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The past decade has been quite riveting for the eco-movement. It has been an era accentuating ecofriendly urban housing, and cardboard recycling. We are continuing to see a similar course today with new sustainable development projects and recycling measures. To have a better insight into where we are headed in the future; we have rounded up a few anticipated trends which you shouldn’t brush aside in the near future.
Plastic is expected to take a back seat, because considerable attention is being paid to plastic-generated waste already. In particular, Styrofoam is being discussed widely, forcing the cities to place ban on food packaging made out of polystyrene foam. While it is pretty durable and cost effective, the light weight makes it prone to being spread by the wind. Besides, it can seep styrene (an artificial compound) into the earth and groundwater. Phasing out of unsustainable and pervasive plastics is expected to be widespread in the form of prohibitions on Styrofoam and bans on plastic shopping bags in the coming months in which case biodegradable plastics will become the next suitable substitute.
Millions of tons of food is held at the bottom of landfill, which could have otherwise been turned into a fine compost material for municipal or personal use. Given this development municipalities’ across USA are beginning to devise programs for organic material composting, with a few of them even making it compulsory. As composting is a relatively new practice, people’s approval of it on a large scale is yet to be observed. We can only hope it continues to grow!
The legislations pertaining to pro digital transaction (like Electronic Transactions Regulations 2000, and EPA 2012) would allow the commercial businesses to report their hazardous waste data to the authorities via an “e-manifest”. This would turn commercial waste tracking more orderly and efficient. As the digital record system generate less waste, gladly more institutions and businesses will be forced into boarding this digital ship!
Most of you must be disgusted by the cigarette butts gathered on street curbs, sidewalks and roadways. Probably not anymore as the new TerraCycle’s Cigarette Waste Brigade recycling program (Lancaster city) will demonstrate. It allows people to collect and send cigarette waste directly to TerraCycle which then turns the trash to compost. Projects like this are expected to grow, because the citizens have already showed their hearty thumbs up to this measure. As more people begin to realize the importance of this waste stream, further municipalities are expected to follow suit.
What if a whole new market opens up incorporating the use of plastic waste in 3D printing? Although 3D printing increase our reliance on plastic, grinded plastic from around our homes can prove to be a feasible option for printing. It is already happening on a small scale as the company ReDeTe designed a plastic recycling machine for home and small-business 3-D printers. The concept is still novel but has a great potential of using 3D printing in a sustainable manner!
The international community is expected to come together for e-waste management. As the hazardous e-waste stream continues and becomes difficult to ignore, we can expect an international interest evolving around this issue. The United Nations is already tracking E-waste management status across the world which would bring about innovative trends and developments down the road of electronic waste management.
The future of recycling holds plenty to look forward to. It is yet to see which trend leaves the other behind. We are specially rooting for a paperless environment, and an efficient e-waste management system. What do you think?