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Landfilling vs. Recycling

Truth About Trash
The trash issue is not overstated
Trash in the U.S.

According to EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency), the recycling rate in the United States in 2014 is 34.6%, almost 5 times of the rate 50 years ago. However, this increasing trend has been slowing down since 2010. Also, materials worth around $9 billion are discarded each year. Among all types of MSW discards, food, accounting for 21.1%, is thrown away the most. Second it is plastics, 17.7%, and then paper & paperboard, 15.15%. Professor Thomas Kinnaman from Bucknell University pointed out that U.S. does not create more trash than other countries, but lags behind other leading countries around the globe, such as Austria and Germany. Both countries keep recycling rates above 62%, almost double the rate of the U.S.

Landfill is not the solution
Landfilling Issues

Based on landfill measurements from a research team, led by Jon Powell from Yale University, each American sent about 1,871 pounds of waste into landfill in 2013. Together, Americans toss away enough trash every day to fill 63,000 garbage trucks. Those thrown away trash in a year, if lined up, could connect a path way over 100,000 miles. The U.S. landfill capacity crisis starts to create tension in the U.S. Recycling industry. Data from Waste Business Journal discloses that the U.S. landfill capacity is expected to lose 15.6% in 2021, as compared to that in 2015. At this loss rate, only 15 years’ worth of capacity will remain in 2021. Besides, toxins, leachate and greenhouse gas are three major problems related to landfilling, which cannot be perfectly conquered for now.

Never too late to pursue Zero Waste
Zero Waste Initiative

According to a survey among American and publicized on Statista in 2017, only 15% of respondents know Zero Waste Movement and 63% have no idea of what it is. However, given the limited capacity of landfills as well as other environmental concerns, closing the loop on waste generation should be adopted by all corporates. In addition to green practices, Zero Waste initiative could guide a company on operation efficiency, cost savings, risk management, revenue stream exploration and etc. As to a community or a society, Zero Waste initiative is a fast and cost effective strategy to act against greenhouse gas emission and related climate issues. Comparing to recycling management, Zero Waste aims for ultimate waste elimination from the source.

Recycling Management As the First Step

According to the report "Trash in America" released by U.S. PIRG in 2018, "90% of materials are ultimately dumped or burned." Even though a circular economy backed by Zero Waste is the goal, it is hard to be achieved directly without undergoing previous stages, such as recycling management.

Recyclable Materials

  • Metals

    Aluminum Cans, Steel Cans, Tin cans

  • Paper and Cardboard

    Office Paper, News Paper, Mail...

  • Plastics

    Plastic Bottles or Containers

  • Glass

    Glass Bottles or Containers

  • Bulbs & Ballasts

    LED, Fluorescent and Incandescent Bulbs

  • Electronic Wastes

    Button Batteries, Rechargeable Batteries...

Impact of Recycling

Major methods of waste or recycling management include landfilling, incineration, composition and pyrolysis. Waste collection and recycling management help to save landfill spaces, conserve natural resources and reduce manufacturing costs as well as energy consumption by limiting the production of new goods. However, those methods expose both environment and human to potential hazards. For example, when ordinary trashes are mixed with harmful wastes, such as batteries and pesticides, toxic chemicals can be generated and spread diseases further.

Recycling to Zero Landfill

Zero Landfill is an essential component and preceding stage of Zero Waste. In order to reach a landfill waste diversion rate at 100%, The Astor Company assists businesses to take the first step through sustainability audits to discover more recyclables, identify landfill baselines and set up landfilling goals. Besides the strategic level, The Astor Company also provides firm-wise education and engagement plans to ensure collective efforts. Periodic review and strategy adjustment are always available along this collective journey of waste stream commoditization and Zero Landfill.

Leverage it Or Waste it?
& Say "Yes" To Zero Waste!

Zero Waste is never too far to be realized. Not only for each business's own sakes, but for the environment and wellness of the whole society, every business should start taking actions today.

Astor Zero-Waste Program Cost Savings
Astor Zero Waste Program Cost Savings 1st Year 2nd Year 3rd Year 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Trash Expense Savings 18% 32% 42%

As one case result shown on the left, The Astor Company has successfully helped its clients in leveraging Zero Waste practices to cut down expenses. Beyond the financial aspect, we helped the client to optimize work flow and stregthen its environmental responsible image.