I am not a simple predictor, but I am a person who wishes certain things would happen and hopes that by putting my energy into the universe, I can help them happen. So I'm not so much predicting what will happen in the recycling world as defining what I think might happen, and indeed, HOPE might happen.
1) American car manufacturers will bring out some of their upcoming hybrid cars, which will be accepted by an American public that suddenly understands low gas prices are only temporary. The Ford Fusion is already coming in the spring, and I believe GM will have 9 hybrid models by the beginning of 2010.
2) The idea of clean coal will go slowly away. While we can't just give up our old forms of energy, we have to quit thinking that we can use sleight of hand to keep doing the same things and pretending we've changed. A carbon tax might help.
3) Solar energy tax credits will provide a bridge to make the installation and retrofit of both commercial and residential buildings possible and affordable for large numbers of people, taking enough families and businesses off the grid to start a "buzz" about how alternative energy really works.
4) More people will grow gardens and eat their own crops, teaching their children where food comes from.
5) Curbside recycling programs will not go away, but will expand, and new markets for recycled materials will be found.
6) Corporate Sustainability Reports will become more substantial, measuring and monitoring the effect of manufacturing processes on our global climate issues.
7) Climate change will stop being a political issue, and become a fact of life that we have to take into account.
The government will provide a real leadership example by retrofitting its own buidings and military bases and transforming them into sustainable places for people to live and work.
9) Companies the size of WalMart , who really can make a difference, will continue to lead by becoming zero-waste and zero-impact businesses.
10) As the real estate market re-adjusts, sustainability will be seen as a key selling point in residential and commercial buildings.
Here at Earth911, 2009 will be like every other year since we were founded: another year to help our friends reduce, re-use and recycle.