Deep Dive

Industry insights from our journalists


  • Compost, bird, California
    Image attribution tooltip
    Justin Sullivan via Getty Images

    Is California’s 2025 organics diversion target still viable?

    An independent commission is now assessing whether course corrections are needed for the state’s landmark SB 1383 law. CalRecycle, WM, Republic Services, Agromin, Anaergia and many others have weighed in.

    Cole Rosengren • Nov. 14, 2022
  • Aerial view of composting operations at a landfill in Orange County, California with mountains in the background
    Image attribution tooltip
    Permission granted by OC Waste & Recycling

    What California’s organics recycling law could mean for the future of landfills

    As the state looks to dramatically reduce disposal volumes in the coming years, the shift is prompting new questions about the waste industry’s operating model. Orange County is one notable landfill operator pivoting to composting.

    Cole Rosengren • Oct. 13, 2022
  • People walking on New York City street, with One World Trade Center rising in the background
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    Spencer Platt via Getty Images

    Los Angeles had a rocky commercial waste zone rollout but is seeing results. What’s in store for New York?

    New York has big goals for its zone system to boost diversion rates, infrastructure investment and labor standards. First, the city and haulers must navigate a transition process that one LA official called “six months of hell.”

    Cole Rosengren • Sept. 19, 2022
  • Person in hard hat and safety vest stands over fast-moving conveyor belt with recyclables in Oregon
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    Natalie Behring via Getty Images

    National Sword kicked off a wave of MRF investments. 5 years later, tech and funding continue to advance.

    While the initial shock led facility operators to scramble, many have since invested millions in new equipment to improve material quality. Now, brand commitments and state policies are expected to be the next big market drivers.

    Megan Quinn • Sept. 14, 2022
  • Two workers in orange shirts and yellow hard hats collect recyclables to throw into a truck, in front of a pizza restaurant in New York City
    Image attribution tooltip
    Courtesy of Boro-Wide Recycling

    New York commercial waste haulers hold their breath after submitting bids for 10-year contracts

    Bids are in to operate in the Department of Sanitation’s upcoming commercial waste zone system. Haulers of all sizes are waiting to learn their fates while operating under lingering pandemic and inflationary pressures.

    Cole Rosengren • Aug. 24, 2022
  • China, shipping, scrap, recycle
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    VCG via Getty Images

    Domestic destinations for recycled paper and plastic are growing. Is National Sword the reason?

    A wave of investments occurred in the U.S. over the last five years, but experts debate how much is due to China's scrap import restrictions versus other economic, environmental and geopolitical factors.

    Katie Pyzyk • Aug. 22, 2022
  • Incinerator stacks with steam and emissions coming out
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    bunhill via Getty Images

    Can carbon capture make incinerators a net-zero solution? European operators aim to find out.

    Climate goals are inspiring European operators to explore new technologies for their emissions, yet the environmental and financial outcomes remain to be seen. Skeptics say reduction, reuse and recycling are still the best options.

    Leslie Nemo • July 26, 2022
  • Conveyor belt with packaged food waste
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    Elizabeth Gribkoff/Waste Dive

    As organics depackager equipment market grows, so do concerns over microplastics contamination

    Companies like Vanguard Renewables are investing millions to facilitate commercial organics recycling as researchers and state regulators work to keep PFAS and microplastics out of the equation.

    Elizabeth Gribkoff • July 18, 2022
  • Aerial view of the Bay Bridge in San Francisco, California with skyline in background
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    Melpomenem via Getty Images

    San Francisco Bay Area, inspiration for California’s organics law, offers recycling lessons and limitations

    Organics recycling has been the norm in San Francisco, Oakland and other jurisdictions for years. Part 5 of our series explores how some are trying to elevate their diversion efforts with residual waste sorting and other strategies.

    Cole Rosengren • Updated July 12, 2022
  • Truck collecting a cart with green waste in San Diego, California, street with parked cars in the background
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    Permission granted by City of San Diego

    How 3 Southern California programs are ramping up organics recycling

    Preparing for SB 1383’s recycling requirements is a bigger lift for areas that didn’t already collect food scraps. Program officials in Los Angeles, San Diego and San Bernardino County share their stories in Part 4 of our series.

    Cole Rosengren • July 7, 2022
  • Entsorga receiving doors in Martinsburg, West Virginia
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    Courtesy of Entsorga West Virginia

    Future of troubled Renovare unclear after West Virginia facility closure, surprise merger reversal

    The company — formerly known as BioHiTech Global — has seen its stock price plummet following financial, operational and legal issues. Former partner Entsorga sees a path forward for its shuttered showcase plant.

    Cole Rosengren • Updated July 1, 2022
  • California state flag and state capitol building in Sacramento
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    DustyPixel via Getty Images

    California's local governments grapple with financial and logistical demands of organics recycling law

    Regulations weren’t finalized for years, and the pandemic delayed many plans. New state grants worth $180 million will help, but more will be needed to meet this unfunded mandate. Read Part 3 of our series.

    Cole Rosengren • June 23, 2022
  • Finished compost if moved off of a conveyor belt into a pile at the Jepson Prairie Organics compost facility April 20, 2009 in Vacaville, California.
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    Justin Sullivan via Getty Images

    Expecting food waste 'tsunami,' California recyclers focus on infrastructure and end markets

    As the state rolls out universal organics collection, major companies such as Agromin, Anaergia, GreenWaste Recovery, Recology, Republic Services and WM are expanding to meet demand. Learn more in Part 2 of our series.

    Cole Rosengren • June 9, 2022
  • Image attribution tooltip
    Justin Sullivan via Getty Images

    Ambitious policy makes California a crucible for investments in organics collection and recycling

    SB 1383, a sweeping law that calls for a 75% reduction in organic waste disposal by 2025 to reduce methane emissions, has spurred a flurry of activity. Is the state's current infrastructure ready to meet the moment? 

    Cole Rosengren • June 3, 2022
  • Two people with hard hats walking past bales of plastic scrap.
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    Natalie Behring via Getty Images

    Big Food's sustainable packaging goals hit supply and demand reality

    As consumer packaged goods companies set targets to cut virgin plastic use, the pandemic, poor weather and war have complicated their timelines.

    Samantha Oller • May 25, 2022
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    Justin Sullivan via Getty Images

    Is jet fuel from waste finally ready for takeoff?

    Multiple projects to create sustainable aviation fuel from waste are underway, including a Fulcrum BioEnergy plant a decade in the making. Questions remain about whether it will be a scalable, viable success for the circular economy.

    Danielle Beurteaux • March 23, 2022
  • Rows of compost ready for sale with panoramic view of Wasatch Front Rocky Mountains, Great Salt Lake Valley in Utah.
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    Jeremy Christensen via Getty Images

    As compost volumes grow, policy and research help boost market expansion

    Composters are continuously exploring market options as organics recycling expands. Transportation projects, carbon sequestration, green roofs and cannabis farming are among many opportunities.

    Leslie Nemo • Feb. 14, 2022
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    Justin Sullivan via Getty Images

    EPR remains top item in state recycling policy debate, but bottle bills and plastic bans also in play

    After a "breakthrough" in 2021, legislators and supporters aim to pass more laws in 2022 they say will improve recycling systems and curb litter. Competing stakeholder perspectives could complicate the finish line for many bills.

    Megan Quinn • Updated Feb. 10, 2022
  • Glass Half Full recycling operation in New Orleans
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    Courtesy of Glass Half Full

    Glass recycling revival relies on a growing number of specialty drop-off and collection programs

    Recyclers in areas such as Kansas City, New Orleans and beyond are bringing new energy to glass recycling after a period of market pressures. Source separation and high quality remain key drivers of their success.

    Katie Pyzyk • Jan. 31, 2022
  • Cardboard baled for recycling
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    Chuyn via Getty Images

    8 questions about the top trends shaping waste and recycling in 2022

    Waste Dive is watching how much longer heightened M&A activity lasts, what it will take to maintain the workforce in a tough market, where organics infrastructure is growing, what's next for recycling and more.

    Cole Rosengren, Megan Quinn and Maria Rachal • Jan. 13, 2022
  • Western Placer Waste Management Authority facilities in California
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    Retrieved from Western Placer Waste Management Authority on January 04, 2022

    FCC Environmental awarded California mixed waste contract worth up to $1.5B

    Placer County's process is an example of how jurisdictions are preparing for major changes under California's SB 1383 organics recycling regulations. FCC won out over GreenWaste, Recology-affiliated Nortech and others.

    Cole Rosengren • Updated April 28, 2022
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    Spencer Platt via Getty Images

    Frustrated by collection worker deaths, industry groups target distracted driving

    Waste and recycling groups believe distracted driving and cellphone usage are key factors in the fatalities. A lack of data on crash causes and disagreements on how to solve the problem have stalled meaningful solutions.

    Megan Quinn • Dec. 20, 2021
  • GHGSat Hugo satellite device on SpaceX shuttle
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    Courtesy of SpaceX

    With landfill methane in the climate spotlight, satellite and flyover measurements attract a following

    Landfill operators, nonprofits and regulators are looking to remote measurement technologies as a new way to check on methane releases. But it's too soon to know if they'll settle the emissions modeling debate.

    Leslie Nemo • Nov. 3, 2021
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    Thomas Cain via Getty Images

    11 CFO tips for riding the rising tide in ESG activism

    CFOs eager to steer clear of shareholder activists should publicly embrace sustainability despite flaws in the measurement of best practices.

    Jim Tyson • Oct. 20, 2021
  • An AI-powered robot made by Everest Labs sorts recyclables in a California facility.
    Image attribution tooltip
    Courtesy of Everest Labs

    Searching for operational insight, MRFs comb data from AI

    As recycling technology gets more sophisticated, MRF operators and equipment manufacturers say material characterization data from AI-powered systems may be even more valuable than the labor robots provide.

    Megan Quinn • Oct. 6, 2021