Recycling Composition Studies Raise the Bar on Residential Waste Programs

Cities, regions, and states are reaping the benefits from waste and recycling composition studies. This Waste Advantage article illustrates how waste characterization data turns into information that helps plan how to reduce waste and contamination, set up recycling programs, and conserve money and resources.

Essentially, these benefits will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help communities work toward achieving climate change goals. The periodic process helps communities refine programs to achieve more valuable efficiencies and positively affect our environment.

We thank Brent Dieleman of SCS Engineers, Ravi Kadambala of the Miami-Dade County Department of Solid Waste Management, Felipe Melchor of ReGen Monterey, and Kate Strom Hoirns of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for sharing their knowledge and expertise about the impact of recycling composition studies on their waste management programs.

Excerpt: The latest study uncovered an uptick in landfilled organics, the largest percentage of the stream at about 30 percent, with edible food discards accounting for 14.5 percent. With this understanding, Wisconsin DNR opted to use an EPA grant to understand existing food waste prevention and reduction efforts and opportunities for reducing waste food and increasing the recovery of food scraps in an effort to reduce environmental impacts associated with food loss and waste while improving food security. The grant-funded work will focus on gaining knowledge about existing organics and food scrap collection and processing infrastructure to identify where and how to improve and where expansions are needed.


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