Dual Collection of MSW and Yard Wastes

Publish Date: 2005

The provision of curbside collection services for recyclables, including green wastes, has been proven to be an effective means of increasing citizen participation in municipal recycling programs.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), yard waste constitutes 12.2 percent of the municipal solid waste (MSW) stream.1 For many communities, the implementation of yard-waste reduction and recycling programs represents the most effective activity that can be undertaken to achieve local waste diversion recycling goals. As a result, there are currently hundreds of communities throughout the United States that offer regularly scheduled curbside collection services for yard waste.

The provision of residential curbside yard-waste collection services is not accomplished, however, without economic or environmental costs. Curbside yard-waste collection services typically cost in the range of $1.00 to $3.00 per household per month. In addition to this economic cost, there are also negative environmental and societal impacts from the added collection service including increased air pollution, road wear, noise, and traffic. To minimize the adverse impacts of yard-waste collection, the City of Bakersfield, California, is implementing a pilot program to evaluate the dual collection of yard wastes and MSW. In this program, yard waste and refuse would be collected in a “dual compartment” collection vehicle. The City conducted a pilot test in 2002 in hopes to reduce its collection routes by two routes through the dual collection program. A complete description of Bakersfield’s pilot program is provided in Appendix A.

The SWANA Applied Research Foundation’s (ARF) Recycling Group decided to target this topic for investigation during Fiscal 2005 (September 2004 through August 2005). This report presents the results of background research conducted for this project with input and guidance provided by the ARF Recycling Group Subscribers.

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