The eco-movement the past couple of years has been interesting to say the least. We have seen houses made out of recycled and unwanted materials, and Germany being one of the top countries to recycle. Every day we continue to see new developments, innovations and recycling efforts that make our world greener. To be prepared for our future, here are five trends we predict we’ll be witnessing.

Mandatory Composting               

Due to the fact that only 5% of the 26 million tons of food waste in 2012 avoided a landfill, more municipalities across the country are starting to institute programs for organic material composting. There are millions of tons of food sitting at the bottom of a landfill that could be turned into a healthy compost material. Cities like San Francisco and New York City have started this discussion. We can only hope the interest of these two cities with spark the growth of composting.

Recycling Cigarettes?

Did you know that 38% of litter on the road is cigarette and tobacco product waste? It’s a ubiquitous issue that we’ve just had to deal with. However, any person over the age of 21 or organization or business can collect and send cigarette waste through TerraCycle’s Cigarette Waste Brigade recycling program. The tobacco and paper can be recycled into industrial plastic products like shipping pallets. When more people realize there is a solution to this waste stream, we hope to see more actions take place.

Banning Plastics

Plastics are notorious for taking hundreds of years to photodegrade and being hazardous to local ecosystems and wildlife. Chicago is the latest U.S city to approve a ban on plastic shopping bags and the California state legislature enacted a ban a few weeks ago. The cost-effective and durable material is enough for packaging, however, its light weight makes it prone to being easily spread by the wind. Hopefully phasing out unsustainable and pervasive plastics and developing new solutions will continue.

Organic Waste Turned into Energy

California’s eco-technology uses its skill to create a “Sacromento BioDigester” which can take food and other biodegradable waste and turn it into sustainable bioenergy. This may be an indication of things to come, especially from the efficiency of processing 100 tons of organic material a day.

Paper to Digital

President Obama signed a legislation requiring the EPA to move to a completely digital system of records by next year allowing retailers and commercial businesses to report their hazardous waste data directly to the EPA via “e-manifest.” This will help industrial and commercial waste tracking much more streamlined and efficient. The efficiency benefits and how digital record systems generate less waste, it’s likely more businesses will be pressured into jumping on this band wagon as well.

These are just a few examples of how the eco-movement is evolving. Even though the recycling rate in the U.S only went from 30.1% in 2000 to 34.5% in 2012, the future holds plenty of new developments and innovations that will contribute to keeping our earth green.