Climate change isn't necessarily a new topic for the waste and recycling industry, but it often still feels like an uncertain one. With much of the significant attention on corporate responsibility focused upstream on manufacturers, energy companies and others, this sector of the economy is still not fully part of the cultural conversation when it comes to systemic change. 2019 may have been an inflection point for how that evolves into the next decade.
In January, Waste Management emphasized the issue at its annual sustainability forum and outlined more detailed plans for reaching "moonshot" emissions reduction targets. Over the summer, Republic Services set its own more ambitious goals – the industry's first to be recognized by the Science-based Targets initiative. Throughout the year, multiple other companies and government policymakers also made moves in the name of mitigating contributions to rising global temperatures. Along the way, Waste Dive made a regular habit of asking executives about the risks and opportunities that climate change presents to their business. Stay tuned for much more in 2020.