Deep Dive

Industry insights from our journalists


  • 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
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    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
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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
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    Justin Sullivan via Getty Images

    What's next for Recology in San Francisco after $36M DOJ penalty, bribery charge

    The West Coast company is looking to move forward after three subsidiaries admitted to one charge of bribery in a deferred prosecution agreement, but it still faces legal action and a push to change local collection systems.

    Cole Rosengren • Sept. 29, 2021
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    Justin Sullivan via Getty Images

    Progress report: Brands face increasing pressure on recyclability claims in 2021

    Major corporations have pledged to make big recycling-related changes by 2025, and environmental groups are holding them accountable through reporting requirements, shareholder agreements and lawsuits.

    Megan Quinn • Aug. 12, 2021
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    David Ramos via Getty Images

    With mask, vaccine mandates on the rise, employers have options — but consistency is key

    The delta variant is driving new outbreaks and government guidance. Whatever employers choose, inconsistent enforcement is a "recipe for disaster," one attorney said.

    Ryan Golden • Aug. 11, 2021
  • Wheelabrator facility in Saugus, Massachusetts
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    The image by Sam LaRussa is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    Waste-to-energy supporters aim to 'clear the air,' reposition technology as landfill alternative

    Recent research shows better performance across multiple environmental measures for WTE versus landfills, but few U.S. communities show an interest in new facilities, and opposition continues to limit growth.

    Cole Rosengren • Aug. 4, 2021
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    Samuel Corum via Getty Images

    10 ways the PRO Act could change the game for employers and organized labor

    Currently being considered in the Senate, the bill would strengthen the ability of unions to form and collectively bargain, amend the definition of a joint employer and bring many other changes to the workplace.

    Emilie Shumway • Aug. 3, 2021
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    Spencer Platt via Getty Images

    Progress report: State waste and recycling policies gain notable traction this year

    State lawmakers have made significant headway on laws about EPR, recycled content mandates and plastic products. Other bills are still in play, and experts anticipate even more possible changes in 2022.

    Megan Quinn • July 19, 2021