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Solid Waste Generation and Recycling

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  • The Department of Interior  announced $100 million for the Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resiliency Competitive Grant Program,  The competition will fund projects that promote resilient natural systems while enhancing green spaces and wildlife habitat in needed areas along the Sandy-impacted landscape, enabling coastal communities and key habitats to withstand the impacts of future storms.  Click here for the Request for Proposals and application details!
  • Find videos from EPA's Smart Growth Program and the HUD-DOT-EPA Partnership for Sustainable Communities on our Webinars, Videos, and Podcasts page. Here, you can watch how communities across the country are putting smart growth in action!
  • Check out EPA’s Smart Location Database, a consistent nationwide data resource for measuring location efficiency. It includes over 90 variables characterizing the built environment, transit service, destination accessibility, employment, and demographics at the census block group scale. You can download data for your selected region, view data online in an interactive map, or access the data through a variety of web services.
  • 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.

Success Story:
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.

EPA Waste Wise Program
Recycling at Public Events
EPA Guide to Composting
EPA Electronics Recycling
Earth 911


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