A Look at the Future of Recycling

Garbage collectorRecycling is more or less part of everyone’s lives today. Whether one actively practices it or not, it doesn’t matter. Parts of the rubbish people produce go to recycling plants every year. And some processes, such as recycling waste paper, are easy enough to perform at home.

What does the future hold for recycling in general?

By the Numbers

The world produces roughly 2.6 trillion pounds of waste yearly. Some 44% of this comes from member nations of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). In other words, these are the richer countries.

Much of the waste consists of food and paper. Organic trash comprises roughly half of the world’s solid waste. European countries lead the world in recycling averages: Germany recycles the most at 56.1%.

Only two non-European nations (South Korea and Singapore) are in the top 10 amidst Austria, Wales Switzerland, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, and Slovenia.

What Drives the Future?

A rising global population means more waste. Recycling efforts will have to double or even triple within the next several decades to keep up with demand. Manufacturers are also likely to take responsibility for the bulk of recycling duties. More people will join the fray, which will lead to increased investment.

More investment will mean better chances for improved recycling processes. Perhaps recycling will mean more than just reusing. There are talks of harnessing energy from waste, and it’s a scientific possibility. Turning rubbish into power can be a $37.65 billion industry by 2020, according to research.

While sustainability remains a major obstacle, there is a relatively positive outlook. Investments in biotechnology, thermal technology, and the improvement of biodegradable-focused production are increasing.

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Closing Thoughts

The world will see more rubbish pile up in landfills. All that waste must go somewhere. Dumping them beneath the earth isn’t always a good idea. Here’s to hoping that more nations will take action to combat global waste production increase.