Giving Compass' Take:

• Jennifer Weeks, writing for The Conversation, lists five critical reads that detail the impact of recycling and how to reduce U.S. waste management issues.

• How can these articles help donors become more aware of the magnitude of recycling concerns? And how can funders spread awareness among their networks?

• Read about how the plastic waste crisis could spur more home recycling. 

A year after China upended global materials markets by banning imports of much solid waste, the effects are still rippling around the globe. Many U.S. recyclers are awash in materials they formerly sent to China for processing. Some cities with few options are burning recyclables in incinerators.

What would it take to reduce U.S. waste management headaches? These five essential reads offer some insights.

  1. Embrace the circular economy Waste is inevitable when products are designed to be used and then thrown away. Clyde Eiríkur Hull, professor of management at Rochester Institute of Technology, offers an alternative: a circular economy in which products are used, then recycled and remanufactured into new products.
  2. Get serious about recycling plastic O'Neill identifies a number of steps to boost plastic recycling in the United States. They include better consumer education about sorting and disposal; less reliance on single-stream collection, which mixes plastics with other materials; more investment in scrap processing facilities; and steps to manage specific plastic products that are hard to recycle, such as 3D printer waste.
  3. Pursue plant-based plastics – and composting Conventional plastics are derived from fossil fuel, but they can also be made from renewable biological compounds that break down more easily, such as plant sugars. A key challenge with these products is making items that are strong enough to hold up during use but still biodegradable.
  4. Recycle more steel and aluminum Recycling is much more developed for metals than it is for plastics. In the United States, about 65 percent of old steel products and 40 to 65 percent of discarded aluminum products are recycled.
  5. Reconsider waste incineration Is burning trash instead of recycling it such a bad thing? Bucknell University economist Thomas Kinnaman thinks it’s worth a new look.

Read the full article about essential reads on recycling by Jennifer Weeks at The Conversation.