Growth of the Recycling Industry: Why Should Consumers Be Aware of the Trends?
The average consumer is probably not that aware of trends within the recycling industry. After all, most people are probably worried about other things right now, like losing their jobs during the pandemic. However, the growth of the recycling industry is important because the opportunities and challenges affect everyone. This is true even on a global level.
What Are the Opportunities?
There is a clear opportunity right now to influence the growth of the recycling industry in the area of sorting and collection of recyclables. The most obvious opportunity is the education of consumers so they will be motivated to sort, standardize, and collect recyclables at the point of collection. In some places, this is easy because the consumers who reside there are already concerned about the impact on the environment.
Another opportunity that has cropped up is the education of recycling industry employees. Employees who are aware of their role in saving the environment may be more motivated to work in a recycling facility. They will know the value of their jobs, aside from being the source of their salaries. If they are given more training in recycling tasks, this may lead to an increase in their compensation. The manager of the recycling industry may also be more inclined to retain trained and motivated employees for the long term.
What Are the Challenges?
One challenge that can affect the growth of the recycling industry is the changes in technology for manufacturing containers. Take, for example, a laminated paper cup used for coffee takeaway. Some recycling facilities have the right technology for separating the paper from the plastic laminate covering. But other facilities might not have that technology. This may result in facilities forwarding discarded paper cups to landfills instead of these being processed for recycling.
Another major challenge is that facilities need personnel who are familiar with the machines and processes used in recycling. This is necessary so that there is no avoidable downtime when machines or processes develop problems. It may be necessary to train personnel on the job for this, or at least conduct on-the-job exposure. The operations manager might be the prime candidate for such training. Other employees may show the right capabilities for this aspect as well.
The Good Example Set By Sweden
Although not promoted prominently on a global level, Sweden pushed for active recycling and resource recovery efforts. The country accomplished this through its national legislation, as well as its policy framework. This seems to be a pattern in other countries in Europe as well. It all begins with having the right motivation to look for solutions.
Recycling, like any other industry, has to contend with cost issues as well. The more challenges that crop up, the more costly it gets. Fortunately, consumers may be getting wiser about what containers and packaging their food and things come in. So this may mean consumers will be leading the way to spark positive changes within the global recycling industry. Industry players may also be able to find positive solutions to encourage further recycling efforts throughout the world.
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