Curbside collection of recyclable materials :fifteen cases studies in the United States
Waterman, Donna Ruth
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Fifteen curbside recycling programs in the United States, from communities representing a variety of economic, geographic and political situations, were reviewed in this study. Case studies were analyzed and discussed with respect to four areas of interest to program planners: administration, operations, promotion and evaluation. No objective rating of the programs was attempted, but approaches were reviewed with respect to their ability to satisfy the goals of the programs. Comparisons of participation rates, waste diversion rates, and costs were used cautiously because of the inconsistencies in how the data were developed from program to program. Administrative approaches found in the case studies included: (a) complete ownership of the collection and processing system by municipalities; (b) contracted service by private waste management firms; (c) contracted or subsidized service by non-profit organizations; and (d) combinations of municipal, private, and non-profit services. Operational systems were examined with respect to the effectiveness of the service in stimulating participation, given the practical, political, and budgetary constraints. Variables of operation are closely related and include: (a) which materials are collected; (b) the degree of materials separation required; (c) the type of collection vehicle(s) used; (d) collection frequency and coincidence with garbage collection; (e) the provision of in home containers; and (t) the extent of post-collection materials processing. Four categories of promotional techniques used in curbside recycling programs were discussed: (a) publicity and education; (b) personal contact; (c) economic incentives; and (d) ordinances mandating source-separation. The impacts of these techniques on participation in the case study programs were discussed. Techniques for evaluating the efficacy of curbside recycling programs were also discussed. Participation rates, waste diversion rates, and cost were reviewed with respect to current usage and recommendations were made for increasing their usefulness as indicators of the success of programs or program elements.
- Masters Theses