Setting Up a Recycling Program Details
The links below will provide you with information on how to set up a paper recycling program.
Some important questions to ask when starting a paper recycling program include:
- Who will collect the recycled paper or other recyclables?
- What type of paper is generated?
- What collection system will be used?
- Where will the materials be stored and picked up for recycling?
- When will pick-ups be scheduled?
- How much of each type of paper will be generated?
- How will this program be paid for, promoted, and monitored?
Education and Outreach
The best way to increase paper recycling is to educate people about:
- Why they should recycle.
- What they should recycle.
- How they should recycle.
There are several key elements to a successful education and outreach program:
- Keep it Simple: Make the messages and directions clear, understandable, and concise.
- Say it Right: Make sure program information is available in a multi-lingual format, as necessary, to ensure all citizens are informed.
- Make it Obvious: Clearly label collection bins and advertise drop-off sites.
- Spell it Out: Explain the reasons why recycling is important and the impact it makes on our environment.
- Keep it Going: Give frequent updates on how much the program is progressing and how the effort is making a difference.
- Make it Count: Set goals and publicly chart progress, with an incentive for reaching the goals.
- Shout it Out: Get local media involved and publicize the program.
Here are some additional links to help you develop an outreach program:
- Paper Industry Association Councils Web page on Recycling in your Community: provides thorough guidance on the best ways to reach out, educate, and gain support from local residents.
- Curbside Value Partnership provides tools to promote curbside recycling programs and examples of successful programs.
- Conservatrees Single Stream Recycling Best Practices Guide thoroughly outlines the best ways to promote and educate the community on a single stream recycling program.
Monitoring involves visually inspecting to make sure the program is running smoothly. Periodically inspect paper recycling and trash bins and observe:
- Contamination levels in recycling bins.
- Amount of recyclables thrown in the trash rather than collection containers.
- Conditions in the storage/staging area.
- Signage on recycling and trash bins.
- Level of material collected in trash cans and recycling bins
Evaluation and Metrics
In order to measure progress, first establish a benchmark by trying to estimate the quantity and composition of paper and paperboard (by weight and grade) being generated. Your waste hauler might be able to provide this data. You can conduct a waste assessment find out how at EPAs WasteWise website.
Once your program starts, it is important to regularly monitor and evaluate participation and progress.
- Request monthly reports on the tonnage of paper collected from your recycling service provider. It helps to make this part of your waste/recycling collection and transport contract.
- Compare the paper recycling data to the benchmark estimate to see the impact that the recycling program is making.
- Determine your paper recycling rate by comparing the amount (by weight) of paper and paper products collected to the total amount of paper generated by the community (both recycled and discarded).
You can calculate your recycling rate with this formula:
divided by Total paper discarded (trashed + recycled) (by weight)
600 pounds of paper recycled / 1200 pounds of paper discarded (600 pounds trashed + 600 pounds recycled) = recycling rate of 50%
It is also helpful to maintain records on the amount of money saved through reduced disposal costs and the amount of revenue generated through the sale of your recovered paper. Also, solicit feedback from residents and make changes to the program if needed.