Close this search box.

5 Key Topics to Look Forward to in 2024 in the Waste & Recycling Industry

5 Key Topics to Look Forward to in 2024 in the Waste & Recycling Industry

Waste is often called the most complicated simple business, and as regulations and technology continue to make this point even more striking, it’s in your best interest to stay on top of trends and key waste management and recycling topics. Our landscape is rapidly evolving with new e-waste legislation, new Canadian legislation, and a push for greater consumer education, among other trends to keep an eye on. As technology drives innovation and legislations like the Enhanced Organics/Food Waste Act come into place, staying informed and adaptable is crucial for navigating the future of waste management effectively.

Let’s explore the key recycling topics and waste management topics that have the industry abuzz in 2024. 

1. Enhanced e-waste legislation will come into place

Per EcoWaste, E-waste (waste from electrical and electronic equipment) is the fastest-growing and most complex waste stream worldwide, and governments are catching on.

Managing this waste stream is essential as global e-waste generation will reach 74 million tonnes a year by 2030, nearly doubling since 2014. In 2022 alone, one-third of mobile phones worldwide became e-waste. The e-waste trend will almost certainly continue to rise, and our industry shoulders the burden of figuring out what exactly should be done with all of this waste. 

The negative consequences of this unmitigated growth are enormous for people and the planet. We need to make sure we recover, and keep using, as much of the resources as possible. Recycling e-waste will be critical to avoiding environmental complications with implications we may not even fully understand yet, and as e-waste trends continue to evolve, Routeware will keep you in the know. 

Read Electrifying E-Waste: A Guide to Effectively Communicating Through Digital Tools for tips on  how to address e-waste.

2. The Canadian federal government will pass the Canadian Sustainable Jobs Act, joining the USA’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal & Federal Sustainability Plan

This new Canadian law will require the creation and five-year update of a Sustainable Jobs Action plan, outlining the federal government’s plans for facilitating and promoting economic growth, creating sustainable jobs, and supporting workers and communities in the shift to a net-zero economy over the following five-year period. 

The plans will also detail how the government will invest to decarbonize Canada’s economy, establish conditions for accessing federal economic incentives in relation to labour, and identify pathways to sustainable jobs for workers. Read More.

3. Increased emphasis on consumer education

Per Plastic Bank:

“Public awareness about recycling and sustainability is growing. In fact, with the help of social media and the internet, news and environmental campaigns have become a lot easier to cascade to global audiences. This has created socially conscious consumers who actively look for and support companies who invest in environmental stewardship. 

In 2024, there will likely be more emphasis on consumer education and engagement to promote responsible recycling habits. This is especially true in schools and communities where public awareness is most needed.”

People often want to do the right thing, and the waste management industry is in a fantastic place to assist them in learning what the right thing is. We can help you help them get there with our education, scheduling, and outreach tools, built specifically for the waste industry.

4. Enhanced organics/food waste legislation will come into place

Every year, federal action on food waste grows. There is much action at US state and local levels as well as Canada. For illustrative purposes, here we focus on US Federal highlights, courtesy of NRDC.

In a recent legislative session, many food waste-related bills were introduced or re-introduced, including the Food Date Labeling Act, NO TIME TO Waste Act, COMPOST Act, and the Zero Food Waste Act, in addition to the passage of the Food Donation Improvement Act in January. 

Of specific note is the NO TIME TO Waste Act, which is a bipartisan bill intended to help reduce waste in the United States through the establishment of a dedicated Office of Food Loss and Waste within the USDA, supporting work which keeps food out of landfills, increases food security and help to redirect food that would otherwise be wasted toward those experiencing food insecurity. Given the scope and aim of the program, the waste industry is quite likely to be highly impacted should this act be passed. 

Read Confronting Organics: Best Practices For Launching An Organics Program for tips and practical advice.

5. Technology will continue to drive innovation and  excellence

Innovations in waste and recycling technologies are expected to play a more significant role in reducing the environmental impact of waste disposal. Common waste management topics are generally where this technology gains its foothold, as the tech is designed to handle common waste management industry problems, like unsatisfied customers, less-than-optimized routing, and education on recycling topics. If you’re still using paper, manual processes, and disparate systems to achieve your goals and meet regulatory requirements, you’re most likely experiencing higher costs and operational inefficiencies that are holding you back. You may not even be aware of how sharp the loss is until you get the chance to experience what you’re missing. 

Sign up for a free consultation with one of our waste experts.

By the way, we wrote about the best news from the waste and recycling industry in 2023. Did you miss it? Check it out here!

Keep an eye out next week for the Routeware Report, a highlight of what haulers and municipalities across North America and the UK accomplished alongside Routeware in the past year.


A new international standard for the sustainable management of e-waste will set requirements to achieve the best environmental outcome by focusing on the recovery of products, components, and materials. Read more.

The Canadian Federal Government just passed more e-waste legislation, amending UN law in comprehensive coverage of the import, export, and transit of non-hazardous and hazardous electrical and electronic waste. Read more.

Closing the Loop on the World’s Fastest-growing Waste Stream: Electronics. Read more.

A raw deal: Will materials shortages, supply chain challenges threaten tech’s future? Read more.

Organics/Food Waste:

For the first time ever, this year’s United Nations’ Conference of Parties (COP) on climate included a food and agriculture day. Over the course of the two weeks at COP28, more than 600 events related to food and agriculture took place at the venue, and many of them were related to food loss and waste. Several inspiring announcements were made related to food loss and waste at COP. Learn more.

The Biden Administration has awarded millions of dollars to support food waste reduction projects and activities throughout the country and internationally. In addition to the Food Waste and Composting Cooperative Agreements and CPRG, in September, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued $100 million in a grant program through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to support solid waste infrastructure for recycling in states, territories, and communities, including $44 million to support 33 projects to prevent and recycle wasted food

Also in September, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced an additional $25 million investment to expand efforts to reduce food loss and waste through the Community Food Projects (CFP) Competitive Grants Program, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced $10 million in funding to support food loss and waste efforts internationally


Other Legislation:

Biden administration proposes sustainable procurement policy. Read more.

Federal Sustainability Plan. Read more.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law: Transforming U.S. Recycling and Waste Management. Read more.

EPW Committee Advances Bipartisan Recycling Legislation. Read more.

Other Trends:
Want more than 5 Key Topics to Look Forward to in 2024 in the Waste & Recycling Industry? Check out more trends here and here.

P.S. Wanting to view all Holiday Waste assets, all in one place, even after the season is over? We’ve got you covered – head on over to our Holiday Waste page to stay in the loop.


Routeware Insights

Sign Up for Tech Tips for Smart Cities & Trucks

Join over 17,000 people who receive our insights on how to drive better performance and better serve your communities – directly to their inbox.

More Posts

Ready to improve and enhance your waste operations?