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WasteExpo: Measuring What Matters in Waste and Recycling

Waste Expo: Measuring the importance of waste and recycling

I recently attended WasteExpo, which is the largest annual gathering of the waste and recycling industry in the United States. As I walked around the venue, I was very happy to see that the focus of the event was the greater demand for data and analysis in our industry, because this is what Rubicon has been at the forefront since the company was founded.

At the World Expo, I explained why I think waste is no longer an invisible problem because society now has a better understanding of the environmental costs associated with improper waste and recycling management.

Click here for our free guide: 6 steps to successful recycling and waste reduction

The speech was after my Rubicon colleague Ryan Cooper's excellent speech on food waste recycling and prevention. It was based on the premise that if we are to create a more circular economy, we need to measure what is important. If you missed the 2019 Waste Expo, here is a brief overview of my presentation.

Waste is no longer an invisible problem

Did you know that according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 20% of methane (CH4) emissions in the U.S. come from landfills? Most importantly, 8% of global emissions are the result of food waste, which is almost equal to all emissions related to global road transportation. In addition, Ryan Cooper told the audience in his WasteExpo speech that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that more than 39 million tons of food waste enters landfills or incinerators in the United States each year.

In recent years, the public’s awareness of landfill issues has increased, and the public hopes to see the responsibility of companies and municipalities for their use of these services. As a result, companies and cities are forced to report what measures they are taking to address and manage the greater environmental impact of waste. Unfortunately, this is traditionally difficult to measure—until now.

Rubicon measures important things

The waste and recycling industry lacks a source of truth. This is due to multiple factors, including complex inputs and outputs, decentralized management, and the simple fact that the footprints of individual items to be recycled vary widely (shape, size, material composition, etc.).

In my speech, I emphasized the fact that people need accurate, understandable, and actionable data to understand opportunities and challenges, increase impact, and drive change - and Rubicon's goal is to pass this on to them.

Rubicon's SaaS product suite for waste, recycling and smart city solutions enables transporters, businesses and municipal governments to gain real insights into their waste management and transfer efforts. These include the RUBICONConnect™ portal, our customer application designed to allow companies to easily understand their waste and collection costs, and RUBICONFlash, our latest technology, which uses machine learning to use waste characterization to identify different types of recyclables ( Paper, plastic, metal, etc.) Just take a picture of the recycling bin.

I really enjoyed the time it was shown at WasteExpo this year. If you have any questions about me or other members of the Rubicon sustainability team, please feel free to contact me at

David Rachelson is Rubicon's Vice President of Sustainability. To stay ahead of the new global partnerships and cooperation announced by Rubicon, be sure to follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, or contact us immediately.

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