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Stakeholder Update – 06/21/2021

“You’re going to recycle that bottle, right Dad?”

A hot summer day at the zoo with my family about 10 years ago led to a teachable moment.  This teachable moment was from my child to me.  I had just finished a cold bottled water purchased while we were touring our Buffalo, NY Zoo and was looking for a trash receptacle to toss the empty bottle away.  My 9-year-old son at the time said “you’re going to recycle that bottle, right dad?”  “Of course,” I replied, and I did.   I realized, at the moment, how aware and right he was.  I was “pressing the easy button” of disposal and not taking the opportunity to at least find a way to recycle the bottle.

This month in our stakeholder communications we focus in on many of the activities that we are all participating in together, to find alternative ways to re-use, reclaim, recycle materials, while reducing waste and avoiding landfill disposal.  Materials covered this month include electronics, plastic, paper, OCC and metals.

In particular, it is clear that electronic devices and technologies continue to advance and increase in number. These technologies have become critical to our way of life.  With these technologies, however, comes the increasing challenge of protecting health and the environment from the potentially harmful effects associated with their improper handling and disposal.  At WTS, Sustainable Electronics Management is part of our commitment, stewardship and shared responsibility.  We support the increase of domestic recycling efforts which reduce harm from exports of electronics wastes being handled unsafely in developing countries and strengthens markets for viable and functional used electronic products.  While reading our update on E-Waste, be sure to check out the pictures from our recent WTS E-Waste Recycling event held at our corporate office.

I hope you enjoy getting know our teammate, Tim Felder.  Tim has been a key member of our team establishing recycling programs, dumpster diving and finding value in oftentimes overlooked places.  He brings a lien/six sigma approach to reducing waste along with years of metals and other commodity/materials recycling knowledge.

At the end of June, I look forward to presenting at Waste Expo 2021, Sustainable Materials Management – From Theory to Practical Application.  With the other panelists, I will have the opportunity to share practical ways to manage materials more responsibly.

Currently, commodity prices for many materials, including metals, plastic, paper, and OCC are on the rise.  The present time is our opportunity to reexamine and challenge current practices and materials that are being transferred off-site to landfill.  Once in landfills, the value is buried and cannot be recovered.   It takes all of us together though to unwire and throw out the easy button of disposal, recognize the value within, and establish methods to segregate, seek markets and manage materials away from landfills and to keep powering circular economy through re-use, reclaim and recycling.