What is Recycling Waste Management?

J. Airman

Recycling waste management is the collection, segregation, and elimination of recyclable materials. The basic operational function of a recycling waste management company is to determine the difference between reusable materials and worthless trash. Incoming trash is often sorted first to remove hazardous materials and harmful contaminants and again to harvest items that can be recycled. Many waste recyclers are able to sell collected materials directly to companies that make use of them. Unusable garbage is generally incinerated or moved to a landfill location.

Some medical waste materials can be recycled after being thoroughly sanitized.
Some medical waste materials can be recycled after being thoroughly sanitized.

The ultimate goal of recycling is to reduce waste. Discarded items can have a second life of usefulness without wasting all the effort it took to get them to where they are. Recycling waste management firms constantly seek to find new homes for recyclables to turn a liability into a product. Old tires are recycled into safe, resilient playground surfaces, and a profit is turned from what could have been wasted. As garbage changes, recycling waste management companies need to come up with new and inventive ways to locate buyers for what some consider unwanted materials.

Electronic waste, such as old monitors, may be accepted at a waste management facility.
Electronic waste, such as old monitors, may be accepted at a waste management facility.

Some traditional waste management companies do very little or no recycling. The job of the trash man or woman is becoming increasingly complex with more garbage varieties entering the waste system each year. Many outdated electronic devices have a collection of recyclable parts as well as hazardous materials. Recycling waste management is a green business model that turns trash into cash. Waste management business owners can often be persuaded to integrate recycling programs when they make money and reduce disposal fees.

Recycling waste can help create new materials, such as copy paper.
Recycling waste can help create new materials, such as copy paper.

Consumers are frequently able to sell presorted recyclable materials directly to a recycling waste management location. Materials are commonly purchased by the recycling companies by the pound. Aluminum cans and glass or plastic bottles are the most common items to be directly sold to recyclers. Construction contractors sometimes sell large bails of recyclable pipes or cable leftover from a building project. People who sell recycled materials are often paid in cash right away.

Recycling turns waste into reusable materials.
Recycling turns waste into reusable materials.

Toxic waste is often compiled by recycling waste management companies for proper disposal through official state or county waste disposal resources. Public taxes or small fees often cover the government cost of disposing of the toxic waste safely. Dangerous materials sent to a landfill may contaminate the land and water supply. Recycling waste management companies may receive discounts or tax incentives for eliminating hazardous materials from the waste stream.

Glass and plastic bottles are the most common items to be directly sold to recyclers.
Glass and plastic bottles are the most common items to be directly sold to recyclers.
Proper recycling waste management includes disposing of old fluids.
Proper recycling waste management includes disposing of old fluids.
In some communities, recycling collection is offered in addition to trash collection.
In some communities, recycling collection is offered in addition to trash collection.
Aluminum soda cans are frequently recycled.
Aluminum soda cans are frequently recycled.
Old tires can be recycled into safe and resilient playground surfaces.
Old tires can be recycled into safe and resilient playground surfaces.

Discussion Comments

Vincenzo

@Soulfox -- I think I would absolutely hate that. Since when did the government have the authority to force me to recycle or not?

On the other hand, I bet there was a lucrative gray market for people who had leftover trash bags. One could make a decent business buying those up (or getting them from people who were moving out of town) for cheap and selling them for a pile of cash.

Not a bad idea...

Soulfox

@Soulfox -- I once lived in a city that provided some motivation for recycling. This city gave citizens a recycling bin and 104 trash bags per year. The idea was to force people to recycle so they wouldn't use more than 104 trash bags. If they needed more trash bags, those things were ridiculously expensive.

That system wasn't perfect, but it did motivate people to recycle. If you give people a way to save money, they will always be motivated.

Logicfest

@Terrificli -- A huge problem with those systems is that consumers have very little motivation to separate things. If they can dump everything in the trash bin and that stuff will be collected and tossed in the dump, why should people bother separating trash from recyclables? Because they'll feel good about doing something to protect the environment?

That's never been a good enough reason to get people to rally behind recycling and it never will be. You've got to give people a reason to recycle or a lot of them simply won't do it. A lot of these cities have programs in which they provide a recycling bin, maybe release some instructions on what should be recycled and leave the rest to consumers. That is a recipe for failure.

Terrificli

A problem with getting trash collection folks to segregate garbage from recyclables is that it can be a time consuming and expensive process. A good number of cities provide recycling bins to citizens and ask the to essentially do that segregation process themselves.

Quite often, you have one truck collecting trash and another one collecting recyclables. Boom! Everything is segregated with minimal effort from the trash collection folks.

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