Top Waste Management Trends of 2023 & 2024

Here are the current waste management trends of 2023 and 2024, found using our software tool and selected based on their growth and global popularity across sites like Google, TikTok, Reddit, Twitter, YouTube, Amazon, and more. These are not fads, such as new movies or social media challenges – rather they’re long-term global waste management trends that are likely to see continued growth throughout 2023 and into 2024. We’ve also included our analysis on these new emerging trends below.

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Eco Enzyme

10K
Past Month Searches
+43%
Past Year Change

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

Ridwell

5.7K
Past Month Searches
+4%
Past Year Change

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

64K
Past Month Searches
+2%
Past Year Change

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

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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    KeywordGraph - 5 YearsGrowth - YoY
    Kitsch Shampoo
    451%
    Grounding Sheets
    369%
    AI Glasses
    325%
    Deodorant Stone
    263%
    Salt Deodorant
    207%
    Knee Massager
    197%
    Leapfrog Monitor
    155%
    Hair Wax Stick
    131%
    Silicone Body Scrubber
    126%
    First Day Vitamins
    118%

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    Past Waste Management Trends

    Recycled Cotton
    Peaked in 2022