The recycling industry has experienced stronger demand and growth in the recent years driven by higher demand across construction, industrial markets and residential households. In the United States, the recycling industry has experienced solid growth However there is still a lot of scope of improvement. Changing government regulations related to the environment and sustainability across the world have improved the state of recycling in various areas. In the United States, several states including California have set smart recycling goals in an attempt to improve the use of recycled material and reduce the pressure on the environment.
Despite all these encouraging factors, the recycling industry is facing several challenges related to worker safety, labor condition, expensive services, poor education and other factors. Poor recycling quality is also an important challenge facing the recycling industry. Educating the people about recycling is an important factor that can help improve the condition of recycling across several markets. While most people know that recycling is good for the environment and their lives, they do not know what to throw into the recycling bin. Due to this, people may put nonrecyclable materials into the recycling stream which contaminates the recyclable materials and can compromise the quality of recycling machinery.
Worker safety is another important concern affecting the recycling industry. There are several safety risks associated with working in the recycling industry including chemical exposure, combustible dust explosions, machine hazards and exposure to large machinery with moving parts. Due to the risks involved with working in this industry sector, a large group of workers keeps away from it. Hiring and retention are both problems for the employers in this sector.
Chemical exposure and other health related risks caused by the chemicals found in the waste products are a common problem in the recycling industry. Even the household waste can be risky and contains several types of chemicals that are harmful for health. Household waste may include products with corrosive, toxic, ignitable, or reactive ingredients that can be harmful for workers’ health. Cleaning products used commonly across households include bleach and other toxic material. Dioxin exposure can also be problematic for workers in the recycling industry. Companies need to focus heavily on worker safety in the recycling industry. Otherwise accidents can happen regularly.
Apart from it, the recycling industry is also expensive and running recycling operations can prove costly for businesses. The related services also extend the costs of operations. For example, if the government wants to have an effective recycling system in a city, it needs to provide adequate services like safe recycling centers and separate bins for various types of waste. In some cities, while governments do not provide adequate related services, in other the required government support to run recycling operations properly is missing.
Managing recycling operations properly is also a leading challenge faced by this industry. If a recycling business does not have properly managed operations, it will face more challenges and its productivity will be reduced. Companies need to focus on streamlining operations in order to gain higher productivity and reduce operational hurdles that challenge growth.
Overall, there are several challenges before the recycling industry. Companies need to focus on recyclable quality as well as worker safety and operational performance. Chemical exposure, machine guarding hazards and other worker safety related issues make it dangerous for workers to work at recycling operations. Providing safety training to workers is important. However, managing operations and workers is crucial to drive superior performance and growth. The HR problems plaguing the recycling industry are also just as real and big as any other industry sector.