The COVID-19 pandemic has affected a large number of industries as people were forced to adapt to social distancing rules. However, there are some lesser-known industries that have been hit harder than the rest by the pandemic, with the U.S. garbage recycling industry being one of them.
A large number of items that can be marked as reusable or communal have been barred from minimizing the spread of the coronavirus from one person to another, with high volumes of waste forming at an accelerated pace.
Many sellers have brought back the single-use plastic bag with the decision being taken at a company-wide or state level in some cases. Many plastic industry lobbyists have also started to promote the removal of plastic bag bans, citing that the reusable bags can b a major health risk for users. The distrusts in communal and secondhand goods continues to grow, a phenomenon that could lead to dire effects in the long run.
Since March 2020, a major influx in the amount of municipal garbage has been observed in several cities, with the amount of garbage and recyclables rising by up to 50% across several cities.
A stressed market
The global recycling market has been affected substantially since 2018 when China and a selection of other countries have imposed a ban on the import of low-quality scrap, which is represented by somewhat dirty food packaging and recyclable materials which aren’t sorted well. In the wake of these changes, the demand for 700,000 tons of scap has vanished.
In an ideal world, the revenue obtained from recycling would mitigate the cost of collection and dispose of solid wastes. Issues among which we can count worker safety concerns, lower prices for scrap, and affordable disposal alternatives have made recycling unattractive.
The amount of plastic waste is on the rise as single-use plastic containers, disposable gloves, and other plastic consumables become more popular.