Program Monitoring and Evaluation
Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.
Monitoring and evaluating the recycling program will help you identify both successes and problems. Periodically inspect recycling and trash bins and observe:
- Contamination levels in recycling bins
- Amount of recyclables thrown in the trash
- Conditions in the storage/staging area
- Signage on recycling and trash bins
- Level of fullness of trash cans and recycling bins
- Extent to which free items/giveaways are discarded in trash
Use the Recycling Program Evaluation Table (PDF) (1 pg, 36K, about PDF) as a guide for recording visual observations. Interviewing concessionaires, vendors, exhibitors, volunteers, staff, and patrons can provide great feedback.
It also might be beneficial to create a survey for the public to complete after their visit to the venue. Talking with people is a great way to evaluate and monitor your program. Asking yourself, staff, and visitors the following questions will help you determine the success of the program:
- What is successful about the recycling program?
- What doesn’t work with the program?
- What problems have you observed?
- Did you notice contamination problems? If so, what kind of contamination?
- How did guests react to the program?
- Are there an adequate number of recycling bins?
- Are they easily accessible?
- Are the bins clearly labeled and identifiable?
- Is there enough storage space for the recyclables?
- What kinds of questions have you been asked? Were you able to answer the questions?
- What kinds of trash and litter were generated?
- If you are a vendor, would you be willing to stop selling or substitute a recyclable or less wasteful product if something you sell commonly ends up in the trash?
- What concerns do you have about the program?
- Do you have any suggestions for improving the recycling program?
Concessionaires are an invaluable source of information to assess a recycling program. Ask them:
- Is it convenient for you to recycle?
- Do you have enough bins/collection locations for the materials you produce?
- Are they emptied frequently enough?
- Did you receive adequate information on the recycling program?
- How are your employees and customers responding to the recycling program?
Go to the Monitoring and Evaluation at Special Events page for methods tailored to special events.
With the information gathered during the monitoring process, it is now time to assess the success of your recycling program. Calculate the weight of the materials diverted from the waste stream.
Visit the Environmental Benefits page to translate the impacts of your recycling program into the amount of energy and water saved, air pollution avoided, or hazardous waste prevented. Refer to EPAs WAste Reduction Model (WARM) Calculator to convert waste reduction values into greenhouse gas emissions reductions and energy savings.
Be sure to tell event participants where they can learn about the success of the program (i.e. a website, press release, etc.).
Its also important to track how much money is being made by and spent on the program. Compare waste hauling costs before and after program implementation.