How Recycling Has Changed Over the Years : Klumm Bros.

How Recycling Has Changed Over the Years

September 18, 2021

New knowledge, technology and innovation have changed the way we do everything. Recycling is no exception. Has recycling evolved since it started? Definitely. Over the years, we have learned more about how to protect, conserve and reuse resources in better ways. The recycling industry has come into being and has continued to change with the times to better respond to our environmental needs.

How has recycling changed in 2021? It continues to evolve to meet the challenges of new waste materials and disposal methods. Let’s take a look at some background on waste, disposal and recycling to see how this industry has developed and where recycling might be headed in the future.

Why we need recycling

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) refers to trash as municipal solid waste (MSW). This includes the items that consumers throw away. Examples include food, boxes, bottles, computers, refrigerators and tires. MSW does not include items such as construction and demolition debris or other industrial wastes.

In 2018, consumers in the United States generated 292.4 million tons of MSW. This is up from the 208.3 million tons generated in 1990. It is even a significant jump from 2017, which saw 267.8 million tons of MSW generated. With so much trash piling up each year, we need solutions to minimize this waste. Enter recycling.

Trends in recycling

Since the 1960s, recycling and composting rates have been on the rise. In 1960, these rates were at a mere 6 percent. By 1980, they had risen to 10 percent, and in 1990 the rate had grown again, to 16 percent. In 2018, the recycling and composting rates were at 32 percent.

In other good news, landfilling of waste has also changed. In 1960, 94 percent of the MSW generated went into landfills. In 2018, this percentage had dropped to 50 percent.

The biggest growth in recycling has been post-1990. Over the time period of 1990 to 2005, it grew quickly and has since slowed somewhat in the last few years. However, green trends continue to grow. In 2018, almost 94 million tons of MSW were recycled and composted, as well as another 17.7 million tons of other food management items. These numbers are up from 2015.

How has recycling changed in 2021?

One of the biggest factors affecting waste management in 2021 is the global COVID-19 pandemic. With public safety concerns in mind, waste management facilities must take extra precautions when it comes to their disposal and recycling methods. Items that could potentially carry harmful pathogens must be handled appropriately to prevent spread of the virus. Recycling experts continue to examine the best methods to minimize both waste and risk.

We’re here to help

Klumm Bros. is committed to having the right equipment to ensure every job is done right, with minimal waste and top safety measures. We offer commercial, industrial and residential demolition, excavation, concrete crushing, concrete removal, dump trucking, stone slinging and roll-off box services. Our team has been serving the area since 1989. Book our services individually or combine them to meet your specific project needs. For more information, or to start your estimate, contact Klumm Bros. today.

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