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Webinar: COVID-19 and its Effects on Recycling

On Tuesday, March 31, The Recycling Partnership hosted a webinar for cities, states and industry partners to provide timely and comprehensive information about the state of the recycling and solid waste industry during the times of COVID-19. We heard from the leading voices at our most trusted industry publications: Cole Rosengren, Senior Editor at Waste Dive, and Colin Staub, Senior Reporter at Resource Recycling, who provided an overview of the latest COVID-19 news as it relates to recycling and took questions from webinar participants.


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Top Five Takeaways from COVID-19 and its Effects on Recycling Webinar

  1. Recycling is an essential service. The federal government has officially recognized recycling as an essential service, matching what we already know from consumer research on the importance of recycling to all Americans. We strongly encourage local governments, material recovery facilities, and haulers to continue this essential service in a way that is safe for all involved. Preserving recycling is as much about preserving the economy as it is the environment. Businesses rely on the recyclables collected at curbside as their largest source for recycled content so they can remake them into new, safe products that support the U.S. health system and other critical supply chains, and as part of the circular economy.
  2. The well-being of our solid waste workers is more important now than ever. We recognize the critical role our nation’s hard-working solid waste and recycling professionals play. For guidance on keeping your solid waste staff safe while they provide this essential service, please refer to your local health department and to OSHA’s Guidance on Municipal Solid Waste. The Recycling Partnership will continue to share resources for programs to make their own informed decisions.
  3. The market shifts currently happening as a result of COVID-19 are significant and will have lasting effects as the world responds. As service providers and communities alike have been forced to temporarily suspend curbside recycling programs and amend drop-off program policies, supply for manufacturing feedstock from recyclable materials are becoming constrained. During this difficult time, we may see commercial volumes transitioning to the home and recycling volumes increasing at the household due to more people staying home. While supply and demand is rapidly shifting, any analysis right now is necessarily incomplete. Which leads us to our next point…
  4. There are still a lot of questions. No one likes to say, “I don’t know.” But unfortunately, the questions we’re all asking are too important to guess on the answer. We are actively looking for more information on how the virus spreads, where and how it stays on certain surfaces, how stay-at-home orders are altering resident behavior, and how the markets will shift as a result of all these factors.
  5. We are all doing our best to get you those answers. Industry leaders are currently working tirelessly to provide their readers and members the most up-to-date, accurate information of the COVID-19 outbreak and how it impacts the recycling industry:


Did you see our COVID-19 Industry Update on May 27? Check out that webinar and recap here.

All other webinar recordings from The Recycling Partnership can be found here.