What Happened at the Recycling Bin?

One of the best explanations of what happened to the recycling business comes from 99% Invisible. If you are a fan of the podcast as I am you know it is dedicated to exploring and explaining design’s influence on social and everyday matters, and what lies unseen below the surface.

There is a reason the recycling business has turned from a perceived panacea for consumer and industrial waste into a problem we don’t have a solution for … yet (eternal optimist that I am). Surprise, the panacea was never real and now the problem has come home to roost. What do we do about it?

We can all start by being better informed, changing our own behavior, and advocating for sensible and effective solutions that address the core issue, not just its by-products. By “we” I mean you, me, the companies we work for, and the towns and cities we live in. It is an “all of us” problem. A few of the things you will learn in the podcast:

  • What happened to change the recycling business so dramatically and quickly?
  • Where does all that stuff go now?
  • Why isn’t recycling as effective as we thought?
  • How can design contribute to better solutions?
  • What can you do today at a small scale to have a big impact?

The podcast is informative, thoughtful, and illuminating. Give it a listen during your commute or other downtime. You will probably learn a thing or two about the unseen world of recycling, including why it shifted quickly, why it is important to take notice, what you can do at an every day level, and the role of design in its future.

Episode 341: Operation National Sword

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