The environmental movement of the 1970s demonstrated the critical nature of a disposable world, where purchasing a brand new item is better than something old or used. Often the term ‘recycling’ draws attention to common products such as paper, plastic, glass, and metals. However, there are a number of crucial (although less common) industries that are making incredible strides towards a sustainable approach to environmental issues. Take a look at four exciting recycling industries that are really starting to take off:
Organics and Food
Of the 250 million tons of solid waste produced in the US annually, the amount of compostable organic materials makes up 56% of the total and generates 13% of greenhouses gases, in particular methane. The composting industry is ripe and ready with invention. Michael Virga, with the U.S. Composting Council said “What a great time to be in the compost manufacturing industry! We have a fantastic sustainability platform and environmental message: We recycle organic materials into products that benefit the environment and society.” 56% is no small number, so it is clear to see industry has rapidly gained traction and support over the years.
Necessity is the mother of invention, and so it is with the appliance recycling industry. Home appliances manufactured prior to 1995 contain ozone-depleting and hazardous materials. As more people replace their worn-out units, this industry has stepped up with innovative methods to reuse components, dispose the harmful materials, and recruit the latest technologies toward responsible environmental stewardship.
The continued advances in electronic devices correspond to an increase amount of electronic waste, or e-waste that contains hazardous materials and precious metals. Across the country, many States have implemented policies and regulations for the recycling of these goods or prohibit disposal in general waste. The e-waste recycling industry is trying to catch up but stands at the forefront of discovery and viable business and educational opportunities.
The production of textiles (clothing, carpets, furniture, and linens) is the 5th largest contributor to CO2 emissions in the US. These products are not biodegradable, a large part landfills, yet can be reused or donated. As one of the more unique opportunities, the fashion industry is becoming more environmentally friendly using post-consumer products such as plastics, food, and beer bottles in their designs and manufacturing.
With the overarching concerns of global warming, increased carbon footprints, and their impact on the ecosystems of this planet, no longer can we ignore the implications of a disposable world. These four industries are really blowing up right now, and will continue to offer innovative solutions as both technology and research push forward.
Dixie Somers, based in Arizona, is the author of this article.
The information for this article was provided by the
professionals at King Recycling & Waste Disposal
who provide disposal bins in Toronto.
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