The Global Impact COVID-19 Has Had on the Recycling Industry
The entire world has been turned upside down due to the frightening global spread of COVID-19. The resurgence and explosion of the disease are hampering some North American recycling programs and having a huge effect on recycling within the United States. COVID-19 has also been impacting those businesses and companies based in China who regularly purchase the United State's recovered fiber and other commonly recycle end material. The pandemic as a whole has been constraining global shipping across virtually every industry, causing a stark drop in stock prices and has brought on varying levels of economic recession around the globe.
Impact for the Pandemic
The virus has already been deemed a major health issue and was classified as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). Since the early months of 2020 when people first started to take the virus seriously in some countries, it has grown steadily in scale, scope, and spread. It is now in more than 160 countries, regions, and territories around the world. As of early March, there more than 180,000 confirmed novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases globally, and that number has only continued to grow over the months. Countries have shut their borders, and entire cities have gone under lockdown measures to prevent the spread of the disease.
Scale Backs and Shut Downs
Businesses have closed or greatly reduce working hours and operations and services for many routine measures such as recycling and waste collection have been effected. Even in places that saw very little obvious changes to recycling service, COVID-19 has had a big impact on the recycling processing and distribution industries. Some regions in the United States have amped up trash and recycling collection, knowing more people are at home, which means more waste creation and accumulation, which could affect public health as COVID-19 cases resurge. Still, other areas of the country have scaled back a bit on their waste and recycling collections in an attempt to protect public health workers and to reduce the strain on the processing facilities that may be experiencing working shortages due to the pandemic.
Changes to local collection rates, whether increases or decreases, have a ripple effect that can be felt in the local communities, the states, and even in a sense, globally. Everything is interconnected, and the ripples can stretch out farther than most realize. COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on the entire world. It has disrupted services we always just assumed would be there. And unfortunately, for many areas of the United States, the worse does not seem to be over yet. More work needs to be done, more adjustments need to be made, and more changes must take place before things can begin the slow process of returning to some semblance of normalcy.