global markets industrial recycling programs

How Global Market Changes Affect Industrial Recycling Programs

In Industrial Recycling, Recycling, Waste Management by David FahrionLeave a Comment

Businesses and industries create vast amounts of waste in their daily activities. Reducing this amount of waste generated by industries through methods like recycling can benefit the company as well as the environment. Waste disposal costs are significantly reduced by recycling, and ultimately, less waste can end up in the landfills. In this article, we approach how the changes in the global market affect industrial recycling, how you can help, and how you can turn this into a net-positive for your business.


Information About the Global Waste Recycling Market


An analysis that was conducted by a global research and consulting firm revealed that IoT (Internet of Things), predictive analytics, 3D printing, and China’s ban on imported waste are intended to alter the state of the market.

According to the Global Waste Recycling Market, in the year 2017, close to 48.2 million tons of e-waste were generated, out of which only 20 to 25 percent were documented to be collected and recycled. The remaining waste was either landfilled or disposed of unsafely or illegally in less developed countries.

The above scenario is most likely to persist in the absence of strict regulations, greater producer responsibility, and closed-loop supply chains. China made a market-altering decision when it announced a ban on the import of 32 types of solid and recyclable waste by the end of 2017. The ban forced the world‘s biggest waste exporters to build a new recycling infrastructure in their industries or look to other Southeast Asian countries for better waste management.

The analysis forecasts waste volumes, services, and revenues, and examines the latest trends that have influenced the market. The report also highlighted the recycling opportunities that were generated by the different waste streams and the impact of China‘s waste ban on the import of foreign waste. It covers the segments of municipal solid waste (MSW), industrial non-hazardous waste, construction and demolition waste, waste electrical and electronics, and plastic waste.

Local Southern California markets have already started to see the effects. The Orange County Register recently ran an article titled, "Your recyclables are going to the dump and here's why," in which author Martin Wisckol identified that haulers are no longer recycling plastics Nos. 3 through 7.

Recycling as we have known it is drastically changing. The cost of recycling is increasing and some commodities that you think are being recycled are being landfilled.


Market Size of the Recycling Industry


The study predicts that the global market revenue for the recycling industry is likely to increase from 265.61 billion USD in 2017 to 282.1 billion USD in 2019. This revenue does not include the income from the plastic recycling industry. That industry poses a tremendous business opportunity in which the market size is estimated at 37.6 billion USD in 2019, showing good growth of 7.1 percent from 2017.

As per the report, the study also discusses the effects of the waste import ban imposed by China and, as a result, the waste management industry was set to undergo a tangible change; opening possibilities in the market where initially exporting the waste to China was the first option. The ban was most likely to drive the investment opportunities for countries like Japan, Germany, Australia, the UK, and the US.


Changes in the Recycling Industry Due to Technology


The waste recycling market is experiencing attention-seeking changes due to the innovation of advanced digital technologies. For example, smart waste bins having IoT capabilities will play a significant role in changing the way waste is collected and sorted.

Similarly, the rise of 3D printing technologies and services has made it easier to recycle plastic waste. Many industries are now turning plastics into high-quality filaments that replace spares and have lowered the need for re-manufacturing.

Although technology is improving waste management considerably, market participants that are using these latest technologies will be challenged to convince other industries employing these conventional methods to switch to modern systems. These industries need to be made aware of the role innovative recycling systems can play for them in enabling a circular economy.

Read More: 13 Ways to Reduce Manufacturing Facility Waste

Meanwhile, the use of these cutting-edge technologies is giving rise to new business models such as commercial waste collection zones. These innovative models allow haulers to invest in infrastructure improvement and to introduce inventive methods for MSW collection. So, by optimizing waste collection routes, employing data-related technologies, such as predictive analytics, and combining real-time data, it will be possible to eliminate the unplanned dispatch of vehicles to collect waste.

Another beneficial technology that could have significant consequences for the waste management market is augmented reality (AR). AR can help many manufacturers to make informed decisions and to prevent waste in the first place. Though AR is still evolving, waste reduction and management will change in the future.


Advice on Waste Reduction for Industrial Businesses


  • Find out about industrial waste collection services in your area; you can contact your local city council.
  • If there is no collection service for businesses or industries in your area, work with staff to organize recycling plans where the materials are collected and transported to the suitable recycling sites.
  • Work with suppliers to arrange the transportation of goods in reusable containers that use less packaging.
  • Identify materials that produce large volumes of waste and should be the primary targets for recycling.
  • Use refillable dispensers at the workplace as opposed to individual disposable ones, such as water dispensers.

Industrial Recycling Programs


There are plenty of reasons to set up an organized industrial recycling program or enhance and strengthen your existing one. Apart from the noticeable boost to your green credibility, recycling materials can:

  • Help you earn credits towards a building's zero-waste certification.
  • Reduce your landfill fees.
  • Earn profit by selling your processed recycled material.

Improve Your Industrial Recycling Program


If you are ready to take your recycling practices to the next level, then start by assessing your current methods and the different waste products that your facility generates.

Ask yourself these four questions:


1. What are your pain points?


Is there something missing in your current recycling program or do you need to gain more value from the materials you are returning, or is it a service issue with your current provider?


2. How much waste material do you generate?


Project the volume of your various waste materials that will help your recycler to determine how best to serve you.

What you are getting for your materials now and why are you Compacting or not compacting? How is this being measured? Are you getting paid for your material?


3. How urgently do you need it?


Please work with your recycler for developing a timeframe for them to do a site visit. These recyclers will examine your waste and recycling processes on-site and will review your disposal and profit options. If they won't, contact Waste Control for a free waste and recycling audit.


4. How often do you need to dispose of material?


You may have some one-time recycling jobs, like a PVC roofing membrane that you are replacing during a re-roofing project. Good recyclers will still recycle it for you, but the small load may incur an additional cost.

The charge might be because they have 10,000 pounds of material limit, but a mill typically has 40,000 pounds and the freight involved with it costs three times as much if you do not have a full load. It may cost a little more, but it can still keep it out of the landfill.


Recycling Program Strategies


1. Size of Your Waste Output


An industrial recycling program provides complete commercial recycling services for all grades of plastic, paper, and metal. The recycling program helps to increase the volume and value of your industrial recyclable waste by implementing a range of strategies, including:

  • Sorting options: There is a range of sorting options available that best suit your needs.
  • Compaction or size-reduction equipment: There is equipment to help reduce the size of your recyclable materials, therefore reducing logistical costs and problems. Would a compactor that reduces waste and waste costs be suitable for your business? Should you purchase a trash compactor for your business?
  • Material handling supplies: Recycling programs include recommendations on the material handling supplies needed to most efficiently convert waste to profits, either for purchase or bundled as part of an overall industrial recycling program plan.
  • Employee training: An employee training program is essential as part of your recycling program.
  • Consolidated logistics: Commercial waste management programs include suggestions on how to consolidate logistics, saving space, money, and headaches.
  • Spotted trailers: Industrial recycling programs often include an empty container on your premises, awaiting your recyclable and waste products.
  • LTL, FTL, or roll-off pickups: A wide range of trucks will be a part of your industrial recycling program.

Take Advantage of the Changes Happening in the Global Market


As the cost of recycling is increasing, industries should start focusing more on upstream recycling which has environmental benefits. Recycling is one of the main tools in the toolbox to achieve the goal of improving the environment, and industries need to focus on recycling correctly.

By bettering our education efforts and improving the quality of the materials sent for recycling, industries can create a better future for industrial recycling. Understanding how global market changes affect industrial recycling programs will only help you position your business for success as these changes become more and more relevant.



About the Author
David Fahrion

David Fahrion

David Fahrion serves as the President of Waste Control after a 40-year career in the waste and recycling industry. Prior to joining Waste Control, he worked exclusively for CR&R and its affiliates since 1986 serving as the President of the Solid Waste Management Division. During his career, he worked on all facets of the solid waste management business from dispatching and routing to contract negotiations and state facility permitting.