environmental education made easy

"We've obtained the easy tons. Now we have to go after the hard tons." 

Those are the words shared by Jerry Powell in his presentation about recycling's outlook during the opening session of the annual Indiana Recycling Coalition Conference last month. Our feature article below includes other highlights from his remarks and a link to his presentation.

Have you taken advantage of the opportunities for learning at this summer's national, state and local recycling conferences? There is much to be gained by attending. Many presentations bring up-to-the-minute information about solid waste issues, best practices, and policies which you can take back to your communities. 

In the next few weeks, we are headed to the California Resource Recovery Association Conference in Los Angeles, the Association of Indiana Solid Waste Management Districts Conference in Bloomington, IN, and then WASTECON in Orlando. 

Hope to see you at an upcoming conference!

Elizabeth Roe
Eco Partners
And now, the hard tons!
Photo credit: iStock.com | RTimages

In his presentation at the Indiana Recycling Coalition Conference last month, Jerry Powell, Executive Editor at Resource Recycling, told the audience that, "We've obtained the easy tons. Now we have to go after the hard tons." 


Powell elaborated, "After two decades of important growth, recycling's rate of increase has declined. We are capturing the easiest tons, thus making growth harder and more expensive than in the past." He then went on to share a dozen issues and trends that will shape the future of recycling. These included:

  1. The evolving ton: Today's ton of recyclables has far more plastic, far less fiber, and no growth for metals.
  2. More aggressive programs: Landfill bans, product bans, pay-as-you-throw and mandatory participation are predicted.
  3. Adding food discards: Powell predicts food waste to be added to existing organics collection and composting systems.
  4. Growing Extended Producer Responsibility: With some needed revision, this will become the prevailing waste management model in the coming years, except for paper and packaging.
  5. Continued consolidation: Recyclables will be collected and processed by fewer and fewer players.
Powell's presentation was informative and educational; we struggled to catch all the pertinent information he shared! Fortunately, you can read Jerry Powell's full presentation.

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