When wishcycling met rosy scenario: Recycling goals should be ambitious but also need to be realistic

Read the full story at Waste360.

Wishcycling is the bane of recycling programs. It happens when well-intentioned people put the wrong thing in a recycling bin. Usually, they do this because they hope the item is recyclable.

This wishful thinking creates problems for recycling facilities. Processing equipment doesn’t work on the power of wishes.  Instead, it has to find and reject the misplaced item.  Some wishcycling is harmful.  Plastic bags are a particular problem because of their ability to clog processing machinery.

Unfortunately, legislators and recycling advocates are also guilty of wishcycling. This happens when they endorse policies that sound good on paper but fail to take into account either science or human behavior. I’ve seen more and more of this in the last few years due to the increase in recycling bills at the state and federal levels. 

As millions of solar panels age out, recyclers hope to cash in

Read the full story at e360.

Solar panels have a lifespan of 25 to 30 years, but they contain valuable metals, including silver and copper. With a surge of expired panels expected soon, companies are emerging that seek to recycle the reusable materials and keep the panels out of landfills.

To raise recycling rates, The Recycling Partnership advocates for packaging EPR in every state

Read the full story from Waste Dive.

The Recycling Partnership’s new report encourages support for “smart, well-designed” EPR for packaging programs. TRP’s Dylan de Thomas explains what that could look like.

Update: Lithium-ion battery collection reaches new high

Read the full story at Waste Today.

Call2Recycle, the consumer battery stewardship and collection program that is headquartered in Atlanta, has released its battery collection data for 2022, revealing that nearly 8 million pounds of batteries were collected for recycling in the U.S., which is 2 percent less than in 2021. However, the total figure includes more than 3 million pounds of lithium-ion batteries, which Call2Recycle says is the highest number of these batteries collected in its history.

Rinse and repeat: An easy new way to recycle batteries is here

Read the full story from Berkeley Lab.

Berkeley Lab scientists invented a material that will make it simple and economical to recycle a wide range of batteries.

Vestas claims major breakthough in wind turbine blade recycling

Read the full story from Renew Economy.

Danish wind energy giant Vestas has unveiled a new method of recycling epoxy-based wind turbine blades that stands to revolutionise the circularity and recyclability of the wind energy industry.

Traditionally, wind turbine blades have proven difficult to recycle due to the chemical properties of epoxy resin – a substance virtually relied upon across the industry as a binder for carbon fibre reinforcement due to its light weight and resistance to fatigue.

Unfortunately, epoxy resin is believed to be impossible to break down into reusable components, meaning that wind turbine blades reaching the end of their usable lifespan have often been dumped into landfills.

In a landmark discovery that Vestas hopes will change this, the company has developed a new chemical process that is capable of breaking down epoxy resin into virgin-grade materials.

Creating a sustainable shingle

Read the full story at Construction & Demolition Recycling.

Mark Leo, director of sustainability for Owens Corning, discusses the company’s recently launched shingle recycling facility in Indianapolis.

The challenges of solar panel recycling

Read the full story at Resource.

Solar panel waste is set to increase by more than 4000 per cent in the next decade. Is the solar panel recycling industry ready to handle these volumes? With demand for new panels increasing exponentially and raw materials scarce, the race is on.

EU-to-US scrap plastics trade under threat

Read the full story at Resource Recycling.

A branch of the European Union wants to end all exports of recovered plastics within the next four years, a move that would undoubtedly disrupt trade with the U.S. One company leader suggested the impacts could hinge on what the EU decides to consider “waste.”

The European Parliament on Jan. 17 voted overwhelmingly in favor of a plan to update the EU’s Waste Shipment Regulation (WSR) by eventually ending all plastic waste exports from the continent. The proposal would also impose new requirements on any non-plastic scrap material exported from the EU for recycling. 

Several industry groups have sounded the alarm, saying such a move would restrict the free trade of commodities moving to legitimate recycling markets. 

DOE report touts chemical recycling R&D opportunities while noting plastic’s environmental justice issues

Read the full story at Waste Dive and download the report.

The U.S. Department of Energy plans to invest in long-term research and development to improve existing plastic recycling technologies and invent new methods it hopes will cut U.S. energy consumption and prevent pollution.

The DOE recently published its Strategy for Plastics Innovation report, which calls for advancing certain chemical recycling technologies and improving mechanical recycling. It also calls for doing more with biodegradable and bio-based plastics technology and approaching R&D projects with a more intentional environmental justice focus.