Trends to Follow in the Waste Industry, 2018

by | Jan 2, 2018

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(Photo Credit: Michael B., Flickr Creative Commons)

Dominating conversation in the recycling and waste industries in 2018 will be China’s ongoing policy changes, according to a reader survey from Waste Dive. For example, China’s new standard for both waste and scrap of plastic, and waste and scrap of paper or paperboard, will be 0.5% beginning on March 1, 2018. The National Waste & Recycling Association has said that China’s actions could “have a devastating effect on recycling.”

The topic of China was the top expected trend among respondents, with 50% saying it would be the story of the year. (Other topics fell below 25% of total votes.)

Another topic to follow in 2018 will be “franchised” waste collection, which a panel of industry experts during the Resource Recycling Conference said might be one of the best ways to achieve high recycling targets set by cities. While the largest waste management companies support franchising, smaller service providers fear for their ability to compete should franchising become a common practice.

Other top trends in 2018, according to the survey, include:

  • the continued investment in and deployment of technology in the industry (Waste Management, for example, hired its first chief digital officer in 2017);
  • ongoing debate on the definition of “zero waste;”
  • shifts in how the waste industry is regulated and how influential the EPA will be.


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