The “Evolving Ton”

Recycling Explained

Over the past five years, MRFs have found that it requires a much greater volume of material (estimated at 20% more), to produce one ton of recycled material than previously needed. This has become known as the “Evolving Ton” .

The changing material makeup and lightweighting of the waste stream has led to greater costs and difficulty when trying to process it:

  • Newspaper is down 30-50% and is expected to continue to drop another 40% in the next 5 years.
  • Plastics are up 15-20% and is expected to climb, but traditional recyclables such as PET and HDPE bottles are being replaced by more difficult items with limited end markets and lower quality.
  • OCC has doubled and will continue to climb.
  • Residue has also doubled.

At current recycled commodity price levels, many companies are not covering the cost of processing and are not willing to invest in more complex (and expensive) machinery to handle this changing waste stream. Across the industry, MRF processing costs are up, and downtime due to contamination or equipment maintenance is estimated to cost over $95 per minute!

At Millennium, we are committed to serving you and our community and will continue to invest in innovation and diversion to stay relevant and keep up with the “Evolving Ton”. Help us continue to spread awareness and education on what can and can’t be recycled in our area. We provide free onsite Waste Stream Reviews and printed copies of our guide for you to handout to all customers.

Download the electronic version here: