According to an article recently published in Waste 360 Recycling Business, there are 8 leading waste and recycling trends in 2014. A summary of these follows:
Both the public and private sectors have continued to increase conversion of their fleets from diesel to compressed natural gas (CNG) with the addition of CNG trucks and fueling stations. Waste Management, Advanced Disposal, and Waste Pro USA led in this area with Denver, Oklahoma City and Spokane leading on the municipal side. CNG is attractive for both economic and environmental reasons despite high upfront costs.
New York City Leads the Way
New York City has initiated a series of projects in order to better manage its $2.3 billion waste stream. The city entered into a 20-year agreement with Covanta to convert its municipal solid waste into clean energy while the department of sanitation doubled the amount of its public space recycling containers in an effort to increase the city’s recycling rate to 30%. Also of note is the city’s growing pilot organic waste program which gathers food waste, food-soiled paper, leaves and yard waste.
Coal Ash Solutions
Over 100 million tons of coal ash are currently being produced annually in the United States, 55% of which is disposed of in land fills and wet-ash impoundments rather than being reused. In an attempt to address this, the EPA recently announced a long-awaited ruling approving the use of coal ash in the making of concrete and wallboard for such projects as repaving roads and parking lots.
Producer Responsibility Laws
Producer responsibility laws continued to gain ground in 2014 in both the US and Canada. Examples include a new Colorado law requiring paint manufacturers to operate and fund a post-consumer paint take-back program and Vermont’s new single-use battery law, the first of its kind in the US, requiring manufacturers to develop and manage a statewide used-battery collection program.
Upward Financial Performance
This one pretty much speaks for itself. Major publicly held waste and recycling companies published stronger financial results for the first quarter of 2014, including Waste Management, Republic Services and Waste Connections.
Mergers and acquisitions activity continued to flourish during the first half of the year with the biggest deal between Boise, ID-based U.S.Ecology and Wayne, MI-based Evironmental quality Co valued at $465 million.
State Support for Recycling Goals
States continue to rally behind recycling efforts despite some inherent challenges. Indiana, who after initiating an aggressive recycling law requiring a 50% recycling goal for the state, has called for annual reporting of recycling volumes beginning in 2015. In addition to energy conservation and protecting natural resources, this new law will help with job creation within the state and hopefully encourage other states to follow suit.
Anaerobic digestion facilities are popping up around the country as part of an increased push to adopt organics recycling and ban food waste from landfills. Anaerobic digestion harnesses renewable energy from organics while offering a high degree of odor control and producing an element that can be composted to produce additional soil amendments. Most recently these facilities have opened in Lake Buena Vista, FL, and Marin County, CA. Facilities are under construction in 5 additional states.