The Future of Recycling

The future at ecomaine is EXCITING!  As we have been since 1990, we are fully committed to recycling and sustainable solid waste management – no matter what we might hear about communities changing or eliminating recycling programs!

We are more committed than ever to recovering recyclable paper, cardboard, metal, glass, and plastic from Mainers’ waste streams, and re-employing them in manufacturing, saving our environment, saving money, and keeping these resources out of landfills!

Read more: ecomaine CEO: Commitment to recycling will pay off as markets rebound

Many media outlets have proclaimed that, with China’s withdrawal from the recyclable imports markets, “recycling is dead.”  However, at ecomaine, this couldn’t be further from the truth.  While recycling markets were down for a time, the demand for post-consumer materials is now trending upward.  The recycling markets are circular ones, and we are confident that – with the right strategies, technology, and education, we are well-poised to continue our commitment to recycling!

And there is recently some great movement in domestic investment in paper mills that will increase demand in our post-consumer paper.  Since 2017, we have seen nearly 20 mills announce significant investments in this type of capability – the more demand that comes online in the years ahead, the greater the demand will be!

ecomaine‘s dedication to the solid waste hierarchy – which is in state statute and guidance from the Environmental Protection Agency – tells us that reduction, reuse, and recycling are preferable to putting our waste into a hole in the ground, where it will stay for generations – or forever.  To give up on recycling for one or two difficult years is short-sighted, and ecomaine will always consider the long view.

Read more: Amid questions of recycling, CEO speaks out

We will advocate for policies that follow the hierarchy at the local and state level. We will continue to follow the hierarchy when making our own business decisions.  We will invest in technology and domestic recycling programs that are increasing in the wake of these market challenges.  And most importantly, we provide public outreach and education around sustainable solid waste decision making.  When the challenges in the markets came along, ecomaine doubled down on its commitment to recycling education!  ecomaine is in schools, towns, and on tours with our residents every day of the week – get in touch to schedule something for yourself!

Read more: Opinion: Taking the long view of municipal recycling

Katrina Venhuizen, speaking at Edna Libby Elementary School in Standish, ME. Photos by Brian Fitzgerald.

The alternative to reducing, reusing, and recycling our waste is putting it into a landfill – and that is not a sustainable, long-term solution.

For more information about what is and isn’t recyclable, and what to reuse, or what does have to go in the trash, check out our free Recyclopedia app, our popular Do/Don’t lists, or our Recycling & Waste Disposal info page.