It’s been about two years since China’s National Sword started to impact the U.S. recycling landscape. “Many cities and haulers are feeling the pinch of reduced revenues from recycling, increases in the cost of processing, and other factors that affect the viability of the programs and it has led some municipalities and haulers to stop their recycling programs altogether,” explains Suzie Vance, VERDE Business Programs Director.
According to SWANA, Applied Research Foundation’s Recycling Group’s report about resetting curbside recycling programs in the wake of China’s decision, “National Sword has contributed substantially to a 50% reduction in the revenues received from the sale of recyclables recovered through curbside recycling. In addition, it has resulted in increased processing costs and residue rates at material recovery facilities (MRFs).”
“The market is rough for some haulers, plus the competition is fierce because municipalities are shopping around in order to avoid price increases, but that doesn’t mean that the industry doesn’t also have some opportunities as people care more and more about green businesses,” says Sandra Hungate, VERDE Vice President. In a global online survey by Nielsen, 81% of respondents feel strongly that companies should help improve the environment.
“That means that now is the time for haulers to shine green in order to win over municipalities and subscription-based residents. Haulers that offer environmental education and incentives will have an additional value than haulers who stick with just picking up materials,” adds Hungate. VERDE’s recent survey (Sept-Oct 2019) shows these results: over 57% agreed that having access to VERDE’s Recycling Perks program makes them feel more favorably toward their recycling hauler; 19.5% responded that they’re undecided.
In a survey published in June, Accenture found, “Nearly three-quarters (72%) of respondents said they’re currently buying more environmentally friendly products than they were five years ago, and 81% said they expect to buy more over the next five years,” so the future is looking green for haulers, and for residents. “Our educational outreach programs help haulers show that they want to do more than just pick up people’s waste; it shows they care for people to learn other ways of being greener like reducing waste, reusing, and more. Plus our incentive program supports businesses while giving back money to people for recycling, so the hauler wins on all fronts by offering such a program,” explains Bill Dempsey, VERDE President.