Image courtesy of James Wang.

We see recycling bins in retail locations but have you ever wondered what happens once you place your recyclables in?  Recycling management companies, many of which are working behind the scenes, ensure that retailers are maximizing their recycling efforts.

On such company is Quest Resource Management Group. who knows a thing or two about waste reduction.  Quest loves a challenge and thrives on finding new uses for things once thought of as ‘waste’.  Organics, used cooking oil, meat and seafood, old corrugated cardboard are all part of Quest’s expanding recycling arsenal.

In 2014 alone, Quest helped retailers across the U.S. divert over 2,000,000,000 pounds of recyclable material from the landfill – helping transform waste streams into valuable resources.

For us as consumers, Quest’s efforts create leaner, greener retailers – retailers that we visit and shop at regularly. With the help of you as consumers and the retailers themselves, Quest managed over 20,000 client locations divert the following materials from landfill last year;

  • Organics Recycling – 500,500 tons
  • Used Cooking Oil Recycling – 8.7 million gallons
  • Meat & Seafood Recycling – 12,300 tons
  • Old Corrugated Cardboard – 74,500 tons
  • Used antifreeze – 132,600 gallons
  • Used oil filters – 6,800 tons
  • Containerized waste – 730,000 gallons
  • Oil water separators – 1.9 million gallons
Image courtesy of Steve Snodgrass.

So what you ask was the environmental impact of this diversion?  Well, let’s look at old corrugated cardboard as an example.  By recycling 74,500 tons of cardboard in 2014, Quest helped its clients prevent approximately 300,000 metric tons of CO2.  Put another way, those emissions are equivalent to the annual emissions of;

  • Approximately 27,000 cars
  • Approximately 24,000 homes

Over 521 million gallons of water were saved by recycling 74,500 tons of cardboard last year.  That’s enough to fill over 860 Olympic sized pools!  And this was just the cardboard Quest recycled last year.

Collectively, Quest reduced its client’s environmental footprint while maximizing savings – saving tens of millions of dollars. Quest’s client services teams’ help clients consistently optimize their programs, reduce costs and minimize their environmental impact. The team constantly monitors services, right sizes accounts, engages front line associates, controls contamination or other cost-increasing factors and tracks all programs Key Performance Indicators.

Who knew waste could be so exiting?

Feature image courtesy of James Wang

By Chase Ezell

Chase has served in various public relations, communications and sustainability roles. He is a former managing editor for