Deep Dive

Industry insights from our journalists


  • Helicopter point of view of famous Times Square in New York City
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    Extreme-Photographer via Getty Images
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    5 issues to watch as New York reshapes its commercial waste system

    Many questions remain about how companies were selected, how much recycling investment will occur, how soon companies get electric vehicles, when implementation will begin and more.

    Cole Rosengren • Feb. 16, 2024
  • Manhattan skyline
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    Sean Pavone via Getty Images
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    Who came out on top with New York commercial waste zone contracts?

    The 65 contracts recently awarded to provide service in the five boroughs effectively reset the market. Major companies such as Action Environmental and Waste Connections did well; others are left with tough choices.

    Cole Rosengren • Feb. 13, 2024
  • Recycled materials are offloaded from a truck.
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    Justin Sullivan via Getty Images
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    EPR, bottle bills and right-to-repair legislation make a return in 2024 with nuanced new details

    New state legislation for EPR, bottle bills and right-to-repair will become more complex in 2024, but lawmakers are playing a long game to build consensus around such involved bills, experts say.

    Megan Quinn • Jan. 29, 2024
  • Industrial building with numerous pipes and components for processing biogas
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    Courtesy of Archaea Energy
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    RNG industry expects voluntary agreements, new credits to spur growth in 2024

    The renewable natural gas industry saw more than 60 projects come online last year. This year, it’s expecting to build on that growth as the industry matures.

    Jacob Wallace • Jan. 22, 2024
  • A loader manages compost at a Recology facility
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    Courtesy of Recology
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    Compostable packaging’s contested, complicated past doesn’t determine its future

    Composters can struggle to manage the wide variety of new packaging entering the market, leading to greater calls for labeling guidelines and testing. Cities like San Francisco and Minneapolis offer case studies in how to make it work.

    Mary Catherine O'Connor • Dec. 7, 2023
  • Truck collecting a cart via automated sideloader
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    viavado via Getty Images
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    Has the waste and recycling industry’s multiyear M&A boom peaked?

    Experts from Stifel, Houlihan Lokey, Comerica Bank, Raymond James, Waste Connections and others weigh in on the latest trends involving valuations, private equity, environmental services, antitrust and more.

    Cole Rosengren • Nov. 27, 2023
  • A worker stands in front of ExxonMobil's advanced recycling facility in Baytown, Texas.
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    Courtesy of ExxonMobil
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    Chemical recycling aims to scale fast in effort to manage plastic waste, even as questions remain

    Chemical recycling proponents are investing in major projects to scale up the technology. Yet lingering policy, permitting and business factors will affect the trajectory of this fast-developing recycling sector.

    Megan Quinn • Oct. 9, 2023
  • Two people wielding shovels move organic material from a pallet to a composting bin while others look on.
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    (2018). "Baltimore Food Waste & Recovery Strategy" [Photograph]. Retrieved from Baltimore Office of Sustainability.
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    With a $4M EPA grant, Baltimore looks to chart a fresh course on organics

    The city's organics infrastructure is getting a jolt from the new funding. Composting advocates hope broader changes laid out in the city’s draft waste plan will follow.

    Jacob Wallace • Sept. 26, 2023
  • Lively mural on stone wall depicting waste collection workers on a truck
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    (2016). Retrieved from Baltimore Department of Public Works.
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    Baltimore faces expensive road ahead for collection and disposal infrastructure

    Despite pressure from advocacy groups, the city's 10-year waste plan anticipates landfill and incineration assets will continue to serve a key role as the city works to increase recycling.

    Jacob Wallace • Sept. 18, 2023
  • A photo composite of tetra pack bottle being lassoed. The background is a screen shot from the 2012 Green Guides.
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    Photo illustration: Shaun Lucas/Industry Dive; Getty Images; Federal Trade Commission 

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    Taming the wild west of environmental marketing: A Green Guides history

    More than 30 years after state attorneys general pushed for scrutiny of marketing claims, the packaging landscape is as complicated as ever, and opinions vary about whether the guides served their original purpose.

    Mary Catherine O'Connor • Updated Sept. 6, 2023
  • Upside down plastic bottles
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    sebasnoo via Getty Images
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    Demand for recycled plastic in packaging is growing. So are concerns about potential health risks.

    Recent studies have raised questions about health effects from plastic, including recycled material, as companies and regulators increasingly look at ways to advance the use of recycled resin in food-grade packaging.

    April Reese • June 28, 2023
  • A Heliox electric charging port connects to a Mack Electric heavy-duty vehicle
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    Jacob Wallace/Waste Dive
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    Waste industry braces for ‘bumps and bruises’ in EV rollout as California sets the pace

    Haulers and vehicle manufacturers at WasteExpo said they expect a potential collision between regulation-fueled demand and limited supply of battery-electric trucks. Charging infrastructure is also a growing concern.

    Jacob Wallace • May 10, 2023
  • Aerial view of lighthouse along beach
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    HaizhanZheng via Getty Images
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    New York’s Brookhaven Landfill is closing soon. Is Long Island ready?

    A prime destination for incinerator ash and C&D will soon be out of capacity. Winters Bros. Waste Systems has acquired rail transfer assets with plans to build a new site and is looking to play a lead role in the region’s next chapter.

    Cole Rosengren • April 26, 2023
  • Aerial view of landfill in Vermont
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    Permission granted by Casella Waste Systems
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    Some landfills will begin treating PFAS on-site as regulators move to adopt new limits

    Companies such as Casella Waste Systems and Waste Connections are building their own wastewater treatment plants for leachate and testing a range of technologies as the industry awaits federal standards.

    April Reese • Jan. 17, 2023
  • Fence in the foreground, construction cranes in the background
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    Cole Rosengren/Waste Dive
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    The fragile ecosystem of Massachusetts C&D recycling

    The state’s construction recycling requirements have spurred a wave of new infrastructure investments and led to more acquisitions. Some say they’ve also constrained capacity, all while the region’s building boom continues.

    Cole Rosengren • Jan. 11, 2023
  • Person sitting on a stack of bags containing plastic packaging
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    Permission granted by Rabbit Recycling
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    Specialty recycling pick-up services flip the script on items accepted curbside

    Services from Ridwell, Rabbit Recycling, TerraCycle, Casella Waste Systems and others are seeing growth as consumers want more options for hard-to-recycle products. Yet some are also navigating cost and legal challenges.

    Katie Pyzyk • Dec. 13, 2022
  • Compost, bird, California
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    Justin Sullivan via Getty Images
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    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
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    Permission granted by OC Waste & Recycling
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    Courtesy of Boro-Wide Recycling
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    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