Policy Study

Nationwide Diversion Rate Study

Quantitative Effects of Program Choices on Recycling and Green Waste Diversion

Executive Summary

Even though there are 7,375 curbside and over 9,000 dropoff recycling programs across the nation, thousands of yard waste programs (bringing materials to over 3,316 composting facilities), and over 2,800 variable rates programs, communities have very little quantitative information available to help them improve their waste management programs. At conferences, when planners ask about the likely impacts of possible program improvements, the answers usually begin, “well, the city of [fill in the blank] made that change and found…”. As planners know, answers like this are seldom transferable to other communities. The information that is available from manuals or the literature are generally case studies of single (or a small number of) communities. And unfortunately, the case study communities that receive publicity are usually those that were “special” in some way, making the information from their experience even less representative or transferable to other communities.