Think of your electronic waste as a mine of resources

Mar 20, 2024
E-waste is filled with old parts and precious metals that could be worth a lot to the right people.
About half of states have take-back laws that require device makers to accept old versions for recycling.
Cesar Manso/AFP via Getty Images

How do waste plants pick through all our unsorted recyclables?

Aug 14, 2023
Single-stream recycling is convenient for consumers, but difficult for recycling companies. It requires a long and complicated process to make trash valuable.
The pile at the beginning of the day represents some of the recyclables from roughly 5 million daily consumers.
Caleigh Wells/KCRW

How companies commodify your recycled waste

May 3, 2023
We tour a materials recovery facility in California, where the stuff consumers toss into recycling bins is sorted.
Athens Services, a Southern California waste collection an recycling company, is just one part of a global system that recycles waste into new packaging and products.
Antoinette Brock/Marketplace

Wastewater workers wish for a fatberg-free holiday

Dec 26, 2022
Our sewers work overtime at this time of year.
A wastewater treatment plant in Oakland, California. Wastewater workers are urging people to be mindful about disposing of grease and oil, which can wreak havoc on sewer systems.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Garbage collection slows in many cities as COVID-19 hampers staffing

Jan 13, 2022
Municipalities around the country have had to delay or reschedule trash pickup days.
Cities across the country are seeing trash pile up as omicron spreads.
Ed Jones/AFP via Getty Images

The spookiest thing about Halloween? The waste.

Oct 29, 2021
By one estimate, Americans will spend more than $10 billion on candy, costumes and decor this year.
A jack-o'-lantern sits in a garbage can after Halloween night.
rudigobbo via Getty Images

Eliminating the concept of waste from the economy

Aug 19, 2020
For architect William McDonough, an economy of the future is a "circular economy."
"If we're destroying the Earth, we have to ask ourselves, is this is our intention? And if it's not, perhaps we need a new design," architect William McDonough says.
David McNew/Getty Images

For public good, not for profit.

Bertha Jimenez: Reducing waste, creating taste

Jan 9, 2020
"Just because somebody labeled something as waste, that doesn't mean that's what it should be."

Efforts to ban foam containers pick up steam

May 3, 2019
Maine this week became the first state to ban polystyrene for single-use food and drink containers.
Maine became the first state to ban polystyrene for single-use food and drink containers.
wingedwolf/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Poor recycling practices mean more is getting landfilled

Aug 3, 2018
China used to be a dumping ground for waste, but new policies have closed off the major market.
Workers sort contaminated and recyclable materials at the Puente Hills Materials Recovery Facility. 
Jed Kim/Marketplace