Jam Session

Vote for Your Favorite Pitch on How to Measure Recycling Rates (1 CEU)

Tuesday, August 21
1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Exhibit Hall Theater & Cafe 950

Your goal is to increase recycling by a certain percent. How do you measure it? No one seems to use the same language to define what and how measure recycling. We will address this issue front and center. We’ll provide an overview of popular and new metrics for measuring recycling rates, work in groups to determine what people think works best, and then we’ll have a vote and discussion on the top two pitches.


During recent years, controversy and discussion has concerned recycling metrics. Not everyone defines recycling or the processes that constitute recycling in the same way. Definitions of municipal solid waste and recyclable materials also vary from state to state. This is further compounded by the differing methods to calculate a recycling rate. All these factors make it difficult to collect and analyze data and to compare the effectiveness of recycling programs from one region to another.

Most commonly, recycling has been based on weight-based metrics. In the last three years, however, an uptick has occurred in interest to quantify environmental impacts associated with recycling, harmonizing a system of measuring recycling, and improving the quality of reported recycling data.

This session offers an overview of metric systems being used, provides a real-life demonstration of how the recycling rate from a county’s waste stream would change using existing models, and engages the attendees to come up with a solution followed by a moderated discussion on the top two solutions.

By attending this session, you will:

  • Learn about the current issues within recycling rate metrics
  • Learn and understand current models used to determine recycling rates and how these models affect the overall recycling data locally and within the US and Canada
  • Learn and experience the challenges currently being faced in developing a unified the method for determining recycling rates


Scott Pasternak, Senior Project Manager for the Solid Waste and Resource Recovery Practice, Burns & McDonnell

Scott Pasternak

Mr. Scott Pasternak is an associate and senior project manager for the Solid Waste and Resource Recovery Practice for Burns & McDonnell, which focuses on advancing the solid waste and recycling programs for clients. Since the 1990s he has focused his career on working with clients to solve challenging technical and financial solid waste management and recycling issues. Geographically, he has worked for local, regional and state governments in 20 states. Mr. Pasternak holds a Masters’ of Science degree in Community and Regional Planning and Bachelor of Arts degree with honors, both from the University of Texas. He is the Director for SWANA’s Planning and Management Technical Division and serves on the Editorial Advisory Board for MSW Management and on the Solid Waste and Resource Recovery Advisory Council for the State of Texas.

Ashley Evans, PE, LEED AP, Market Area Engineer, Waste Management, Inc.

Ashley Evans

Ashley Evans, PE, holds a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering from the University of Florida and a master’s degree in Business Management from University North Carolina. She is a Market Area Engineer at Waste Management and has 16 years of solid waste experience. Ms. Evans is an active member of the SWANA Planning and Management Technical Division and mentor within the Young Professionals Steering Committee.

Robert Smouse, Assistant Director, Solid Waste Services, City of Fort Worth

Robert Smouse

Robert Smouse began his environmental activities before graduating college through management and ethics coursework, helping to design and present an on-campus recycling program at Western Illinois University in 1991. In more than 24 years of his career, he has held environmental leadership positions spanning from solid waste, to recycling, to composting to green building to environmental education to sustainability-based programs. He received his LEED AP certification in 2006 and has been instrumental in advancing the City's future 20-year Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Plan. As a member of the SWANA and Fort Worth’s appointee on the Resource Conservation Committee for the North Central Texas Council of Governments, Mr. Smouse helps elevate related programs beyond the Fort Worth city limits. He also was instrumental in three City of Plano LEED projects before heading west to Fort Worth.