Solid Waste Generation and Recycling
- Global Green USA has opened a special application period for their Sustainable Neighborhood Assessment assistance specifically for communities impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Request for Proposals (RFPs) will be accepted online through April 30.
- EPA hosts the Local Climate and Energy Webcast Series to assist local governments as they explore and plan climate change and clean energy efforts. Check out the upcoming webcasts here.
Local governments have the challenge of managing waste generation and recycling for their residents. EPA estimates that the average person in the U.S. generates 4.6 pounds of waste per day and recycles 1.5 pounds. Multiply that by the number of members in each community and that is what government leaders are up against every day.
A comprehensive sustainability plan should have the goal of reducing the amount of trash that enters the waste stream. Solutions and tips for how to tackle this issue can be found in the Solid Waste Generation and Recycling Chapter of Planning for a Sustainable Future - A Guide for Local Governments [PDF 4.9 MB, 58 pp].
What You Can Do
Waste management is a significant expense for local municipalities. An integrated waste management plan, which uses a variety of methods to manage municipal waste- can help reduce the amount of waste your community generates, reduce the cost of waste removal, and alleviate landfill burden.
- Build community awareness of the waste hierarchy: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
- Encourage recycling-on-the-go at public events
- Add other items, like electronics, to routine recycling programs (aluminum, glass, paper)
- Promote Re-use Centers, where items like building materials can be recycled back into the community rather than sent to landfills
- Start municipal composting programs in public parks, schools, and at home
Montclair, New Jersey implemented a “pay as you throw” program to raise awareness of household and business municipal solid waste disposal. Under the system, municipal solid waste disposal is treated as another separately billed utility service like water, electricity, or gas. This program has raised the amount of waste recycled, reduced the amount of waste produced, and saved the Township over $105,000 per year since it began in 2003.