3 Tools the Make Recycling Easier for Businesses


by | Jan 25, 2017

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recyclingRecycling does more than divert waste from landfills. It also saves corporations money on hauling and transportation fees and can even generate new revenue — upwards of $1 billion, in General Motor’s case.

But it’s not always easy to know how and where to recycle various waste streams.

Universal waste items — these include batteries, light bulbs and lighting ballasts that can contain chemicals or potentially harmful materials like lead or mercury — when disposed of improperly, can present environmental and human health risks. The EPA designates universal waste items as hazardous waste, and certain state and local governments have additional compliance requirements for the disposal of universal waste items.

Additionally, contamination remains a problem that can render some materials un-recyclable and worsens the economics of recycling.

Here are three tools address these challenges and make it easier for businesses to recycle.

“We understand that businesses are operating at a faster pace than ever before,” said Sue Klug, Republic Services executive vice president and chief marketing officer. “Keeping up with compliance requirements for universal waste items can be time consuming and burdensome.”

To this end, Republic Services offers two options for businesses to discard items that contain mercury, lead or other hazardous materials that should not be thrown away with regular waste.

Mail Back Kits: designed for businesses with smaller quantities of universal waste items. Here’s how it works:

  • Receive prepaid, pre-addressed mail-back kits, government-certified tri-layer packaging to ensure safe shipping;
  • Pack your universal waste items in the provided mail-back kits;
  • Ship back all packed universal waste material; and
  • Receive a Certificate of Recycling to validate regulatory compliance.

Pack-Up & Pick-Up: customized for businesses with larger quantities of universal waste items. How it works:

  • Receive a proposal for approval based on your universal waste generation;
  • Schedule a pickup date and time that’s convenient for you;
  • Prepare and package your universal waste prior to pick up;
  • Load your packaged materials onto our trucks;
  • Your packaged universal waste is transferred to the nearest facility for proper recycling; and
  • Receive a Certificate of Recycling to validate regulatory compliance.

Universal waste items can often be repurposed into new materials. Newly manufactured batteries are made from as much as 80 percent recycled materials, according to the EPA. And Fresh Energy, a Minnesota-based not-for-profit environmental policy organization, says more than 95 percent of an LED light bulb can be recycled.

Low plastics recycling rates in the healthcare industry is a problem as well. These plastics — more than 10 billion pounds annually — are traditionally single-use, and tossed in the trash after being used.

To address this challenge and increase recycling rates, the Healthcare Plastics Recycling Council suggests plastics mapping, and has developed a free plastics mapping tool to help hospitals understand the overall flow of plastic materials through the hospital from entry, through usage, and exit as waste streams.

By mapping the flow of plastic materials, hospitals can identify non-patient contact healthcare plastic materials that can be easily recycled and the optimum points to collect these materials for recycling.

And finally the third tool that makes it easier to recycle by reducing wasted product and materials contamination is LiquiGlide. The startup that developed a slippery coating that reduces waste has received $16 million in new financing.

The company says it will use the capital to grow its existing packaging business while also accelerating the commercialization of new coating applications in the industrial and food manufacturing markets.

In the consumer packaging sector, LiquiGlide’s customers include Elmers Products and Pact Group Holdings, which use the coating to reduce wasted product in glue containers and paint cans, respectively. This also increases packaging recyclability.

Last month LiquiGlide expanded its coating to manufacturing applications. The company says in manufacturing tank applications, the product has been shown to reduce up to 95 percent of product waste, wash water and the associated cleaning costs.



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