Solutions journalism is news about how communities and organizations are responding to social and environmental problems. This collection contains solutions stories about four innovative solutions to the industrial recycling challenge: the discovery of an enzyme that can eat plastic; a company in Colorado (ReWall Co.) that converts beverage containers into ceiling tiles; a New Mexico energy company that recycles and reuses fracking waste water; and a tax incentive program in Norway that rewards companies that recycle more than 95% of their waste and penalizes those that don’t.
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Recycling done correctly can solve many problems, including reducing our massive amount of waste and creating more available resources. It also reduces emissions, which is why Project Drawdown considers it a leading solution for slowing down climate change. At least half of all waste is either industrial or commercial, and the sources range from manufacturing to schools. There are several promising strategies that can enhance industrial recycling rates, including producer responsibility regulations, secondary recycling markets, innovative conversion technologies, and “cradle to cradle” business models that recapture “waste” as a valuable resource. Taken together, these strategies can form an integrated approach to recycling that reduces overall emissions from extracting, transporting, and processing raw materials, which are finite.