you’re curious how the state of recycling looks in 2022 and what methods companies are utilizing to transform the industry, explore five new recycling technology trends below.
1. Post-COVID-19 and a Reliance on Digital Technology
One of the biggest influences on recycling trends in the past few years has been the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID crisis led to an increase in recycling contamination and a decline in recycling altogether as consumers’ lifestyles changed drastically. Now, over two years later in 2022, consumers have had time to adjust to life at home and old recycling habits. Additionally, businesses and venues are more health and sanitation-conscious now than ever, and many companies are stepping up their recycling programs.
Additionally, due to the need for technology and digital spaces during the pandemic, our society is now utilizing digital resources and materials more than physical ones. With many people still working from home, paper documents are being traded for digital files that you can easily send across the web.
2. Recycling & Refurbishing Are on the Rise
Electronic waste or “e-waste” is a huge issue in modern times. Without the proper recycling and repair strategies, lots of electronics end up in landfills, where their components break down into toxic materials. These toxic materials can leak back into our environment if we’re not careful, which is why proper recycling methods for e-waste are so important. Fortunately, recycling and repair for electronics are on the rise. More companies, such as Apple, are switching to more sustainable strategies for their electronics. Apple plans to make repair kits and manuals available for their products. Customers can easily access these resources to prolong the life of their electronics. Additionally, Apple and other electronics companies are finding success in refurbishing and reselling electronics at a discounted price. This not only promotes a culture of reuse, but it also makes technology more accessible and affordable for all.
3. Plastic Recycling Showing Improvement
Plastic is one of the trickiest materials to recycle. While many recycled plastics are re-manufactured to create new plastic bottles, containers, and even artificial lumber, there is still room for improvement. To break the plastic cycle, many companies are experimenting with different technologies to help recycle plastic more effectively. For example, PureCycle Technologies is a chemicals company that is developing a recycling process that would remove color, odor, and contaminants from plastic recyclables to create reusable materials. The goal of this process is to create pure, recycled polypropylene and resin that we can utilize in other manufacturing processes besides re-creating plastics. Plastics are one of the most generated materials in the world, so a more efficient process for recycling them could expedite recycling processes and keep more materials out of landfills.
4. Streamlining Recycling With the Internet of Things
The Internet of Things is the concept of physical objects with data processing abilities. These systems feature unique identifiers or “UIDs” that transfer data over an internet connection and don’t usually require human interaction. Using embedded sensors, devices connected to the Internet of Things can exchange information automatically to collect data and analyze results. Many modern-day appliances and applications can connect to the Internet of Things. Items like your refrigerator, thermostat, cars, and electronics can utilize this technology. But why stop there?
Some companies are using sensors in garbage receptacles to streamline recycling and waste management. The use of the Internet of Things for waste management can help haulers and waste facilities understand recycling trends and where there are still areas needing improvement. This technology can help facilities understand who is recycling and who isn’t, allowing them to target and educate problem areas.
5. Cities Using Technology To Encourage Recycling
Entire municipalities are also getting in on the recycling technology trends of 2022. The pandemic has changed the way entire cities think about recycling. The recycling and waste issues of 2020 caused cities to rethink their strategies and led to increased interest in refreshing their recycling programs. For this reason, many municipalities are exploring diverse ways to educate citizens and build engagement surrounding recycling habits. Cities have turned to digital solutions such as online fundraising platforms and social media to spread the word. With the rise in social media use due to the pandemic, municipalities are targeting their communities and citizens through media we all use daily. Cities are also exploring local recycling advancements, such as using RFID chips in recyclables to illustrate how to dispose of them.
How To Encourage Recycling in Your Community
Using social media like the communities from this trend is an effective way to start reaching out to your own community. If your city has a digital newsletter, email list, or other digital means of contact, these are also great ways to spread the news as well. The first step to recycling change is to educate your community members—make sure they understand waste issues, why recycling is so important, and how they can help. Once you’ve educated the public, the next step is to provide them with the tools that they can utilize. For example, consider increasing your public trash and recycling bins throughout town. You could also start local composting piles or set up an e-waste collection center where members can drop off their appliances.
While some of these innovative 2022 technologies are still under development, there are strategies you can utilize in your own community to promote change. Recycling efforts start person-by-person and community-by-community, so do what you can as a company or community leader to promote better recycling habits in your area. And if you’re looking for tools to help you crack down on recycling habits, consider investing in new commercial recycling bins for your community. Here at Trash Cans Depot, we offer a wide selection of recycling bins with clear markings to encourage proper recycling and prevent contamination. Promote recycling in your community by making it easier and more convenient through more receptacles.