The panel addressed recycling in North American cities, and how to improve the collection and processing of recyclables at the municipal level. Additionally, it will provide insights into the opportunities and trends for recycling within waste management in the North American context.
While recycling rates on average have tripled across the United States since the late 1980s (from 8 to 24 per cent) at the same time, according to the matrix of sustainable waste management published by the Earth Engineering Center of Columbia University, the United States belonged to the group of high wealth countries with a relatively low degree of sustainable waste management (as measured by GDP per capita on a PPP basis and their rates of recycling, composting and waste-to-energy). This indicates great room for improvement in managing solid waste sustainably and recycling is part of that equation.
The focus of this panel is to draw out experiences from industry, government and the academia that discuss the role of recycling as part of a sustainable waste management solution.