Rubicon’s Chief Strategy Officer, Michael Allegretti, was recently quoted in American Recycler on how some municipalities are struggling to contend with increasing waste streams. Here’s what he had to say.
Municipalities continue to struggle with their communities’ waste and recycling streams.
Their attention is turning toward the health of their landfills as more recyclables are ending up there because of low commodity prices – and tipping prices continue to climb.
According to Michael Allegretti, chief strategy officer at Rubicon, there are a host of issues contributing to the impact on municipal waste and recycling programs, most notably depressed commodity prices. Combine that with decades long increasing contamination rates from single stream recycling and the China National Sword mandates, and the faults in America’s current recycling systems are clearly being laid bare.
“Here in America, we collectively need to kick our addiction to landfills – we can’t bury our waste problems into perpetuity,” Allegretti said. “Something needs to change. What we need to be doing as a society is investing in recycling infrastructure and education programs across the country which will result in less waste going to landfills.”
“Here at Rubicon, we are putting technology behind education with products like RUBICONView, which helps digitize the data from waste audits, and in turn make that data actionable for cities and municipalities,” Allegretti said. “Every time we read a story about waste disposal companies dumping their recyclable material into landfills, it chips away at the public trust. As an industry, we need to focus not only on education for residents about the proper ways to recycle; but on education for businesses about the how to correctly implement the waste and recycling programs that their communities have adopted.”
Industry experts agreed that the China National Sword policy was a wake-up call for the U.S.. As Allegretti explained, the time has come to build a twenty-first century waste and recycling system that can keep up with the demands of an ever-growing population, and an infrastructure that can be built to ensure that we are never again dependent on exporting our waste.
“We have seen the investment community rally around those companies and organizations that are committed to sustainability,” Allegretti said. “This will only increase as the awareness and impact of recycling – and not recycling – dictate who businesses and consumers will buy goods and services from in the future.”