The future of recycling for people, packagers, policymakers

Updated: Oct 28, 2018


By Cole Rosengren

Recycling is a bigger part of the public conversation than it has been in years, if not decades, as ripple effects continue to emanate one year afterChina's import ban announcement.

As this disrupts global trade flows, reshapes local recycling programs and creates new investment opportunities, it has also resurfaced long-running questions about whose responsibility it is to ensure the whole enterprise remains viable.

Without a national policy in place, the short answer is often that it's everybody's responsibility. Brands and packaging manufacturers have a role in thinking about what they sell. Consumers have a role in what they buy and what happens once they're finished using it. MRF operators have a role in responsibly managing the material that reaches their lines. State and local policymakers have a role in shaping long-term environmental goals and regulating regional systems. 

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