Recently, there has been a growing awareness about the importance of recycling in terms of climate change impacts and meeting decarbonization needs. As a result, the recycling industry is evolving and is one of the most profitable industries in the world. In the United States alone, recycling is a $117 billion industry. Now more than ever, companies have begun paying more attention to their products and packaging to the point where most products are now designed with recycling considerations. Everything from paper to a car tire is recyclable, but only some things can be recovered or converted into something else. In the United States, 70 percent of recycled materials are sold back to the manufacturing supply chain, where 30 percent is shipped to overseas markets while ensuring it ends up where it is intended.
Technology is evolving, and small to big innovations are launched daily. With the ever-changing technology, industries and companies worldwide have no choice but to adopt those changes, usually for the better. For example, the recycling industry has implemented automatic machines, giving workers a break from the physical labor of individually sorting products that can be recycled. With these machines and artificial intelligence robots, recycling has become more efficient and profitable while attracting more capital. Besides shortening the amount of time to sort these items, AI robots can also sort things that were not sortable previously, such as yogurt containers and polypropylene plastics. Innovations like artificial intelligence robots can be a gateway to unlocking a whole new market and opening the capacity for new products to be invented.
The recycling industry has been around since the colonials. Three components drive it: a passion for helping the planet and sustaining it for current and future generations, and the continued economic viability. To do that and stay ahead of competitors, companies need to innovate and keep up with the latest schemes. By incorporating new technologies and adopting new ways of executing, companies can grow and meet higher demands.
Although this industry is booming in every aspect and continues to do so, it needs more workers. A career in the sustainability industry is both rewarding, a way to give back to the community, and a chance to be a part of the solution in constructing the environment to become greener. No matter your gender or study of field and background, all you need to get into the industry is a passion for sustainability and the willingness to make a positive change for tomorrow’s workforce.