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RE: [GreenYes] Mandatory Recycling
Sorry...looks like attachments dont work with this listserv.  Here's the article with mandatory recycling info that I mentioned in my previous e-mail:

Recycling and Local Governments


The following article on recycling is the second in a three-part series on reducing municipal solid waste (MSW). 



Effectively managing solid waste often tests the limits of a small local government’s financial resources.  Rising solid waste management costs, decreasing landfill space, and limited budgets can combine to create unique challenges.  By reducing the total amount of waste that must be disposed, local governments can simultaneously save money and protect the environment.  Recycling is one method that small local governments can use to successfully reduce the amount of municipal solid waste that is landfilled. 

 During the past four decades, the amount of solid waste produced by the U.S. has increased dramatically, rising from 88 million tons of waste produced in 1960 to 217 million tons in 1997.  (Environmental Fact Sheet: Source Reduction of Municipal Solid Waste, Environmental Protection Agency, 1999)  At the same time, the country’s capacity to handle this waste has steadily decreased.  Many landfills have run out of space or closed in response to the promulgation of more stringent regulations governing landfill design and operation, and siting new landfills or combustors is often met with substantial public opposition.  As a result of these trends, MSW collection and disposal costs have grown increasingly expensive.  

Recycling is a series of activities by which discarded materials are collected, sorted, processed, converted into raw materials, and used in the production of new products.  While many local governments enjoy successful recycling programs, small communities often face special challenges due to limited resources.  To overcome this challenge, small communities often incorporate creative approaches into their recycling program.  Some techniques that small communities have utilized to increase the effectiveness of their recycling programs include (1) creative public education, (2) establishing Pay-As-You-Throw programs, and (3) establishing mandatory recycling programs.

 Creative Public Education  

 Education is a crucial element in generating public participation in a recycling program – an essential ingredient for success.  However, due to limited budgets, many small communities simply cannot pay for the same types of educational  programs that larger municipalities are able to afford.  Some small communities have overcome this challenge by developing innovative ways to educate large numbers of people that are both inexpensive and effective.  One technique that has proven effective for the Knox County Office of Recycling and Litter Prevention, located in central Ohio, is cooperating with local businesses, artists, and others to create exciting recycling events that attract large numbers of people.  In addition to being treated to a variety of entertainment, citizens are educated on recycling issues. 

In one such event, the county enlisted the aid of “Big Dawg”, a well-known enthusiastic and eccentric Cleveland Browns football fan; a local animal shelter; and a local cheerleading squad to host a recycling day/pep rally at a local middle school.  The larger-than-life Big Dawg, packs of assorted pets, and excited cheerleaders combined to draw in the crowds and create a fun-filled atmosphere.  Participants were treated to recycling displays, facts, and games, and enjoyed the opportunity to meet Big Dawg, play with animals, and applaud the spirit of the cheerleading squad.  Participants at the recycling day rally were encouraged to bring in and dispose of aluminum cans, the proceeds of which were donated to the animal shelter in return for use of the animals.  Big Dawg volunteered his services at this event in order to support the recycling cause, and the cheerleaders welcomed the opportunity to perform their routine in front of large crowds.

The county holds a similar event on Halloween in cooperation with a local Wal-Mart.  The department store allows the county to host a Halloween recycling carnival on the store’s sizable parking lot.  For the carnival, local magicians, musicians, and other performers donate their time and the county again enlists the aid of the local animal shelter.  Pets are dressed for the occasion.  Recycling displays, games, and exhibits found throughout the event educate and entertain the costumed crowds that consistently show up for this event.  Participants again donate aluminum cans for recycling, the funds from which are again turned over to the animal shelter.  The crowds drawn in by the event frequently buy items at the nearby Wal-mart, increasing business for the store.


Mandatory Programs

Finally, some small communities have used mandatory recycling programs to generate high levels of public participation.  In these programs, ordinances require citizens and/or businesses to separate recyclable materials from their trash.  If recyclable items are discovered in trash, violators may be fined or collection refused.  Fennimore, a small Wisconsin town of 2378, uses a mandatory recycling program to achieve 100% participation in their recycling program.  The program, established in 1989 by a city ordinance, requires citizens and businesses to separate their recyclables into bins that are provided by the city.  Residents are required to use clear bags for their refuse.  This allows municipal garbage collectors to easily determine if recyclables have not been separated.  If recyclables are discovered in the trash, the trash is not collected and a note is left with an explanation.  Although Fennimore’s ordinance allows for the assessment of fines ranging from $10-$100 for such offenses, not collecting the trash is nearly always sufficient in getting the message across.  Flyers describing the program are sent to residents annually.    

When combined with public education and other techniques to encourage participation, mandatory programs can be extremely effective.  Berlin Township, a small New Jersey municipality of 5672, has developed a mandatory program that has frequently resulted in the highest recycling levels in their county and state.  In 1990, Berlin was also presented with a national award for their recycling efforts.  In addition to a local ordinance that allows for $25-$100 fines for mixing recyclables in with waste (warnings and/or termination of collection at a residence is nearly always sufficient punishment – fines are rarely used), Berlin utilizes public education and residential convenience to generate high levels of participation.  Through newsletters, informational packets to new residents, and visits to schools Berlin emphasizes recycling as a way that the average citizen can protect the environment and lower local taxes.  Berlin also makes recycling very convenient for residents.  Donations from local businesses who wish to improve their environmental image allow the township to distribute free recycling bins to residents.  All recyclable items are placed in a single container, which eliminates the hassle of separating materials, and are collected on the same day as non-recyclable refuse.      

Economic Incentives

Creating economic incentives for citizens to recycle can be another effective way to increase public participation in a recycling program.  One way that numerous small communities have created an economic incentive for citizens to recycle is by establishing volume based pricing or Pay as You Throw (PAYT).  Pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) is a municipal solid waste (MSW) management practice that charges households based on the amount of waste they discard.  Since recycling is free, this creates an economic incentive for citizens to reduce the amount of waste they produce by recycling more, thereby saving the local government money in MSW management costs.  Local governments frequently document a rapid increase in recycling rates following the establishment of a PAYT program.  Well-designed programs can often generate the revenues communities need to cover their solid waste costs, including the costs of complementary programs such as recycling. 


There are two basic types of PAYT systems.  In the first, residents must purchase and use special bags or tags in order to have their garbage collected.  In an alternative system, residents choose among refuse containers with varying capacities, and pay substantially more for setting out the larger containers.  Both systems reward citizens for recycling more.  Communities with PAYT programs in place often report significant increases in recycling and reductions in waste ─ important steps in protecting the environment. 


The City of Dover, New Hampshire, a rural community of 26,000, has experienced considerable success with PAYT.  Before implementing a PAYT system, Dover collected approximately 24,000 tons of trash each year, of which approximately 11,000 tons were residential refuse.  With no recycling program, the city struggled to meet their MSW management costs.  In response to these problems, the city opened a recycling center in May 1990 and shortly thereafter established curbside collection of recyclables and a PAYT program. Dover residents now pay for the collection and disposal of waste through the purchase of special bags and/or adhesive tags. The fees generated by the sale of the bags and tags go into a special revenue fund that has been established to pay for the collection, disposal, and administrative costs associated with residential solid waste. As a result of these changes, Dover’s annual production of waste has dropped from 11,000 tons per year of residential solid waste to only 3,900 tons per year and their recycling rate for their residential waste stream is over 50 percent. 

Recycling Resources

 Many resources exist that can assist local governments in their recycling efforts.  Some helpful recycling resources include the following:


        The Local Government Environmental Assistance Network (LGEAN) provides environmental information to local governments on a wide range of topics, including recycling. LGEAN can provide assistance in locating recycling case studies; identifying available financial or technical assistance; finding appropriate recycling contacts at the federal, state, and local level; and more.  Local governments who have specific recycling questions may contact LGEAN toll-free at 877/TO-LGEAN or e-mail


  • The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) will hold a Waste Reduction, Recycling & Composting Symposium in Denver, Colorado, February 26-March 2, 2001.  The symposium will present information on a variety of waste reduction strategies, as well as information on solid waste collection.  For more information on this event, contact Kathy Haggard, SWANA Program Manager, at 301/585-2898.


  • Waste Prevention, Recycling, and Composting Options: Lessons from 30 Communities.  This Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) publication analyzes the operating experiences of the solid waste management programs of 30 communities across the country with high material recovery rates or model waste reduction initiatives.  This publication (document # EPA530-R-92-015) can be ordered from the National Service Center for Environmental Publications at 800/490-9198.


  • The National Recycling Coalition (NRC) offers a variety of useful publications and other information on such topics as recycling policy/market development, buying recycled products and more.  To order these publications, visit the NRC Web site at and visit the publications section.  Readers without Internet access can reach NRC by phone at 703/683-9025.


        Consumer's Handbook for Reducing Solid Waste.  This publication provides information that can easily be used as part of a public education program.  The handbook describes how individual consumers can help reduce MSW by making environmentally aware decisions about everyday activities such as shopping or household chores.  This free publication (document # EPA530-K-92-003) can be ordered from the RCRA/Superfund Hotline at 800/424-9346 or viewed on the Internet at the following address:


  • Recycle: You Can Make a Ton of Difference.  This short recycling brochure provides information that can be incorporated into a local government’s public education program.  This free publication (document # EPA530-K-92-003) can be ordered from the RCRA/Superfund Hotline at 800/424-9346 or viewed on the Internet at the following address:


        EPA’s WasteWise Program. This voluntary program targets the reduction of municipal solid waste.  Participants range from small local governments and nonprofit organizations to large, multi-national corporations.  For more information on the WasteWise program, call WasteWise toll-free at 800/372-9473 or go to the following Internet address:


  • EPA’s PAYT Web site contains case studies, publications, frequently asked questions (FAQs), and more.  A toll-free PAYT Helpline is available at 888/EPA-PAYT (888/372-7298).  To visit the PAYT Web site, go to the following Internet address:


Again, local governments in need of assistance in locating recycling resources may contact LGEAN toll-free at 877/TO-LGEAN, or e-mail



 -----Original Message-----
From: Susan & Mary []
Sent: Friday, February 02, 2001 7:01 PM
To: multiple recipients of
Subject: [GRRN] Mandatory Recycling

Try, Montgomery County, Maryland's government recycling site, listing compliance info, traininginfo, how to, etc.

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