Recycling has been a major way of negotiating with the tons of waste generated every day in the United States, with quite a few organizations making a business out of it. However, the cost of recycling has risen monumentally, almost four times of what it initially was, and this has prompted hundreds of cities around the country to abandon recycling projects and adopt more conventional methods like landfills and incineration.
As the environment has been depleting at an alarming rate, recycling, as a method to deal with the different kind of wastes generated, seemed like the best option for conserving it. This prompted a sort of revolution where almost the whole of US took appropriate steps to encourage the idea of recycling among all. However, if you look at the situation right now, the waste generated by half of the population of Philadelphia is sending to the incinerator while the contents of the recycle bins in Memphis airport directly go to nearby landfills. Even Florida realized that recycling was not cutting the deal anymore and thus, suspended it. This story is echoed by hundreds of other cities and has a lot of implication.
One of the main reason why the problem with recycling escalated is due to the fact that China, which had been the main receiver of recycled material from the US stopped doing so, post-2018. The reason they gave was that too much trash was being transported along with the recycled products, especially in cardboards and plastics. India and Thailand are the two other major importers in this aspect, but they have a complex set of policies in place. Since the recycling companies were not making money like before, they started charging more from the states for the process. Difficult decisions had to be taken and numerous states decided against paying the exorbitant amounts for recycling and instead decided to resort to other methods.
The companies that have benefitted maximally from this altered approach of dealing with wastes are the recycling companies themselves as they themselves run the landfill and incineration method of the waste disposal system. Recycling was considered as the “loss leaders” by these organizations as the profit margin was less. However, there is no denying the fact that recycling is undoubtedly one of the best methods of dealing with wastes, so a solution regarding the soaring prices needs to be obtained sooner rather than later.