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[greenyes] Biweekly Recycle Collection

Jeff Aluotto asks for data about converting from weekly to bi-weekly

The most best and most recent data which I have seen on the subject was
compiled statististically from the Seattle region by Sound Resources,
Single-Family Residential Solid Waste Collection Practices in King County:
Collection Program Characteristics and Best Practices for Waste Minimization
and Diversion Maximization (December 2003).

That study found that bi-weekly programs collected 239 fewer pounds per
household per year than traditional weekly programs (see Table 1 on page
34). This compares, of course, to typical base level recycle collections
that are usually not more than 500 lbs./HH/yr.

Although this average impact would seem to suggest a very substantial
proportion of current diversion from such a shift could be lost, I would
want to emphasize that this tendency does not mean that bi-weekly collection
cannot work anywhere. There certainly are instances where it is has.

But, the answer to your question for any particular town is
local-dependent and not answerable from someone else's study done elsewhere.

I understand that Waste Management is aggressively marketing bi-weekly
collection, as a component of single stream collection, in many markets,
without any site specific analysis to confirm that the typical diversion
losses will not occur there.

What the Sound Resource Study does tell us that is that the
underdesirable consequences are so significant, the only prudent course
would be to field test the change in a typical neighborhood before
proceeding to adopt it. If you need help in formulating a study design to do
that, just let me know.

(You can get a copy of Jeff Morris' excellent study from his Sound
Resources web site,, or I can send you a PDF copy if that
would be simpler for you.)


Peter Anderson, President
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Madison, WI 53705-4964
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