Eriez-India Granted ISO 9001:2015 Certification 

Erie, PA—Eriez-India Managing Director Tim Sheehan announces the company has earned ISO 9001:2015 certification for all internal processes, including engineering, manufacturing, and sales and service of magnetic processing, protection, and inspection equipment.  

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Lithium iron phosphate batteries are the solution to securing mobile reception during loadshedding

MTN’s corporate affairs executive Jacqui O’ Sullivan was recently quoted that while mobile operators have battery backup systems at their towers, loadshedding at higher stages meant the batteries didn’t have enough time to recharge, meaning there needed to be a backup for the backup in the form of generators.

By Lance Dickerson, MD, and Felix von Bormann, CTO, at REVOV

This is both sobering and unfortunate, and the economic implications are huge. However, there is good news for telecom companies and anyone else in the country who – like us, believe batteries are the environmentally superior option for power backup. If the correct types of batteries in the correct configuration are used at the tower sites, they absolutely will have sufficient time to recharge, even during stage 6 loadshedding. This can fundamentally change the risk and cost threats currently being endured. We’ll discuss how we know this to be true, and how it can be proven, but first, let’s look at the context.

Within a week of MTN observing insufficient time to recharge its batteries – O’Sullivan said that their batteries give them six to 12 hours of capacity depending on the site and need between 12 and 18 hours between bouts of loadshedding to recharge – Vodacom announced that it was piloting a project where it will source all its electricity from independent power producers in a bid to secure power supply and provide a template for corporate South Africa to follow suit.

Vodacom should be applauded for taking the step, even though we understand that “wheeling”, or transferring power between sites will need to be managed by Eskom, whose transmission infrastructure will – just like generation – require a serious upgrade and overall, over the next decade. This very localised transmission infrastructure is important in the maintenance of sufficient battery backups, such as those mentioned by MTN, and we will discuss how this may hamper battery backup, and how it can be overcome with a hybrid backup approach.

Back to the batteries at the telecom tower sites. It is easy for an outsider to make a noise and make claims, without understanding every aspect of powering and backing up a remote tower site. After all, it is the telecom itself, who is in the trenches, trying to keep the towers up during debilitating load shedding, that knows what’s happening to its fleet of towers every day.

The two founders of REVOV, which was only launched in 2016, spent more than a decade in the international telecoms industry precisely doing that – designing, planning, implementing, and testing various ways to keep the towers running in various regions of Africa. The challenges were many, but the premise remained: how do we keep towers running when generators aren’t an option and there’s no electricity? This is where our foundational understanding of the power of batteries and their application in telecoms specifically, and power backup generally, was developed.

At this point, it is vital to reintroduce the topic of chemistry. Batteries work through chemistry, and many of the painful lessons we learnt in the Americas and West Africa were down to the limitations of lead acid technology, a lesson no doubt still being learnt by many telecoms operators on this continent.

Lithium batteries are without any shadow of a doubt the superior batteries. Many reading this will have used a volatile type of lithium battery called nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) more than they realise in their smartphones or laptops. These batteries are known to ignite at higher temperatures. A newer, superior chemistry called lithium iron phosphate has emerged as the safest, most stable and longest lasting of storage battery chemistries. Beyond this, lithium iron phosphate 2nd LiFe batteries, which are built from the repurposed but fully functional cells of electric vehicle (EV) batteries, come with the added benefit of engineering built for harsh operating conditions – think of the heat and charge-discharge ratio in the usage of an EV. LiFe, in the name 2nd LiFe, is a word constructed from the periodic table symbols of lithium (Li) and iron (Fe).

So, as a base understanding, we land on 2nd LiFe batteries as prime candidates for backup storage, either for renewable energy installations or uninterrupted power supply systems. In this case, 2nd LiFe is perfect for telecom tower battery backup. China Telecoms, the largest telecom operator in the world, uses 2nd LiFe batteries exclusively in all its new sites and are swapping out old sites to 2nd LiFe as required. Based on various estimates, it is likely that there are between 500 000 to 1 000 000 sites using somewhere between four to eight-million 2nd LiFe batteries.

In a properly set up and configured 2nd LiFe lithium iron phosphate battery backup system, the time to recharge is identical to the time of discharge. In other words, the 1:1 ratio means that if the battery has been used for four hours, it needs four hours to recharge to full. If it has been used for six hours, it requires six hours to be recharged to full. Beyond this, the discharge curve is stable, and unlike lead acid doesn’t plummet after a critical point in time. This makes them fundamentally different to lead acid batteries, not just in performance, but reliability and lifespan.

This provides a compelling answer to batteries being rapidly recharged in the gaps between bouts of load shedding in the higher stages. However, as mentioned, the transmission infrastructure of some areas leaves a lot to be desired, and in some instances there quite literally is not enough capacity.  Beyond this, some areas do not return after load shedding because of various technical faults meaning areas are in the dark for far longer than anticipated. Another factor is the protective AC breaker size used at each site, which will determine the performance of the system during recharge periods.

While these are technical discussions, an analogy for a layman’s understanding is: presuming the sites already have remote generators that are 10KVA, for example, the following could easily be done. We must understand that a generator cannot be run under capacity for extended periods of time, as much as it cannot be overworked for extended periods, lest the life of the machine is severely compromised. And so, running a 10KVA generator could split 7KVA to charge batteries while 3KVA powers the tower. As a stop-gap measure this prepares the site for the next power outage, remembering that the superior lithium iron phosphate performance enables a 1:1 discharge to charge ratio.

The point is that we are all in the throes of a devastating crisis that threatens our very economy. Working together, bringing expertise from various sectors, South Africans are famous for devising compelling solutions to the crisis. In the absence of this, and certainly in the absence of any largescale understanding of battery chemistry, the status quo will no doubt continue as we wait for the grid crisis to be resolved. This won’t be tomorrow, next month or next year.

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Loadshedding, petrol and interest rate hikes hit SME confidence level

South African small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) confidence levels took a dip in second quarter of 2022. This is according to the recently released Q2 2022 SME Confidence Index conducted by specialist SME financier, Business Partners Ltd.

The Business Partners Ltd SME Confidence Index, which celebrates its 10th year anniversary in 2022, measures business confidence levels relative to labour laws, access to finance, state-level interventions and broader socioeconomic realities. During this quarter, the index recorded its highest number of respondents. Confidence levels that the South African economy will be conducive for growth in the next 12 months has decreased to 63%, a 14-percentage point decrease from Q1 2022. Concurrently, SME’s confidence levels in their own business growth over the next 12 months also dropped to 70%, down 4 percentage points from the previous quarter.

The continued threats of loadshedding and crime, coupled with the effects of the rising petrol price and interest rate hikes, have had knock-on effects on small businesses.

“Despite the noticeably lower confidence levels relating to the next 12 months, the South African SME sector remains resilient, and this set of data is evidence of the sector not letting the socio-economic challenges break their spirit,” explains Business Partners Limited’s Financial Director, Rayna Dolphin.

Business Partners Limited’s Financial Director, Rayna Dolphin.

In fact, the Q2 SME Index recorded a rise in confidence levels in certain areas. SMEs have confidence levels of 55 percent that government is doing enough to foster SME development in South Africa – a year-on-year (YOY) increase in 26 percentage points. 66% of SMEs surveyed are also feeling more positive about finding staff with the right skill set, a 17-percentage point increase from Q1 2022 and a 4 percentage point increase YOY.

“Aligning with a decline in confidence of growth over the next 12 months, when compared to Q1, the general outlook is generally negative but does have some areas of positivity, despite the many challenges that the sector faces,” says Dolphin.

A very good indicator that the SME ecosystem is showing visible signs of progress is the increase in the level of confidence that the country’s current labour laws are conducive to growth. Up by 18 percentage points YOY, this indicator is now at 59% for Q2 2022. Another indicator worth mentioning is the fact that 58 percent of SMEs surveyed have employed people in the last 12 months, with 45% saying that they have employed staff in the last quarter.

“These paint a much brighter picture when compared with the last quarter, when confidence levels in finding the right skills to employ was at an all-time low,” she says.

For the first time in several years, the top three challenges that SMEs face have shifted. This quarter, funding has dropped out of the top three listed challenges, now overtaken by crime. As it stands, the biggest challenges facing SMEs for Q2 2022 are cash flow, economic conditions and crime.

These results beg the question: does this mean that SMEs are now receiving the required level of funding or has crime become just become a greater concern? This sentiment aligns with the steep rise in crime rate statistics released in Q2 and furthermore, the industry has also seen new entrants in the SME lending arena, which has increased the supply of funding.

“Only time will tell which elements are influencing these differing results,” says Dolphin.

In addition to these concerns, 88% of SMEs surveyed were affected by the interest rate hikes during the first half of the year, with 59% noting that their businesses were negatively impacted by consumers spending less as they cut back on non-essentials.

Record high petrol prices saw 89% of SMEs surveyed feeling the crunch, confirming that the hikes directly affected their businesses. Loadshedding, which has persisted and intensified during 2022, impacted 81% of respondents, with 45% of this constituency experiencing a loss in productivity, and 36% suffering business interruptions that resulted in insurance claims.

“The local SME sector has had to weather a number of storms over the past two years. Despite having survived the worst of the pandemic, they continue to face global and local challenges. We at Business Partners Ltd supported our clients though the Covid-19 pandemic and we will continue to provide support SMEs with finance and mentorship. We hope and look forward to more positive times ahead for SMEs,” concludes Dolphin. 

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Powering local economic development: Dr Dlamini Zuma at the 2022 Association of Municipal Electricity Utilities Convention

Thank you for the opportunity to address this 68th Convention for the Association of Municipal Electricity Utilities (AMEU), which you host under the insightful theme of a “Just Energy Transition for South Africa”. 

This gathering is hosted at a time when South Africa has been plunged into darkness with the longest and most rolling blackouts we have ever experienced in our democracy. Indeed, on the one hand demand has increased as we have sought to ensure wall-to-wall energy coverage throughout our country. Villages and townships that had been in the dark for centuries gradually got light and energy.

In 1993 only 36% of households had access to electricity. Today it stands at above 90%. Very few places in the world and on the continent have registered such a rapid pace of electrification at such a relatively short time. Only Egypt (100%), Tunisia (100%), Mauritius (100%), Libya (99,8%), Seychelles (98%), and Cape Verde (96%), currently surpass South Africa’s figures of people with access to electricity. In this regard the challenge we face is now bringing electricity to the close to 6 million South Africans who remain in darkness. We must achieve that goal while having to ensure consistent and reliable energy to those that have access.

With regards to the latter, a study conducted by Afro Barometer, shows that only 5% of South Africans were satisfied in relation to electricity services provided. This study was undertaken in 2016, long before the current rolling blackouts phenomenon, thus it is not only indicative of frequency but also quality of service. I am sure, given our current experiences, the 8th edition of the study, which is to be completed later this year, will have a far more damning picture. For those millions who do not have access or experience energy supply in a sporadic manner the issue is quality and consistent access to energy, by any means possible or necessary.

Certainly, this has been the case even in developed nations in the world, that is why they remain the biggest carbon emitters, it is not only the green they pursue but they remain committed to serving the interest of their people, above all. This has been seen by the return to fossil-based energy in places such as the EU, with the cutting of supply lines from Russia because of heightening hostilities in the Ukraine. Therefore, we must never forget that about 80% of our energy is generated through fossil fuels with coal making about 26% of that. Currently over 80 000 are employed in the coal mining sector and five companies (Anglo Coal, BHP Billiton/ South32/SAEC, Sasol, Exxaro and Xstrata) account for over 80% of coal capacity.

This in itself poses a danger, but more importantly is that the sector lost over 10 000 jobs over the last ten years, partially as result of an overemphasis on the move away from coal to other sources. That overemphasis and loss has particularly affected the economies of four municipalities in Mpumalanga, that of eMalahleni, Steve Tshwete, Govan Mbeki and Msukaligwa, where 76% of all coal workers are employed.

Despite these job losses the level of absorption of the workers in the renewable energy sector has not been good. As the renewable sector requires a slightly higher level of skills and over 81% of coal mine workers have matric or less.

These coal workers therefore make a very small portion of the 28 000 employed in the sector, which incidentally is also 45% of the continent’s renewable energy workforce. We must also take into consideration that our energy demands going forward are likely to double by 2050. Therefore, to mitigate the possibility of a greater energy crisis, rather than disinvesting in coal, we must place greater emphasis on researching and investing on getting cleaner and more efficient coal-based technologies and solutions. Even France and Netherlands which are considered amongst the most energy efficient countries in the world, utilise nuclear and fossils at the core of their energy generation mix.

We have no choice but to find the appropriate energy mix that will give us the most just of transitions. Thankfully in this room, on this platform and beyond, we have the critical minds that can assist us in exploring that critical mix, as well as new and innovative means of producing and consistent energy. For example, I recently came across gravitational energy technologies, that utilise one of the oldest known sources of kinetics, to consistently supply the grids. These could complement the work we have begun on other renewable sources such as biomass, solar, wind and wave technologies, all of which only generates 27% of the world’s energy. Fortunately, virtually all renewable and recyclable energy sources are in abundance in South Africa and Southern Africa, especially in the rural areas.

This presents a new frontier and potential niche, which is a window of opportunity for the country and continent, which we must capitalise on. In exploring that frontier, we have the duty to also find ways to make those alternative energy sources more efficient and affordable. Currently, these energy sources have a relatively lower financial return on investment, as well as, intermittency, high material input, low energy density, short lifetime, and recycling challenges.

In charting the path towards an appropriate energy mix and a just energy supply we require more and not less state. Everywhere in the world, it is the state that drives generation and distribution towards the social goals such as education, rural development, health, and recreation. Take for instance in Tunisia, the State Power Utility Company, STEG, controls 91,7% of the country’s installed power production capacity and produces 84% of the electricity. Even in the most capitalist of countries, it is the state that issues conditional licensing for private generation and distribution, which is tied to social outcomes. Often it is the local state that takes this licensing responsibility, if it does not produce itself.

For instance, despite American penchant for capitalism the most used instruments for distribution are not for profit cooperatives or municipalities, which removes the profit element. These Municipal or community utilities are owned and operated by the local or community bodies to provide a range of services such as water, gas, internet, telephone services, garbage removal and banking.

This is not a new idea. Los Angeles has had a publicly owned utilities company for over 100 years, and 1 in 7 Americans are served by such a utility company. The American Public Power Association, which is your counterpart there, makes a strong case on how “not for profit, community owned locally controlled” utilities provide better services at lower rates than privately owned utilities while also providing jobs and revenue for their local communities.

The Association further says, “residential customers of public power utilities pay monthly bills that are on average 4% less than customers of investors – owned utilities, and 16% less than customers of cooperative utilities”. It goes on to say “public power utilities also deliver more reliable electric service. Outside of major adverse events (e.g., storms), customers of a public power utility are likely to be without power for less time – 62 minutes a year, compared to 150 minutes a year for customers of private utilities.

These Municipal and community utilities are important in powering local economic development, as they can be more responsive to local needs whilst supporting the local revenue base as well as local organisations and businesses. Of course, our problem with regards to ownership in South Africa, is not the private, but the drive to unjustifiably privatise the already uncompetitive, pricey, and monopolistic public entity. Even as the unbundling is being planned, it is planned with private owners in mind, and not with the most logical and more social justice prone municipal and community/cooperative models in mind.

We must therefore pay attention to the specific challenges which have not enabled our municipalities and their entities to position themselves as Independent Power Producers (IPPs). A study recently undertaken by Sustainable Energy Africa, found that only 50% of our municipalities are equipped with any form of Small-Scale Embedded Generation processes. A further 25% do not have the internal capacity to establish or manage these processes, while the remaining 25% are not in a state to handle any additional responsibilities owing to governance and financial challenges. Thus, we should not just theorise and speak of the research, but we must find ways to establish the capacities to develop and maintain the energy infrastructure capabilities of all municipalities.

This association has the duty not just to analyse the state of our infrastructure but needs to roll up sleeves and get to work in solving them. And assisting all of us to understand what needs to be done. Let those municipalities and utilities doing better to support those that are not performing as well. We must be also deliberate and practical in our actions as this association.

Therefore, I wish to challenge the association with assisting the municipalities of OR Tambo, Alfred Nzo, Ugu and Harry Gwala, in Eastern Cape and KZN, to plan and deliver on their energy potential and promises. I choose these localities because this is the site of the newly Gazetted Eastern Seaboard Region which includes a Polycentric African Coastal City.

Already, the President has launched the project last November and there is national steering team which includes all the spheres of governments with 16 Departments and 7 State Owned Entities. I wish to invite the Association to join these planners and implementors as they consider how and when to unlock the close to 5million megawatts potential that can support the city and country.

Programme Director, as we propose the communal and municipal ownership, we must maintain certain national norms and standards which will ensure better education, health, recreational, cultural, and economic outcomes. We must also remember that ours is a unitary state which functions through the cooperation of all spheres and entities of government and collective governance. We must therefore maintain reasonable costs and reliability, which must be observed throughout the country. We must also remain cognisant of the fact that a sustainable and clean energy transition must be underpinned by economic justice.

Therefore, it is up to this convention to place back the just in our discussions with regards to energy provision and distribution. In reality, electricity and energy have become a right in themselves, for it can influence the level of access citizens have to the other rights. This became gapingly clear during the recent Covid-19 Pandemic where the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), found that school children had lost 54% of learning time because of the pandemic and some 400 000 to 500 000 leaners had reportedly dropped out.

No doubt most of those children are those who come from poorer backgrounds, with no access to consistent electricity and ICT. Some would have had to leave school to find work, because of the loss of the main bread winner. Therefore, there can be no doubt of the relationship between electricity and development. Landing by plane at night in a more well lit up town or city tells you the level of development in that society.

Electricity significantly contributes to the improvement of human lives. In addition to its positive social effects, electricity stimulates the economy. The economic growth and development process is powered by energy. Without energy, development is impossible. Access to electricity in South Africa, as with access to other basic services such as housing, education and water is paralleled by high levels of poverty and socio-economic inequality.

We must therefore work together as part of the District Development Model to deal with the challenges we are facing and to embrace the energy revolution. Let us work together, to be customer centric and service orientated. Let us try harder to maintain the current infrastructure.

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SA businesses to prioritise sustainability to remain competitive

Businesses in South Africa are fairly familiar with carbon tax by now, and as these taxes increase, it’s becoming more important for industrial operations to find methods of cutting carbon emissions.

However, the emerging trend that companies should take more seriously is their carbon impact. If they do not they risk losing money as their operational costs start to soar as well as their competitive edge among potential partners and investors in the future.

his is the warning from Tygue Theron, Head of Business Development at Energy Partners Intelligence – a division of Energy Partners and part of the PSG group of companies – who says that large local companies’ environmental, social, and governance (ESG) strategies are coming under increased scrutiny by stakeholders. “We’ve increasingly seen corporates being called out in recent years over their low ESG scores. This is due to the negative impact these businesses are having on world around them – either from an environmental, social or governance perspective. Knowing this, businesses need to understand that their sustainability strategies should be about more than simply keeping operational costs low.”

Theron goes on to note that the international financial reporting structure (IFRS), which every publicly traded company must adhere to, has made it a requirement to disclose non-financial climate-related information about business operations. “In short, public companies are forced to take an in-depth look at their environmental impact and the resources that they use and make a change if they want to be perceived as viable investments.”

Interestingly, he adds that investors are currently hungry for companies that take ESG responsibility seriously, so a well-structured sustainability plan will give a company a significant boost in its investment appeal. “Even if a company hasn’t made substantial strides in curbing its carbon impact yet, committing to a sustainability strategy that takes the business risks into account and shows these will be addressed can be enough to send the potential for investment through the roof.”

In addition, corporates can also enable access to better interest rates on business loans. Sustainability-linked finance is a massive benefit in terms of lowering the cost of capital for businesses that have a forward-thinking vision.

However, Theron also points to one major possible challenge facing companies looking to commit to more investor friendly ESG strategies. “There are so many frameworks to base a sustainability strategy on, and a fair number of them will have no effect on an ESG score. We often see clients pursue the wrong priorities and adopt the incorrect frameworks, which is why we have started specialising in ESG consulting. We are uniquely positioned to set the strategy and execute it with a strong implementation layer within our team, focusing on the ultimate goal of helping clients ensure that they implement the correct frameworks, use their time effectively and get the right results with their strategies.”

Ultimately, Theron says that sustainability strategies have become incredibly complex and specialised. “It is more important than ever to have the right strategy in place. In order to develop an impactful strategy that allows the company to make the right impact for years to come, it’s essential to partner with specialist that has a proven track record and can hold the business accountable to its plan.”

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How much do we waste? A data-driven guide to waste and landfills

Waste is a global issue. From electronic devices to unused food, a lot of what is thrown away ends up in a landfill. While concerted efforts are being made across the globe to incorporate recycling initiatives, these endeavors can quickly go astray when rubbish isn’t handled with the correct care and attention.

This comprehensive guide takes a closer look at the question posed in the headline: how much do we waste? The article also details where it ends up, how recycling and other solutions can help with the problem, and how businesses can manage waste. With how waste continues to mount up, tacking the problem head-on is crucial – otherwise, the environmental impact it provokes will have further consequences for the planet.

How Much Do We Throw Away?

To get a greater idea about waste and the concern it poses, it’s essential to take a closer look at just how much is thrown away. There are many different forms of waste, with some of the main culprits including:

· Electronic devices

· Hazardous materials

· Discarded food

· Plastic

· Paper and paperboard

· Textiles

· Metal

· Wood

If this waste isn’t correctly managed, there’s ultimately only one destination it will end up: a landfill. Add in factors such as population growth, the continued demand for disposable products, and the short shelf life for everything from smartphones to sneakers, and there are many reasons why waste continues to build at an alarming rate.

The following statistics help to illustrate the worrying picture.

Waste statistics

Whether you’re analysing global figures or centering on the United States, the situation is far from healthy – and that’s putting it mildly. Waste is a massive issue, and the following statistics demonstrate why this is the case.

· Annually, 2.12 billion tons of waste is produced across the world.

· Of that waste, 1.3 billion tonnes is made up of food. That’s over three trillion meals each year wasted, approximately one-third of all food generated for human consumption.

· At least 33% of the planet’s waste is not managed in an environmentally safe way. That’s only a conservative figure, which means the percentage could ultimately be even more frightening.

· The average daily waste per person averages 0.74 kilograms worldwide. However, the range for this can vary drastically depending on location. This goes from 0.11 kilograms to 4.54 kilograms.

· By 2050, it is expected that global waste will grow to 3.40 billion. This growth is more than twice the population growth during the same time period.

· Annually, it is estimated the world’s oceans are polluted by 10 million metric tons of plastic.

· 12% of the world’s trash comes from America. This is despite the country only making up 4% of the globe’s population.

· In 2018, America was responsible for producing 292.4 million tons of municipal solid waste. That’s almost 5 pounds per person, per day.

· The waste management market in North America was valued at $208 billion in 2019. The U.S. accounts for most of the market.

· The U.S. manages 35.2 million tons of hazardous waste.

· Each year, estimates suggest the U.S. produces around 103 million tons of food waste.

· Due to household leaks, the average U.S. family can waste 180 gallons of water each week, or 9,400 gallons per year. That’s the same amount of water required to wash over 300 laundry loads. On a nationwide scale, household leaks can lead to almost 900 billion gallons of water being wasted annually.

· America currently has a recycling and composting rate of 32.1%.

· 25 million plastic bottles are thrown away each hour in America.

Where Does Our Waste Go?

In general, there are two places where our waste ends up: in a landfill or recycling. The latter is obviously the aim, especially with the environmental benefits and government incentives on the table. However, recycling is not always an option. Plus, even when it is an option, this doesn’t mean organizations will take the necessary steps to make it a reality. In these situations, waste goes to the landfill.

If you operate a standard modern business, here are some stats to consider about the type of waste produced – and where it ends up:

· Every year, 500 coffee cups are used by the average office worker. These are single-use cups, meaning they are all sent to landfills.

· 20 companies are responsible for producing over half of the globe’s single-use plastic. All of this eventually goes to landfills.

· The standard office worker generates approximately two pounds of paper and paperboard waste each day. They also use around 10,000 sheets of copy paper annually.

· Mixed paper products account for about 70% of total office waste overall.

· Globally, more than 50 million metric tons of electronic waste were generated in 2019. This is expected to rise by a further 20 million metric tons over the coming decade.

· At present, only about 20% of electronic waste is recycled on a global scale.


In 2018, approximately 146.1 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) ended up being landfilled in the U.S. While this isn’t a welcome figure, there has been a steady – if slow – improvement over landfill numbers compared to the amount of waste produced. In 1960, 94% of generated waste was landfilled. In 2018, this percentage decreased significantly to 50%.

How it works

Landfills have come a long way since they were simply large open dumps for waste to be tossed into. These days, sanitary landfills exist, which help prevent numerous problems that traditional landfills caused – such as toxic chemicals and gases contaminating the surrounding soil, groundwater, and air. By separating waste via a system of layers, sanitary landfills are designed with the intention for waste to decompose safely. Although methane can still be produced, most sanitary landfills will collect this gas, keep it out of the earth’s atmosphere, and utilize it to produce electricity.

The deepest spot in a sanitary landfill can be found 500 feet into the ground. The bottom will typically feature dense clay alongside a plastic liner to stop liquids from seeping through. Certain wastes generate liquid as they decompose, so a drainage system is used to carry contaminants to a treatment facility. As mentioned above, a modern landfill will also incorporate a gas collection system for the produced methane.

When trash is delivered to a landfill, it is compacted so it takes up less room. A layer of dirt is also used to cover new trash, helping to deter pests and contain odors.


The majority of waste can be recycled. In fact, according to research conducted by the EPA, it is estimated 75% of the U.S. waste stream is recyclable. Sadly, only about 30% of this waste is actually recycled. Going on a global scale, it is said that 91% of plastic still isn’t recycled, while the recycling rate for PET bottles in America sits at a lowly 30%.

The good news is that attitudes are slowly changing. Recycling is becoming more and more prevalent, and this shouldn’t be a surprise based on the numerous benefits gained. As an example, in 2019, the U.S. took 25 million tons of combustible MSW and converted it into approximately 13 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity.

When you consider how recyclable certain materials are – 95% of textiles can be potentially recycled or reused, for instance – a lot of waste can be diverted from going to landfills, and instead be repurposed in ways that are more advantageous to the environment.

How it works

The process first begins by collecting recyclable materials. For a business to do this effectively, it will have its own system in place for collecting, processing, and storing suitable recyclables. This will include dedicated containers for specific materials, along with a baler to compact recyclables for easy storage and transport.

When the materials end up at a recycling center, they are sorted by type. Specialist machinery will separate paper from plastic, metals from cardboard, etc. Workers at the center will also separate soiled recyclables from clean ones. If a recyclable is soiled, it will either be cleaned or thrown away if deemed unusable.

Once a recycling center has processed and broken down the recyclables into raw materials, they can then be used again to create new products. The center will sell the recycled goods to manufacturers.

New waste disposal technology

In the continuing efforts to improve and refine the recycling process, new waste disposal technology is being used. Simply put, if waste management doesn’t undergo sweeping changes, many existing waste issues will only inflate into something more damaging. It is said if changes are not made, in 2050 oceans will contain more plastic than fish.

Smart waste management technologies include everything from waste level sensors to pneumatic waste pipes. However, one of the most effective technologies a company can incorporate is smart waste bins. During the essential initial sorting process, human error is taken out of the equation by smart waste bins. This makes material processing easier and faster, and it can drastically boost employee efficiency and reduce waste management costs by up to 80%.

Managing business waste

Did you know 57% of consumers are open to changing their purchasing habits if it means reducing negative environmental impact? This means if your business can clearly display its effort and commitment to sustainability, it can open the door to attracting new customers.

To make it a reality, you need to know how to manage business waste successfully. Below are a few tips on dealing with common waste types.

Everyday waste

With everyday waste such as paper and plastic, it is important you sort and correctly store these materials. Having a secure place to store waste is the first step. You will also need to use clearly labeled containers to separate and collect the waste.

You have to take particular care when storing waste, particularly if they’re in a place where the elements can cause issues. If covers are not used, waste can be blown away. If these covers are not waterproof, it could also lead to rain affecting your stored materials.

Electronic waste

Electronic waste, also known as e-waste, is going to become an increasing concern for businesses. Fortunately, a business can take steps right now, such as moving a lot of technology and processes to the cloud, which can immediately reduce their electronic waste.

If you have electronic waste which has no future purpose for your business, there are various steps you can take. There are specialist third-party electronics recyclers that can take care of these materials in a cost-effective, environmentally-friendly way. There’s also the possibility of trading-in devices for upgrades or donating them to local charities to expand their lifespan.

Hazardous waste

As you would expect, extra steps have to be taken when you’re handling and processing hazardous waste. If this hazardous waste was to cause damage or harm to others, it could lead to significant ramifications for your business. Materials deemed hazardous include chemicals, solvents, batteries, oils, and pesticides.

First, begin by ensuring all hazardous waste is separated from non-hazardous waste. You will then need to store the waste responsibly. That means using applicable containers, keeping them out of the elements, and storing them in a safe, secure place. Once you have used an authorised waste carrier to handle your hazardous waste, you’ll have to keep a record of any waste transfers you make.


Waste is a major problem that the world is currently facing. This problem will only become further exacerbated if landfills are opted over recycling. Although landfills are no longer quite the giant headache they once were, they’re also far from the ideal way to deal with waste.

A lot of waste is produced in the U.S. and across the world. The many points of data highlighted in this guide demonstrate this clearly. However, with a more sustainable-driven approach, where materials are recycled, and the likes of single-use plastics are eliminated, there’s hope for the future that waste will no longer be the problem it currently is for the planet.

Useful links

You can find out more about landfills, how they function, and their average life expectancy here:

You can learn more about how the EPA is working to clean up electronic waste here:

The EPA also has a detailed guide on how small businesses can effectively manage their hazardous waste. This can be downloaded on this page:

Learn more about current technologies which are used to divert waste from landfills here:


What happens to landfill waste?

Landfills are generally designed to store waste rather than break it down. However, when it’s placed in a sealed, oxygen-free environment, landfill garbage will decompose – although this is a slow process. Plastic bags, for instance, can take up to 100 years to degrade.

How can my business reduce waste?

There are various steps you can take to reduce business waste. You can provide employees with reusable bottles instead of single-use cups. You can go paperless with a more digital approach. You can reduce your physical technological needs by moving processes to the cloud.

Can my business make money by recycling?

Yes, recycling can be a profitable venture if you take the appropriate steps. If you collect and process recyclable materials like aluminum, paper, and paper with the correct equipment, this can help to reduce costs and add an additional revenue stream for your business.

The right equipment goes a long way towards a business achieving its recycling goals. One such piece of equipment is a baler. You can find the right baler at, while ensures your baled materials are secured with dependable, high-quality baling wire.

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