Top Waste Management Trends of 2023 & 2022

Our hand-picked collection of the top waste management trends of 2023 & 2022. The topics in this report on today’s emerging waste management trends are selected for their high growth across sites including Google, TikTok, Instagram, Reddit, Twitter, YouTube, and Amazon. Read more about how we track global trends.

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Eco Enzyme

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Eco enzyme is a fermented liquid made from organic waste and contains natural enzymes that can break down organic matter, which makes it as a good liquid cleaner. It can also be used as a fertilizer due to its nutritional profile. …  Read more


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Ridwell is a recycling startup that helps recycle things the right way especially items that are difficult to dispose of like batteries, electronics, light bulbs, or any item that can be reused or recycled. Ridwell was founded by Ryan Metzger, Aliya Marder, David Dawson, and Justin Gough in 2019. …  Read more

Circular Economy

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The circular economy is a model for sustainable economic growth that aims to keep resources in use for as long as possible, reduce waste, and minimize environmental impact. The model is based on the idea of the “cradle-to-cradle” philosophy, which suggests that products should be designed for reuse, recycling, and composting. …  Read more

Recycled Cotton

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Recycled cotton is cotton that has been repurposed from other garments or materials. The cotton is often used in new garments or other products, such as bedding or towels. Recycled cotton is beneficial for the environment as it reduces the amount of waste that is produced. …  Read more

Trend Highlight – The Rise of Ridwell: Shrinking The Cardboard Footprint

Ecommerce reduces waste by replacing many trips to the store with one delivery truck’s route, but this comes at a cost—more cardboard consumption. Amazon is conscious of their cardboard consumption, with 85 full-time employees devoted to reducing packaging waste; they also use boxes as ad space, which may also make them one of the world’s biggest direct mail advertisers. As consumers rely more on online shopping, they have more unsightly piles of empty boxes. Ridwell is a company that helps people shrink their cardboard footprint, not just their carbon footprint.


The company’s original purpose was to provide a solution to “aspirational recycling,” when people want to recycle so badly, and at all costs, that they end up cramming the blue bins with non-recyclable products.


For a fee, the company picks up batteries, light bulbs, thread, plastic film, and styrofoam. It’s also partnered with Amazon to pick up garbage after Prime Day. Amazon, which handled an estimated 5.1 billion packages in 2020 (compared to USPS’s 5.3 billion), is a major contributor to cardboard trash—and is trying to reduce its impact.


The recycling business is in flux, following China’s decision to stop importing so much of the US’s waste. Ridwell is part of the industry’s overall efforts to adapt. And while it’s an extra expense for waste-conscious consumers, the cost is partially offset by a reduction in the amount of trash that gets removed or recycled through regular garbage services, which charge based on volume.


Ridwell wasn’t born as a business; it started as a Facebook group dedicated to better recycling. As it scaled, it was harder to operate as a voluntary organization, but made sense as a fee-supported service. Ridwell showcases how social movements can scale into self-sustaining organizations.

Trend Highlight – The Rising Popularity of Zero Waste Stores

A growing number of zero-waste stores are opening to serve the needs of environmentally-conscientious consumers — and while the business model presents a new set of difficulties for entrepreneurs, it could also drive more loyalty than traditional retail.


Packaging-free grocery stores generally sell an array of bulk products such as grains, spices, nuts, pastas, and oils, and offer customers the choice of buying, borrowing, or bringing their own reusable containers when they shop. Advocates of the zero-waste movement — which we covered earlier this year — say this method also helps reduce food waste, because consumers can buy only what they need. Eliminating plastic from stores does mean, though, that zero-waste grocers can't rely on packaging to keep food from spoiling, so they have less room for error when it comes to forecasting demand. As a consequence, they generally have to restock more frequently, which can lead to higher fuel emissions.


Beauty stores are another popular category, often emphasizing the benefits of refilling rather than just recycling. Shoppers can bring or buy reusable bottles and jars and stock up on shampoos, conditioners, creams, and toothpastes — a model that has the added bonus of encouraging customers to come back to the store whenever they run out, giving staff an opportunity to sell them on new products.

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