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Recycling Measurement

Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.

Contact: ORCRMeasurement@epa.gov

Related Links

List of State and Local Waste Characterization Studies - A collection of state and local waste characterization studies

Presenting a recycling measurement tool that does all of the following:

EPA developed a voluntary, standard methodology for measuring recycling rates. At present, few states or local governments define recycling in the same way, use the same approach for measuring recycling rates, or include the same materials in their rates. Many are not able to obtain complete information from data sources to calculate a reliable rate. As a result, the benefits of measuring recycling are often not fully realized. Utilizing this methodology can help you accurately evaluate the success of your program and ensure that your fiscal, administrative, and planning decisions are sound.

Quote 1:  Whether you are a state that is already measuring recycling or you are just starting out, you will be thankful that there's a resource out there to help you, and you will be able to learn something from it.  Kip Eagles, Recycling Survey Coordinator, Washington State

EPA developed this website to help state and local government officials learn more about the standard methodology. The following links allow you to access a number of recycling measurement documents including:

Quote 2:  We see the standard measurement methodology as essential for our own governments within the state of Pennsylvania.  Carl Hursh, Chief of Recycling and Markets Section, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

There also are two journal articles. One explains the mechanics of the measurement method. The other describes how to recalculate an existing recycling rate using a special component of the measurement method called the ‘translator.’

In addition, this site contains a place for you to download the guidance document, resources for you to use , and answers to frequently asked questions. You also can send your questions and comments about the recycling measurement methodology to EPA.

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