As more of our nation’s cities move toward zero waste policies, the traditional hauling and disposal industry is faced with the tough decision: adapt or die.
“There’s a lot of room for the industry to continue to evolve,” said Jay Coalson, executive director of the Zero Waste Alliance. “I don’t think you have to look any further than Waste Management [Inc.] They are clearly transforming their business to be much more of a service provider around the waste stream than they are a waste hauler.”
While Waste Management is clearly not the only company adopting integrated waste management practices, there are still some waste companies that continue to rely on profits from landfill disposal rates and high waste volumes.
“If your business model is predicated on continued landfilling, you’re not going to be in business very long, you’re going to have to diversify,” said Walter Willis, executive director of the Solid Waste Agency of Lake County, Ill. “I think it’s the companies that are looking ahead, investing in the right technologies, that will continue to be successful or will be successful in the future.”
First came gold and then came clunkers. Now there is cash for cartridges.
Clover Technologies Group LLC, the world’s largest remanufacturer of printer cartridges, can no longer rely on places like OfficeMax Inc. and Staples Inc. to collect and supply it with used cartridges. So Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based Clover recently launched Evolve Recycling, a company with the sole purpose of gathering secondhand cartridges directly from consumers.
Depending on the model, Evolve pays customers up to $10 per cartridge. It also supplies collection boxes, shipping boxes and prepaid labels so there is no out-of-pocket expense for those looking to cash in on their worn-out cartridges.
In its third quarter, Lexmark International Inc.’s net income was zero, down from $67 million the previous year. Canon Inc.’s third- quarter net income plunged 36 percent. Original equipment manufacturers are collecting used cartridges — “empties” or “cores” in industry lingo. They grind them up for their own reuse or toss them into landfills before recyclers can scoop them up. As a result, companies like Clover are scrambling to find enough cartridges to fill demand from office supply chains and individual businesses.While Evolve may be a bright idea, it was one born of necessity. Printer company profits are shrinking, and Continue reading →
Jan. 24 — One of the dirtiest and most demonized portions of the municipal waste stream may soon be diverted from its centuries-long decomposition site: landfills.Developing a recycling solution for used disposable diapers, a biological amalgam of complexity, has been a top priority of the global research and development team at TerraCycle Inc., a Trenton, N.J.-based company whose mission is to create innovative solutions for any waste stream headed to the landfill.
TerraCycle´s team of scientists, led by Ernie Simpson, global vice president of research and development, is about to put a clothespin on its formula that will render dirty diapers into a material suitable for plastic lumber, pallets and outdoor furniture. Continue reading →
Nov. 11 — Best Buy Co. Inc. announced that it has eliminated the $10 recycling fee for electronic items collected through its nationwide in-store recycling program.
Consumers can now drop off items with screens up to 32 inches for tube televisions and 60 inches for flat-panel televisions, free of charge. In addition to televisions, the in-store recycling program includes computer monitors, DVD players, audio and video cables, cell phones and other electronics.
The company collected 83 million pounds of electronics in 2010 and wants to collect more than 1 billion pounds of electronics by the end of 2014.
Best Buy said it only works with certified third-party electronics recyclers, which must carry either the R2 or eStewards certification. For more information on the company’s recycling program, visit Best Buy online.