The Challenges in Recycling Are Beyond Just Materials
Meredith Leahy, Waste Diversion Manager, Rubicon Global
The challenges in recycling are numerous for businesses large and small. There are challenges in commodities pricing, for, without the details on prices, businesses have to stay steady and focus on quality, education, and efficiency in their recycling program. Recyclables are like other commodities with ebbs and flows. There are challenges in negative news stories on recycling’s downfall, where stories ignore focusing on the long term need for recycling and finding solutions for materials despite market difficulties. And there are challenges in a business knowing what to recycle and how, where customers need to know more about what’s accepted in their area and removing contaminants. But there are solutions: working with partners who understand how to best recycle materials, leveraging technology to get better insights into diversion and sustainability, and utilizing the network to repurpose non-traditional materials. This presentation will showcase to attendees concrete steps on how the challenges are real (with customer examples) and what can be done to overcome those challenges, with real solutions they can work to implement.
Meredith Leahy has nearly 15 years of recycling industry experience in her career and is currently a leader within the Circular Solutions team at Rubicon Global. Meredith began her career in east Tennessee working for Knox County's Solid Waste department. From there, Meredith worked in different arenas of the recycling industry, including roles with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, a local material processor, non-profit recycling education organization, Alcoa, Coca-Cola's corporate recycling division, and commodity specific industry groups. At Rubicon, Meredith focuses on supporting customers' goals to divert more of their materials out of landfills and into recycling streams. Meredith has been a board member of the Tennessee Recycling Coalition for the past 10 years and was elected the organization's president in August of last year.