Examining the trends that pushed and pulled on the industry over the past year can help provide insight into the 12 months yet to come.
Below are our 10 most-read stories from 2022 (organized in descending order, with the most-read article in the No. 1 position at the bottom). The list reflects a wide variety of interests, including hauler and paper plant announcements, policies such as EPR and bottle deposits, recycling rate data tracking, commodities markets and more.
10 | Analysts: US OCC recycling rate may be below 70%
AUGUST 29: Two corrugated industry experts have crunched the numbers and concluded that the OCC recycling rate is likely much lower than estimates published by the paper manufacturing sector.
9 | Keurig agrees to $10 million settlement, recycling disclaimer
MARCH 1: Keurig Green Mountain reached a class-action settlement with a consumer who sued over coffee pod recyclability claims, agreeing to pay $10 million and add language indicating the cups are “not recycled in many communities.”
8 | San Antonio selects Balcones for $113 million MRF contract
APRIL 7: The seventh-largest city in the U.S. is switching recycling sortation contractors, with a unanimous vote April 7 to approve a contract with Balcones Resources. The city previously had a processing deal with Republic Services.
7 | Paper and packaging EPR bill passes in Colorado
MAY 11: Colorado’s governor has been sent a bill establishing extended producer responsibility (EPR) for printed paper and packaging, a major development in the wider industry conversation about reshaping the funding model for municipal recycling.
6 | WM teams with equity firm to grow recycled board company
JANUARY 13: A joint venture between Waste Management and an investment firm will recycle plastic and paper scrap into a construction material.
5 | National bottle bill likely to land in Congress soon
FEBRUARY 8: West Coast lawmakers plan to introduce a national container deposit bill that one advocate says has a better chance of passing than past proposals because of wide “industry engagement.”
4 | Greenpeace report: No US plastic is truly recyclable
OCTOBER 25: An updated report from Greenpeace USA maintains that no plastics in the U.S. actually meet the definition of recyclable and calls for companies to switch to other materials.
3 | More price drops for recycled paper and plastic
SEPTEMBER 13: The commodities market downturn continues to punish MRFs, with plummeting prices for OCC, mixed paper, PET and HDPE this month.
2 | Michigan paper mill finds new solution for residuals
JULY 19: Collaboration between an industry group and several Michigan organizations helped Great Lakes Tissue think outside the carton when it comes to its use of recycled material.
1 | California’s diversion rate is now at 42%
JANUARY 18: California’s combined recycling/composting rate increased by 5 percentage points in 2020, but the number fell far short of the state’s goal.