Increase Citizen Participation in Reuse and Recycling
One of the most effective ways to measure the success of a recycling program is to look at the number of citizens participating in the program. Obtaining high participation rates enables cities to continue and expand basic recycling collection and processing programs. These rates can be achieved through the use of innovative programs that make recycling more convenient and provide incentives to reduce waste. Studies and research can provide local recycling programs with information that is useful to the program's planning process. This information has the ability to influence decisions such as how and where to expand recycling programs and what audiences should be targeted for outreach and education.
Expand Multi-Family Housing Recycling Efforts
Almost 40 percent of housing in the North Central Texas region is considered multi-family, including structures with three or more units such as apartments, townhouses, and condominiums. Although a few cities in the region have successfully implemented multi-family recycling programs, the majority of these multi-family complexes do not have recycling programs. The region would benefit from more cities implementing multi-family housing recycling programs in their waste management programs. These programs divert waste from landfills, thereby reducing the need for disposal capacity.
* Track effectiveness of Regional and Local Residential and Commerical Waste Reduction Efforts
In order to reach our objectives to reduce waste, the region established a baseline benchmark of residential recycling efforts using a standardized format. The region now tracks waste reduction efforts on an annual basis. Obtaining this data will produce useful information for planning and decision-making on waste prevention, reduction, reuse, and recycling. In addition this information will enable local governments to compare annual recycling rates, track their own progress, provide accurate and up-to-date numbers for recycling market development.
* The Original Volume 1: Objective 1C reads as follows: Benchmark and track the effectiveness of regional and local residential waste reduction efforts. Also, Objective 1F reads as follows: Benchmark and track the effectiveness of regional and local commercial waste reduction efforts. The Time to Recycle Subcommittee requested the combination of objectives 1C and 1F to reflect the current needs of the North Central Texas region. This request was put in place by NCTCOG staff on 12/14/2010 with full acknowledgement that this request does not override the original objective 1C in Volume 1.
Expand Commercial Recycling Efforts
Waste produced from the commercial sector represents the fastest growing portion of the region’s municipal waste stream. Commercial generators include a wide spectrum of activities from neighborhood convenience stores to banks and office buildings to large industries. Also included in the commercial waste stream are educational institutions, government institutions, hospitals, jails, and military installations. Already composing as much as 35 percent of the region’s municipal waste stream, commercial waste will only become more of a concern as its production continues to grow. More efforts should be directed toward reducing the output of this significant source of waste.
Promote source reduction, deconstruction, and (C&D) material reuse
Construction and demolition waste can occupy as much as 20 percent of the wastes found in landfills. Educating builders to reduce and reuse materials whenever possible will help reduce the amount of waste being disposed. Encouraging builders to deconstruct buildings instead of demolishing them will create more reusable building materials and will divert more waste from landfills. When buildings are demolished a good deal of the waste can be recycled. Diversion and reuse projects for steel, wood, asphalt, and concrete can be very effective in reducing the burden on landfills. Throughout the nation, growing cities have been very successful in connecting builders with recyclers and creating a profitable partnership for both businesses. Builders recognize a significant savings on disposal costs and the recyclers are provided with a guaranteed stream of quality supply. Establishing these partnerships can also facilitate the handling of demolition waste resulting from natural disasters and other emergencies.
Use Education Programs to Change Attitudes About Source Reduction, Reuse,
Outreach and education programs enable the public to better understand and participate in waste prevention, reduction, reuse, and recycling programs. Education can motivate constituents to realize the potential economic opportunities and environmental benefits of waste prevention, reduction, reuse, and recycling. Part of this education should encourage local businesses to prominently display recycled products and educate consumers to buy recycled products. To improve effectiveness of our outreach and educational efforts, publications and programs need to be evaluated and revised regularly. In a growing region, audiences tend to change over time and these education tools will need to be updated to reach new target audiences.
Promote Innovative Technologies to Reduce Waste
New and innovative technologies are critical to support our objectives to reduce waste.
Innovative technologies can provide opportunities to increase waste prevention, reduction, reuse, and recycling, thereby reducing the need for disposal capacity. New technologies can also improve the effectiveness of collection, processing, recycling, and remanufacturing.
Expand Collection and Management of Special Wastes
Certain products that are routinely thrown away contain toxic materials and should be diverted from the municipal waste stream. Collection programs for these products commonly known as Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) have been established throughout parts of the region. HHW programs need to be made available to all cities in the region. In addition, the region should develop waste management options for materials such as tires, sludge, and other special wastes.