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Waste Prevention, Recycling, and Composting Options: Lessons from 30 US Communities

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This report analyzes the actual operating experience of 30 diverse communities—some with high materials recovery rates, others with model waste reduction initiatives—and draws lessons for communities wanting to strengthen their own programs. Most of the data presented in this report come from in-depth case studies of these 30 communities written by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. The 30 communities range from rural towns of 2,000 people to metropolitan areas approaching 2 million people.

Almost half were chosen because of their high recovery levels, either in the residential, commercial/institutional, or construction and demolition debris sector. The other communities were chosen because of their location, population density, or instructive program characteristics, including public or private collection, segregated or commingled set-out, sorting en route versus sorting at an intermediate processing center, curbside versus drop-off, bottle bill, mandatory or voluntary participation, volume-based or flat refuse collection rates. Communities studied included 4 counties and 26 municipalities.

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