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Recycling during a pandemic

The image by Billie Grace Ward is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Note from the editor

The U.S. recycling industry is always in a state of flux. This year, just when it seemed like further disruption couldn't be possible, the COVID-19 pandemic stirred things up even more.

During the early months of the crisis, Waste Dive directed the majority of its attention to understanding what this meant for the industry we follow. We focused closely on concerns around worker safety at MRFs, market shifts, volume swingstemporary policy changes and financial impacts for public and private sector operators alike. 

What we've seen throughout is a generally resilient sector many believe may have been better positioned for such turmoil as it was already adapting to major changes from the past few years. It has also not escaped unscathed. Many workers have contracted the virus or experienced economic effects; some have died. Recycling programs have ended or been limited by budget cuts. Commodity markets remain volatile. Despite these challenges, the recycling industry has settled into something of a new normal as it continues to provide service amid a pandemic with no end in sight.

Cole Rosengren Senior Editor

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