Waste Management truck refueling.

News of Waste Management’s investment in a recycled board company was of interest to readers in 2022. | Courtesy of WM

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‚Äôs goal.

 

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